stat counnnter

Friday, December 31, 2010

Objectivist Roundup New Year Edition

The newest Objectivist Roundup is at Uncommon Sense which includes essays on raising children, the hierarchy of knowledge, developing habits, abortion, immigration, sacred cows and much more. Enjoy!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The latest Objectivist round up is at Reepicheep's Coracle here. enjoy reading objective posts on politics, culture and a variety of subjects from an Objectivist perspective.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving is over, or is it?

Over at my blog at the Detroit Free Press, Mike's Michigan Musings, I posted about Thanksgiving day being over but giving thanks should not be and some of the things I'm thankful for.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dems Offer No Hope for Michigan

The election is tomorrow and so far the Democrats are staying with their anti-business philosophy. About three weeks or so ago I received in the mail campaign promotion material from the Michigan Democratic state central committee. It was headlined "The main street agenda" and featured the pictures of candidates Virg Bernero for Governor, Brenda Lawrence for Lieut. gov, Jocelyn Benson for sec of state and David Leyton for Atty gen. The bottom of the flyer contained a partial picture of New York stock exchange overlaid with the words "not a Wall Street CEO."

I'm disappointed to see the Democrats continuing to cash in on the false notion that the people on Wall Street are the enemies of the people on main street. This ad represents all that is wrong with Michigan (and national) politics. Readers are presumably supposed to be relieved that these Democrats are anti-wall street. It is blatantly anti-business in tone. And yet it is only businesses that can create productive jobs. Government cannot create jobs. All government has to offer is force and the threat of it. And for decades government has used this power to chase businesses out of Michigan.

It's time to get government out of the way and let business do what it does best: create prosperity.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Local blog activism

The Detroit Free Press has allowed my to have a blog at their online paper. I haven't been very active but now I intend to get busy. It is here.I hope to get more readers with increased blogging.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fire Levin, Time for Real Change

Pursuant to my last post below, Mr Don Volaric has added a new site "Fire Levin" which I recommend. Mr Levin has been in office way too long. He has overseen the destruction of the national as well as the Michigan economies, the near total destruction of the auto industry and the banking industry.

When looking at a problem, real or imagined, instead of asking "what tax or regulation can be repealed to help this problem?" Sander Levin has chosen to issue more dictates (regulations) then sit back and wait for obedience. This is not the practice of those defending freedom. Mr. Levin, like so many of the lifer politicians today, can no longer think outside the box. They know they have placed burden after burden on the backs of business chasing most of them out of the state. But rather than checking their premises, examining the principles on which their policies are based, they continue with business as usual placing even more burdens on business hoping against hope that businesses will find a way to stick around and continue to create jobs.

It's time for change and for this election Don Volaric represents that change.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Political Activism in Michigan

I have decided to get active in local politics for the first time in decades. I'm backing republican Don Volaric for the seat of Sander Levin in the US House district 12 here in Michigan. so here is a little promo for those of you who may live in this district.

"How much would you PAY to get rid of a Levin??

Don Volaric, candidate for U.S. Congress in the 12th District, had almost 4,000 more votes than the incumbent, Sander Levin, in the primary for Macomb County! That hasn't been done before and it is a great sign of what is to come this November.

How much would you DO to get rid of a Levin??

The Volaric campaign needs your HELP to defeat Sander Levin this November. We are looking for volunteers to do door to door with our literature, phone calls, help with office work, etc. Signs will be available soon! We have window stickers available now.

How much would you PAY to get rid of a Levin??

Sander Levin is FOR Amnesty, FOR Obama Care, FOR Big Government, FOR Higher Taxes, FOR Cap and Trade, all while he is selling our children's and grandchildren's futures down the drain, while taking our seniors to the woodshed with his Medicare deception and lies.

Vote for the real citizen's representative, Don Volaric, not the status quo. Go to to donate and volunteer today.

70 days and counting... Remember in November!"

