"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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Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Demon Named Todd

An Aleph — erinnightwalker: jumpingjacktrash: ...

writing-prompt-s: An old and homely grandmother accidentally summons a demon. She mistakes him for her gothic-phase teenage grandson and takes care of him. The demon decides to stay at his new home.

eatbreathewrite: It isn’t uncommon for this particular demon to be summoned—from exhausting Halloween party pranks in abandoned barns to more legitimate (more exhausting) ceremonies in forests—but it has to admit, this is the first time it’s been called forth from its realm into a claustrophobic living room bathed in the dull orange-pink glow of old glass lamps and a multitude of wide-eyed, creepy antique porcelain dolls that could give Chucky a run for his money with all of their silent, seething stares combined. Accompanying those oddities are tea cup and saucer sets on shelves atop frilly doilies crocheted with the utmost care, and cross-stitched, colorful ‘Home Sweet Home’s hung across the wood-paneled walls.

It’s a mistake—a wrong number, per se. No witch it’s ever known has lived in such an, ah, dated, home. Furthermore, no practitioner that ever summoned it has been absent, as if they’d up and ding-dong ditched it. No, it didn’t work that way. Not at all. Not if they want to survive the encounter.

It hears the clinking of movement in the room adjacent—the kitchen, going by the pungent, bitter scent of cooled coffee and soggy, sweet sponge cakes, but more jarring is the smell of blood. It moves—feels something slip beneath its clawed foot as it does, and sees a crocheted blanket of whites and greys and deep black yarn, wound intricately, perfectly, into a summoning circle. Its summoning circle. There is a small splash of bright scarlet and sharp, jagged bits of a broken curio scattered on top, as if someone had dropped it, attempted to pick it up the pieces and pricked their finger. It would explain the blood. And it would explain the demon being brought into this strange place.

As it connects these pieces in its mind, the inhabitant of the house rounds the corner and exits the kitchen, holding a damp, white dish towel close to her hand and fumbling with the beaded bifocals hanging from her neck by a crocheted lanyard before stopping dead in her tracks.

Now, to be fair, the demon wouldn’t ordinarily second guess being face-to-face with a hunchbacked crone with a beaked nose, beady eyes and a peculiar lack of teeth, or a spidery shawl and ankle-length black dress, but there is definitely something amiss here. Especially when the old biddy lets her spectacles fall slack on her bosom and erupts into a wide, toothy (toothless) grin, eyes squinting and crinkling from the sheer effort of it.

“Todd! Todd, dear, I didn’t know you were visiting this year! You didn’t call, you didn’t write—but, oh, I’m so happy you’re here, dear! Would it have been too much to ask you to ring the doorbell? I almost had a heart attack. And don’t worry about the blood, here—I had an accident. My favorite figure toppled off of the table and cleanup didn’t go as expected. But I seem to recall you are quite into the bloodshed and ‘edgy’ stuff these days, so I don’t suppose you mind.” She releases a hearty, kind laugh, but it isn’t mocking, it’s sweet. Grandmotherly. The demon is by no means sentimental or maudlin, but the kindness, the familiarity, the genuine fondness, does pull a few dusty old nostalgic heartstrings. “Imagine if it leaves a scar! It’d be a bit ‘badass,’ as you teenagers say, wouldn’t it?”

She is as blind as a bat without her glasses, it would appear, because the demon is by no means a ‘Todd’ or a human at all, though humanoid, shrouded in sleek, black skin and hard spikes and sharp claws. But the demon humors her, if only because it had been caught off guard.

The old woman smiles still, before turning on her heel and shuffling into the hallway with a stiff gait revealing a poor hip. “Be a dear and make some more coffee, would you please? I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

Yes, this is most definitely a mistake. One for the record books, for certain. For late-night trips to bars and conversations with colleagues, while others discuss how many souls they’d swindled in exchange for peanuts, or how many first-borns they’d been pledged for things idiot humans could have gained without divine intervention. Ugh. Sometimes it all just became so pedantic that little detours like this were a blessing—happy accidents, as the humans would say.

That’s why the demon does as asked, and plods slowly into the kitchen, careful to duck low and avoid the top of the doorframe. That’s why it gingerly takes the small glass pot and empties it of old, stale coffee and carefully, so carefully, takes a measuring scoop between its claws and fills the machine with fresh grounds. It’s as the hot water is percolating that the old woman returns, her index finger wrapped tight in a series of beige bandages.

