[Recent Entries][Archive][Friends][User Info]
Below are the 25 most recent friends journal entries:
[<< Previous 25 entries]
I don't know what's worse: the migraine I knew I'd have on Monday, that was still leaving me feeling kinda shitty Tuesday, rearing its ugly head again yesterday evening, or me getting a whole new one already.
I'm not used to migraines lasting this long (I know they can for other people, but they haven't for me) or appearing this frequently (ditto; usually I get at least a month between them).
Whatever it is, I am lying in bed feeling sorry for myself rather a lot.
Current Mood: tired
Man dead in suspected Woolwich terror attack|
A man has been killed in a machete attack and two suspects shot by police in Woolwich, south-east London.
Prime Minister David Cameron said there were "strong indications that it is a terrorist incident" and the UK would "never buckle" in the face of such attacks.
Footage has emerged showing a man wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and making political statements.
There are unconfirmed reports that the dead man was a soldier.
( Read more...Collapse )
Tags: murder, terrorism, united kingdom
...Some Other Beginning's End.|
As I write this, it's just after dinner in the Eastern Timezone. I'm in Montréal, Quebec, Canada, at the recovery residence of Drs Brassard and Bélanger. I will be released tomorrow, spend that night and the next at a Bed&Breakfast in Laval, and fly back to Durham on Saturday.
On Tuesday, May 14, a nineteen year fight to have my body on my terms finally ended with me victorious. I finally feel that my res cogitans and res extensa enjoy unity; I am whole and at peace.
On to the rest of my life!
This entry was originally posted at http://agent-dani.dreamwidth.org/34982.html.
( You are about to view content that may only be appropriate for adults. )
|I reread The Eagle of the Ninth the other day. I really, really loved that book when I was a kid. I would have about died if I'd known I was going to live at Isca Silurum when I grew up (not that the place features in the book beyond the first page, but it's IN THE BOOK OK).|
Still geeking out about living on Mithras Way, also.
Sekret Maoist Marxist Mooslim Uses Weather Dominator to Crush Oklahoma.|
Climate Change still a Myth. Still No Evidence of Climate Shift Change to be Manmade.
Alex Jones Explains How Government "Weather Weapon" Could Have Been Behind Oklahoma Tornado
The Government "Can Create And Steer Groups Of Tornadoes," But Jones Isn't Sure That Happened In Oklahoma
Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones explained to his audience today how the government could have been behind the devastating May 20 tornado in Oklahoma.
On the May 21 edition of The Alex Jones Show, a caller asked Jones whether he was planning to cover how government technology may be behind a recent spate of sinkholes. After laying out how insurance companies use weather modification to avoid having to pay ski resorts for lack of snow, Jones said that "of course there's weather weapon stuff going on -- we had floods in Texas like fifteen years ago, killed thirty-something people in one night. Turned out it was the Air Force."
Following a long tangent, Jones returned to the caller's subject. While he explained that "natural tornadoes" do exist and that he's not sure if a government "weather weapon" was involved in the Oklahoma disaster, Jones warned nonetheless that the government "can create and steer groups of tornadoes."
According to Jones, this possibility hinges on whether people spotted helicopters and small aircraft "in and around the clouds, spraying and doing things." He added, "if you saw that, you better bet your bottom dollar they did this, but who knows if they did. You know, that's the thing, we don't know."
In April, Jones garnered attention for labeling the Boston Marathon bombings a "false flag" event staged by the U.S. government. Over the years, Jones has endorsed a wide array of paranoid conspiracies, including alleging that the U.S. government carried out or was somehow involved in the 9-11 attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and recent mass shootings at the Sandy Hook Elementary school and the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
Despite his well-publicized career of pushing conspiracies, Jones is regularly validated by media figures and conservative politicians. Jones' biggest ally has been Matt Drudge, whose heavily trafficked Drudge Report website has linked to at least 244 different articles at Jones' Infowars website since April 2011.
In the midst of the controversy over Jones' comments about the Boston bombings, Drudge announced that he had "privately told friends" that 2013 would be the "year of Alex Jones."
