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Socrates on Trial, Part 1: Apology | Libertarianism.org

Transcript

Aaron Ross Powell: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. Im Aaron Powell.

Matthew Feeney: Im Matthew Feeney.

Trevor Burrus: And Im Trevor Burrus.

Aaron Ross Powell: Joining us today is Brian Wilson. Hes co-founder of Combat & Classics, a program out of St. Johns that organizes free online seminars on classic text for active duty reserve and veteran U.S. military. Hes joining us today to discuss Platos Apology.

Brian, lets maybe kick things off by having you tell us a bit about Combat & Classics.

Brian Wilson: Sure. Combat & Classics is sponsored by St. Johns College. Its an outreach program through St. Johns. Im a graduate of the Graduate Institute in Annapolis and when I was kind of transitioning from student to alumnus, approached the dean of the college and just said, Hey, what can I do for you guys?

They just really wanted to get kind of more involvement with the military and we thought the best way to do that was just by what we do at St. Johns which is just Socratic dialogue and great books, just with the military audience.

Trevor Burrus: And does it come over pretty well? I mean are there any text that you tend to focus on mostly in that or is it pretty broad? Is it classic philosophy or plays or Greek and Roman or anything

Brian Wilson: Yeah. I mean the degree from St. Johns is liberal arts. So we study everything from Euclid to Newton to Aristophanes to Plato to basically the kind of classical liberal education. So we try to represent that as best we can with Combat & Classics. We do probably do a little bit more history and philosophy, a little bit more Thucydides, a little bit more Herodotus, a little bit more Plato.

But we try to get in a good amount of things that maybe somebody whos looking at the great books and is in the military has already started on but for instance, our April and our March and April seminars are both Macbeth. So we will be doing Shakespeare for those.

But our February upcoming seminar is on the Iliad. So we do kind of a marshal theme to a certain extent but its a broad swath of classical literature that we use.

Aaron Ross Powell: Well then I guess lets turn to our text. We chose today Platos Apology which is one that youve done seminars on.

Brian Wilson: Yeah.

Aaron Ross Powell: So give us some background on that.

Brian Wilson: So the Apology is Socrates on trial, right? He has apparently corrupted the youth. He is accused of being a heretic, of not believing in the gods and this is Socrates you would call lackluster defense of those charges, but also a robust defense of what it means to be an individual, to be able to stand up to the state and what is the consequences of that for both the individual and the state.

Trevor Burrus: Why would you call the defense lackluster?

Brian Wilson: I think that and Socrates admits those to a certain extent. Meletus, his accuser, has kind of made his case and Socrates is replying and thats the beginning of the dialogue is Socrates replying. He says like what Meletus has said is and the accusers at large which was not true, right? But it sways the jury, right? And it has obviously swayed the jury and he said, Im not going to do that. Im not going to play this game. Im just going to do what I do, which is seek truth, examine virtue and if you guys dont like that, all right. No big deal.

Hes willing to accept the consequences of that decision of being kind of true to himself rather than Im going to make a case to get myself out of punishment.

Trevor Burrus: Should we interpret this as a Ive never gotten a good handle on the theistic I guess kind of piety of the Greeks, of how much are they kind of like modern day Christians who if you dont believe in their gods because I always thought if you are if you believe in many gods, then you believe that you kind of accept other people who believe in those gods too and dont treat them as atheists as much.

So are these trumped up charges? Sort of like this impiety. Was it the worst thing in ancient Greece to believe in different gods than those gods in this corruption of should we interpret them as trumped up charges?

Brian Wilson: No, I think its pretty clear that they are trumped up. You know, whether or not Socrates was an actual theist or an atheist or what is kind of one of those things that and I know that Cato has talked about this in the pas as far as like how much of a deist was Thomas Jefferson and George Washington?

So its those kinds of things where its like only the people that only you know, you know, how much you buy into whatever religious creed you might or might not espouse. So there were certainly questions that Socrates raised that could make people uncomfortable, but theres no statement that I can think of in the entire kind of platonic canon where he comes out and says, I dont believe any of this stuff, right?

But its the questioning that certainly causes this accusation to get carried forward and certainly has swayed a decent amount of the jury.

Aaron Ross Powell: I mean its pretty clear hes not a straight-up atheist.

Brian Wilson: Yeah.

Aaron Ross Powell: Like he very obviously he defends himself along these lines by saying, look, I talk all the time and tell people all the time about

Trevor Burrus: Demigods.

Aaron Ross Powell: Demigods and demons and other things that assume

Trevor Burrus: Does he mean like Hercules? Is that what he its like the Hercules of

Brian Wilson: Yeah, and he talks about the demigods. He talks about the offspring of gods and man and I think you its very much a Rorschach test I think for the reader, right? If you want to read that as if youre an atheist reader approaching the text, then you can go, Oh, hes messing with these guys.

But if youre a theist reader, then you can go, No, hes trying to fit it into this theist doctrine thats part of the community and hes just trying to play by those rules. They may not believe him

Matthew Feeney: I mean its certainly the case at least towards the endI dont want to jump ahead too muchbut that he postulates after death are a couple of possibilities and one is that its just an eternal kind of sleep and the other is hey, Ive got to hang out with Homer and all these other guys. But he seems so at the beginning, theres this question when he speaks to the oracle and it seems like hard to believe someone not taking that seriously with some sort of theistic belief.

If you really dont believe that the oracle was the voice of a god, then hes walking around Athens, trying to see if he could find someone wiser than him. It seems a little pointless.

Trevor Burrus: One final question I want to ask before we open up a bag of worms here, but before we get fully into the text is, Is this a history?

Brian Wilson: I mean your guess is as good as mine on that. I think that I always liked Christopher Hitchens kind of description of Socrates versus Jesus. You know, its like its not important if youre looking at Socrates, whether or not he existed at all, right?

You can take his teachings and you can take whatever you want out of that, right? And its not important if he existed or didnt exist or if this is what he said or didnt say.

Trevor Burrus: But its a little different because in this one, I think one of two maybe of Platos dialogues, Plato is supposed to be there. So maybe he was taking notes. It kind of brings that spectrum a little bit more.

Aaron Ross Powell: But I think this is complicated by so we only have two accounts of Socrates defense. We have Plato and the Xenophon, who was another follower of Socrates. But then at the same time, theres this after Socrates death, it was kind of a thing for writers to write their own versions of his defense. It was like just fan fiction.

Trevor Burrus: Its also probably kind of like a Rorschach test. They all wrote it the way that they saw it.

Aaron Ross Powell: Yes. So I mean its a little bit different. We have almost no text. What we do know about Socrates largely comes from Plato and Xenophon and Plato very clearly drifts away from presenting anything that even is remotely historical or documentary in his later dialogues where we get to just these are Platos ideas and Socrates is a mouthpiece for them.

Theres the argument made that I think seems relatively persuasive to me that of the two apologies that we have, Platos and Xenophons, like Xenophon, well a smart guy, was not a genius on the level of Plato. So its less so Platos genius probably takes over a bit more in his presentation. But theyre I mean theyre similar enough although its the Xenophon, Socrates is not his speech is not the great work of literature that we read for today and is quite a bit more straightforward.

But the skeleton is relatively the same. So we could probably say I mean theres some level of accuracy there but we dont know. So I think largely when were talking about Socrates, were analyzing Socrates in the way that we would talk about Hamlet, right? We act as if we analyze him as a real person while recognizing too that he was a historical figure but what were really talking about is Platos presentation of him.

Trevor Burrus: So lets talk about that skeleton then. How does the dialogue open up?

Brian Wilson: Well, the dialogue, I mean it rolls right into the defense, right? And theres no which I find always find interesting is that theres not really a presentation of the accusers argument. It is just the defense and you have to kind of start with that question.

I mean there is a dialogue thats supposed to have happened right before the trial which is the Euthyphro, which I know Im pronouncing wrong because my Greek is pretty terrible. But they dont really talk much about Socrates trial, right? They talk about Euthyphros trial for manslaughter. So we open with this and Socrates immediately kind of goes for underwhelming. You know, he says, I do not know what effect my accusers had upon you. Hes speaking to the jury. But for my own part, I was almost carried away by them. Their arguments were so convincing. On the other hand, scarcely a word of what they said was true.

Aaron Ross Powell: Its a wonderful line to read during a presidential election.

Brian Wilson: Yeah.

Trevor Burrus: Are we picturing him in an amphitheater type situation with like I picture this as a circle with the people sitting on benches around him while he was speaking to them. Is that a

Brian Wilson: I always think about it just like Perry Mason.

Matthew Feeney: This kind of juries I think were done I forget the name of the location but its quite close to the Acropolis and it would have been about for the time, about 500 people then hearing the accusation and the defense on the top of this rather small hill in Athens.

Brian Wilson: I think that the police procedural has just kind of tainted my visualization a little bit too much. Im visualizing Law and Order.

Aaron Ross Powell: And the setup just the setup of this trial and the way it functions is I think something we could talk about because its fairly interesting as a contrast to the way that we do things now.

Brian Wilson: Sure. I mean he has this jury of 500 people, right? And it seems obvious to me that theyve been fairly swayed by the accusers. What we usually do at St. Johns when were opening a seminar, when were talking about something like this, is that the tutor will just ask an opening question. From there, theres not really were trying to stick to the reading as much as possible. Obviously youre the host and youre the Cato Institute. So if we want to talk about the Iowa caucus, then go for it.

Trevor Burrus: Please no.

Brian Wilson: Probably not. But we just try to stick to the text as much as we can for our points and for our questions. So the question I would like to ask you is, What was Socrates mindset during this trial?

Matthew Feeney: So I think thats a great opening because if you think about the timeline here, hes already an old man. Seventy, which you can say pretty old now, let alone in ancient Greece.

Reading the defense, I got the impression that he might be just sort of resigned to the way this might end and the way it will end because hes an old man and the way hes addressing it, he discusses how death isnt particularly that bad and the important thing is to lead a good life and that you shouldnt calculate the chances of living or dying. You should think about doing the right thing versus the wrong thing and maybe if I die, I will be able to an eternal sleep or talk to people I admire and I can continue these conversations.

So part of me thinks his mindset might be well, I could be doomed but at least I can go out in a great rhetorical flourish and make these people look a little silly. I think he succeeds in doing that, especially with Meletus, that accuser.

Trevor Burrus: Yeah, I agree with Matthew. I think also that I always read Socrates as so tongue-in-cheek the way he spoke to people that I kind of read the Apology as being kind of angry and his righteousness against the accusing this is who I think it is. A libertarian-ish text or something we can learn just political philosophy about a person standing against a power who has the righteous position which he discusses later on.