“I’m surprised you’re so tall, Todd! I haven’t seen you since you were at my hip! But your mother mails photos all the time—you do love wearing all black, don’t you?” She takes a seat at the small round table in the corner and taps the glass lid of the cake plate with quaking, unsteady, aged hands. “I was starting to think you’d never visit. Your father and I have had our disagreements, but…I am glad you’re here, dear. Would you like some cake?” Before the demon has a chance to decline, she lifts the lid and cuts a generous slice from the near-complete circle that has scarcely been touched. It smells of citrus and cream and is, as assumed earlier, soggy, oversaturated with icing.

It was made for a special occasion, for guests, but it doesn’t seem this old woman receives much company in this musty, stagnant house that smells like an antique garage that hadn’t had its dust stirred in years.

Especially not from her absentee grandson, Todd.

The demon waits until the coffee pot is full, and takes two small mugs from the counter, filling them until steam is frothing over the rims. Then, and only then, does it accept the cake and sit, with some difficulty, in a small chair at the small table. It warbles out a polite ‘thank you,’ but it doesn’t suppose the woman understands. Manners are manners regardless.

“Oh, dear, I can hardly understand. Your voice has gotten so deep, just like your grandfather’s was. That, and I do recall you have an affinity for that gravelly, screaming music. Did your voice get strained? It’s alright, dear, I’ll do the talking. You just rest up. The coffee will help soothe.”

The demon merely nods—some communication can be understood without fail—and drinks the coffee and eats the cake with a too-small fork. It’s ordinary, mushy, but delicious because of the intent behind it and the love that must have gone into its creation.

“I hope you enjoyed all of the presents I sent you. You never write back—but I am aware most people use that fancy E-mail these days. I just can’t wrap my head around it. I do wish your mom and dad would visit sometime. I know of a wonderful little café down the street we can go to. I haven’t been; I wanted to visit it with Charles, before he…well.” She falls silent in her rambling, staring into her coffee with a small, melancholy smile. “I can’t believe it’s been ten years. You never had the chance to meet him. But never mind that.” Suddenly, and with surprising speed that has the demon concerned for her well being, she moves to her feet, bracing her hands on the edge of the table. “I may as well give you your birthday present, since you’re here. What timing! I only finished it this morning. I’ll be right back.”

When she returns, the white, grey and black crocheted work with the summoning circle is bundled in her arms.

“I found these designs in an occult book I borrowed from the library. I thought you’d like them on a nice, warm blanket to fight off the winter chill—I hope you do like it.” With gentle hands, she spreads the blanket over the demon’s broad, spiky back like a shawl, smoothing it over craggy shoulders and patting its arms affectionately. “Happy birthday, Todd, dear.”

Well, that settles it. Whoever, wherever, Todd is, he’s clearly missing out. The demon will just have to be her grandson from now on.

voidbat: this is so sweet. it made me want to hug someone.

bigmammallama5: *illustration*

geniusorinsanity: I WOULD WATCH SIX SEASONS AND A MOVIE

rocky-horror-shit-show: Okay but she takes him to the little cafe and all of the people in her town are like “What is that thing, what the hell, Anette?” and she’s like “Don’t you remember my grandson Todd?” and the entire town just has to play along because no one will tell little old Nettie that her grandson is an actual demon because this is the happiest she’s been since her husband died.

Bonus: In season 4 she makes him run for mayor and he wins

silvermoonphantom: I just want to watch ‘Todd’ help her with groceries, and help her with cooking, and help her clean up the dust around the house and air it out, and fill it with spring flowers because Anette mentioned she loved hyacinth and daffodils.

Over the seasons her eyesight worsens, so ‘Todd’ brings a hellhound into the house to act as her seeing eye dog, and people in town are kinda terrified of this massive black brute with fur that drips like thick oil, and a mouth that can open all the way back to its chest, but ‘Honey’ likes her hard candies, and doesn’t get oil on the carpet, and when ‘Todd’ has to go back to Hell for errands, Honey will snuggle up to Anette and rest his giant head on her lap, and whuff at her pockets for butterscotch.

Anette never gives ‘Todd’ her soul, but she gives him her heart

wickedwitchofthewifi: In season six, Anette gets sick. She spends most of the season bedridden and it becomes obvious by about midway through the season that she’s not going to make it to the end of the season. Todd spends the season travelling back and forth between the human realm and his home plane, trying hard to find something, anything that will help Anette get better, to prolong her life. He’s tried getting her to sell him her soul, but she’s just laughed, told him that he shouldn’t talk like that.

