NOTABLOG MONTHLY ARCHIVES: 2002 - 2020
|OCTOBER 2006||DECEMBER 2006|
NOVEMBER 26, 2006
Song of the Day: Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', words and music by Michael Jackson, was the first track heard in the line-up on his best-selling album, "Thriller." This one combines a percolating rhythm, killer bass line, some social commentary, a line about "Billie Jean," and a few "Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa's" along the way. Listen to an audio clip here.
What passionate michael jackson to move to Dubai or was it more legal issues ?
Posted by: arabic music | December 9, 2006 07:47 AM
I really have no clue why Jackson wanted to move to Dubai or any other country. But for me, it's quite beside the point, as my appreciation of his music is entirely separate from my evaluation of him as a person or as a legal defendant in any public scandal.
In keeping with this point, let me post a link to my essay, "Taking the Ad Hominem Out of Art Appreciation."
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:15 AM
NOVEMBER 25, 2006
Song of the Day: New York, New York, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, is a highlight from both the Broadway musical "On the Town" and its 1949 film version. A great song dedicated to my hometown, this one is selected today to honor the memory of Betty Comden, who passed away on Thanksgiving Day, 2006. Listen here to an audio clip from the original Broadway show.
The news about Betty Comden but you don't mention her greatest work Singing in the Rain. A movie I know lots of lines from.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | November 26, 2006 02:02 PM
Hey, Chris, you're right... it's one of the best! But I've got my "Songs of the Day" planned way in advance.
It's coming. Promise. :)
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:05 AM
NOVEMBER 24, 2006
Song of the Day: Them There Eyes, words and music by Maceo Pinkard, William Tracy, and Doris Tauber, is a song that has been recorded many times over since its debut in the 1930s. Today, however, I spotlight an audio clip here of a rendition sung by one of my all-time favorite jazz singers, Anita O'Day, who passed away yesterday at the age of 87.
Not only her, but Betty Comden of Comden & Green died also. The Bronx is up and the Battery's down...
Posted by: Aeon J. Skoble | November 24, 2006 09:17 PM
Aeon, you're one ahead of me. I figured I'd give Comden her own day, today. Thanks for noting another sad passing in the world of music.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 25, 2006 05:46 AM
NOVEMBER 23, 2006
A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers!
NOVEMBER 22, 2006
Readers of Notablog know that I'm a huge New York Yankees fan and a big Derek Jeter fan, and let me just say that, with regard to yesterday's balloting for the American League Most Valuable Player Award, in which Jeter came in second, I'd like to give the Baseball Writers a BIG BRONX CHEER!
This year, Jeter won the Hank Aaron Award, the Silver Slugger Award, and the Gold Glove. And yet, it was Justin Morneau of the Minnesota Twins who took home MVP honors.
Now, I am not saying that Morneau isn't a fine player; but I don't see how anybody votes for Morneau as the MVP when the Twins line-up also includes the terrifically talented 2006 AL batting champion Joe Mauer.
In a season during which so many Yankee players were injured (e.g., Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui) or relatively ineffective (e.g., Alex Rodriguez), Jeter remained Mr. Consistency: one of baseball's fiercest clutch hitters, who hit .381 with runners in scoring position. Take Jeter out of that Yankee line-up and I don't believe the team makes the playoffs. He was that valuable to their success this year.
While Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News thinks the vote was "most logical," I tell ya, Jeter Wuz Robbed!.
Wait 'til next year!
Update: I have already been questioned by a few people with regard to the comparative statistics for Morneau and Jeter. Okay, okay, let's talk numbers:
Morneau beats Jeter in only three categories: RBIs (Morneau has 130 to Jeter's 97); Home Runs (Morneau has 34 to Jeter's 14), and the batting average with runners-in-scoring-position stat (Morneau .375 to Jeter's .343).