If you do think you have the righteous position thats the way Socrates does everything. Do you think he would never say it. He would be like hes like, What do you think? Socrates, do you have the righteous position? Hes like, I dont know, sir. Do you think I have the righteous position? Are cows righteous? He would never say it but you know he does think this. Now hes going to stand in front of the polis which is a much more community-oriented type of concept than the current state and then tell them basically like a on both their houses, all of you. So I see anger.

Aaron Ross Powell: Yeah, that was my reading more so than just resignation was the righteousness coming in because hes so he tells us this story of the oracle Adelphi saying that hes the wisest man alive and that he has basically built a career around trying to assess that because he like he doesnt think of himself as wise. But which of course I think he really does but he just likes to think hes not. Its because he recognizes his lack of wisdom that the oracle thinks hes the most wise.

But to kind of test this, he goes around asking people who are presumed to be wise and testing their wisdom and always finding it lacking. So he he has got this other part where he goes in about the training of the horses, right? Where he says you wouldnt when you want to break a horse, you call in an expert. You dont just have like everyone break the horse because thats not going to work and that seems to be a dig against this system.

So I read this as like a like look, Ive been going around showing all of you up and now youve done this dumb thing where youre putting me on trial and so its not just that Im kind of resigned to my fate and I dont really think that living over 70 would be all that awesome anyway and death isnt all isnt something to worry about. But also that Im going to prove like my last act will be proving that I was right all along by getting by showing the complete lack of wisdom of all of you and that seems to be because hes constantly provoking them. This isnt just like a lackluster defense. This is like come and get me, right?

So even when hes given like every opportunity and we get that in the follow-up dialogue, the credo where hes given the opportunity after he has been convicted to run away and hes just he doesnt take it. Like, in every step, he seems to want them to kill him even when I mean theyve declared him guilty and he offers up these basically absurd alternative sentences that he knows theyre going to reject. He just he seems angry and he seems like he wants to demonstrate the foolishness of the people of Athens.

Brian Wilson: Yeah, I mean he I like the idea of anger just because right at 28, he kind of has an external, internal dialogue and says but perhaps someone will say, Do you feel no compunction Socrates in having followed a line of action which puts you in danger of the death penalty? I might fairly reply to him, Youre mistaken my friend if you think that a man whos worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death.

He gives the example of Achilles, right? Which we have this whole book of Homer about it and the first word of that is menace, right? Rage. Singham used the rage of Achilles. So he kind of brings it off and the whole presentation, I mean you can obviously if youre directing this, you can get a Mickey Rourke in there. You can kind of get somebody a little bit more relaxed.

But the rage is there, right? I mean its right in the dialogue when he brings up Achilles. But whats interesting to me is that he says right there, you know, the idea of even questioning that, right? The idea of thinking about that is but thats what Achilles did for half the book. So I feel like theres kind of a maybe a duality there of hes saying its wrong but he might also be implying that theres a certain bit of human nature in wanting to spare yourself. Do any of you feel like Socrates tries at any point to kind of at least give himself some breathing room in the dialogue to maybe convince the jury Im not as big a threat as you think I am?

Matthew Feeney: I think that he certainly does make fools of the accusers and make the charges sound ridiculous but I think as a as Aaron alluded to earlier, after the vote where hes found guilty, but not by a particularly large margin. And Socrates as well, Im glad that you didnt that I got some support here. But then goes on to propose that they give him a pension or that they you know, comparatively, a meager fine be imposed and he seems to he must have known that that would lose him what support he probably did have and then instead of a sort of sensible negotiation or proposal, hes sentenced to death and I think that thats quite telling.

Trevor Burrus: Well, I think that that interesting he does try to some extent but this at the beginning, he mentions Aristophanes The Clouds which kind of parodies Socrates. But he seems like a guy who believes the popular opinion is one thing about him. Like if you imagine a star today and everyone thinks that like theres some sort of rumor about someone and that theres really nothing he can do to change this, especially because I do think that he believes it.

Most people are stupid and so he says, Well, I get up there and I talk to a bunch of stupid people who have an idea about me because of this opinion thats in the clouds and other sort of just rumors about me. Im not going to convince them at all.

But I think he does try or really tries to make a case for the few people who might be willing to listen to him to some degree.

Aaron Ross Powell: Well, that was I mean teasing out this he defends himself but whether its an attempt to soften it as you ask or just to not I guess give in to what he sees as false charges, because he he could have just said, OK, youre right, and then throw himself on the mercy of the court or not really mounted much of a defense if he didnt care one way or another or but it seems like his defense is I guess what I had a difficult time figuring out is how much of the defense was like him trying to like I dont want to be punished. So Im going to try to defend myself versus I totally dont care what happens to me and in fact would like to be punished because it would prove me right.

But I cant stand by because he talks about how much what ultimately matters is not wealth. Its not prestige. Its the kind of person you are. Its your principles and so hes not going to hes going to defend his honor and his principles against these false charges but it doesnt matter what happens to him ultimately.

Trevor Burrus: Can we compare this to I mean it has been of course, but can we compare this to Jesus in front of Pontius Pilate in the sense of Jesus offering a defense against a crowd with a huge bias against him and saying nothing in response to their claims of his own type of disobedience of the Pharisees? I think its very similar except for Jesus was a little bit more taciturn.

Matthew Feeney: Yes. So I havent actually heard much about that comparison but I think what they both have in common is that that to a contemporary 21st century reader in Washington DC, its the thing that Socrates and Jesus do seem to have in common is that theyre being accused of whats effectively thought crime in the like you have the wrong kind of ideas and youre being too persuasive to people and all this other sort of stuff.

Trevor Burrus: But in our post-rationalization because they kind of both start movements these texts are at least written for the purpose of starting a movement. Both of these are just like, well, Im going to die and my death is going to be a lesson. I mean its a really big lesson for Jesus but its they just sort of resigned themselves to their fate and so we see a trial which again has a righteousness of standing against the power that is arrayed against you.

Matthew Feeney: Yeah, and it is the case that Socrates does say I think at the end something look, youre going to think yourself a little silly and I think he has been proven right.

Trevor Burrus: Well, theres a Pharisaic equality to the people who are accusing him. These three accusers who I think are just some sort of they represent classes, if I read that correctly.

Brian Wilson: Yeah. I mean I the way that I kind of tie this in more is I feel like that Plato I mean obviously this is an important part of the canon, right? Of the platonic canon, an important part of Socrates. I dont know if you need it. You need the Pontius Pilate story to have a serious impact on Christianity. I dont know if you need the Apology to make Socrates understood. But it is important. I would compare it more to something like Kafkas The Trial, something like Orwell, something like Eileen Changs Naked Earth where its youre against the state, right?

Socrates lays it out, right? He says very specifically around 31-C he basically says, he says, I dont mess with the state because I know whats going to happen, right? The last part of 31-C, The true champion of justice, if he intends to survive even for a short time, must necessarily confine himself to private life and leave politics alone, right?

Hes trying to go out of his way to do this but the state doesnt care, right? The state just by questioning any aspect of its doctrine is going to get insulted, right?

Trevor Burrus: I like how he was bringing up how he makes no money. There are a lot of things that as a lawyer, there are a lot of things in the world where the state cant get you until youre making money off of it. They dont have any jurisdiction over you until youre making money off of it. So its like, hey, Im just doing this, my own private life. Private is private.

Brian Wilson: Yeah. The thing is that this is the only thing that the only two things that they could threaten, right? It was first saying you cant do this anymore, right? And it was important for him to be able to do it and in Athens and then the only other thing was his life, right?

So if he wants to take that kind of binary look and say, If this or that, it does show how necessary he sees exploring what is the virtuous life as a at least critical for him and I think that that example obviously shines through in a very robust way in what hes talking about.

You know, something that we talk about because weve done this seminar a couple of times with the military audience is around line 29. He says, The truth of the matter is this, gentlemen. This was right after the Achilles comparison. The truth of the matter is this, gentlemen. Where a man has once taken up a stand either because it seems best to him or an obedience to his orders, there I believe he is bound to remain and face the danger, taking no account of death or anything else before dishonor. This being so, it would be a shocking inconsistency on my part, gentlemen, if when the officers whom you chose to command me, assigned me at my position at Potidaea and Amphipolis and Delium, I remained at my post like anyone else and faced death, and yet afterward, when God appointed me, as I supposed and believed, to the duty of leading the philosophical life, examining myself and others, I were then through fear of death or of any other danger to desert my post.

So, well, thats like super firey-uppey for like libertarians. You have to wonder how effective that is. How effective is that analogy to you as readers? How effective potentially is that for a military reader? I mean it certainly puts like a lot of military readers kind of on the horns of the dilemma is you know, there is this idea of death before dishonor.

You know, why is Socrates so set on either not teaching philosophy as more dishonorable than death?

Matthew Feeney: Well, I think it might strike us as maybe a little odd as readers now to hear that rhetoric, especially coming from someone who was a philosopher. But I think its important to remember that Socrates was also a soldier for a while and that one of the accusers is a general who fought the Spartans in the Peloponnesian War and that a lot of people in Athens at the time would have understood the role of the military and would probably have served. I think its some sort of appeal and of course saying, Im just like Achilles, is a clear everyone in ancient Greece would have known the reference clearly and who legends were very popular.

Of course Achilles had this living with dishonor is worse than death and that even if I know Im dead after I fight and kill Hector, thats worthwhile. He seems to view his own death I mean I think that Socrates arrogance is on display in a number of places. But my favorite example of that was when he says, Maybe if I die, my death will be like other people who died unjustly, and he cites Palamedes who was of course sent to get Odysseus, the great trickster, to come to Troy and Palamedes tricked the trickster because of Odysseus tried to pretend to be insane, was so insulting to the earth and Palamedes put Odysseus son Telemachus in front of the plough and tricked Odysseus because Odysseus wasnt going to cut his own son in half off the plough.

I just find that a really interesting that when he says, My death will be like other unjust deaths, and that is death of at least one particularly clever person is really quite telling. But no, I think going back to the original line of inquiry here that the military rhetoric is very deliberate and I think he must have known that it would have pulled on the heartstrings of a few of the people on the jury.

Trevor Burrus: Well, a lot of this tradition of death before dishonor or anyone from Gandhi to Martin Luther King to people standing against and saying, I will not forsake my principles for this thing thats standing against me that has none of these principles at all, it resonates with almost everyone. I mean movies, everything, is made after this and you could always sort of put a libertarian spin on this.

But I think its interesting that this is something I had noticed before that I dont have the exact locations unfortunately that you do for the official version. But he has done this before. Socrates talks about the Thirty, in like how he had done this before. He had stood against this the Thirty

Aaron Ross Powell: The tyrants.