With only a few episodes left in the season Anette passes away, Todd is by her side. When the reaper comes for her Todd asks about the fate of her soul. In a dispassionate voice the reaper informs Todd that Anette spent the last few years of her life cavorting with creatures of darkness, that there can be only one fate for her. Todd refuses to accept this and he fights the reaper, eventually injuring the creature and driving it off. Knowing that Anette cannot stay in the Human Realm, and refusing to allow her spirit to be taken by another reaper, so he takes her soul in his arms. He’s done this before, when mortals have sold themselves to him. This time the soul cradled against his chest does not snuggle and fight. This time the soul held tight against him reaches out, pats him on the cheek tells him he was a good boy, and so handsome, just like his grandfather.

Todd takes Anette back to the demon realm, holding her tight against him as he travels across the bleak and forebidding landscape; such a sharp contrast to the rosy warmth of Anette’s home. Eventually, in a far corner of his home plane, Todd finds what he is looking for. It is a place where other demons do not tread; a large boulder cracked and broken, with a gap just barely large enough for Todd to fit through. This crack, of all things, gives him pause, but Anette’s soul makes a comment about needing to get home in time to feed Honey, and Todd forces himself to pass through it. He travels in darkness for a while, before he emerges into into a light so bright that it’s blinding. His eyes adjust slowly, and he finds himself face to face with two creatures, each of them at least twice his size one of them has six wings and the head of a lion, one of them is an amorphous creature within several rings. The lion-headed one snarls at Todd, and demands that he turn back, that he has no business here.

Todd looks down, holding Anette’s soul against his chest, he takes a deep breath, and speaks a single word, “Please.”

The two larger beings are taken aback by this. They are too used to Todd’s kind being belligerent, they consult with each other, they argue. The amorphous one seems to want to be lenient, the lion-headed one insists on being stricter. While they’re arguing Todd sneaks by them and runs as fast as he can, deeper into the brightly lit expanse. The path on which he travels begins to slope upwards, and eventually becomes a staircase. It becomes evident that each step further up the stair is more and more difficult for Todd, that it’s physically paining him to climb these stairs, but he keeps going.

They dedicate a full episode to this climb; interspersing the climb with scenes they weren’t able to show in previous seasons, Anette and Honey coming to visit Todd in the Mayor’s office, Anette and Todd playing bingo together for the first time, Anette and Todd watching their stories together in the mid afternoon, Anette falling asleep in her chair and Todd gently carrying her to bed. Anette making Todd lemonade in the summer while he’s up on the roof fixing that leak and cleaning out the rain gutters. Eventually Todd reaches the top, and all but collapses, he falls to a knee and for the first time his grip on Anette’s soul slips, and she falls away from him. Landing on the ground.

He reaches out for her, but someone gets there first. Another hand reaches out, and helps this elderly woman off the ground, helps her get to her feet. Anette gasps, it’s Charles. The pair of them throw their arms around each other. Anette tells Charles that she’s missed him so much, and she has so much to tell him. Charles nods. Todd watches a soft smile on his face. A delicate hand touches Todd’s shoulder, and pulls him easily to his feet. A figure; we never see exactly what it looks like, leans down, whispering in Todd’s ear that he’s done well, and that Anette will be well taken care of here. That she will spend an eternity with her loved ones. Todd looks back over to her, she’s surrounded by a sea of people. Todd nods, and smiles. The figure behind him tells him that while he has done good in bringing Anette here, this is not his place, and he must leave. Todd nods, he knew this would be the case.

Todd gets about six steps down the stairway before he is stopped by someone grabbing his shoulder again. He turns around, and Anette is standing behind him. She gives him a big hug and leads him back up the stairs, he should stay, she says. Get to know the family. Todd tries to tell her that he can’t stay, but she won’t hear it. She leads him up into the crowd of people and begins introducing him to long dead relatives of hers, all of whom give him skeptical looks when she introduces him as her grandson.

The mysterious figure appears next to Todd again and tells him once more he must leave, Todd opens his mouth to answer but Anette cuts him off. Nonsense, she tells the figure. IF she’s gonna stay here forever her grandson will be welcome to visit her. She and the figure stare at each other for a moment. The figure eventually sighs and looks away, the figure asks Todd if she’s always like this. Todd just shrugs and smiles, allowing Anette to lead him through a pair of pearly gates, she’s already talking about how much cake they’ll need to feed all of these relatives.

gilajames: P.S. Honey is a Good Dog and gets to go, too.

jumpingjacktrash: the last lines of the show:

demon: you’re not blind here – but you’re not surprised. when…?

anette: oh, toddy, don’t be silly, my biological grandson’s not twelve feet tall and doesn’t scorch the furniture when he sneezes. i’ve known for ages.

