"Matthew Hale, the self-styled "Pontifex Maximus" of a white supremacist group, was found guilty Monday of trying to have a federal judge killed after she made him change the group's name.
Hale's World Church of the Creator preached a gospel of "racial holy war" that authorities said inspired a follower to go on a shooting rampage five years ago, targeting minorities in Illinois and Indiana and killing two." (The Guardian / AP, 04/26/04.)
"The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's Communist Party-controlled Parliament, barred Hong Kong on Monday from holding popular elections for the chief executive in 2007 or for more than half of the seats in the legislature in 2008." (New York Times, 04/27/04.)
"So, one man, one vote elections are out of the question, direct election of the Chief Executive is out of the question, increasing the proportion of democratically elected legislators is out of the question and diminishing the power of the functional constituencies to block legislation is out of the question.
In short, Beijing has declared that no meaningful democratic reform is permissible. That outcome is no surprise, although the sheer brazenness of it is unexpected."
"I think we need a new term for a kind of blog that is beginning to appear on the Internet, which does not solely represent the opinions of its "innocent" author. Perhaps someone will come up with a better one, but I am proposing the simple "Blogaganda" to describe the new blog by Mohammed Ali Abtahi, a Vice President (no less) of the Islamic Republic of Iran." [Via American Digest.]
As an active Blogger user, I recently got an invitation to test Google's e-mail service called GMail. I have signed up for the service and it will interesting to see how the ads will match the content of the email messages.
The ad feature has stirred up a debate on the Net and several public privacy advocacy groups have complained about how the email messages are "scanned" by Google's search engine robot in order to include relevant ads. Lance Ulanoff's hits the nail on the head and explains why the so-called defenders of personal privacy are screaming in a loud voice:
"What really bothers me is that this is about people's fear. Not of someone invading their privacy, but of yet another technology company becoming too powerful. ... Here's something else to consider: Without those text-based, contextual ads, Gmail will not come with a gigabyte worth of storage space, I can guarantee it. Try and remember, people, there's no such thing as a free lunch. And don't be afraid. Embrace Gmail. I'm a sucker for free e-mail, so I know I will." (Is Gmail Safe?, PC Magazine, 04/21/04.)
"Google is very, very good at finding patterns in large datasets. Gmail will be able to look back in time across millions of inboxes, giving it an unparalleled opportunity to characterise spam and spammers in multiple dimensions. Of course, we can't tell until the system's in use by millions whether things will work out like this, but once again Google has earned the benefit of the doubt. Spam is e-mail's biggest security problem today, and it has the chance of tackling it head-on." (ZDNetUK, 04/21/04.)
"Guess what, folks--Google doesn't owe you a damn thing. You have absolutely no right to free Web-based mail whatsoever, and you have no right to tell Google how to run its business. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Whining loudly doesn't mean that you will ever have that privilege. Just because you have a sense of entitlement doesn't mean that you are actually entitled to anything. Got that?" (Ziff Davis Media Inc., 04/20/04.)
It's time to join the buzz and do some catblogging. Let me introduce you to Morris the cat. He has got a new home. I had purchased a pair of boots by Caterpillar Footwear (Wolverine World Wide, Inc.). I put the box on the floor and Morris jumped into it. It is his cat house from now on.
Talking about pets, did you know that the Mini car has got the nickname "dog house" in the Swedish language?
"Swedish radio reported that the three Iraqis and one Swede of Lebanese origin were involved in Feb. 1 suicide bombings in Irbil, Iraq, that killed 109 people. Authorities would not confirm the report.
Court documents released Friday identified them as Ferman Abdulla, Ali Berzengi and Shabo Shabab of Iraq, and Lebanese-born Bilal Ramadan. They were arrested in police raids Monday and ordered held Friday for a week on suspicions of terrorism." (Boston Herald / AP, 04/23/04.)
And here is a comment from the Muslim community in Sweden:
"Mahmoud Aldebe, chairman of Sweden's Association of Muslims, said there was not "a single Muslim in Sweden who deserves to be called terrorist"." (BBC, 04/20/04.)
The Guardian notes how ill-fated the situation is in Sweden:
"The arrests surprised many in this placid Scandinavian country, which didn't support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and has been historically neutral since 1814. But intelligence officials told The Associated Press that Sweden could be an attractive location as a center for terrorist support groups coordinating attacks outside of Europe." (Matt Moore, 04/23/04.)
Mahmoud Aldebe is active in the Muslim Council of Sweden ("Sveriges Muslimska Råd" / SMR in Swedish). Here is a quote from a case study ("The Legal Status of Islamic Minorities") by Jonas Otterbeck, University of Malmö:
"The specific mission of the SMR is to create mosques and Islamic schools, publish information material about Islam directed towards the non-Muslims in Sweden, and take active part in the public debate in society."