Trevor Burrus: When the oligarchy of the Thirty was in power, they sent me and four others into the rotunda and bade us bring Leon the Salaminian from Salamis as they wanted to put him to death. This was a specimen of the sort of commands which they were always giving with the view of implicating as many as possible in their crimes.

So we get this theres basically some sort of Stalinist despotism, just killing people left and right. And then I showed not in word only but in deed that if I may be allowed to use up an expression, I cared not a straw for death and that my great and only care was lest I should do an unrighteous or unholy thing. For the strong arm of that oppressive power did not frighten me into doing wrong and when we came out of the rotunda, the other four went to Salamis and fetched Leon, but I went quietly home. For which I might have lost my life, had not the power of the Thirty shortly afterwards come to an end. And many will witness to my words.

Its kind of interesting that at some point Im not sure historically how long that was. He had the habit of this death before unrighteousness kind of thing.

Matthew Feeney: Yeah. The historical context here is interesting because this sort of this oligarch, this pro-Spartan set of tyrants were in charge effectively, in charge of Athens and

Trevor Burrus: Do you know what years?

Matthew Feeney: So this was 404 BC.

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Socrates on Trial, Part 1: Apology | Libertarianism.org

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Describe a Forest Ecosystem | Our Everyday Life

by Mara Dolph

The forest ecosystem contains many smaller habitats.

A forest ecosystem is defined as an area dominated by trees and other woody plants. Forests aren’t only trees, however. Healthy forests have a lot going on in them, and many different species of both animals and plants that call them home. There are many different types of forests in the world, ranging from tropical rain forests to the dense sub-polar taiga. To truly understand a forest ecosystem, it is easiest to break it down into the five layers that most healthy forests have. Animals that live in a forest move between the layers to feed and hunt.

The canopy section of a forest is the very top, and consists of the tallest, oldest trees, which can reach heights of 150 to 200 feet. This layer is the harshest of the five layers because it is exposed to everything that nature throws its way. It gets whipped by the wind, exposed to the sun without shade, receives the brunt of downpours, and is the most likely to be struck by lightning. Animal that live in this layer are those adapted to living tough, and include birds, tree frogs, snakes, lizards and hard-bodied insects.

The understory is the layer just below the canopy, and consists of those trees that are still growing but haven’t reached full height. This environment is protected from the elements somewhat by the canopy layer, and is therefore less harsh. Trees in the understory are growing slower because they have less light, and tend to be a bit thinner in foliage. There is a greater variety of animals that live in this layer, including birds, butterflies and caterpillars, frogs and tree mammals like squirrels and raccoons, in the north, and monkeys, in the tropics.

The shrub layer is the next level down, and is dominated by woody plants that never grow very tall. Some of these are very young trees or trees that remain shorter, but most are shrubs, which are woody plants that have more than one stem. Shrubs can get as tall as 15 to 20 feet, but most top out at around 10, and many are shorter than that. Lichens can grow on tree bark between the shrub layer and the understory, and animal life also thrives. The shrub layer is home to many different kinds of insects and spiders, birds, snakes and lizards.

The herbaceous layer is the layer just above the forest floor, and consists of tree seedlings and non-woody plants. These include mosses and a variety of flowers. The forest floor consists of the leaf litter– a thick bed of leaves dropped from the trees– and the soil. These layers are the backbone of the forest. Without good soil, trees have nothing to root into, and in the north, the leaf litter acts as insulation for tree roots and soil-based animals. Hornets, butterflies, birds, worms, slugs, snails, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, snakes live at this level, as well as billions of microbes, all of which contribute to soil health.

Mara Dolph is a career outdoor educator and conservation biologist. She holds a BA in the Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a graduate certificate from the Center for Environmental Research and Conservation program at Columbia University. She has been a writer for six years, and has contributed articles for “Outdoors in NYC.”

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Describe a Forest Ecosystem | Our Everyday Life

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What is Libertarianism? – CNNPolitics.com

This is not without reason. Libertarians talk a lot about auditing the Federal Reserve and returning U.S. currency to the gold standard. They rail against the war on drugs and many of them, including the party’s front-runner, enjoy pot. But as the Libertarian Party gathers in Florida to select its nominee during an unprecedented year in politics, it has a chance to break out of the fringe.

Founded in 1971, the Libertarian Party offers an ideological and political alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, in favor of reducing government involvement in all sectors, from the economy to social issues.

Although disagreement abounds on specific measures and the extent to which government should shrink, Libertarians almost universally advocate for slashing government benefits, reducing economic regulations and implementing radical reform — if not the outright elimination — of the Federal Reserve. On social matters, Libertarians generally take a liberal approach, favoring same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of most, or all, drugs. The party is deeply pro-gun rights and takes a skeptical stance on any military involvement in other countries.

Many of these ideas are rooted in principles espoused by Ayn Rand, author of “Atlas Shrugged.” Rand helped popularize the controversial Libertarian principle that “egoism” was preferable to altruism — that one’s self-interest trumped anything else so long as it did not mean hurting anyone else.

These ideas are old, and debates over core Libertarian principles abound. Rather than dig through the weeds, CNN reached out to several contemporary Libertarians — all of whom will be key players in the national convention this weekend — to get a better understanding of Libertarianism as it stands now.

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the party’s 2012 presidential nominee and the frontrunner this cycle, said, “The more government does, the less freedom we enjoy. The Libertarian view is in favor of smaller government and greater individual liberty.”

Austin Petersen, a hardcore party advocate and candidate for president, said Libertarianism “means being fiscally conservative and socially whatever you want provided you don’t force it on anyone else.”

He said people could live as they pleased. Whether that meant living by traditional values or taking hard drugs, Petersen said the government should not regulate anyone’s lifestyle.

“You can live a socially conservative lifestyle, but it doesn’t mean you want to legislate other people to have a socially conservative lifestyle,” Petersen said.

Petersen has split with many socially liberal members of his party on abortion, which allows him to pitch himself social conservatives in a way other candidates cannot.

“I believe a fetus is a human child,” Petersen said. “You cannot have liberty without sanctity of life.”

Meanwhile, John McAfee, a cybersecurity expert who earned international notoriety years before his recent run for the Libertarian nomination, described libertarianism as an economic and social lifestyle of its own. He rolled off a list of principles he said defined his understanding of the party.

“Number one, our bodies and our minds belong to ourselves and not to the government or anyone else for that matter. Number two, we should not harm one another,” McAfee recited.

“Number three, we should not take each other’s stuff. We should not steal each other’s property. Number four, we should keep our agreements.”

Carla Howell, political director of the Libertarian National Committee, offered the party’s own answer.

“We advocate for minimum government and maximum freedom,” Howell said.

When it comes to policy, Howell cited party commitments to cutting taxes, ending the war on drugs and privatizing poorly performing government agencies. She took the TSA to task in particular, calling for its elimination. Howell also said the Libertarian Party advocates ending military interventions and foreign aid, which she said would promote peace and reduce spending.

“Bottom line,” Howell said, “We need to make government much smaller than it is today.”

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What is Libertarianism? – CNNPolitics.com

Molecular medicine – definition of molecular medicine by …

Tabassum Zehra(MBBS) in Pharmacology, Farina Hanif in Molecular Medicine, Naziya Zaki in Quran and Sunnah, Muhammd Arif in Pharmacology, Kashif Ali Safdar in Pharmaceutics, Mahwish in Applied Chemistry, Rizwana Razi in Chemistry, Jahan Ara in Arabic and Hasan in Arabic. The contract is the delivery of a unique combined instrument systems for molecular medicine with accessories for UVP Medipark Ko? It is awarded annually by Molecular Medicine to mid-career scientists who have made a demonstrable impact in the understanding of human diseases pathogenesis and/or treatment, and who hold significant promise for making even greater contributions to the general field of molecular medicine. The School accepted its first 40 students last month — 30 for Masters and 10 for PhD degrees, from Cyprus and abroad — in two programmes: those of genetic medicine and molecular medicine. We see PWC as the most qualified professionals to help the Al Jawhara Centre reach a world standard in molecular medicine, academic training, medical services and technology transfer. Molecular Medicine for Clinicians, written by experts from the University of the Witwatersrand, working in diverse biological science fields, gives an excellent overview of modern molecular biology applicable to basic cellular mechanisms, pathology, diagnosis and therapy. CTMM (Center for Translational Molecular Medicine) is a Netherlands-based public-private partnership dedicated to the development of technologies in molecular medicine that enable early diagnosis and personalised treatment for oncology, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and infectious/auto-immune disease – the four main areas of disease causing mortality and diminished quality of life in the western world. Once fully complete, the facility will be able to house up to 350 science professionals, including the likes of chemists, biologists, biophysicists, clinician scientists, certified radiology and nuclear medicine physicians as well as engineers; the molecular medicine department alone is expected to employ 200 people. Many books describe DNA in medicine, from monographs to multiple-author heavy volumes, but the uniqueness of this single-author introductory textbook of molecular medicine is that it simplifies the seemingly complex concepts of DNA in medicine so that readers can find an easy entry into the world of molecular medicine. Walther of the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch and his colleagues created mutant mice that lack this enzyme. Amarillo, TX; 806-376-1741) will be working with Molecular Medicine Research Institute (Mountain View, CA) and its founder, Dr. The colloquium will focus on measuring, detecting, and monitoring in these areas: 1) recognizing and addressing established and emerging infectious diseases, 2) ensuring a safe food supply, 3) averting catastrophic bioterrorism and biowarfare, and 4) advancing human genetics and molecular medicine.

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Molecular medicine – definition of molecular medicine by …

Praying with Body, Mind, and Voice

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Praying with Body, Mind, and Voice

Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics … – Libertarianism.org

Transcript

Trevor Burrus: Welcome to Free Thoughts from Libertarianism.org and the Cato Institute. Im Trevor Burrus.

Aaron Powell: And Im Aaron Powell.

Trevor Burrus: Joining us today is Thomas C. Leonard, research scholar at the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University and lecturer at Princeton Universitys Department of Economics. He is the author of the new book, Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics, and American Economics in the Progressive Era. Welcome to Free Thoughts.

Thomas Leonard: Thanks. Nice to be with you.

Trevor Burrus: So Id like to start with the title which says a lot by itself. Why Illiberal Reformers?

Thomas Leonard: Well, everyone knows that the scholars and activists who dismantled laissez faire and built welfare state were reformers. They dont call it the progressive era for nothing. But its my claim that a central feature of that reform, central feature of erecting the regulatory state, a new kind of state, was the producing of liberties in the name of various conceptions of the greater good. Not just economic liberties, property rights, contract and so forth, thats sort of a well-known part of the transition from 19th century liberalism to 20th century liberalism, but also I maintain civil and personal liberties as well.

