photo blog_head_zpsonl8fonu.jpg
Meesa gonna kill you!

Get email updates of new posts:        (Delivered by FeedBurner)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

"Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them." - Rita Rudner

***

The official story is that Mas Selamat escaped while visiting the toilet. Frankly, that's a very cock reason.

More than one person has asked me if I think the Powers That Be are lying, and more than one person has suggested, very seditiously, a possible true reason for his escape.

I pointed out that if they are lying, they are irresponsible. If they are not lying (even if it's an "honest mistake"), then they look like cocks. Either way, they look bad.

The lesson from conspiracy theorists is that they thrive in the lack of information, so if you do not want people to "speculate now as to what and how it happened", you need to do better than giving answers which even MPs seem to be unsatisfied with (meanwhile, a much less serious issue like misplacing a form gets the speculations [accusations, even] flying hard and fast).

In any case, I am not too worried, because I know that our perennially vigilant police have been busy gaining valuable experience in preventing terrorists from disrupting law and order in our fair city:

Photobucket


Some of the more novel observations about Mas Selamat's escape:

Thoughts and pieces: Escapes of Selamat Kestari - "Even while doing our exams in university in Singapore, going to toilet involves having an invigilator following you up to the toilet door and peeking back and forth inside the toilet to ensure that we are not doing anything strange. I wonder what's the reason that detainee like a the terrorist is not given the same 'nice' and 'careful' treatment."

ZUCO'S BLOG - "If there was a proper opposition in Singapore's parliament, the minister of home affairs and the PM will definitely get seriously grilled like they do in the UK when some shit (like the lost of CDs containing sensitive government data) hits the fan. In Singapore, they will probably get a slap on their hands with no calls for their resignation."

Hard Hitting in the Lion City: JI leader escape in Singapore - "If this escape has happened in Indonesia, there would be wall-to-wall almost gleeful articles in the Strait Times, but because this was in 'safe' Singapore, there had been almost no news at all."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Woo hoo! Wo-hen!


"Hear me sing! Watch me dance! See my package!" (from Asian Prince on MySpace)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult." - E. B. White

***

A seditious comic strip (which shall not be named) on Theology, aka Intellectual Tennis Without a Net:



B: But A, isn't this 'Sensus Divinitatis' just a way to justify your excess of metaphysical certainty

A: Not at all! But it does explain why I am so firm in my beliefs

B: So why haven't I got a Sensus Divinitatis?

A: You could be suffering from a cognitive malfunction

C: So you are saying that all atheists are retarded?

A: Not at all! Just mentally deficient

A: Or maybe you do have a Sensus Divinitatus, but it has been made moribund by sin

C: She doesn't appear to be persuaded


As C remarked in a previous strip, on not being able to rely on his 'Sensus Divinitatus' (by definition) and having to build his own epistemological life raft:

"But... I don't know Latin"
"As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something." - Hagar the Horrible

***

"Name: Update for Windows Vista (KB940510)
Type: Important

INTRODUCTION
This update enables Windows Vista to detect activation exploits that bypass product activation and that interfere with usual Windows operation. An exploit is a form of software that replaces or modifies authentic Windows components. When exploits are present on a system, it indicates that a software or hardware vendor may have tampered with genuine Windows to enable the sale of counterfeit software. Therefore, the security and the privacy of the computer are put at risk. After this update is installed, you will know if exploits are present on the system.

... Note Installing this update does not affect the functionality of your operating system.

MORE INFORMATION
This update for Windows Vista detects exploits that may be present on a system. An exploit bypasses licensing and activation. This behavior allows for counterfeit copies of Windows Vista to run without ever having to be activated. Activation exploits make alterations to key Windows system files. These exploits affect both system stability and security.

When the update is installed, no functionality of your operating system will be affected. If no exploits are detected, the update silently exits. If exploits are detected, you will be provided a link to a Web site that describes how you can remove the exploits. When the exploits are removed, you may be asked to use a valid product key to activate your copy of Windows. If you do not want to remove the exploits, Windows may disable the exploits and then ask you to use a valid product key to activate Windows."


Nice try.

Though I suppose "does not affect the functionality of your operating system" is technically correct, now that they've removed the Vista kill switch.


[Addendum:

ZDNet reports that the update only runs once, and just notifies you if your system has been 'prey' to a Vista activiation exploit. "Even after detecting a bypass hack, Windows still reports itself as a genuine, activated copy" - it really doesn't change anything after you get rid of the dialog box informing you that you may be using counterfeit software.

My Digital Life has more information on activation hacks this update doesn't fix, and the names of the 2 it does.]
"Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile." - Albert Schweitzer

***

Introducing Incentives in the Market for Live and Cadaveric Organ Donations
Gary S. Becker, Julio Jorge Elías

"Proposals to pay for organs, even from cadavers, have been sharply criticized on several grounds. One of the most common is that payment is “immoral” because it involves the “commodification” of body parts. Individuals who make this argument deny that people have the right to control the use of their bodies.

