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Reading List: looking, Reading, Just Finished

  • Dr. Robert T. Morris: Fifty Years a Surgeon
    A clear window into many important and interesting areas of life in general - as well as medicine - in the mid-19th to early 20th century. Warts and all. Good read. (***)
  • Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex

    Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex
    Interesting and well developed characters, in genuinely tension inducing situations - even when the matter of "who did it" is not really a mystery. Vivid enough for the place and period - WW2 North Africa to early 1950s Britain - to come to life inside your mind. (***)

  • Karl Von Clausewitz: On War

    Karl Von Clausewitz: On War
    I read this first many years ago. The author then impressed me as being more lucid and broadly learned than many contemporary writers on this and similar areas. He still does. (****)

  • Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community

    Loren Lomasky: Person's, Rights, and the Moral Community
    Well written, and clear. Many interesting ideas and explications of problems, but his theory itself - on a derivation of rights, seems possessed of unnecessary elements. Worth reading. (***)

  • J. B.Schneewind: Sidgwick's Ethics and Victorian Moral PhilosophyVictorian Moral Philosophy
    Details life and analyses work of one of the great figures in 19th century philosophy. Well written, gives good insight into the context of attitudes, assumptions, and circumstances affecting much of the intellectual spirit and life of Britain during those times. (***)
  • J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World

    J.G.Ballard: The Drowned World
    Another (long-time) re-read. Ballard tends to play one note - but it's a good one - and he plays it VERY well. Some uncontrolled/unforeseen calamity engulfs the world. Protagonist(s) confront general realization of the coldly impersonal nature of the world and how human responses are to a large extent a product of the interaction of those forces with his/there-own biological pre-dispositions - engraved in the structure of each and every one of their cells. And, that the true and only expression of one's authentic self and humanity, lies in how and whether one can/does inwardly accept the truth of these constraints, and expresses that realization, in those (few) opportunities available for actual personal choice. Intentionally or not his work gives powerful and poetic expression to the Existentialist perspective. The world of this novel happens to be slowly drowning in the over-heated flood-tides that result from a run-away solar anomaly. But, it could be just about any such occurrence - e.g. A "Wind From Nowhere," or the Japanese invasion of Shanghai (both of which served as the backgrounds of others among his novels). The story-line, character-types, dilemmas, decisions, and general moods are much the same in each story, but the pacing, poetry, intensity, and aggravating authenticity of the characterizations in each instance are gripping enough to make every reading worthwhile. (***)

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16 October 2005


While I do not know the whole of what your step-sister said, her contention that changing one's position in view of new information is the mature (and rational) response was likely said in the context that the President had the most complete access to whatever information there was about WMDs..and that Senators spanning both parties, with whom the complete information was not shared, now find themselves in the situation of having voted in a way they regret, based on that faulty information. To revise one's position in such a situation is the sane thing to do. Of course the Democrats position this development to their best political advantage! The Republicans would do not one whit less if the tables were turned. I'd say your step-sister also was referencing GWB's continuing modus operandi of never being able to voluntarily admit an error. To be steadfastly resolute in the face of revised information is commonly called being (steadfastly) stubborn.


While registered as a Democrat, I've seen my share of unfortunate and misguided decisions and transparent political positioning in my own party as well as that of the Republicans. One of the sad revelations for us all in the Iraq War is that NO ONE in this country had accurate pre-War information about the reality of Saddam's weapons holdings. No one insisted better intelligence be produced before the invasion, and what intelligence existed was overstated, reworked, and embellished to promote what seemed a "slam dunk" at the time, an easy win to be accomplished through "shock and awe," and a way gain some valuable political capital for duly spreading our democratic form of government to other nations. But the result of our country's action on the basis of quite imperfect intelligence has been to depose a despot (always for the better) while killing and maiming an unknown number of American and Iraqui soldiers, and civilians, including children (as always happens in wars).
The family units and lives of the still living destroyed aren't referenced in the casualty counts.
Beyond that, our country's actions have
fanned religious tensions dangerously worldwide and spawned still more escalating hatred. And even yet beyond that, what many countries have always treated as an unfortunate, but worthy- of-overlooking flaw--our magnificently sized and overweening national arrogance--finally has lost us
what admiration we had from others and along the way revealed much about our own seamy excesses of power, reflected not only in our relations with other nations, but in obscene domestic examples of corporate greed and government and institutional mismanagement.



I just finished reading the novel, State of Fear. While I was reading it I thought is the news media and evirnofasists just keeping us in a state of fear?

Is Bird Flu the big news item for November Sweeps?

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