So let's talk about every other category: Jeter beats Morneau in runs scored (118 to 97); hits (214 to 190); doubles (39 to 37); triples (3 to 1); walks (69 to 53); steals (34 to 3); batting average (.343 to .321); on-base percentage (.417 to .375); runners-in-scoring-position with two outs (.369 to .303) and batting average "close and late" (.325 to .299).
And, again, Jeter did it in a line-up that was struck by injuries to key offensive players (Sheffield, Matsui, Cano, and others for limited times) and awful inconsistency from regular players, like A-Rod. His fielding was also consistent, earning him a Gold Glove, and he brings to the table all the "intangibles" that make him one of the greatest Yankees of his generation.
I'm with you 100% on this one!
When it comes to the Yanks, there's a Star Wars "evil-empire" thing that a great many people have bought into. And I don't believe its just fans either, - but sports writers and even some MLB league officials as well.
Posted by: George Cordero | November 22, 2006 01:04 PM
I agree completely, George. On some of these points, I found John Harper's article in the Thursday, November 23, 2006 issue of the New York Daily News a good read: "Writer's Block: Bias, Stats May Have Hurt Jeter."
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 25, 2006 06:24 AM
Chirs, I thought about you when I read they'd bypassed Jeter for the other guy...
This "Yankees as Evil Empire" mindset--you wonder where that could possibly come? One word: Steinbrenner. Blame it on Darth Steinbrenner. ;-)
I do feel bad that Mr. Jeter "got robbed." We West Coast people understand how that feels, because our athletes get snubbed by the East Coast Sportswriter Establishment with depressing frequency. Let me give you one f'rinstance: my (and Michael "Mick" Russell's) fellow San Diego State Aztec, Marshall Faulk, denied the Heisman Trophy. Can you tell me who beat him out? No? My point is made....
I agree, it was outrageous about Jeter.
Posted by: Peri Sword | November 25, 2006 10:57 AM
As always, a good point, Peri.
I just saw Jeter last week on the Regis and Kelly show; he was pushing his new cologne, Driven. But his appearance was a total riot. Philbin has always had a big crush on Jeter, and was all over him. You can see some of the interview at You Tube, here.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:03 AM
NOVEMBER 20, 2006
Song of the Day: Killer Joe was composed and first recorded by jazz saxophonist Benny Golson. Listen to audio clips of that version here and here. My favorite version is the one recorded by Quincy Jones, featuring Hubert Laws and Freddie Hubbard. Listen to that cool audio clip and also clips of renditions by Toots Thielemans and Manhattan Transfer.
NOVEMBER 17, 2006
The new Fall 2006 issue of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies has been published. The issue includes essays from contributors such as Steven H. Shmurak, Marc Champagne, Fred Seddon (two from Fred!), Algirdas Degutis, Susan Love Brown, David Graham & Nathan Nobis, Kirsti Minsaas, Greg Nyquist, Gregory M. Browne and Roderick T. Long. And I'm delighted to report that with this issue, Roderick joins the Editorial Board of JARS!
Here is the Fall line-up:
Demystifying Emotion: Introducing the Affect Theory of Silvan Tomkins to
Objectivists - Steven H. Shmurak
(Shmurak's article is accompanied by a special CD-ROM presentation)
Some Convergences and Divergences in the Realism of Charles Peirce and Ayn Rand - Marc Champagne
Rand and Rescher on Truth - Fred Seddon
Deconstructing Postmodern Xenophilia - Algirdas Degutis
Essays on Ayn Rand�s Fiction - Susan Love Brown
Putting Humans First? - David Graham and Nathan Nobis
Ayn Rand as Literary Mentor - Kirsti Minsaas
Reply to Fred Seddon, �Nyquist Contra Rand�
Rand and Empirical Responsibility - Greg Nyquist
Rejoinder to Greg Nyquist
Nyquist Contra Rand, Part II - Fred Seddon
Reply to Roderick T. Long, �Reference and Necessity: A Rand-Kripke Synthesis�
The �Grotesque� Dichotomies Still Unbeautified - Gregory M. Browne
Rejoinder to Gregory M. Browne
A Beauty Contest for Dichotomies: Browne�s Terminological Revolutions - Roderick T. Long
Check out the abstracts for the new issue here, and the contributor biographies here.