Trevor Burrus: And what time period, are we talking about just after the turn of the century or the turn of the 20th century or going back further than that?

Thomas Leonard: Well, the idea is the architecture, if you will, the blueprints were drawn up sort of in the last decade and a half of the 19th century and they gradually made their way into actual sort of legislation and institutions, government institutions in the first 2 decades of the 20th century. Sort ofto use the usual scholarly terms kind of late gilded age and then the progressive era.

Trevor Burrus: So, who are these people, these reformers? Are they politicians mostly or are they in some other walk of life?

Thomas Leonard: Eventually they are politicians, but the politicians have to be convinced first. So the convincers in the beginning are a group of intellectuals or if you like scholars. They are economists, sociologists, population scientists, social workers.

Trevor Burrus: Population scientists, are those basically Malthusians or?

Thomas Leonard: No. Today we call them demographers.

Trevor Burrus: We dont use that term anymore. We call them what today?

Thomas Leonard: No. No. Today, we would call them demographers.

Trevor Burrus: Oh, okay.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah. Its not quiteit doesnt have to sound that sinister. But one of the interesting things, Trevor, about social science in this kind ofin its very beginnings in the late 19th century is itsits only beginning to become an academic discipline which is part of the book story. And a lot of social science kind of social investigations, fact-finding, research reports, a lot of that is being done outside the academy in the immigrant settlement houses, to a lesser extent in government administrative agencies, in investigations funded by the brand-new foundations and eventually in this brand-new invention called the Think Tank.

Aaron Powell: Was this increasing influence by what these people are ultimately working is largely academic, so is this new for academics or academics this influential before this?

Thomas Leonard: No. It is new. Its a revolution in academia. If we could transport ourselves backwards in time to Princeton, say, in 1880, we wouldnt recognize the place. American colleges, you know, just after the Civil War were tiny institutions. They werent particularly scholarly. They were denominational. They were led by ministers. In Princetons case, they would have been finishing southern gentlemen and you wouldnt recognize it at all.

If, however, we could transport ourselves back to, say, 1920, just at the end of the progressive era, you would recognize everything about the place. The social sciences had been invented and installed. Theres the beginning of the physical sciences in academia and its no longer just the classics, theology and a little bit of philosophy and mathematics. Part of the story of the rise of reform is the story of this revolution in American higher ed which takes place between 1880 and 1900.

Trevor Burrus: In the book, you discussed how Germany figures into this to some degree, which I thought was kind of interesting because Germany also figured into reforming our public education below higher ed but Germany status in the intellectual world was very influential on Americans in particular.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah, thats quite right. The German connection is crucial for understanding the first generation of economists and other reformers. In the 1870s and into the 1880s, if you wanted to study cutting-edge political economy, Germany was where you went and all of the founders of American economics and indeed most of the other sort of newly hatching social sciences did their graduate work in Bismarck in Germany. And its only sort of beginning in the 1890s that American higher end catches up but, boy, does it catch up quickly. Thats why we use the term revolution.

But the turn of the century, you know, the number of graduate students in the United States getting Ph.D.s is in the thousands. You know, sort of after the Civil War even as late as 1880, it would have just been a handdful.

Trevor Burrus: So what did these people start thinking aboutI mean these illiberal reformers, what did they get in their head partially from Germany, partially from other sources which we can talk about later? But in the sort of general overview when they looked at society, what did they sort of maybe not suddenly but at that moment, what did they decide they wanted to do with it?

Thomas Leonard: Well, another thing to understand is that most of them, in addition to sort of having this German model of how an economy works and also a German model of how an economy should be regulated, there were also evangelical protestants, most of them grew up in evangelical homes, most of them were sons and daughters of ministers or missionaries and they had, you know, this extraordinary zeal, this desire to set the world to rights. And they looked around them during the industrial revolution and they saw what really was extraordinary, unprecedented, economic and social change which we cannot gather under the banner of the industrial or at least the American industrial revolution.

And when they looked around them, they saw injustice. They saw low wages. There was a newly visible class of the poor in the cities. They saw inefficiency. They saw labor conflict. They saw uneducated men getting rich and this upending of the old social order in their view was not only inefficient, it was also un-Christian and immoral and it needed to be reformed, and they were sort ofits important to say unabashed about using evangelical terminology. They referred to this is the first generation of progressives. They referred to their project as bringing a kingdom of heaven to Earth.

Aaron Powell: Then how did theyso theyve got this project. Theyve identified these issues that they want to change. How did they go about turning that concern and the expertise that they thought they had into control of the reins of power or influence within government?

Thomas Leonard: Great question. It wasnt easy. They understood that they had a tall task in front of them. They had to persuade those in power that reform was needed and reform was justified. And it helped that 2 other students, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson went on too famous as politicians and so did other progressives at lower levels too. Part of the idea of academic economics in this sort of beginning stage was that you didnt just spend time in the library or do blackboard exercises. Your job was to go out and make the world a better place.

So, I think the best way to think about it was they, along with many other reformers, wrote for the newspapers, went on the lecture circuits, bent the air of politicians first at the state level and then later at the federal level and said its a new economic world. The old economic ideas, laissez faire as they called it, are not only is it immoral, its economically obsolete and we need to build a new relationship not unlike the model that Germany provided between the state and economic life. And very gradually it happened.

Trevor Burrus: They were talking about also the emergence of the administrative state comes into this too because then they can take over posts in government that are not necessarily elected where their expertise is supposed to be utilized.

Thomas Leonard: Thats exactly right. The crucial point is that we think about the progressive era as a huge expansion in the size and scope of government and indeed it is that. But the progressives didnt just want bigger government. They also wanted a new kind of government, which they saw as a better form, as a superior form of government. Famously the progressives werent just unhappy with economic life which was one thing, they were also unhappy with American political life and with American government which they saw and rightly so as corrupt and inefficient and not doing what it should be doing to improve society and economy. So they wanted to not only to expand state power but also to relocate it, to move government authority away from the courts which traditionally had held quite a bit of regulatory power and away from legislatures and into what they sometimes called a new fourth branch of government, the administrative state.

Trevor Burrus: And youre right, youre right in your book which I think this is a very succinct way of pointing it. Progressivism was first and foremost an attitude about the proper relationship of science and its bearer, the scientific expert, to the state and of the state to the economy and polity. And so these expertsI also want to think we should make clear, this was not a fringe group of intellectuals and academic professors. This waswould you say it was the mainstream or at least a kind of whos who of American intellectuals and all the great Ivy League institutions?

Thomas Leonard: Absolutely. Its the best and brightest if I can use an anachronistic phrase. Now, we have to be a little careful with Ivy League because the centers of academic reform are at places like Wisconsin and to some extent at Columbia and at Johns Hopkins and to some extent at Penn. But the old colonial colleges like Harvard and Yale were a little late to catch up. It took them a while to catch on to this new German model of graduate seminars and professors as experts and not merely instructors.

Trevor Burrus: So how did they conceptualize the average worker that needed their help? You have this great line in your book which I think says something about modern politics too. Progressives did not work in factories. They inspected them. Progressives did not drink in salons. They tried to shudder them. The bold women who chose to live among the immigrant poor and city slums called themselves settlers, not neighbors. Even when progressives idealized workers, they tended to patronize them. Romanticizing a brotherhood that they would never consider joining.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah. I think its fair to say and its not exactly a revelation that the progressives were not working class, but neither were they, you know, part of the gentry class. They were middle class and from middle class backgrounds, as I say sons and daughters of ministers and missionaries. So, they were unhappy when they looked upward at the new plutocrats who were uneducated and in their view un-Christian and potentially corrupting of the republic, but they also didnt like what they saw when they looked downward at ordinary people particularly at immigrants. If you dont mind, I feel like I should circle back to this fourth branch idea

Trevor Burrus: Please.

Thomas Leonard: as a conception of the administrative state. I didnt finish my thought very well. I think that the way that the progressives thought about the fourth branch is very important because the administrative state is as everyone knows has done nothing but grow since its blueprinting and its sort of first construction in Woodrow Wilsons first term. I think the key thingsort of these two key components that make this a new kind of government in the progressive mind. The first is that the independent agencies like the Federal Reserve and the Federal Trade Commission and the Permanent Tariff Commission were designed to be independent of Congress and the president. That was by design.

They were supposed to be in some sense above politics. They served for 7 years. They had overlapping terms. Oftentimes, they would be balanced politically and the president could not remove one of these commissioners except for cause and neither could Congress impeach them. So they occupied a kind of a unique place, a new place did these bureaucrats.

The second thing that matters I think for understanding the administrative state is that administrative regulations have the full force of federal law, right? Regulations are laws no different than you know, Congress had passed one. Moreover, the fourth branch, the administrators are also responsible for executing regulations and third, of course, theyre responsible for adjudicating regulatory disputes. So theres this combination of statutory and adjudicatory and executive power all rolled up into one, which is why I think the progressives called it the fourth branch. And the growth of administrative government I think is a much better metric for thinking about the success, if you will, or the durability of the progressive vision than simply looking at something like government spending as a share of GDP.

Aaron Powell: Can we decouple at least for purposes of critique the ideology of the progressives from the methods? Because obviously they ended up once they had the power, ended up doing a lot of really lamentable or awful things with it. But the basic idea of having experts in charge of thingsI mean you can see a certain appeal to that especially as, you know, science advances, technology advances, our body of knowledge grows. We understand more about the economy and more about how societies function just like you would want, you know, experts in the medical sciences overseeing your health as opposed to just laymen. Is there anything just inherently wrong or dangerous about the idea of turning over more of government to experts distinct from just the particular ideas of this set of experts?

Thomas Leonard: I dont think so. I think the question is more a practical one of what we think experts should do whether theyre working in government or in the private sector. And the progressives had what you might call a heroic conception of expertise. They believed that they not only could be experts serve the public good but they could also identify the public good and thats what I mean by a heroic conception. Not only do we know how to get to a particular outcome, we know also what those outcomes should be.

Now theres nothing about expertise per se that requires that heroic vision which in retrospect looks both arrogant and nave. It makes good sense for the state to call upon expertise where expertise can be helpful. So I dont think its an indictment of the very idea of using science for the purposes of state. Its more about what sort of authority and we want experts to have. Going as we sort of move into the new deal era, which is another great growth spurt in the size of the state, we get a slightly less heroic vision of what experts do. Thereswell, after World War I, that sort of nave heroic view of expertise is simply outmoded.

