Late Afternoon Links

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Crunching on an article today, but I saved these open browser tabs just for you…

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79 Responses to “Late Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  Bill | 

    Aresen – It was confusing b/c honestly, I was confused. Something didn’t feel right about how I felt. After reading yoru comments and Les’, I realized what it was. I’ve lived in Miami most of my life and had countless discussions with refugees about the embargo. My ‘argument’ if it can be called that was based more on emotion than any philosophy. I totally agree with what Les sai d and having the govt make it illegal isn’t the right way to handle things.

    I agree totally as well that the regime would be in shambles b/c of ineptitude and corruption. Where I was coming from on that was just that Shambles might still be ‘good enough’ to remain sustainable indefinitely. In a nutshell though – I was wrong. I usually just lurk b/c I usually agree with the points being made. When I ‘ve disagreed with something before – I usually changed my mind shortly therafter once I could think it through some more. To that end – we’re in total agreement on the travel ban and embargo.

    I don’t however think that the part about demonization is all that compelling. If there wasn’t an embargo, Fidel would still blame us for all the problems. What matters is if people buy into the demonization. From what I’ve seen the Cuban citizenry by and large (which my sample is biased b/c it’s mostly of people who hated it enough to leave), they don’t buy it. They blame Fidel and think that no matter how much wealth Cuba could generate, they’d never see any of it. If we could go over there more though – brave prinicipled people would take risks to get more info and money to the Cuban populace (right now when it’s done Fidel is quick to lock them up) which would certainly help dramatically. He steals pretty much everything but when you’re that destitute, the difference between pretty much and everything can be the difference between eating and starving.

    Decent people wouldn’t patronize child prostitution and people that are looking for that probably don’t let hte embargo stop them (i know the same thing goes on in Haiti even though Haitians aren’t forced other then by economic deprivation) and many other places where there’s no embargo.

    I was uncomfortable with my argument and realize I was wrong. I appreciate that you and Les helped clear it up for me. Not only are libertarian blog readers a lot smarter than their counterparts on the left or right – they’re a lot cooler ;-) Thanks man.

  2. #2 |  Bill | 

    #42 – Hugh, What isyour point? that if O’Reilly says 10 folks are the most hated by the left, and Radley discusses them here frequently that it means he hates them and/or is a leftist? What do you want to know about JournoList? Radley’s not on it? David W was and he worked with Weigel? Are Dave and Radley ideological soul brothas in your estimation?

    Someone around here definitely seems to be pretending to be something they’re not when they post – but it’s Not Radley nor is it any Libertarian

  3. #3 |  Bill | 

    Following up on something I saw in another post, I decided to look around for Hugh Alredge. Funny thing, other than someone who this ‘hugh’ definitely is not, the guy doesn’t exist until today. I’d love to know your secret for staying off the grid like that Hugh. My Life never heard of you. Neither did Intelius. It’s almost like you just made the name up to cover up who you are but someone so committed to honesty and truth wouldn’t ever do something like that, wouldja?

  4. #4 |  Chris in AL | 

    I am a non-practicing agnostic.

  5. #5 |  Kristen | 

    Atheists believe there is no god. Since there is no scientific proof of either the existence or non-existence of any god, atheism is a belief just like any other.

    I’ve always preferred agnostic for myself, since it requires no beliefes, only facts. And the fact is there are no facts when it comes to god.

    Why am I seeing anti-weed ads? Tickles my funny bone to see that ad on this site,

  6. #6 |  ktc2 | 


    Sorry, atheists do not “believe” anything regarding god.

    The atheist position is merely, “I see no evidence for god” and thus they DO NOT believe in god. It is not a statement of belief or faith, but a statement of it’s absence.

  7. #7 |  The Blurbist | 

    No debate about atheism is complete without hearing from PZ Meyers:

    But now, to be fair, I’m going to have to find an excuse to drop Radley’s name on the Pharyngula forums, because Prof. Myers is a tad bristly about libertarians.