Cross-posted to L&P.
The CD is quite an interesting addition to JARS. I just got my copy yesterday,
so have not had a chance to do more than briefly look over it.
Just a thought.
Posted by: Kenneth R. Gregg | December 8, 2006 02:52 PM
Ken, thanks so much for your feedback. It's a really interesting CD presentation, in my view; I hope we will be able to feature additional presentations like this in forthcoming issues.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:06 AM
NOVEMBER 16, 2006
Milton Friedman, Chicago-school economist, has passed away, tragically, at the age of 94. For me, reading his Capitalism and Freedom at a young age was a truly remarkable experience; it remains one of the seminal works of liberty. My deepest condolences to his family. A sad day for liberty, indeed.
I noted at another blog that the first non-fiction libertarian book I read was Capitalism and Freedom. He had a great good influence. Let's not forget he was married to the same woman for sixty years. I think we can forgive his giving his withholding taxes although his wife never did.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | November 17, 2006 10:20 AM
I have read quite a few tributes and other takes on Friedman over the past week and while I agree with many that the man's legacy is "mixed," I also believe, with you Chris, that Friedman did make an overall positive contribution to the literature of liberty. His perspectives on everything from occupational licensure to military conscription to the drug war brought certain key libertarian ideas into the mainstream. For this, he deserves kudos.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 25, 2006 06:19 AM
Concerning Friedman's book, Capitalism and Freedom, the Canadian political philosopher, C.B. Macpherson wrote, what I believe to be the most effective demolition of that book's arguments in an essay, "Elegant Tombstones: A Note on Friedman's Freedom," which first appeared in the journal, Canadian Journal of Political Science, March 1968. The following paragraphs should give the reader some of the flavor of Machpherson's critique of Friedman:
"Professor Friedman's demonstration [in _Capitalism and Freedom] that the capitalist market economy can coordinate economic activities without coercion rests on an elementary conceptual error. His argument runs as follows. He shows first that in a simple market model, where each individual or household controls resources enabling it to produce goods and services either directly for itself or for exchange, there will be production for exchange because of the increased product made possible by specialization. But since the household always has the alternative of producing directly for itself, it need not enter into any exchange unless it benefits from it. Hence no exchange will take place unless both parties do benefit from it. Cooperation is thereby achieved without coercion'...So far, so good. It is indeed clear that in this simple exchange model, assuming rational maximizing behavior by all hands, every exchange will benefit both parties, and that no act of coercion is involved in the decision to produce for exchange or in any act of exchange.
Professor Friedman then moves on to our actual complex economy, or rather to his own curious model of it:
As in [the] simple exchange model, so in the complex enterprise and money-exchange economy, cooperation is strictly individual and voluntary *provided*: (a) that enterprises are private, so that the ultimate contracting parties are individuals and (b) that individuals are effectively free to enter or not to enter into any particular exchange so that every exchange is strictly voluntary...
...Proviso (b) is 'that individuals are effectively free to enter or not to enter into any particular exchange', and it is held that with this proviso 'every exchange is strictly voluntary'. A moment's thought will show that this is not so. The proviso that is required to make every transaction strictly volunatry is not freedom not to enter into any *particular* exchange, but freedom not to enter into any exchange *at all*. This, and only this, was the proviso that proved the simple model to be voluntary and noncoercive; and nothing less than this would prove the complex model to voluntary and noncoercive. But Professor Friedman is clearly claiming that freedom not to enter into any *particular* exchange is enough: 'The consumer is protected from coercion by the seller because of the presence of other sellers with whom he can deal...The employee is protected from coercion by the employer because of other employers for whom he can work...'