demon: then why?

anette: you wouldn’t have stayed if you weren’t lonely too.

demon: you… you don’t have to keep calling me your grandson.

anette: nonsense! adopted children are just as real. now quit sniffling, you silly boy, and let’s go bake a cake. honey, heel!

honey: W̝̽̂̿͂͝Ọ̮̹̲̪̋ͦͅO̸̘͔̬͊F̜̫͙̟͕͖̙̋ͫ͌͗

Links - 29th June 2019

Dutch minister resigns over manipulated report of crimes committed by asylum-seekers - "The Netherlands’ minister for migration, Mark Harbers, resigned Tuesday (21 May) after a parliamentary outcry over elided data on crimes committed by asylum-seekers, in a bad blow to the government just ahead of European elections... In the report, misdemeanours such as shoplifting had their own separate categories but serious crimes such as sexual assault, murder and manslaughter were lumped together under the category “other” with no disaggregation... Harbers announced he had offered his resignation. He assumed “total responsibility” for not correctly informing the chamber but said it was “not deliberate,” Dutch media reported... Rutte’s governing coalition already suffered a shock two months ago when provincial elections made the Forum for Democracy party — an anti-immigration populist party that backs a Netherlands exit from the European Union — the biggest party in the senate"

Austria: Four out of Ten Underage Migrants Lied About Their Age - "in 2017, four out of every ten migrants who claimed to be underage were lying in order to have a better chance of getting asylum.The statistics come after medical tests showed that 347 migrants out of 867 who were flagged as potentially being adults, were found to be at least 18 or older... The asylum seekers in questions were subjected to medical examinations including X-ray and physical, dental, and radiological tests which cost the Austrian taxpayer 1.2 million euros. The results follow similar tests done in 2015 and in 2016 where nearly a thousand migrants were found to be lying about their real age. “Underage” migrants have also been involved with several high-profile crimes in both Austria and neighbouring Germany where some cities, such as Hamburg, have found that up to half of the underage asylum seekers are over the age of 18. The most well-known case of a migrant claiming to be underage and going on to murder a young woman was that of Hussein Khavari, the rapist and killer of German student Maria Ladenburger. Tests found that he was an adult, while his own father claimed that Khavari could be as old as 33."

Trump Doesn't Need to Attack Iran: He’s Winning Already. - "What we’re seeing unfold in the Persian Gulf is a confrontation between a U.S. president who doesn’t know when he’s winning, and a Supreme Leader who doesn’t know when he’s losing. If Donald Trump changes his mind again and orders an attack on Iranian targets, he will have played into Ali Khamenei’s hands... Trump seems to have lost sight of the fact that his “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign against the Islamic Republic is working: Iran’s economy is feeling great pain, and its isolation is deepening. For all of its proclamations of resistance and resilience, the regime in Tehran is plainly alarmed. In its panic, it has started to lash out in ways that hurt its own interests, and erode the sympathy it has enjoyed in international circles since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear deal last year. The threat to resume uranium enrichment, and to exceed agreed limits, is already losing Iran the support of the Europeans, as are the attacks on neutral shipping near the Persian Gulf. Khamenei’s humiliation of the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who made a good-faith effort to mediate an end to the confrontation, has cost Iran more goodwill. The shooting down of an American drone was yet another demonstration of the regime’s capacity for self-harm. And Trump was, for once, playing his cards reasonably well. He stated his openness to negotiations and his desire to avoid war. He dismissed the tanker attacks as “very minor” and attributed the downing of the drone as the work of a “loose and stupid” individual. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also let the Iranians know that if their future actions caused the death of an American service member, it would trigger reprisals.This is exactly the right response to Iran’s provocations: To brush them off and allow the regime to damage itself in the court of world opinion, even as it is continually weakened by sanctions"

GENDER GAP? This conservative scholar's findings challenge popular narrative on the Left - "since 1982, 13 million more college degrees were awarded to women than to men.The analysis comes from Department of Education data and represents the gender gap across all degrees, including associate’s, bachelor’s, and graduate school degrees, according to a recent analysis by American Enterprise Institute (AEI) scholar Mark Perry, who is also an economics and finance professor at the University of Michigan-Flint... "Given the phenomenal academic success of women in higher education over the last 35 years...how do we justify the continued gender favoritism for college women in terms of female-only scholarships, awards, fellowships, programs, and many other campus resources?”... “The goal of Title IX was gender equity in higher education, not the gender favoritism for women we see today, and I think the Office for Civil Rights largely agrees, based on their recent Title IX rulings against sex discrimination against men.”... “Our schools offered admirable and effective programs to strengthen girls in areas where they languished—in sports, math, and science. Where are the programs to help boys in areas where they falter: reading, writing, grades, school engagement, and college matriculation?”"
Feminist logic: If men are falling behind, it's because they suck
If women are falling behind, it's because men are oppressing them, i.e. men suck