I decided to back him because he was one of the few Republicans to explicitly use the phrase 'individual rights' in his speeches. And also because I want Sander Levin out.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Political link

Here is a good effort that may be worth joining at least in a political context: There is no doubt that America needs a reorientation.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Thinkers

I sometimes marvel at the sharp memories and ideas four and five year olds have. I was at a restaurant with wife and 5 year old grand daughter Taylor and her mom. I had arrived first and had ordered before the others since I had to leave first. Taylor and I both like eggs and sausages. She would reach over to my plate and swipe a sausage piece and I would pretend not to notice saying "There must be a mouse in here swiping my sausages" and she would laugh. When her food came she said to me "Grandpa, you can't take my food" and I said "Why not?" to which she replied "Because you're on a diet, remember?" sigh. They're right about that female memory thing.

A few days later she was at our house pretending to be talking to a friend on the phone. She wrote down her imaginary friend's number on a paper. She wrote 9 numbers. Observing this Grandma said "Most phones have 7 numbers." She thought for a few seconds and said "Well my friend has a bigger phone."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Notice: OLists for Better Living Info

Because I am a lurker (reader) on most of these lists below and have started commenting on the OGardeners list, I want to recommend these lists to my readers via this announcement by Diana Hsieh:
Hi, I'm Diana Hsieh ( I'm an Objectivist and a recent Ph.D in philosophy.

I oversee an independent network of e-mail lists for friendly discussion and information-sharing among advocates of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. They are the "OLists" :

The common goal of the OLists is to serve the real-life values and interests common to subscribers -- such as activism, blogging, parenting, health, productivity, firearms, gardening, and academia. These lists have been active, informative, and useful to their hundreds of subscribers; they've helped connect Objectivists with values in common. In case you've not heard of them, I invite you to see whether they might foster your values too.

Please note that these lists are not free-for-all discussion lists. Each list has a clear purpose, as well as definite membership criteria. Also, some lists are limited to Objectivists, while others welcome non-Objectivist lurkers. Please check the list's purpose and membership criteria before you request a subscription.

Without further ado, the OList e-mail lists are...


OActivists is an e-mail list for Objectivists committed to fostering positive cultural and political change. Its purpose is to encourage and assist effective advocacy of Objectivist ideas in non-Objectivist forums by facilitating communication between Objectivist activists. Membership is limited to Objectivist activists. It is managed by Tammy Perkins.


OBloggers is an e-mail list for Objectivist bloggers. Its purpose is to facilitate communication about matters of mutual interest, such as upcoming events, blogworthy links, posts of interest, blog promotion, and best blogging practices. Membership is limited to Objectivist bloggers. It is managed by Kate Gerber of CareerMama ( ).


OGrownups is an informal e-mail list for for Objectivists and others interested in raising and educating children well. Its basic purpose is to facilitate discussion amongst Objectivists about child development, discipline techniques, education methods, parenting resources, and more. Non-Objectivist lurkers are welcome. It is managed by Jenn Casey of Rational Jenn ( ).


OEvolve is an informal e-mail list for Objectivists and others interested in the proper application of evolutionary principles to diet, fitness, and health. Its basic purpose is to facilitate discussion and information-sharing amongst Objectivists about the practical sciences of cooking, nutrition, fitness, health, and more. Non-Objectivist lurkers are welcome. It is managed by Monica Hughes of Ancestral Generation ( ).


OProducers is an e-mail list for Objectivists and others committed to improving their habits of productivity in their careers, projects, and other pursuits. Its purpose is to facilitate discussion and information-sharing amongst Objectivists about practical methods for better management of time, projects, money, people, and other resources. Non-Objectivist lurkers are welcome. It is managed by Tod of Optimal Living ( ).


OShooters is an e-mail list for Objectivists and others enthused about firearms and committed to gun rights. Its basic purpose is to facilitate discussion and information-sharing amongst Objectivists about firearm models, shooting techniques, gun ranges, gun laws, and the like. Non-Objectivist lurkers are welcome. It is managed by Santiago Valenzuela.