Tags: conservatives, conspiracies, conspiracy theories, conspiracy theorists, disasters, evil, fuck this guy, natural disaster, not the onion, oklahoma, scumbags, tinhats
Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Billionaire Koch Brothers |
A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry's role in driving climate disruption.
The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party's anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke.
Published in the peer-reviewed academic journal, Tobacco Control, the study titled, 'To quarterback behind the scenes, third party efforts: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party,' is not just an historical account of activities in a bygone era. As senior author, Stanton Glantz, a University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) professor of medicine, writes:
"Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry's anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda."
( The two main organizations are Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks...Collapse )
Abstract for the paper, and the paper itself in html or pdf.
This is back from February but it's still interesting. I didn't know the tea party was expanding internationally.
Edited to remove privacy lock on post.
Tags: politics, tea party, tobacco
Garden gnomes allowed at Chelsea Garden Show after 100 year ban|
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of London's prestigious Chelsea Flower Show, the august members of the Royal Horticultural Society have decided this year to relax their century-old ban and for the first time allow the "little people" into the show—garden gnomes, that is, those tacky little statues of short bearded men with pointy hats.
Ever since the Chelsea Flower Show began, in 1913, organizers have rigorously excluded garden gnomes—and any and all such "brightly colored mythical creatures," from the exhibits. But in a break with tradition, as well as to raise money for the society's nationwide Campaign for School Gardening, gnomes will be made welcome.
A hundred of them, painted and decorated by celebrities such as Dame Helen Mirren, Joanna Lumley, and Elton John, will be making appearances among the greenery. Afterward they will be auctioned off on eBay, with the money going toward the RHS's programs to teach gardening in more than 16,000 schools around the country.
"I think it is a wonderful idea," says English garden historian Twigs Way, author of Garden Gnomes: A History. "Word that garden gnomes were going to be allowed in this year's Chelsea Flower Show has opened up a marvelous debate about what gardening is really supposed to be about. After all, we are a nation of gardeners, and for many of us, garden gnomes epitomize the great social divide on garden design. And now the social barrier has been broken, even if it is only for just this one season."
Tacky or Treasure?
Indeed, in class-conscious Britain garden gnomes are seen as strictly for the masses, nothing an upper-crust gardener would dream of having on his or her turf. In this nation of gardeners, radio talk shows have been sounding out their listeners on the subject, and countless column inches have appeared in the newspapers.
( Read more...Collapse )
Tags: charities, class, united kingdom
Fitness-for-work tests unfair on people with mental health problems, court says|
The fitness-for-work test used to determine whether hundreds of thousands of people are eligible to claim sickness benefits substantially disadvantages people with mental health conditions, a court has ruled, in a decision hailed as a victory by mental health charities.
A tribunal judge ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had breached its duties to make "reasonable adjustments" under the Equality Act to ensure that people with mental health problems are treated fairly by the system.
( Read more...Collapse )
There was no decision on how the DWP should rectify the situation, and there will be further hearings. Lawyers for the DWP were planning to appeal.
Tags: autism, disabilities, mental health/illness, uk, welfare
Over 2 months!|
Doesn't time fly! Quick post this time. Been a quiet fortnight mostly, but we've had visits from Lindsey and Uncle Pete, have been out for lunch with he NCT group and cake with Ed and Lucy, and we had another nice walk up to the Gogs and Wandlebury. Today was Matthew's first jabs - and he was very brave - but has been alternating sleeping and crying this afternoon poor lamb. Hopefully he'll feel better soon. And we did get a nice cuppa and cake in the deli this morning too.
For the future I'm hoping to pop into the beer festival for lunch tomorrow, and am looking forward to Steph, Dave and the kids visiting at the bank holiday weekend. I also have an appointment to have a coil fitted next Friday morning (the 31st) and if anyone would like to come and visit and keep baby company for 20 minutes for me in exchange for lunch in Shelford I'd be very grateful!
Here's a few more pics.