Why Sexism and Racism Never Diminish-Even When Everyone Becomes Less Sexist and Racist - "in a thought-provoking new paper in Science the all-star team of Levari, Gilbert, Wilson, Sievers, Amodio and Wheatley show that what we identify as blue expands as the prevalence of blue decreases...
'When blue dots became rare, purple dots began to look blue; when threatening faces became rare, neutral faces began to appear threatening; and when unethical research proposals became rare, ambiguous research proposals began to seem unethical. This happened even when the change in the prevalence of instances was abrupt, even when participants were explicitly told that the prevalence of instances would change, and even when participants were instructed and paid to ignore these changes... in 1960, Webster’s dictionary defined “aggression” as “an unprovoked attack or invasion,” but today that concept can include behaviors such as making insufficient eye contact or asking people where they are from. Many other concepts, such as abuse, bullying, mental disorder, trauma, addiction, and prejudice, have expanded of late as well... Although modern societies have made extraordinary progress in solving a wide range of social problems, from poverty and illiteracy to violence and infant mortality, the majority of people believe that the world is getting worse. The fact that concepts grow larger when their instances grow smaller may be one source of that pessimism'
The paper also gives us a way of thinking more clearly about shifts in the Overton window. When strong sexism declines, for example, the Overton window shrinks on one end and expands on the other so that what was once not considered sexism at all (e.g. “men and women have different preferences which might explain job choice“) now becomes violently sexist... the presence of extremes can help others near the middle by widening the set of issues that can be discussed or studied without fear of opprobrium.
Or, why activists don't disband after they have achieved their aims - they just look for new targets.
Or, the slippery slope (concept creep) is very real
Or, a good illustration of moral relativism
Or, if Nazis don't exist, it would be necessary to invent them


Your Brain Is Constantly Searching for Problems to Fix - "Why can’t people help but expand what they call threatening when threats become rare? Research from cognitive psychology and neuroscience suggests that this kind of behavior is a consequence of the basic way that our brains process information—we are constantly comparing what is front of us to its recent context. Instead of carefully deciding how threatening a face is compared to all other faces, the brain can just store how threatening it is compared to other faces it has seen recently, or compare it to some average of recently seen faces, or the most and least threatening faces it has seen... It turns out that for your brain, relative comparisons often use less energy than absolute measurements"

Barack Obama: Nasa must try to make Muslims 'feel good' - "Charles Bolden, a retired United States Marines Corps major-general and former astronaut, said in an interview with al-Jazeera that Nasa was not only a space exploration agency but also an "Earth improvement agency".Mr Bolden said: "When I became the Nasa administrator, he [Mr Obama] charged me with three things."One, he wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.""
So that's where the NASA budget goes to

Canadian Government Imposes 'Social Justice' on All Universities - "The Liberal government of Canada has formulated a new program to which all universities are expected to commit. It is called “Dimensions: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.” A “Charter” for “Dimensions” has been distributed to all university presidents, who are urged to sign, endorsing the program for their universities.Minister for Science and Sport Kirsty Duncan launched this program, using the “independent” funding councils—The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), The National Science and Engineering Council (NSERC), and The Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)—as the conduit for “Dimensions” grants. This is not the first time that Minister Duncan has imposed “equity, diversity, and inclusion” conditions for grants; in 2017, new diversity criteria were enunciated for the Canada Research Chair grants.The pressure continues through subsequent grant years... The NSERC press release announcing the Dimensions program claims that “Evidence clearly shows that increasing equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in research environments enhances excellence, innovation and creativity.” In fact, no such evidence is adduced or cited, and readers should be skeptical of unsubstantiated claims. Without evidence, it would be prudent to assume that the asserted relationship is fabricated and imaginary. What does “equity, diversity, and inclusion” mean in practice? It means that certain categories of people must favoured in academic competitions, while unfavoured categories of people must be excluded. The favoured must be put up for grants, or else the grants would not be forthcoming; conversely, unfavoured categories of people must be excluded from the competition, or else the grants would not be forthcoming... “Equality of results” is far from the liberal idea of “equality of opportunity,” in which occupational, monetary, and academic achievement results vary according to the motivation, preferences, abilities, and commitments of individuals. The theory of “systemic barriers” assumes that there is no material difference among people in regard to motivation, preferences, abilities, and commitments, and that all differences in statistical representation are the result of prejudice and discrimination. This is clearly false. One kind of evidence is the impressive statistical overrepresentation in prestigious fields by members of unpopular minorities, such as African Americans in professional sports, and East Asians and Jews in academia and other professions, which clearly was not the result of prejudice and discrimination against whites, people of European descent, and Christians... Will “diversity” be satisfied when universities are 70% female, 80% female, or when males are totally excluded? “Inclusion” of First Nations individuals is fine, but when they are exclusively included, there is no room for others"