The "oil for food" program, administrated by the U.N. shouldn't come as a surprise. Isn't that the whole idea of the U.N.? Diplomats doing shady deals according to a pragmatic push-and-pull system, instead of using the trader principle based on individual rights. Stephen Sherman ("Friends of Saddam") is covering the unfolding story of the U.N. scam.
"The fundamental goal of environmentalism is not clean air and clean water; rather, it is the demolition of technological/industrial civilization. Environmentalism's goal is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life; rather, it is a subhuman world where "nature" is worshipped like the totem of some primitive religion."
UPDATE 04/23/04: If you want to get in better mood after listening to recycled ideas of garbage by the environmentalists, go to Artist's studio at Cordair Fine Art and get your batteries recharged! See Damon Denys' modern version of the ancient character Atlas in his painting, Weight of the World.
I want to thank Lisa for her great work with the new template design. Check out Elegant Webscapes! My fellow bloggers could be interested in knowing that Lisa also is a blog "hostess" (Blogs About hosting company).
I will go through the Resource category and update the list of tools, directories, accessories et cetera. Mike Brown's "Pepys Project II" directory has a new domain. If you are interested in Samuel Pepys and his diary, read the book or the online version.
Here is a list of blog resources. If you know about some new blog tools, please send me an email or comment on this post.
"A precondition of freedom is the recognition of the individual's capacity to make decisions for himself. If man were viewed as congenitally incapable of making rational choices, there would be no basis for the very concept of rights. Yet that is increasingly how our government views us. It is adopting the role of a paternalistic nanny, zealously protecting the citizen against his own actions. In the process, our freedom is disappearing." (Peter Schwartz, 04/20/04.)
I like licorice candy. It was one of the few things I had a problem to find in America. I didn't know about the American Licorice Company.
Talking about lists, I have added a countdown script (powered by Blogtricks) to the Support category. The tool is placed strategically near my Wish Lists at Amazon. I wanted to inform my friends, readers and supporters about my upcoming birthday! :)
"I hate Americans to death. I'll fight them to the end. I'll kill Americans, survive and save our revolution. Don't tell me any more about what the USA says about us. If you keep asking about them I'll stop this interview."
The altruistic idea of collective guilt is used in North Korea. A baby to a female political prisoner inherits her mother's guilt and must therefore be killed. A specific prisoner or family could be punished down to the third generation. The goal is to "root out the criminal seed."
Kwon Hyok defected to South Korea in 1999. He had some horrible things to tell about his time as the head of security at prison camp (kwan-li-so) 22 in Haengyong (close to the Russian border). Read Olenka Frenkiel's interview (Within prison walls) with him.
North Korea is in 2nd place in the EGO poll ("Which country should be next?"). I still believe that Iran should be the highest priority at the moment, but North Korea should be close in line. Click here for information on the event called "North Korea Freedom Day" in Washington D.C., on April 28.
For more on North Korea, check out the following sources:
I am happy to announce another blogad sponsor. John Cox & Allen Forkum have placed an advertisement for their book, Black & White World. Please note the title of the ad: "Cox & Forkum Cartoons Vol. 1." My question to John & Allen is as follows: When will volume 2 be ready for us who have the first book? To my readers who haven't got the book yet: What are you waiting for? Click on the ad... now! If you want to be convinced why you should purchase the book, please take some time and read my post, COX & FORKUM'S ANNUAL BLOG REPORT.
Have you heard that a human rights conference will be held in Iran on April 25?!
UPDATE 04/19/04: Senator Sam Brownback is speaking out:
"I am extremely disappointed in the lack of action by the United Nations, Brownback said. Despite clear evidence of serious violations, the U.N. failed to pass resolutions that would have called these countries [Editor's note: China and Iran] to account for their egregious behavior on human rights issues." (Sam Brownback, United States Senator, Kansas, 04/16/04.)
I recommend you to read Sylvia Bokor's article, Owning A Work of Art. Here is an excerpt from her article:
"A work of art you love is like a fire of the spirit, warming you. It can rekindle your vigor and ambition, re-ignite your stamina. It can remind you of your own courage as you struggle toward your own goals. It can be recalled to mind even when you are away from it, reminding you of your values, of the meaning of your life to you." (Sylvia Bokor.)
Objectivists are few in number, and we live in an archipelago of semi-free republics around the world. We face many common problems. One is the subject of this post:
If a rational person chooses to vote for any politician, what method should he use to select one politician rather than another?
