All entries by this author

Stone Apologizes for Karma Remark *

May 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Dior has won the affection and respect of the consuming public in China.… Read the rest

Amnesty Urges Iran to Overturn Sentences *

May 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Convictions of six women’s rights defenders should be overturned on appeal.… Read the rest

Amnesty Slams Egypt for Illegal Detentions *

May 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Report said conditions in which detainees are held are cruel; hundreds were reportedly ill with TB, other diseases.… Read the rest

AI Condemns Detentions in Egypt *

May 29th, 2008 | Filed by

Amnesty International says about 18,000 are in jail in Egypt without being charged or put on trial. … Read the rest


May 28th, 2008 6:33 pm | By

Ah, Buddhism – so spiritual, so compassionate, so deep.

Sharon Stone says the Chinese earthquake was bad karma.

“I thought, ‘Is that karma?’ When you are not nice, bad things happen to you.”

Ah right – we see that every day. Cosmic justice is dealt out with unerring accuracy and gratifying speed, day in day out. Well spotted, Ms Stone.

“I’m not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don’t think anyone should be unkind to anyone else,” Stone said in footage widely available on the internet. “And then all this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and I thought, is that karma?”

Yeah, that’s what it is all right. All those schoolchildren crushed … Read the rest

A different kind of thing

May 28th, 2008 1:36 pm | By

Oh, please.

From this week, astrologers, palm-readers, mediums and the like must display a kind of rationalist health warning. Wherever they sell their services, new consumer protection regulations require that they declare “for entertainment only”, because not “experimentally proven”…[I]t is tempting to raise a scientistic cheer. At last the quacks have been foiled, their bluff called! Until, that is, one asks what else in the marketplace of goods and services could pass a similar test.

Well nothing could, because ‘proven’ is the wrong word, which is not Mark Vernon’s fault if that’s really what the regulations themselves say and not just some journalist’s sloppy paraphrase. But the things that astrologers and mediums do or rather claim to do are … Read the rest

Repressive Law Renewed Instead of Reforms *

May 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Egyptian government’s abrupt extension of the state of emergency shows contempt for the rule of law.… Read the rest

Save the Children on Abuse by Peacekeepers *

May 28th, 2008 | Filed by

The report shows sexual abuse has been widely underreported because children are afraid to come forward.… Read the rest

Science Can’t Prove Nothin’ *

May 28th, 2008 | Filed by

Can’t prove a house is beautiful, so why make mediums warn their customers?… Read the rest

The End of Political Pandering on Religion? *

May 28th, 2008 | Filed by

No.… Read the rest

Radicalism as Reaction *

May 27th, 2008 | Filed by

The revolution was repressive from its start, flawed with a programmatic illiberalism and anti-intellectualism.… Read the rest

Normblog on the ‘Post-left’ *

May 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Are apologists for Islamism more unleft than were apologists for Stalinism? No.… Read the rest

Jeff Sharlet Reads Martha Nussbaum *

May 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Strengthening the hand of the theocons by underestimating the scope of the Christian nationalist challenge. … Read the rest

Another Agnostic Pipes Up *

May 27th, 2008 | Filed by

It is music in general that must be tossed out when you refuse to appreciate religion. Eh?… Read the rest

Sayed Pervez Kambaksh May Be Safe *

May 27th, 2008 | Filed by

Hamid Karzai has privately assured Kambaksh’s campaign team that he will be freed.… Read the rest

Evidence is for conformists

May 27th, 2008 | By Tim Goot-Brennan

I remember a friend telling me only a few days after the Sept 11 attacks that the World Trade Centre had been wired with bombs either by the government or by the owner. It was also pointed out to me that the dust around the World Trade Centre had fallen in the shape of Satan’s visage. I wouldn’t have predicted it at the time, but the crackpot impulse behind these ideas has become common currency. In one American poll, a third of respondents registered their belief that the Bush Administration either aided the attacks or declined to stop them.

More recently the cult of Zeitgeist: The Movie, made by someone called Peter Joseph, has been brought to my attention. … Read the rest

Strengthening the hand of the theocons

May 27th, 2008 11:05 am | By

Jeff Sharlet has some of the same qualms I have about Nussbaum on religion and freedom.

More worrisome are those liberal defenders of religious equality such as Nussbaum and Waldman, who actually do know better and yet strengthen the hand of the theocons by underestimating and even minimalizing the scope of the Christian nationalist challenge…The overlapping consensus model extends an assumption of good faith to all parties. That’s fine. But it fails when it rests too easily on assumptions about just what good faith is.

Precisely. That’s exactly what Nussbaum does – she backs up these assumptions about just what good faith is by citing easy examples, like Quaker non-violence, instead of hard ones, like raising girls to be subordinate … Read the rest

Passing for a Hagiographer of Freud *

May 26th, 2008 | Filed by

The well-documented fabrications and fudges in Freud’s early case studies go unmentioned. … Read the rest

What Shameless Repetition *

May 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Repetition can make promotional testimony seem eerily quantitative.… Read the rest

Morris Dickstein on Fiction and Political Fact *

May 26th, 2008 | Filed by

Public life determines private life; exploring that link is the sine qua non of good social and political fiction.… Read the rest