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Everything posted by Charles

  1. BBC News ...and they say Kim Jung Il's nuclear policy isn't working! I'm told even China is currently giving less aid than that! Preimier Hu Jintao has stationed heavy troops all along the North Korean border (in contrast with his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who left it unguarded and freely supported the regime). To put this in context though - the US food has dropped from 100,000 tonnes in 2003 to 50,000 in 2004. I think this is the issue at hand. My personal thoughts on this are that aid, whether in Africa or North Korea, or wherever, should be offered in return for reform. This also applies to IMF/World Bank loans, which should secure political reform in return for aid. If North Korea fails to reform, which is likely, they should as a matter of consistent policy, be left to starve until they collapse or rebel. Tough but realistic.
  2. US to give N.Korea 50,000 tonnes food aid

    -*Penultimate paragraph should read 'Ideally there would be no state funded aid programs.
  3. US to give N.Korea 50,000 tonnes food aid

    Well, I've never called myself an Objectivist, my views are my own. I am an opportunist/pragmatist when it comes to shifting the status quo in the right direction. Example - It was in the interests of Britain to have a Conservative PM, Maggie Thatcher instead of a Labour PM that couldn't deal with Unions. She dramatically shifted Britain back in the direction of a free market, yet she was by no means an Objectivist, she on occasion centralized things for short terms solutions and privatized things in an in-effective manner. As to international aid programs, I would say a reform based aid program was preferable to a blank-cheque-to-despot based program. Ideally there would no tac funded aid programs. Ideally. I should point out that I draw the line for opportunistic/pragmatic support at the 'joining government' level. I can support others campaigns when they suit me, but I do not see myself the centre of a campaign where my views are compromised by the ideals of a party, which I do not totally agree with.
  4. Tree of Knowledge

    I agree with Betsy's point that the only true integrating centres of knowledge are individual conscious minds because everyone has their own models, their own values. Hence I tend to think of databases like your describing as shaped for trees than as trees - the challenge is to create massive knowledge banks that are accessible by the senses - voice activated computers which give visual/audio displays and options for the knowledge requested.
  5. US to give N.Korea 50,000 tonnes food aid

    Would withdrawal of aid consitute food being 'used as a diplomatic weapon' (GWBush)? Is using food as a diplomatic weapon acceptable?
  6. US to give N.Korea 50,000 tonnes food aid

    Do you believe that giving aid is a proper function of government? In the interests of spreading individual rights on an international level, perhaps - today, pragmatically speaking. At any rate, the strict 'reform-for-aid' system i'm suggesting would be an improvement on the current system. Idealistically speaking, the sole role of government is justice and that includes a foreign policy. The governments of free nations would have an ethically consistent foreign policy that barred trading/diplomatic relations with nations that abuse human rights etc. They could then offer easings in trade sanctions in reponse to reform rather than hefty aid packages consisting of tax payers money. Some argue the WTO, IMF etc simply maintain the status quo - discouraging the growth of new markets in developing countries at the expense of existing industries in the developed. God forbid the Brazilians start marketing their own coffee...
  7. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

    Serenity looks great. Check out the trailer on the Apple website. Looks like its got some of that great Whedon wit in it. Personally I enjoy Angel quite a lot - the psycho vamp gone dark brooding hero...until he loses his soul. Which he does..frequently My favourite quote from that is when Angel returns from 3 months locked in a chest under the Atlantic (between series) as a result of his son (Connor, a 20 yr old boy who grew up too fast...or should I say, on a different time line) and tells him off (having just thrown him against the wall): "What you did to me - was unbelievable, Connor. - But then I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years, so three months under the ocean actually gave me perspective. Kind of a M. C. Esher perspective - but I did get time to think. About us, about the world. - Nothing in the world is the way it ought to be. - It's harsh, and cruel. - But that's why there's us. Champions. It doesn't matter where we come from, what we've done or suffered, or even if we make a difference. We live as though the world was what it should be, to show it what it can be. - You're not a part of that yet. - I hope you will be. (Angel moves to stand in front of Connor) I love you, Connor. (Quietly, after a beat) Now get out of my house."
  8. Weekly live discussions

    Yes, I think it would be a very good idea. My question is would chat sessions be for the sake of specific issues, as Q&A sessions or just plain socializing? (Or all three, on different occasions)
  9. In praise of James Dyson, and his vacuum

    I gather he also makes pretty good washing machines - has anyone read his autobiography? I'm afraid the link feature has decided not to work.
  10. they have gotten EXACTLY what they deserve

