Viewing states and political theory as optimisation problems (common with classical economics), or subsets of one's intent in their design as such (fits Rawls and Marx) - projecting down to the small number of dimensions possible there seems ok to make particular points, but the number of values left out in such a reduction are often telling. A common optimisation end between some forms of Marxism and some (especially "pure market") Capitalist theorists is the maximisation of access to material goods to the people - this idea is accepted in a slightly more nuanced way by Rawls - he notes that these thigs are prerequisites (and helpful) to people in order to pursue their other ends (that are compatible with his principles of justice), and claims them as a universal good for those later ends. I'd like to challenge that, first with a border case - consider an ascetic whose nonmaterial ends are to reflect on the nature of things, lives minimally immersed in the world in order to do this. Is Rawls' assumption good for such a person? A bit closer to mainstream, we might imagine people who care about the environment and would like to direct society away from excess consumption (whatever they see excessive as) - are they excluded from Rawls' notion of pluralism because of that? I suspect the answer is yes because Rawls' values are very materialistic (in the more common sense of the term, think Madonna's "Material Girl" rather than anti-Descartes). Note that it would be possible to interpret most of Rawls' basic principles in a way that would not be, but he doesn't go that way (I'm not sure he sees the possibility). I suppose like Abortion can cut across conservative/liberal lines (more often than you'd think - the only conservative faction that has a necessary stance is the theocratic one), environmental issues are orthoganal to the primary divide between socialism and capitalism (with a similar exemption to that orthoganality with deeply lassiez-faire capitalists).
I've had strong urges to eat lots of sushi recently. I took advantage of the opportunity to compare Sakura (new place on Forbes/Shady) and Pacific Ring, having done Sakura yesterday and Pacific Ring today. Sakura's makisushi are much better (note that my scope is restricted to vegetarian maki but I've tried a small variety in each place now). The miso soup comparison is more difficult to judge - Pacific Ring's has a stronger flavour, while Sakura's is more complex - I think Sakura's has an edge but depending on what I'm in the mood for, I might sometimes prefer Pacific Ring's. Pacific Ring's desserts are less authentic (I think) but more fun (if one is very hungry, anyhow). Pacific Ring is much more affordable, and they both have a neat atmosphere. I normally don't like to eat sushi too often because if I do I get into moods where I'll think about and want to eat nothing but sushi and miso soup for weeks at a time. I've had those cravings recently..
Cat-lovers may find this to be cute.