OGardeners is an informal e-mail list for Objectivists and others interested in gardening and landscaping. Its purpose is to facilitate discussion and information-sharing amongst Objectivists about the cultivation of flowers, vegetables, shrubs, and trees. Non-Objectivist lurkers are welcome. It is managed by Kelly Elmore of Reepicheep's Coracle ( ).


OAcademics is an e-mail list for Objectivist academics to discuss teaching, research, coursework, dissertations, job prospects, publication, and all other aspects of life in (or after) academia. Membership is limited to Objectivist academics. It is managed by Diana Hsieh of NoodleFood ( ).

If you have any questions or comments about the OLists, please feel free to e-mail me at

-- DMH

Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy, CU Boulder)

OGardeners @ --
List Address: (or
Public Web Site:
Private Group:
Web Archives:
Edit Membership:

Monday, May 24, 2010

Proper Philosophy of Education

If you haven't subscribed to Lisa VanDamme's U-tube videos I urge you to do so now. It's free. This one is about her favorite story at the VanDamme Acadamy. You can subscribe here. One of my favorites is "Why WE Take Tests" which explains the importance of testing.

This is the kind of pedagogy that most American public schools desperately need especially in the wasteland that is the DPS Detroit Public Schools.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tax Day Tea Party Sterling Heights Michigan

Sorry about being a day late with this but here are pics of the Tea Party I went to in Sterling Heights on Thursday 4/15. There were about 400 to 500 people there including several dozen union and government people on the other side of the street carrying pre-made signs saying SOS for Save Our Services. Evidently they don't like the idea of smaller government. Click on any image for larger view.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I went to a few Tea Parties this past week. The first was Sunday 4/11/10 at the Clinton Twp Civic Center. It was sponsored by MEDEFCO (Metro Detroit Freedom Coalition) and featured a stop by the Tea Party Express folks. Two bus loads of speakers and entertainers pulled up.

There was about 3000 people there according to one local newspaper. A sampling of the people by me revealed Republican, Democrat and lots of independent voters present. The singing was quite good and all the speakers mentioned the need for smaller government and less taxes and less regulations. I'll post on the other Party tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blogroll Update Mar. 2010

It's time again for another blogroll update. Not all of the sites below are hosted by objectivists but are still very rational, enjoyable reads.

First will be Jihad Watch a blog devoted to watching and tracking the jihadist movement within Islam.

Second will be the music of M. Zachary Johnson. A good sampling of his own compositions on Sax.

Third is Illustrated Ideas hosted by Robert Tracy, a military man.

Fourth is STATS, a blog of statistical assessment at George Mason University. If you're sceptical about so-called scientific studies that purport to tell you what's good or harmful for you, STATS likes to go over those studies with a fine tooth comb and show you what's wrong with them.

Fifth is The Anger of Compassion where Craig Ceely is again reporting on current events.

Sixth will be Alaxander Marriott's Wit and Wisdom. Alex's blogging may be light for a short time but he promises to get back to it soon.

Seventh is The Advice Goddess where journalist Amy Alkon gives advice on almost anything.

The next four are about paleo dieting and living which I recommend. Being on a low carb regimen myself I have found valuable low carb recipes, info on vitamin supplements, exercise and more. Their blogrolls lead to more sites of interest.

Eighth is Free the Animal. Here Richard Nikoley blogs not just on paleo eating but paleo living.

Along the same line, #9 is Modern Paleo, a new blog by Christian W. and Diana Hsieh on paleo eating and living written by objectivists.

Number 10 is Mark's Daily Apple another good paleo site.

Eleventh is OEvolve, another good objectivist list of rational eating managed by Monica Hughes that you can just observe as a lurker, like me, or sign up to be a poster on your experiences and ask questions as well.

Twelfth is another good blog on parenting by Rachel Miner called Playful Spirit.

