Woman and two children – deportation alert

The Guardian reports that an Iranian woman and her two children who have been in the UK since 2007, are due to be deported tomorrow. She is at risk of being flogged and stoned for allegedly circulating copies of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. Farah Ghaemi has the support of her local MP, Gerald Kaufman, who has stated that the decision to deport her and her sons is “intolerable”. There is an ongoing campaign to stop the deportation. You can read more here.

The Negro Motorist Green Book

The Negro Motorist Green Book, otherwise known as the Green Book for short, was a travel guide for black people in the US, informing them where they could find food, lodgings, barber shops, beauty shops and other services, during a time when many establishments refused to serve black people, and many towns made it illegal for blacks to be within them after sundown. The Green Guide was invented by a Harlem postal worker, named Victor H. Green, to help people of his race avoid violence and humiliation when doing run-of-the-mill things that whites took for granted – such as booking a hotel, or buying petrol. The Green Book ceased publication in 1964, when the Civil Rights Act was passed. You can read the New York Times article here.

The Chorus

Many of you will know about The Stone, a series written by various philosophers for the NY Times.  One remarkable features of these is the chorus of comments that follow.  As one person puts it in comments on the latest of the series:

Many reader comments on The Stone would be much better if the commentators came to the table as open-minded and careful readers who are interested in constructive dialogue. All too often, we see people who offer vague, ungrounded, and often fallacious responses instead. It’s no coincidence that the worst accusations against philosophy here come packaged in “arguments” that wouldn’t pass muster in freshman logic class.

I’ll put in a sampling of some short bits, but I’m not sure we should dismiss the comments.   So is there anything we can learn from the comments?  What do you think?

A sampling:

–  Ayn Rand complained that ‘modern philosophy’ had lost its compass. And this was in the mid-50s.
Fortunately, The Stone has proved that she was largely correct.

–  Mr. Sorell, you are really stretching it way out there by developing generalizations that are arrived at from comparing apples and oranges. Your last sentence makes absolutely no sense in the context of the rest of your article.

–  Talk about over-analyzing.

–  “Ayn Rand complained that ‘modern philosophy’ had lost its compass.”
Believe me, modern philosophers take that as a compliment.

–  The first part of this article is highly sensible–much too sensible for The Stone. However, the author more than makes up for this lapse in the second half of his post … where he suddenly departs the reality based community and phones it in from the monastery:

–  Like everything else of which philosophers make a muck, so it is with causality.
You’d propose to run the tapes of Katrina flooding New Orleans backward, and find out precisely which butterfly flapped its wings and started the Atlantic (atmospheric) wave that became Katrina.

This last comment may seem especially off the wall.  It reads like something the author has stored for some time and has let out at the first vaguely relevant moment.

Unfortunately, though, it does seem as though Sorell is promoting some conjectures about what would not have made a difference with the 9/11 terrorists, and he may indeed be in trouble there.