Book Review 3: Michael Sandel’s “Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?”

About the author:

Michael Sandel is a professor of Philosophy in Harvard University and is one of the well-known political philosophers of our time. He follows the theory of communitarianism and is recognized for his critique of John Rawl’s A Theory of Justice.

One of his most acclaimed works, however, is his focus on practical morality and politics. By discussing sensitive subjects, he was able to bring forth the idea that morality is real – even in politics.

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Many believe that morality in politics is dead – or perhaps it never even existed. The question of being moral in the realm of politics just seems hard to imagine nor achieve. As it was mentioned in Machiavelli’s The Prince, a leader should be able to make the best decisions, which are not necessarily moral, for himself and his people. But, Michael Sandel urges his readers to rethink the reality of the concept of morality in politics in his book “Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do?” In his book, he explores the meaning of justice and discussed controversies that have never really been talked about as often in the political realm. Such topics include same-sex marriages, abortion, physician-assisted suicides, and other controversial issues.

Michael Sandel’s book has been praised by many readers as it has served as an eye-opening discussion of subject matters that we do not usually freely talk about in the realm of politics. Furthermore, Sandel was able to discuss practical morality in terms that beginners in the area can easily absorb and understand. In fact, the book is referred to by many as one of the best books written on practical morality. It may not look as astonishing nor satisfying for elite moral philosophers, but it definitely reached the ordinary people, which is important when writing about such a subject.

“Justice: What’s The Right Thing To Do?” is indeed one of the books that students and professionals alike should take into consideration in their study of politics. It teaches a very important lesson on the reality of moral principles in a time dominated by a kind of thinking wherein moral statements are rendered meaningless and where moral behaviors are considered irrational.

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Saying it all in a few words

No one ever went broke misunderstanding the intelligence of the American people. – H. L. Mencken


You betcha – Sarah Palin

 

 

 

 


-posted by George Curcio

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November 18, 2009

Breaking News – Dana Bash and Candy Crowley

The Senate Democrats have unveiled their new health plan.  The bill is long and they’ve just peeked at it.  The highlights of the bill include no discrimination for pre-existing conditions.

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intro

The bill is going to cost about $850 billion and will be funded by Cadillac insurance and plastic surgery.    Abortion is not banned from either the public or private options, but there is no federal funding for abortion.

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danabash

Republicans are going to complain about the spending, of course.

Raw Politics

Sarah Palin’s book is coming out.  How is this raw politics.  She called Hasan’s shooting an act of terrorism, even though he acted independently.  Then, she said that she’s all for profiling if it saves lives.  Sigh.

palin

palin

James Carville was on via videotape.  He couldn’t stop laughing at first.  He thinks the military is more angry at Palin than the democratic party would be.  Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom coalition, sang her praises, emptily.  Carville is a much better speaker.  Carville said that Palin is good for Democrats.

How much time do we need to dedicate to a pretty face that inspires rednecks to empty their wallets?

Killings at the Canal – The Army Tapes

CNN got hours of confession tapes, including one from Michael Leahy.  His wife, whom he married hastily between deployments, spoke to CNN.  They haven’t had their full wedding…yet.  She’s still hopeful.  A platoon was on patrol.  They took fire and four suspects into custody.  Thirteen soldiers took those four prisoners to a canal, then executed them.  The best part is watching the interrogator, who we don’t get to see much of.  He was convincing.  He was very bro with Leahy.  Leahy confessed to shooting two people.

leahy

leahy

Leahy was at first given life, but has since had it cut back to 20.  The other shooters received similar clemencies.

Digging Deeper – Abbie Boudreau, Larry James, and David Bellavia

Larry spoke on the interrogation technique, using the word dude, for example.  The interrogator said that Leahy had manned up by confessing.

Bellavia was back.  Talking about military existence. AC asked Bellavia if the punishment fits the crime.  He said no.  The soldiers, he said, ought not be in Leavenworth while Guantanamo detainees get released for want of evidence.

army

army

From a Text360 question, we found out that the soldiers were NOT under direct orders to kill the detainees.

360 Bulletin – Erica Hill

Judge rules that the Army Corps of Engineers is culpable in Katrina

Sanford Sanford Sanford

Hillary Clinton says that it is a critical moment in Afghanistan

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clinton

The director of health and human services speaks out on mammograms, saying that it is between women and doctors

Pirates try to take the Maersk Alabama, but are scared by loud noises.

Breaking News

President Obama is in South Korea and taking questions.  The majority of the questions are on US-South Korea-North Korea relations.  Lee Myung Bak, president of SouthKorea, also spoke.

obama

obama

lee

lee

The coverage continued, but I don’t.

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Sarah, oh Sarah

Sarah Palin, go away

Please don’t come back another day.

Here it is Wednesday, and for yet another day, AC360 remains obsessed with Sarah Palin, giving tremendous gratis publicity to her new memoir.  It’s a funny thing about Sarah.  The more you see her, the less you care that you do, unless you are in the small minority of conservatives who swoon at her every word.  No matter how empty of meaning and thought it may be.

