Monday, May 30, 2005

Simon Cowell .... Law Professor?

I had the strangest dream Saturday night. I dreamt that I was attending lawschool. Now, I am always dreaming that I'm still in college, usually living on campus and I'm blowing off my math and science classes. And in that dream, I am a few years away from graduating because I keep blowing off those classes.

Well, in this dream, I'm attending 2 classes and I think they are both case study classes. I haven't taken my LSAT yet, nor have I registered for them. After attending these two classes, I know I want to stick with it but I'm torn because I don't know how to tell my classmates and professor that I'm not really a legitimate student.

And here's the kicker. My professor for both classes is Simon Cowell of American Idol. In this dream, he's a great professor and makes the subject interesting. Believe it or not, he's very encouraging.

I think I had this dream because I stayed up late and watched "The Practice" before going to bed.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Stem Cells

When we were relying on aborted fetuses in order to conduct stem cell research, I was for a ban on the research. My greatest concern was the that there would be potential for pregnant women to be able to financially benefit from selling their unborn fetuses to research companies. There was just too much room for corruption.

But now that the abortion factor is OUT of the picture and we now have embryos that can be accessed, I think the government needs to step aside and let science move forward. It is also time for the Republican Party to demonstrate that it truly is NOT a puppet of the Religious Right because from here, it looks like they are.

I find their dedication to the Religious Right to be very frustrating. So for now, my position is that I continue to contribute financially to the Democratic Party who fight for the things I think are important: Women's Reproductive Rights, Rights for Homosexuals. And I will vote for the Republican Party to continue to defend our country and keep our taxes lowered.

My greatest concern is that if the Administration continues to allow the Religious Right to have so much of its demands met that this Administration will give Americans no other choice but to vote in a Democrat during the 2008 elections. I think that would be a mistake.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Schapelle Corby - what will her fate be?

I am really upset by the news of Schapelle Corby's verdict. Based on what I've ready, it seems that she didn't have a chance in hell of receiving a 'not guilty' verdict. I believe that she was telling the truth that she did not bring these drugs into their country. The problem, in my opinion, is that the guys that were smuggling it into the country through her are probably imbedded into the system. In otherwords they are probably government officials, also.

So, now what? Will her government allow her to sit in there and rot or am I being too optimistic here. It makes me wonder as well about how this would have been handled had it been a U.S. citizen. If she were an American, would she be tried there as well, too? Did they render her guilty in hopes that tons of money would be poured their way in an effort to free her?

I read that Australians regretted their support to the Tsunami victims. I understand their feelings of betrayal. Unfortunately, this country is a third world country and their people do not have human rights as we do and what's worse, she's a woman.

Nonetheless, I'm very worried about her and I find the whole situation disturbing.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

There's one in every crowd

I have been attending a local UU church and have recently decided to become a member.

I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I am an odd bird. I support the Republican Party. I believe in a strong military, defense and our presence in Iraq. I love our President. I am an atheist. I support women's reproductive rights and tolerance towards homosexuals. I believe in accountability and privatizing a portion of our social security. I vehemenently oppose the influence of the Religious right in politics.

Traditionally, the UU church swings liberal. That is especially true with the group I'm in now. They do a lot of Bush bashing. But what I have discoverd while being among them is that while President Clinton was in office, I expressed some of the same frustrations these guys express about Bush. So I am convinced that each side holds similar points of view of the other.

These are good people. They deeply care about their children and others. They have great hearts. But they are also somewhat cynical and pessimistic about the future. But I think that is expected when ones person is not in office. They feel a strong need to get involved and advance their causes. I also think that they are very naive about the world. Their naivity is what concerns me the most. I don't think they fully grasp how much evil there is in this world. Kenneth Lay is the probably the most evil person on their list; maybe Bill Gates comes in a close second.

I shared my situation with a close friend. He told me he thought I was someone these people needed. I think I understand his point. But for me to be really effective, I have to read more and become a lot more informed.

