written on the heart

We know truth, not only by the reason, but also by the heart, and it is in this last way that we know first principles; and reason, which has no part in it, tries in vain to impugn them. The sceptics, who have only this for their object, labour to no purpose. We know that we do not dream, and however impossible it is for us to prove it by reason, this inability demonstrates only the weakness of our reason, but not, as they affirm, the uncertainty of all our knowledge. For the knowledge of first principles, as space, time, motion, number, is as sure as any of those which we get from reasoning. And reason muts trust these intutitions of the heart, and must base them on every argument. (We have intuitive knowledge of the tri-dimensional nature of space, and of the infinity of number, and reason then shows that there are no two square numbers one of which is double of the other. Principles are intuited, propositions are inferred, all with certainty, though in different ways.) And it is useless and absurd for reason to demand from the heart proofs of her first principles, before admitting them, as it would be for the heart to demand from reason an intutition of all demonstrated propositions before accepting them."
-Pascal's Pensees, No. 282


"the way you would say he executed other people"

This is who shapes our minds today:

Peter Suderman of Culture11 comments
The director proceeds to explain that, sure, the Che he depicts probably would've been fully capable of mass-killings and other atrocities. But then comes the kicker: "It doesn't matter whether I agree with that or not." In other words: Who cares if Che was a mass murderer? What matters isn't whether mass killing is good or bad, but that he worked really hard at it! By this logic, Soderbergh likely would've been more impressed had Che's death count been even higher.

Of course, his movie barely notices Che's roving death squads — they're referenced in passing in a speech given to the U.N. — or his declared notion that revolutions should be powered by hatred. Instead, we get a kinder, gentler murderer, who mellifluously intones that the most important quality a revolutionary can possess is love — "love of humanity, of justice, and self."
Also this: Che's history (with a little bit of polemic thrown in).

reality sets in

National Review writes of the Obama administration's first steps:
So to summarize: We’d love to close Guantanamo, but we can’t right now; we’d love to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, but other countries don’t want them; we’d love to give every detainee a civilian trial, but we don’t have enough evidence; we’d love to release the detainees we can’t charge with crimes, but our intelligence tells us they’re dangerous, so doing so would be irresponsible; and we’d love to stick to the highly civilized, detainee-friendly interrogation practices approved by the Army Field Manual, but every now and then there may be an emergency when something more severe is warranted.


"Genuine tolerance does not mean ignoring differences, as if differences made no difference. Genuine tolerance means engaging differences within a bond of civility and respect."



This is from a while ago, but I never saw it. Did you?
Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson has spent at least $68.7 million to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by women who suffered blood clots, heart attacks or strokes after using the company's Ortho Evra birth-control patch, court records show.

J&J, the world's largest maker of health-care products, avoided trials through the confidential settlements and hasn't released the financial details to investors.
Huh. feminists?


documenting decline

Is everyone insane?
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Governors of five U.S. states urged the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country's 50 states to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening recession.

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio and Wisconsin -- all Democrats -- said the initiative for the two-year aid package was backed by other governors and follows a meeting in December where governors called on President-elect Barack Obama to help them maintain services in the face of slumping revenues.
A bit of economic hardship and we immediately expect the Federal government to make up the difference? Do these governors think that money grows on trees? Where do they think the money that the federal government has comes from? What happened to cutting the budget if the budget is no longer affordable?


on 2009

Heather Mac Donald (of City Journal) is funny. Her predictions for 2009:
President Barack Obama’s $10 billion early-education plan will have exactly the same effect on the academic achievement, crime, and poverty gaps as the $7 billion Head Start program did, and the official reason will be inadequate funding.

The vaunted Republican-Hispanic alliance will remain invisible, and Los Angeles and California’s anti-free market, union-dominated politics will continue to roll across the national landscape with growing Hispanic majorities.

Uncle Sam’s green cars won’t move off the lot.