Subscribe to the Podcast!

Get the show delivered AUTOMATICALLY!

New to Podcasts?

Start here/Get help

Search LTA
Powered by Freefind

Individual post...

« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

January 31, 2007

Barack Obama Calls for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq by 2008

Barack Obama Calls for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq by 2008
Good lord - a contemporary American politician actually says something of substance!

Barack Obama Calls for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq by 2008, (YouTube)

And yes, to respond to a couple of emails on the subject: I know the site's not had much Northern Irish content as of late but I've been fighting a killer dose of jet(t)lag since coming back from the States.

And YouTube makes blogging sooooo easy.


January 30, 2007

Andy Kaufman Wrestles - Why Don't You?

Andy Kaufman
Though I'm not a religious man I can recognise a Saint when I see one:

Andy Kaufman's Wrestling Career, (Google Video)

Andy previously on LTA


January 29, 2007

Some Favourite Podcasts

Buildings in Belfast

Have not mentioned recently on the Show my favourite podcasts.  So in no particular order here ya go:

Open Source
Always excellent daily programme that explores contemporary issues; the guests are consistently fascinating and knowledgeable and host Christopher Lydon, though he can be a bit like a 'hip uncle that doesn't quite get it', is always worth listening to.
iTunes Link

The Philosophy Podcast
Does what is says on the tin: who doesn't need a wee taste of Rousseau from time to time? (have a listen and tell me - doesn't the voice of this 'cast seem speeded up?  We're in some sort of 22nd century Blipvert / Speedlearn thing here).
iTunes Link

Tom Raftery's Podleaders
Way better than T.W.I.T., (face it - those guys are pretty lame).  And it's 'local' too - so you can feel good about yourself when listening, (if you live in Oirland). One thing to mention is that there seems to be some problems with Tom's servers, (check the website for latest news).
iTunes Link

The Economist
Cheaper than buying the magazine; it's free!
iTunes Link

Center on Public Diplomacy Events
Irregular, yet worthwhile talks from the University of Southern California's Center on Public Diplomacy.
iTunes Link

Moyers on America
Can't go wrong wit' da Moyers.  One of the few adults we've got.
iTunes Link

NPR Shuffle
Though their delivery drives me nuts, ("You're listening to ennnnpeeeeearrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr), and at its worst it's smug and self-satisfied, (the audio equivalent of the Guardian over here), it's still worth a listen.  They don't seem to put their national shows online for free but they do give you this daily pic-n-mix. 
iTunes Link

For cops by cops.  The perfect compliment to my favourite TV show:  The Shield.
iTunes Link

Looking through this list one sees there's only one Oirish cast - Tom Raferty's I.T. Views.  Hmm.  Looking forward to the Irish Blog Awards to see what interesting local podcasts get shaken out of the tree.

(Note on the photo above - has nothing to do with the post - I just like taking photos of buildings in Belfast:  Better Left Empty / Real Life Meccano Set / Real Life Meccano Set Part 2 / Belfast at Night 1 / Belfast at Night 3).


January 28, 2007

Richard Dawkins Review - New York Review of Books

The Sun sets on Mars, photo Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Interesting review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion at the New York Review of Books by H. Allen Orr:

A Mission to Convert

The book is attacked on many fronts - my favourite -  the one that made me smile - is the accusation that it's middlebrow.  The reviewer is correct in this I think - and it's one of the things that I didn't care about it - but then I don't think H. Allen Orr and I are the target demographic. 

Here's a couple of concurrent good paragraphs from the review:

"The reason Dawkins thinks he has something to say about God is, of course, clear: he is an evolutionary biologist. And as we all know, Darwinism had an early and noisy run-in with religion. What Dawkins never seems to consider is that this incident might have been, in an important way, local and contingent. It might, in other words, have turned out differently, at least in principle. Believers could, for instance, have uttered a collective "So what?" to evolution. Indeed some did. The angry reaction of many religious leaders to Darwinism had complex causes, involving equal parts ignorance, fear, politics, and the sheer shock of the new. The point is that it's far from certain that there is an ineluctable conflict between the acceptance of evolutionary mechanism and the belief that, as William James put it, "the visible world is part of a more spiritual universe." Instead, we and Dawkins might simply be living through the reverberations of an interesting, but not especially fundamental, bit of Victorian history. If so, evolutionary biology would enjoy no particularly exalted pulpit from which to preach about religion.