If women can get paid to host the eggs of other women and bear their children- as they can in the United States -why cannot men and women get paid for selling their organs to save the lives of others? Surely, the moral considerations involved in allowing pay for organs that save lives are no weaker, and for many persons would be stronger, than those involved in allowing pay for the use of wombs to create lives.

Table 5 considers the most important arguments that have been advanced against payment for organs by comparing that system with issues raised by a voluntary army. The first row and first column discuss the claim that monetary payments for organs is undesirable because that involves commodification of body parts. But the voluntary army used by the United States and many other nations allows the commodification of the whole body since volunteers expose themselves to injury and death if they are sent into conflict. Not only has the voluntary army been considered a success in the United States, but several European nations- such as France- that originally favored the draft have been shifting to a voluntary army.

The sale of organs has also been opposed because poor individuals probably would be the main ones who would sell their organs. But should poor individuals be deprived of revenue that could be highly useful to them, especially when their organs might save the lives of persons who desperately need to replace their defective organs?

This argument was also made against the voluntary army, that it would become an army of the poor. However, it did not quite work out that way. The very poorest often cannot qualify for the armed forces because they have insufficient education, low test scores, may use drugs, and so forth. Similarly, the organs of poor individuals who use drugs, or have aids, hepatitis, or other serious illnesses would be rejected as posing too large a risk to recipients. So probably the healthy poor and middle classes would actually provide most of the organs for live transplants under a market incentive system. Of course, a quota could be placed on the number of organs from poor individuals, but is that desirable?

It is also claimed that payment for organ donations from living individuals would encourage impulsive and reckless provision of organs, partly because donors would not be able to sufficiently calculate the risks involved. If impulsive donations were a problem, a few weeks cooling off period could be required to give donors sufficient time to change their minds.

... Row 4 of table 5 mentions the opposition to paying for organs because that might reduce the supply of organs from altruistic reasons. Although paying for organs does not prevent persons from supplying organs out of altruistic motives, usually to help relatives, altruism clearly has been an insufficient motive under the present system. Otherwise, the demand for organs would not be so much larger than the supply.

Again, a comparison with a voluntary army is instructive. Critics claimed that it would be difficult to get volunteers at a reasonable price because paying for volunteers would crowd out persons who would otherwise volunteer for patriotic motives. In fact, people have enlisted under a voluntary army for a variety of motives, including patriotism. In particular, military volunteers surged after the terrorist attack on 9/11 because of patriotism.

The long wait for organs under the present system has encouraged the development of a black market in live or cadaveric organs, where donors or their heirs get paid. These transplants are available only to wealthier individuals who usually must bear the total expense themselves. They are also often much riskier because organs are not screened as carefully for disease, are not matched as closely to recipients, and operating conditions and the quality of surgeons tend to be inferior.

Allowing the purchase of organs would essentially knock out the black market in organs, and all its problems of quality control. The purchase of organs would also reduce the advantages of wealth in getting organs since poorer individuals in need of organs who cannot afford the black market would no longer have to wait so long before getting their organs through the Medicaid or Medicare payment system.

But above all, the most effective answer to the critics of paying for organs is that the present system imposes an intolerable burden on many very ill individuals who cannot afford to wait years until suitable organs become available. Increasing supply through payment would largely eliminate this wait and thus enormously improve the efficiency of the transplant market."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing: French Ad Uses Sex to Argue for Changing Housing Policies


"Certains prétendent que les étudiants n’ont pas de problèmes de logement...

Construction de logements pour les étudiants!
unef
le syndicat étudiant"


Explanation: "This ad came from an issue of the English version of the Spiegel. According to SocProf, it was "created by a French student union...to underline the issue of housing shortage for students," which is forcing many French students to continue living with their parents."

That line may work on European bureaucracies... But then again, the students can always take to the streets instead.
The Canadian Press: Obama faces parodies, questions about his promises in Democratic race

"Beyond the humourous backlash, some in the media are starting to ask just how Obama plans to deliver on sweeping promises to unite the country, bridge the racial divide and break the partisan logjam in the U.S. capital.

Delivered with so much charisma, the specifics of these noble goals haven't seemed to matter all that much.

Last week, David Brooks, an influential New York Times columnist, said supporters are starting to suffer from the Obama Comedown Syndrome. "Up until now, The Chosen One's speeches had seemed to them less like stretches of words and more like soul sensations that transcended time and space," wrote Brooks...

Other columnists and TV commentators have wondered if Obama's support has gone from movement to "personality cult."

It's perhaps a valid question about a man who was cheered at a Dallas rally last week for blowing his nose and whose Yes We Can slogan has been turned into a pop music video.

Kurtz has noted that scattered attempts so far to take a detailed tough look at Obama's career have "barely caused a ripple."

They included a Time magazine piece on Obama's penchant for sidestepping issues in the Illinois senate by voting "present" and a look at how he watered down a bill affecting a nuclear power company that contributed to his campaign.

It's hard to imagine that any new such revelations would put a dent in the feverish support of many who find it hard to explain his grip.

"Obama has this almost irrational following and I myself can't sometimes explain why I'm supporting him," Noah Norman, 25, recently told the Washington Post.

"He's all things to all men. At least that's how I put it.""

