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More adventurous than the average bear

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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Links - 25th February 2016

Sweden used as warning example by Norway police - "Denmark has voiced concerns about the utterly weak background check of immigrants from the middle east, fearing radical Islamists entering Sweden as asylum seekers with the intent of building Scandinavian terror cells. My very first post on this blog was about a Danish politician openly pleading for Sweden to come to its senses. Norway isn’t too pleased either, and they dare speak openly about the problems brewing in the cities of their neighbor. In a new report called “Oslo 2022,” the Norwegian police explicitly use Sweden in general and the town of Södertälje as a warning example... In Sweden, there are literally no limits, and any background check beyond scratching the surface is considered racist and shut down by management as has been repeatedly revealed by bloggers like Merit Wager. .. predictably, the Swedish response is not to acknowledge the problems, but to whine about the mean Norwegian pseudo-fascists having the gall to criticize Sweden’s enlightened stance."

Sweden taxing itself into oblivion - "Dagens Industri, the leading business daily in Sweden, took a sobering look at the state finances. The cost of immigration kinda stood out: +205%... Some entries in the laundry list of tax hikes read like an April’s fools joke, but unfortunately isn’t. Refrigerators, freezers, washers, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens, computers, TVs, cell phones and similar goods are now to be taxed with a “chemical tax” based on weight. Say what? The justification for this extra $40 tax on the new washer is to “discourage use of dangerous chemicals in everyday life”. The new tax also applies to linoleum floor mats."

Burqa ban five years on - 'We created a monster' - "“People had the impression that the women wearing the veil were abused by men. But in ten years I have never met a woman who was forced to wear the veil by a man,” she says. “People presented this cliché that Muslim women needed to be saved from men.” De Féo says the 2010 ban has only helped to normalise and encourage Islamophobia in France. “We now live in a society where people think it’s normal to insult Muslim women wearing the full veil just because they are disobeying the law,” she says, pointing to several unsavoury incidents in recent years including women being attacked and having their veils pulled off their faces... “Before the ban most Muslim women wore the veil for religious reasons,” she says. “Now a lot of the women who wear the niqab, started doing so after the law was introduced. They converted to Islam and began wearing the veil because it became an identity to them. “For them it’s an act of resistance against the state, just like the punk or skinhead movements. That’s why they are happy to pay their €150 fines.”"

Ten expat complaints about their French lovers - "One reader of The Local, named William, is frequently baffled by the conflicting attitudes his French girlfriend takes over flirting and jealousy. He accuses her of purposely “inflaming jealousy by flirting with other men,” whilst being equally capable of “having a fit of jealousy for no reason.” Perhaps for these passionate Latin lovers jealousy is all just part of the relationship and they can deal with it a better than us foreigners. "

Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me - The New York Times - "Blessed is a loaded term because it blurs the distinction between two very different categories: gift and reward. It can be a term of pure gratitude. “Thank you, God. I could not have secured this for myself.” But it can also imply that it was deserved. “Thank you, me. For being the kind of person who gets it right.” It is a perfect word for an American society that says it believes the American dream is based on hard work, not luck... a neighbor knocked on our door to tell my husband that everything happens for a reason. “I’d love to hear it,” my husband said. “Pardon?” she said, startled. “I’d love to hear the reason my wife is dying,” he said, in that sweet and sour way he has... There has to be a reason, because without one we are left as helpless and possibly as unlucky as everyone else... I have heard countless stories of refusing to acknowledge that the end had finally come. An emaciated man was pushed about a megachurch in a wheelchair as churchgoers declared that he was already healed. A woman danced around her sister’s deathbed shouting to horrified family members that the body can yet live. There is no graceful death, no ars moriendi, in the prosperity gospel. There are only jarring disappointments after fevered attempts to deny its inevitability.The prosperity gospel has taken a religion based on the contemplation of a dying man and stripped it of its call to surrender all. Perhaps worse, it has replaced Christian faith with the most painful forms of certainty"

Magical Laotian town preserved by UNESCO loses its soul - "most of the locals don't live here anymore. They began an exodus from this seeming Shangri-La after their hometown was listed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, and sold itself wholesale to tourism."