None of this is to say that evolutionary biology cannot inform our view of religion. It can and does. At the very least it insists that the Lord works in mysterious ways. More generally, it demands rejection of anything approaching biblical literalism. There are facts of nature—including that human beings evolved on the African savanna several million years ago—and these facts are not subject to negotiation. But Dawkins' book goes far beyond this. The reason, of course, is that The God Delusion is not itself a work of either evolutionary biology in particular or science in general. None of Dawkins' loud pronouncements on God follows from any experiment or piece of data. It's just Dawkins talking."

I love that line:  It's just Dawkins talking. 

He's right and it's one of the reasons the book has the feeling of ephemera - it won't last.

Certainly not in the same league Dawkins wonderful 'The Selfish Gene' - and that's a shame.

Alluding to Orr's first paragraph above I wish that certain Christian creeds had been able to get past the shock of Darwinism - it's refusal to engage with the realities of our time, (the equivalent of saying the Earth doesn't revolve around the Sun), are a hindrance to thought, religious or not, everywhere.  In the review H. Allan asks why the book was written - this is why I think - Dawkins' fear - not of religion; but of the corrosive effects the anti-evolution brigade has on critical thinking - something, it goes without saying, we need now as much as we ever did.

I wonder:  should religion be viewed as many do technology; a neutral 'force' that humans can use for good or ill?

Religion is different in the sense that from what I see it has a biological basis - or least spirituality does - there's a 'component' or area, (whether actual in terms of being located in a specific region or 'virtual' in the sense of a various of neuronal systems working together), that enables or I would even say creates that mystical feeling - that combined with like-minded upbringing, (perhaps by relatives that have the same predisposition towards the mystical), gives us religion. 

So in that sense it's not a 'delusion' - it's real.  One of the best examples of this I've seen in recent media is the German film 'Requiem'.  A young university student raised in a strict religious family who suffers from terrifying epileptic attacks stops taking her medication - and begins to believe that she is being possessed by demons.  The film is very effective in demonstrating that whether or not these demons are real, existent observable and recordable phenomena is immaterial - they're real to the girl and her family and her church.  If there's no one else in the room of a possessed person, other than those who believe - than how can one say the events are not real?

Right, that's enough rambling for now.  Let us look at that photo of the Sun setting on Mars that starts this post. 

I love it.  So desolate.  So lonely.

The thing is, if humankind never existed - the Sun would still have set on that landscape - it doesn't know that we were ever here. 

And someday we'll be gone and there'll be no one to remember us.

Dawkins and sunsets Previously on LTA:

Richard Dawkins on The Late Late Show - RTE

Belfast Sunset

Glasgow Sunset

Taos Sunset


January 26, 2007

The America Show - Episode 3 - Republican Girls Do Wal-Mart

Oh God, they're at it again.

LTA listener Allie let me know that those wacky comedians behind the America Show have put another episode up at YouTube.

Now, I ask you - who the hell defends Wal-Mart?  I mean, they're a massive company that spends millions a year on press and publicity - they don't need really bad comedians to press forward they're message that 'unions are bad'.


The America Show previously on LTA:

The America Show



January 25, 2007

Bas Rutten - How to Win a Bar Fight

People often ask me, "Jett, why no LTA tips on how to win a bar fight?".

In response I present the video above.

Also if you want to go more in-depth I recommend the following:

Bas Rutten's Big Book of Combat, Vols. 1 & 2, (Includes 6 CDs)


January 24, 2007

Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is 'hogwash'

Holy crap!

Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is 'hogwash'

And in other news, the winners of the annual LTA 'Can't See the Forest for The Trees Award' goes to this guy:

Network HDTV Quality Test


There Is No War On Terror

There is no war on terror

From today's Guardian:

'There is no war on terror'
Outspoken DPP takes on Blair and Reid over fear-driven legal response to threat

Clare Dyer, legal editor
Wednesday January 24, 2007
The Guardian

The director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, put himself at odds with the home secretary and Downing Street last night by denying that Britain is caught up in a "war on terror" and calling for a "culture of legislative restraint" in passing laws to deal with terrorism.

