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CHAPTER ONE
The Story of Vic Charles

by Bob Staranowicz

Excerpt: "As he stepped off the gleaming silver plane - his "Freedom Bird" - he slowly knelt and kissed the ground. Vic was home, home after a year of terror and fear. He was home to marry the girl he had left behind - Molly. He was home to once again become a normal citizen and to forget about the horrors he had experienced in his year in Vietnam. He would become normal once again, or would he..."

 

THE DRUDGE MANIFESTO
by Matt Drudge (with Julia Phillips)

The Internet's first investigative journalist, who uncovered the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal first, & who still is a thorn in the side of the Clinton-Gore administration scandals, or any political scandals for that matter, has earned this from Amazon.com's book review: "...Like it or not, he has become a force in Internet Journalism." You can purchase this at 40% off from Amazon.com thru this website.

 

THE O'REILLY FACTOR: THE GOOD, THE BAD, & THE COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS IN AMERICAN LIFE
by Bill O'Reilly

Cable TV's most popular host, surpassing Larry King, with his program of the same name, O'Reilly has penned his latest book, based upon his show. He performs his journalistic duties like they should be performed: Fair, balanced, objective, & with honesty & professional integrity (which is why most politicians don't like appearing on his program on the Fox News Channel). You can purchase this at 40% off from Amazon.com thru this website.

 

TRIUMPH OF LIBERTY
by Jim Powell

"Of humankind's great achievements over the past 2,000 years, one towers above all the rest: the arduous, painstaking process of wresting liberty from tyranny's iron fist. The Triumph of Liberty chronicles this, our most inspiring story, through sixty-five biographical portraits. From the millions of men and women whose struggles and successes have made freedom possible, Jim Powell has chosen a few talented, courageous individuals, and by weaving together their moving life-stories tells..."

BOOK REVIEW
Charles Stampul reviewsWhat Price Fame?
by Tyler Cowen.
Harvard University Press 2000
* 248 pages, including bibliography and index * $22.00

Reviewed by Charles Stampul

What would motivate a person to launch a destructive computer virus, commit a mass murder, receive counseling on national television, or show video of highly personal activities over the Internet? The answer of course is fame. In the quest to get noticed and stand out from the crowd people are compromising taste, personal integrity and morality.

But like the profit motive, the desire to gain acclaim has driven people to create and accomplish great things, not just in the realms of art, literature, music and athletics, but also in the fields of science and technology. The lure of fame has led to erosion of cultural institutions and separation of fame and merit, but only because the mass of people ceased to value scientific, technological, and artistic accomplishments. This is a critical point missed by Tyler Cowen in What Price Fame?

An economist at George Mason University, Cowen blames the free market system for the deterioration of cultural institutions and the separation of fame and merit. "The modern world," he writes, "generates fame without requiring consensus on which performers are most meritorious. The decentralization of our market economy allows production-including the production of fame-to proceed without an overall plan. As markets distribute fame more widely and more diversely, most fame rewards will stand apart not only from merit but from any particular standard."

In Cowen's judgment, markets should correct, or at least not exacerbate the lack of individual tastes, values, and judgment responsible for the separation of fame and merit. The market, however, should not be expected to give people an appreciation for art, and it should not be expected to compensate for people's propensity to adopt the likes and dislikes of the crowd. The role of the market is to satisfy desires, not parent against them.

Cowen believes that the separation of fame and merit is the price we pay for modern democracy. This belief is based on a deterministic view that the mass of people will always have poor and undeveloped tastes. He overlooks the very real possibility that moral and esthetic values could improve. The way moral and esthetic standards could improve is through the abolition of compulsory government schooling.

In the United States and most other industrialized nations, the state has a virtual monopoly on education at the grammar and high school levels and a stranglehold on education at the university level. Insulated from the competitive process, the state provides a substandard level of education. People have blamed the state's education monopoly for high levels of scientific illiteracy and poor English composition skills, but have largely dismissed its role in driving down moral and esthetic standards.

In state run compulsory schools children are taught to reject objective standards. For instance, children are taught that the fantastic paintings, drawings and sculptures of Leonardo da Vinci are no better or no worthier of discussion than the "pop art" of Andy Warhol. This attitude toward art extends to literature, music, athletics, architecture, etc.

Many people blame the media for the public's poor tastes. The media, however, has little influence on individuals who think independently. Its influence is primarily on those susceptible to psychological conditioned and indoctrinated-those educated in government controlled schools.

Since the state takes on the role of educating and cultivating the minds of children, it must accept the responsibility for the decline in moral and esthetic standards, just as it must accept the responsibility for high levels of scientific illiteracy, and poor English composition skills. Until or unless people are free of compulsory government schooling for a long period of time, we cannot know how great of a capacity the average person has to identify, appreciate and reward musical, literary, artistic, scientific and business accomplishments.