That's it for now but there will be another update in April. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Urgent Action Required.

With his permission I'm reprinting this post by Dr. Paul Hsieh and I recommend everyone contact your House Rep. and urge them to vote no on the health bill now before the House.

This upcoming week will be *the* critical week in the health care
fight. Speaker Pelosi is expected to start the process for the House
to hold its final vote to approve the Senate Bill. The vote will
probably take place at the end of this upcoming week.

Right now, they are probably still a few votes shy of the majority
they need:

"Dem House vote-counter lacks health care votes now"

"Can Nancy Pelosi Get the Votes?"
Michael Barone, Wall Street Journal, 3/11/2010

Hence, this is an *extremely* risky move by the Democrats.
Normally, a Speaker wouldn't plan on voting on such major
legislation unless he or she was sure of having enough votes.

But the Democrats are also (correctly) concluding that time is not
on their side. They have made the calculation that if they push for
it now, then maybe then can squeeze out the last few votes via a
combination of threats and bribes. For example, they have
"sweetened" the deal for the wavering moderates by promising
billions of dollars of new student loan subsidies:

On the other hand they recognize that if they wait much longer,
then when these wavering Congressmen go back home for the
Easter recess, they will get an earful from their constituents who are
strongly opposed to the bill, and they'll lose even more support:

Hence, from the Democrats' perspective, it's now or never.

From our perspective, this means three things:

1) We are winning. We have a chance to defeat this terrible bill.

In particular, do not get discouraged when you read the inevitable
news stories about how the Democrats are "close to getting the
votes" or how Pelosi is "confident she'll have the votes". She has
to exude an aura of public confidence, otherwise her coalition will
quickly unravel.

Polls repeatedly show Americans opposed to ObamaCare:

"Why Obama Can't Move the Health-Care Numbers"
Rasmussen and Schoen, Wall Street Journal, 3/9/2010

Similarly, head counts of House Democrats also show that they
don't quite have enough votes yet:

"Scrambling for votes, Democrats face uphill climb to pass
healthcare reform"
The Hill, 3/13/2010

"The Hill's 'Whip Count' on ObamaCare -- as of 3/13/2010"

If they had the votes, they'd have already passed it by now.

2) We have to keep the pressure up. The Democrats are pulling out
all stops to find some way to get this through now, before the
critical Easter recess.

At this point in time, the single most important thing you can do is
tell your Congressman to vote "NO" on this bill:

This is especially important if your Congressman is one of the
undecided or swing votes on this "Code Red" list:

But even if your Congressman is a firm "Yes", it's still important to
let them know. If even the liberal Democrats from "safe" seats
consistently hear that their constituents are against it, it will give the
wavering moderates more political cover to vote "No". They can
tell their Pelosi, "Even *your* constituents hate this thing -- there's
no way I can support it".

*** Our counter-pressure is our best weapon against the pressure
that the statists will exert on these wavering Congressmen. ***

Your letter doesn't have to long or eloquent. It just has to convey
certainty, passion, and moral conviction. Something short and
simple like:

"Please vote NO on this terrible health care plan! If you vote yes,
you will destroy the ability of me and my family to receive good
health care in the future. This is personal! If you vote yes, we will
never forgive you for hurting our lives and trampling on our basic

(You may wish to adapt that to suit your own style and values.)

Feel free to use all contact methods - phone, fax, and e-mail. And
please feel free to contact them multiple times over the upcoming
week. In this context, repetition is a virtue!

And of course, if your Congressman is a probable or firm "No",
then thank him or her for his position. They also need our moral

3) If you have friends or family in other parts of the country, tell
them to do the same thing and contact *their* Congressmen:

If you need intellectual ammunition for them, one of my personal
favorites is from the AFCM website:

"Fifty Fallacies About Health Care" by Richard Ralston

Jared Rhoads' Lucidicus Project also has a good set of OpEds:

And of course, FIRM has its archive of articles/OpEds:

I personally think that the most important thing we can do in the
next few days will be to directly contact our Congressmen and have
friends/family do the same. LTE's and OpEds will still be
important, but not as much as before. (That said, I'm stilll going to
continue writing and/or disseminating some of my earlier writings
to people I know around the country.)