  8. #8 |  Dave Krueger | 

    An agnostic’s manifesto. This is about where I’d put myself, too.

    I used to consider myself an agnostic, but having been thoroughly convinced by “believers” that god, as preached by most of the world’s religions is, almost beyond any perceptible doubt, an invention of man’s imagination, I now consider myself an atheist.

    Does that make me certain that there is no god? No. It only makes me certain that the gods of the world’s religions don’t exist and they are not worthy of serious consideration anymore than alien abduction or astrology (which I also enthusiastically denounce).

    Declaring yourself an atheist helps to keep religious riffraff from seeing you as “undecided” which, to them, makes you the perfect target of their efforts to “save your soul” (whether you like it or not). It’s simply a more civilized defense than, say, shooting them.

    Does that mean I put my faith in science? No. It’s not about faith. It’s about evidence and credibility. Religion demands belief while offering neither. And, while it’s true that today’s scientific facts are tomorrow’s myths, at least they make no secret of that fact. And science moves civilization forward instead of anchoring it forever in the past.

    Finally, if agnostics tire of the aggressive rhetoric of the “new atheism, tough. Religion is just an idea and a pretty fuckin’ ridiculous (not to mention dangerous) one in the modern age. While it may not be responsible for all the conflict in the world, it most certainly defines the teams in most of them. When you’re “God’s chosen people”, what does that make everyone else? Certainly inferior. Three fifths comes to mind.

    Just to make it clear, I’m not just down on religion, I’m pretty much down on any institution that wants to force the population into a straight jacket of social conformity based on some moral code cooked up by a sector of society whose main claim to fame is their absolute intolerance of any life style that differs from their own. The fact that those people just happen to make up the overwhelming majority of the population of the world is immaterial. I’m not a big fan of the concept of “that many people can’t be wrong”. They can and religion is proof.

  9. #9 |  Bryan | 

    “The coolest you will look pooping your pants.”

    That is the greatest tag line in any ad. Ever.

  10. #10 |  Marc | 

    Grilled cheese and hamburger is awesome, though I have always put the burger inside the grilled cheese. You should try it. Works well with bacon too.

  11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Regarding agnosticism, I like that Maher quote: What’s wrong
    with telling your kids “I don’t Know [the secret of the universe]”?
    It makes people feel like they’re not good parents.
    I wonder if that’s what God is, the Great Riddle.

  12. #12 |  flukebucket | 

    The Cuban government is about to fall!

    …and we have turned the corner in Afghanistan! Just another Friedman unit or two and we will be there.

  13. #13 |  Joe | 

    I am so sorry that amputee mom had to go through that with the TSA and then with out of control commentators.

    The TSA needs to be reminded it is about serving and protecting us all, not in the job of humiliating us because some guard is upset with his job and needs to take it out on the traveling public.

    And for those commentators who think a personal attack about a blog host’s son is open game for your insults–fuck you too. I do not care what your political persuasion is, you deserve to get your ass kicked for that nonsense.

  14. #14 |  Chelle S. | 

    I wanted to say something about sanctions, but I can’t stop thinking about that burger.

    If cows were extinct I’d hang myself.

  15. #15 |  Cynical in CA | 

    From the Slate contributor: “In fact, I challenge any atheist, New or old, to send me their answer to the question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” I can’t wait for the evasions to pour forth. Or even the evidence that this question ever could be answered by science and logic.”

    Precisely. Who says there has to be an answer to every question?

    However, skepticism can only be taken so far in the real world. At some point, a human being has to take care of his/her animal needs. That requires suspending epistemological skepticism and accepting the world as real at a foundational level, whether it make sense or not.

    On a side note, I prefer the term “rational,” rather than “atheist.” “Atheist” gives too much credit to “theist,” as it is incumbent on those who believe in a god to prove the existence of their god. In that context, for the true atheist, the word “atheist” is meaningless, a negative of something they don’t believe exists.

