January 1, 2014, New Years Day: Mogadishu, Somalia Umayr, named after the famous butcher of Asma bint Marwan, raised his arms without a twitch as his handler put the vest on him. It was real and going to happen. He thought of the enemy, those in the cowardly federal government who turned their backs on sharia law. He was really going to do it. His brothers were reading to him from the Quran, “Muhammad is God’s apostle. Those who follow him are harsh to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another.” more>>>
We were all going slightly crazy trying to be honest and trying to see straight and trying to be safe. Sometimes there are conflicts in these three urges.
—Arthur Miller on the 1950s
Every time I hear his single most famous play, Death of a Salesman, characterized as a critique of American capitalism or even of traveling salesmen, I cringe, because I know that isn’t finally true. More pointedly, can we agree that the play exposes a business in which workers are fired easily, often for trivial hurtful reasons. The contrast is meant to be socialism, if not communism, where citizens have “job security.” more>>>
A Pragmatic Approach to the Conceptual Tangle of Caste
by Ankur Betageri and Ateeth Betageri (December 2015)
What Population Genetics Tells us about Caste
Though caste is defined as an endogamous social unit its historical existence as an endogamous unit in the subcontinent has been challenged by modern population genetics research which shows that caste endogamy became strict only about 1900 years ago before which intermarriage between different populations was widespread. more>>>
At any given moment during the year an estimated minimum of 2,000 foreign visitors, having entered the country as tourists, travel throughout Israel and the Palestinian Authority as participants in educational programs and tours whose goal is to export the Palestinian narrative (an account of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as told from the Palestinian perspective), to others in communities throughout the world. more>>>
Culturist Debating Techniques Concerning the Refugee Crisis
by John K. Press (December 2015)
My friend, Chuck, recently enthused, "Utlitarianism is popular in the Silicon Valley and Washington DC," (the center for his tech industry and where he lives). As one of the group, Chuck loves utilitarianism too. As a culturist, I hate this destructive vapid philosophy. more>>>
Congratulations on choosing philosophy as your major. I hope you will find it a rewarding and life changing field of study. It has certainly been so for me and many of the people with whom I was privileged to go through undergraduate and graduate school. more>>>
When the media began recently to belch forth accounts of Shakespeare's use of drugs, many aging Hippies sat up and took notice. It seems that The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust decided to allow a collection of clay artifacts found in excavations at New Place, Stratford Village, to be handed over to Professor J.F. Thackeray and his team of palaeoanthropologists at the University of the Witwatersand in South Africa. more>>>
The Boys Air Choir, a chamber ensemble of young choristers drawn from such cathedrals as St Paul's, Salisbury, Winchester, and Westminster Abbey, perform a simple arrangement of the traditional Advent hymn 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.'
O come, O come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel
That into exile drear is gone,
Far from the face of God's dear Son.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, thou Branch of Jesse! draw
The quarry from the lion's claw;
From the dread caverns of the grave,
From nether hell, thy people save.
O come, O come, thou Dayspring bright!
Pour on our souls thy healing light;
Dispel the long night's lingering gloom,
And pierce the shadows of the tomb.
O Come, thou Lord of David's Key!
The royal door fling wide and free;
Safeguard for us the heavenward road,
And bar the way to death's abode.
O come, O come, Adonai,
Who in thy glorious majesty
From that high mountain clothed in awe,
Gavest thy folk the elder Law.
I believe that some of the young people singing here in 2002 have gone on to study music at a high level and are adult members of cathedral choirs.
Some months ago I attended a dinner party that included a man who had worked for Zbigniev Brzezinski when he was Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor. As the subject of commie-hunting in the fifties arose he, typically of his type, became mocking (and smug, assuming that all gathered were of his ilk). “Did they ever find even one?” he asked. more>>>
“Yes, Mr Dennett, qualia are unscientific... and real”
by Paul Austin Murphy (December 2015)
[Others] note that my "avoidance of the standard philosophical terminology for discussing such matters" often creates problems for me; philosophers have a hard time figuring out what I am saying and what I am denying. My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as worse than useless—a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors. - Daniel Dennett (in 'The Message is: There is No Medium', 1993).
I'm going to start with an ad hominem and say that the real reason why Daniel Dennett is against qualia (or believes that the word 'qualia' is 'a philosopher's invention') is because they're unscientific; not because he thinks that they don't exist (or aren't real). more>>>
by Jerry Gordon with Amb. R. James Woolsey and Lisa Benson (December 2015)
Saturday morning, October 31st, 2015 Flight 9268 a Metrojet Airbus A321 with 224 largely Russian tourists, and crew aboard was on a course for St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai Red Sea. more>>>
“… every man must be supposed a knave.” – David Hume
Adam Smith (1723-90) is memorable for things he was not. He wasn’t an economist; he was a moral philosopher. He wasn’t a decadent capitalist; he was primarily an underpaid pedagogue. He was not a bon vivant either, as if such things were possible in Protestant Scotland. more>>>
Jacob Riis – The Story of America’s Most Famous Immigrant of the 19th Century
Stranger than a Hans Christian Andersen Fairytale
by Norman Berdichevsky (December 2015)
Jacob A. Riis became the most celebrated European immigrant to the United States in the period of mass immigration 1870-1914 and the national spokesman for social reform. He starred in the popular media as the most famous of all the muckraking writers, journalists and photographers at the beginning of the twentieth century. more>>>
Population and the True Number of Converts to Islam
by Ibn Warraq (December 2015)
Immediately after 9/11, many journalists in the United States, and Europe, came out with several glib generalisations that I found, and still find, irritating, because of their unverified and highly improbable nature. We were told that either 40,000 or even 60,000 people had converted to Islam in the wake of the attacks on the Twin Towers in Manhattan, and that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the world. more>>>
“No War Against ISIS Without the Kurds”: an interview with US Army Brig. Gen. (ret.) Ernie Audino
by Jerry Gordon (December 2015)
On the morning of November 13, 2015 combined Peshmerga and Yazidi forces, with US Special operators and USAF tactical support, successfully cut off the occupied city of Sinjar in northern Iraq. This action blocked Highway 47, the strategic line of communications between the Islamic State self-declared Caliphate capital in Raqqa, Syria from Mosul. more>>>