***

AlterNet: Election 2008: Obama's Line On Lobbyists is Misleading

"Opensecrets.org shows that Obama is picking up gobs of money put on the table by these special interests -- including those involved in health care, which will surely have a lot riding on the outcome of the election and will expect to be heard after the election is over.

Consider the sector called lawyers and law firms. Clearly, lawyers and law firms lobby on behalf of their own interests -- like fighting malpractice reform, which could again surface as a thorny issue for the new administration. Clinton and Obama have raised similar amounts from lawyers and law firms -- $11.8 and $9.5 million. McCain and Huckabee have taken far less. The health sector has also given to Obama, Clinton, and McCain. In the pharmaceutical and health product industries, contributions to Clinton total $349,000 and $338,000 to Obama. Again, McCain trails in donations at about $98,000, an indication that the sector sees the real action on the Democratic side of the ballot. Health professionals, which include doctors, nurses, and dentists, have given Clinton some $2.3 million and Obama $1.7 million.

Last August The Boston Globe, in a piece by Scott Helman, took a hard look at Obama's contributions, noting that "behind Obama's campaign rhetoric about taking on special interests lies a more complicated truth." That truth revealed that as a state legislator in Illinois, a U.S. senator, and as a presidential aspirant, Obama had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from lobbyists and PACs."

***

Die lah.
Something Acidflask sent me:


Google Trends: All your base, Goatse, YTMND, lolcats


Google Trends: All your base, Goatse, YTMND, lolcats, 2 girls 1 cup
It even has news articles!

In other news, the official site doesn't work anymore :(

The Flurl.com mirror is still up, but I'm not taking my chances.
"I improve on misquotation." - Cary Grant

***

Windows Vista Recovery Disc Download - "If you're like most PC users, you probably got Windows Vista with a new PC or laptop... they don't give you a real Windows Vista installation disc with your purchase. Instead, they bundle what they call a "recovery disc" (that's if you're lucky - otherwise you'll have a recovery partition instead) with your machine and leave it at that... Microsoft seems to have realized this problem, and have thankfully made a recovery disc for this purpose. It contains the contents of the Windows Vista DVD's "recovery center," as we've come to refer to it. It cannot be used to install or reinstall Windows Vista, and just serves as a Windows PE interface to recovering your PC."

Windows Music - "Music composed using only sounds from Windows XP and 98, with the free ModPlug Tracker music software."

Fighting Fantasy games find their way on to DS and PSP. Hack and slash without getting your fingers dirty - "Hoping to rekindle such interest, Livingstone and Jackson have decided to bring the concept to Sony and Nintendo's handhelds. "Fighting Fantasy built up a huge, worldwide fan base over the years," reasons Livingstone. "We believe that players will really enjoy the adventures in a new way on DS and PSP. Fighting Fantasy's interactive structure is ideal for bite-sized chunks of gameplay which is important for these devices.""

The Straight Dope: What is perfect pitch, and what good is it? - "Perfect pitch is a mixed blessing for musicians. On the plus side, some burble about the "immediate sensory pleasure" that "adventurous modulation" brings the lucky few who have it. Some claim it adds a new dimension to music, with each note having a character all its own. For just that reason, however, some with perfect pitch find transposing a piece to a different key disorienting--like "seeing purple grass," one writer says--because the feel of the new key is so different... as you age, your eardrums lose their elasticity and everything you hear goes a bit sharp. Most people don't notice the change, but for those with perfect pitch nothing sounds right anymore... Some have found other uses for perfect pitch. You may recall the "phone phreaks," the protohackers who used to delight in copping free calls from Ma Bell. One storied hacker was a blind kid named Joe Engressia. Most phreaks needed elaborate equipment to create the precisely pitched Touch-Tones necessary to operate the switching equipment. Not Engressia. Blessed with perfect pitch, he could whistle them."

Judge drops sex case as 'outrageous' - "A Lehigh County judge has dismissed the case against a woman who was charged with promoting prostitution at a North Whitehall Township spa, ruling that state police engaged in ''outrageous'' conduct when they paid an informant to have sex four times with employees. State police investigating the Shiatsu Spa on Route 309 paid the informant $180 for his ''time'' and gave him money to pay for sexual acts in the spa in June and July 2006."

Virtual terrorists - "On the darker side, there are also weapons armouries in SL where people can get access to guns, including automatic weapons and AK47s. Searches of the SL website show there are three jihadi terrorists registered and two elite jihadist terrorist groups. Once these groups take up residence in SL, it is easy to start spreading propaganda, recruiting and instructing like minds on how to start terrorist cells and carry out jihad. One radical group, called Second Life Liberation Army, has been responsible for some computer-coded atomic bombings of virtual world stores in the past six months."

Boycott 2008 Communist Olympics: Olympics-Taiwan torch relay to spotlight China 'abuses' - "China has lumped Falun Gong followers, Chinese defectors, pro-democracy activists, religious 'extremists and infiltrators', exiled Tibetans and Moslem Uighurs together with 'terrorists' on its persona non grata list, a spokeswoman for the coalition said... 'The government seems afraid that its own citizens will embarrass it by speaking out about political and social problems, but China's leaders apparently don't realise authoritarian crackdowns are even more embarrassing.'"
Hmm, the last bit sounds familiar.