  16. #16 |  Charlie O | 

    Friendly’s is missing the ultimate. hamburger w/bacon/cheese between a Krispy Kreme donut.

  17. #17 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #2 | John Jenkins — “Science doesn’t answer grand thematic questions. It incrementally pushes back the veil of darkness that surrounds our existence.”

    You and I have had our differences John, but that was one helluva concise and cogent post.

    I’ll only add that Einstein said, “”As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it.”

  18. #18 |  Charlie O | 

    With regard to dealing with the TSA (or other so-called Authorities). One problem is too many Americans are cowed when threatened with arrest. Some TSA nitwit threatens to have a traveler arrested, they shut up and comply. Bullshit! Challenge them, or, tell them to fuck off. I had a problem at BWI once. Was recuperating from foot surgery. Couldn’t take off my shoes and walk around sock footed. You DO NOT have to take off your shoes at ANY airport. You just have to be prepared for secondary screening, where they take your shoes from you and run them through the scanner for you.

    Anyways, I quietly explained my problem to the guy at the scanner, he must have been new because he didn’t seem to understand the problem and called over a supervisor, who immediately got belligerent and in my face, demanding “and what’s your problem?” I’m the kind of guy who gives what he gets, you act like an asshole, you get an asshole. Bigger asshole.

    Anyways, it turned into a bit of a shouting match. I wasn’t threatened with arrest, but rather threatened with denial to fly. I told the TSA supervisor, “no problem. My car’s in the parking lot, I don’t HAVE to fly anywhere.” I was more than ready and willing to turn and leave. Fuck them and their threats. Anyway, I made my flight that day and continued with my day. Don’t cower to them. Stand up to their threats.

  19. #19 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #45 | johnl — “For example. talk about self evident rights endowed by our creator has a tangible quality that can make it real even to child. Secular libertarian thinking is like a bunch of math puzzles, the law of unintended consequences, broken windows, …”

    I’ve found that demonstrating proper behavior to a child through one’s own words and actions is easily as instructive to a child as attributing same proper behavior to an invisible, unprovable entity. And my method has the advantage of coming from an entity that can actually be demonstrated to exist.

  20. #20 |  flukebucket | 

    #44 Hugh

    Plus I would like to hear more about the JournoList scandal.

    You need to check out the last few days posts over at Balloon-Juice.

    There is a lot of hilarious shit on that topic.

  21. #21 |  Brian | 

    What Rosenbaum has defined is atheism. Atheists are skeptics too. Minus evidence a skeptic isn’t going to believe a truth claim whether it’s about unicorns on mars or a supernatural entity. It’s a misconception to think atheists are as certain in their beliefs as the religious. Thinking the prescriptions of religion are based on nonsense and that the institutions dole out mind rot isn’t the same as saying I know for a fact there is no god.

  22. #22 |  A.G. Pym | 

    The best way to bring down the Cuban government as it now exists would be to end _all_ sanctions against Cuba, not just the travel ban. Once free and open communciation is available, (and consumer goods), the old-line communists in power won’t be able to keep up or cope.

    Remember how the USSR lost control quickly once communications began flowing more freely in ways they were not equipped to cope with.

    As for why there’s something not nothing, it appears that some obscure quality of matter favors a certain type of decay over another, such that a very slight excess of matter vs. antimatter exists. Mix fundamental particles in extreme conditions, bake, allow to rest for ~14 By, and there you go.

  23. #23 |  albatross | 

    Charlie O:

    It’s striking how much influence on peoples’ behavior it has when they can ruin your day, even when they can’t get away with anything really nasty. A TSA agent isn’t likely to arrest me, a cop isn’t likely to beat me senseless, and a DMV employee probably can’t really keep me from getting my license. But all three can (and will, if sufficiently annoyed) mess up my day and waste a bunch of my time.