Friday, June 28, 2019

Links - 28th June 2019 (2) (Abortion)

Meme - "Isn't it funny how women can demand Child support from a man who has no say in whether or not the child is murdered while in her womb? It’s her baby when she wants to kill it but his when she wants his money. How convenient."

Stefan Molyneux on Twitter - "It’s interesting that if you don’t have a uterus, you can’t have an opinion on women’s issues, but you can compete in women’s sports."

Opinion: You Can't Oppose Killing Puppies Unless You Adopt Every Dog On The Planet | The Babylon Bee - "they want to defend puppies from being killed when they’re very young, but do you see them offering to adopt every dog on the entire planet?I didn’t think so. These pro-puppy activists are only in support of dogs when people are killing them, but once they grow up, they’re all on their own. What are we supposed to do with all these dogs if not heinously kill them? I don’t see you pro-puppy people offering to take on more than one or two of them!I’ll state it very clearly: you are not allowed to call yourself “pro-puppy” unless you agree to adopt every dog on the planet.It’s just that simple."

New York Eliminates Religious Exemptions For Vaccines
Strange how suddenly bodily autonomy isn't paramount

Abortion outrage: Mums should be allowed to terminate newborns, say Australian academics
From 2012 on "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?"
Yet in 2019 if you don't support late term abortion many people are outraged


Abortion gender gap: men and women have similar views - "This is particularly striking because gender-based opinion gaps are a widespread feature of politics both worldwide and in the US specifically. American women are far more likely to approve of the expansion of government programs than men, for example. Abortion just doesn’t happen to be one of the issues that display a notably large gender gap... men and women are equally likely to describe themselves as pro-choice, while women are slightly more likely than men to describe themselves as pro-life"
Maybe women are waging a war on each other

Meme - "MY ABORTION WAS FABULOUS - THANKS"
"THESE ARE THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE THAT ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT SEPARATING KIDS FROM THEIR MOTHERS AT THE BORDER!"
So much for the myth that there're people who are pro-abortion

State Rep. Brian Sims confronts abortion protesters, calls them 'scum' - "A Democratic Pennsylvania state representative remains defiant amid criticism for videos he posted of himself confronting anti-abortion activists who were protesting outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood.In response to the videos, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party called on Brian Sims to apologize and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called him a "hateful, angry" Democrat.But Sims has dug his heels in further and answered his critics with a tweet declaring, "Bring it, Bible Bullies!"... A female adult approached Sims and explained that they "are actually just here praying for the babies" before he offered $100 to anyone who can identify the girls within the group... "Hateful, angry Dem state rep videoed himself offering a $100 bounty for the identities of three teenage girls praying outside Planned Parenthood," Cruz said. "Will Dem Party condemns this abuse?" ... "An elected Dem state rep, a 'College Football Captain,' videos himself (presumably he’s proud of this behavior) harassing, insulting & haranguing an elderly lady who quietly prays for him. In what universe are elected officials supposed to treat their constituents like this?" "State Rep. Brian Sims’ harassment of a woman’s peaceful and religious exercise of her First Amendment rights is yet another example of a troubling trend of growing extremism and hypocrisy among Democrats""
Doxxing and harassment are good if it's for liberal causes

Netflix Continues Production In Egypt, Where Abortion Is Illegal, While Considering Georgia Boycott Over ‘Heartbeat’ Bill - "Netflix plans to step up production in the Middle East, notably Jordan and Egypt, where abortion is illegal, after mulling a company boycott in Georgia on account of the “heartbeat” abortion bill."
The soft bigotry of low expectations

About Half of U.S. Abortion Patients Report Using Contraception in the Month They Became Pregnant
i.e. half weren't using it