Ayn Rand characterizes methods as products of consciousness, products that "designate systematic courses of action devised by men for the purpose of achieving certain goals." She notes that a method may be purely psychological (as in a method of memorizing a password) or a mixture of psychological and physical actions (as in a method of drilling for oil).
In my post last week ("A voter's dilemma?"), I sketched an application of my method for selecting a candidate: essentializing in philosophical detection. The latter component stands on the belief that ideas cause actions, and that the widest ideas -- philosophical principles -- cause the most actions, including political ones. Philosophy causes history, including political history.
The first step of my method consists of gathering candidates' statements (verified by actions) that might reveal the candidates' underlying philosophical premises. The second step is performing philosophical detection on those statements. The third step is evaluating the philosophy of each candidate. For example, would a fideist be worse than a secular pragmatist? The answers in this last step are my guide in selecting one candidate rather than another -- if I choose to vote for any candidate at all.
For anyone who has selected a candidate in an upcoming election: What method led you to your conclusion?
 For the idea of philosophy causing history (including the actions of a particular politician), see Ayn Rand's "Introduction," in Leonard Peikoff, Ominous Parallels, p. viii. See also his comments, reviewed and sanctioned by Ayn Rand, on pp. 14, 16, and (for an application of philosophical detection) 143-144 (hardback edition).
 Working under Ayn Rand's editorship, Leonard Peikoff, Ominous Parallels, pp. 143-144 (hardback edition), mentions the point about examining individuals' own statements and offers a brief recipe of detection.
Martin Nisenholtz of New York Times Digital is interviewed (Putting blogs in their place) in Wired Magazine. He gives the reporter mixed signals, don't you think?
Is Google's AdSense program the winning horse, or will Henry Copeland's Blogads be the dark horse? Mr. Copeland said in David Ranii's article, Blog plugs appeal to niche audiences, that "Blogads had a slow start, but business has surged this year." Could Glenn Reynold's decision to place Blogads be a significant reason for the explosion of ads on weblogs?
The commercialism of the blogosphere has recently become a hot topic. Adam Herman of MediaPost.com, wrote an article with the title, New Ad Models Take Flight, and Kate Kaye had a segment titled, Blogs Make a Ripple in Media Pool. Here is an excerpt:
"Although Blogads appears to be the only blog-exclusive advertising network around, it's not the only means of attracting the opinionated and influential people reading blogs. Advertisers can run text ads on the Textads Dot Biz network, which features about 100 blog sites. Viral marketers can use Blogstakes, a sweepstakes service that gives prizes like books from humor publisher The Onion to bloggers who link to and refer winners to an advertiser's contest. And Richards Interactive, an agency that has developed blog marketing strategies for Home Depot and Dr Pepper's Raging Cow, employs a network of influential bloggers to spur word-of-Net on their blogs for advertiser clients." (MediaPost Communications, April 2004 Issue.)
"$ We can target advertising on relationships [Editor's note: Emphasis added.], not just on adjacency (print) or gross audience size (broadcast) or word coincidences (Google)."
I am happy with the continuously steady stream of clicks thru Google's AdSense program, and it is interesting to watch how the search engine robot is coming up with matching ads for my blog. For some interesting examples on how you could make money on advertising, read the articles, The Hundred Dollar Click by Jay Currie, and Hands Off My Google by Rick Aristotle Munarriz [Editor's note: Great middle name, b.t.w.]. Dean Esmay points out some hilarious examples of ads generated on his blog, in his post, Google Ad Quirk.
I think that the Blogads idea will catch on in the future and create a paradigm shift of the advertising business. A new dimension of social networking will emerge and give room for the exchange of ideas, services and products. Click here for an example on how I got in touch with a supporter and advertiser.
Is an advertisement on your blog a proof that you have "sold out," paraphrasing Tim Blair in his post, Open For Business? ;) I don't think so. On the contrary, I think it is an opportunity to add value to your blog and introduce new sources of interesting stuff to your readers. You could also use blogads in order to promote non-for-profit things. Here is an excerpt from Daniel Henninger's article, Spirit of America:
"The First Marine Expeditionary Force and U.S. Army in Iraq want to equip and upgrade seven defunct Iraqi-owned TV stations in Al Anbar province--west of Baghdad--so that average Iraqis have better televised information than the propaganda they get from the notorious Al-Jazeera. If Jim Hake can raise $100,000, his Spirit of America will buy the equipment in the U.S., ship it to the Marines in Iraq and get Iraqi-run TV on the air before the June 30 handover."
A Small Victory and Dean's World have together started a "campaign to raise funds for U.S. Marines to equip TV stations in Iraq." I think it is a good cause to take up the fight against the propaganda spread by "Jihad TV"... Maybe this is the start of a "Radio Free Middle East"?
