"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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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Links - 25th September 2014

Reference letters can invite lawsuits from former employees

ISIS Tweets Call for Assassination of Twitter Employees - "Twitter has been engaged in a prolonged game of whack-a-mole with ISIS, closing its accounts and those of similar organizations as they come to prominence, in an attempt to stifle their extremist propaganda and exhortations to violence. ISIS and other groups have consistently thwarted these efforts, now they’re going one step further, urging “lone wolf” actors to target Twitter employees."

No More Ambulances for Terror - "In March 2002, Israeli Defense Forces discovered a bomb in a Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance near Jerusalem. The bomb, packed in a suicide belt, was hidden under a gurney carrying a Palestinian child. The driver confessed that it was not the first time ambulances had been used to ferry explosives... Palestinian gunmen used the UN emergency vehicle as getaway transportation after murdering six Israeli soldiers. Senior UNRWA employee Nahed Rashid Ahmed Attalah confessed to using his official UN vehicle to bypass security and smuggle arms, explosives and terrorists to and from attacks. Nidal ‘Abd al-Fataah ‘Abdallah Nizal, a Hamas activist, worked as an UNRWA ambulance driver and admitted he, too, had used an emergency vehicle to transport munitions to terrorists... According to the Lebanon Red Cross, two of its ambulances were deliberately struck by weapons in Qana, Lebanon, while performing rescue missions. The international press, which has stubbornly ignored the prolonged exploitation of emergency vehicles by terrorists, immediately accused Israel of committing "war crimes." Photos and accounts of the alleged ambulance targeting were disseminated widely by newswires, the BBC, ITV, The New York Times, the Boston Globe and countless others. It should be noted that Western journalists were not allowed onto the scene, but received video and pictures from locals. Bloggers have again raised pointed doubts about what those photos really show (see zombietime.com/fraud/ambulance/ and my Internet video report at hotair.com/archives/2006/08/29/ambulances-for-jihad/). The roof of one Red Cross ambulance said to have been hit by a missile had a neat hole punched dead center — in the same location that ventilation holes of other ambulances are positioned. Massive rust and corrosion around the hole suggest the damage may have occurred before the alleged strike. Moreover, a missile explosion inside an ambulance would not leave the rest of the vehicle as intact as the supposedly targeted ambulance remained. A paramedic quoted by several media organizations claimed a "big fire" engulfed the inside of the vehicle. But photos of the ambulance allegedly consumed by the fire showed gurneys and seats intact and minimal damage to the interior."

Report Details Hamas’ Responsibility for Destruction of Gaza Strip - "New evidence is presented that Hamas used several United Nations schools run by the Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) as a base from which to fire rockets and mortars. The revelation is likely to prompt further scrutiny of UNRWA’s activities during the most recent conflict, including the discovery of multiple rocket stashes that were later returned by UNRWA to Hamas. At least 1,600 of the 3,600 rockets fired since July 8 at Israel by Hamas originated from civilian strongholds, according to the declassified report. This included: Three rockets fired from churches, four from Red Cross stations, 10 from amusement parks, 20 from first aid stations, 30 from U.N. facilities, 41 from hospitals, 50 from children’s playgrounds, 85 from medial clinics, 248 from schools, 331 from mosques, and 818 from areas such as graveyards and power plants."

Speed Kills Racial Profiling Study - "Wines revives the canard about blacks being disproportionately targeted in traffic stops. There actually is a study for that. Throughout the 1990s, the nation was fixated on tales of jack-booted New Jersey state troopers who were stopping speeders on the turnpike just because they were black!... The story never made sense. How could the troopers tell the race of drivers in speeding cars? Did they wait until the driver rolled down his window and, if he was white, say, “Oh, sorry — have a nice day!” But the Clinton administration was slapping consent decrees for racial profiling on police departments across the country, and the N.J. highway patrol was its prime evidence, based on a study that a child wouldn’t believe. As is usually the case with bogus race studies, the pivotal 1993 survey compared speed stops on the New Jersey turnpike to the population of all drivers on the turnpike – not with the population of all speeders on the turnpike. Such meaningless studies are popular on the left, where it is assumed that people of different races, genders and ethnicities will always behave identically in all respects... based on the assumption that blacks speed just as much as whites — because to believe otherwise would be racist! — Temple University’s John Lamberth announced that while only 13.5 percent of drivers along a particular stretch of the New Jersey Turnpike were black, 46 percent of those stopped for speeding were black. Racial profiling, Q.E.D... Confident that any new study would merely serve to confirm the troopers’ racism, the DOJ and the New Jersey attorney general commissioned a statistical investigation from the Public Services Research Institute in Maryland. The institute’s study was a spectacular thing. Using expensive monitors with high-speed cameras and radar detectors, they clocked the speeds of nearly 40,000 drivers on the relevant section of the turnpike. Three researchers then examined the photos to determine the race of the driver — without knowing whether the driver was speeding, which was defined as going more than 80 mph in 65 mph zones. The result: No racial profiling. Blacks constituted 25 percent of all speeders and they were 23 percent of drivers stopped for speeding. Controlling for age and gender, blacks sped at about twice the rate of whites. The racial disparity was even greater for drivers exceeding 90 mph."