"Clueless" actress Stacey Dash target of Twitter backlash after endorsing Mitt Romney - "Dash immediately began experiencing racially-based hate tweets, attacking the African-American actress for supporting a Republican candidate - the implication being that her race should decide her vote. One person tweeted, "Kill yourself," and re-tweeted Dash's photo. On Twitter users tweeted, "You're an unemployed black woman endorsing @MittRomney. You're voting against yourself thrice. You poor beautiful idiot.""
Some types of racism are more acceptable than others

Lelong, Dining on a kelong off Pulau Ubin - "Plates of Teochew-style steamed pomfret, flower crabs and fried squid arrived in quick succession soon after we settled down around the dining table. Paired with fluffy rice and bubbly chatter, it seemed like a regular night out at a Zi Char shop. That was until the wooden platform beneath us started to tremble, when a boat passed by. I was not dining on dry land, but on a wooden house on stilts, floating on the Straits of Johor, just off Pulau Ubin."

Study: More Education Increases IQ Score - "students who got a full two years of extra schooling showed an IQ gain of more than 7 points. Those with just one additional year of compulsory education during the phase in period gained approximately 3.7 IQ points."

Exercise addiction: Ben Carter tells how an obsession with exercise threatened his health - "By the time Ben stopped running in January of this year, his social life was in ruins and so was his health. He's still fighting the addiction, struggling against the urge to pick up a dumbbell or go for a run... In 2004, a group of Hungarian psychologists concluded there was "a strong link between exercise addiction and various forms of eating disorders." The condition is commonly linked to anorexia, along with more general concerns about body image."

Japan school girl culture: The dark truth - "On a cold, rainy night in Tokyo -- Japanese schoolgirls line the streets. Shivering in short skirts they pass out fliers for "JK" or "joshi-kosei," cafes in which adult males pay for the company of girls as young as 16. "Most are in their 30s, 40s and 50s," says 18-year-old Honoka. The girls, all dressed in their actual high school uniforms, earn about $8 dollars an hour to socialize and serve food and drink to men often more than twice their age. Sometimes however, the men want more than talk."

Food Truck Specializing in Popcorn and Sex Toys Forced to Close - "They said his food permits are in order, so the cart's popcorn, nachos, sodas, and whatnot are fine, but "when itemizing what he was selling, Kwan didn't list sex toys"

Online scams: Singaporeans easy targets, says one scammer - "Through online scams alone, Janice makes an average of US$2,100 monthly. In the Philippines, that is equivalent to a senior manager’s monthly salary. So lucrative is her trade that she has since introduced the skill of scamming to her neighbour. Janice told GET REAL why Singaporeans are easier, more "gullible" targets for scammers like her both in and out of the country. "Australians are quite difficult and snobbish, so I need to adjust to them a lot. I have to sound extra sweet and very loving, unlike Singaporeans. With them (Singaporeans), I can just say anything and they will easily believe me," said Janice."

Justin Trudeau phone call prompts husband of Burkina Faso victim to hang up - ""My prime minister called me and began speaking in such a canned manner, wishing me good luck, offering me his condolences and talking about them as a source of Canadian pride," he said. "That's when I told him to stop his political blabbing... Richard said his conversation with Trudeau ended with him telling the prime minister to go hug his wife and children. "Then I hung up on him and it felt good.""