Earthquakes are caused by gays - MP - "Shlomo Benizri of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas Party said the only way to prevent the earthquakes was for parliament to stop liberalising laws concerning homosexuals, AP reported."
Maybe we can have the Arabs realising that earthquakes are caused by Jews!!!

The Revealer: The Intimacy of Killing - "What she encountered was not the stuff of military history, but accounts of killing accompanied by claims of pleasure derived from the act. Sometimes sexual, as for a soldier who compared killing to "getting screwed the first time." Sometimes religious, as for a soldier who called it "joy unspeakable." Sometimes even romantic, as for a soldier who wrote a sweetheart, "every one I gets under the ribs I thinks of you mi dear." As she realized that such sentiments were the rule rather than the exception, her brief against the worst of killers was transformed: It became a study of how society makes killing commendable... The first and last military-history seminar she attended was led by a man who interrupted 'a paper discussing Dismembering the Male with the declaration that "This is a gender-free zone!" The all-male audiences responded "Hear, hear!" and, according to Ms. Bourke, devoted a fair share of the Q-and-A session to "jokes about women's knickers."... "When fear becomes so strong, and you finally get to see the enemy, the man firing a rifle is at last in an exalted state-precisely because of his fear." Should he describe that exaltation as " `an ache as profound as orgasm,' " she adds, he is likely as not simply using the most intense words he has."

Facebook | Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers in Singapore

Women's Equality / How Come Men Have to Register for The Military Draft and Women Don't?

"No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one." - Elbert Hubbard

***



Bob: So...? Has Victoria given you an answer yet, Joe?

Joe: Um... I haven't asked her yet, Bob

Bob: Well, why not?

Joe: 'Cuz I just lost my job! This is hardly a good time to ask her to marry me!

Bob: But she has a job, right?

Joe: What... you expect her to support me and my kids?

Bob: Well, isn't that what's always been expected from men?

Joe: Yeah, but... but...

Bob: Theoretically, she should leap at this opportunity for women's equality!

Joe: Right... Like your theory that giving rich people more money will help poor people

***

In the same vein, albeit ideologically charged and too focused on one single issue (but hey - gaze into the abyss and the abyss also gazes into you), an article I read long ago which seems to have all but disappeared from the net:

How Come Men Have to Register for The Military Draft and Women Don't?

A look at gender roles, citizenship, and the distorted equality paradigm propagated by ideological feminism.

As reported by RICH ZUBATY
from a small island in the SOUTH PACIFIC

I'm sorry I can't be with you at the 1998 American Men's Studies Association conference to lead a discussion about what I consider to be the most egregious omission of modern feminism -- registering women for the military draft. Debates about "glass ceilings" and "sexual harassment" are trivial in comparison with getting shot at in foreign lands defending the interests of U.S. corporations. If feminists were truly interested in Equality, rather than gaining ever more special privileges for women, they would be proactively lobbying the Congress and the courts to register women for Selective Service.

Is it not the very meaning of citizenship that the citizen of a state is obligated to protect and defend that form of government which affords her the privileges and protections of citizenship? How come, when women got the right to vote, they were not instantly saddled with the responsibility to fight in war to defend their right to vote? What mysterious, archaic gender paradigms populate our psyches, blinding us to the actual spectrum of issues which constitute "equality" and "citizenship"? Who has managed to control the gender equality debate to the extent that Selective Service registration has remained absent from it for 70 years? Why do they do it? What deeper paradigms are they skirting, glossing over, concealing?

And...given that men are expected to fight in war and women are not, is it not possible to conclude that men are NOT the oppressors of women, but that men are, in fact, the PROTECTORS of women?

Right now I am somewhat willingly stranded on a small island in the South Pacific. There are no roads, no cars, no electricity, no phones. My hosts are in great part a hunter/gatherer culture. I spend my days with the men, fishing and collecting fruits: papaya, breadfruit, coconuts, bananas. The women stick close to home, sweeping the packed earth around their coconut leaf huts, shooing pigs out of the garden, collecting shellfish off the reef at low tide. Both men and women cook and tend the infants, depending upon who is not engaged in some other activity at the time. As other researchers have pointed out, there is less division of labor in both hunter/gatherer and "information age" societies than in the agricultural and industrial societies of recent epochs.

But the dangerous work is still done by the men. Women don't climb coconut trees (fat as I am, neither do I). Women don't ride small boats out into huge waves to catch fish. Women are not drafted in time of war. As in Europe and America, most families here are de facto matriarchies, governed by the iron will of the eldest surviving family member -- almost always a female. Men appear to have a great deal of autonomy while they're alive, but they simply do not last as long as women. While young women complain about social restrictions and lack of freedom, old women govern the wealth of the family -- in Europe, America, and the South Pacific. Thus, the very things that feminists complain about, are the things that ensure women's eventual dominion over the accumulated resources of the family. The men lead tough, dangerous lives, die sooner, and the family wealth devolves into the hands of the elder women.

