21 October 2009

Daily Chat 21/10/09

Magellan discovered his strait in 1520.  There was some sea battle in 1805.  Tralfamadore?  Traffic Cone?  Maybe you've heard about it before.  And French women were allowed to vote in 1945.

Born today:  Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993), Ursula LeGuin (1929), Geoff Boycott (1940), Peter Mandelson (1953), Carrie Fisher (1956), Julian Cope (1957) and Paul Ince (1967).

While Britain is celebrating nice, healthy Apple Day, we here in North America will be observing the International Day of the Nacho.  Ours is tastier.


  1. I thought you liked cider Montana - there is no healthier way to take an apple.

  2. Come to think it there is no finer way to take a parsnip either. Mashed with sugar, water and a little yeast and taken from a glass, several months later, its a delight.

    But a nacho? - I've never been worse for wear on a nacho although I expect someone here at UT will know how its done.

    Keep taking the tablets stoaty an unmedicated urge is a disaster waiting to happen.

  3. Monkeyfish - re: Godel - logically, what I get from that is that God = Popeye, which doesn't seem very helpful. Am I missing something? (rhetorical question...)

  4. From Guardian 31/10/09:

    "Banks that have reported hefty losses since the credit crisis have stored up tax credits which mean they do not need to pay tax for some time even after returning to profit. Last year US bank Merrill Lynch admitted it had booked £15bn of sub-prime credit losses through Britain which would allow it to avoid corporation tax in Britain for the next 60 years. RBS has £11bn of tax credits although it has been forced to give these up as the cost of enjoying insurance on its toxic assets from the asset protection scheme."

    Spoilt my day sufficiently to prompt me to post the above here and on Hank's piece on UTt. Tax avoidance scams that spread 60 years into the future! Bastards.

  5. deano,
    No good talking to me comrade, I'm giving this up.

  6. Hope not stoaty. If you have to do it, do it gradual Cold turkey would not be a good idea for you - or me.


  7. deano,
    Hello, avatar is back. You said to update profile and I did. Could that be it I wonder?

  8. The photo on Charles Clark piece, he's had his ears trimmed.

  9. Ctrl + (several times in succession enlarges the print size and thus Clarke' ears over on the Guardian)

    You could be right stoaty. From an enlarged look I think he may have used the same bloke who did Katie Price's tits - but I couldn't be 100% sure.

    I think thamua is the expert on avatars. Not only that but she, and Swifty and one or two others, can get to post in italics on here.

  10. Avatars have been flaky lately.

    Italics are easy.

    Type in [i], then what you want in italics, then [/i]. Except use < and > instead of the square brackets.

    The first one is a tag saying start italics here and the second, with the slash, means stop using italics.

    Or the cheating way is to open a comment window on Cif and use their handy tools, then copy and paste into here.

  11. I told you, you could be a teacher thamua - and if you were to borrow the dress from your avatar you could be national teacher of the year!!

    Thanks for lesson.

  12. Philippa

    I think the point is: If it is rational to believe in ones own existence then: if it is possible for a rational omniscient being to exist then it must exist.

    It is of course one hell of an assumption that an omniscient being represents a consistent potentially realisable concept. The argument's a sort of formalised and updated version of one of Aquinas's 'proofs' of God but given a far sounder grounding.

    I'm not advancing it as proof of anything, just making the point that I'm amazed the faithful don't use it. It just strikes me as far more elegant and persuasive than the usual "Faith is...blah..blah..etc"

  13. monkeyfish - I don't follow that logic at all. Anything you could conceptualise must then exist: orbiting teapots etc.

  14. Damn, I missed Imogen's comment on the Clarke thread. Anyone catch it? Sounds like it was a doozy.

  15. Afternoon, Untrusted Ones

    So nice to be home and finished at a decent hour for a change!

    I have been making hippy food for the brat again - at least he is eating it this time. A lovely butternut squash soup with red peppers, red onions and quinoa. Delish, though I say so myself, and just what the doctor ordered on a miserable bloody day like today.

  16. thaumaturge,
    Imogen's post was good and lasted longer than mine but it shouldn't have been modded at all.

    I merely mentioned the fact that his ears had been trimmed in his photo. Consumed by guilt I apologised for this and said that the fact he looked like a taxi with the doors open was neither here nor there.

    I refuse to post anything serious on Labour Party threads. It is my way of showing utter contempt for this foul scum.

    The fact thatImogen's post was modded has shown that taking cif seriously with the present bunch of arse-licking mods is a waste of time.

  17. And where's me fuckin' meercat?

  18. Wow - a live link from deano. I've learned a lot today.

    And whilst I was doing it I thought of a possible title for a piece from BB over on UTt which might kinda follow on from the tax evasion/avoidance thread.