Kermit Gosnell and late-term abortions: An answer to pro-choicers. - "If late-term abortions are outlawed, only outlaws will do late-term abortions. That’s the quip headline (almost) on Amanda Hess’ blog post at TBD. It’s true that abortion laws make back-alley butchers like Gosnell more likely. But the same argument has been made about female genital mutilation: If you don’t let parents obtain it legally, they’ll go to unlicensed underground practitioners. Is there some point at which a decent society must simply forbid a practice? If killing a viable fetus—a baby that no longer needs a womb to survive—isn’t such a practice, what is?...
We don’t have solid data on elective abortions late in the second trimester, much less the third, but we do have well-informed estimates concerning so-called “partial-birth” abortions. I’m one of many journalists who bought the initial pro-choice claim that these abortions were mostly for medical reasons. Investigative reports subsequently debunked this claim and corroborated the confession of Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, that “in the vast majority of cases” the patient was “a healthy mother with a healthy fetus that is 20 weeks or more along.”...
The most common reason cited by second-trimester patients for the lateness of their abortions was that “it took me a while to make my mind up and ask for one.” The next most common reasons cited in the English study were 2) “I didn’t realize I was pregnant earlier because my periods are irregular,” 3) “I thought the pregnancy was much less advanced than it was,” 4) “I wasn’t sure what I would do if I were pregnant,” 5) “I didn’t realize I was pregnant earlier because I was using contraception,” and 6) “I suspected I was pregnant but I didn’t do anything about it until the weeks had gone by.” The most commonly logistical factor—”I had to wait more than 5 days before I could get a consultation appointment”—was eighth on the list. Abortion Review, a news update service produced by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (whose executive director, Ann Furedi, is one of the pro-choice writers I challenged in last week’s article), concluded: “Perhaps the most striking finding of this study is the extent to [which] the delay in obtaining an abortion arose, not from factors within the abortion service such as lack of appointments, but from women’s delay in seeking an abortion in the first place.”"
From 2011, before the Overton Window shifted, when supporting late term abortions was more controversial than today

Rethinking Abortion Advocacy - "The line dividing a “cluster of cells” from a “person” is similar in this respect. Science can discover many important facts, such as the point at which a fetus can feel pain, or the point at which it can survive outside the womb. But science cannot tell us when a “cluster of cells” becomes what we understand to be a “person.” It’s up to us to answer that question... we could lower the speed limit on every road in America to 10 miles per hour and save the 40,000 or so lives we lose each year to car accidents. But we don’t, because doing so would impose costs that probably outweigh 40,000 lost human lives. Suppose that somebody who favored lowering the speed limit made the following argument: a driver’s safety (or a driver’s “right to life/bodily autonomy”) is sacred and therefore cannot be traded off against any competing ethical concern. Not only will such a person fail to be persuaded by a list of ethical costs associated with slowing all traffic to a crawl, but they will also refuse to engage with opponents’ arguments. After all, their ethical imperative is so compelling that it’s impervious to consequentialist objections.That is how both sides of the abortion debate are behaving at the moment. It’s a cop-out to dub some principle sacred—whether it’s a fetus’s right to life or a woman’s bodily autonomy—and then use the sanctification of that principle to ignore all of the ethical costs that position entails... As for the inevitable question: where would I draw the line? Germany, Denmark, Finland, and Russia draw it at 12 weeks"
Do liberals think that Germany, Denmark, Finland, and Russia are waging a War on Women?

Science Is Giving the Pro-Life Movement a Boost - "In many ways, this represents a dramatic reversal; pro-choice activists have long claimed science for their own side... When Colleen Malloy, a neonatologist and faculty member at Northwestern University, discusses abortion with her colleagues, she says, “it’s kind of like the emperor is not wearing any clothes.” Medical teams spend enormous effort, time, and money to deliver babies safely and nurse premature infants back to health. Yet physicians often support abortion, even late into fetal development. As medical techniques have become increasingly sophisticated, Malloy said, she has felt this tension acutely: A handful of medical centers in major cities can now perform surgeries on genetically abnormal fetuses while they’re still in the womb. Many are the same age as the small number of fetuses aborted in the second or third trimesters of a mother’s pregnancy. “The more I advanced in my field of neonatology, the more it just became the logical choice to recognize the developing fetus for what it is: a fetus, instead of some sort of sub-human form,” Malloy said. “It just became so obvious that these were just developing humans.”... Since support for legal abortion rights is commonly seen as a neutral position in the academy, said Sulmasy, openly pro-life scholars may have a harder time getting their colleagues to take their work seriously... “Prevailing prejudices within academia and media” determine “what gets considered to be advocacy and what is considered to be scientifically valid.”... A deliberative democracy where even basic facts aren’t shared isn’t much of a democracy at all. It’s more of an exhausting tug-of-war, where the side with the most money and the best credentials is declared the winner"