One almost despairs of logic, and of the use of models. It is easy to see what Professor Friedman has done, but it is less easy to excuse it. He has moved from the simple economy of exchange between independent producers, to the capitalist economy,without mentioning the most important thing that distinguishes them. He mentions money instead of barter, and 'enterprises which are intermediaries between individuals in their capacities as suppliers of services and as purchasers of goods'...as if money and merchants were what distinguished a capitalist economy from an economy of independent producers. What distinguishes the capitalist economy from the simple exchange economy is the separation of labor and capital, that is, the existence of a labor force without its own sufficient capital and therefore without a choice as to whether to put its labor in the market or not. Professor Friedman would agree that where there is no choice there is coercion. His attempted demonstration that capitalism coordinates without coercion therefore fails."
Posted by: Jim Farmelant | November 25, 2006 08:35 AM
Hey, Jim, thanks for your contribution here.
Interestingly, Friedman has not been criticized only by the left. Because he was never as "hard core" as others on the libertarian right, he has met with much criticism from those quarters as well. I read this recent piece here, but Murray Rothbard's take on Friedman is perhaps the most critical.
BTW, I have not forgotten about the Brien book. I've finally scanned the original Critical Review essay that I wrote on Brien's book, and hope to get to his new edition in the new year.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:00 AM
NOVEMBER 13, 2006
My brother, jazz guitarist Carl Barry, was playing this past weekend at the popular Village jazz spot, "Rare," on Bleecker Street in Manhattan. The bass player, Jay Leonhart, taped the gig, and posted a snippet at You Tube.
It is a total riot. The guys are busy performing in the club, near an open door, and this woman walks over and asks Carl, "Where Can I Catch a Taxi?" And she returns for further directions! And Carl doesn't miss a beat. Ah, the trials and tribulations of being a jazz musician in the city!
Watch it here (you may have to sign-in first).
I see that being polite to undeserving morons is a Sciabarra trait. That was unbelievable!
Posted by: Mick Russell | November 14, 2006 10:13 PM
Good Lord, woman, couldn't you have asked one of the passers by on the street? What were you, raised in a barn?
Oh, the indignaties professional musicians must bear!
Posted by: Peri | November 15, 2006 10:59 PM
Yeah, this one made me roar with laughter. LOL
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 25, 2006 06:15 AM
Your brother certainly showed a lot more class than did Michael Richards.
Posted by: Jim Farmelant | November 25, 2006 10:07 AM
This was cool. I posted it on reddit. (Reddit users are invited to vote it up!)
Posted by: Aaron Brown | December 1, 2006 02:06 PM
Hey, Aaron, thanks for posting that! It still makes me chuckle.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | December 15, 2006 07:12 AM
Song of the Day: Symphony No. 4 in A Major (Op. 90, "Italian Symphony") is one of my favorite of Felix Mendelssohn's compositions. I especially enjoy listening to the rousing Fourth Movement. Listen to an audio clip recorded by the Berliner Philharmoniker.
NOVEMBER 06, 2006
Song of the Day: This Can't Be Love is another great Lorenz Hart-Richard Rodgers collaboration. It debuted on the Broadway stage in the 1938 show, "The Boys from Syracuse," and was also featured in the 1962 film, "Jumbo" (audio clip at that link). Listen to audio clips of renditions by Jack Cassidy and Holly Harris (from the 1953 studio cast album), Dinah Washington, Shirley Horn, Stephane Grappelli, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan, and a scatting Ella Fitzgerald.
NOVEMBER 02, 2006
Song of the Day: Dancing in Heaven (Orbital Be Bop), words and music by Martin Page and Brian Fairweather, was a Q-Feel techno hit. Listen to an audio clip here, just in time for All Souls' Day.
NOVEMBER 01, 2006
I've received a bit of email from people who were wondering why it is I have not commented on the upcoming mid-term elections. "Sciabarra, you're a political scientist, for Chrissake! What do you think?"