    BB - how about something like:

    "laywers attitudes towards retrospection in law - saviours of fairness or obstacles to social justice"??

    Those bastard banksters always seem to think they can rely on the antagonism of the legals to retrospective law...

    But only of course when you have done the piece that you were already planning for us here.

  19. I think imogen's post may have been hamstrung by her conclusion - "fuck right off" - rather than her reasoning, which was unquestionable.

    monkeyfish - the thing is,
    "If it is rational to believe in ones own existence then: if it is possible for a rational omniscient being to exist then it must exist."
    is all very well, but if Popeye (a fictional character) shows signs of self-awareness, within the context of the fiction, then that doesn't actually prove anything other than if God existed, s/he'd believe in him/herself. All felt a bit "my cat is a dog" to me ("my cat is a god?"). And I actually believe in God, so I'm not picking holes to be difficult, I really just don't see it standing up. Anyway.

    colin - "he looked like a taxi with the doors open" - thank you for that. Just going over to see if my comment has survived (draft eight, minus almost all the swearing)...

    and this html format coding thing annoys me only because it won't let me [chuckle] like I normally do. Square brackets look wrong...

  20. "
    Public must learn to 'tolerate the inequality' of bonuses, says Goldman Sachs vice-chairman

    Bankers' soaring pay is an investment in the economy, Lord Griffiths tells public meeting on City morality"

    The above is turning into a very lively thread - amost 200 posts in 2 hrs. Mods have been hard at work.

    I haven't seen anyone called a 'cunt' as often since Blair was last in print on CiF.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. Ay, Deano - winning the moderation sweepstakes there by a c(o)untry mile...

  23. thauma - I know! the man either has balls the size of watermelons or absolutely no grasp of reality...

    hmm, which could it be?

  24. At least he's linked to the BBC interview thingy so I can watch that tonight.

    After reading eleventy other threads on trafficking AND Clarke's completely delusional effort, I'm not sure I can take any more!

  25. TV iplayer not available to the non-UK-based, but having now read several descriptions of how it went, and knowing my propensity for cringeing when people embarass themselves, I think that's probably a good thing.

  26. thauma

    I've only read the bonus envy piece so far and am already at seething point - think I'll have a small stiffner before I read any more.

    Deano - congrats on your new html skills!

  27. "Anything you could conceptualise must then exist: orbiting teapots etc."

    Only if it's a rational omniscient orbiting teapot. If you can really convince yourself that an omniscient, rational orbiting teapot is a realisable entity, then logically it must exist (for you) as a consequence of its rationality (or rather its belief in its own existence) and its omniscience.

    Can you really conceive of anything being omniscient or even the concept of omniscience? If you can, then logicically, you are obliged to accept its existence, or rather to do otherwise would be irrational. If you then choose to convince yourself that these attributes can be appended to an orbiting teapot then....

    The problem isn't the logic, its the concept of omniscience. Well... that..and the idea that it's rational to believe in ones own existence. Having consciousness isn't enough...that merely points to the existence /illusion of consciousness. It doesn't necessarily lead to a concept of self or identity.

    I look at some of the shit I type on a Friday night and, next morning, doubt the existence of the person who typed it.

  28. MF - perhaps I should have actually read the article! Still not buying it though.

    Pascal has a lot of interesting thoughts on existence and consciousness in Pensées.

  29. philippab, here you go. It's excellent stuff!


  30. OH god don't know whether to laugh or weep - just read Inayat's piece about al Muhaj's plans for a demo demanding shariah law. Had a look at their website and after parading past the H of C, and Downing St they will repair to Trafalgar Sq.

    A site of significant historical value, Muslims will gather even more support from tourists and members of the public, making clear in the heart of London the need for Shari'ah in society.

    Its really worth taking a gander at their webpage, its a howl, there's a link from Inayats piece.

  31. MF

    In a multiverse there would definitely be omniscient, rational, orbiting teapots.

  32. Thanks for the link scherfig - have just watched. Loved the way the ECP (if that's the right acronym) woman pwned both the blokes and actually got her say in! (Which Paxman acknowledged a little ruefully.)

    After reading MacShane's article today I think he has a rather unnatural obsession with "sex slaves" - seems to love that phrase.

  33. "philippab, here you go. It's excellent stuff!"

    If scherfig can get the iplayer in Denmark perhaps you can where you are in Europe too??

    I thought (kinda half understood) it was just our poor American cousins (and some other unfortunates) who couldn't get it. Try the link Scherfig provided above it might work.

    The newsnight interview was a pleasure to watch - the lass from the prostitutes union even took Paxman's breath away. She was brill...