"Equality" is not age specific. It's meaningless to ask whether men and women are treated equally at the age of 18, 35, 72. Equality embraces a lifetime of events. And it's clear -- in Europe, America, and the South Pacific -- that over a lifetime women possess more security and authority than men. Why? Because men willingly sacrifice their well being for women. Because men are the protectors and defenders of women. Because men die for women.

Why do they do it?

Because women are widely regarded to be more valuable than men. Women make babies. A deep biological imperative within men supports the notion that women and babies must be protected and defended. That's why there are male feminists. Male feminists are men expressing their innate urge to protect and defend women. Challenging and critiquing women runs against our character. We hate fighting with women.

So what about military service? Is draft registration a moot point since we're not at war? A young man I know of was recently booted out of an Ivy League school -- lost his admission and scholarship -- when it was discovered he had neglected to register for the draft. The school received federal funds, one requirement of which is that all males over the age of 18 must be registered for the Selective Service. The school could lose it's federal money if it doesn't comply, so the young man gets the "heave ho" -- instantly -- no appeal. Female co-eds need not worry about this sort of career disruption.

Bills have been sponsored in the U.S. Congress to register women for Selective Service. They did not pass. They got no feminist support. Moreover, since it is the policy of the Pentagon that women cannot be forced to perform combat duties, the issue of drafting them was deemed irrelevant. Tell that to the guys getting shot at.

I talked to some marines from Somalia. Their beef about women soldiers is that, while the guys are sent into the desert or on combat missions, the female marines guard the embassies and toady about with the diplomats and generals ensuring their own promotions.

It is a well-known fact that, during the build-up to the Iraq War, droves of female soldiers became suddenly ill or, more remarkably, temporarily pregnant -- many with pregnancies which seemed, miraculously, to vanish when the hostilities ended. Is military service just another career track for women? Another way to get a paycheck and a pension without having to risk too much?

And...while the engines of feminist propaganda inflamed the nation over the issue of admitting young women to military academies, the real issue -- registering ALL women for Selective Service in combat roles -- was cleanly swept under the rug.

Why do feminists, male and female, dodge this issue?

Because it is the death knell to their movement.

On every radio show I've ever done with ideological feminists -- where I was able to raise the Selective Service issue -- I was met with a prolonged pause, then a gush of unanimous and unequivocal agreement that women should be compelled to register, then the topic was swiftly changed to something else -- a peculiarly feminine technique for avoiding unpleasantness. They'll talk about it. But they won't do anything about it. Why won't feminists proactively advocate this issue?

Because they know their constituents. They know that the feminist movement would endure an 80% desertion rate led by those gender opportunists who go by the name of Equity Feminists if the ideologues began openly advocating draft registration. Far and away most women do NOT want to register for the draft. They do not want equality -- not if it means they REALLY have to fight for it.

And how about the people who don't believe in war?

Welcome to a bigger problem.

I didn't believe in the Vietnam War. I was drafted anyway. The women with whom I had pursued undergraduate studies at the University of Chicago sailed blithely off to graduate school, while I went underground dodging the F.B.I. It was no fun. And it certainly wasn't Equality.

200 years ago a flurry of democratic revolutions established that a person willing to fight and risk his life could be liberated from monarchy and gain the right to vote for his governors. 140 years later women obtained the right to vote, without being obligated to fight for, or risk anything. Is this not simply another instance of men affording special protections for women? It was men, after all -- the guys who fight and die -- who granted women the right to vote.

Have we not lost sight of what citizenship in a democracy is all about? How can our media focus on the "glass ceiling" and ignore this obvious inequity? I have no problem with women becoming senators, CEOs, or Supreme Court Justices. I DO have a problem with the idea that these women never, ever, have to fight to defend the form of government which permits them to attain these high positions.

Aristocrats are a privileged species of human being. Aristocrats are not expected to perform hard, dangerous, physical labor -- no bricklaying or asphalt pouring or oil well drilling for these folks. Aristocrats are not expected to serve as common soldiers in time of war -- for them are reserved positions of command and supply, far removed from the front lines. Are we not creating an aristocracy of women? Are we not breeding a race of privileged creatures, with guaranteed rights for advancement into positions of authority, who are not expected to perform nasty physical labor nor fight in time of war? It seems to me democracy is circling back on itself, like a snake swallowing its own tail, recreating a type of aristocrat, a privileged individual, one who wears a slightly more attractive gown, yet one who is, as in the olden days, endowed with favored status from her time of birth. Is it possible we are recreating an aristocracy of women?

All the feminist issues of the last 30 years rolled up into one pale in comparison to the image of the male draftee, getting shot at, by people he doesn't know, in a war he doesn't believe in. This is TRUE powerlessness, not TV hype.

Equality is not just about money and political power. It is also about human relationships. Whether it's a father who isn't allowed to see his children, a coal miner or bricklayer working a job he hates to feed his wife and kids, or a draftee getting shot at, the stark oppression of men in the entire arena of human relationships is perhaps the major untold academic saga of this century. We need much more serious academic inquiry into why men get stuck with the hard dangerous jobs, and why men get stuck fighting wars. Draft women. Let them get shot at -- or run from the F.B.I. That's real equality. That's civic responsibility. If women cannot accede to registering for Selective Service their very right to vote, much less their right to become senators, judges and CEOs, is called into question. Equality means equality of responsibility. Women can NEVER be equal without it.

