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Showing posts from October 5, 2003
Bollettino Leonard Bast If you rehearse the news of this week � the deaths and explosions in Iraq, the shredding of our excuse for a pre-emptive war, the double standard of an administration that, on the one hand, imprisons dark skinned men en masse for security reasons, and, on the other hand, claims the de facto right to leak illegal, punitive information, the continuing unemployment misery, the shadows cast by the mountain of debts piled up in two brief years by this country � you would think that now, if ever, was the progressive moment. That poses an ugly question, however: why, if this is the progressive moment, has a Republican actor been overwhelmingly swept into office in California? We believe part of the answer lies in Howard�s End . We�ve been reading Howard�s End with a lot of attention this week, as part of our on-going campaign to scope out things we can use in the classic novels. Foster is a wholly admirable writer. Here�s how he does that most difficult th
Bollettino We hate zombies. We�ve recently been copyediting some philosophy papers. One of the papers we had the privilege of marking up makes a plausible argument about consciousness as an emergent property. But the paper�s worth, we thought, was vitiated by its easy acceptance of the so-called zombie argument. That argument, which is associated with David Chalmers, goes approximately like this: a molecular level simulacrum of a human being without consciousness is imaginable. This human being, in other words, has no inner feels. Chalmers calls this imagined creature a zombie. He uses the logical possibility of zombies to argue that mental properties � feels, qualia, whatever you want to call them � can�t be explained by the physicalist agenda. In other words, consciousness is something over and beyond the physical properties of the brain, or whatever we take to be the material site of cognition, sensing, etc. We thought that argument was bogus at the time � imagining the logica
Bollettino "Every quantitative measure we have shows that we are winning the war." � McNamara, 1962. This administration and its propagandists are so depressingly predictable that sometimes it just stops me. Do I really want to say the obvious, I say to myself. Here in LI central. There's a scene, at the end of Brazil, where a man is wrapped in newspapers: stray sheets that are blown by the wind and that adhere to him, first one, then another, until he is covered. That's how I think of the cliches that are employed both to defend and to diss the Bushies. ...So LI was unsurprised to read, in the WP today, a column that echoes McNamara. For weeks, the specifically conservative media - the Instapundits of the world -- has echoed with happy, happy images of Iraq, and scathing denunciations of the scurrilous liberal press � always reporting on things like dead American soldiers, instead of the 5,000 wonderful construction projects blossoming in some section of
Bollettino Israel's strike against Syria poses a real question for Iraq -- although this angle seems to have wholly escaped the American press. The neo-con dream was to create, wholesale, a country that could accept an Israel that had absorbed the West Bank and shipped the pesky Palestinians to Jordan. However, this idea was and is crazy. It's shred of plausibility stems from Saddam resentment. Under Saddam, support for the Palestinians created a lot of that -- understandably so, given that the tyrant granted more money to the family of Palestinian martyrs than the average Iraqi could make in a year under the brainless system of looting that was Saddam's notion of the national economy. And one didn't have to be a genius to figure out that the money going to the martyrs was plunging the Palestinian state into an uncontrollable confrontation with a stronger power that wouldn't hesitate on killing two or three Palestinians for every Israeli killed. That said, th
Bollettino Blues and hard ons. That's the stuff your modern PharmaFrankenstein conglomerate battens onto, like a garbage fly taking on slime. Take GlaxoSmithKlein. Here's a multi-billion dollar, global corporation that sees, in this world of malaria, hepatitis C, and cancer a real growth opportunity in next generation Paxil and its newest drug, Levitra, to combat that truly fatal disorder, the unruly penis: " The company says it plans to hold a meeting for analysts on Dec. 3 to describe in detail all the new drugs it hopes to roll out, including an AIDS drug and a medicine for incontinence, both of which are under review by the Food and Drug Administration. "If I can deliver this pipeline, the creation of value will be enormous," Dr. Garnier said. Convincing investors that the future is bright is crucial for Glaxo because the next several years don't look so good. Generics are threatening the company's biggest sellers, including the anti-depressa