Current Location: United Kingdom, England,Cambridgeshire,South Cambridgeshire District, Great Shelford
Tags: via ljapp
Medical Lawsuit: Stop Wrecking Babies' Genitals|
A landmark legal case may finally put a stop to almost half a century of bizarre medical procedures in the United States, where children's genitals have been surgically altered to fit a standardized definition of the proper sizes for penises and clitorises.
South Carolina couple Mark and Pam Crawford adopted their son M.C. when he was 19 months old, after he had been the ward of the state for a few months. Before his adoption, M.C.'s doctors and social workers decided that the infant's penis was too small or ambiguous, and determined that the best course of action was plastic surgery that would make his genitals look female. There was absolutely no medical cause for the surgery. It was purely cosmetic. Now, M.C. is 8 years old and has told his parents that he wants to be a boy. But before he was able to make this decision, doctors had surgically altered him in a way that has already caused him grief and confusion.
The Crawfords are suing the South Carolina Department of Social Services, Greenville Hospital, and Medical University of South Carolina for gross negligence and medical malpractice. According to CNN:
The suit says the surgery violated the 14th Amendment, which says that no state shall "deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law."
( Read more...Collapse )
Tags: children, health, intersex, south carolina
very quick asparagus and pasta|
We love asparagus, but we only eat it in May/June, when it is British grown – somehow imported stuff doesn’t taste the same. Well, it doesn’t taste of anything, really. So we tend to gorge a bit when the local stuff is in season.
I picked up two bunches from a roadside stall in Norfolk on Sunday, and we ate the first last night. While the pasta water was coming to the boil, I trimmed the asparagus spears, and put them in the steamer basket as 150g of fusilli was cooking. Made a rapid dressing of lemon juice and 30ml of olive oil, grated about 30g of parmesan, drained the pasta, and stirred it all together with lashings of freshly grated black pepper.
Took 15 minutes start to finish, and was lovely and summery. Approx 475 calories per serving.
Mirrored from Reactive Cooking.
Tags: asparagus, lowcal, quick
Venezuela's new labour law: The best Mother's Day gift |
Here is some news that the conservative critics of Venezuela's leftist government will not publicize. The Chavistas announced that a new labour law, part of which will grant recognition to non-salaried work traditionally done by women, will come into effect this week. Full-time mothers will now be able to collect a pension.
While there are a number of criticisms to be made of the Venezuelan government, the genius of the Bolivarian process is that it combines numerous forms of struggle against inequality. The most obvious lies in its commitment to economic redistribution, and measured by the Gini co-efficient, Venezuela has the lowest rate of inequality in Latin America. An equally significant form of struggle against inequality, however, lies in its pursuit of gender equity.
( Cut for lengthCollapse )
OP: Wow. What does everyone think about this? I'll just comment with my thoughts, since I have a lot of them.
Tags: socialism, venezuela, women
It would be a really inconvenient time to develop an aversion to Yorkshire.|
The bus was late. I couldn't help but notice on the road in front of me how "BUS" took up the same horizontal space as "STOP" in the next line.
I really couldn't stop.
Millions of buses that were not mine zoomed by. My brain nightmarishly scrutinized the ads on the sides. The typeface in "Comedy" precision-tooled to be just so wacky. The intentionally-cheap-looking comic-book effects on "Amazing Savings."
My baptism of fire in desktop publishing has made me detest colors and letters and my inability to stop noticing them. I close my eyes and see before me boxes of text and pictures to be rearranged. They never line up. The resolution is never right. There's never anything I can do about it.
I was worried I'd end up with an aversion to a lot of things. PDFs. The other day I saw a TV ad for Skipton Building Society and it only reminded me that I still didn't have their ad to put on the back cover. Umbrellas. A particular shade of blue. Yorkshire, just for being a theme of the festival I was promoting. All was misery.
It probably didn't help that when my bus finally arrived it took me to work, where my task today was...help my boss with another desktop publishing project.
But tonight, I went to a pub and ordered some food and thought the best-looking of the beers on offer was one with the word Yorkshire in its name.