Trevor Burrus: So they definitelytheyre pretty arrogant as you mentioned. They haveso Im going to ask you sort of a few things about the way that theyre looking at society and what they think that they can do with it and what theyre allowed to do with it. So, how did they view individual rights and as a core layer, I guess, how do they think of society as opposed to the individual in terms of the sort of methodology of their science or state craft or whatever you want tohowever you want to describe it?

Thomas Leonard: Thats a great question. I think one of the most dramatic changes that we see in sort of American liberal thinking and its transition from 19th century small government liberalism to 20th century liberalism of a more activist expert-guided state is a re-conception of what Dan Rogers calls the moral hole, the idea of a nation or a state or a social organism as an entity that is something greater than the individual people that make it up. And I think this fundamental change is one of the sort of key elements in this progressive inflection point in American history. Up until that point if youre willing to call an era a point, forgive me. Up until that moment, I think thats what we should say.

Trevor Burrus: I think thats good, yes.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah, right. We would have said the United States are and after the progressive reconceptualization, its the United States is. Instead of a collection of states of federation, now the idea is that theres a nation. Woodrow Wilsons famous phrase at least famous in these precincts was Princeton in the nations service and this desire to identify a kind of moral hole, a nation, a state or a social organism. They gave it different names. I think the great impetus to the idea that it was okay to trespass on individual liberties as long as it promoted the interests of the nation or the state or the people or society or the social organism.

Trevor Burrus: So how doesand this is another big factor because its kind of interesting. We have awe talk about them as evangelicals and then progressives, which a lot of people might be surprised, the people who call themselves progressives now. But we also have them as evangelical but with Darwin and evolution having a huge influence on their thinking which also seems to not go with the way we align these things today. How did Darwin and evolution come in to their thinking and what did it make them start to conclude?

Thomas Leonard: Right. Well, remember the quote you had before about progressivism as being essentially a concept that refers to the relationship of science to government and of government to the economy. The science of the day or at least the science that most influencedthe economic reformers was Darwinism. And theres just no understanding progressive era reform without understanding the influence of Darwinism. It was in the progressive view what made these brand-new social sciences just barely established scientific. Thats one of the reasons we do history. Economics today doesnt have a whole lot to do with evolution or with Darwinism and has a lot to do with mathematics and statistical approaches. But at the turn of the century and until the end of the First World War, evolutionary thinking was at the heart of the science that underwrote economics and the other new social sciences, which were at least in the progressive view to guide the administrative state in its relationship to economy and polity.

Aaron Powell: What does Darwinian thinking look like in practice for the policy preferences of the progressives? I mean I see were not just talking about we need to breed out undesirable traits or something of that sort. How does the specifics of Darwin apply to their broader agenda?

Thomas Leonard: Well, Darwin does many things for the progressives. Darwin by himself is sort of a figure that they admire, sort of hes a disinterested man of science concerned only with the truth and uninterested in profit like, say, a greedy capitalist, uninterested in power like, say, a greedy politician. I mean Darwin is kind of a synecdoche if you like for the progressive conception of what a scientific expert does.

More than that, I think that, you know, the progressives andand by the way, many other intellectuals too, socialists and conservatives alike, were able to find whatever they needed in Darwin. Darwin was so influential in the gilded age and in the progressive era that everybody found something useful for their political and intellectual purposes during the gilded age and the progressive era.

Take competition, for example. If you were a so-called social Darwinist, you could say that competition was survival of the fittest, Herbert Spencers phrase that Darwin eventually borrowed himself and that, therefore, that those who succeeded in economic life were in some sense fitter. The progressives could use other evolutionary thinkers and say Wait a second, not so. Fitter doesnt necessarily mean better. Fitter just means better adapted to a particular environment. So competition would be an example of Darwinian thinking that was influential in the way that progressives thought about the way an economy works.

Trevor Burrus: But they werent particular. I mean they werent laissez faire and I know at one point you mentioned that theI think you said that it was either the American Economic Association or maybe sociology was started partially against William Graham Sumner. Was it sociology? William Graham Sumner was very influential on creating counter-movements to him and he is sort of a proto-libertarian or a libertarian figure who was laissez faire but they were absolutely not.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah. Thats quite right. Sumner is the bte noire of economic reformers. He was of a slightly earlier generation, the generation of 1840, and he was the avatar as you say of free markets and of small government and Sumner was the man ElyRichard T. Ely, sort of the standard bearer of progressive economics said that he organized the American Economic Association to oppose. Yeah, Sumner was in the end the only economist who is not asked to join the American Economic Association. So much was he sort of personally associated with laissez faire.

Trevor Burrus: Now, of course, they were accused and this is an important historical point because you mentioned the social Darwinism and I think I can almost hear your scare quotes through the line because that idea of Sumner and Herbert Spencer being Darwinists of a sort of wanted to let people die is a little bit overextended. Spencer definitely had some evolutionary ideas about society, but the social Darwinism doesnt only come in until the 50s if I understand correctly.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah. Social Darwinism is really an anachronism applied to the progressive era. I think we can safely, you know, ascribe the influence of that term to Richard Hofstadter who coined it in his dissertation which was published during the Second World War. It is true, of course, that you could find apologists for laissez faire or you could find people who said that, you know, economic success was not a matter of luck or a fraud or of coercion but was deserved, was justified.

There were lots of defenders of laissez faire on various grounds and Spencer and Sumner find they fit that description. But neither of them were particularly Darwinian. Spencer was a rival of Darwins. He thought his theory waswell, it was prior. He thought it was better and he coined the term evolution. And Sumner really wasnt much of a Darwinist at all if you look through his work, its only dauded with a few Darwinian references. I think what Hofstadter did, and he was such a graceful writer, is he coined a new term that sounded kind of unpleasant.

And if you look through the entire literature which Ive done, you will be hard-pressed to find a single person who identifies him or herself as a social Darwinist. You wont find a journal of social Darwinism. You wont find laboratories of social Darwinism. You wont find international societies for the promotion of social Darwinism.

Trevor Burrus: But ironically, eugenics, you will find all of those things.

Thomas Leonard: You will find all of those things.

Trevor Burrus: Actually, could you explain what eugenics is before we jump into the truly distasteful part of this episode?

Thomas Leonard: Well, eugenics is just in the progressive era what it meant, the period of my book, is the social control of human heredity. Its the idea that human heredity just like anything else guided by good science and overseen by socially-minded experts can improve human heredity just like it can improve government. It can make government good. It can make the economy more efficient and more just and so too can we do the same for human heredity.

Trevor Burrus: And eugenics wasI mean I think big is even an understatement of at least the first two decades of the 20th century and into the third and fourth decade but especially the first two decades.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah, there was an extraordinary intellectual vogue for eugenics all over the world, not just in the United States. Eugenics, its very difficult viewed in retrospect that is viewed through the sort of crimes that were committed by Nazi Germany in the middle of the 20th century. Its very difficult to see how what is a term that is a dirty word could actually be regarded as sort of the height of high-mindedness and social concern. But it was, in fact, at the time.

And across American society, eugenics was popular. It was popular among the new experimental biologists that we now called geneticist. It was certainly popular among the new social scientists, the economists and others who were staffing the bureaus at the administrative state and sitting in chairs in the university. And it was popular among politicians too. There were many journals of eugenics. There were many eugenics societies. They had international and national conferences. Hundreds probably thousands of scholars were happy to call themselves eugenicists and to advocate for eugenic policies of various kinds. Theres a book published in I think around 1924 by Sam Holmes who was a Berkeley zoologist and theres like 6000 or 7000 titles on eugenics in the bibliography.

Aaron Powell: How did the eugenicists of the time think about what they were doing or think about the people that they were doing it to?

Trevor Burrus: Well, first we should ask what they were doing. We havent actually got to that.

Aaron Powell: But I mean in generallike the attitude towards the very notion of this because we can even setting aside the horrors of what Nazi Germany did from our modern perspective looking back at this with the debates that we have and the struggle we have to allow people to say define the family, the way that they choose and just the overwhelming significance in, you know, the scope of ones life and the way one lives in that decision to have children and become a parent. And eugenics, no matterI mean no matter the details of it is ultimately taking that choice away from someone or making that choice for them and it seems just profoundly dehumanizing and did they consciously or unconsciously was there a dehumanizing element to it? Did they think of the people that they were going to practice this on as somehow less and so, therefore, deserving of less autonomy? Or was there a distancing from that element of it?

Thomas Leonard: Well, its important to rememberthe answer to the question is yes. The professionals, if you will, in the eugenics movement sort of the professionals and the propagandists certainly saw immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, immigrants from Asia, African Americans, the mentally and physically disabled as inferiors as unfit. Theres just no question about it. But what we needone important caution here again is that there were very few people at the time proposing anything like hurting inferiors into death chambers.

Eugenic policies were much less extreme. So when we encounter it in the context of, say, economic reform, it comes up In immigration, for example. If you regard immigrants from southern and eastern Europe and from Asia as unfit, as threats to American racial integrity or as economic threats to American working mens wages, thats a eugenic argument. Youre saying that when you argue that they will sort of reduce American hereditary vigor, thats a eugenic argument. It doesnt have to involve something as ugly as, say, coercive sterilization or worse.

Theres many ways of which I think are, you know, strange to us in retrospect of thinking about the law, be it immigration reform or minimum wages or maximum hours as a device for keeping the inferior out of the labor force or out of the country altogether.

Trevor Burrus: Yeah, lets goyeah, the last third of your book kind of goes with this. We have a chapter called Excluding the Unemployable. So can you talk a little bit about what that entailed?

Thomas Leonard: Sure. The unemployable is a kind of buzz phrase that I think was probably coined by Sidney and Beatrice Webb who were Fabian socialists, founders of the London School of Economics and whose work was widely read by American progressives and with whom American progressives had a very kind of fruitful trans-Atlantic interaction with. Its a misnomer, of course, because the unemployable refers to people who many of whom were actually employed. And the idea here is that a certain category of worker is willing to work for wages below what progressives regarded as a living wage or a fair wage and that these sorts of people who were often called feeble-minded when they were mentally disabled or defectives when they were physically disabled were doing the sort of transgressing in multiple ways.

The first thing was by accepting lower wages, they were undermining the deserving American working men or American really means Anglo-Saxon. The second thing is because they were willing to accept low wages, the American worker was unwilling to do so to accept these low wages and so instead opted to have smaller families. That argument went by the name of race suicide. The undercutting inferior worker because he was racially predisposed to accept or innately predisposed to accept lower wages meant that the Anglo-Saxon native, if you willscare quotes around nativehad fewer children and as a result the inferior strains were outbreeding the superior strains and the result was what Edward A. Ross called race suicide.

Trevor Burrus: Now that sounds like the movie Idiocracy. Have you ever seen this movie?

Thomas Leonard: Im not familiar with it.