Sir Ken warned of the pernicious risk that a "fear-driven and inappropriate" response to the threat could lead Britain to abandon respect for fair trials and the due process of law.

He acknowledged that the country faced a different and more dangerous threat than in the days of IRA terrorism and that it had "all the disturbing elements of a death cult psychology".

But he said: "It is critical that we understand that this new form of terrorism carries another more subtle, perhaps equally pernicious, risk. Because it might encourage a fear-driven and inappropriate response. By that I mean it can tempt us to abandon our values. I think it important to understand that this is one of its primary purposes."

Sir Ken pointed to the rhetoric around the "war on terror" - which has been adopted by Tony Blair and ministers after being coined by George Bush - to illustrate the risks.

He said: "London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of war. And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, 'soldiers'. They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists. We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs'.

"The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement."

Sir Ken, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, told members of the Criminal Bar Association it should be an article of faith that crimes of terrorism are dealt with by criminal justice and that a "culture of legislative restraint in the area of terrorist crime is central to the existence of an efficient and human rights compatible process".

He said: "We wouldn't get far in promoting a civilising culture of respect for rights amongst and between citizens if we set about undermining fair trials in the simple pursuit of greater numbers of inevitably less safe convictions. On the contrary, it is obvious that the process of winning convictions ought to be in keeping with a consensual rule of law and not detached from it. Otherwise we sacrifice fundamental values critical to the maintenance of the rule of law - upon which everything else depends."

His comments will be seen as a swipe against government legislation allowing the indefinite detention of suspected terrorists without trial, later held incompatible with human rights by the courts, and the replacement law that permits suspects to be placed under control orders instead of being brought to trial.

Sir Ken referred to the government's opt-out from the European convention on human rights to pass the detention law - possible under the convention only if the "life of the nation" is threatened. "Everyone here will come to their own conclusion about whether, in the striking Strasbourg phrase, the very 'life of the nation' is presently endangered," he said. "And everyone here will equally understand the risk to our constitution if we decide that it is, when it is not."

The criminal justice response to terrorism must be "proportionate and grounded in due process and the rule of law," he said. "We must protect ourselves from these atrocious crimes without abandoning our traditions of freedom."


Letter to America - The Irish Podcast - Chapter 55 - The Return of the Irish Blog Awards

Wayne Van Ry relaxing at the 2006 Irish Blog Awards

Ahhh, Feel the Love It's Chapter 55 - The Return of the Irish Blog Awards!

In which the Jett asks for your Vote, a shout out is given to Damien Mulley, and we visit a Podcast of old.

All this and more on your "It's an Honour to Just Be Nominated" Irish Podcast, (Photo:  Wayne Van Ry, with lottery ticket in hand, waits to win something at the 2006 IBAs).

Link to the World Criminal Non-Commercial Archive


January 22, 2007

Captain Planet Saves Belfast

Quite possibly one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.

Remember folks - if people ask you what it's like here in Belfast - tell them it's just like this.

UPDATE, 7PM:  So impressed was I with Captain Planet that a 'Video Response' had to be created:  LTA 'Captain Planet Saves Belfast' Video Response

UPDATE 2, 10:35PM:  Thanks to LTA listener, 'Child of TV' who sends in a link to the complete episode...and do my ears deceive me or is that LeVar Burton as the Narrator??!?!??  Complete Episode:

'If It's Doomsday It Must Be Belfast'

UPDATE 3, April 8th, 2007:  More on LTA Meets 'Captain Planet Saving Belfast' can be found by clicking on the link below:

More Captain Planet Goodness, AKA Silvest11 is going to 'Knock My F**k In"



  • Advert - Visit the website
  • Advert - Visit the website

Random photograph

from the archive


The LTA newsletter

Contact LTA

what does a regular LTA listener look like? - Link to external site - Frappr to find out!
Advertise with us

Links (click to activate)