A bit too hoppy for me, but it tasted good. It tasted like "maybe I'll go back to being my old self after all."
Tags: going crazy
Probably just down behind the sofa anyway|
The one app I use on my phone that has ads has recently acquired a bunch of baffling god-bothery ones. The other day I saw an ad that said something like "New life in God."
It's a sign of how frazzled and exhausted and overwhelmed I've been lately that this morning on the bus to work when I was presented one such ad consisting solely of "Find Jesus" in big letters, my only thought was Oh hell no, that's just another thing I'm too busy and tired to do. If he got himself lost, he's just going to have to stay that way.
Interpreting "Find Jesus" as an impossible wearying demand says more than I'd like about the state I'm currently in. Though it did make me smile and roll my eyes, too, if only at my own ridiculosity.
Current Music: XTC - "This Is Pop"
Tags: going crazy, random encounters
[trigger warning: suicide]|
Far-right French historian, 78-year-old Dominique Venner, commits suicide in Notre Dame in protest against gay marriage
( Read more...Collapse )
Tags: *trigger warning: suicide, france, gay marriage, homophobia, lgbtq, suicide
Texas Passes 'Merry Christmas Bill' to Fight War On Christmas|
Christmas may be seven months away, but Texas is ready for it.
State lawmakers there waged their own battle against the so-called War on Christmas on Friday, passing legislation, House Bill 308, that allows public school teachers to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukkah" and display Christmas trees, nativity scenes or menorahs. Winter displays must represent more than one religion or include secular symbols.
But while the legislation specifies that schools may not constitutionally favor one religion over another, the bill is named for only one religion -- Christmas.
"Teachers have enough on their plate to worry about [whether] the school district's going to be sued or if they can call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree," said state Rep. Dwayne Bohac (R), who sponsored the legislation.
He told KTBC in Austin that he came up with the idea when his six-year-old son told him about how he had "decorated the holiday tree with holiday ornaments."
"I was a little bit flabbergasted and a little bit upset that we've become so politically correct that we can't call a federal holiday by its name," said Bohac.
State Sen. Robert Nichols (R), who introduced the companion bill in the Senate, said he feared it was "becoming less culturally acceptable to openly celebrate these holidays in the ways past generations have."
Backers of the bill even set up a website and petition to drum up support:
(Source contains an image of the website here)
Since the bill has now passed both the House and Senate, it heads to Gov. Rick Perry's (R) desk for his signature. Asked for comment on whether the governor would sign the bill,Perry spokesman Josh Havens told The Huffington Post, "This bill is about the freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, and Gov. Perry supports it."
For years, Fox News has been warning viewers of a War on Christmas, with host Bill O'Reilly covering it more than the actual wars going on.
Linda Bridges, president of the Texas branch of the American Federation of Teachers, told KTBC that she believed there were more important issues for the legislature to be working on.
"I think I can honestly say I've never had a question from a teacher about what they can and can't do around holidays," said Bridges. "I think we really have to say, does this help education when we are caught up in discussions that have become pure partisan discussions? That is not the way we should be looking at education."
This article was updated with comment from a spokesman for Rick Perry.
Source. Personally, I think someone probably should explain to these idiots that most 'Christmas traditions' were co-opted from pagan festivals and traditions..
Tags: christianity, fuck this guy, not the onion, texas, war on christmas
uglybuffy's band is playing at the International Pop Overthrow tonight!
I'm very fond of the IPO, having been a few times to see friends of Andrew's play and indeed to help him out a bit with his own headline slot there at the Cavern one night. The friend who was staying with us last week is here for the IPO, and if Andrew hadn't been feeling poorly on Saturday that's where he'd have been.
I found the description of the band she's in, Midland Railway, on this page. It was so different from the others I'd read ("puts the POWER into power trio" "dares to combine the genres of indie rock and classical music" and please no one tell me what "space rock" means; it's bad enough that I now recognize "shoegaze") that I read it out to Andrew.