But we -- bio-imprinted males that we are -- will continue protecting them and defending them while they rail at us for being their oppressors. Like cocks in a barnyard, no matter what injustices and outrages we female sympathizers foist on the rest of the male species, we will carry on blithely protecting and defending women and advocating their favorite issues. That's how we were made. Men compete with each other for the privilege of protecting women. And the guy who does the best job of that wins the emotional reward that women offer -- and I'm not just talking about getting laid.

But the joke's on us. Women live longer. Women control 65% of America's wealth (Forbes magazine). Women don't need our protection. Women don't have to fight in war.

Oops...please excuse me. I have to go. It's windy and raining, dark clouds lashing across the lagoon, but the guys want to go fishing and I should go too. Don't ask me why. I'll never understand. It's just something guys do -- enduring pain and discomfort to gain sustenance for the women and kids. That's not likely to change. Not in Europe, America or the South Pacific. Men take natural pleasure in protecting and providing for women. It's part of our bio-make-up.

And it doesn't run in the opposite direction. Few women are dedicated to protecting and providing for men. Few women will lay bricks or mine coal for a husband who stays home cooking pancakes. Equality between the sexes? It's about as germane an issue as financial security for sea urchins. If women want equality tell them to register for the draft. If not, tell them to stop yapping about it.

It's cold and wet out here. There are wild, wind-whipped waves and razor-backed reefs and mean-toothed fish to haul into the boat. It's not ideology. It's not something you discuss in climate controlled rooms. It's something you do.

Rich Zubaty is the author of Surviving the Feminization of America.


Keywords: hunting, it's what men, canoes, conscript, conscription

Monday, February 25, 2008

Heh:


"'White House'
Obama: ... well first off, that sign's gonna have to go..."


I can't find the original source though.

***



Dilbert: I'm going to a singles' mixer tonight. Do you have any advice?

Dogbert: Don't I always? It's all about knowing what a woman needs. Find a woman who looks hot, carve her out from the herd and read this.

Dilbert: What is it?

Dogbert:It's the ultimate pick up line.

*At mixer*

Dilbert: Um... Hi. Excuse me. 'Criticism completes me'

Woman: (thinking): He's a keeper.
My brother in law thought this was cake:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

It's roast pork loin.
E-POLL ON BUDGET 2008 (INDIVIDUALS)

"Two of the key thrusts of Budget 2008 are to continue to build a resilient community through strengthening financial security for retirement and helping the less well-off members in our society, and to provide a full range of education and training opportunities for Singaporeans.

Which of the following measures announced by the Finance Minister are you most satisfied with? * (Respondent can choose more than 1 from each category)

Tax Changes
- One-off 20 per cent personal income tax rebate capped at $2,000
- Removal of estate duty with effect from 16 February 2008
- Reduction in duty rates for liquor and wine"


Yes, I'm sure the less well-off members in our society appreciate cheaper alcohol to numb the pain of their lives.

Also, I always thought that the raison d'etre of estate duties was to stop the rich inheriting their wealth. (For objections, see: THE ESTATE TAX: MYTHS AND REALITIES)


I was told (albeit by the PSC microchip) that only 30% (?) of Singaporeans pay income tax due to a high income threshold and exemptions, but looking at the How to calculate your tax spreadsheet, I'm not sure if that is the case.

Your first $20,000 of annual income is tax free, which works out to $1,667 a month; the average monthly household income in employed households in 2007 was $6,830, which works out to $3,415 for 2 earners and $2,277 for 3. Furthermore, you have to add in Net Annual Value of property (though there's a $150,000 exemption). Unfortunately I'm not familiar with the wild and wonderful world of property in Singapore, but given that a 4 room flat in Tampines is valued at $278,000, and smaller flats are in older and more centrally-located locales (since they only just started making 3-rooms again), maybe only new 3-rooms are that cheap (Caveat: the market now is hot, so this analysis may not apply every year).

[Addendum: I got this bit wrong.

The site says: "NAV is the annual value (as shown in your property tax bill) less allowable expenses. Annual value is the gross amount at which the property can be expected to be rented from year to year."

So actually most people don't pay tax on the NAV of their property.]

There are some forms of relief, but even those which apply to many people, like NSman (self/wife/parent) relief ($1,500-$3,000), Earned income relief ($1,000) and Qualifying/handicapped child relief ($2,000) would seem to make a difference only if you have more than one child.

I am thus extremely skeptical of the claim that only 30% (?) of Singaporeans pay income tax (and am slightly skeptical of the lesser claim that less than half do). Unfortunately, those who would be able to conclusively answer this question are unable to do so.

[Addendum: Given how complicated the tax code is, I wouldn't be surprised if most people made a mistake here and there. We could all be guilty of tax evasion - it's just whether they choose to chase us for it. Gee.