    MF - if you got some spare viewing time and didn't see it last night "Horizon" provided some new ideas on the "...doesn't necessarily lead to a concept of self or identity..."

    I'm still trying to get me head around some of the latest work on brain scanning MRC(?) machines. Well worth a watch imoh.

  34. deano, you can't get iplayer (televison) anywhere in Europe, but there are clips of news, current affairs etc on the BBC site.

  35. Cheers scherfig - I obviously got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

  36. Bad me today ... Submitted to my impish impulse to indulge in feminist rhetoric (although using my not unknown misogynistic name), arguing why it's worse when men make jokes about women than the other way round, exagerating just a little bit (a "horrible" there, an extra "patriarchal" there and one of my favourites, the "male penis"), and the result:

    A guy is riled up and savagely slashes at my argumentation, while a feminist congratulates me for having "nailed it".

    And those responses are so freaking honest that I would feel really embarassed to admit I was playing the devil's advocate.

    Well, that's all part of being a troll on the internet. I wonder what the other half of the radical online feminists would do if they knew the other half of them was all me ...

  37. Come on Watson, givvus a clue where you've posted....

  38. naughty Watson...where is it?

  39. the male penis watson? Is there another kind? What am I missing?

  40. Sheff - good point - got distracted when the subject was *cough* brought up.

  41. Thauma - Good piece by Seamus Milne on the postal workers just gone up

  42. ha ha! Check out summerbreezer's comment on Milne's thread. Hank Scorpio is brought back from the dead!
    He links to here and seems to take issue with Hank's views on Israel.

  43. Unusually good piece by TGA as well. Kind of gives the lie to the old myth of how the Iron Lady was the heroine in the renaissance of freedom in Europe.

    And it also gives a telling insight into how right-wing paranoia about a Greater Germany fuels the euroscepticism which still bedevils the Tory Party.

    The same euroscepticism which leads to the Cameroons aligning themselves with far-right nationalists and xenophobes who are also still fighting the last war.

    The more Cameron is exposed to analysis, the clearer it becomes that he's a Tory throwback. The modernisation is pc-window dressing.

    He's a one-term pm at best. Unless of course the Welsh and the Scots secede. At which point, I'll be emigrating to anywhere but perfidious fucking Albion.

    @scherf - "Bring out your dead." "How much for this one?" "Ninepence..." "I'm not dead..."

  44. @scherfig - he's linked to a debate we had on 31 Dec 2008? Man, that HankScorpio is so, like, last year!

  45. hank
    Give it a couple of months & it'll be so, like, year before last!"

  46. @deano - I've added another comment to the U2 piece about the ability of brave little Liechtenstein to stand up to the bully boys. Read it on an empty stomach.

    @Mschin - I'd love to know what time on 31 Dec 2008 this argument was going on. I do like to think that I have some sort of a life!

  47. Blimey, just read Gary Younge's article and BB's endorsement of it.

    Why is it the best piece written on the subject, BB? In particular, why is his implicit defence of the niqab in anyway laudable?

    It's late now, but I'd like to debate this tomorrow if you're prepared to do so.

    There are nuances between racism at one end of the spectrum through disliking mulitculturalism, respecting cultural differences and being an apologist for medieval mindsets at the opposite end.

    Your unqualified support for Gary's article is troubling. How do you reconcile your anti-racism with your feminism, your respect for human rights and individual expression? Does your endorsement of the article imply your support of the niqab?

    Maybe we could discuss this tomorrow evening as an appetiser before The Griff turns up on the Beeb.

  48. Much as I respect AllyF, his post at 11.03pm on the Younge thread is breathtakingly stupid. He argues that the wearing of the niqab is an act of defensiveness in the face of the Islamophobia confected by the neoliberals, the military industrial complex, blah blah blah.

    Bollocks, Ally.

    Absolute fucking shite.

    How the hell is it an act of defensiveness for any Muslim woman to go from being inconspicuous in the community by wearing a headscarf or, in fact, no particular badge, symbol, dress code at all, to wearing a fucking niqab?

    Wearing the niqab was a political act in the aftermath of 9/11 for those who you would otherwise have passed by on the street without a second glance.

    @BB and Ally - the niqab is a symbol of oppression. It's shameful that you're both implicitly endorsing it.

    Jeez, it really is no fucking surprise that the Left lost its way once we all got colour tvs.

  49. Hank,
    The wearing of the niqab is a reproach to those who do not do so.

  50. Just read Younge's article. I usually like him as a commentator, but could anyone who thinks that it was a good piece, please explain the following assertion to me.

    Tomorrow night the conversation that Straw started will follow its logical, lamentable path as he takes his seat alongside the British National party leader, Nick Griffin, on the panel of Question Time.