UPDATE 04/19/04: Wow! That was a quick "response" from the traditional media! Is the media attention a sign that blog advertising is catching on? Maybe the journalists at NYT and WP are reading my blog?! ;) [Editor: Note to self: Check Site Meter's referral report for "NYT" and "WP" URLs... *grin* ;)]
It is terrible to hear that an American soldier (Keith Matthew Maupin) has been taken hostage in Iraq. The war is coming closer to my former home town, southwest of Ohio. Batavia is about 85 miles south of Troy.
A Swedish newspaper ("The Swedish Daily," a paper with a conservative / moderate "republican" point of view) has conducted a survey and got the result that 80% of the members of the Swedish Parliament are favoring Kerry over Bush as the next President of the United States.
Osama bin Laden latest tape is a signal that he wants to get involved in politics by blackmail and giving an offer of a truce to the European leaders. The Sun says "Peace off Bin Laden" and sends a tape to bin Laden via "Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and the Al Hayat Arabic newspaper — as well as broadcasting it online around the world." (The Sun.)
UPDATE 04/16/04: For more on the tape, including a full transcript, go to Right Voices and read Reilly's post, bin Laden Offers Truce.
Glenn Reynolds' post on the relation between following the news and depression got me thinking about my own blogging and how writing posts and comment on daily news could get you in a bad mood. Here is a quote from Glenn's post: "I said over a year ago that if I ever quit blogging it would be because I got tired of that."
I still enjoy blogging and I will continue to blog as long as I think it is fun and I get something out of it. I will soon have my second blogiversary. I have enjoyed the comments and feedback I get from my posts, and I have met several individuals online who I share the same core-values with. I look forward to meet some of them on my future trip to the Land of Opportunity - America. I am in one way, "journalistic" speaking, pessimistic about the future of the world, but philosophically, I am more positive about the future to come. That's why I will continue to be an "armchair general" and fight the battle of ideas. On a personal note, my life is guided by an integrated system of ideas, and I am seeking the pursuit of happiness by achieving my values.
The good thing with the net and especially the blogosphere, is that you could find positive and upbeat news, different views than traditional media, and people who are fact-checking newspapers and TV-programs. But I must admit that I almost have stopped to follow the Swedish media due to the fact it is so left-leaning and biased against America. I miss my daily dose of Fox News! I am really starting to feel isolated here. My blog project Lukeion has therefore not been so active as planned, but I will still continue to post updates now and then. My goal was to enroll several Swedes and create a group blog of some sort, but as it is now I will continue do the posting with additional op-eds from friends who I know.
In order to stay sane and don't get too angry and depressed about the anti-American attitude in the Swedish media, I will take a pro-active position and get involved in a new association called the Swedish-American Association. With all my criticism of the biased media coverage in Sweden, I want to take a moment and point you to a great exception from situation, and that's Watch by Mårten Barck (freelance journalist, living in Stockholm, Sweden).
You are more than welcome to give me tips and suggestion on good news sources, and how you cope with following the daily news. Please send me an email message or comment on this post.
I was contemplating awhile ago on taking a break from blogging after I had read some nasty comments in cyberspace about my blog and my values, but then I changed my mind. So, here I am, fit for fight! Bring 'em on!
Take some time and read Victor Davis Hanson's article, The Fruits of Appeasement. I found this article via Right Voices. Reilly has titled the post, Can One Man Make A Difference? I think so. The real question is if George W. Bush has the guts to continue with his "cowboy style" and go after the next member of the Axis of Evil. The subtitle of Mr. Hanson's article is Sooner or later, we had to face down Islamic terror. What took us so long? Will Bush Jr. go after the Mullahs in Iran, or not?
Here is an excerpt from Hanson's article:
"But if we know how we failed to respond in the last three decades, do we yet grasp why we were so afraid to act decisively at these earlier junctures, which might have stopped the chain of events that would lead to the al-Qaida terrorist acts of September 11? Our failure was never due to a lack of the necessary wealth or military resources, but rather to a deeply ingrained assumption that we should not retaliate—a hesitancy al-Qaida perceives and plays upon." (City Journal, Spring 2004.)
"In logic and in justice, there is only one means of "winning public support," in Afghanistan or Iraq: eradicating every trace of the former enslavers. If that is not sufficient, then the support is not worth gaining. Our only concern should be toward those who value freedom enough to recognize the inestimable benefit our troops have given them. As to all the others -- they need not like us, only fear us." (Peter Schwartz, 04/12/04.)
THE CHICAGO REPORT AND CARNIVAL OF THE CAPITALISTS
This week's edition of Carnival of the Capitalists is hosted by The Chicago Report. I totally agree with Jay Solo in his comment on the animated title. Very nifty and cool, although I don't have the stomach to ride roller-coasters! ;)
Please note that EGO will host the carnival on June 28. Go to Jay Solo's CotC info page for more information.