But regardless of whether putting an end to compulsory government schooling would improve our culture and polity, efforts to raise moral and esthetic standards through subsides and tax deductions are not morally justified. Groups and collectives do not have the right to use public money to advance the careers of individuals they think are worthy of acclaim. Furthermore, government fine tunings of the fame market, as Cowen correctly points out, are unlikely to succeed. So for now, the separation of fame and merit is the price we pay, not for democracy, or for capitalism, but for the doctrine of cultural relativism and the institution responsible for its inculcation

Charles Stampul writes On Principle, an individualist ethics column and is at work on a novel entitled Progress. For more information email on_principle@hushmail.com or visit peerlesspress.net


ERIC CLAPTON DEDICATES 2001 TO WORLD TOUR ERIC CLAPTON
From MTV on-line
October 26, 2000

Still riding high from his recent collaboration with blues legend B.B. King, guitar great Eric Clapton announced he will spend part of next year on a world tour that kicks off February 2001 in the UK.

Clapton begins his ambitious trek Feb. 2 with six nights at London's Royal Albert Hall and so far has shows lined up through early April. After numerous dates in England, the next leg of Clapton's tour rolls across Europe and into Russia. The guitarist will then hit the United States, South America and Asia, though specific dates for those areas have yet to be confirmed.

With nearly 40 years of music-making to his credit, Clapton has recorded such classic- and light-rock hits as "Layla," "Wonderful Tonight" and "Lay Down Sally." In June he returned to his blues roots with Riding With the King, a collaboration with B.B. King that debuted at #3 on Billboard magazine's albums chart.

Eric Clapton tour dates:

  • 2/3 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/4 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/6 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/7 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/9 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/10 - London, U.K. @ Royal Albert Hall
  • 2/14 - Manchester, U.K. @ Evening News Arena
  • 2/16 - Birmingham, U.K. @ NEC
  • 2/20 - Lisbon, POR @ Atlantic Pavilion
  • 2/22 - Madrid, SPA @ Sports Palace
  • 2/25 - Barcelona, SPA @ San Jordi
  • 2/26 - Toulouse, FRA @ Zenith
  • 2/28 - Florence, ITA @ Palasport
  • 3/2 - Milan, ITA @ Forum
  • 3/5 - Zurich, SWI @ Hallen Stadion
  • 3/6 - Stuttgart, GER @ Schleyerhalle
  • 3/8 - Koln, GER @ Koln Arena
  • 3/9 - Frankfurt, GER @ Festhalle
  • 3/20 - Paris, FRA @ Bercy
  • 3/23 - Gent, BEL @ Flanders Expo
  • 3/25 - Rotterdam, NET @ Ahoy
  • 3/28 - Copenhagen, DEN @ The Forum
  • 3/31 - Gothenburg, SWE @ Scandinavium
  • 4/1 - Oslo, NOR @ Spectrum
  • 4/3 - Stockholm, SWE @ Globe
  • 4/5 - Helsinki, Fin @ Hartwall Arena
  • 4/8 - St. Petersburg, RUS @ Jubileiny Arena
  • 4/10 - Moscow, RUS @ Convention Center


AL GORE I AM!
by Anonymous

Can we count them with our nose?
Can we count them with our toes?
Should we count them with a band?
Should we count them all by hand?

If I do not like the count,
I will simply throw them out!
I will not let this vote count stand
I do not like them, AL GORE I am!

Can we change these numbers here?
Can we change them, calm my fears?
What do you mean, Dubya has won?
This is not fair, this is not fun

Lets count them upside down this time
Lets count until the state is mine!
I will not let this VOTE count stand!
I do not like it, AL GORE I am!

I'm really ticked, I'm in a snit!
You have not heard the last of it!
I'll count the ballots one by one
And hold each one up to the sun!

I'll count, recount, and count some more!
You'll grow to hate this little chore
But I will not, cannot let this vote count stand!
I do not like it, Al Gore I am!

I won't leave office, I'm stayin' here!
I've glued my desk chair to my rear!
Tipper, Hillary, and Bubba too,
all telling me that I should sue!

We find the Electoral College vile!
RECOUNT the votes until I smile!
We do not want this vote to stand!
We do not like it, AL GORE I am!

How shall we count this ballot box?
Let's count it standing in our socks!
Shall we count this one in a tree?
And who shall count it, you or me?

We cannot, cannot count enough!
We must not stop, we must be tough!
I do not want this vote to stand!
I do not like it AL GORE I am!

I've counted till my fingers bleed!
And still can't fulfill my counting need!
I'll count the tiles on the floor!
I'll count, and count, and count some more!

And I will not say that I am done!
Until the counting says I've won!
I will not let this vote count stand!
I do not like it, AL GORE I am!

What's that? What? What are you trying to say?
You think the current count should stay?
You do not like my counting scheme?
It makes you tense, gives you bad dreams?

Foolish people, you're wrong you'll see!
You're only care should be for me!
I WILL NOT LET THIS VOTE COUNT STAND!
I DO NOT LIKE IT. AND AL GORE I AM!


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