    Under normal circumstances, this isn’t a big problem. I don’t go around screaming insults at random people, even when I’m pretty annoyed. But at times, the people in those jobs are very visibly aware that they can ruin your day, and use that to get a little deference or groveling or whatever. And usually, it pays to put up with it, both because I’ll never see the idiot again (so why spend resources today to acquire a no-fun-to-bully reputation?), and because I don’t have a vast store of time and flexibility in my schedule available for dealing with someone keeping me off my flight to “teach me a lesson” about mouthiness.

  24. #24 |  johnl | 

    Right Charlie O. The TSA doesn’t really want to call the cops. They don’t even want to call the airline and tell them to pull your baggage out.

  25. #25 |  Elliot | 

    Sydney Carton (#41): “You “cut the tether when I read someone point out how cruel it is to convince a child that their beloved grandfather would be burning forever in fire because he wasn’t baptized”?”

    I didn’t explicate as my comment was already very long and I was in a hurry. I cut the “tether” of my own residual Christian fear/guilt, which was mostly what kept me from getting down off the irrational agnostic fence.

    There are plenty of strong arguments against theism (or any faith in supernatural things). That’s a separate matter. Cruelty and psychological manipulation are side effects of theism, which are useful to point out to apologists. But even if religious people and organizations were all sunshine and happiness, that wouldn’t make the assertions of faith any more true.

    “But all religions use fear and hate and have a love of death, and are fundamentally flawed. That’s it, right?”

    Beyond the error of believing in imaginary things, all traditional religions are fundamentally poisoned. Abrahamic religions are founded on hateful, murderous stories (genocide of whole peoples, Jephthah murdering his daughter, Lot offering his daughters to a rape mob, etc.) and the leaders have a terrible history of murder and oppression (until Enlightenment secularists reign them in). Christianity and Islam, like many Eastern religions, encourage people to stupidly sacrifice of their one and only life for some fictional afterlife. That’s a worship of death over life.

    Not all religions are so poisoned. There are “feel good” fads, in which people believe in some vague, watered-down harmony or whatnot. But without the fear and hatred to keep people from walking away, these fads fade away.

    ““Cut the tether.” An interesting choice of words. The tether is something that keeps you from falling. It is an anchor to a rock. Now you’re just falling, with nothing to hold on to. Interesting choice of words, indeed.”

    So a slave’s chains keep him in a good place?

    I don’t fear getting off the agnostic fence, because it did me no good. Living without fear or guilt, being free to follow my rational intellect without making special allowances for nonsense, is not falling, in any sense. I’m standing on solid ground, not pretending I’m dancing in clouds or sitting on a fence afraid to call ridiculous ideas ridiculous.

  26. #26 |  Elliot | 

    Kristen (#55): “I’ve always preferred agnostic for myself, since it requires no beliefes, only facts. And the fact is there are no facts when it comes to god.”

    Substitute “atheist” for “agnostic” in that paragraph and that’s exactly what I say. You’re confused about atheism if you think that all or most atheists have some sort of faith-like belief that there is absolutely no god. It’s just a matter of considering the idea about as worthy of consideration as a belief in orbiting teapots and fairies making the flowers grow.

    Belief in imaginary things isn’t just as reasonable as a belief there is no reason to believe in those imaginary things.

  27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #76 Elliot

    Belief in imaginary things isn’t just as reasonable as a belief there is no reason to believe in those imaginary things.

    Wow. I think I’m puttin’ that on my tombstone.

  28. #28 |  Elliot | 

    Dave, you might want to diagram that inelegant sentence, first. It could do with a good rewrite for clarity.

    I hate when I have to reread my own sentence a couple times to parse it correctly.

  29. #29 |  mattt | 

    re: the Friendly’s Burgermelt…

    It makes me wonder about a Conversation of Carbs theory. The bread that KFC’s Double Down lost, has manifested around the Burgermelt! Hmmm….