"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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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Links - 5th March 2013

White House defends drone-war killing of Americans - "Obama campaigned in 2008 as a fierce critic of George W. Bush’s national security policies, notably interrogation practices widely seen as torture. He also left little doubt that he would order unilateral strikes inside another country if he deemed them necessary. In office, he has apparently learned to stop worrying and love executive power"

The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes - "Once you’re “‘asking for it,” you could be a target. And, once you’re reached “prudish,” you’ve become socially irrelevant... Indeed, this is why women have so many clothes! We need an all-purpose black skirt that does old fashioned, another one to do proper, and a third to do flirty… at the very least… and all in casual, business, and formal. And we need heels to go with each (stilettos = provocative, high heels = flirty, low heels = proper, etc, plus we need flats for the picnics and beach weddings etc). And we need pants that are hemmed to the right length for each of these pairs of shoes. You can’t wear black shoes with navy pants, so you’ll need to double up on all these things if you want any variety in your wardrobe"
The idea of the virtuous mean is hardly unique to female hemlines

Being Ashamed of Drinking Prompts Relapse, Not Recovery, Study Finds - "The results add to a body of literature suggesting that widely used shaming and humiliating methods of treating alcohol and other drug problems — such as those seen on shows like Celebrity Rehab — are not only ineffective but also may be counterproductive."

Can Liberals Get a Witness? - "Churches are meddling in politics. Ministers are leading social movements, backing and attacking candidates, campaigning from the pulpit. That was the complaint in the 1950s and ’60s, when clergy pushed for civil rights legislation, nuclear disarmament, and withdrawal from Vietnam... The alienation of religion from the left is a problem for both sides. For the churches, it means losing young parishioners... The left should not be celebrating, however. Their separation from the churches means continuing estrangement from middle America. Part of the mythology of the left, rooted in the European experience, is that history is burying religion. Hardly; strong and widespread religiosity will be here in America for a long time"
If you claim to be for separation of church and state, you should be for separation of church and state even when it hurts causes you favour

"When subjects and their environments become one and the same"

Le paradoxe érotique de l'infirmière - "«Cette pratique professionnelle reste placée sous le signe d’une forte ambivalence entre l’image du dévouement, souvent rattaché à ses origines religieuses et qui renvoie à l’histoire de cette profession d’une part, et celle de la figure érotique, abondamment illustrée dans la culture populaire et dans la pornographie»... «Ces comportements sont expliqués tour à tour par les infirmières comme le symptôme d’un manque, par le fait que ces hommes veulent se prouver à eux-mêmes qu’ils sont encore des hommes malgré le cancer (affirmation d’une identité virile chancelante car mise à mal par la maladie et les traitements), et tentent ainsi de masquer leurs angoisses ou bien comme une volonté de se prouver que l’on est toujours séduisant», décryptent les auteurs... «Souvent, c’est plutôt des compliments gentils, très simples. Genre : "Ah ben, y’a que des top models dans cette équipe !"», explique P., 27 ans. «Ça détend. Ah oui, oui, ça détend et on en rigole»... L’humour est souvent la méthode utilisée pour dédramatiser et «désérotiser» la situation, sans la nier"

Modern art was CIA 'weapon' - "The connection is improbable. This was a period, in the 1950s and 1960s, when the great majority of Americans disliked or even despised modern art - President Truman summed up the popular view when he said: "If that's art, then I'm a Hottentot." As for the artists themselves, many were ex- com- munists barely acceptable in the America of the McCarthyite era, and certainly not the sort of people normally likely to receive US government backing. Why did the CIA support them? Because in the propaganda war with the Soviet Union, this new artistic movement could be held up as proof of the creativity, the intellectual freedom, and the cultural power of the US. Russian art, strapped into the communist ideological straitjacket, could not compete."

Future planning seems obvious – so why fight it? - "The fact that Vietnamese still shop per meal is widely noted and tends to be attributed to their love of fresh food. But it’s more than that – forward planning, or a lack of it, is a feature in all parts of work and life in Vietnam."

Time for a Truce in the Bragging Wars - NYTimes.com - "MOMMY BLOGGERS (and their daddy counterparts, too) agree about almost nothing. Some favor co-sleeping; others do not. Some favor banning video games; others do not. Similar disputes surround breast-feeding, vaccines, cursing and whether it’s O.K. to force-feed your child broccoli. But a rare consensus has emerged on at least one topic. What subject could possibly be so clear-cut it has elicited once-in-a-generation unanimity? That parents should stop bragging about their children... Another common piece of advice — each time you criticize someone, you should give multiple compliments — applies equally well in reverse. Each boast about a child should come surrounded by three negatives. My son is on the honor roll (but still wets his bed)... Everyone agrees that boasting to your own parents is not just acceptable, it’s desirable... Bragging about our children is a way of relieving our anxiety that we’re not total losers as parents. The opposite instinct, what we might call “reverse bragging” — “My kid’s more screwed up than yours”"

A short history of the death of culture (SMBC) - "The internet is killing culture! Nobody can write anymore!"

