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About 30% of Americans have a bachelor’s degree. That number is rising at a glacial pace.


Worldwide income was about the same in Jesus’ time as it was when Columbus sailed to America. Gradual growth in income usually doesn’t accompany technological and cultural progress. The industrial revolution was a recent and radical thing.


P.S.: Tsk-tsk to the graph makers for pretending that there was a year 0.



Now this is kind of offensive, right? First, check out the artist’s statement: “I began to imagine Disney’s perfect Princesses juxtaposed with real issues that were affecting women around me, such as illness, addiction and self-image issues.” So in her life, the women around her have had to deal with neglectful husbands, chemo treatments, growing old… and military insurgency? Maybe she’s more worldly than I think she is. All the other images illustrate the absurdity of Disney princesses or some sad truth about the human condition. The Jasmine one just shows that Middle Easterners are violent.

So here’s an obvious issue she could’ve adopted instead: sexual identity/orientation. Think Mulan.

Yglesias says: don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Who wants another Civil War?

Sorry, officer Webb, you can’t wear your khimar while you’re on the force.

The US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit (Pennsylvania/Delaware/New Jersey) ruled that the Philly Police Department had a sufficient interest in appearing uniform while in uniform, to disguise any personal preference (including religion) so that allowing an exception for the plaintiff would be more than a de minimis cost to the employer.

Nothing really new there.

What caught my attention was the description of the headscarf: “Webb’s headscarf would cover neither her face nor her ears, but would cover her head and the back of her neck.” I’ve seen a lot of headscarves in my day, both on women who are praying and who cover their heads all the time, but I’ve never seen something like that.

Some would say there’s a fine line between good humor and offensive material.

I don’t know what Nisse would say about it, but I could tell you what he would do: gingerly walk up to the general area of the alleged “line,” put one foot on either side of it, and defecate.

P.S.: I know it’s probably not going to get any more viewers because I’m linking to it here, but ain’t a brotha allowed to make a symbolic gesture?

That was supposed to be the Mac sound. My computer came. And I endured extensive and boring travails to get my Qwest internet to work again.

Point is, buckle up for a lot more after-hours posting.

So here’s how observing stupid Republicans can make you more conservative, in some sense of the word.

from The Washington Independent:

Rep. Hoekstra from Michigan: “I’m watching Neil Cavuto,” said Hoesktra, “and I see [Treasury Secretary] Tim Geithner is talking about how he might be OK with a world currency.” He goes on about how it’s counter to American sovereignty, and that’s un-American. And that it would mean turning our currency over to the UN. It’s actually the IMF who would be in charge of that International Monetary stuff, but an international organization is an international organization is an evil sign of the end-times, right? And it actually doesn’t mean that our currency would be “turned over” to anyone else. Other governments are deciding to diversify their reserves, by relying on an uber-currency (a basket including the dollar, yen, euro, and pound) called Special Drawing Rights — contra Bachmann, not Special Drawing Down Rates — and since the whole subject has to do with the other countries’ decisions, it has nothing to do with Americanness or un-Americanness.

The whole point is that elected dabblers, like Bachmann and her 31 co-horts and -sponsors, that they either A) don’t know what they’re talking about or B) know they’re wrong, but are so utterly convinced both 1) that they constitutents have no clue or curiosity w/r/t international finance and 2) they can score some serious political points with this American/un-American business that they try to pass a Constitutional Amendment about it.

This makes me conservative in the sense that, depending whether I want to go down the A) path or B) path above, you think either the human intellect or the democratic system has limitations.

There’s something to be said for unelected officials.

Franz Ferdinand – No You Girls

The BPA feat. Iggy Pop – He’s Frank (Slight Return)

Hype machine makes you sign in now. I mean, I’ll do it, but I won’t like doing it.

I’m really excited to have a computer again. I haven’t bought a computer since George W. Bush was elected the second time. Or since Google was traded publicly.

 The website evidencing his effing nutsness:

The 9/12 Project.

Videos evidencing his effing nutsness:

He’s a scholar of fascism, all of a sudden. And a Death Cab fan, to boot. Not such a fan of Muslims, though. Or the FEMA concentration camps.

Videos mocking his effing nutsness:

Colbert, Shep Smith, Himself [mashup].

Articles lamenting his effing nutsness:

NY Times, David Frum, Matt Yglesias

This man is unhinged and dangerous. And effing nuts.

Ted: Hey man, can you tell me what I could expect from this class? I have taken the only prereq necessary. It is Phil 430

Me: “Value Theory” is vague, so you’ll be at the whim of your professor. So it would be key to get a professor who you like/likes you.

You could pull from almost any period/persuasion of philosophy and talk about Value Theory, but I think the Greeks and the Nietzsche talked about it the most. If I were designing this class, I’d review the Greeks, go to Nietzsche, and then cover more contemporary people like Ruth Chang or something.

So, the first question of the class is probably “What is valuable?” and the first distinction of the class is probably “extrinsic value vs. intrinsic value.” Working has extrinsic value because I get money for it, but it sure doesn’t have intrinsic value. It’s not valuable for its own sake. Playing tennis or cards might be intrinsically valuable. Tricky question: how about science, philosophy, or economics? Intrinsically valuable, extrinsically valuable, both, or neither? The first “ism”s of the class are probably “pluralism vs. monism.” Pluralists think there are many values, monists think there is just one value.

This is where the ethics class comes in handy. If you’re a utilitarian, you probably believe that pleasure is the only intrinsic good (so you’re pulled towards monism), but you have to face the general consensus that there are different kinds of pleasures. That pulls you towards a pluralism, but if you’re a pluralist, it’s harder (you might think impossible) to quantify pleasure and to compare the utility of reading a book to the utility of having sex. If you can’t quantify and compare, you can’t make a utilitarian decision and your whole system is useless. Depending mostly on your mood, you could blame this failure on monism or utilitarianism or just on a crude understanding of pleasure.

The more abstract stuff towards the end of the course would probably (or should) have to do with Nietzsche’s ubermensch and will to power. Another route to go would be multiculturalism and the problem of cultural relativism and whether it implies ethical relativism.

You can skim this: If you take another philosophy course, this website is a good place to look for names and theories and schools of thought. Should be obvious, but this class will be more reading and discussion and less memorization of definitions/formulae.