Friday, July 28, 2006

Speedlinking 7/28/06

There are a lot of good posts today, and good stuff from other places, so my apologies to anyone I miss. As always, you can drop me a note if you have something cool to share.

~ There's a good guest post by Duff at Anxious Living.

~ Colmar offers an interesting self-test on integral thinking, called integral basics.

~ Jim Andrews (Stripping the Gurus) has posted a critique of Ken Wilber's claims for meditation as a major part of integral practice. He examines 9 claims he feels Wilber makes with which he finds fault. (Thanks to Matthew Dallman for the link.)
Here are the nine Concerns to be discussed in this critique:

1. KW asserts that meditation accelerates the development of human consciousness, yet he typically provides no supporting evidence

2. KW suggests that 20 to 25 years of meditation can yield full enlightenment, yet he admits that he has not achieved this state nor met anyone who has

3. KW states that only meditation has been demonstrated to accelerate the development of human consciousness, yet he also recommends other spiritual practices

4. KW praises the research of Skip Alexander and his colleagues, yet he also acknowledges that their studies are subject to “valid criticisms”

5. KW claims that meditators can advance two levels in only three or four years, yet the cited study is subject to “valid criticisms”

6. KW reports that 38% of meditators advanced to the highest levels on Jane Loevinger’s scale of ego development, yet the cited study is subject to “valid criticisms”

7. KW advocates the use of meditation and community verification to establish spiritual truths, yet this recommendation is not “good science”

8. KW asserts that even skeptics acknowledge that “the Maharishi effect” is authentic, yet skeptics have repeatedly rejected “the Maharishi effect”

9. KW is aware that meditation can have “negative effects on practioners,” yet he provides only a very few warnings of the potential hazards

~ Bob, of the blog Dust, responds to the Jim Andrews post.

~ Jay, the Pagan Bodhisattva, also had a response.

~ Sam Rose at the P2P Foundation has a great post on managing of the various information streams many of us have to deal with in our online lives. He calls it synergizing.

~ Mike of Unknowing Mind has a nice post on the emotional lives of non-human animals. I hate to anthropomorphize animals, but I suspect they feel a lot more than we give them credit for.

~ The Middle East Media Research Institute has an excerpt from an Al Jazeera television interview with Arab-American psychiatrist Wafa Sultan. She comes across as very anti-Muslim, and she sounds a bit like an Arab Sam Harris. This is from February so it may be old news, but she offers a view sympathetic to the Spiral Dynamics stance, seeing militant Islam as an unhealthy Red-Blue and the Jewish state as a "healthier" Blue-Orange.

~ Ann Coulter has shifted her attack from Bill Clinton's supposed latent homosexuality (she thinks that interpretation best explains his horndog past) to Al Gore being a "total fag." Chris Matthews ate that sh!t up, and I mean that in the most scatalogical way possible.

Here is Ann's stance on whether or not she was joking about Bill (this after saying his behavior had "whiff of the bathhouse" about it):
MATTHEWS: It's not a joke.

COULTER It's not only not a joke, it's not even surprising. If feminists were not so in love with Bill Clinton, this is like standard --


COULTER For any feminist with the benefit of something beyond a community-college education, this is standard --


COULTER -- feminist doctrine that wild promiscuity shows a fear-hostility of women.

If you were married to Hillary . . . oh wait, that's Ann's territory.

~ The NY Times thinks that the Arab world wants to distance itself from Washington and back Hezbollah.

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Mike said...

Thanks for the link, Bill! You reminded me of something I forgot to add to that post, so I've put it there now and noted that it's an edit.

Unknown said...

Bill, re Coulter,

I saw the interview. She was totally, frontally, unmistakably joking about Gore.

Re Bill Clinton, she is justifying her statement citing "feminist doctrine." Ann Coulter relying on feminist doctrine? She's joking!

william harryman said...


I realize she was joking about Gore -- and probably was about Bill, too, until she was goaded into defending the statement on air.

But it bothers me mostly that she uses being gay and the word "fag" as a pejorative, as if being gay must be a horrible insult.

And as much as people defend her by saying she's joking, most of her fans think she is dead serious and love her for it. They agree that calling someone a fag is a horrible insult.


Unknown said...

She's an iconoclast.

My problem is that if something rather similar is done FROM the Left TO the Right is it then OK?

Do we view Lefty humor as shedding hangups, but insist that Coulter's similar humor from the other side IS a hangup?

The Gore "topper" joke was -- I think -- just her attempt to say whatever was most outrageous. And she got a laugh from the audience outside that was assembled for the Hardball interview. The context of the intervew, from the beginning, was that Coulter was wanting to talk about the content/irony that her 'issues' relate to, whereas Chris Matthews was focussed on her inflamitory phrases and word choices. Matthews was insistant to continue to pursue the word choice thing. Thus, Coulter used "fag" to fit the picture of her as being inflamitory.

I'm not really defending Coulter -- I wouldn't but one of her books -- but I think she is just an iconoclastic humorist using irony to unbraid the Mean Green Meme. She steps over the line sometimes and she is not a nice person, but she uses humor as it can be used: to 'get at' some issues that we conspire to otherwise avoid.

Unknown said...

I was looking at your link to the Coulter interview, a story in Media Matters.

You know, Media Matters is the worst Journalism Watchdog I can imagine. You don't get the context of the Matthews-Coulter interview from their story.

On the following day, Matthews interviewed Rick Santorum. The MM headline reads, "MSNBC's Matthews pushed Santorum to label Sen. Clinton a 'socialist'." That's total bullsh1t. Here's the text of the interview from MM's own story. I ask you Is Matthews pushing Santorum or getting clarification?

MATTHEWS: Well, the great thing about you, senator, is that you're clear. You're a conservative. Hillary's a liberal. What makes the difference really between you in your heart and her in her heart? What's the big difference?

SANTORUM: I'd say it is top-down versus bottom-up. She sees, I think, the role of America going forward with the experts from on high trying to sort of guide the country in the direction --

MATTHEWS: And she's on top.

SANTORUM: And she's on top. I believe that it's bottom-up, that we need to have strong families, strong community organizations, and that America's a great country and will be a great country if we rebuild the family and strengthen the family to lead America.

MATTHEWS: Is she a big-government socialist?

SANTORUM: Look at her voting record. The answer to that is pretty clear. She has -

MATTHEWS: Well, what's your answer?

SANTORUM: The answer is yes.

MATTHEWS: She's a big-government socialist?

SANTORUM: Well, socialist may be a little hard. But she -

MATTHEWS: Well, it was my word. Is it yours?

SANTORUM: I would not use the term socialist.

MATTHEWS: OK, what would you call her? Big government?

SANTORUM: She's a liberal. And she's someone who believes in big government. And she's someone who believes in government by the experts, by the elite.

Matthews could have just dropped the topic after Santorum answered "The answer to that is pretty clear" -- leaving things such that Santorum HAD called Hilary a socialist -- but he digs in, allowing Santorum to get himself off the hook.

As for the idea that Media Matters seems to want to make that Matthews brought up the idea of Hilary being a socialist, that doesn't wash, to my mind, since Matthews is making the obvious inference that when Santorum says "experts from on high trying to sort of guide the country" is a definition of socialism.

Media Matters seems to have it out for Matthews, but I just think he is an intrepid reporter -- always seeking clarity in light of politico-doublespeak.