"A delightfully quirky and enigmatic pop band from Manchester who describe their music as what it might sound like if really camp aliens, in miniskirts and feather boas, alien-napped Weezer and Rilo Kiley and Blur and put them all together and shook them up with a dash of alien music and some prettier people."
I was a little surprised when Andrew said it didn't sound very good. I teased him about how he only likes bad music (he played his new Beach Boys CD at me repeatedly yesterday, which was almost worse than the migraine except that it doesn't last as long) and he took umbrage of course, and I thought that was the end of that, but then he said "It was sounding okay until 'Kylie'!"
But since I was hearing this, though, rather than reading it, it took me a second to figure out what happened there.
I assured him that Rilo Kiley is different and much better. Made me laugh though.
Tags: i am not lester bangs
Financial System Now Run by Toilet Cleaners.|
Bankers advised to seek ‘toilet cleaner job descriptions’
If you work for an investment bank, you may feel that a grandiose job description is your due – particularly now that pay is being restricted by the likes of the European Union. However, bankers are being warned against seeking overly important job descriptions. If you’re a banker, it’s far better for your job to be described in menial terms, said one lawyer. That way, you can’t be held accountable for too much.
“Before you accept a new job in banking, it’s a very good idea to look hard at your job description,” said Charles Ferguson, founder of London-based Ferguson Solicitors, which specialises in representing traders in employment law cases. Limited or menial job descriptions are best. ”If you’re running a trading floor and your job description simply says you’re the cleaner for the gentleman’s toilets, the financial services regulator will be forced to prove you’re really responsible for the entire floor before including you in an investigation,” Ferguson advised.
Other lawyers are dispensing similar advice. One senior banker who recently left Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), said a group of lawyers visited the bank’s offices to recommend that jobs should as closely defined as possible to avoid people being caught up in regulatory investigations. The UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) – recently reborn as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has substantially increased the number of investigations it carries out into individuals in the past few years. “It’s a huge risk,” said the ex-RBS banker. “All it takes is for them to start investigating you and your career is pretty much over – or you have to spend fortunes on lawyers to clear your name.”
Harvey Knight, a partner at law firm Withers Worldwide and a former leading authorisations and approvals lawyer at the FSA, said job descriptions are one of the things the FCA looks at in so-called ‘enforcement cases.’ ”They will dig out the job descriptions and look at structure charts and reporting lines and work out who was responsible for what,” Knight said.
( Read moreCollapse )
Tags: banking, capitalism, capitalism fuck yeah, corporations, corruption, eat the rich, economics, economy, uk, wealth
Oklahoma Senator Won’t Support Tornado Relief Without Budget Cuts|
Oklahoma Senator Won’t Support Tornado Relief Without Budget Cuts
The tornado that hit Oklahoma on Monday resulted in more than 20 deaths and is expected to cost the federal government untold billions of dollars in aid and recovery. But Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has long objected to federal funds being spent on everything from veterans benefits to relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is already insisting that any additional appropriations should be paid for with cuts elsewhere. “That’s always been his position [to offset disaster aid],” Coburn spokesman John Hart said. “He supported offsets to the bill funding the OKC bombing recovery effort.”
Indeed, during his time in Congress, Coburn has portrayed his efforts to rein in federal spending as a principled stance against accumulating larger deficits and passing debt to future generations. But Coburn hasn’t always opposed government spending that is not offset by budget cuts. The senator known as “Doctor No” has voted to fund the war in Iraq, the 2008 bank bail out, and even relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina:
– 2005: The “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act” (H.R. 1268) provided $82 billion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2006: The Defense Appropriations Bill (H.R.2863) provided approximately $40 billion for the war in Iraq. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2006: “Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act,” (H.R. 4939 ) provided $72 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2005: After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Congress passed two relief bills, allocating more than $50 billion and allowing the National Flood Insurance Program to borrow more money. One of the measures was adopted by unanimous consent and Coburn voted for the other.
– 2006: Congress approved a Department of Defense appropriations bill (H.R. 5631), including approximately $70 billion for the war in Iraq. Coburn voted for the measure.
