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Showing posts from December 12, 2004
Headline in the WP : Fallujans to Begin Returning Home First graf: Iraqi authorities said residents would begin returning to Fallujah within the next week, even as U.S. forces shelled a section of the city and insurgents proclaimed they would press the fight there, more than a month after American commanders declared the city "liberated." Second graf: “Mayor Mahmoud Ibrahim Jirisi said families could start returning to some southern neighborhoods of the shattered city as early as Friday, though the Reuters news agency reported that there was no sign of such movement by late afternoon.” In other words, headlines should read: Fallujans do not begin returning home – war crime continues – 200,000 people have now been dispersed, without any aid whatsoever, for two months – U.S. under Bush thus accomplishing a feat of inhumanity even the present Sudanese government, has hesitated to perform. Ah, Liberation.
Holy bookburning There are two starkly different views of religion that jostle each other in the media, without paying too much attention to each other, as compartmentalized media memes do. One is the usual lament over the straying from the religion of our fathers that characterizes all of modernity – usually this is considered to be a bad thing. And there is the story about evangelical fervor (Protestant or Islamic) that has, apparently, infected the masses – a great global dose of opium poisoning, to use Marx’s phrase. Religion has poked into politics in Britain by way of the rank proposal, by Blair’s government, to criminalize poking fun at religion -- being nasty about Jesus or Mohammed or Blair’s piety or his wife’s new age gurus. Like a very unmerry King Cole, Blair’s second favorite thing about being prime minister is criminalizing. In reinstituting the pomp and, perhaps, the bonfires of the old blasphemy laws, Blair has even outdone his own combination of unctuousne
LI has nearly completed its plan for a tee shirt. The tee shirt will be given to subscribers to this site (+40 bucks). When we floated this plan, some of our readers wrote in to complain about our unbelievable cheesiness. So we considered, instead of tee shirts, water soluble love oils in provocative scents, but looking over the guys we hired for tee shirt manufacture, we decided it might be a little indelicate, as well as lead to bodily harm of the management, if we raised the subject.
In the Times (London), today, one of the big name Conservative columnists, Anatole Kaletsky, laments the current runner up status of the Tories. He asks why, given Labor’s record current disorganization and the universal loathing that is justly heaped on Tony Blair’s head (he might be exaggerating a bit about that one), is the Conservative Party such a dog’s after-meal? He gives two reasons. The first is the Tory expectation that the Labor party would create an economic crisis. This hasn’t happened. The second reason is more interesting: “The tactical error on economics could at least be explained by the Tories' arrogant belief that they have a superior understanding of money. Their second tactical blunder was more surprising. Why on earth did the most oppositional Opposition in living memory support the Government on the one policy which was most obviously going wrong -Iraq? The Tories' initial backing for the invasion may have been justifiable on the standard ground of
What is it about Christmas that LI dislikes? It is not the giftgiving. It is not the carols. It is not the trees. We like all of that. What we don’t like is the sexlessness. Christmas, after all, took over from Saturnalia. But as the baby Jesus has become more and more innocent, he has sucked the erotic energy out of the ocassion. This isn’t absolutely true – my friend T. sent me, just today, an article about celebrating Christmas in Japan. Evidently, the holiday is notable for being that time of year during which virgins get rid of their virginity in various Japanese hotels. Good for those guys and gals. But in America, it is all about the kids, and not at all about the conception. Perhaps what we need is the tantric Christmas. Hugh Urban is a rising American scholar on tantric practices. He’s written an essay about the man who brought the Tantra to America: Pierre Arnold Bernard . Bernard was not, I think, mentioned in Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon, a book I always rec
Argument from Design, Two LI’s friend at Fragmenta Philosophica , noting Flew’s apparent conversion to at least a watered down version of theism (but see our post yesterday), writes: “I've always thought that the argument from design is the strongest "motive of credibility" for theism. Flew seems to agree, finally viewing it as the tipping-point: 'There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife. 'Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"' LI has a different take on the argument from design. Our argument depends on two things: how one interprets a “motive of credibility,” and what exactly the argument from design is all about.
Justice is ridiculous Gary Winnick, a true superhero of free enterprise, was at last freed of those pesky fines against him by the Republican dominated SEC. Not that Winnick was a partisan man -- he had greased the palms of many a Dem in Clinton's palmy times. But with that Bush mandate, it was time to put the likes of Perle on a retainer -- and oh how such connections have paid off for the big guy! We are all psyched here at LI. Sorting through the creative destruction of the telecom bubble, it was obvious at the time, and even more obvious now, that the real master criminal was Martha Stewart. But of course the LA Times had the gall to interview a coupla plebes about the thing : "The fact that Winnick escaped a $1-million fine gnaws at Irene DiNolfo, a former Global Crossing director of marketing communications in Rochester, N.Y., whose severance and retirement were wiped out. "What's $1 million to that guy?" said DiNolfo. "It would be like
The argument from design LI heard of Anthony Flew for the first time in an Emory U. philosophy class on God’s existence. The man who taught the class bore a striking resemblence to Chuck Barris, the mc of the gong show, although he spoke with an impeccable Oxbridgian accent, and threw himself into the appropriate Wittgensteinian gestures then fashionable for teaching a philosophy seminar (i.e., he spent much of the hour or two he talked facing a corner of the room, to which he seemed to be attracted as he muscularly exerted his brain over various ways that we might say things. Perhaps the corner gave him the illusion of privacy that was necessary to bring his conceptual struggles to fruition, but it did tend to muffle his message). So we read, or were forced to read, a little Flew. The man did not make a large impression on yours truly. However, he seems to have left an impression on the world at large. ABC tv news itself recently reported his sensational conversion to theis
As Bush prepares to disassemble Social Security on the Chilean model (Pinochet’s ex minister of labor, Jose Pinera, bragged recently in the Times that he had talked with Bush when the guy was the governor of Texas about destroying the public pension plan), it is interesting that Chile seems to be moving the other way. The NYT has a large article, spotted with the usual propaganda , about the corruption indulged in by the Pinochet gang: the 15 million the general now possesses, due to the ‘gratitude’ of various businessmen; the 3 million doled out to Tony Jr., his son; the sweet privatization deals that made his son-in-law a millionaire/billionaire; and the cooperation, through the General’s murderous regime, of a consortium of the usual suspects – payments to the General from the grateful Thatcher government – Maggie sometimes ached for the stadium solution for her own left opposition; the money from Reagan’s administration; the money from China. The article does, however, misrep