It’s Memorial Day in the U.S. and I’m seeing the pathetically predictable parade of elite tweets honoring those who lost their lives fighting this country’s wars. And there have been a lot of wars. At one point I calculated that this country had been on some sort of killing expedition, when not more than one, in all but sixteen calendar years of its existence. And so a lot have died, not to mention the deaths on the other side, not to mention civilians. Read more
So here I am on Twitter, yet again, explaining the difference between agnosticism and atheism. And yes, there are authoritative definitions of the terms that go beyond conventional dictionaries, which can lean too heavily in favor of popular misunderstandings (for example, anarchy). (Sigh.)
atheism. Conventionally defined as ‘disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a GOD’ (Oxford English Dictonary), the meaning of ‘atheism’ is, in reality, context-specific, determined by the dominant forms of religious BELIEF in any particular time and place. In the ancient world, the charge of atheism was levelled [sic] against the philosophical and theological opponents of polytheistic orthodoxies, including Jews and Christians, but it is their theism which constitutes the semantic background to most forms of atheism in the modern world. Read more
This is right:
Aditya Prakash has his own further debunking here, which I have not watched and therefore will not intentionally address. Read more
Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have, I guess, had their ups and downs and I remain suspicious of any relationship with significant discrepancies in power between the participants. That said, Johnson and Symonds’ marriage in an Anglican Catholic Church raises not just a Roman Catholic Jesuit’s eyebrows: Read more
One problem with conversations I get into as an Uber and Lyft driver is that I am rarely prepared for them.
Take the conversation I had yesterday with a woman I picked up in Homestead: She said that it was not enough for Blacks—she claims a mixed ancestry including Irish but appears Black—to complain to whites that the latter need to change. This wasn’t, at least that I can be sure, about “respectability,” the invidious notion that to escape prejudice and discrimination, Blacks need only emulate whites. She pointed to Black-on-Black crime and said that Blacks aren’t doing enough to change themselves. Read more
This (figure 1) comes to me via a Chronicle of Higher Education newsletter. This episode began while I was still in California and, frankly, I didn’t pay much attention:
Fig. 1. Screenshot by author from Chronicle of Higher Education newsletter, May 27, 2021.
But now that I live here, my eyes popped, and I was wondering, what the fuck? Read more
See updates through October 17, 2022, at end of post.
Fig. 1. Unattributed and undated image via Spencer Thomason in a disgraceful puff piece for Uber’s electrification effort, fair use.
So a funny thing has happened.
You might be aware that Uber and Lyft have both promised that 100 percent of their rideshare fleets will be electric vehicles by 2030. Now California has called the companies on it, mandating that 90 percent of rideshare miles must be in electric vehicles by 2030. I haven’t looked at the order myself, but it looks like this includes “deadhead” miles, that is, non-revenue miles without a passenger. Read more
See update for May 28, 2021, at end of post.
The Transport Workers Union is about to betray gig workers in the state of New York:
The potential to offer political cover for the companies’ business models has given some labor advocates concern about potential deal-making. “There are reasons to be deeply skeptical about a ‘sectoral bargaining bill,’ brokered by the same app companies behind Prop 22, that locks workers out of universal employment protections,” said Brian Chen, an attorney at the pro-labor nonprofit National Employment Law Project. “It suggests that this isn’t really about allowing workers to build power together. It’s about employers bargaining down labor standards and undermining workers’ rights.”
I’m trying to imagine how it could be any more blatant.
In the United States, we have a minimum wage that has not even remotely kept pace with productivity, does not pay rent anywhere in the country, that the political order refuses to raise. Even as capitalists have raked in massive profits during the pandemic, and resisted providing personal protection equipment (PPE) for
“essential” expendable workers, they now scream that they face a “labor shortage” when what they mean is that they object to having to pay anything at all, let alone more than they do now. The U.S. stands among a mere four countries in the entire world to refuse to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which, in article seven, requires minimally decent pay and benefits for workers. Read more
See updates through February 4, 2023, at end of post.
Fig. 1. Diogenes, seeking an honest man. Also, me, seeking an honest job market. Attributed to Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein – Nagel Auktionen, 2005, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.
My long-failed job hunt took an interesting turn when I signed up for Medicaid in Pennsylvania. Read more