Singapore GaGa pulled from Malaysia event after film censored - "The film was slated to be screened in January at the Titian Budaya Festival, which celebrates Singapore-Malaysia ties. However, Malaysian censors said a scene in the film could be a “security threat” and “create doubt and restlessness” among citizens, and wanted it to be removed... The Malaysian censors had told Tan to “erase (ventriloquist Victor Khoo) saying ‘animals’ in Malay and delete the subtitles of ‘animals’, which has a double meaning,” she wrote. The censor’s report added that the “dialogue can create doubt and restlessness among citizens and may finally cause a security threat, disturbance of public peace and national defence”, said Tan."
Malaysians must be very weak and simple-minded

Toyoko Inn - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - "The chain is also known for almost exclusively hiring women: as of 2001, 95% of the company's workforce was female, and nearly all of its hotel managers were married women"

The CDC’s Rape Numbers Are Misleading - "Respondents were asked about sexual acts that happened when they were “drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.” This seems to imply that “unable to consent” is only one of the variables and to include situations in which a person is intoxicated—perhaps enough to have impaired judgment—but not incapacitated as the legal definition of rape requires... At no point are respondents given any instructions that could result in fewer reports of alleged victimization: for instance, that they should not include instances in which they had voluntary sex while drunk but not incapacitated. For many feminists, questioning claims of rampant sexual violence in our society amounts to misogynist “rape denial.” However, if the CDC figures are to be taken at face value, then we must also conclude that, far from being a product of patriarchal violence against women, “rape culture” is a two-way street, with plenty of female perpetrators and male victims... when asked about experiences in the last 12 months, men reported being “made to penetrate”—either by physical force or due to intoxication—at virtually the same rates as women reported rape... The CDC also reports that men account for over a third of those experiencing another form of sexual violence—“sexual coercion.” That was defined as being pressured into sexual activity by psychological means: lies or false promises, threats to end a relationship or spread negative gossip, or “making repeated requests” for sex and expressing unhappiness at being turned down. Should we, then, regard sexual violence as a reciprocal problem? Getting away from the simplistic and adversarial “war against women” model is undoubtedly a positive step, as is admitting that women are human beings with the capacity for aggression and wrongdoing—including sexual assault. On the other hand, most of us would agree that to equate a victim of violent rape and a man who engages in a drunken sexual act he wouldn’t have chosen when sober is to trivialize a terrible crime. It is safe to assume that the vast majority of the CDC’s male respondents who were “made to penetrate” someone would not call themselves rape victims—and with good reason. But if that’s the case, it is just as misleading to equate a woman’s experience of alcohol-addled sex with the experience of a rape victim who is either physically overpowered or attacked when genuinely incapacitated... a 15-year-old male is considerably more likely to be sexually assaulted than a woman over 40"

Affirmative Action and the Costs of Diversity - "If discrimination is as widespread as activists claim, surely it exists in small and medium-sized companies also. Yet no federal lawsuit has ever been filed against such firms. Instead the legal actions have been directed solely at companies big enough to pay mega settlement amounts. Affirmative-action shakedowns seem to be about money rather than equality and justice... United Airlines has reportedly reduced training requirements and pilot qualifications in order to hire the “right” number of selected minorities... Since the onset of affirmative action in the 1960s, the employment-population ratio for Black workers has deteriorated relative to that of Whites and Hispanics. This could reflect the reluctance of employers to hire workers likely to file affirmative action lawsuits... Research at the Center for the Study of American Business estimates that for every dollar spent on regulatory enforcement, about 20 dollars is spent on compliance costs by the private sector. Applying the 20-to-1 ratio to EEOC’s estimated outlays, we arrive at $6.5 billion as the estimated cost to private sector firms of complying with federal affirmative-action regulations in 2005"

The Unique World of Burmese Driving - "how about having right hand steering and driving on the right hand side of the road? Myanmar has the distinction of having this split personality. Myanmar was a British colony until 1948. The cars had right hand steering and drove on the left side of the road. In 1970 all traffic was moved to the right. I asked several people for the cause of the change and there are two commonly held theories, both of which point to the eccentricities of General Ne Win. One theory is that Ne Win’s wife’s astrologer said that the country would be better off driving on the right side of the road. The second is that the General had a dream that the country should switch directions. Either way, the General called the shots and traffic was directed to move sides overnight... One can still see old traffic signs in downtown Yangon facing the wrong direction."
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