Friday, December 22, 2006

Senator Nelson's Response to My Letter

Below is Sen. Nelson's response to my letter regarding his trip to Syria. Although it is on topic, this is little more than a form response and does not address the central theme of my letter which is that meeting terrorist leaders emboldens the enemy by sanctioning his regimes' legitimacy and implying that we are willing to negotiate our security . This is like meeting with a burglar to ask him not to rob your house. He also mentions that he asks other leaders how we can combat the growing threat from Iran. Hmmm, I have a few ideas.

Dear Mr. Reich:

Thank you for contacting me regarding my recent trip to the Middle East. I appreciate hearing your concerns as we work to increase stability and promote democracy in the region.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Intelligence Committees, I met with leaders in every country I visited to discuss how we can make progress in Iraq and combat the growing threat from Iran. In Syria, I met with President Bashar Al-Assad to follow up on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group's recommendation that the U.S. begin talking with the country in order to help stabilize Iraq. During my meeting with President Assad, I made it clear that the U.S. will continue to pressure Syria to stop supporting terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and Hamas.

In addition, I traveled to other countries in the region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Israel, Lebanon, and Iraq. In Iraq, I was able to observe first hand the assessment discussed in the Iraq Study Group's Report.

It is a privilege to serve Florida in the Senate, and I value the views of my constituents. Please do not hesitate to contact me on other issues that are of interest to you.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Proper Way to Learn

I have really enjoyed reading Lisa VanDamme's various articles on educational methods. Along with David Harriman, she appears to have created an education program that is almost revolutionary by today's standards. By understanding at a fundamental philosophical level what knowledge is and how human beings acquire knowledge, they have built a program that actually teaches children how to think. Here is a link to a recent article which also includes many other links to her articles and programs.

http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4866

Pattern Recognition vs. Real Understandingby Lisa VanDamme (December 14, 2006)

...Faced with the application of differential equations to physics, Dave discovered that he had developed a subconscious, automatized ability to look at an equation and instinctively just know what technique to use. But he had never explicitly identified what he was doing, or why that was the right approach to solving this particular problem.

What he possessed was not real knowledge, but an acquired talent of pattern recognition, which—as it always does—faded when it was no longer in use.

The goal of promoting real understanding rather than memorization or pattern-seeking—is accomplished through hierarchical, integrated, purposeful lectures, and by requiring the students to write. In every subject, students are consistently required not just to provide an answer, but to explain how they arrived at the answer, to justify why it is the answer.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The UN's "Virtue" Is Its Vice

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=18066
The UN's "Virtue" Is Its Vice
Elan Journo
December 15, 2006

...efforts at "reforming" the organization skirt the UN's insuperable problem: its corrupt ideal of moral neutrality....

The UN's policy of neutrality accomplishes precisely the opposite of its putative effect; it actually protects and bolsters vicious regimes...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Senator Nelson's Trip to Syria an Outrage

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061214/ap_on_go_co/us_syria

I sent the following letter to Senator Bill Nelson in response to his outrageous decision to visit with President Assad of Syria. His actions serve to not only embolden Syria but terrorists everywhere as they see American officials coming to beg for favors from their leaders.

To: Senator Bill Nelson office

Senator Nelson's trip to Syria is an outrage. By visiting with President Assad, he has sanctioned and legitimized an outlaw regime that aids and abets terrorists including Hamas and Hezbollah and therefore belied the supposed American policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

Would Senator Nelson have visited with Hitler or Mussolini in WWII?

The only message a member of the United States Senate should send to Syria is to cease and desist supporting terrorism against the United States or face total destruction.

As a voting resident of Florida, I am appalled at the Senator's poor judgement and urge him to take action against our enemies, particularly Iran, by threatening them with immediate military action if they do not cease supporting terrorism and pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Global Warming Advocates Now Threaten Free Speech

press release posted at:
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13691&news_iv_ctrl=1221

"This letter constitutes an outrageous violation of ExxonMobil's right to free speech," said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute. "Whether or not one believes there is a threat of catastrophic global warming, the government has no right to tell ExxonMobil
what ideas it should advocate or fund.

