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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Links - 19th February 2013

Church network to speak up for S377A - "AN INFORMAL network of about 100 churches is mobilising their members to speak up against an upcoming court challenge to a law banning gay sex. In the coming weeks, pastors of churches in the LoveSingapore network will be urging their flocks to speak up - both online and offline - against any repeal of Section 377A of the Penal Code. LoveSingapore says it represents at least 40,000 Christians... Asked why they decided to respond as such, he said that if the gay community had not pushed for the repeal, "we would not come out into the public square. You touch a law that affects us, we have the right to speak up""
Backlash - why I was against campaigning to repeal it

Getting Nearer and Nearer by David Cole - "Klarman, one of the country’s leading legal historians, remains skeptical of the utility of litigation to achieve [gay marriage equality]. In From the Closet to the Altar, he tells the remarkable story of the legal, political, and cultural struggle over marriage equality. But even as he chronicles the almost unheard-of progress on this issue in the past two decades, Klarman argues that each judicial advance has been met with a forceful political reaction, at substantial cost to gay rights and to liberal causes more generally... Indeed, Klarman contends, gay marriage may have tipped the 2004 presidential election for President George W. Bush, and in turn affected the composition of the Supreme Court... Klarman’s concern about backlash is not limited to the issue of gay marriage; he argues more generally that court decisions protecting individual rights that do not already enjoy widespread majority support often spark backlashes that do more harm than good to the cause sought to be vindicated. In other writings, he has made this claim about such landmark constitutional victories as Brown v. Board of Education, which he claims made segregation more tenacious at least in the short term; Roe v. Wade, which inspired the growth of the right-to-life movement; Miranda v. Arizona, which protected suspects from abusive interrogation but also, Klarman argues, inspired Richard Nixon’s “war on crime” and the radical expansion of America’s prison population. He also points out that Furman v. Georgia, which invalidated the death penalty (temporarily) in 1972, revived what had been a waning interest in the death penalty, as thirty-five states enacted new capital punishment statutes in response. Klarman is surely right that judicial decisions protecting unpopular constitutional rights are likely to spur popular resistance"
Where laws are almost entirely symbolic (e.g. 377A) the hostility resulting from backlash means gay people who just want to lead quiet lives are the ones ultimately hurt by gay activists. Also see 2009 AWARE takeover as backlash from 2007 campaign

A Hundredfold - "The Bible is consistent in prohibiting homosexual practice. Jesus himself condemns “sexual immorality” (Mark 7:21, for example). Though Jesus does not directly mention homosexual activity, he does include it. The Greek word we translate as “sexual immorality” (porneia, from which we get the word pornography) is a catch-all term for any sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage."
So Jesus *did* have something to say about homosexuality after all...

Careful who you throw snowballs at! Firemen take revenge on teenagers by giving them a drenching with power hose

Carissa Hads, 24-Year-Old Massachusetts Woman, Allegedly Posed As 17-Year-Old Boy To Have Sex With Minor - "Hads allegedly had two sexual encounters with the underaged girl, one of which involved vaginal penetration with a prosthetic penis, the affidavit states. The Smoking Gun reports that Hads never undressed during sex with the girl, and wore a back brace that concealed her breasts... The fake penis was found in the front pocket of Hads' pants when police searched her"

Turkey wages 'cultural war' in pursuit of its archaeological treasures - "Turkey has threatened to bar foreign archaeologists from excavation sites in the country by not renewing their digging permits if governments refuse to return artefacts that Ankara says were unlawfully removed from Turkish soil. It has also threatened to halt the lending of its treasures to foreign museums, they say... Hermann Parzinger, president of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin, which among other collections oversees the city's Pergamon Museum, has accused Turkey of "playing a nasty game of politics" and of "threatening the future" of scientific work and other collaborations... Turkey is gearing itself up for the opening in 2023 – the centenary of the founding of the Turkish Republic – of the 2.5-hectare Museum of Civilisations in Ankara, which is due to showcase many of Turkey's best cultural treasures. But archaeologists working in Turkey point to what they say is a sharp contradiction between the government's zealous attempts to retrieve artefacts, and its apparent negligence towards valuable excavation sites that are the talk of the archaeological world. Among the most prominent is Allianoi, a Roman bath and spa complex in Izmir province, which was flooded in February 2011 on the orders of the government after the Yortanli dam was constructed. "Allianoi was destroyed despite our efforts to save the baths. The government preferred profit over the preservation of such an important heritage site"... In the central Anatolian town of Konya, the 5,000-year-old Askar Hoyuk burial ground was recently covered over with concrete and turned into a recreational area. At Yenikapi, where a Byzantine harbour and 8,000-year-old human remains were found, the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently outraged the archaeological community by ordering the excavation there to come to a rapid end as it was holding up construction of the prestigious Marmaray tunnel underneath the Bosphorus, which is aimed at easing traffic congestion in Istanbul. A Turkish archaeologist, who did not want to be named, said he was heartbroken that the government appeared to be destroying sites at the same time as battling for the return of artefacts. "I don't understand the attitude of the government," he said. "This contradiction is truly mind-boggling... The Pergamon altar, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin, was narrowly saved from destruction in the 1860s by the German engineer, architect and archaeologist Carl Humann. "Many believe that the Pergamon altar stood in the Anatolian sun until the Germans dragged it away," said Parzinger. "But the truth is that Humann had watched in horror as reliefs were being loaded into lime kilns … on the basis of contracts made according to the law governing antiques at the time, it was arranged for the reliefs to be brought to Berlin and so it was saved.""
If anyone doubted their true political/financial motives, they are now clear