– 2008: In October 2008, the Bush Administration and Congress enacted a rescue package to stabilize the financial system by creating the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Coburn voted in favor of the measure.
By insisting that funding for tornado relief be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget, Coburn representing his ideological purity rather than the needs of his Oklahoma constituents.
OP: Good thing he doesn't let a little think like humanity get in the way of his politics.
Tags: budget, disasters, evil, excuze me wtf r u doin, fuck this guy, fuckery, natural disaster, oh not this shit again, oklahoma, republicans, somebody please think of the children!, tom coburn, wtf
Bad arguments about agnosticism|
“It’s arrogant to claim to be an atheist, since you can’t know that God (or gods) does not exist. It’s much more intellectually respectable to be an agnostic.”
I’ve come across that sort of claim in a couple of places on the net recently. What could it mean? Time for another post in the series on bad arguments.
Bad argument: Atheists must show beyond all doubt that ChristianGod or MuslimGod doesn’t exist
Perhaps the speaker is some sort of conventional believer, like a Christian or a Muslim or whatever. They think that it’s up to someone calling themselves an “atheist” to demonstrate with that the Christian (or Muslim) God doesn’t exist, and do it so convincingly that there’s no possibility that the atheist could be mistaken. It seems the theist is either saying the atheist has got something wrong, or saying that nobody should call themselves an atheist.
Say that an atheist thinks that the Christian God probably doesn’t exist. The theist might claim that the atheist has reasoned wrongly in ignoring Christianity’s claims on them, because this is only “probably”, not “certainly”. But the theist’s claim relies double standard, since nobody else is held to that standard of certainty before they’re allowed to act on a belief (the conventional theist certainly isn’t). Possibly what’s going on here is that the theist thinks the atheist should be more like them: it looks like there are believers who argue the mere possibility that their belief is true justifies their continued faith. I’ve talked about the “virtue” of faith and discussed whether God might be fond of soft cheese before, so I won’t go into that again here.
(The famous atheists who are often called arrogant don’t claim certainty, of course.)
Perhaps the theist doesn’t think the atheist has been unreasonable (given the atheist thinks it’s unlikely that God exists, it’s fair enough that they don’t go to church or whatever), but thinks that people who haven’t attained certainty shouldn’t be defined as “atheists”. Luckily, the theist doesn’t get to define atheism.
Bad argument: An atheist must deny the existence of anything that anyone has ever called a god
“Well, I’ll say it simple: a god is someone with enough power to say ‘I am a god’ and make other people agree. Mortal wizard, lich, emperor, dragon, giant, leftover bit of chaos… it doesn’t really matter what it is underneath. What matters is that it has the strength to enforce its claims.”
- Rebel Theology, from Tales of MU (Tales of MU is basically “50 Shades of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons”, so be advised that some parts of the book are sexually explicit, although the linked chapter isn’t)
If The Man’s definition of a god is the one we’re using, it’s much more likely that there are gods (pretty certain, in fact, since people have probably convinced other people of their godhood at various points in history).
There are people who identify gods with love or the feeling they get from looking out into the night sky or with the quantum vacuum (trigger warning for physicists: linked post contains quantum woo-woo). In these cases it seems fine for the self-described atheist to say “that isn’t what I meant” or “I don’t dispute that those things might/do exist, but it seems silly to call them gods”.
Some statements which look as if they’re claims about the existence of gods end up saying nothing more than an atheist might say, with some god-talk tacked on purely as decoration. As Simon Blackburn’s lovely (and short) piece on Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion has it:
Philo the sceptic says that we cannot understand or know anything about a transcendent reality that explains or sustains the ongoing order of nature, while the theists like Demea say that we cannot understand or know anything about the transcendent reality, which is God, that explains or sustains the ongoing order of nature. Since the inserted clause does not help us in the least, the difference between them is merely verbal.