Religion As An Activity Engaged In By Consenting Adults In Private - "the authorities accused of violating the plaintiffs’ rights operate with a definition of religion as a private matter to be kept out of public space... there is a very ideological view of the place of religion in society. In other words, religion is to be an activity engaged in by consenting adults in private. The attorney for the Judeo-Christian side in the aforementioned American case had it quite right when he compared the treatment of his client’s religion with measures of disease control. This is not an attitude one would expect to find in a Western democracy. It is curiously reminiscent of policies toward religion in Communist countries and toward non-Muslims under Islamic rule"
If "religion is like a penis", then we shouldn't show it in public

Marvel Gets Taxes Lowered on Superhero Mutants - "Two attorneys have helped Marvel Entertainment lower import taxes on its action figures by arguing that superheroes like the X-Men are less like human dolls and more like nonhuman toys... The ruling includes information such as, “Dr. Doom's non-human characteristics include the appearance of metal upper and lower extremities and a metallic head. The creature's face is crisscrossed by rows of rivet marks. It has reinforced rectangles for eye openings, and an open mouth surrounded by rivet marks and blocked by bars, one horizontal and two vertical"
Mutants are humans too!!!

There's No Such Thing as Everlasting Love (According to Science) - "It is not a long-lasting, continually present emotion that sustains a marriage; it is not the yearning and passion that characterizes young love; and it is not the blood-tie of kinship. Rather, it is what she calls a "micro-moment of positivity resonance." She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day... With Valentine's Day around the corner, many Americans are facing a grim reality: They are love-starved. Rates of loneliness are on the rise as social supports are disintegrating. In 1985, when the General Social Survey polled Americans on the number of confidants they have in their lives, the most common response was three. In 2004, when the survey was given again, the most common response was zero... Part of Fredrickson's project is to lower cultural expectations about love—expectations that are so misguidedly high today that they have inflated love into something that it isn't, and into something that no sane person could actually experience.

Rand Paul Beyonce Obama: Seriously? GOP Demands Obama Resign After Beyonce’s Alleged Lip-Synching | Breaking News for Black America - "The New Yorker article NewsOne cited in the post below is, in fact, satire. We apologize for reporting the piece as fact"

Condoms Don’t Ruin Sex, Study Says - "American men and women rated sex as highly arousing and pleasurable regardless of whether condoms and/or lubricants were used"

Is the heat of combat in Iraq or Afghanistan any place for a woman? - "Baskerville concedes that “few” women would probably want to be part of the front-line infantry... Maj Judith Webb, the first woman to lead an all-male field force in the Army, has sounded an alarm that standards of fitness would deteriorate if the UK follows America’s lead. The former officer, who served in the 28th Signal Regiment in Germany and Cyprus, and left the Army in 1986, says she has been converted to the idea of women serving in the roles of drivers or medics on the front line after their success in Afghanistan and Iraq. But she argues that women are not up to the rigours of close-quarter combat"

Get 1 million Facebook 'Likes' for sex -- and a puppy

So Long, Fellow Travelers - ""lesser evil" is part of the essential tactical rhetoric of today's Left, and has been deployed to excuse or overlook the sins of liberal Democrats, from President Clinton's bombing of Sudan to Madeleine Albright's veto of an international rescue for Rwanda when she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations... Not only does the "peace" movement ignore the anti-Saddam civilian opposition, it sends missions to console the Ba'athists in their isolation, and speaks of the invader of Kuwait and Iran and the butcher of Kurdistan as if he were the victim and George W. Bush the aggressor... The meaningless demagogy of the peaceniks can only be explained by a masochistic refusal to admit that our own civil society has any merit, or by a nostalgia for Stalinism that I can sometimes actually taste as well as smell... As someone who has done a good deal of marching and public speaking about Vietnam, Chile, South Africa, Palestine and East Timor in his time (and would do it all again), I can only hint at how much I despise a Left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist... Or a Left that can think of Milosevic and Saddam as victims"

Twitter / TwistedSifter: The 'Michaelangelo' Squirrel ...

The Sock Gap - YouTube - "No self-respecting woman will ever let a naked man in socks do the squelchie with her"
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