"U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials said last night there is evidence that Iran's Revolutionary Guards, the security services loyal to Iran's hard-line religious leader Ayatollah al Khameini, have funneled as much as $80 million into Shiite charities established by al-Sadr's influential family that have been diverted to fund his fanatic al-Mahdi militia." (Niles Lathem and Uri Dan, 04/11/04.)
"An Iranian defector claims Iran spends $70 million a month on activity in Iraq, according to the London Arabic-Language Daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat." (WorldNetDaily, 04/10/04.)
Check out Cox & Forkum's post, Iran's Proxy War, for more on the chain of puppets: Iranian Mullahs --> Hezbollah --> al-Sadr --> Shiite militia...
Guess who thinks this story is a conspiracy plot made up by the neo-cons in Washington? Do a search on the above mentioned keywords and you will find that the "peace activists" at "Anti-WarDOTcom" are not happy campers...
UPDATE 04/15/04: Read The Puppetmasters by Michael Rubin. Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Much of Mr. al-Sadr's financial support is channeled through Ayatollah Kazem al-Haeri, a resident of the Iranian holy city of Qom. Mr. al-Haeri enjoys the close confidence of Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i, Iran's supreme leader, who maintains slush funds for which he is accountable to neither parliament nor president.
According to an April 8, 2004, report in the Italian daily La Stampa, the Italian military intelligence agency Servizio per le Informazioni e la Sicurezza Militare has concluded that Iran's supreme leader sent Muhammad Husayn al-Haeri to Iraq to coordinate efforts to force a coalition withdrawal."
Don't you think it is a good idea to have a post on taxes and money as a commodity, on the Tax Freedom Day? It is a positive sign that this day has come earlier this year than last year, in fact it is hasn't been as early as this date since 1967. George W. Bush should get credit for this. It's time for him to pay some attention to the monetary policy.
A person with the username "Joe Enterprise" has written an entry on EGO forum about today's economical situation and the power of the Federal Reserve, and his solution to the problem is something called "American Liberty Dollars." I don't know anything about this specific medium of exchange, but maybe my post could spark a discussion on why the system with fiat money has been generally accepted around the world, and suggestions on how we could return to an objective way of exchange, such as the gold standard.
"Since the Eighth Century in China, hundreds of fiat-money monetary systems have been attempted and have failed 100 percent of the time. The main reason they fail is because whenever bankers and/or politicians are left in charge of the integrity of fiat money, the temptation to manipulate that money has been so overwhelming that none of them has been able to resist it. In every case, they have driven the purchasing power of the fiat money down to its cost of production, which is nearly zero.
Until 1971 there was some protection as the U.S. dollar was pegged to the price of gold and all other currencies derived their value from it. Once this was abandoned under Nixon, the Fed became the lender of last resort and began to control the world economy by the extension of credit." (Zbigniew Piekarski, 03/15/04.)
"The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which - through a complex series of steps - the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold." [Paperback edition, page 101.]
"Finally the precious metals, in consequence of the peculiarity of their colour, their ring, and partly also their specific gravity, are with some practice not difficult to recognise, and through their taking a durable stamp can be easily controlled as to quality and weight; this too has materially contributed to raise their saleableness and to forward the adoption and diffusion of them as money." (Economic Journal, volume 2, (1892) p. 239-55. Translated by C.A. Foley.)
The title of the article does not accurately name the theme. The following paragraph [Editor's note: I excerpted the whole paragraph according to Capitalism Magazine's policy of maximum 250 words.] of the article summarizes his main point:
"George W. Bush is a seriously flawed President, so flawed that I am seriously considering abstaining from voting in November. However, his willingness to use force against our obvious and known enemies is one of the few reasons for praising him, not criticizing him. If I do end up voting for him, this will be the sole reason why." (Capitalism Magazine, 04/09/04.)
Hurd's possible decision to not vote (at least not for president) raises a question that applies to everyone living in a free or even merely semi-free republic: Why vote at all?
The only justification that I can see is the belief that voting (and the advocacy that goes with it) might improve political conditions for me and for all peaceful and honest individuals with whom I trade.
In the U. S., the justification for voting is easier to see on local ballot measures -- e.g., whether a local government should raise a certain tax. Sometimes, out of thousands of votes cast, a few votes may decide the fate of an electoral issue. My vote might help reject a tax increase. (Of course, in a wholly free republic, such issues would never appear on a ballot.)