The PSC microchip sent me this URL:

Channelnewsasia.com | SINGAPORE BUDGET 2001

"ROUND UP SPEECH DELIVERED BY MINISTER FOR FINANCE FOR THE DEBATE ON THE
FINANCIAL YEAR 2001 BUDGET
7 MARCH 2001

Mr Low... also conveniently forgets that nearly 70 percent of economically active persons in Singapore no longer pay any personal income tax"

Perhaps this no longer holds true 7 years later.]


Other interesting nuggets about tax relief:

- Grandparent caregiver relief is to "help working mothers take care of their children. Single or male taxpayers are not eligible for this relief." (emphases in original)
- Parent/handicapped parent relief "is a relief to promote filial piety".
- "'Wife relief' is a relief to support family formation, and to provide recognition to male taxpayers supporting their wives." (though on the upside, handicapped husbands qualify you for relief)
"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it." - Harry S Truman

***

Someone sent me: Feministe » Only Whores Orgasm (maybe because of the cute limerick), which criticised a columnist, Mike Adams, whose worldview apparently was that "if us ladies have the audacity to orgasm, or worse, talk about sex outside of the bedroom (missionary only, by the way), you are a harlot. Harlot!"

On first sight, this was a legitimate complaint against a guy who was for the suppression of female sexuality, especially since the original post wasn't there anymore and many other sites were bashing the guy.

Yet, digging up the original post brings some perspective. Although the paragraph where he used the word 'whore' was unfortunate, the rest of the article is not unacceptable.

Consider that UNC was going to set up an [female] orgasm festival with

"pin the finger on the clitoris" and "locate the g-spot" games followed by contests to see how quickly and properly people of both sexes can put condoms on bananas.

There will also be a "vibrator museum" showcasing various sex toys including - but not limited to! - an antique vibrator from 1924. And there will be a vibrator raffle and lots of information on masturbation, orgasm and contraception.


Now, the information dissemination is unobjectionable, but the games are quite explicit.

Imagine what it would be like if a male sexuality awareness festival was held with a pornography exhibition and Real Doll samples. What's more, there would be a "stroke the penis to ejaculation" games (a la Gunther's old Ding Dong Song flash game) and there a Fleshlight raffle.

The people in charged would be labelled perverts, and might even be subject to sexual harassment suits (one could argue that penis-shaped dildos/vibrators emasculate and objectify men by reducing them to their phalluses, humiliating and essentialising them blah blah blah).

One could always say that women are entitled to greater license because of a current lack of awareness of sexual issues among them, but information dissemination would be enough (and given that this is a college campus, I'm sure most of them are suitably liberated already).


This follow-up post, where he responds to a sexual harassment complaint, is hilarious.

"In order to file a complaint in the UNC system, the plaintiff must have very strong feelings. Feelings are the basis of every decision in our system. Logic and objectivity are irrelevant and probably sexist, too...

Recently, at “The Vagina Monologues” our campus feminists suggested that it is acceptable to call women “c**ts.” So, of course, had I really called them “whores” that would have been much better than calling them “c**ts” as the feminists would prefer."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"There are times when parenthood seems nothing but feeding the mouth that bites you." - Peter De Vries

***

my defining moment | ricky gervais
My Argument With God
How I went from Jesus-loving Christian to fun-loving infidel...in one afternoon

(OCRed version follows)

(Picture of Gervais)
LOSING MY RELIGION
Gervais went from “God bless” to God-less.

"I loved Jesus. He was my hero. More than pop stars. More than footballers. More than God. God was by definition omnipotent and perfect. Jesus was a man. He had to work at it. He had temptation but defeated sin. He had integrity and courage. But He was my hero because He was kind. And He was kind to everyone. He didn’t bow to peer pressure or tyranny or cruelty. He didn’t care who you were. He loved you. What a guy. I wanted to be just like him.

One day when I was about 8 years old, I was drawing the crucifixion as part of my Bible-studies homework. I loved art too. And nature. I loved how God made all the animals. They were also perfect. Unconditionally beautiful. It was an amazing world.

I lived in a very poor, working-class estate in an urban sprawl called Reading, about 40 miles west of London. My father was a laborer and my mother was a housewife. I was never ashamed of poverty. It was almost noble. Also, everyone I knew was in the same situation, and I had everything I needed. School was free. My clothes were cheap and always clean and ironed. And Mum was always cooking. She was cooking the day I was drawing Jesus on the cross.

I was sitting at the kitchen table when my brother came home. He was 11 years older than me, so he would have been 19. He was as smart as anyone I knew, but he was too cheeky. He would answer back and get into trouble. I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God—what a relief for a working-class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law-abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. Seventy-five percent of Americans are God-

I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-fearing Christians. Ten percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But anyway, there I was, happily drawing my hero when my big brother Bob asked, “Why do you believe in God?” Just a simple question. But my mum panicked. “Bob,” she said, in a tone that I knew meant “shut up.” Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a God and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people said.

Oh...hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour, I was an atheist.

Wow. No God. If Mum had lied to me about God, had she also lied to me about Santa? Yes, of course, but who cares? The gifts kept coming. And so did the gifts of my newfound atheism. The gifts of truth, science, nature. The real beauty of this world. Not a world by design, but one by chance. I learned of evolution—a theory so simple and obvious that only England’s greatest genius could have come up with it. Evolution of plants, animals, and us—with imagination, free will, love, anti humor. I no longer needed a reason for my existence, just a reason to live. And imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living.