"Free speech means the freedom to promote any idea one wishes without the danger of suppression or punitive action by the government. When two United States senators declare that a company has 'manufactured controversy, sown doubt, and impeded progress with strategies all-too reminiscent of those used by the tobacco industry for so many years,' that is clearly a thinly veiled threat, and any sensible organization must regard it as such.

Friday, December 8, 2006

John Lewis from The Objective Standard

“No Substitute for Victory” The Defeat of Islamic Totalitarianism
John Lewis

According to multiculturalism, a serious military offense would be anathema. We must allow peoples of other cultures to express their “cultural identities”—whether that involves eating falafels, chanting “Death to America,” or detonating their children in Israeli restaurants.

http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/issues/2006-winter/no-substitute-for-victory.asp

Debunking Global Warming

Washington D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the outgoing Chairman of Environment & Public Works Committee, is pleased to announce the public release of the Senate Committee published booklet entitled “A Skeptic’s Guide to Debunking Global Warming Alarmism. Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge To Journalists who Cover Global Warming.”

http://epw.senate.gov/fact.cfm?party=rep&id=266711

What Real War Looks Like

Op-ed by Elan Journo
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13661&news_iv_ctrl=1021

The Iraq Study Group has issued many specific recommendations, but the options boil down to a maddeningly limited range: pull out or send more troops to do democracy-building and, either way, "engage" the hostile regimes in Iran and Syria. Missing from the list is the one option our self-defense demands: a war to defeat the enemy. If you think we've already tried this option and failed, think again. Washington's campaign in Iraq looks nothing like the war necessary for our self-defense.

What does such a war look like?

A Beautiful Epitaph

While reading "The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge" by David McCullough, I came across a passage referring to the death of Emily Roebling, the wife of Washington Roebling, that I found particularly poignant.

Emily Roebling was a brilliant woman who effectively took control of the Bridge's construction while her great husband remained bed-ridden with illness for several years as the bridge was finished. Althought it was believed by many that she was simply transmitting her husband's orders to the engineers on the bridge she actually learned civil engineering and directed much of the work during the final stages of building. (In fact, on the first crossing of the bridge she led the way across while her husband presumably watched the ceremony from his window).

The years of turmoil, illness, the Civil War, the raising of their own family, and inestimable obstacles of every variety both technical and political must have forged a bond between them almost inexpressible in words. So, I found the below even more fitting for its beautiful and elegant simplicity which I can only presume Mr. Roebling felt he could not improve upon.

McCullough writes:

"In the file of Roebling's letters kept by his son there is an envelope marked 'Undated notes, clippings, etc. found among W.A.R.'s [Washington A. Roebling's] papers after his death.' Among the items in the envelope is a much-worn paper on which Roebling had copied in pencil an epitaph Mark Twain inscribed on the grave of his daughter

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here;
Warm southern wind, blow softly here;
Green sod above, lie light, lie light-
Good-night, dear heart, good-night, good-night. "

(Mark Twain wrote this epitaph for his daughter Suzy Clemens at Woodlawn Cemetery,Elmira, N.Y)

p.s. We live in an age when the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton are a constant reminder of the depraved inanity of our culture. It is a sad state of affairs when the stories of women like Emily Roebling and Abigail Adams are all but forgotten.

Letter from Abigail Adams

Farewell letter from Abigail Adams to her sons on their voyage to France with father John during the Revolution:

"It will be expected of you, my son, that as you are favored with superior advantages under the instructive eye of a tender parent, that your improvements should bear some proportion to your advantages. These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."

The Library of Congress has a site to search historical documents and letters
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html

Link to the Adams Papers Project
http://www.masshist.org/adams_editorial/