Charlie Hebdo Murdered in Paris?

Charlie Hebdo is a satirical magazine, priding itself for being dumb and nasty (bête et méchant).

On the 7th January 2015, at least twelve people were murdered in the magazines offices in Paris, after an attack by three gunmen. Another 11 people are seriously wounded, 5 are in critical condition. Those murdered include the editor, editorial staff and main cartoonists.

It is assumed that the attack was by “religious fundamentalists”.

Charlie Hebdo on Gay Marriage - The father, the son and the holy ghost.

Charlie Hebdo on Gay Marriage – The father, the son and the holy ghost.

The French government has banned the magazine in the past (resulting in a change in name) after the magazine made satire of the reporting of the death of Charles de Gaulle who died eight days after a fire killing 146 people in a nightclub.

In September 2012, the newspaper published a series of satirical cartoons of Muhammed, some of which feature nude caricatures of him. Riot police had to surround the offices of the magazine to protect against possible attacks, and the magazine was criticised by the French minister of the interior.

One thing I don’t understand is how people know that those cartoons are of Prophet Muhammed if it’s not possible to draw cartoons of him — how can he be recognised?

Charlie Hebdo is regarded as being left-wing, the attack on their offices is feared to lead a lurch to the right in France.

Dalai Lama threatens not to reincarnate

There is a news story that the Dalai Lama says he could be the last reincarnation – due to pressure from the Chinese Government. This is because the Chinese Government saying they will ‘find’ the next reincarnation on the death of the current Dalai Lama.The Chinese Communist Party has produced legislation to control reincarnation. Order No. Five, concerning the control and recognition of reincarnations came into force on 1st September 2007. There are historical parallel between the current Chinese Government and former Governments which have attempted to do the same.

Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso as a boy.

Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso as a boy.

Test of Reincarnation Claim
I would like to ask the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama to participate in James Randi’s million dollar challenge, the James Randi foundation can design a protocol to test the claims about reincarnation, from a sceptical point of view, and possibly provide evidence to support the supernatural claims of either party. Of course this depends on the claims made, and would need cooperation from the current Dalai Lama, but if the new incarnation can remember their past life it should be easy to design a confirmatory test (for example memorising the contents of a sealed envelope).

The Dalai Lama has a web-page explaining reincarnation here. There are two methods of reincarnation, regular reincarnation in the wheel of life is based on sway of karma and destructive emotions. The alternative for the truly enlightened is rebirth through the power of compassion and prayer – which allows the choice of parents. Presumably the Dalai Lama will seek to reincarnate outside of Chinese jurisdiction.

History of the Dalai Lama’s
The Dalai Lama is the head monk of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419). There have been 14 Dalai Lama’s including the current incumbent.

The system of reincarnation can be traced back to the time of Kublai Kan. In 1252, Kublai Khan granted an audience to Drogön Chögyal Phagpa and Karma Pakshi, the 2nd Karmapa who also sought the patronage of Möngke Khan. Before his death in 1283, Karma Pakshi wrote a will to protect the established interests of his lineage, the Karma Kagyu, by advising his disciples to locate a boy to inherit the black hat. His instruction was based on the premise that the Buddhist Dharma is eternal, and that the Buddha would send emanations to complete the missions he had initiated. This system was adopted by the other Buddhist schools.

The Dalai Lama is traditionally thought to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are considered to be metaphorical manifestations of Avalokiteśvara (compassion). The name is a combination of the Mongolic word dalai meaning “ocean” and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning “guru, teacher, mentor”.

In the 1630s, Tibet became entangled in power struggles between the rising Manchu and various Mongol and Oirat factions. Eventually the Fifth Dalai Lama was able to establish himself as the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet and destroyed any potential rivals, this was also a period of rich cultural development.

For certain periods between the 17th century and 1962, the Gelug school managed the Tibetan government, which administered portions of Tibet from Lhasa.