Trevor Burrus: Oh, well. So, but I want to clarify something that might shock our listeners thatand you mentioned this briefly a little bit like for the economists, for members of the American Economic Association, at the time some of them thought of the minimum wage as valuable precisely because it unemployed these people. So whereas now were actually having this fight about whether or not the minimum wage unemploys anyone. It seems like there were a few doubts that it did unemploy people and the people it unemployed were the unemployable, unproductive workers who shouldnt be employed in the first place.

Thomas Leonard: Thats right. Theres a very long list of people who at one time or another just almost comically if it werent sad, long list of groups that were vilified as being inferior. As I say, physically disabled, mentally disabled coming from Asia or Southern Europe or Eastern Europe, African American, although the progressive werent terribly worried about the African Americans, at least outside the south until they started the great migration and became economic competitors in the factories as well. So, this very long list of inferiors creates a kind of regulatory problem which is how are we going to identify them and so you can, if you think for example that a Jew from Russia or an Italian from the mezzogiorno is inferior, how are you going to know that theyre Jewish or that theyre from Southern Italy. Their passport doesnt specify necessarily.

So one way, of course, is to take out your handbook, the dictionary of the races of America or another more clever way ultimately is to simply set a minimum wage so high that all unskilled labor will be unable to legally come to America because theyll be priced out.

Trevor Burrus: And that was also true ofit goes a little bit past your book but the migration of African Americans north had some influence on the federal minimum wage of the New Deal if I remember correctly.

Thomas Leonard: Yes, it did, and also Mexican immigrants as well. The idea of inferiors threatening Americans or Native Americans is a trope that recurs again and again and again, not just in the progressive era but also in the New Deal. And it is I suppose shocking and bizarre to see the minimum wage as hailed for its eugenic virtues. But one very convenient way of solving this problem of how do we identify the inferiors is to simply assume that theyre low-skilled and, therefore, unproductive and a binding minimum wage will ensure that the unproductive are kept out or if theyre already in the labor force, theyll be idled. And the deserving, that is to say the productive workers who were always assumed, of course, to be Anglo-Saxon will keep their jobs and get a raise. Its a very appealing notion.

And youre quite right that today, you know, most of the debate or a good part of the minimum wage debate concerns a question of how much unemployment you get for a given increase in the minimum. But theres no question that any disemployment from a higher minimum is a social cause thats undesirable. The progressive era was not seen as a social cause. It was not seen as a bug. It was seen as a desirable feature and this is why progressivism has made a virtue of it precisely because it did exclude so many folks who were regarded as deficientdeficient in their heredity, deficient in their politics, deficient in many other ways as well.

Aaron Powell: What struck me when you were running through the policies that they wanted so the minimum wage in order to exclude these people or the concerns about immigration is how many of them maybeI mean not in the motives behind them necessarily, not in the stated motives but in the specifics of the policies and some of the concerns look very much like what you hear today, you know. There seem to be conventional wisdom about the need to keep out unskilled immigrants. You hear stuff about, you know, theres too many of them in the population and that that will ultimately cause problems if they, you know, tip over into a majority or the existing minimum wage, but they dont seemthey dont have the what we think of as terrifically ugly motives behind them.

And so is therelike that historic change because it seems odd that if the motives and the desires and the attitudes have shifted, we would have seen the resulting policy shift. So how did thathow do we get that transition from, you know, keeping the desire for the policies of the progressive era but shifting our attitudes, our sense of virtue to something that would see the motives behind the policy of the progressive era as so repugnant?

Thomas Leonard: Well, I think that, you know, we teach freshmen in economics to make this fairly bright distinction between the so-called positive and the normative, right? So the positive question is what are the effects of the minimum wage on employment and what are the effects of the minimum wage on output prices and what are the effects of the minimum wage on the income distribution. And you can sort of think about these questions without sort of tipping over onto the normative side which isis it a good thing or a bad thing that a particular class of worker namely the very unskilled are likely to be harmed at all? So you canI think in a way its partly a parable about, you know, the capacity of sorting so-called scientific claims from so-called normative or ethical matters.

You know, my own view is one can be a supporter of the minimum wage, of course, without, you know, having repugnant views about the folks who are going to lose their job if we raise the minimum wage too high.

Trevor Burrus: Yeah, of course. That

Thomas Leonard: Goes with I think that goes without saying.

Trevor Burrus: Well, thats an interesting question about what are the lessons

Thomas Leonard: Yeah.

Trevor Burrus: from this. But I wanted to ask you about one more thing before we kind of get to that question which is aboutbecause theres another one that we didnt touch on which might surprise people, which is excluding women. So we gotwe went therethere were some sterilization, which weve been talking about much but you mentioned excluding unemployable. We had about immigration and now we also have excluding women and people might be surprised to hear that progressives were actually interested in doing this.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah. This is awell, all of these accounts are complex. The story of womens labor legislation is probably the most complex of all and thats partly because in the progressive era, most labor legislation was directed at women and at women only, not all but sort of the pillars of the welfare state which is to say minimum wages, maximum hours, mothers pensions which eventually evolved into AFTC and welfare. Those pillars werethose pillars that legislation was women and women only.

Now, there are different ways of thinking about it. I think that the thing to remember is that a lot of these legislation to set a wage floor to set a maximum number of hours to give women payments women with dependent children payments at home were enacted not so much to protect women from employment, the hazards of employment but rather to protect employment from women.

And when you look at the discourse, you do find a kind of protective paternalistic line where, for example, the famous Brandeis Brief which was used in so many Supreme Court cases in defensive labor legislation just sort of boldly asserts that women are the weaker sex and thats why women as women need to be protected from the hazards of market work. They didnt worry so much about the hazards of domestic work.

Trevor Burrus: And Brandeis was a champion ofI mean hes considered a champion of progressive era, but he did write this unbelievably sexist brief in Muller versus Oregon.

Thomas Leonard: Indeed he did and he collaborated with his sister-in-law, Josephine Goldmark, and its regarded as sort of not only the case but the brief itself is regarded as sort of a landmark in legal circles. So theres also a second class of argument which still lives on today, I might add, which is called the family wage and this is the idea that theres a kind of natural family structure wherein the father is the breadwinner and the mother stays at home and tends the hearth and raises the kids and that male workers are entitled to a wage sufficient to support a wife and other dependents, and that when women work for wages, they wrongly usurp the wages that rightly belong to the breadwinner. Thats another argument for regulating womens employment. Thats not really protecting women. Thats protecting men, of course.

And there were a whole host of arguments. Another argument was worried about womens sexual virtue that if women accepted, you know, low wages at the factory, theyll be tempted into prostitution. The euphemism of the day was the social vice and John Bates Clark pointed out that if 5 dollars a week tempts a factory girl into vice, then 0 dollars a week will do so more surely.

Trevor Burrus: Its really hard to decide when youre going through all this stuff and you include immigration and all these issues whether or not these people arewhen were talking about progressives, so thats the name we all call them now. But if were going to use modern term, are they liberals or are they conservative? I mean if the immigration thing looks conservative now and the protecting womens virtue and supporting the family looks conservative and the racism, you know, but the minimum wage wanting that. So there seemed to be a hodgepodge of something that doesnt really map to anything now.

Thomas Leonard: Yeah, I think thats right. I think its a mistake. I mean one of the problems that we face looking backwards from today is that progressivism todaya progressive today is someone on the left, someone on the left wing of the democratic party and thats not what progressive meant in the progressive era. There certainly were plenty of folks on the left who were progressives but they were also right progressives too. Men like Theodore Roosevelt would be a canonical sort of right progressive. Roosevelt ran as you know on that progressive ticket in 1912 handing the White House to Woodrow Wilson in so doing.

Yeah, I thinkyeah, one of the, you know, the historiographic lessons of the book is be careful projecting contemporary categories backwards in time. You know, the original progressives, they defended human hierarchy. They were Darwinists. They either ignored or justified Jim Crow. They were moralists. They were evangelicals. They promoted the claims of the nation over individuals and they had this, of course, heroic conception of their own roles as experts. Thats very different from what 21st century progressives are about. The 21st century progressives couldnt be more different in some respects. Theyre not evangelicals. Theyre very secular. They emphasize racial equality and minority rights. Theyre nervous about nationalism but they donttheyre not imperialists like the progressives were. Theyre unhappy with too much Darwinism in their social science. So, in these respects contemporary progressives are very different from their namesakes.

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Illiberal Reformers: Race, Eugenics … – Libertarianism.org

Libertarian Party Convention: Gary Johnson tested …

Johnson, who was also the party’s nominee in 2012, has been on the receiving end of attacks for his vice presidential pick, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. These attacks simmered through the audience at the party’s final presidential debate, the night before the Libertarians select their nominee.

Weld, a former Republican from a blue state, has had a difficult time pitching himself to the Libertarian convention. Many have been skeptical over Weld’s libertarian credentials, especially his record on gun control and support for Republican politicians. Prior to teaming up with Johnson, Weld had endorsed Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich for President.

The debate among the candidates was civil throughout on stage, with the candidates eschewing attacks against one another in favor of attacks on the government and mainstream political parties.

In a potential preview of his general election campaign, Johnson rolled through a list of Trump’s policy positions, accenting each with the phrase “that’s just wrong.”

That move led to Johnson’s biggest applause line of the night, though the crowd was much more vocal about Johnson’s competitors, particularly Austin Petersen and Marc Feldman. Petersen is a young party activist with a sizable following online, and Feldman is an affable figure many convention goers, including Johnson, have praised.

The crowd exploded in approval during Feldman’s lengthy, passionate rap about Libertarianism.

Meanwhile, technology entrepreneur John McAfee, whose pre-debate ritual consisted of throwing a party replete with a light show, bass-heavy dance music and women dressed as butterflies on stilts, was non-combative during the debate despite a cryptic warning he offered ahead of the event.

“Whoever allowed me in this debate tonight made the worst mistake of their life,” McAfee told CNN in an interview.

But despite his aggressive words ahead of the debate, McAfee, like all the other candidates, stuck to the issues in a debate that was less about differentiating the candidates than it was about touting Libertarian beliefs.

Johnson got booed several times for offering less-than-purist libertarian positions, including saying he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act in 1964. He also said he favors that people continue to obtain licenses to drive cars — an idea that his fellow candidates disagreed with.

Given the backlash he has faced, Johnson responded to his critics within the party during a speech before the convention and repeatedly said in an interview he hopes Weld will end up as his running mate. Libertarians elect their presidential and vice presidential candidates separately.

“I am not an old white guy. And I am not Republican-light. I’m a Libertarian,” Johnson said.

Despite some Libertarian in-fighting, calls for party unity were a regular theme.