Voting for particular politicians is harder to justify. The main reason is that the institutionalized nominating process almost always proposes compromisers who stand halfway between the competing statist factions. The left-wing statists offer us such programs as freedom to choose an abortion (a great benefit to some rational individuals); and the right-wing statists offer us a cut in the capital-gains tax (a great benefit to some rational individuals). On the other hand, leftists favor more restrictions on earning wealth, while rightists support limiting our spending to religiously correct items.
Amidst this dilemma, rational voters must try to pick the least destructive candidates for the long-term. In that case, what criterion or criteria should the rational voter use to select one candidate over another?
I can suggest one approach. It is standard objective procedure: essentialize. The rational voter must identify which political issues are more fundamental (causing more effects) than the others. For example, defense of the republic -- from terrorists, invaders, seditionists, and common criminals -- must come first. If aggressive Islamofascists intimidate the republic, then no rights will exist, and worrying about anti-trust laws or restrictions on medicine will be pointless.
More fundamental than a candidate's particular political views are his ethical principles. What does a candidate see as vices and virtues? The answer, in part, will determine his politics.
Still more fundamental is his epistemology. Is he objective -- always, usually, or only in some areas of his life? Or is he a pragmatist? Or, worse, is he a fideist or other type of emotionalist? Or is he an eclectic mixture of all of these, as President George W. Bush is?
In summary, choosing one candidate over another -- if any -- should begin with considering their philosophical principles.
In the U. S., we are witnessing the spectacle of an egalitarian candidate -- made in the mold of the neo-Kantian philosopher John Rawls -- competing with an incumbent president who said, four years ago, that his favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ.
That is a depressing thought.
I too will probably not vote for the presidency of the United States.
[Editor: As a foreigner (but American in spirit), living outside the United States of America for the time being, I can't vote in the upcoming election. I must declare that I am happy that Al Gore didn't win in 2000. I saw him in action at a show coordinated by MTV's campaign "Choose or Lose," and I wasn't impressed at all. He visited our school (Southern New Hampshire University) in 2000, and spewed his environmentalist propaganda. I would argue in a similar way when it comes to the choice between John F. Kerry and George W. Bush. I hate to see JFK win the election. America will not be a safer place with a guy who wants to appease every terrorist leader in the world. That's my take on the issue. What is your opinion? For more on the election and the different candidates, check out CandidateMap.com and Jim Woods' "US Election 2004" journal.]
If you are interested in meeting other Objectivists for an online chat with Dr. Yaron Brook and Dr. Onkar Ghate, join the IRC channel #AynRand or Objectivism Online.net on April 23, 5:30 PM (Pacific time).
In the Swedish calendar, Good Friday is called "Long Friday." I think that the word long is more suitable than good. It's nothing good with this Friday at all. But luckily the secularization has emerged and the market forces have taken over, so nowadays you could conduct some business, eat at a restaurant, go to the movies, et cetera. I have learned that people from an older generation had a hard time to come up with something fun to do during this day. This day was totally "dead" (if you don't mind the pun) and the only thing you could do was to sit at home and wait for the next day to come.
"Gibson's Jesus Christ has America's attention. By Gibson's own admission, The Passion presents the essence of religion. It's the Bible told in literal images, imbued with no romanticization of goals as in Lilies of the Field, no sense of jubilation as in Sister Act, no sense of the sublime as in The Song of Bernadette. It's religion offered for what it is -- abject misery here on earth -- with no hint of the larger than life scope of Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments. The Passion promises vengeful Jews, a weeping whore and the most vile execution; in short, unrefined religion." (Box Office Mojo, 02/25/04.)
Maybe I will add more carnivals and other blog projects to the List of Links in the future. Next step is to go through the Resource category. If you know about some new blog tools, please send me an email or comment on this post.
I have had some problems with loading the page the last few days. I have taken away several banners and images, so hopefully it will be a bit quicker to load the blog in the future. I am also thinking of changing the template to a three column style. I have found some different alternatives @ Blogstyles.com. If you know some other companies that create templates for weblogs, please send me a note or comment on this post.
I have the pleasure to present my interview with Dwayne Bell, founder and editor of Body in Mind.
EGO: First of all, I want to thank you for placing an ad on my blog. Could you please tell me why you think that this blog is good place for your advertisement?
Bell: It seemed like a natural fit. Both EGO and Body in Mind are meant for objective thinkers and doers. As a thinker, I've made recent discoveries about the nature of female beauty that are every bit as profound and historic as Newton's discovery of gravity, and Freud's discovery of the sub-conscious. I think your readers are the best equipped men and women to understand these ideas, and bring them into the public arena.