I am looking forward to making friends here and hope that I am able to find my way among them.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Right after I had read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead I signed up for a Philosophy class. I think I required one as an elective for one of my majors; I was a double major at the time International Business and French. That semester, there were only two classes available to choose: Critical Thinking and Logic.

Both classes appealed to me so I decided to meet the professors to help me determine which class was best suited for me. I remember meeting with the professsor who taught Logic. When I brought up my interest in Ayn Rand he spent the better part of our meeting attacking her. Not her philosophy, mind you, but her. Then I met the instructor, Dr. Fair, who taught the Critical Thinking class. I immediately liked him. He didn't embrace her philosophy but he was honest about his position.

I did very well in his class. My mind was open and eager to learn so I went head on into every challenge he threw my way.

We had to write a lot of essays in his class and I remember a notation he made on one of my essays. I don't remember the subject of my essay but I do remember that I was very much inspired by and enamoured with Ayn Rand at the time. It would suffice to say that I probably very much was an Ayn Rand wannabe. So in red ink, I believe it was red, he wrote the question on my esssay "are these your thoughts or Ayn Rand's?". Obviously they were my words but the question really made me think about my own process for critical thinking.

David Kelley is one of the first people that Leonard Piekoff chased out of the ARI. Last night, I came across an article that I believe is one written by him where he discusses the cult following of people who believe that in order to be a true Objectivist they have to see objectivism just it is seen by Ayn Rand; such person, I believe, Kelley termed as a Randite. I think that is interesting because I never wanted to embrace Objectivism that way. I wanted Objectivisim to be a tool for me. So then later in this article, Kelley goes on to say that Objectivism is a tool one uses to get through one's life.

I'm coming across a lot of good people who left the ARI in order to openly speak and teach this Philosophy. I applaud their bravery and dedication.

Most importantly, on a very personal note, I am eternally grateful to Dr. Fair for catching my error in reason and calling me on it. That event is something on which I often reflect and for which have grown thankful over the years.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

A Brave Alysha Cosby

Banning Alysha Cosby from participating in graduating from St. Jude because she is pregnant is beyond disgusting. While she was being banned, the father of the child, however, was allowed to graduate. (On a side note, I notice that the paper excluded his name. I wonder if the reporters did that inentionally in an effort not to take away the spotlight from this brave girl).

Alysha Cosby believed in herself and in her right to walk across that stage, so she did it anyway. This is a fabulous demonstration of leadership and dignity. The Institution's philosophy is posted on their website. Ms. Cosby, through these events, embodies that philosophy.

This incident brings to mind Vanessa Williams. No one remembers the name of any Miss America but we all remember Vanessa Williams. She was forced to relinquish her crown because photographs surfaced of her and made their way into a pornographic magazine. They surfaced because someone had them and seeing an opportunity to make a chunk of money, sold them and then fled the country leaving behind a humiliated Miss America to face the music.

Today, Ms. Williams has a fabulous career as both a singer and an actress. Why? Becasue there are people who saw a good and talented person being unjustly punished. They saw the hypocricy. Because, if anything, the Miss America Committee should have stood behind her. The real criminal was the man who sold the photos.

I think something similar will happen for Ms. Cosby. I believe that there are influential people right now who recognize the bravery and determination in Ms. Cosby that one finds in most successful people. They will see through the hypocricy of St. Jude and will award her, I am sure.

I don't think this will be the last we hear of Ms. Cosby.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Newsweek's Blunders

I'm really disappointed by Newsweek's recent mistake regarding the report they submitted regarding the desecration of the Quran.

I think that it is always more provacative to write and report on anything that defies or challenges the White House. It doesn't matter who the Chief in Command is just that he has a plan and puts himself out there for criticism. I think that if he didn't do anything but skirt around issues and play the hide & seek game, there wouldn't be as much meat out there for the press. But as it stands, Bush has clear ideas. Not only does he have them but he ACTS on them. That gives the press a target.

