Monday, March 31, 2008
Plastic card personalization and data retrieval for tracking disciplinary records in schools. - via CNNMoney.com
"Schools urge teachers make positive comments on surveys vital to funding" - via NY Daily News
Good: Farm-to-school programs...but "Most child-nutrition directors in this area are reluctant to make changes, citing USDA regulations and red tape." - via The Tennessean
Bad: Taxpayer dollars spent on fattening children - via The Galveston County Daily News
Actual health education and exercise? This would be out of the question in the US: "Yoga to be made compulsory subject in TN [Tamil Nadu, India] schools" - via The Hindu
Boy suspended for wearing shorts before 'April 31' (a date that doesn't exist) - via Southside Journal
Of course, government schools did me good, and I screwed up the private one. Ah, hypocrisy.
Monday, March 24, 2008
The government appears to be blocking foreign Web sites inside China and censoring foreign television broadcasts here about the situation in Tibet. Youtube.com was blocked after the riots began and CNN and BBC broadcasts regularly go black after any mention of Tibet. The New York Times Web site also appeared to have been blocked or censored in recent days.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
from The Stanford Review, Volume XXXIV, Number 9, May 20, 2003
My decision to attend Stanford rested heavily on the vibrant political and cultural climate in the San Francisco Bay area and at this beloved University in particular. I made the right choice; I feel intensely connected to networks of ideas and people here in ways that would not be possible anywhere else. I have an intense passion for sharing my libertarian views, both in theory and with regard to our world’s current situations. This means that my opinions and voting habits are decidedly not in line with most of my peers.
While at Stanford, I have seen and experienced heated attacks decrying the validity of opinions that I cherish. To simplify, one predominant philosophy on campus perceives capitalism, free markets, and limited government as evil threats to the goals of social justice advocates, environmentalists, feminists, poor people, minorities, and third world countries. However, I don’t think that these supposedly contradictory worldviews have to be in opposition. My vision of the world I’d like to help create is not out of line with the left leaning community by which I am happily surrounded. The difference as I see it is only in the chosen mechanism. I ask why it is better or more ethical for the government to fix social problems than for citizens to act unfettered to promote the changes they desire in the world.
To clarify my libertarianism, I believe that any human being should have the freedom to do anything they want, only incurring restriction or punishment after infringing upon another individual’s property or person. The government should play a minimal role, only providing necessary infrastructure and thoroughly securing its citizens against attacks from without. Most controversy lies in stances like decreasing the redistribution of wealth by greatly reducing social programs or abolishing hate crime legislation that punishes intent in addition to results of actions. People who question my views call them cold and heartless. There is not enough conscious engineering of society’s mechanisms. I think that involving the governing body past a certain extent is not morally correct. Though “survival of the fittest” is harsh, it does not employ force. Force against others, especially physical force by a small legitimate body against a large population, is unjust.
Back home - just outside Atlanta - my very Libertarian hippie family has a running joke that they hope I can “hold my own amidst the California granola...all those fruits, nuts, and flakes.” They know that I love it here and that I am definitely a bit of all three of those ingredients, myself,. They are right that this region has historically accommodated, and quite visibly, certain lifestyles and opinions that, in most of the rest of the country, are viewed as “alternative.“ As a result, Stanford cultivates a slightly more bohemian appeal than its counterparts of quality in the Northeast. I will take the polite liberty to say that because of its location, it is also even more liberal or progressive than the rest of elite Academia.
This dynamic and self-conscious interplay of hippie values, entrepreneurial Silicon-valley wealth, and innovative genius excites me to no end. The radical strains of thought that thrive here will be important in the years to come. Our generation will have to embrace some big changes regarding energy efficiency, sustainable agriculture, and the level of “convenience society” that we are able to maintain, ultimately. It is mostly self-proclaimed liberals, many of my hard-working friends, that champion awareness of America’s wasteful and excessive tendencies, but I think that free markets will have to drive the innovations that put ideas into play, because money is key. One of my predominant goals in life now is to inform the two ideological communities that I frequent about each other. Teach people with money why they should “help the world with it,” so that capitalism leads to good, and teach activists why government involvement is flawed.
Stanford facilitates such unique interactions, being a haven of intellectual originality and productivity plunked down in the social environment of Northern California. Being at Stanford is such a blessing, and I hope to do this opportunity justice by properly straddling the fence between personal compassion and public reason.