“Divided we may have been for this short time,” Petersen said, “We will present a united front against the forces of statism.”

The convention was not lacking in color. The hallways were buzzing with not only presidential candidates and their followers, but comic book characters attending Megacon 2016 and young girls dolled up in hairspray and leotards for a tap-dancing competition in the same venue.

Along with the eccentric party thrown by McAffee, candidates and other groups invited delegates to hospitality suites in the hotel. In room 261, convention goers and delegates drank beer as they carried out philosophical discussions and paused in glee to watch the TV whenever CNN switched to coverage of the convention. Some took photos of the screen. Others stepped out to smoke cigars.

The attention and hype around this year’s convention is unusual. Because the two frontrunners in the Democratic and Republican parties are so unpopular, libertarians are seeing flocks of disaffected voters show interest in a third party candidate.

“The people of America see Trump, they see Hillary, and a lot of them are throwing their hands up in the air and looking elsewhere,” said delegate Peter Rohrman of New Jersey.

Libertarians here are hoping the increased media attention will help alter the American public’s view of their party and debunk some of the stereotypes. Most here want to be seen as a thoughtful, diverse, and tolerant party with serious ideas.

Holding a can of Coca-Cola, Rohrman walked over to the window in the hospitality suite and pulled back the curtains.

“We’re looking outside here and I don’t see a single protester. Nobody’s upset that libertarians are here,” he said. “Nobody’s angry. Nobody’s throwing rocks. Libertarians are peaceful people. We just want everyone to get along and let people live life the way they want to live it.”

Alexis Walker, a 19-year-old student and delegate, specifically referenced Never Trump Republicans, saying many will start gravitating toward the Libertarian option.

“In a strange way,” she said. “I think Trump is a blessing in disguise.”

Libertarians are enjoying their moment in the spotlight, but the question is whether they can keep the lights on.

Some worry that Johnson lacks the charisma to take on Clinton and Trump in the general, citing his soft-spoken, laissez-faire style.

“Until we have somebody that is not going to be laughed off and has the ability to capture the attention of the nation, we’re still going to be thought of as the kiddy table of politics,” said Brandon Navom, a 35-year-old software engineer from Nashua, New Hampshire.

Navom, who was leaning towards voting for McAfee, said libertarians need to take a page out of the Trump playbook and learn to better appeal to voters’ emotions rather than their stances on issues.

“Libertarians think being logically right is enough. And it is not, because most people do not vote based upon logic,” he said. “Most base their decisions on emotions and so we need to capitalize on those emotions.”

Johnson, a more pragmatic libertarian than purist, is attempting to rely on his record as veto-heavy governor as a selling point. In the debate Saturday night, he invoked his experience in government in nearly every answer.

But in the Republican primary, at least, taking a record-heavy approach was an unsuccessful tactic for governors, as evidenced by the failed campaigns of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Rick Perry, among others.

“The reason why Trump was so successful is people got a concept of the problem. They understand our system is broken. They’re upset, they’re frustrated, right?” Navom said. “They feel betrayed by a system that is failing them. We need to have somebody who can take that same emotion and funnel it in our direction.

Johnson apologized this weekend for not being the most “articulate” messenger on libertarian issues, and many libertarians agree that he could use some help with his style.

Boyd Kendall, a delegate from Mississippi, said Johnson could benefit from “speech training” and that Weld had “joined the party too late.”

Aaron Barksdale, also from Mississippi, expressed concern about Johnson representing the party against Donald Trump.

“We need somebody that can hold his own, and I don’t believe Johnson is that guy,” Barksdale said.

But Johnson brushed off such criticism about his public speaking skills.

“I work as hard as I possibly can about that. You can always get better of course. Hey, life is constant improvement,” Johnson told CNN in an interview.

Continued here:

Libertarian Party Convention: Gary Johnson tested …

Dallas Family Medicine

Paul S. Worrell, D.O.

Dr. Worrell graduated with honors from The University of Texas in Austin, prior to receiving his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Ft. Worth in 1980. As Associate Professor of Family Medicine, he has taught numerous medical students, nurse practitioner and PA students, interns and residents throughout his career.

When asked about his practice, Dr. Worrell repliedIve founded a clinic where I can treat the entire family. I cant tell you how rewarding it is to see three and sometimes even four generations of the same family. Knowing the entire family helps me to have a much more comprehensive understanding of the needs of each individual patient.

When asked about his treatment style, Dr. Worrell repliedI believe in taking a conservative approach to treating my patients. Surgery, and even certain drugs, should be the last alternative.

Dr Worrell has hospital affiliations with the following hospitals:

Aleshia is passionate about practicing preventive medicine. When asked why Family Medicine, she replied, It is an opportunity to augment lives from pediatrics to geriatrics. She graduated from Baylor University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She then went to Arizona to further her education by earning a Master of Arts in Biomedical Sciences from Midwestern University in 2010. Most recently, she graduated from the University of North Texas Health Science Center where she received a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies as of August 2015. In her past time she enjoys traveling, watching movies, fellow-shipping with others, girl talk and mission work.

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Dallas Family Medicine

Executive Medicine of Texas | Heath Consultants Dallas …

Executive Medicine of Texas is a leader in preventative and proactive health. Their executive physical program is one of the most comprehensive in the country.Dr. Mark AndersonandDr. WalterGamanare co-authors ofmultiple publications, including their latest bookAge to Perfection: How to Thrive to 100 Happy, Healthy, and Wise. They are often called upon as experts and have appeared in hundreds of media spots, including CNN, TIME, Good Morning Texas, Good Morning Arizona, and many more. Drs.Gamanand Anderson, along withJudyGamanhost a nationally syndicated health and wellness radio show entitledThe Staying Young Show.

People travel from all around the globe to visit the physicians at Executive Medicine of Texas. From executives and professional athletes, to high profile individuals, its the level of service at and comprehensive approach at Executive Medicine of Texas that brings people back, year after year. The physicians dedication to corporate wellness and executive health also attracts Fortune 500 companies as well as small business owners.Their executive physicals, bio-identical hormone replacement program, age management services, and concierge programs are what has earned them numerous accolades including Best Docs in Texas by Newsweek Magazine and Healthcare Heroes by the Fort Worth Business Press. The physicians andstaffat Executive Medicine of Texas will make you feel right at home. No matter who you are, if you are ready to learn more about your individual health status and make steps towards a longer and healthier life, there is no better place to start than Executive Medicine of Texas

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Executive Medicine of Texas | Heath Consultants Dallas …

Medicine Mound, Texas – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Medicine Mound is a ghost town in southeastern Hardeman County in West Texas. It consists of two buildings, the former Hicks-Cobb general store and the W.W. Cole Building, a combination bank, drugstore, gasoline station (with rusty pumps still standing), and post office. The Hicks-Cobb building has been turned into a regional history and cultural museum by its former owner, Myna Potts (born 1927), of nearby Chillicothe, the daughter of store co-owner Ira Lee Hicks (1886-1966). The museum is a personal testimony of Potts’ life. It contains a large collection of photographs of area pioneers. Potts considers the preservation a way to honor the contributions of rural Americans.[1]

A sign proclaims: Medicine Mound: Population Zero, but the Texas road map claims fifty individuals live in the general area. Medicine Mound can be accessed southward from Chillicothe via Farm to Market Road 91, which connects with F-M Road 1167 at the ghost town and proceeds northward to U.S. Highway 287 several miles west of Chillicothe. The ghost town is southeast of the county seat of Quanah. southeast of Lake Pauline, and north of the Pease River.

Medicine Mound has received non-profit status and has been placed in the domain of the newly established Downtown Medicine Mound Preservation Group, a 501(c)(3) public charity.[2] Potts operates the museum on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and by appointment through her Chillicothe telephone. There are four historical markers in Medicine Mound to commemorate the community itself, the Hicks-Cobb store, a Works Progress Administration sanitation project in the 1930s, and a small 19th century cemetery.[3]

Medicine Mound also features in several scenes of the Children’s DVD ‘Adventures of Bailey – Christmas Hero’.

Medicine Mound (singular) is named for four nearby cone-shaped dolomite hills called “Medicine Mounds” (plural), which rise some 350 feet above the surrounding plains. They were named by the Comanche Indians, who maintained that the mounds are the dwelling place of powerful, benevolent spirits, which can cure ills, assure successful hunts, and protect in battle. In an annual ritual the Comanche came to Medicine Mound with cedar incense taken from nearby Cedar Mound. The mounds are on private property but can be observed some five miles in the distance by vehicle.[4]

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Medicine Mound, Texas – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gary Johnson wins Libertarian presidential nomination, Weld …

At the party convention in Orlando, Florida, Johnson got his preferred running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, in a weekend gathering that drew sharp contrasts with the major party candidates — Trump and Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee.

Johnson described the real estate mogul’s immigration policies as “just racist,” particularly the Republican’s call to deport 11 million undocumented people currently in the country.

Libertarian activists contend their ticket could play a pivotal role in the 2016 campaign, with Trump and Clinton both viewed unfavorably by large swaths of the electorate. Even grabbing a small percentage of the vote in key states could affect the Electoral College calculus.

Trump was a frequent target of criticism of many Libertarians at the weekend convention. In addition to immigration participants particularly took issue with Trump’s stated positions on international trade and national security — all of which stand in firm opposition to a party that tends to favor lax immigration restrictions, free trade and is skeptical of military intervention. Austin Petersen, one of the presidential candidates who lost to Johnson, called Trump a fascist, a term regularly echoed throughout the convention.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday night.

Johnson was the party’s nominee in 2012 and once again won the position despite backlash from the party’s more radical Libertarian wing.

Weld, for his part, took a somewhat more nuanced tone toward the Libertarians’ rivals.

“Someone doesn’t have to be disaffected with Ms. Clinton to think that we have a good story,” Weld said. “One doesn’t have to be Never Trump to see that we were two of the most fiscally conservative governors in the United States.”

Thanking the Libertarian delegates after his victory, Johnson played up his general election chances.

“At a minimum, I think we’re in the presidential debates,” Johnson said to cheers.

Johnson also called for inclusion in more national polling surveys.

“This is another voice at the table,” Johnson said. “How about some skeptic at the table when it comes to these military interventions?”

In the first round of voting, Johnson reached 49.5 percent of the vote, according to the official party total, just shy of the majority needed for victory. His nearest opponents, Petersen and John McAfee, reached 21 and 14 percent respectively. On the second round of voting, Johnson clinched the nomination with 55.8 percent of the vote. But his preferred choice for the vice-presidential nomination, Weld, also came up just short of 50 percent on the first round of balloting, leading to a second vote, which he won with just over 50 percent of the vote.

