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:: Thursday, October 17, 2002 ::

Today in First Amendment Law we talked about an cases regarding protesting at abortion clinics. I know this will sound kind of funny to some of you, but I have to say that sometimes I admire those guys. I remember when I was all "pro-life". The cause seemed like the "right" one to protest. After all, most pro-lifers actually think of abortion as murder. Somehow that has worn off on me. Yet I still see people having, say, a Rosary outside of a clinic or even the politest of the "sidewalk counselors" as heroic. As long as they are doing it the right way i.e. no intimidation or in-your-face fetuses or anything like that. Just pro-life people attempting to convince people who might be on the fence or perhaps have been intimidated into getting an abortion to support people to turn away from that option.

Yet the cause doesn't resonate with me anymore. I don't know why, but convincing people not to have abortions doesn't sound exciting. Maybe its the whole really-being-pro-choice-now thing. But what can I protest? On social issues I am becoming more liberal, yet I don't fit in with the "meat is murder" protestors or any other radical leftist cause. Well, I guess there is a war coming up. Lets hope not. I'd rather not have to protest that!
:: Mike 12:35 PM [+] ::
I'm affraid I am becoming a snob of sorts.Last time I had Tea at PJ's, I checked the label on the old Earl Gray. I said to myself, "this doesn't taste like Earl Grey Tea". I checked the label. It was mixed by PJs. I knew it wasn't Twinnings of London. I suppose if it isn't good enough for the Queen, it isn't good enough for me!
:: Mike 2:40 AM [+] ::
I think I am going to be sick. Recently I have been reading Grutter v. Bollinger, the Affirmative Action case regarding admissions to the University of Michigan Law School. Right now all we have is the 6th circuit decision--the Supreme Court has yet to even accept the case. Just to read the description that U of M gives to its policy is a disturbing experience. The University prefers minority students to promote diversity. Furthermore, it promotes some non-minorities of exceptional experience if that experience adds to the Universitie's diversity. The examples that they provide are obtaining a physics P.H.D., obtaining a medal at the Olympics, or being a Vietnamese Boat Person. So basically they are saying that the increased value of being black is equivolent to the increased value of being an Olympic Medalist or a Vietnamese Boat Person. This is ludicris.

But oh Mike, this must be some exaggeration you say. Nope. All you have to do is look at the statistics. For example, while majority applicants with a gpa of 3.35 and an LSAT of 165 had a 20% shot of admission. Minority applicants had an 80% chance of admission. If you look at it a different way, a minority with a low B/high C was treated roughly equivolent to a non-minority applicant with an A; a minority applicant that scored 156 on the LSAT (70 percentile) is treated as a non-minority applicant who scored 167 (96 percentile). While I can understand and even applaud race as a "plus" factor, it would have to be much much less of a plus.
:: Mike 2:36 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, October 14, 2002 ::
I consider myself to be both Buddhist and Objectivist influenced, but are they really compatible? One way I analyze this is in terms of practical and psychological theory. According to Nathaniel Branden (the lead Objectivist psychologist), the prime emphasis of his life is to teach people that their life is important, that they should honor it and fight for their highest possabilities. On the other hand, Buddhism doesn't seem to advocate fighting for anything. Instead one should be detached from the results of one's actions.

I was thinking about this the last few days (I am re-reading Branden's The Six Pillars of Self Esteem. After a while I noticed that the above analysis is dead wrong. Buddhism does in fact advocate fighting for a specific type of life. This is actually one of the paradoxes of Buddhism: one is to fight for the calm, stable, peaceful life.

The problem is what in fact we are fighting for. According to Objectivism, embedded in the premises, is the description of life that is worth fighting for. To be honest, it is one of (as Mark Epstein would say) of spiritual accumulation. It is a world of work and love (and oh yea, friendships--but Objectivist literature keeps this one hush hush). On the other hand, Buddhism strives for a life of solitude, solidity, and perminance. It is a detached spiritual point of view. Even this is not about spiritual accumulation, because it all centers on the moment.

Nevertheless, in the end I see it as somewhat the same. A detached Buddhist has immense amounts of "self esteem". They exhibit what Branden lists as the six pillars of self esteem, or at least five of them. In the end I have to champion both descriptions of the good life.
:: Mike 1:37 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, October 13, 2002 ::
:: Mike 6:17 PM [+] ::
Yesterday I saw "White Oleander". This was a quality movie that I would not recomend. Why don't I recomend it? Because it is incredibly depressing and just sucks you dry. Don't watch it. However, it was done well. It was believable and the acting wasn't bad. Unfortunately the movie I really wanted to see has already left town.
:: Mike 5:34 PM [+] ::
Thank god. I have finally learned of the one true religion.
:: Mike 5:32 PM [+] ::
Are elections democratic? Not according to the Athenian Model of Democracy. They chose their legislature by drawing straws. According to this Greek model, the USA would be a moderate oliagarchy, because money has such an influence on elections. Perhaps somebody should call John McCain. Its too bad, if he were interested in something other than incumbant protection (because after all, that is what campaign finance laws are really about), he might like the idea.
:: Mike 5:31 PM [+] ::

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