Cleanthes, the intelligent design theorist in the book, says that complete mystics are “atheists without knowing it”. Since some sophisticated theologians, like Hume’s Demea, call themselves theists, perhaps Cleanthes is a bit presumptuous. You can see his point, though: it’s odd that someone might be called a theist though they only differ from an atheist in calling some mysterious thingy “God”. Perhaps we should be a bit more resistant to the idea that anyone can “identify as” anything: that way lies Tumblr.
But we perhaps we shouldn’t assume that even people who go to church and say the Creed are assenting to a set of propositions (previously) or that their expectations of what will actually happen differ from those of an atheist (previouslier). If we still call those people theists, why not Demea?
Anyhoo: Philo and Demea are both agnostics (“we cannot … know”) about something, but just because Demea has called it “god”, it’s not clear that Philo couldn’t justly claim to be an atheist (though in the book, he doesn’t, of course).
Good argument: you can’t know what’s out there
Philip Pullman said:
Can I elucidate my own position as far as atheism is concerned? I don’t know whether I’m an atheist or an agnostic. I’m both, depending on where the standpoint is.
The totality of what I know is no more than the tiniest pinprick of light in an enormous encircling darkness of all the things I don’t know – which includes the number of atoms in the Atlantic Ocean, the thoughts going through the mind of my next-door neighbour at this moment and what is happening two miles above the surface of the planet Mars. In this illimitable darkness there may be God and I don’t know, because I don’t know.
But if we look at this pinprick of light and come closer to it, like a camera zooming in, so that it gradually expands until here we are, sitting in this room, surrounded by all the things we do know – such as what the time is and how to drive to London and all the other things that we know, what we’ve read about history and what we can find out about science – nowhere in this knowledge that’s available to me do I see the slightest evidence for God.
So, within this tiny circle of light I’m a convinced atheist; but when I step back I can see that the totality of what I know is very small compared to the totality of what I don’t know. So, that’s my position.
This seems fair enough. But often criticism of atheists is phrased like this:
Bad argument: you can’t know that there isn’t an X out there
where “an X” is some particular thing which would be hard to detect, like an immaterial being who made stuff but then doesn’t intervene, say. The problem with this is that the speaker hasn’t got enough evidence to even suggest X. Sure, we can’t rule out X, but what about Y or Z or a vast number of other possibilities? Why mention X as something special to be agnostic about? Often it’s because X looks like a god from a conventional religion, tweaked to be even less detectable. But that’s no reason to think that X is especially likely to exist. The error here is called privileging the hypothesis.
To anticipate a possible objection: a lot of people saying “I believe in X” may provide evidence to differentiate it from Y and Z. But we need to be careful about what X is here, as the range of things that people refer to as “god(s)” is pretty wide. Some gods (the conventional theist ones) have a whole lot of believers but have good arguments against their existence, so claims that an atheist who accepts those arguments should call themselves agnostic about those gods seem to be you must prove it beyond doubt arguments. “I believe in gods which are invisible gremlins in the quantum foam: you can’t show that those don’t exist” is privileging the hypothesis.
Originally posted at Name and Nature. You can comment there. There are currently comments.
Tags: agnosticism, bad arguments, blog, david hume, hume, philip pullman, philosophy, privileging the hypothesis, rationality, religion
Land of the Free Rent- Apple and Tax Avoidance|
WASHINGTON — Even as Apple became the nation's most profitable technology company, it avoided billions in taxes in the United States and around the world through a web of subsidiaries so complex it spanned continents and went beyond anything most experts had ever seen, Congressional investigators disclosed on Monday.
The investigation is expected to set up a potentially explosive confrontation between a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, at a public hearing on Tuesday.
Congressional investigators found that some of Apple’s subsidiaries had no employees and were largely run by top officials from the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. But by officially locating them in places like Ireland, Apple was able to, in effect, make them stateless — exempt from taxes, record-keeping laws and the need for the subsidiaries to even file tax returns anywhere in the world.
“Apple wasn’t satisfied with shifting its profits to a low-tax offshore tax haven,” said Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that is holding the public hearing Tuesday into Apple’s use of tax havens. “Apple successfully sought the holy grail of tax avoidance. It has created offshore entities holding tens of billions of dollars while claiming to be tax resident nowhere.”