Buckley Program pushes expansion | Yale Daily News - "After establishing its presence on Yale’s campus, the three-year-old William F. Buckley, Jr. Program is now looking to expand. The program was the brainchild of Lauren Noble ’11, who envisioned the program after taking a residential college seminar on William F. Buckley, Jr. and the rise of modern conservatism in 2010. According to Sterling Professor of Classics Donald Kagan, who sits on the program’s Board of Directors, the program emerged from concerns among students that politically conservative perspectives were insufficiently represented among Yale’s faculty and on campus as a whole... According to Vice President Mark DiPlacido ’15, one way the program tries to promote intellectual diversity is by bringing in speakers with unusual points of view that might not be “within what is politically correct.” DiPlacido pointed to Harvey Mansfield’s talk last year about “the importance of manliness,” which DiPlacido said broadened the scope of what students on campus were willing to discuss. In that same vein, this year the program plans to sponsor a talk by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born victim of genital mutilation who has faced public criticism for her condemnation of certain Muslim practices. DiPlacido said the program decided to bring in Ali to speak because her story represents a diverse opinion... Helen Price ’18 said that although she appreciates the effort the program makes to promote intellectual diversity, in practice such an effort can be problematic. “When you invite very conservative speakers here who perhaps have controversial views on Islam or homosexuality, you essentially make Yale a very uncomfortable place for a large percentage of the people here on campus, and everyone should feel at home at college,” Price said."
So much for College challenging you with new ideas and views
Another site: "It’s not clear if Price understands how such casual mentions of Marxism might make someone — from, say, Cambodia, or North Korea, or Ukraine — “very uncomfortable.”"

'Empathetically Correct' Is the New Politically Correct - "When I was attending graduate school in the late 1980s and early 1990s, political correctness reigned supreme. Lassoing the powers of language, literature, and the law, the movement dubbed “PC” initially worked toward the good goal of greater inclusiveness for marginalized communities. Eventually, however, bloated by the riches of the ivory tower of academia and provoked by the excesses and exclusivity of the good-ol’-boy culture of Wall Street, political correctness morphed into a tyranny of speech codes, sensitivity training, and book banning. Its reach lingers still, most recently exemplified in the decision by a state panel in Nevada not to name a cove after Mark Twain because of the author’s racist 19th-century views toward Native Americans. But it seems political correctness is being replaced by a new trend—one that might be called “empathetic correctness.” While political correctness seeks to cultivate sensitivity outwardly on behalf of those historically marginalized and oppressed groups, empathetic correctness focuses inwardly toward the protection of individual sensitivities. Now, instead of challenging the status quo by demanding texts that question the comfort of the Western canon, students are demanding the status quo by refusing to read texts that challenge their own personal comfort... some of the literary works advocates claim need warning labels for adult college students are often read by high school students, such as The Great Gatsby and The Merchant of Venice... a person traumatized by reading a Victorian novel is a person in need of help, and the entire episode brought about the small crisis which resulted in a more important outcome: getting her connected with a college counselor... How can empathy even be cultivated apart from a willingness to have our preconceptions and our very comfort challenged? The sort of citizenry that demands warning labels on the best gifts of civilization is a citizenry ill-equipped to maintain such rights. Of course, empathy is a virtue. Ironically, it is a virtue cultivated, recent studies have shown, by reading great literature—the very works some want accompanied by warning labels.

The Baby in the Well - "Empathy has some unfortunate features—it is parochial, narrow-minded, and innumerate. We’re often at our best when we’re smart enough not to rely on it... The key to engaging empathy is what has been called “the identifiable victim effect”... Imagine reading that two thousand people just died in an earthquake in a remote country, and then discovering that the actual number of deaths was twenty thousand. Do you now feel ten times worse? To the extent that we can recognize the numbers as significant, it’s because of reason, not empathy. In the broader context of humanitarianism, as critics like Linda Polman have pointed out, the empathetic reflex can lead us astray. When the perpetrators of violence profit from aid—as in the “taxes” that warlords often demand from international relief agencies—they are actually given an incentive to commit further atrocities. It is similar to the practice of some parents in India who mutilate their children at birth in order to make them more effective beggars... A “politics of empathy” doesn’t provide much clarity in the public sphere, either. Typically, political disputes involve a disagreement over whom we should empathize with. Liberals argue for gun control, for example, by focussing on the victims of gun violence; conservatives point to the unarmed victims of crime, defenseless against the savagery of others... On many issues, empathy can pull us in the wrong direction. The outrage that comes from adopting the perspective of a victim can drive an appetite for retribution. (Think of those statutes named for dead children: Megan’s Law, Jessica’s Law, Caylee’s Law.) But the appetite for retribution is typically indifferent to long-term consequences. In one study, conducted by Jonathan Baron and Ilana Ritov, people were asked how best to punish a company for producing a vaccine that caused the death of a child. Some were told that a higher fine would make the company work harder to manufacture a safer product; others were told that a higher fine would discourage the company from making the vaccine, and since there were no acceptable alternatives on the market the punishment would lead to more deaths. Most people didn’t care; they wanted the company fined heavily, whatever the consequence... The government’s failure to enact prudent long-term policies is often attributed to the incentive system of democratic politics (which favors short-term fixes), and to the powerful influence of money. But the politics of empathy is also to blame. Too often, our concern for specific individuals today means neglecting crises that will harm countless people in the future... A reasoned, even counter-empathetic analysis of moral obligation and likely consequences is a better guide to planning for the future than the gut wrench of empathy... Putting aside the extremes of psychopathy, there is no evidence to suggest that the less empathetic are morally worse than the rest of us. Simon Baron-Cohen observes that some people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, though typically empathy-deficient, are highly moral, owing to a strong desire to follow rules and insure that they are applied fairly. Where empathy really does matter is in our personal relationships... Our hearts will always go out to the baby in the well; it’s a measure of our humanity. But empathy will have to yield to reason if humanity is to have a future"
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