    Well I suppose the argument would be that its getting business through China's doors, and restrictions aside, thats gotta be a good thing. It does leave a bad taste in the mouth though.
  11. To all, I'm British as you may have gathered from my posts, and I'm reading through some old posts on as background to a current discussion there (Start A New Country -- Or Change The Old Ones?, initiated by Burgess Laughlin) - I am struggling with some of the terms used, particularly when Betsy talks of the similarity between Old Left & New Right as opposed to New Right/Old Left. Right and Left; Liberal & Conservative (& neo-con?), obviously have different connotations in our different countries, but with the added confusion of the meanings changing over time I'm finding in hard to place ideological borders through American culture as an outsider. Could you explain some of these terms - specifically New/Old Left/Right? I am especially interesting in seeing where our own Conservative party stands relative to the Republicans - religion certainly doesn't factor in as much in British politics. Any links to people whos views in public life represent a particular grouping are appreciated. Thanks, Charlie Groome
  12. New Left/Old Left, New Right/Old Right

    Firstly, thanks for these informative first replies - Im still following up the links and shall report back shortly. I am familiar with PNAC, and the Neo-Cons more than any other group. As to the word Liberal in Europe I have no idea what it means on the continent, but in the UK in the 19th and beginnings of the 20th Century the Liberals, or Whigs, described as 'classically liberal', were the progressive party in terms of free trade economics. Conservatives but plain ol' pro establishment. Then we got Ramsay McDonald's first Labor (socialist) government in 1923 swinging the nation status quo left (as everyone began to get the vote). Liberal has always meant reformist, its just then it was economic reform, and now the so called liberal democrats its social(ist). It is strange that the Labor party is now a centre party compared to the Lefty Lib-Dems. The conservatives are today the party of free trade and small government - as has been alluded to Maggie Thatcher took a course of deregulation, but only after decades of Labor nationalisation. In practice Thatcherites tended to centralize things to solve them. The Cons (Tories) today are now in a peroid of self-determination where factions are fighting for the next leader and a value set for the party. For its best hopes look at . Our previous deputy shadow PM (Tory), Oliver Letwin likened himself and the cabinet more to 19th Century Classical liberals than royalist/racist Tories. I shall now continue to read about HL Mencken. Thanks, Charlie
  13. Value, Void, Virtue, and Vice

    No, its more like a continuum where choices hinge on specific instances, which stand relative to these juxtaposed opposites. The skill developed in consciously narrowing your choices to a certain goal is rationality and the standard reality.
  14. Unethically reasonable? Ruthlessly Rational?

    Point taken, I've given a sloppy definition - but exploding volcanoes aside you can see my argument: Volition is both the origin of good and evil by Objectivist standards. Im going to try and flesh these ideas out a bit.
  15. Atlas Statue at Rockefeller, NYC

    Great photos!
  16. Please add 'Before Sunset' & 'Before Sunrise' by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
  17. The Matrix (1999)

    I thought the point was that the 'real world' of Zion was just a machine creation like the matrix Neo usually broke rules in.
  18. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

    Yes, great review Helen. I agree, some of the actors were perfect - though I didn't think the graphics format or script did Stephen Fry Justice, or for that matter Marvin. Slartibartfast was good, and so was Bill Bailey as the falling sperm whale. Its a shame they didn't include the reincarnated fly scenes, but like you say - it doesn't really suit feature length film production.
  19. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

    This film was not a patch on the book. For those who read it the very essence of its humor is the quintessential Britishness of the protagonist, Arthur Dent, and the situations he ends up in at various points up and down the length and depth of space-time. The film had a soppy ending with Arthur getting the girl, cut out the funniest scenes, added unamusing, unecessary bits to excuse all it left out...*argh!*...I'm going to stop ranting now.
  20. City Academies

    Also note the elaborate building they've gone to great expense to build. I've had great teachers in the humblest of buildings...
  21. City Academies

    The latest Blair government centralization of education gambit fails: However in other news an independant (generally private) schools commitee was told by a leading headmaster they needed to abandon the state exam system and create there own standards. So not is all is wrong with the world
  22. Stress and Victory

    Congrats Piz! The best of success to you. Would you mind sharing with us the nature of your business?
  23. Perhaps Obi Wan's just being sexist.
  24. Could you add this for rating? I think it was bloody awful, not a patch on the books, yet everybody is raving about it having never touched the book.