Besides the philosophy, Body in Mind features galleries of female nudes. Because of this, many have mistaken us for a porn site, when we are not a porn site at all! In fact, we are about something totally new: pro-value nudes, or 'supernudes' as we call them, which are nudes not focused on sex, but on beauty. We needed a way to let the very men who would benefit most from our tasteful, value-oriented nudes discover them, and along came EGO, the first ones to see us for what we really are: tasteful nudes for intelligent men.
EGO: Please give us a short biographical sketch.
Bell: Sure. I'm a self-taught artist and philosopher who has been fascinated by female beauty since my earliest childhood, and have dedicated most of my life, art and thinking to that subject. At 25 I decided that art is putting what you like and love into an image. At 26 I discovered the definition of female beauty, which is: female beauty is the representation of values in a woman. For example, if you value life, reason, and happiness, you will find a serious, thinking, happy and purposeful woman beautiful. If you value only death and misery, you will find an androgynous, unhappy, unhealthy waif attractive. Whatever you value, you find attractive. In 1997 I created Body in Mind in order to celebrate images of the most beautiful women imaginable, imbuing them with every objective value I could – purpose, happiness, self-esteem, benevolence, intelligence, etc. In 2000 I invented a scale for measuring female beauty called the Bell Scale.
And in 2003, I invented beauty activism and brought it to the world on SuperBeauty.Org, in an attempt to show the world the connection I’d discovered between female beauty, morality, and politics.
EGO: When and how did you get interested in the beauty of the female body?
Bell: I've never been interested in the beauty of the female body. I've always loved women – the whole package, body and spirit. Since as far back as I can remember. However, to answer the intent of your question, I became interested in it when I realized that I could look at images of women in catalogs and men’s magazines for hours, not sexually, but spiritually, completely lost in thought. A single image of a girl with a nice tan in a white bathing suit, say like one in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, would send me on a far-flung philosophical journey mentally for days. In my fervor I'd write poetry, draw pictures, take furious and copious notes, plaster my walls with my thoughts and drawings on paper. I realized there was a power in female beauty that no one had ever guessed. Judging from its effect on me, I concluded that rather than being shallow, it was incredibly deep, instead of corrupting men morally, it has the power to inspire moral behavior, thought, action, and the pursuit of values, and that as such, it was not likely to destroy the world, but might be able to save it.
EGO: Tell us what kind of camera equipment you are using. Describe the different steps of a photo shoot and the creation of a new gallery. How do you find the models? Who is the "girl next door"?
Bell: Initially, I created the photos myself using a traditional 35mm camera. I still dabble, but find I am too slow to create the number of galleries needed for a paid site like Body in Mind. Thus I depend on the photos of other photographers who share my vision of female beauty, at least in part. At first it was very hard to find images that suited our mission. No one but me was taking them. You can see some of my early photos in the "Summer" gallery on BiM.
I had to pick and choose 1 or 2 photos from several hundreds from any one photographer's portfolio. It was very slow going. But after a couple of years, we started getting more and more submissions from photographers taking the kinds of pictures we liked – beautiful, happy, pro-value pictures. The greatest, and most consistent, of these is Chris Ruegge. Chris himself is a happy, pro-value guy so it's easy to see where his pictures come from. In fact, we liked his work so much that we created our first Body in Mind spin-off, The Girl Next Door, which features Chris's work exclusively.
EGO: Which are your favorite sculptures? Please list some of your favorite artists.
Bell: My favorite sculptures and paintings are by Australian artist, Norman Lindsay. He sculpted and painted the most profoundly beautiful women I've ever seen in settings and poses that scream of admiration for the power of female beauty. Unfortunately, he sculpted many of them out of concrete, not marble, and they have been eaten away terribly by rain and wind. It's really tragic. Of course, Michelangelo's David is the single best sculpture ever created. I wish he'd done an ideal woman on as grand a scale.
I like Norman Rockwell's paintings, for the sunlit sense of life his paintings portray, and the almost infinite finesse with which he rendered stereotypical scenes interesting.
I suppose I am my own favorite artist, since I alone seem capable of creating images that inspire me and never lose their charm. I guess this is what makes me create images in the first place, what makes me an artist: I can't find ones I like anywhere, so I have to make them myself. Robert Tracy and Bryan Larsen are two exceptions, however. I believe they call themselves Romantic Realists. They both have work featured at the online Quent Cordair gallery.
Of course, as a novelist, Ayn Rand is a better painter than most painters, including me, the way she created unforgettable scenes which are burned into the brains of most of her fans, in spite of having never been rendered physically: Howard Roark on the rock cliff, Galt's Gulch, Dagny on the engine of the train.
EGO: Would you describe yourself as a romantic realist?