This is the endgame, folks. Most political observers regard the
health care bill as a 50-50 "toss-up" or "too close to call". It really
could go either way. What happens this week will set the course of
this great country (for good or for ill) for decades to come.

Your voice could be the critical difference in swaying the right one
or two minds. If you value your lives and your freedom, the time
to speak up is *now*!

(Anyone is welcome to forward or repost this e-mail to any
appropriate recipients or venues.)

-- Paul
Paul Hsieh, MD

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Grandpa's Notes on Discipline

As a grandpa who does a lot of babysitting--I have 5 grand kids under the age of 4 1/2 with another on the way--I believe in the theory of positive discipline. Info on this can be had at the sites of Rational Jenn and The Little Things.

But I want to focus on one aspect of discipline: talking to young children when they are behaving badly. I've seen adults yell at their kids saying things like "You're being bad" or You're a bad boy/girl" and "What's wrong with you?" and so on. I am afraid though that a steady diet of words like that might cause the kids to conclude that there is something innately wrong with them over which they have no control. I don't want to take that chance.

Now I like to use different words and phrases. When they are being defiant or otherwise misbehaving, I tell them they are making bad decisions or bad choices and I try to follow that up with reasons why that they will understand. I think this reinforces in their mind the fact of free will while informing that not all choices will be good for them.

Of course it's a law of nature that kids forget fast, so constant repetition is needed. So is lots of patience. This is because their desire to use their free will can be almost irresistible. That can lead to conflicts.

Of course the flip side of this coin is commenting on when they do good. I like to see them get their happiness from the achievement of things without me saying anything. But young kids often want to share a new accomplishment with their adults so when I comment I say things like "Good job" or "Well done" or "Good thinking" and so on. I try to avoid "You're so smart" or 'You're really good" etc.

Positive Discipline has more to say on these subjects so be sure to visit the above links.

Friday, January 22, 2010

January 2010 VDA Newsletter

Once again and because education is so important here is the latest newsletter from the VanDamme Academy.

Pedagogically Correct Volume 4, Issue 2
January 22, 2010

"Pedagogy": The art and science of teaching.
:: Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
:: Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
:: Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog

Follow this link for the latest VanDamme Academy Newsletter, which features the following article entitled "What Did You Learn Today" (Written by Kyle Steele-ME)

I was sitting on the floor, fixing a desk, when one of my students and her mother came into the room. They were unaware of my presence as the mother helped her daughter gather her homework. Looking at the board, she said, "Nothing is written down for math. What did you do in math today?" Her daughter's response was, "Well... basically, we drew a mountain and that's about it."

If her summary of the day's events hadn't been so comical, I would have been mortified by her answer. Was this all she remembered from my complicated lecture on long division? Though I was tempted to hide myself further under the desk, I stood up and probed my student's memory further. With the right questions, she was able to tell me that the mountain was a metaphor for the steps involved in learning long division and that we'd spent most of the class discussing quotients and remainders.

Her mother was satisfied with this but I was not. My student, quite understandably, remembered the most unusual and silly part of the class and not the lesson. While I'm happy that my students have vivid memories of the metaphor, it is useless unless they recall the metaphor's meaning! I was concerned that this might be the typical kind of answer parents received to that age-old, important question, "What did you do in school today?"

At the end of the next day's lesson, I decided to ask that question myself. "If I were your father and I asked you what you did in class today, what would you say?" The response I got was interesting. Most children could give a vague answer, but not as specific as I would have liked. They could tell me we did long division problems, but it would have been more accurate to say we did problems with a four-digit dividend. I helped them to form this more precise answer.