Well, let's leave aside the question of how much science goes into politics: It's always nice to know that some people find value in what I say. But with all due respect: There's not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. I have not changed my views of this two-party, two-pronged attack on individual freedom by one iota: A Pox on Both Their Houses! In truth, however, the modern Democratic Party has always been honest about its Big Government agenda. But the "small-government" GOP has long embraced the politics of Big Government. As the majority party, they are a total, unmitigated disaster for individual liberty, whether they are religious rightists or so-called "progressive conservatives"�who are actually much truer to the GOP's 19th-century interventionist roots than so-called "Goldwater" or "Reagan" Republicans (those who embraced the rhetoric of limited government, while still paving the way for a growth in the scope of government intervention). You have to chuckle when even Hillary Clinton sees the hypocrisy: "The people who promised less government," she said, "have instead given us the largest and least competent government we have ever had."
Still, I must admit that my political perversity would like very much to see the Bush administration get a royal slap across the face, such that the Democrats take the House of Representatives and, at the very least, close the gap in the GOP-controlled Senate. This is purely a strategic desire: Party divisions can have utility in frustrating the power-lust on both ends. In any event, I think it's probably true that the GOP will suffer a setback, and I have been saying so for over a year.
Please understand, however: THIS WILL DO NOTHING TO CHANGE THE CURRENT DOMESTIC OR FOREIGN POLICY DISASTERS. I don't mean to shout, but with regard to foreign policy alone: The Democrats handed this administration the current foreign policy debacle on a silver platter. They will not challenge one inch of the Bush administration's Iraq policy or its ideological rationalizations for that policy: that "democracy" can be imposed on societies that have little or no appreciation of the complex cultural roots of human freedom.
Either way, I'll be watching the results of politics-as-bloodsport on Tuesday, November 7th.
Comments welcome. Cross-posted at L&P.
I was shocked to find a reasonable viewpoint on L&P (or any of the venues I
visit daily) that views current events from a wide context and broad cultural
Posted by: Jason Pappas | November 1, 2006 09:16 AM
Watch not just the winners and losers but how people vote on referedum. Remember there be another election in two years.
Posted by: Chris Grieb | November 3, 2006 01:31 PM
Well, it's not quite "Morning in America," as I hold out no hope for real reform from Democratic party hacks. But. Still. It's a good sign when exit polls show that a lot of people are pissed off at the Bush administration for its handling of the war in Iraq. Let's see how this drama unfolds; the House goes to the Dems, and the Senate... still too close to call, but much tigher than expected.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 8, 2006 09:57 AM
I think there is something your missing in the statement where you opposed the policy "that 'democracy' can be imposed on societies that have little or no appreciation of the complex cultural roots of human freedom." How much appreciation did the Japanese have for "complex cultural roots of human freedom" right after WWII? Yet that society has embraced democracy - or freedom to a great degree. My point is that there is a mystic common denominator with both Japan and Iraq, and we've seen Japan change into a modern country by US intervention.
Obviously, there are many different factors to consider when comparing Iraq to pre-WWII Japan, but your statement did not leave any room for explaining Japan unless you contend that pre-WWII Japan had appreciation for "the complex cultural roots of human freedom."
Posted by: Eric Von Kruse | November 12, 2006 03:35 PM
Eric, thank you for your feedback on this.
Understand that my comments in this particular blog entry are rather off the cuff; I've written many thousands of words on these topics and I think that sometimes when we are posting brief entries like this one, we're not as careful as we might be in restating an argument made many times before.
You might want to check out entries here and here, for example. As I say in the latter piece (published in the Spring of 2003):
And I believe that a projected U.S. occupation of Iraq to bring about "democratic" regime change would not be comparable to the German and Japanese models of the post-World War II era. Iraq is a makeshift by-product of British colonialism, constructed at Versailles in 1920 out of three former Ottoman provinces; its notorious internal political divisions are mirrored by tribal warfare among Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, and others. By contrast, both Germany and Japan possessed relatively homogeneous cultures and the rudiments of a democratic past, while retaining no allies after the war. And in the case of Japan, the U.S. had the full cooperation of Emperor Hirohito, who stepped down from his position as national deity, to become the figurative head of a constitutional monarchy.