Bell: Yes, I suppose so. At least I value and try to represent the same thing they do: the pursuit of values on earth. I've always called myself an Idealist as far as art goes. Romanticism was a bona fide art movement. So was Realism. Putting the two words together I feel only increases the potential confusion caused by that term, and veers awkwardly from Ayn Rand's defining work, The Romantic Manifesto. Romanticism is enough. There is no need to tack 'Realism' on the end, unless it’s to distinguish it from Romantic Surrealism or something.
EGO: What's the mission with the SuperBeauty.org campaign? Do you have a vision statement as a guide?
Bell: Our mission is to allow female beauty to save the world. The world is a mess. But it's the world without the free and moral influence of female beauty. Female beauty has been mystified and vilified for centuries, if not always. It's superficial, it's depraved, it's dangerous, it's destructive, it's deadly. If left unguarded it will destroy the world. We've all heard these things a thousand times. Yet in reality, female beauty is meant, by nature, to inspire men, which means to inspire the pursuit of objective values in rational men. It has always had this beneficial effect on thinking, valuing men and women. Those who claim otherwise hold the moral high-ground not because their theories are correct, in fact, none of them has ever been proven. They hold the high-ground - and women continue to be butchered and robbed of their rights around the world just for being beautiful – simply because those of us who revere female beauty are not brave enough to contradict them, even though the evidence is squarely on our side! SuperBeauty.Org is brave enough. I created the site as a focal point for those who believe female beauty is a moral influence on mankind, and that mankind deserves the benefit of this influence.
EGO: What's your view on Islam's role in the world and its treatment of women?
Bell: If you're talking about militant Islam its purpose is clear – to destroy all human values. Suicidal maniacs often like to kill as many innocent strangers as they can before they kill themselves. They want to die, and they want to take as many others with them as possible. Militant Islam is this same principle in action on the scale of an entire religious sect.
Notice how the first value they're always out to destroy is female beauty? It’s a sad truth that those who hate values see more clearly than do those who love it, that female beauty is the definitive representation of values.
Bell: What's interesting about pinups is that it's a uniquely American phenomenon, at least, inasmuch as those who put pictures of pretty girls on their walls are influenced by the American ideal of realizing one’s dreams. America was the first and only country to openly advocate the philosophy of self-realization and individual accomplishment above self-sacrifice and altruism. The fact that American Air Force pilots painted pretty ladies on their aircraft, while the Japanese kamikaze pilots, who sought only death, did not, proves my point. Female beauty is an inspiration only to men who dream and achieve. We try to recreate this happy and uniquely American sense of life in our galleries on Body in Mind.
Bell: Yes. It’s my proof that female beauty is indeed the representation of values. You see I never cared for Marilyn Monroe much until I read Rand's article on the reason she died.
Rand explains that it was precisely for her courage, her beauty, her happiness, her innocence, her sexuality, and her benevolence that she was despised, and eventually killed herself. I had never made that connection before. I'd never connected her to my values, but once I did I started to find her physically attractive. That's the power values in female beauty.
Bell: On her site, Leanne makes a lifelong romantic relationship with the person of your dreams possible to everyone, simply by identifying and relating the objective principles on which human romantic love is based. She brings marriage under the umbrella of Reason, and makes it accessible, rational, and successful.
Bell: I want to turn And They Lived Happily Ever After into a money-making venture. Leanne helps scores of people every month find solutions to their romantic problems, but she never sees a penny for it! That will change shortly. We are planning some 'beauty videos', which are like music videos, but instead of music they feature female beauty and illustrate the principles behind it. Leanne and I have both written movies we'd like to see made. I am also preparing a website that will allow visitors to participate in some scientific tests of my theories about female beauty. If there's anyone out there interested in any of these projects we'd love to hear from them. But whatever we do, beauty and the furtherance of objective values will be the purpose.
[Editor: If you have enjoyed this interview, please take some time and explore the galleries and the ideas at Body in Mind and Super Beauty.]
The title is a play with words. In Swedish, the number "6" is spelled "sex." I think it is a bit strange that the U.S. government is spending time and money on "fighting p0rn" in today's world of terror... Eric of Classical Values has covered the topic in his post, But I thought the enemies of sex were the enemy! [Via InstaPundit.] I wonder if John Ashcroft has covered the DOJ's female statue with a burka... Please stay tuned, my next post will unveil a plan for the restoration of female beauty...
You could now purchase John Cox & Allen Forkum's book, Black & White World @ Amazon. If you have read the book, follow my example and write a review. The next step for the dynamic duo is to get syndicated! If you have enjoyed the book, how about giving a copy to a friend? It looks like Cox & Forkum need some moral support and money for the start of a legal defense fund...
I have decided to pick Black & White World as the Book of the Month. This is not my April (Motley) Fool's joke, it is for real! ;)