Many Libertarian activists were skeptical of Weld, arguing his 1991-97 gubernatorial tenure saw too much growth in government and new gun control measures. But Johnson argued Weld could bring momentum and fundraising power to the Libertarian ticket, and the delegates obliged him.

“I pledge to you that I will stay with the Libertarian Party for life,” Weld said before the vice presidential nominating contest.

Johnson received almost 1 percent of the general election vote in 2012, but said that in a year of unpopular offerings from the Democratic and Republican parties, he stands a chance of breaking through.

The Libertarian Party is the only third party with ballot access in 50 states. This means Johnson will be the only alternative to Trump and Clinton available to all voters in this election.

Just before the nomination vote, Johnson said if he were to win the nomination, he would head to New York on Monday for media opportunities.

Johnson, who served as New Mexico governor as a Republican from 1995-2003, said too few people knew what a Libertarian is, and that his job is to change that.

Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark spoke to press following the nomination process, discussing the Libertarian Party’s outreach and fundraising efforts. Sarwark said the party had established a “back channel” to the Koch brothers, in the hopes the wealthy libertarian-leaning funders donate to the Libertarian Party. Sarwark also said he had been speaking to Matt Kibbe, former president of conservative advocacy group Freedomworks, about supporting the party’s nominee.

The convention at times got rowdy. Many candidates issued lengthy protests and changed strategies throughout the day. Delegates stormed through the halls with signs and chants. At one point, a man did a striptease on stage until he sat before the audience — and live television — in nothing but his underwear.

“Never underestimate the ability of Libertarians to shoot themselves in the foot,” said Christopher Barber, a delegate from Georgia, said before and after the display on stage.

CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

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Gary Johnson wins Libertarian presidential nomination, Weld …

Gary Johnson wins Libertarian presidential nomination – The …

Former Republican governor from New Mexico and Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson threw his hat in the ring during a convention in Orlando where he slammed his Republican and Democratic rivals. (Reuters)

ORLANDO Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson won the Libertarian Partys presidential nomination on Sunday, fending off five rivals from different factions on two closely fought ballots and securing more than 55.8 percent of the total vote.

I will work as hard as I can to represent everyone in this room, Johnson said after his victory. After this convention, people will be looking to us to describe what it means to be a Libertarian. And I realize it will be up to me to tell them.

But Johnsons near-miss on the first ballot kicked off an afternoon of protests and delegate glad-handing, with the vice presidential race to be decided later. Johnson had run a careful campaign with an eye on the general election, picking former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld like him, a Republican who switched parties as his running mate. In Saturday nights debate, Johnson, alone among the top-five contenders, said that he would have signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that he thought people should be licensed to drive cars. He was loudly booed for both positions.

I liked it, Johnson said in an interview before Sundaysvote. Lets draw attention to the only candidate onstage saying that he would sign the Civil Rights Act, lets draw attention to the only candidate onstage whos in favor of drivers licenses. I dont know about you guys, but I think thats a great distinction between myself and the rest of them.

Those positions were tough to swallow for some of the partys self-identified radicals. Theyd spent the campaign season including more than a dozen debates labeling Johnson a Republican-lite candidate who could not expand on the 1 percent of the vote he had won as the 2012 nominee. Johnson was silent when the first ballot showed him just six votes short of a majority.

Johnsons rivals, especially Libertarian activist Austin Petersen and software engineer John McAfee, saw an opportunity to drag out the process. They briefly huddled on the convention floor and worked delegates, as Johnson had unfruitful conversations with critics and then walked outside foran interview with MSNBC.

Its not unique to the Libertarian Party that we have factions, Johnson said. When Republicans and Democrats get to this stage of the process, theyve already gone through their primaries. You dont hear much of a contrast. In the case of Libertarians not so much.

Outside the convention floor, Johnson was followed by supporters his own and hold-outs from a Never Johnson faction.

The scrum quieted down for Johnson to do the interview. But when it ended, Petersen gave chase and pulled Johnson aside in full view of reporters.

Do you want to unite the party? Petersen asked.

This is not the place, Austin, said Johnson, referring to the media attention.

Why did you pick Bill Weld? Petersen asked.

Johnson shook his head and walked away, as Petersen denounced Weld as a horrible statist and argued with a Johnson supporter who saidthat, at 35, Petersen was too young to represent the party.

Tell that to Marquis de Lafayette, Petersen said. He was 18.

Meanwhile, Johnson was securing the votes of Libertarian delegates who had cast sympathy ballots for lesser-known candidates. Johnson gained 60 votes on the second ballot, while Marc Allan Feldman, a well-liked physician who just that morning had helped people injured by a hit-and-run driver, lost 40 votes between ballots.

Johnsons victory began the race for vice president, which promised drama of its own. Weld, who had made a fitful Libertarian run for governor of New York in 2006, was not otherwise tied to the party. As he did interviews and met delegates, he made up ground but acknowledged that he did not always align with the party base. After the first presidential ballot, Weld said in a short interview that he had finally read the LP’s platform and disagreed with part of it.

Its pretty good, he said. They want to eliminate the income tax; that wouldnt bring in enough revenue. Im for a flat tax.

What was unclear, as the vice presidential fight began, was who could overtake Weld. The candidates for vice president were a mixture of obscure activists. McAfee ruled out running for the second spot on the ticket; Petersen said he would do itonly if Johnson fired his campaign staff.

In his victory speech, Johnson beseeched the delegates to look past any of their ideological qualms with Weld to consider the breakthrough the party could win if it nominated two formerRepublicans. Weld, he said, had done 25 major media interviews since agreeing to run. That was 25 more interviews than Jim Gray, a judge who became Johnsons 2012 running mate, ever did.

I realize its up to you, Johnson said. If its not Bill Weld, I dont think we have the opportunity to be elected president of the United States.

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Gary Johnson wins Libertarian presidential nomination – The …

Libertarian Party Chairman Hopeful Strips on…

A candidate for chairman of the Libertarian Party stripped off his clothes on live TV before dropping out of the race at the party’s national convention Sunday in Orlando, Florida.

James Weeks a self-described “liberty activist” from Michigan and a large, bearded man was supporting the vice presidential campaign of Derrick Grayson when he said “I figured we could use a little bit of fun,” started leading the convention in clapping and began taking off his suit, shirt and tie while dancing, according to video of the convention broadcast by C-SPAN.

Cheers and claps soon gave way to coots, catcalls and boos. Weeks then said, “I’m sorry; that was a dare,” and said he was abandoning his own campaign for party chairman.

The political newspaper The Hill reported that several delegates complained about the display and that at least one sought to revoke Weeks’ party membership.

On his website for an earlier campaign for sheriff of Livingston County, Michigan, Weeks writes that he has “dedicated his life to achieving a free society, free from an omnipotent state that seems to wish to squeeze every last drop of freedom out of our lives.”

It wasn’t as though the convention wasn’t unusual enough. In a rarity in modern U.S. politics, the convention was contested and had to go to a second ballot before the Libertarians nominated former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as its presidential ticket.

Related: Libertarians Give America a Contested Convention

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Libertarian Party Convention: Gary Johnson, John McAfee …

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. John Raoux/AP hide caption

Delegates listen to speeches in the main hall at the National Libertarian Party Convention, Friday, May 27, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.

More than 1,000 Libertarians from around the country have converged on a hotel in Orlando, Fla., for a long weekend of politicking, strategizing, and seminars with titles like “How to Abolish Government in Three Easy Steps.”

They’ll also choose their nominee for president on Sunday. Five men are competing to be the Libertarian standard-bearer, including a software tycoon, a magazine editor, and the former Republican governor of New Mexico.

“Libertarian conventions are always exciting,” says Carla Howell, the party’s political director. “But the excitement this weekend is beyond anything I’ve ever seen, by far.”

Howell thinks that’s partly because more Americans are coming around to the party’s long-held agenda, which includes legalizing marijuana, curbing government surveillance, and limiting U.S. military involvement in the Middle East.

“There is no question to those of us who do retail politics, who talk to voters, they want what Libertarians have been advocating for a long time,” Howell says.

Libertarians acknowledge there’s another reason their party’s getting a closer look: deep dissatisfaction with the likely Republican and Democratic nominees. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll found 47 percent of Americans are willing to consider a third-party candidate this year.

Denise Cranford understands that. The Ackerman, Miss., delegate has been active in Libertarian politics for years, but this is the first time she’s attended the national convention.

“Trump is disgustingly crude. Hillary, please. Don’t make me go there,” Cranford says. “Even if I wanted to go Republican, their belief in, ‘I want to take over and tell you what to do.’ Democrats want to take over and take my money. It’s got to stop.”

There’s a lively competition for the top spot on the Libertarian ticket. The five finalists spent more than two hours Saturday night debating their plans to roll back government in blunt and often colorful terms.

Some of the liveliest exchanges were between Austin Petersen, editor of The Libertarian Republic magazine, and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Petersen tended to take more purist positions, while Johnson’s views were often tempered with a dose of governing practicality.

On same-sex marriage, for example, Petersen advocated what he called “total separation of marriage and state.”

Johnson said he felt the same way at first, but there were complications.

“It turns out that there are hundreds if not thousands of laws that actually contain the word marriage that would have to be amended,” Johnson said. So he endorsed government recognition of same-sex marriage instead.

Some of the biggest applause lines last night belonged to neither Johnson nor Petersen but to anesthesiologist Marc Feldman.

“I don’t need any kind of marriage license,” Feldman said. “I don’t need a marijuana grower’s permit. I have a Constitution. What I need is a government that honors it and doesn’t ask for licenses or permits and certificates for things that are none of the government’s business.”

Anti-virus software pioneer John McAfee and publisher and podcaster Darryl Perry are also vying for the Libertarian nomination.

Unlike the major party conventions later this summer where the nominees will likely be known well in advance, there’s no telling who will come out on top of Sunday’s Libertarian vote.

Mississippi delegate Denise Cranford isn’t worried, though. She’ll be happy with whoever is chosen.

“If we could just put one in the presidency and the rest of them in Cabinets we’d be awesome,” Cranford says. “I’d love to see all those positions filled by Libertarians who want to take over the government and leave you alone.”

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Libertarian Party Presidential Debate – C-SPAN.org

Libertarian Party Presidential Debate Libertarian Party presidential candidates debated a number of issues at the partys presidential nominating convention. The 2016 read more

Libertarian Party Presidential Debate Libertarian Party presidential candidates debated a number of issues at the partys presidential nominating convention.

The 2016 Libertarian Party National Presidential Nominating Convention was held at the Rosen Centre Hotel and Resort in Orlando, Florida. close

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Libertarian Party Presidential Debate – C-SPAN.org