17 March 2007


How much is the state of the human condition one of aporia?

More thoughts on this later. I just wanted to put the question out there.

MadTV Clip

MadTV clip on Apple's new product* - the "iRack."

*Obviously this is a parody. Apple has no such product. Anyway, it is clever little skit.

Pet Food Recall

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A major manufacturer of dog and cat food sold under Wal-Mart, Safeway, Kroger and other store brands recalled 60 million containers of wet pet food Friday after reports of kidney failure and deaths.

See article for the list of recalled cat and dog foods.

16 March 2007

Duke Sucks?

This Is Why Duke Sucks (link to YouTube video)

Not even remotely worksafe.

Tutu On Zimbabwe

Harare/Johannesburg - South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu on Friday said Africans 'should hang their heads in shame' over developments in Zimbabwe where people were 'being treated like rubbish.'


We Africans should hang our heads in shame,' he said. 'Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists?'

For more on the truly awful plight of Zimbabwe see here, here and here.

In Zimbabwe it really is a situation of things going from bad a few years ago to worse and now to even worse still. What is especially disheartening is that at a time when we are seeing some genuine political and economic improvements in much of the continent Zimbabwe is stuck not simply in neutral but in reverse.

15 March 2007


See, how their iron spades glitter and how beautifully their three-pronged mattocks glisten in the sun! How regularly they align the plants! I also burn myself to go into the country and to turn overthe earth I have so long neglected. Friends, do you remember the happylife that Peace afforded us formerly; can you recall the splendidbaskets of figs, both fresh and dried, the myrtles, the sweet wine,the violets blooming near the spring, and the olives, for which wehave wept so much? Worship, adore the goddess for restoring you somany blessings. -- Aristophanes, Peace

Athenian Democracy

"For executing the generals the Athenians have been rightly censured throughout the ages, but the argument that has been made from ancient to modern times that such misdeeds are especially characteristic of democracies is far from the mark. Atrocities have been perpetrated by every kind of regime throughout history. It is precisely the general adherence to law and due process by the Athenian democracy that makes this departure from the norm so notorious." -- Donald Kagan, The Peloponessian War, pg. 466

Is the same true when it comes to criticism of the U.S.? Is it the violation of norms (that many other nations don't value) which are generally honored that so upsets us?

Skull & Bones

Does the Yale University society known as Skull & Bones have the stolen skull of Geronimo?

Whether they possess such, the evidence points to a belief by some members they had indeed stolen the skull. In light of this what does this say about the values of these and other "plutocrats" in the era prior to WWI?

14 March 2007

More Colorado Rockies

Colorado Rockies

I had never been to the Rockies before, but visited in Feb. (2007) and found the scenery fantastic!

Mt. Madison, NH (2002)

12 March 2007

A Failure Of Imagination?

These days most people are aware that the Declaration of Independence was - by its time of publication - a heavily edited text. While I won't go into particulars I will note that some of the language which was in Jefferson's original draft concerned slavery. The fact that it was edited out (and the fact that the Constitution discussed and indeed even aided the institution of slavery) illustrates one of the fundamental problems which the "founding generation" failed to solve - the ideological, sectional, moral, etc. issues associated with slavery in a nation which declared that some sort of equality was a "self evident truth."

So I wonder whether their problem was ultimately a failure of imagination? What do I mean by this?

Well, before I make my argument I must first admit that the Continental Congress (the editors in other words) had no power to end slavery in the states - that sort of sovereignty rested with the states at the time. So whatever the editors of the Declaration thought about slavery, they could had no power to eradicate it on their own.

Still, there were plenty of examples in the classical world of a state in wartime freeing slaves who fought for a political body in dire straits (think of those Helots freed by military service to Sparta). A position which the young united States found itself in throughout the war for independence. Indeed many Latin American nations pursued such a strategy during the revolutions against Spain, and such emancipations rang the death knell for slavery in the former Spanish American colonies. So the editors could have made an appeal to slaves who wished to find freedom through service and while this would not have had the backing of law it was a solution well within the experience of most educated Americans at the time.

Then again perhaps such an appeal might have lost the young confederacy states like South Carolina or Georgia. Or perhaps the argument was never made (for all I know, it might have been - I am not terribly familiar with the discussion that surrounded the creation of the Declaration of Independence) because such an action - even though common enough in classical times - was outside the bounds of what their mental world allowed.

11 March 2007

NCAA Tourney

You can make a very nice bracket here.

I have the Oregon Ducks picked to win it all.

UO v. Georgetown - Final Score: 67-58