The memoir contradicts much that Palin has said before ye no one really seems to care.  Liberals roll their eyes while conservatives open theirs even wider, reacting as if she had said something profound with each “You betcha” or the equivalent.

Now, Sarah, the former beauty queen, is aghast because Newsweek used on its cover a picture of her for which she willingly posed for Runner’s World magazine.  Palin posted to her Twitter account that she views the cover as beneath the standards to which Newsweek should he held.

It seems, Ms. Palin, that doth protest too much.  Palin posed for the picture willingly – whether it appears on the cover of Newsweek or as a feature within Runner’s World, the context does not change the subject of the picture.  Somehow, though, in Sarah’s twisted mind – the same mind that spews endless platitudes with no deeper meaning than what appears on the surface –  there is something wrong with the picture gracing the cover a newsweekly and not being contained within the pages of a runner’s magazine.

Therein lies the problem that Sarah Palin evidently fails to recognize and therefore will likely never overcome if she is serious about furthering her political career, which, incidentally, may not even be a goal of her’s.  Sarah Palin has shown herself to be an unrepentant complainer, one who has never acknowledged wrongdoing or mistaken action on her part without ascribing actual fault to someone else.  The John McCain camp.  The news media.  Anyone, in short, who has not bowed before her and declared her a goddess of the Republican Party specifically and America in general.

The same applies with the Newsweek cover with which Palin is now upset.  She had no reluctance to pose for Runner’s World in an image that seems more closely akin to a Playboy cover than anything else.  But now that the image is getting widespread attention, she seeks to find fault with the publication that is publicizing it.  Not, most likely, because she is really upset with the image, but because she wants to bash the established media of which Newsweek is a part.  Sarah, unfortunately, is more glitz than substance, and when it works for her, she is more than willing to show it.  At the same time, she seeks to make it work for her in a completely opposite way, hopefully, in her aim, giving her the best of both worlds. – George Curcio

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November 17, 2009

Digging Deeper-Daniel Kopans and Kimberly Gregory

Mammogram Controversy.  The US Preventive Services Task Force has changed the regulations for mammograms.   Kopans, who started his segment by tooting his own horn, thinks that that the change, which suggest reducing the number of screenings, is too risky.  Gregory, rocking some sweet yellow glasses, was quite capable at reciting the recommendations, while Kopans was great shooting back with facts.  Gregory’s basic idea is that the largest jump is at age 50 and not age 40.  The Task Force’s key reason for reducing screenings, according to AC, is stress caused over false positives.

diggingdeeper

diggingdeeper

It’s about health.  Why is the government involved?

Killings at the Canal – The Army Tapes

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Alpha Company 118 in Iraq.  Totally missed the ball on this one and didn’t catch much.  Would post a video but the audio isn’t synced up.

Three men have been arrested for murder.

 

Digging Deeper – David Bellavia, Scott Silliman, Abbie Boudreau

Bellavia said that the detention facility had a reputation for being a catch and release program for terrorists.  He also said interpretating.  No kidding.  Silliman added that a prisoner taken on the battlefield must be treated humanely and not killed.  It’s very difficult to keep a detainee, Abbie added, due to the extensive paperwork necessary to prove guilt.

Bellavia kept recalling his own experience in the field.  Infantrymen, he said, sometimes think about taking matters into their own hands.  AC asked Silliman for his opinion on the difficulty of detaining prisoners.  He said it creates undue pressure for the soldiers.

killings

killings

360 Bulletin – Erica Hill

More info about Hasan

President Obama in China

Hunger in America

Unfriend  is word of the year

Keeping them Honest – Tom Foreman

Palin interviewed Barbara Walters and expressed unfettered support for Israel.  Walters asked her what the US mission in Afghanistan should be.  Palin’s answer: listen to McChrystal.  She gave Obama a 4 out of 10 and twice used the word dithering.

So she’s got a book coming out.  Why does that lend her any additional credibility.  Of course, there were some minor flipcflops.  On Oprah, she said she didn’t asker her kids about running for VP, but in the campaign she said she polled the kids.

360 Raw Politics – Bill Bennett and Donna Brazile

AC asked Bill, yes I call him Bill, about the rampant fact checking that is going on with Palin’s book.  Donna commented on the pettiness of the minor fact checking.  “A little Lexis Nexis is good for all of us.”

Palin HOTNESS!!!!

hot palin

hot palin

Palin called Newsweek putting the picture on the cover a wee bit degrading.  I call it a wee bit great.

Donna added that Palin should not try to be Hillary Clinton or Ronald Reagan, but only Sarah Palin.