In the past, when the world was smaller, stories breaking in the U.S. didn't have the same impact on the rest of the world that they have today. It wasn't that easy to find stories and spread them as it is today. Now, any obscure story can be found on the internet and spread all over the world. Within hours of it's release.

I don't think that reporters today have any defined values or ethics. That being said, I also don't think that the reporter who submitted that story had any idea it would have the impact it had; an impact that ultimately resulted in death and destruction. That story gives me the impression that the reporter is against America. I'm not saying he's not American. I'm saying it gives me the impression.

Ok, so now here we go, I've opened a new can of worms, right? I'm not saying that if one disagrees with the U.S. that it means their unpatriotic. I'm just sick and tired of the press constantly standing on the sidelines waiting for something with which they can bring the administration down. But you know what? I think the administration is doing a pretty good job with the press.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A few of my Favorite Things

I work hard. And sometimes, I get blue because I'm still single. So as my day comes to a close and I start thinking about it being time to go home, I find myself looking forward to seeing my pets. I have 2 kitties and a cockatoo.

My bird is always happy to see me. She entertains herself quite well while I'm gone but she truly loves having me around. And then, there are my kitties. They are so damned cute. One is a hemilayan (sp) and the other a chocolate brown pursian. The Hemi is a girl, the persian a boy.

It's hard to describe their personalities but they each bring out the other. I wish they could live forever. They both follow me from room to room. One sits at my feet the other at my side. One likes to be at arms length, the other has to have its nose between me and whatever I'm doing. One is sweet and gentle the other "poopy pants". But whenever I walk in that door, I can tell they are both so happy to see me.

I'm sleepy.... good night.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Spring Thumb

My amaryllis bulbs arrived a little over a week ago. I took the little tags off so that I wouldn't know what color each one was at they grew. I love surprises.

About 2 weeks ago, I planted impatiens seeds in some little coffee cups, just until they germinate and grow a little. Once big enough, I'll transplant them into a little flower box or something. I've noticed today that they've started to sprout. Ooooh, that's exciting.

I really do enjoy my plants. I like starting everything from the beginning. Somehow, taking it from start to finish makes me feel like I accomplished something.

I think if I won the lottery, I would probably open a nursery. Maybe I would design gardens. I notice gardens a lot. It's Spring, that has to be the reason I notice. Everyone is hit with this in the Spring, not just me. Right?

It must be a fertility thing. Spring makes way to new things.

I've been scheming trying to find out what I might be able to plant just outside my door. I live in an apartment community so it isn't like this is my place. A flower box neatly installed on the stair rail just outside my door would be nice. Actually, what I really want to do is plant a wisteria vine.

I love wisteria so much. I grew up in Midland and just outside the door of our house we had a beautiful, healthy wisteria. The only bad thing is that the bees liked it almost as much as I did. I didn't really notice the bees that much I just remember them now. My father loved rose bushes. I never got into them. The thorns, I think the thorns are a drawback for me.

Anyway, it's good to revive my green thumb again; I've missed it.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I think the best thing that happened for the Objectivist movement is the book that Piekoff put together titled "Objectivism, The Philosophy of Ayn Rand". I equate it with the same importance as the Bible being translated from Latin so that the church could read it and interpret it's meaning on their own. For so long, those of us who were interested in learning Objectivism were left with having to understand it by extrapolating what we thought she meant from her various essays.

I guess the word here is empowerment. We were empowered to learn it on our own and I think that is what led to the break-up of so many of the people at the top of the Objectivist movement. So, I guess the ARI will be labeled as the "true" representation of the philosophy just as the Catholic church has been labeled the "true" church of Christ.

I came across an excellent article by Nathaniel Brandon The Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand: A Personal Statement. I think that Mr. Brandon's ideas are very thoughtful and that he nails a lot of the problems on the head. I don't think that this article takes anything away from the philosophy itself.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Objectivism and Excommunication

I remember about 10 years ago I got involved with a local Objectivist group. They were studying the book called Objectivisim, the Philosophy of Ayn Rand (OPAR). I guess they were already into the 5th chapter when I joined in.