I also have a lot more to say about the relationship between culture and politics here. There is no doubt that politics can influence culture, since there is an interrelationship between these factors after all, but even in that case, there has to be some kind of cultural base upon which to build a change in direction.
I would, however, be very interested to hear what you have to say about that "mystic common denominator with both Japan and Iraq..."
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 13, 2006 07:50 AM
I would like to state that I am new to your blog and books and I have to apologize for not reading all of your writings on this subject. The links and quote in your reply helped to clarify your position, and for the most part I agree. The emperor's capitulation is an obvious and essential difference between Japan and Iraq (although that fact could not be foreseen when we went on the offensive in Japan). I used the phrase "mystic common denominator" because both Iraqi and Japanese pre-war cultures heavily embraced religion and their dogmas, and both had/have a certain portion of their culture willing to martyr themselves for Allah in Iraq, or Family Honor in Japan - both fundamentally irrational and anti-life absurdities. So why are the outcomes so different?
I think it is critical to understand why the Japan model worked, and the Iraqi is not, for anyone to put this conflict in full context. All to often I hear people (I am not speaking of you) declare that "you can't force democracy on a people." To which I always reply with the example of Japan.
Consider this: If Iraq had initiated the conflict, what psychological differences would that fact have on Iraqis - and Muslims in general - with regard to our occupation? Is US preemption the difference between the two conflicts and their outcome (at least so-far)? I find it hard to believe that Iraqis and Muslims worldwide wouldn't rationalize their initiation of war by the usual propaganda methods of fact distortion, religious dogma, and all out lies.
Having said all that, I have 2 questions that I'm sorting out:
1. What is the basic moral principle for going to war? Self interest? Retaliation/Justice? Both?
2. Considering the cultural similarities pointed out above, what are the causes for the current Iraq outcome (so-far) compared to Japan's after WWII?
Posted by: Eric Von Kruse | November 13, 2006 02:57 PM
Eric, thanks for your follow-up here. Let me briefly address some of your points:
First, no apology is necessary; thank you very much for reading more of my blog and essay entries postred to my site. Thanks also for your clarification of the phrase "mystic common denominator." You're right about the predominance of religious cultures in the two countries, but, of course, the religions themselves differ considerably. And, in fact, there are also deep doctrinal differences within, for example, Islam, which partially explains the sectarian warfare of Shi'ite and Sunni in Iraq.
I don't think that the fact of initiation or preemption is the key distinction between the Iraq and Japan models. I think that many of us who opposed the Iraq invasion looked to history, specifically the history of Iraq, which was a makeshift creation of British colonialism, and saw deep sectarian divisions that would be unleashed with the collapse of the Hussein regime. This, of course, didn't justify keeping Hussein in power; but it did provide us with a real-world context for projecting the current civil war nightmare as a most likely outcome of U.S. intervention.
While this addresses your second question, I don't have an answer with regard to your first question. Many of my colleagues have worked on issues concerning "just war," etc., but I've not done enough work in this area to offer a satisfactory response.
In the abstract, I would think that "rational self-interest" should underlie any military actions. But there are many problems with implementing such an abstract principle. I address some of this in a series that is indexed here.
Some of the problems:
Treating nation-states as collectives; treating "self-interest" as applicable to governments (which themselves are made up of individuals, each of whom has differential interests defined by membership in competing groups and/or classes); and not taking into account the serious "unintended consequences"--of both military action and nonaction in various contexts, globally.
Posted by: Chris Matthew Sciabarra | November 25, 2006 06:14 AM
Song of the Day: Persephone (The Gathering of Flowers), words and music by Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, is a Dead Can Dance track, which is deeply moving (in fact, the first time I heard this track I was moved to tears). The recording features a dramatic layering of melodic strings, woodwinds, and brass (violins, viola, cellos, trombones, tuba, and oboe), percussion (timpani and military snare), and choral harmonies. On this Day of the Dead (All Saints Day too!), listen to an audio clip from the album, "Within the Realm of the Dying Sun."