A contested Dalai Lama
A contested Dalai Lama came into existence in 1707 when Lha bzang Khan took power (with aid from China’s Kangxi Emperor) from the regent of Lhasa, on the pretence of the excesses of the 6th Dalai Lama. After the defeat of the regent, the Dalai Lama was escorted to Beijing but died on the way, killed on Lha-bzang’s orders (wikipedia) and the Chinese emperor appointed Kangxi appointed Lha-bzang Regent of Tibet.

Lha-bzang appointed a new Dalai Lama enthroned without consulting with the religious authorities, this was rejected by Tibetans and Lha-bzang’s Khoshut rivals. Kangxi recognized Lhazang’s choice, but hedged his bets and also protected Kelzang Gyatso in Kumbum (now the recognised 7th Dalai Lama).

Cameron Apologies

British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised to Dennis Skinner during prime minister’s question time for his remark in a previous exchange in the house of commons, in which he told him he should start taking his pension. The Prime Minister apologised for this, saying that Dennis Skinner is a welcome ornament to the palace of Westminster.

Dennis Skinner asked if Jeremy Hunt should keep his cabinet job as culture secretary after the revelation of his links to News Corporation.

In response Cameron quipped “Well, the honourable gentleman has the right, at any time, to take his pension and I advise him to do so.” (It was presumed he was talking about Skinner rather than Hunt).

It is not possible to distinguish if the U-turn is due to a genuine change of heart from Cameron, or if he the problem was the clash with government Pension policy which envisages people working for longer and longer times. Making greater contributions to their pensions which they never draw on.

How to launch an intervention of another country

This is what you need to say when launching an intervention of another country.

Proposal for electoral reform.

I have a proposal which I think it better than introducing alternative voting system. My proposal is easier to understand and implement, and makes it easier for voters to make their wishes clear.

All three major parties in the UK encourage tactical voting to try and get your vote. Rather than voting for the candidate which best represents your views, you should vote `tactically’ to prevent the party you like the least from gaining the seat.

Graph showing previous election results and encoraging tactical voting [Actually any candidate can win if they get the most votes].

Typical tactics used by the three major parties.

This problem can be removed by allowing us each to choose, either to vote for, or against one of the candidates. (+1 or -1).

Expected outcome
This proposal will allow those who want to prevent a candidate from winning simply to vote against them, rather than to vote for a party they don’t particularly like.

All parties would immediately stop negative campaigning because it would help all of the other parties. The lazy campaigning of saying vote for us because we are not the other guys would be removed.

If all the parties are unpopular in an area it would be easier for new parties to win the seat, this would more genuinely match the opinion of the electorate. If all the parties are unpopular the least unpopular would receive the least negative votes, he would take the seat but is likely to be more humble than if he had received a majority of thousands, not really be able to claim he had a popular mandate for his decisions – he would argue they are the least worst policies.

LIberal Doublespeak – paying more is paying less

Liberal democrats are claiming that students who will pay more for their education in the future will be paying less.

Their argument seems to be that the longer you delay paying back a loan, and the slower you pay it back the better.

I’m a bit worried that politicians can make this argument so easily, I think this is the same way they think about borrowing on the national scale. At least on the national scale one thing they often seem to forget is that the cost of borrowing can change.

I think it is very disingenuous to claim that richer students will pay more for their loans because they will pay them back sooner. Also does this mean no one will have a choice but to borrow to pay for their education, will it be compulsory to take loans from the government, or will students be allowed to pay upfront if they have the money? Paddy Ashdown seemed to claim that no one will pay for their education (only pay it back later).

Did we enter the world of double speak?

If anyone knows where I can read the proposals for this legislation please let me know. Mr Ashdown suggested we should read, but didn’t say where.

Hamilton breaks rules, striped of ‘victory’.

Don't drive for Maclaran

Hamilton broke one major rule of F1 on Sunday to finish first in the Spa Grandprix, stupidly forgetting to paint his car red before trying to win the race, and even having the cheek to pass a red car! This fragrant disregard for the rules of F1 resulted in a 25 second ‘stop-win’ penalty.

Does anyone know if there is a rule about passing on the grass, that you need to let the other car past and stay behind for a certain time to show you didn’t gain advantage? Hamilton let Raikkonen pass him but then immediately was in his strip stream again, and passed in the following corners.