Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's been a long time... 

Marked by many detours and misadventures. But, here I am. And, it feels good to be back.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

We're Baaaaack (sort of) - NEW SITE! 

After a (longer than intended) haitus, I have decided that I will return to blogging regularly. I can't say I haven't missed it, in fact quite the opposite. The reasons for the long absence are many, but sufficed to say I was less than thrilled with the outcome of the midterm elections, and more importantly was feeling the pressures of school and career.

But it would only be a surrender of sorts to cease writing when the climate turns sour, and it felt like just that. Moreover, I was beginning to feel like the polarizing nature of an exclusively political blog was preventing me from writing on a wider range of topics that I found both interesting and poignant. The influence of the University of Chicago being what it is, I decided it was time to seek a forum where I could continue to elaborate on politics, while also opining on topics related to law, economics, music and technology, to name a few. Make no mistake - this will still be a largely political forum, but it is the duty of any good citizen to educate himself on a wide range of topics, all of which he may find relevant to life in a political society.

That being the stated goal, I am pleased to announce that MaroonBlog is no more - long live The Horatian Oath! Head on over, and thanks for sticking around - I think you'll like what you find.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thoughts on the much-hyped Election 

First and foremost, it would be foolish for the Democrats to view this as some sort of victory of their ideological principles (or lack of), rather than what it was: a backlash against Republicans who weren't being Republicans. Examining ballot initiatives, by way of contrast to the candidates elected, reveals a much different story than what is being hyped by the MSM. In Michigan, voters rejected racial preferences in school admissions, while several states passed bans on gay marriage. California, for its part, rejected punitive taxes on oil producers. Yet the tax and spend, free love Democrats control both houses of congress. The meaning of this seemingly contradictory series of events is simple: the American people, more than one party or the other, hate do-nothing politicians. Recently, those Republicans who were swept into, and kept in, office on the principles of small government, fiscal responsibility, strong immigration and national security policies, and morally conscience social policy have descended to the level of their counterparts, by abandoning principle to maintain their place in office. This is what was defeated on Tuesday, nothing more.

The Republicans, for their part, need to lick their wounds, clean house, and get down to business. First, its time to remind themselves what got them into power in the first place, and return to it. Congressional republicans must propose sweeping immigration reform during the next term, an issue that is a win-win, with the Democrats either conceding to stronger measures, or risking being labeled early as the party that is soft on security once again. President Bush will have to take a stronger stand on immigration, and start vetoing bloated spending bills. And as for the new Secretary of Defense, its time to stop beating around the bush in Iraq. We need to increase troop levels, maybe dramatically, fire up the bombers, and go on the offensive once again. The "War" in Iraq was a sweeping success. The aftermath, however, has been an ongoing political charade that attempted to placate moderate voters and obstructionist Democrats at the expense of security and American lives. Let's bring this conflict to a close, not by withdrawing but by finishing the job.

Democrats did not win on Tuesday - lethargic Republicans lost. And perhaps rightly so. Now, however, the majority is the Democrats to lose, and they likely will. For, while they gained their majority by running on conservative principles, it won't be long before the true colors of Pelosi and Dean shine through, and the American people remember why they booted the party of tax hikes, abortion on demand, and national security waffling out of office in the first place.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Unsung Stem Cells 

Not that any of the pundits are paying much attention, but post natal stem cells continue to lead the way in new health care discoveries and cures (note, that to date, not a single actual cure has come from embryonic stem cells.
British scientists have grown the world's first artificial liver from stem cells in a breakthrough that will one day provide entire organs for transplant...Described as a 'Eureka moment' by the Newcastle University researchers, the tissue was created from blood taken from babies' umbilical cords just a few minutes after birth.

They go on to mention that, while a full grown liver is still in the future, the miniature one is functioning, and will be used as an accurate means to test new drugs. This is revolutionary, and should be rightly heralded as a turning point in the development of safe, ethical medical treatments using non-embryonic stem cells. Somehow, however, I feel like Michal J. may have missed the memo.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Decline of Western Education? 

The point of the Western Civilization sequence is to nurture this sense of a living and continuous tradition of the West. That cannot be accomplished by a classicist assigning extra Cicero in a specialized course on ancient history. It can only be accomplished by a sequence of courses that connect Cicero, Machiavelli, and Tocqueville, a sequence taken in common by sufficient numbers of students to spark real discussion and debate, even outside of class. It is this sense of shared tradition that is being lost here, and that is what this debate over Chicago's curriculum changes is really about.

Stanley Kurtz, over at National Review, wrote those words in 2002 about the changes that were made to the Core curriculum here at Chicago, mainly the specialization and decomposition of the Western Civilizations Sequence. Flash forward, and it appears that "Great Books" rival Harvard is taking steps backward on the same front. According to the Boston Globe, Harvard will be making American History once again a requirement for graduation (a requirement, I must note, that is notably absent here at Chicago). Kurtz is on the topic again, however, and he isn't impressed.

Personally, I think he is right to be weary of such superficially "conservative" core adjustments, in lieu of more substantial progress, but at the same time I think Conservative academics, in general, need to take their victories where they can. The very emphasis on History at all, albeit still with its faults ("Health Care in the United States: A Comparative Perspective"???), at least opens the possibility of previously unheard discussion and debate on topics that drive the contemporary political debate, and form the basis of American, and Western, Civilization. As the left knows very well, you can't lose a fight your refuse to join. Judging from the student quotes, I'd say this is only the beginning of some needed reform:
"It seems to be about fears about the Middle East and the need to learn science so we can create better weapons to maintain American supremacy," said [Jenny] Tsai, a social studies major.

Putting aside the fact that the proposed changes are in the humanities, not the hard sciences, Tsai unwittingly reveals the sad, partisan state of affairs at Harvard. Let's hope this change is the first of many, for her sake at least.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Say Thanks to the Troops 

Xerox has a great site where you can send a free postcard to a soldier stationed overseas, complete with children's artwork and a custom thank you message. It doesn't take any time, and you can do it as often as you want, so check it out. (Hat Tip: Kingdom Heirs)

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fallout Shelter Future 

Stendahl wrote a novel about an ambitious young man trying to figure out what career he should follow to achieve his goal of becoming hte next Napoleon. He chose the priesthood as being most suitable for his times.

This article makes me think the military will be a method to rapidly rise in rank in the next few decades.

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