Crime and Punishment

Evidence that Hasan might have had a breakdown in the days before the Ft. Hood massacre.  He wanted to get his patients arrested for war crimes and he spent some extra time on the firing range.  Eugene Fidell spoke on the military version of patient/therapist confidentiality.  While there is a code of silence, imminent threats must be reported.

military psych

military psych

360 Bulletin – Erica Hill

Guilty Plea in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping

Same-sex marriage in Buenos Aires

Co-ed dorms = risky behavior (THIS IS NEWS?)

Gaddafi’s in Rome and invited a bunch of Italian women to his house.  He gave them religious lessons

The Shot

Goats on a bus

goats on a bus

goats on a bus

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Palin lives the dream while many Americans have nightmares

In one of the best summaries today of American politics, it is safe to say the following:  Sarah Palin actually has very little of relevance to say, but everyone wishes she did.  Monday night’s AC360 took a look at the unveiling today of Palin’s newly-written memoir, Going Rogue:  An American Life.

According to public reviews from various sources, the memoir is simply that, a remembrance and review of Sarah Palin’s life, including her unsuccessful 2008 run for the vice-presidency of the United States.  As such, it is not surprising that the book is regarded as rather shallow and not very insightful, according to the reviews.  If that is a true reflection of the book, then it is not surprising, except that it perfectly provides a snapshot of the what has become of the author’s life.

As was alluded to in a previous post, Sarah Palin could have kept her dignity and political mettle had she stayed within her life’s boundaries. She was apparently an effective small-town mayor in her hometown of Wasilla, enough so that it catapulted her to the governorship of , and it was there that she reached her natural zenith.  When John McCain picked her, for political appeal and nothing more, as his vice-presidential candidate, he put her in a position to live a life she likely never thought possible.

As David Gergen pointed out on AC360 last evening, she will likely make about $10 million from her book and other appearances.  It is an amount and an income she likely never thought possible, and now that it’s hers for the taking, it would be rather unexpected not for her to do so.  The problem for the American voter, and for the media as reflected in it’s still never-ending coverage of her, is a wish to deny the truthfulness of the situation.  Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin has now become tantamount to a mascot for the conservatives across the nation, and, as such, a lightning rod for liberal hate and contempt.

Conservatives wish she had more depth when she speaks out on issues that make them say “damn right,” whereas liberals seem to wish she actually had some depth to understand the issues on which she has been ruling during her governorship.  Politicians such as Republican Dede Scozzafava, whose candidacy Palin derailed in the recent 23rd Congressional District of New York, wish Palin would actually resort to minding her own business rather than running around the country interjecting herself into political races beyond her purview.

But races like Scozzafeva’s have become her purview.  She is playing to her base now, political conservatives who are looking for a star, and will continue to do so as long as it is worthwhile.  In an ironic way, Sarah Palin truly has lived the American dream, despite the nightmarish aspects it holds. – George Curcio

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Show me what you have – literally

A young Sarah PalinSo much of life is a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  Andy Warhol predicted a future that would make everyone famous for 15 minutes.  Combine that with the Peter Principle, which tells us in essence that everyone rises to the level of their incompetence, and you have Sarah Palin.

Mayor.  Governor.  Vice-Presidential candidate.  Now, author The erstwhile Republican overachiever has now written a book, largely as a way to make money and keep her name in the public eye as she contemplates her next move.  If achievement were tied to qualifications, her decision would be at which fast-food joint she should seek to flip burgers back in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.  But achievement has nothing to do with ascension in American politics, as the election of Barack Obama showed us, and now Palin is contemplating a run for the same office that Obama currently holds.

Her biggest drawback is also her biggest qualification for success in American politics in 2009:  she has no creditability.  She is polarizing.  You either love her, and believe every word she says, or you hate her, and disparage everything she says and does.  There is no middle ground, and there is no debate about what she says.  You either believe her or you don’t.  Conservatives, who have latched on in love, believe every word that comes from her mouth.  Liberals believe none of it.  The question becomes whether enough conservatives can coalesce to once again foist their opinion on the American population, as they have done in the not-too-distant past.

In a somewhat laughable way, Sarah Palin’s rise through the Republican ranks has mitigated the universal popularity she would have likely enjoyed for eternity if she had remained a small-town mayor.  In towns across America, there are a good number of small-town mayors who are extremely popular because they fit the role they are playing.  They are boosters for their town and do not become immersed in the political quandaries in which people find themselves bogged down at higher levels of the political food chain.

Palin was in the right place at the right time, however, and her small-town popularity as mayor propelled her to the governorship.  There, she encountered some controversy that came with the first signs that she was now in over her head.  Next came the vice-presidential nomination, which showed what an empty suit she is and what an empty head she has.

But her lack of qualification does not really matter.  Politics is as much about personality as it is about true traits of leadership.  And, for many Republican men, there is probably a bit of fantasy that they project as a connection between themselves and Sarah Palin, much in the way we were told women fantasized about Obama after his election.  Evidently, many Americans want politicians to “show me what you have,” but not in a mental way. – George Curcio

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