Thanks to what lawmakers called “gimmicks” and “schemes,” Apple was able to largely sidestep taxes on tens of billions of dollars it earned outside the United States in recent years. Last year, international operations accounted for 61 percent of Apple’s total revenue.
Investigators have not accused Apple of breaking any laws and the company is hardly the only American multinational to face scrutiny for using complex corporate structures and tax havens to sidestep taxes. In recent months, revelations from European authorities about the tax avoidance strategies used by Google, Starbucks and Amazon have all stirred public anger and spurred several European governments, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based research organization for the world’s richest countries, to discuss measures to close the loopholes.
Still, the findings about Apple were remarkable both for the enormous amount of money involved and the audaciousness of the company’s assertion that its subsidiaries are beyond the reach of any taxing authority.
“There is a technical term economists like to use for behavior like this,” said Edward Kleinbard, a law professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a former staff director at the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. “Unbelievable chutzpah.”
More Chutzpah ahead...
( Read more...Collapse )
Tags: corporate welfare, fuckery, ireland, student loans, taxes
ATP End Of An Era|
So, the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals will no longer be running at holiday camps after 2013. The last 2 are this winter.
We particularly want to go with M to Part 1, which is at Camber Sands on 22-24th November. The line-up looks excellent (Television! Godspeed! Les Savy Fav! Dinosaur Jr! etc) and they currently have
Irreparable invalid markup ('<a [...] http://www.atpfestival.com/events/deerhunter/news/1304261021.php">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]
<p>So, the All Tomorrow's Parties festivals will no longer be running at holiday camps after 2013. The last 2 are this winter.</p><p>We particularly want to go with M to Part 1, which is at Camber Sands on 22-24th November. The line-up looks excellent (Television! Godspeed! Les Savy Fav! Dinosaur Jr! etc) and they currently have <a href="http://"http://www.atpfestival.com/events/deerhunter/news/1304261021.php">4, 5, 6 & 7 berth chalets available.</a></p><p>So, who wants to go to a festival with us and a baby? I think it'll be LEGEN...DARY but obv I'm biased.</p><p><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Posted via <a href="http://m.livejournal.com/ipad/link">LiveJournal app for iPad</a>.</i></span></p>
Tags: via ljapp
In the last few months I have been asked what I prefer. The first time I was asked was due to me listing male on a blog I have. I originally changed it and the user name so I was be difficult to search for. They mentioned that they also were going through some changes and how I identified. The second time was prompted from someone that's part of a local get together who had attended a panel involving gender identity at a Poly-related conference.
Today was the third time I was asked. The person that asked me this evening I had forgotten is married to the person that was the second person to ask me. I had thought it was prompted because I was scouting out locations for a barbeque, and inquired with the local LGBTQA center about possibly hosting it by them/inspired by the local transgender group I visited once (they had barbequed outside, and hosted activities indoors).
To the fellow who asked me this evening I mentioned he or she was fine. She/her tends to confuse people less in public. I prefer male pronouns, but it's rare if people use them. My partner and I usually just use our names if we need to get our attention. I was a bit nervous as to how exactly to answer, but given the group of folks we were hanging out with I felt it was okay to talk about it and he was being genuine.
One fellow later asked me which name I preferred using (he mentioned my actual name, and a male nickname I have), and I said either was fine. I'm still nervous about having people use my male name and pronouns with me, but it's a gradual change. Since 2011 I've asked people to stop using my female nickname, and people still get surprised by it. That in itself has been a headache, and if I changed it legally dealing with that's going to be very interesting. I can see what married people go through that choose to change their last name.
Earlier this afternoon I had the opportunity to run some errands. I stopped into three stores. In each store someone assumed I worked there. I did not have anything that specifically looked like or labeled me that I worked there. No name tag, apron, or uniform. I love how people assume something until they're told otherwise.
[<< Previous 25 entries]