"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

"When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary." - William Wrigley Jr.

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Is wearing a 'Hitler moustache' a good idea? - ""I was trying to reclaim it as a political protest against the BNP. I'm using the Hitler moustache to oppose fascism. It feels like a victory for Hitler that, 70 years on, he still has a vestige of a victory that this is still his moustache and not, for instance, Charlie Chaplin's." The toothbrush became popular in the 1920s, says Herring, as a response by working-class men to the more flamboyant, flowing Kaiser-style moustaches of the upper classes."

LOLShock: Shock Sites Network - "This is a list of shock sites you can send to your friends for LOLs! You can tell your friends by instant messenger, email, phone, message board... or show them in person!"
I particularly like: LOLTrain, Octopus Girl and The Homo. Special mention to The Typical Mac User. 1Priest1Nun would be better if I understood German (though there is a translation), but the soundtrack is good.

Smoking in Iraq: Butt out, please | The Economist - "The government in Baghdad last week banned smoking in public buildings. Anyone found lighting up will have to pay a fine equivalent to $4,300, enough to buy 17,200 packs of cigarettes at the local price of about 25 cents. “Do the politicians have nothing better to do?” asks Abu Yasser, as he takes a drag while filling up his car at a petrol station. “My cousin was recently murdered by terrorists, my neighbour was tortured by the police, my electricity is cut for most of the day, the same is true in most hospitals in the city. And they are worried about smoking?”... according to a recent study, smoking kills an average of 55 Iraqis a day, compared to a current average of ten deaths daily from terrorist shootings or bombings... “Bring back Saddam,” says a cigarette vendor. “We were free to smoke anywhere then.”"

Is It Now a Crime to Be Poor? - "“If you’re lying on a sidewalk, whether you’re homeless or a millionaire, you’re in violation of the ordinance,” a city attorney in St. Petersburg, Fla., said in June, echoing Anatole France’s immortal observation that “the law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges.”... “They arrested a homeless man in a shelter for being homeless.” The viciousness of the official animus toward the indigent can be breathtaking. A few years ago, a group called Food Not Bombs started handing out free vegan food to hungry people in public parks around the nation. A number of cities, led by Las Vegas, passed ordinances forbidding the sharing of food with the indigent in public places, and several members of the group were arrested... If poverty tends to criminalize people, it is also true that criminalization inexorably impoverishes them... In Los Angeles, the fine for truancy is $250; in Dallas, it can be as much as $500 — crushing amounts for people living near the poverty level... I met people in Los Angeles who told me they keep their children home if there’s the slightest chance of their being late. It’s an ingenious anti-truancy policy that discourages parents from sending their youngsters to school. The pattern is to curtail financing for services that might help the poor while ramping up law enforcement"... the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers testified about the pervasive “overcriminalization of crimes that are not a risk to public safety,” like sleeping in a cardboard box or jumping turnstiles, which leads to expensively clogged courts and prisons."
Since this is an Op-Ed, there's no journalistic requirement of "fairness" - so many of these measures (which probably have a reason behind them) don't get explained.

Give BB&T Liberty, but Not a Bailout - "THE enduring popularity of Ms. Rand bewilders her many detractors, who complain that her writing is melodramatic, heavy-handed and intellectually bereft. “To describe her as a minor figure in the history of philosophical thinking about knowledge and reality would be a wild overstatement,” says Brian Leiter, director of the Center for Law, Philosophy and Human Values at the University of Chicago. “She’s irrelevant.” Professor Leiter conducted an informal poll in March on his philosophy blog, asking, “Which person do you most wish the media would stop referring to as a ‘philosopher’?” The choices were Jacques Derrida, Ms. Rand and Leo Strauss. Ms. Rand won by a landslide, with 75 percent of the roughly 1,500 votes cast. Professor Leiter says Ms. Rand’s views on moral philosophy and objective reality are “simple-minded in the extreme.”... “It takes a great leap of ideological blindness to look at the past few years and think that the main problem was too much government involvement,” said Robert B. Reich, a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who was a labor secretary in the Clinton administration. Mark A. Thoma, an economist at the University of Oregon, says the financial crisis would have been worse if the government hadn’t rapidly intervened. “I completely disagree with the idea that letting the markets heal themselves is the best idea,” he says. “We tried that in the ’30s, and it didn’t work out so well.”... Ms. Rand was an ardent atheist who considered the cross a symbol of how “a man of perfect virtue” sacrificed himself for a bunch of losers. “It is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors”"
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