But living an honest life—for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

I hope I haven’t offended anyone with this article. Okay, that’s a lie.

Ricky Gervais created the award-winning TV shows The Office and Extras. This fall, he stars in the romantic comedy Ghost Town opposite Tea Leoni.


If only it were that simple (or even worked) for most people. Unfortunately, this article doesn't help us understand why people believe.

I like the line: "Imagination, free will, love, humor, fun, music, sports, beer, and pizza are all good enough reasons for living." And so do others.
"A hypocrite is a person who--but who isn't?" - Don Marquis

***

Most Improved Students - "As a form of motivation and encouragement, the Faculty recognizes students who have improved tremendously in their studies." - Wah, I didn't know this existed. OTOH, the award for the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher (OUR) Prize "must be used towards participation in related activities/programmes which includes overseas/local conferences/workshop, leadership seminars or any such related activity approved by the Faculty/School that are deemed to add value to a student's education and overall development". Wth.

I was walking around in the Kent Vale (housing for NUS staff) supermarket; 454ml of Taiko Golden Syrup (sugar and water) is $4.20, 375ml of Maple-flavoured syrup is $5.90 and 370ml of Grade A Canadian Maple Syrup is a whopping $16.50. They also sell pure ghee, US Pringles (there were no Malaysian pringles) and there was no palm oil on the shelves (typically, supermarkets have at least 40% of their cooking oil being either pure or blended palm oil); even the suspiciously-labelled 'vegetable oil' turned out to be soybean oil. Expats appreciate quality. Irritatingly, though, few items or shelves had price tags.

I was at an AIESEC talk about overseas internships, and they had lots of cheap tricks, like saying they would change us from Ordinary to Extraordinary, where the 'Extra' was EXchange, TRaining and AIESEC. There was also the usual spiel of young people having a positive impact on society, and we were told that those who go abroad come back and don't recognise themselves (which is not necessarily a good thing - if I splash acid on my face I also won't recognise myself). Perhaps the best bit is that there's a 'reintegration program' for you upon your return. Also, when groups of AIESEC-ers are addressed, the person addressing them goes: 'Hey AIESEC' and the people in the audience (usually SACSALs, from the sound of it that day) go 'What's up?'. All in all, it was like a cross between a Self-Help group, a University Orientation Camp and Scientology.

"Please be reminded it is important and useful for you to classify your modules every semester. Classifying your modules not only allows you to track your progress against your requirements, it will also ensure that you will be considered for the relevant subject prizes." - HAHAHA. They need to come up with better incentives.

The new 25 degree celsius airconditioning rule makes many rooms hot and stuffy. Almost makes me glad to be graduating.

Counselling Centre – Men's Group - "This is a group for men. It seeks to create a supportive environment where men can learn from other men in dealing with many of the issues that confront men in modern urban societies." - Wah.

Her World is in the Singapore-Malaysia Collection. Uhh.

I'm doing my second and third Economics module with readings, and the first two where the readings are essential. Hah.

There is a 'NUS Sado Society'. I want a 'NUS Maso Society' (Yes, I know what Sado is).

Science bazaars have less jewelry and skimpy clothes.
"Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation." - Henry Kissinger

***

Silly pamphlet:




"Steve Jobs - you started in lowly circumstances...a garage in Los Altos, California. You founded Apple Computer and took a bite out of the rest of the industry. You pioneered a whole new way of computing.

Yes, you were ousted, but you went on to form Next Computer.

Then you came roaring back to Apple and became the King of Computer Style.
You co-founded Pixar. You brought us OSX. You invented the iPod, iTunes, and iDon't know what else.

Your critics said you had a Reality Distortion Field, but you created your own reality.

What could possibly come next? Nano-tunes? Ectoplasmic operating systems? Celebrity status on other planets?

Steve, you have done wonders for our Wired life.

But life is more than wires. Silicon can't satisfy the soul. Hi-tech won't heal the heart.

We'd like you to meet someone who is kind of like you. Someone who also started out humbly. Someone who had a good career. Someone who also took a fall and then, kind of like you did, came back to life.

Maybe you know who I'm talking about, Steve - it's Jesus the Messiah. He was born in a donkey's feeding trough, even more humble than a garage.

He was killed, but not in a power coup. He said it was his purpose to die - so that you and I could be made spiritually whole.

(You'll pardon the pun, but when Adam and Eve took a "byte" out of THE "apple," humanity lost something that no GPS system could ever locate.

When he rose from the dead, it wasn't with a new company but with new life for all of us who trust in him.

Steve, you might be able to run circles around circuits. But reality is found in Jesus. iKnow and uShould too, since your life story and his have more than a few things in common.

Besides, you know something about operating systems. Isn't it time you asked God to give you* a new OS?

Now that would be the best NeXTSTEP for you, * Steve."


The pamphlet was by Jews for Jesus. They can go fight it out with Jews for Judaism.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Latest posts (which you might not see on this page)

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes