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Valar Qringaomis

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Links - 24th March 2015

Lee Kuan Yew obituary | World news | The Guardian - "It could have been done differently. Colonial Hong Kong, so similar in many ways, prospered as well without the guidance of a “philosopher king” or a “Moses”, as Lee was to be later described. Nonetheless, Lee was very much in charge of the new Singapore and thus deserves the credit, and the blame... Some government intervention in the economy was simply pragmatic. But much of it had political overtones. The state, for example, created what is now the largest commercial bank, the Development Bank of Singapore, though there was never any lack of private ones. Its forced savings scheme was a colonial-era provident fund that was used to generate savings that helped give Singapore the best infrastructure in Asia. The scheme gave the government control over far more money than it needed, thus enabling it to dictate not only the pattern of investment but housing and consumer spending... part of Singapore’s prosperity rested on it providing a safe haven for money made corruptly in neighbouring countries, smuggling or drug trafficking... Quite why Lee, revered as the father of the nation, found it necessary to use such sledgehammers was not clear. In the 50s, the communists were real and ruthless. But as time went on, real threats vanished. Yet the unrelenting ambition did not, and Lee was unable to change his self-image as a political streetfighter, the gang boss who forever had to prove his ruthlessness. Beyond that, he had a sense of insecurity about the future of Singapore after he was gone. Partly this was a sense that society would go soft with success, or, like the Malays, surrender to the easy languor of the tropics... Increasingly, there was only one leader. Comrades from the heroic anti-colonial days retired, drifted away or were pushed out – in the case of President Devan Nair in 1985, after a humiliating allegation of alcoholism that he contested. New blood was brought into the PAP, but increasingly it became a tightknit elite... The force of Lee’s personality, the moral authority that he commanded, left him the arbiter of anything he cared about. Like a Mao in miniature, he seemed both to enjoy and have contempt for the adulation that surrounded him"
Comments: "I never knew whether I should fear him or admire him in life, in death, I both despise him and respect him"
"in his desire to oppose communism, he built a totalitarian state which was more authoritarian than the Soviet Union itself, and granted its people even less freedom; and created a cult of personality greater than that of Stalin or Mao" (it's the Guardian after all)


Christopher Hitchens and the protocol for public figure deaths - "When someone dies who is a public figure by virtue of their political acts — like Ronald Reagan — discussions of them upon death will be inherently politicized. How they are remembered is not strictly a matter of the sensitivities of their loved ones, but has substantial impact on the culture which discusses their lives. To allow significant political figures to be heralded with purely one-sided requiems — enforced by misguided (even if well-intentioned) notions of private etiquette that bar discussions of their bad acts — is not a matter of politeness; it’s deceitful and propagandistic. To exploit the sentiments of sympathy produced by death to enshrine a political figure as Great and Noble is to sanction, or at best minimize, their sins. Misapplying private death etiquette to public figures creates false history and glorifies the ignoble."

Melanie Kirkpatrick: Lee Kuan Yew vs. the News - WSJ - "What was Lee afraid of? The answer, in a word, was readers. He had little confidence in the ability of Singaporeans to listen to different points of view, evaluate them and form correct opinions, which is to say, his opinions... One day the phone rang at the Journal’s bureau in Singapore. The prime minister’s office wanted to know where Mr. Lee’s subscription was. Yes, we know that your circulation has been restricted, the caller said, but surely this doesn’t apply to the prime minister. The Journal representative replied that Mr. Lee would receive no special treatment. In other words, if the prime minister valued the Journal’s reporting and commentary, he had the same option that was available to all Singaporeans who were deprived of their newspaper: Go to the library."

Overzealous prosecutors: Hold them accountable by defunding state prisons and making counties pay. - "states should take the money they’re currently spending on their prison systems, distribute it among counties based on their violent crime rate, and allow local decision-makers to spend it as they see fit. If county officials want to use the money to fund crime prevention programs, they can; if they want to use it to put lots of convicted felons in prison, they can do that too. “The hope would be that they would start using prisons at the societally optimal level,” Ball told me. “They’d say, ‘Here’s $50,000 we can spend on sending someone to prison, but that’s $50,000 we’re not going to spend on other things, like the police budget or drug treatment programs.’ ”"

Republican women are more religious and theocratic than Republican men, new poll shows. - "66 percent of Republican women versus 49 percent of Republican men would like to see America become more theocratic. Overall, the data suggests that there may be an intriguing gender divide when it comes to the motivations of Republican voters, with results showing men to be more motivated by economic reasons and women drawn to conservative politics for more religious and social reasons... There's been an increased interest in recent years in what motivates Republican women, particularly as the party has amped up its assault on reproductive rights. This data, which jibes with countless studies have shown that women are more likely to be religious than men, helps answer that question: It's religion."

Sweden to reward returning ISIS Jihadists - "Jihadists returning to Örebro Municipality will get psychological help. And not only that: Tvärsnytt now reveals that the municipality council are discussing giving them jobs... "Tvärsnytt" reports that several people have chosen to move from the district Vivalla after it became known that two individuals from it was fighting in northern Iraq. Residents are simply afraid to have a neighbor who sympathize with IS. Peter Santesson, Survey Manager at Demoskop, is critical of Örebro Municipality ways of using the municipal money. - The thoughts goes to the old "monster trips" and similar municipal programs. The problem is that it creates reverse incentives. The question that the municipality should ask is: If you can afford to create this kind of jobs, why do people who goes to Syria get them? And who possibly comes back with serious war crimes in the luggage? Instead of investing in young people who didn't take this step, who didn't go to fight, he says"

Taxi driver stopped on the highway to pray - the passenger missed his flight - "Norgeng sent a letter to Oslo Taxi and complained, and Oslo Taxi sacked the driver"
Islamophobia!

Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric - Telegraph - "Sheikh Muhammad Munajid claimed the mouse is "one of Satan's soldiers" and makes everything it touches impure. But he warned that depictions of the creature in cartoons such as Tom and Jerry, and Disney's Mickey Mouse, had taught children that it was in fact loveable. The cleric, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, said that under Sharia, both household mice and their cartoon counterparts must be killed."

Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe

9 things you think you know about Jesus that are probably wrong - "1. Married, not single.
2. Cropped hair, not long.
3. Hung on a pole, not necessarily a cross.
5. Born in a house, not a stable.
6. Named Joshua, not Jesus.
7. Number of apostles (12) from astrology, not history.
8. Prophecies recalled, not foretold.
9. Some Jesus quotes not from Jesus; others uncertain."

Cost Effectiveness of Complementary Medicine (Report) - The National Institute of Complementary Medicine - University of Western Sydney - "A NICM study into the cost-effectiveness of complementary medicine in Australia has found that millions of dollars in healthcare costs could be saved without compromising patient outcomes if complementary medicine is more widely used...
Acupuncture for chronic non-specific low back pain;
St John's wort for mild to moderate depression;
Omega-3 fish oils for secondary prevention of heart disease;
Omega-3 fish oils to reduce non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use in rheumatoid arthritis; and
A proprietary herbal medicine for pain and inflammation of osteoarthritis.
Four of these interventions proved cost-effective or cost-saving under particular scenarios."

Are complementary therapies and integrative care cost-effective? A systematic review of economic evaluations - "This comprehensive review identified many CIM economic evaluations missed by previous reviews and emerging evidence of cost-effectiveness and possible cost savings in at least a few clinical populations"

Domestic Violence Surge Leads Uruguay to Reject Male Syrian Refugees - "“Simply: in Uruguay, we are not willing to remain with our arms crossed if men hit women,” said President José Mujica, the architect of the project through which Uruguay would slowly begin to take in Syrian refugee families, to ease the strain on neighboring countries like Lebanon and Turkey, which have taken in millions of refugees in the past two years. According to Uruguayan newspaper El Observador, the government claims that the incidents of domestic violence in the new Syrian refugee community of Uruguay are simply too high to ignore."

Fortune Cookies: More Japanese Than You Think

Quadriplegic woman flies F-35 with nothing but her thoughts

Naturalized Koreans prefer Kim, Lee and Park, too | The Marmot's Hole - "According to statistics from Seoul Family Court, some 110 foreigners who had taken Korean citizenship changed their names between October and the end of last year. Some 51 of them chose “Kim” as a family name, while 15 chose “Lee,” 14 chose “Park” and 11 chose “Choe.” Oddly enough, this is the same order of the general population according to 2000 statistics released by the National Statistical Office. According to those stats, 21.6 percent of Koreans—some 9.92 million folk—had the last name of Kim. Another 14.8 percent had Lee, 8.5 percent had Park and 4.7 percent had Choe."
Finally, statistics on Korean surnames!
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