This exercise, naming what we've learned at the end of each class, has become a routine part of the class and the kids love it. Each of them is eager to come up with the most precise answer. They strive to capture the finest detail that separates today's lesson from previous lessons. I love it, not because it prepares my students to be questioned by their parents, but because my students are refining their own understanding.

It's very easy for a student to let the activities of the day become a blur. Even the best students in the best classes can go through the routine of the day without taking a moment to reflect. But by taking a few minutes each class to discuss what we've learned and give a name to the work we've done, the knowledge they've gained is no longer a blur, but a firmly held concept. It becomes a hard piece of knowledge with clear edges.

Furthermore, this exercise helps the motivation of my students. Naming what we do helps them to remember that each day holds a new lesson. It is very satisfying to look back on a class and say, "We've accomplished this." One of the things that sets VanDamme Academy's curriculum apart from others is that we want our students to hold their knowledge conceptually; knowledge that can be put into words and has a clear connection to reality. It is a goal we pursue doggedly. Naming each lesson is one more way we achieve that goal.

Calling All LifeLong Learners: Learn Science the VanDamme Academy Way!
Now Anyone Can Understand The Fundamental Principles of Science Better than Most Scientists
"Fundamen tals of Physical Science: A Historical, Inductive Approach"
By David Harriman, Historian and Philosopher of Physics

Learn all about it at our brand new website.

Here's what other Pedagogically Correct Readers are Saying:

"I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in physics, and I was amazed at how much I learned from David Harriman's course. This course stands head and shoulders above any other course or textbook I have encountered."

"It's perfect for someone relatively new to physics like myself; it's perfect for even advanced people who want a deeper historical perspective than is usually taught...I found Mr. Harriman's physics course to be an exciting walk through the fascinating world of physics."

"I think this type of course is needed for everyone, as in my experience, it's so far above the courses I've had throughout my life as far as the actual transmittal of knowledge is concerned...In short, this course has made science and math much more intelligible for me, and was completely worth the time and cost - I highly recommend it."

I was a physics major when I entered college, yet I can easily say that my actual understanding of physics is much greater as a result of this course than I can credit to any other class I've taken.

With this course you will:
* Finally understand the world around you, the world of science and technology, in a way you never thought possible. (No, you don't have to be a math wiz.)
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* Be inspired by scientists' amazing 2500-year quest to unlock the mysteries of the physical world.
* And have a great time in the process!

All thanks to a one-of-a-kind science teaching methodology available in no other course or textbook.

Recommend Pedagogically Correct to five friends, get Lisa VanDamme's e-book, "Reclaiming Education," for free!
Lisa VanDamme's educational career began when a group of parents, disillusioned with standard public and private schools, hired her to educate their children. In 1998, she chronicled her successes homeschooling and explained the methods that made them possible in a lecture, "Reclaiming Education." The audience, fascinated by her insights about education, and inspired by the stories she told, gave her a standing ovation. In 1999, she made "Reclaiming Education" available in written form, to the delight of thousands of readers. Since 1999, the essay version of "Reclaiming Education" has been unavailable. Until now.

For the first time in almost 8 years, we will make this remarkable work available. And we are giving it away for FREE as an e-book to those who help us grow Pedagogically Correct by recommending it to their friends. Just send enter the email addresses of at least five friends who might appreciate an invitation to receive PC--along with a brief personal note, or our standard note below. We will not add anyone to our email database without their permission.

Click here to refer five friends and get your copy of "Reclaiming Education."

Announcement: Pedagogically Correct Blog
Check out our 'blog, which will contain much (but not all) of the material we sent out in our newsletters. Spread the word!

VanDamme Academy encourages you to forward our newsletter to your friends or post it on your website or blog. If this newsletter has been forwarded to you, you can sign up to receive Pedagogically Correct for free, at www.vandammeacademy. com.

Happy Learning!

VanDamme Academy--Experience the Power of a Real Education

VanDamme Academy
phone: 949-510-4861