Monthly Archives: January 2009

Rush Limbaugh

In Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, Rush Limbaugh contributes aneditorial that proposes a “bipartisan stimulus”that allows for infrastructure spending but also includes major tax cuts for corporations and on capital gains.I think that’s still allowing Obama too much spending, but by setting it up as bipartisan, it’s a strategic effort to prove what actually stimulates the economy. I don’t know that it would prove anything and it doesn’t address draconian regulations and federal control of banks and so many other horrors now in process. But it’s an honorable effort in the right direction.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123318906638926749.html

What I do oppose in the writings and broadcasts of Rush Limbaugh include his beliefs in religion as the foundation of America, and his derivation of morality from religion rather than from reality, leading to his belief that a fetus has rights over that of the mother, or that assisted suicide is immoral and should be illegal. I disagree with those and other religion-influenced viewpoints he expresses, especially those that support theocratic laws, and I also disagree with him on limiting immigration. He is a Conservative and not an Objectivist, so I would not try to defend him on his Conservatism.

Having expressed my caveats, when it comes to issues of economics and political power (outside of the issue of separation of church and state) his daily radio broadcast can be an indispensible guide to understanding the news and what important facts most mainstream journalists regularly fail to investigate.

Once he is on a topic that isn’t directly connected with religious conservative views, in my opinion he resorts to a common-sense type of self-interest and reason as his apparent, implied philosophy.  Outside of sacrificing one’s life for the sake of a fetus, or sacrificing the right of  a terminal patient to avoid pain via assisted suicide, he is not particularly altruistic or pro-sacrifice.

His whole persona is of one that enjoys the good life, the wealth he has achieved on his own initiative, rather than a persona of humility and guilt and slavish service to the downtrodden. He is opposed to a victim mentality and he applauds individual accomplishment and self-responsibility.

He does, however, ascribe his talent as on loan from God.  He is wrong to suggest his talent is from a supernatural source, but on the other hand it doesn’t sound like he’s kneeling and bowing his head in atonement and guilt for his success.

In fact, he has often recommended “Atlas Shrugged” by atheist Ayn Rand,to explain capitalism to people. Not only that, but he is on the front lines of daring to question environmentalism and for the right reasons. He sees the scam of it, that it’s just a ploy to impose socialism and big government regulations. And I will always be grateful to him for being the only voice against feminism in the 1980s. At that time and in the later 1970s, everywhere men and boys were being unjustly criticized for their natural masculinity. Any differences they had from women were considered flaws, and flirtation in office settings was on the verge of becoming illegal. Since then,that type of feminism has lost most mainstream support thanks in large part to Limbaugh.

He also usually expresses a reasonable, self-defense based foreign policy.

So as we enter the Obama years, I consider Limbaugh’s radio program useful. It’s telling that Obama has said, “Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh”.

As long as Rush sticks to economics and political power issues, his clarity of thought and expression, mixed with satirical humor, is excellent. His points about how Obama/Congress’s stimulus packages are a new “New Deal” and that such programs cannot correct a recession, and only extends it or turns it into a full blown Depression, are on target. I would recommend that people listen to his broadcast, especially now.

For some transcripts of his recent programs, see www.rushlimbaugh.com.

Once the economic crisis is over and he returns to more religious-right issues, I don’t expect to find as much value in his program. And he is no substitute for the secular pro-capitalistic and rational philosophy expressed in Op-Eds and essays and speeches by Objectivists found at The Ayn Rand Center, the Ayn Rand Bookstore and The Objective Standard. But he covers more of the intricacies from day to day than they are able to cover, so he is a fine supplement, if you discard all his religionist inclinations.

The only philosophy that will protect individual rights is Objectivism, not Conservatism. Rush is a Conservative, and Conservatism needs to be rejected in the long run. If you can separate out his rational views from his irrational views, he is a valuable supplement to Objectivist sources like The Objective Standard and The Ayn Rand Center.

It’s because the TV networks and news magazines and newspapers are so reluctant–to an unprecedented extreme–to criticize, investigate and analyze the Obama administration’s and the Democratic Congress’s actions and motivations,that I recommend Limbaugh. But I repeat that I am not a Conservative and the only philosophy that can save America in the long run is Objectivism.

See www.aynrand.org and  http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/author/robert_tracinski/ for Objectivist perspectives.

P.S. Another interesting radio program, which covers in depth various newsworthy topics that you won’t hear much about in most of the media, is The John Batchelor Show. This world-news oriented program heightens dramatic emphasis by means of musical intros, the host’s striking references to parallel events in history, and his use of dramatic language, metaphors and images. Batchelor recently spoke with Stephen Moore about his Wall Street Journal article suggesting that “Atlas Shrugged” is coming true.

Here are the links:

http://johnbatchelorshow.com/mp3/jbs_090118a_abc.mp3

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123146363567166677.html

http://johnbatchelorshow.com

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United States of Tara? Cuckoo!

Although The United States of Tara hasn’t premiered yet on Showtime, it is getting a lot of publicity. As Diablo Cody — who wrote the fine film Juno — is writing several of the episodes, and an expert (Dr. Richard P. Kluft) and a D.I.D. patient are consultants, I expect it to be done with some realism and seriousness. However, creating an entertainment program out of such a tragic situation is always difficult. When is humor in such a program proper or tasteful?

This review is encouraging:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/15/DDR915A82V.DTL

If you take a look at the series and become interested in more material about D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personalities), I have read a book that I think successfully merges humor and entertainment values with telling a story of D.I.D.– in this case, a true story. It’s an autobiography in the form of a graphic novel (“comic book”), by Madison Clell, entitled Cuckoo.

It tells of her slowly discovering memories of the traumatic events that caused her to have the disorder, and then attempting to cure herself. It is harrowing but it is also told with enough humor that it does not overwhelm you. In fact I found it impossible to put down. Some of the drawings are rough, and some of the lettering takes a minute to decipher, but they reflect the mental state being conveyed. Obviously the content is not for the squeamish and not for children.

Cuckoo is more genuine and straightforward than United States of Tara is likely to be, in that there is no barrier between the author’s own experiences and the reader. She speaks directly to you. Whereas, the cable series Tara is a fictional show created by professional dramatists primarily to entertain.

Get the Trade Paperback of Cuckoo at:

http://www.cuckoocomic.com/cuckoo_comics/purchase_comics.html

Also, in an unplanned juxtaposition, Cuckoo has been turned into a play, with more material and Madison Clell in a small role, which will be performed on stage during the month of February at the Phoenix Theatre in San Francisco, just as United States of Tara premieres on Showtime.

See: http://www.cuckoocomic.com/cuckoo_comics/the_play.html

Incidentally, Madison Clell, through therapy and her own heroic determination, has managed to cure herself of the disorder. The play of Cuckoo carries the story beyond the book, all the way to her final integration.

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News from Florida’s Disney World and Florida’s Kip Liles

My family visited Walt Disney World again over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was very impressed this year. While inrecent years I found thatthe formerly unmatched high level of customer service started todescend to the level of average or worse, this year we had nothing but outstanding customer service. Everyone was super friendly and helpful and in good humor. It mayhave helpedthat because the crowds were not so heavybetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, their stress level was lower. I particularly appreciated the cast members who seemed to be over retirement age. They had the magic in them, as if theyhad knownWalt Disney, and had somehow fully embodied his warm, benevolent, humorousspirit. Like Leon Trager whom I mention in my previous post, and like the recently deceased original Disney animators Ollie Johnston and his friend Frank Thomas whom I met at an animation art gallery years ago, the delighted-by-his-job senior citizen cast member who greeted me and answered my questions at the Pop Century Resort was an example of the kind ofperson I want to be likewhen I grow older.

