Friday, June 13, 2003

I didn't realize that Egypt has a censorship committee. It sounds pretty uptight, too. Unfortunately, with the way we're going, we'll have one here in the U.S. as well in a matter of years.

Though, I wonder; If these violent movies are banned, presumably for being able to corrupt people, then why does the committee get to view them? Surely, all of those evil movies have corrupted their judgement by now.

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Of course, by that I mean: Yeeeeees, I fell for one of those spam e-mail titles, but sometimes, you just have to check. I always hate the ones with a title of "Hi." I'm always afraid I'm going to delete an e-mail of someone who honestly wants to get in touch with me. I probably have, I've just deleted all of them, and checked the spam ones. Ahh, those guys sure are crafty. Dammit.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

I was looking through my comments the other day, when I stumbled upon one for my most recent post about the smoking ban. Rather than wasting my time responding where no one will see it, I'll post my response here.

The post starts with:

People who smoke don't have the right to put other people's health at risk just so they can enjoy themselves.

Even though I had already stated that:

The particularly amusing aspect of this letter is the fact that the woman thinks she has a right to dine at a restaurant. I'll explain restaurant "rights" the same way I explained education "rights." Restaurant dining is a service. It must be provided by someone. A true right is inalienable, assuming you've respected the rights of others. The only person with a right to a restaurant is the owner of the restaurant. If you can't take your child to a restaurant, then it's just too damn bad. The restaurant owner chooses to allow certain conditions in his restaurant, and you either accept those conditions or refrain from dining there. I don't see her complaining that she can't take her child to Chippendale's because of the mostly-naked men there.

That's just blatant evasion. Anyway...

I don't think its too much to ask that smokers refrain from puffing away whilst on buses, at bustops or on trains etc. Nor do I think its wrong to expect to be able to visit a so-called local family pub or restaurant and be able to eat in a smoke-free environment.

There's no problem with asking people to stop smoking. There is a problem with demanding that the government stop them, since they're not serving your own special interest. It would be fine to bring the government in if the smoking were on your property. If it isn't on your property, then it's none of your business to decide what they can and can't do on it.

The real question is why no one recognizes the right of restaurant owners to govern their stores. If someone held a neighborhood block party on his property, and chose to allow smoking, I doubt anyone would have a problem with either accepting those conditions, or leaving. However, people seem to draw some line between the block party and a restaurant, even though there is essentially no difference. It's the same inability (or unwillingness) to think in principle that leads to the fuzzy sort of psuedo logic that ends up producing so many contradictions and fallacies.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Getting rid of the Valedictorian rank

I think the text on the link there really explains what this is all about, so:

Some schools distinguish all seniors with a perfect GPA, including increased credit for honors courses, as summa cum laude graduates. That includes 37 seniors at Reagan High School.

Proponents of dropping the top spots point to the sometimes minuscule GPA differences that can determine class rank, and claim intense competition leads some top students to avoid honors classes. Critics say the trend is another example of dumbing down education in order to foster self-esteem.

Acknowledging that one student stood out as being the best doesn't seem like another attempt to foster the self-esteem of the schoolkids at the expense of education. It sounds like being honest, and recognizing the fact that one student out-performed the others. It's not dumbing down education, even if the good students decide not to take honors classes. If they don't want to take them, then by all means, they should just skip them. But it seems like getting that great average while taking honors classes would seperate you from everyone else with the same GPA, that didn't take the honors classes. Giving every kid in the school a graduation trophy would be fostering self-esteem without regard to education or educational standards. Rewarding someone for being better is not. Besides, no amount of honors in the world could give anyone in the world self-esteem.

Miller said the system "emphasizes and rewards all those who do well."

It does, and it should.

"That's just part of our educational philosophy," she said. "We don't want it to be competitive."

It's not about encouraging competition, it's about giving recognition to the people who have worked hard and earned it. It's not about who's more vicious and cutthroat, but about who demonstrates the ability to achieve more than everyone else. See the quote above.

Let's suppose for a minute that it were all about encouraging competition. What would be so wrong with that, anyway? The desire for competition often provides some people,who would usually be less inclined to perform, a reason to try to do well. Competition for good grades isn't going to encourage slander and beatings in schools. Competition just encourages everyone to achieve their best.

Monday, June 09, 2003

There's not really much to post about at the moment. I'm still contemplating a little adjustment on the color scheme, in an effort to make the blog a little less bland. On top of that, I (obviously) messed with the links layout, but I'm still not happy with it. I'm trying to categorize them a little more, but it's hard. Plus, the links section is a bit desolate, but I don't want to resort to linking the same popular people that everyone links.

But anyway, I'll try to post a lot one of these days to make up for the sparse, one-post-a-day trend.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Time for Medicare changes?

It's always been time for Medicare changes. Specifically, the elimination of Medicare. Though, we all know that's not quite the ideal solution Bush has in mind.

"a growing consensus ... that our seniors need a strengthened Medicare system that includes prescription drug coverage."

Perhaps... just perhaps, seniors need to be self-responsible and pay for their health care like everyone else does should. Expecting people to be willing to support themselves, and the government to be willing to let them do so is a bit off the wall, though.

Many Democrats criticize this as "privatization," while Bush says it would offer more choice and benefits. The administration also hopes it will drive down costs.

Aww, now they're just criticizing Bush's socialist policy for not being socialist enough. That's really mean.