The first day I participated I walked into the meeting and everyone was gathered around the coffee table looking at a letter. Apparently, there was someone who had participated in some previous discussions with the group and I guess he didn't agree with a specific point of view. I don't really know the context of the letter; it isn't important to my point. What I witnessed were a bunch of people snarling and laughing at a letter written by someone who was very frustrated at not being understood. This was someone that was "excommunicated" from the organization for not agreeing.

I remember what an odd feeling this left in me. It was really pretty disgusting. This idea of judging people as "immoral" or "irrational" and then tossing them out is really disheartening. I don't really believe that this is the natural progression of this philosophy. I am of the belief that if one is truly secure in what one believes then opening up and listening to someone's point of view to find where the differences are can't be so threatening that excommunication is the solution.

This philosophy means a lot to me and has had a tremendous impact on my life. The idea that I might one day start throwing people out of my life over differences of opinion turns my stomach. This is a choice and, obviously, one that is within my control.

I have decided, I won't be excommunicating people from my life over differences of opinion.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

What's up with Obejectivists?

I discovered the philosophy of Objectivism when I read the book Atlas Shrugged at the "tender" age of 23. I was a Junior in College. I was so incredibly excited when I found this book; and then I continued to read and read and read everything I could get my hands on that Ayn Rand wrote.

The wonderful thing about this philosophy is that it completely supports and promotes individual thinking and independence. That support of individual thought is why I think there is so much in-fighting among Objectivists. I actually wish I had never met other Objectivists. My intention of reading and studying this philosophy never had anything to do with wanting to be a part of any particular group of people. And yet, when I am among professed Objectivists, I find myself worrying about whether or not I'll be morally judged, or misjudged, based on something I might say that they don't agree with.

I understand that Edit Packer is personna non grata with the ARI. If not for Ms. Packer, I have no idea what my life would be like. Her writings had a huge impact on me and helped me sort through the mud and crap left behind as a result of my upbringing in a cocktail of psychologically damaging experiences. So now that Peikoff has labelled her "immoral" does that now discredit her works from A - Z? (I'm trying to picture Edith Packar being forced to wear the letter "I" in scarlett blazened across her chest).

I have met other Objectivists and they don't seem to really explore ideas; they just seem to constantly go over and over Ayn Rand's philosophy. No one has their own individual take on anything because they fear being labeled "immoral". It's sad really.

I studied this philosophy in order to live an independant life; my own life. I think I need to keep that in mind and just carry one with my life.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Gardening and the Blues

I have recently gone on somewhat of a "foliage" binge. It would seem that a bug has bitten me and the only antecdote is to plant. Since I live in an apartment, I am forced to binge on indoor plants. My budget is limited, so my binge isn't "over the top", so to speak. I purchased big plants as fledgelings, so I can watch them grow: a dieffenbachia (sp?) and a scheffelara (sp?). Then I planted impatiens seeds and ordered 5 amaryllis bulbs online; I love flowers. A friend wanting to contribute to the cause gave me some cuttings from an airplane plant and a succulant plant of some kind. Then I went to T. J. Maxx and found some really cute inexpensive pots.

When I started on this endeavor I was so excited, then, for some reason, excitement turned to depression. It has been years since I've had plants. I used to have many of them and they were big and healthy; that was about eight years or so ago. My father passed away about 10 years ago and one thing we had in common was our love of plants. After he passed, I think I lost interest and all my plants ended up dying on me. One was a Norfolk Pine that I had had for over 12 years; it was a birthday gift from my sister. It had red and white ties all over it when she gave it to me. One dieffenbachia I had propogated from a botany class at Tech. The rest I inherited from my father. So, now here we are and I'm reflecting back on my father and all those beautiful plants I once had.

I think in a few months, maybe a year, when these fledgelings have had time to grow under my care, they will be big and beautiful and I will feel better. But for now, I seem to be depressed and blue. I've been fighting it but I think I need to just go with the flow.

I think I just really miss my father.