I worked at Disney World in 1989 and I found it easy to be friendly and to enjoy my work and I think my customer service was Disney-worthy (I did well on my evaluation). Butin recent years I’ve seen a cast member at the Boardwalkroll her eyes when informed ofa slippery floorthat needed to be cleaned, and I’ve seen two Disney housekeepers at the elevator bank of the All Star Movies Resort,having a loud argument thatculminated inone punching the other inthe face. This year I saw nothing of the kind.

I also want to especially recommend one particular attraction. Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, which is the giant “golf ball” near the entrance, has been updated in the last year. The new version keeps all of the best qualities of the original, but is actually superior to the old one. It has many new, elaborate scenes and includes a wonderful interactive finale, where each passenger selects aspects of the future he’d like to see, and then sees himself in it. But most important is the overall theme. The new Spaceship Earth, which is sponsored by the excellent technology company Siemens, suggests that we are in the midst of a second Renaissance initiated by the vast opportunities that computers have made possible. The optimism and excitement about the future was a great contrast to the gloomy pessimism of CNN, MSNBC and the major networksand newsmagazines (except for theirrose-coloredreports on socialist Barack Obama,which causeme to expect soon the headline”The Sun Shines Out of His Behind,”apologies toThe Smiths ).

There were many more highlights. The Pixar attractions “Toy Story Mania” and “Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor” (not to mention the amazing “Turtle Talk with Crush” which we skipped this year) are as much fun as, or more funthan, you have already heard.

And this is the first year I have seen the Osborne Family’s Christmas (plus Chanukah) Lights. Talk about exceeding expectations:it is one more example of Disney and their partners at their best. Words cannot adequately convey the experience of seeing the city streets of the backlot lit up in such imaginative ways.

Also,we took side trips to the Wilderness Lodge to see part of Walt’s own model railroad train exhibited, and to the Grand Floridian Resort to see and smell the gingerbread house they have every Christmas season. And everyone, especially my daughter who loves to dance and sing, enjoyed the Hoop De Doo Revue.

We also were able to briefly meet up with Kip Liles and her husband. They are, once again, the kind of people I hope to be like, and the kind of people I want to surround myself with, people who are role models for all Earthlings. If you don’t know who Kip Liles is, she is the Super Foster Parent whom I interviewed on The Zigory Show. That podcast is available at http://zigory.solidvox.com/?p=3.

Update regarding the Kip Liles interview and the Michelle Malkin articlecalled “The Death of Bradley McGee”: Kip has learned from a source that Billy, the brother of Braddie,is alive, still living with his (murderer) mother Sheryl Hardy, and outwardly appears to be okay. However, appearances cannot be trusted and I hopeBilly’s community in Illinois keeps its eyes open. As should we all, for justice’s sake and our own.

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Leon Trager

I learned from Nicholas Provenzo’s blog Rule of Reason that Leon Trager has passed away.

I met Leon and his son Noah, who was still in high school, at the Objectivism ’92 Conference in Williamsburg, VA. Leon was full of positive energy and joy and was exactly the way I hoped I would be in my later years. He was encouraging to me. I said I was working on a writing project for a long time, perhaps too long, but I still thought it needed more work before submitting it to the marketplace. He said, “If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. When you’re ready you will do it.” I had videotaped his son singing, with another attendee, comedic songs by Monty Python. Leon beamed at his son singing in public, as Leon said Noah was normally on the reserved or shy side. Leon asked me for a copy of the videotape but, alas, I didn’t have a working second VCR so I regret that I did not dub it for him. (My mother was fighting cancer that year and the next which put the video on the back burner). Another fact about him: Leon Trager decided that the US Holocaust Memorial Museum ought to carry Leonard Peikoff’s book “The Ominous Parallels” so he single-handedly convinced them to carry it.

Here is the URL ofNicholas Provenzo’sblog about Leon Trager:

http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/2008/12/in-memory-of-leon-trager-1928-2008.htm

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