Saturday, June 07, 2008

Unspeakable Conversations

In 2003, the NY Times Magazine ran an article, Unspeakable Conversation, an examination of an argument focusing on two people, one Princeton philosophy professor Peter Seeger, and one disability advocate, Harriet Johnson, who recently passed away. Seeger is a proponent of the idea that society needs to allow euthanisa of the disabled and/or severaly handicapped. Below, are some of my comments - I was unable to recover the full text of my posts - I made in the NY times forum linked to the article:

'Unspeakable Conversations' #313 - igoeja 8:56 PM ET February 16, 2003

One Overwhelming Sentiment:


Unlike many, maybe most, threads hosted by the NY Times, the overwhelming response in this forum has been profound agreement and support.

It brings tears to my eyes.

'Unspeakable Conversations' #243 - igoeja 12:07 PM ET February 16, 2003

A Reflection on our Reflection

Are we a humane society, or one that rids itself of its weak?

The odius political and social agenda which threatens the weak and poor, while supporting and furthering abuses by the powerful, isn't one that I wish to be part of. When we think about the country we are, do we want to envision one in which all have opportunity and comfort, or one in which groups can be singled out and discarded...

'Unspeakable Conversations' #242 - igoeja 11:53 AM ET February 16, 2003

The idea of killing disabled infants in our developed society is akin to killing infant girls in the developing world. The practical value of women in those societies is unappreciated, and the disregard for women in those worlds leads to the lesser value placed on women's lives, and actions we consider abhorrent. Kill the disabled since their value is less?..

'Unspeakable Conversations' #196 - igoeja 10:11 PM ET February 15, 2003

Empowerment and a Humane Society

For me, the most important idea to come from Ms. McBryde's article is the need for a more humane, caretaking and empowering attitude toward the disabled. A basic aspect of our humanity is our willingness to maximize the capabilites of those with the least, or those hampered...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's You, Your Books

A response to Literary Dealbreakers, itself a response to a NY Times article, It’s Not You, It’s Your Books:

From a distance, not reading is a deal breaker, and for the most part it is valid. Like many others, I’ve known wonderful people, in my case women that were engaging and sexy, but didn’t read. In the long run, the lack of intellect is killing. My wife has always read a great deal, but I tend toward the abstract and difficult, Pynchon, Borges, and Beckett - I guess I’m the pretentious one - while she enjoys classics, memoirs, mysteries, and authors like Kundera. To me, it matters that one reads and has an engaging mind.

There were many times in my life that I’ve felt love for books, for language, and for words. Who among us hasn’t? It’s absurd not to look for, to find, someone that shares something so basic to one’s self. The freedom that I feel to speak with my wife, our joy in wordplay, her ability to make the funniest old songs new by changing the lyrics, those ‘yes’ instances when we find a word particularly engaging, are part of what make life special.

Books speak volumes about one’s self, it would be absurd to ignore them.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Drug Use, Incarceration, and Rehabilitation

Years ago I read of a group of scientists testifying before Congress on the effectiveness of rehabilitation over other drug measures, and I did believe that it would be more effective to reduce the problem, rather than through quasi-military measures and imprisonment. I had mostly forgotten about such issues - I am against the incarceration society the US has become, not only because of the absurdity of the harsh penalties for drug use, but because of the punitive system the US has in place - until I read something in Noam Chomsky's Propaganda and the Public Mind, where Noam stated that a Rand study had found the drug rehab was 10 to 20 times more effective than various other measures. I wondered if he were exaggerating, so I did some quick research and found that yes, drug rehab is incredibly more effective than any form of government intervention.

One wonders how many lives have been ruined because of insane drug policies, and how much longer this can go on.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter, recently published If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans, and as is typical, she continues her vitriolic blather.

A Republican site, using the General Social Survey, thought it had proven the idea that liberals were less intelligent, using the verbal test from the survey, and on average, this might be true. But then, the author looked further.

The test is divided into three (3) score groups, high, medium and low, and the results showed that Democrats are dominant in the high and low scorers - this is similar to the dichotomy of voting preferences, where cities composed of the educated and poor are Democrat, and suburban/rural voters are Republican. Aside from party affiliation liberals dominate the high scores, while middle of the road and conservative voters dominate the other, lower-scoring groups. Among the intelligent, Republicans are usually the least represented.

The group with the largest representation in the high verbal scorers are Independents, followed by Democrats, and lastly Republicans. If one looked around for scholarly proof, without much equivocation, one would find that liberals are more intelligent than conservatives.

As for Coulter's book, isn't this just more of the same Republican/Conservative double-think? Isn't this tripe more of the same conservative media machine that allows the absurd, obscene, and wrong to trump intelligent discussion?

Why Scientists Are Battling Over Pleasure

Responding to a New York Times article, Why Scientists Are Battling Over Pleasure : Although some can argue that art does more for pleasur...