Spiders invade Sadiya in Assam region, India: Two dead

Do we need another Workers’ Party MP? - "When one draws up a report card for a political party, nothing does better as a guide than their own campaign promises. The most striking thing about the WP’s campaign in GE 2011 was its overarching rhetoric of a “First World Parliament”. It is also arguable that it was this promise, and its alluring pitch of a ‘co-driver’ elected to ‘slap’ the ruling party when it veers off-course, the seductive promise of check-and-balance, and the ideological insistence that an opposition in Singapore was necessary, that toppled George Yeo’s team in Aljunied... The strangest thing that struck me during the GE campaign of 2011 was the WP’s strident rhetoric that electing it to Parliament would foster more debate, and thus help Singapore progress towards a ‘First World Parliament’... What was strange and extremely disturbing to me was that for a party that values debate so highly, in the 21 months that I served as Nominated Member of Parliament, the WP was curiously passive on the debating front... In the 21 months that I was NMP the WP filed precisely ZERO motions. They did not even file any adjournment motions that would have given them a chance to speak at length, rather than just ask a question. In the first 21 months since GE 2011, the Workers Party has filed merely one adjournment motion (by NCMP Yee Jenn Jong), and another by Sylvia Lim just to withdraw it again. In contrast, my former parliamentary colleague Viswa Sadasivan filed a full motion during his very first parliamentary sitting, which not only made Cabinet Ministers rise to rebut him, but even caused then Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew to speak in Parliament for the first time in years, and in the process teaching a nation the meaning of the word `hifalutin’"

Sex galore in Japan when World Cup gets underway - "Countries such as Thailand and the Philippines may be cheaper, but in terms of the scale and sheer variety of its sex industry, Japan is unequaled. "There are many kinds of sex businesses in Japan. Commercial sex is an everlasting side of Japan's daily life and anything is acceptable here," Shinya Yamamoto, the most famous Japanese commentator on Japan's sex industry told Deutsche Press-Agentur dpa. More than 10 per cent of Japanese male adults use sex services, and the number is roughly 20 per cent among young Japanese men, according to a survey by the Japanese government. The figure is much higher than an average one to two per cent in the United States and European countries, Tokyo says. "Japan's sex industry is mainly centred on sexual massage not sexual intercourse. Young Japanese men don't have courage or energy to find a girlfriend, they prefer going to such sex places"... According to a condom maker Durex's global sex survey in 2001, Japanese had sex on average 36 times a year, compared to Americans who had an average 124 times a year. Among the 28 nations surveyed, Japan remained low on the list, while the United States topped the charts in the annual survey. "The size of Japan's sex industry market is estimated at least 1.2 trillion yen (9.4 billion dollars)," said Takashi Kadokura, an economist at Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute, who recently published books about Japan's underground economy... The newest sex business is called, "deri-heru," or delivery health. Health in Japanese-English refers to erotic pleasure. What a delivery health delivers is a girl to the address specified by the customer. The services typically provided are sexual, excluding intercourse, at customers' hotels or homes. According to the National Police Agency (NPA), delivery health services have expanded particularly fast, rising from 2,684 in 1999 to 8,434 in 2001. The number of delivery health businesses well exceeds the number of McDonald's fast food outlets in Japan at 3,867"
Theory: Prostitution is bigger in East Asia than the West because East Asian women are frigid

Middle managers not always at fault: Experts - "It is insufficient to pay lip service to work-life harmony and yet... push the middle managers to deliver results constantly."

Who Sleeps Better at Night? - - "Mismatched body clocks—a night owl with a so-called lark, for example—can be tough on a relationship, says Jeffry H. Larson, a professor of marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. He led a 1991 study of 150 couples. Ones with mismatched body clocks argued more (2.13 times per week compared with 1.6 times for matched couples) and spent less time together in shared activities (about 3 hours versus about 6 hours per week). They had slightly less sex, too. Dr. Larson counsels couples with sleep differences to “accept that your partner is different.” Body clocks are fairly fixed: Most people can’t rejigger their natural bedtime and wake time by more than one hour, he says. Sleep specialists suggest couples with mismatched schedules initially retire together for that “special time in bed and negotiate that [the night person] gets to leave and come back later and then gets to sleep in,” says Colleen E. Carney, associate professor at Ryerson University in Toronto... Dr. Dittami and Gerhard Klosch, a sleep researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, co-authors of the book "Sleeping Better Together," recommend that couples sleep with separate blankets, especially if one person is a restless sleeper."
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