White Women and Support for Restrictive Abortion Laws - "It’s common for critics of the new wave of state laws severely limiting access to abortion to say the measures are part of a Republican “war on women.”... just over three-fifths of white women in Alabama and Mississippi said that abortion should be illegal in most or all circumstances, almost exactly the same percentage as white men in those states. About three-fifths of white women in Kentucky and a narrow majority in Georgia said that abortion should be mostly illegal; in both cases, that was a higher share than among the state’s white men... Penny Young Nance, the president and CEO of the socially conservative Concerned Women for America, dismissed the idea that women living in states that have passed new limits on abortion will rebel against them. Instead, she said, the laws represent a backlash to measures liberalizing abortion access in more Democratic-leaning states."
Maybe these women are too stupid to realise they are conducting a war on themselves

Megan McArdle: Did Roe v. Wade backfire on liberals? - "Supporters of abortion rights are fond of saying that Roe v. Wade is “settled law.” The phrase is supposed to convey a certain irrevocability. But, of course, what the Supreme Court gives, the Supreme Court can take away... No legal case has done more than Roe to define how the left sees the Supreme Court: not as a somewhat boring final arbiter of words recorded in law books but as the oracle that tells us what rights the Constitution ought to guarantee. Consequential cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and Miranda v. Arizona (1966), concerning racial segregation and the rights of police suspects, respectively, dealt with matters that clearly involved the Constitution. There was no question that resolving just such ambiguity is the Supreme Court’s job.But by the 1970s, the court seemed a little drunk on the moral and legal triumph of those earlier cases. The justices started going well beyond the words in the law books and into the unwritten law of “enlightened opinion.” In 1972, they abolished the death penalty in all 50 states, even though the Constitution clearly contemplates government-administered capital punishment. The following year, the justices gave the country a new right to abortion. It is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, but apparently had been lurking there undetected for the better part of two centuries before the justices coaxed it into the open.This view of evolving constitutional interpretation works precisely as long as you happen to agree with the judicial interpreters. When the other side of the political spectrum gets wise and starts stocking the courts with judges who share its opinions — Catastrophe! Ruination! Citizens United! Which makes this a good time for the left to step back and ask whether it was ever a good idea to urge such sweeping powers on unelected judges. The benefit of going the judicial route is that you can occasionally achieve outcomes you could never obtain through legislatures; that is how America, a center-right nation, got one of the most liberal abortion regimes in the world"

(((TuttleSinger))) سارا تاتل سينجر שרה טאטל-סינגר on Twitter - "Dear Pro-Life friends: what have you *personally* done to support lower income single mothers?
I’ll wait:"
"I've thrown a baby shower for 2 teen moms. I've donated clothing and direct financial support. Do you really think this isn't happening?"
"I had a single mother friend who I took into my home, we helped get her daughter into a decent school, introduced her into a caring, Christian community, then all of us helped her establish a home, furnish it, stock the kitchen, and find dignified work. Any other questions? She also confided that she had a previous abortion, it haunted her."
"I volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers and spend time educating women about the options and free help available in the area (help includes prenatal and after birth care, as well as parenting and healthy relationship classes)"
Also: Secular Pro-Life - Posts

Did the “War on Women” Work? Women, Men, and the Birth Control Mandate in the 2012 Presidential Election - Melissa Deckman, John McTague, 2015 - "Using a nationally representative data set (N = 3,000), the Public Religion Research Institute’s American Values Survey, we conduct multivariate regression analysis to determine the empirical impact of attitudes regarding the birth control mandate and abortion on presidential vote choice. We also conduct factor analysis to determine whether voters conceptualized the birth control mandate and abortion similarly. We find that support for the Obama administration’s birth control mandate was significantly related to voting for Obama for both women and men voters, although the impact was stronger for women. However, the impact of the “War on Women” rhetoric on voters’ choices was limited to the issue of insurance coverage for birth control rather than extending to the issue of abortion. Unlike attitudes about abortion, we find that voters conceptualized the birth control mandate less as a “culture war” issue and more as a “role of government” issue. Given this conceptualization of the mandate by voters, our findings reaffirm previous research that suggests that the gender gap in voting is largely driven by attitudinal differences regarding the role of government in providing social welfare benefits and equal opportunity for women."
When paying for your own birth control is considered a war on women, when abortion is banned you have no words left to describe it. Just as if every Republican candidate is Hitler then when Hitler comes no one will listen to the boy who cried wolf anymore

Abortionist says using abortion as birth control 'might be the best method' - "Abortionist Diane Horvath-Cosper comments frequently on Twitter and commits abortions at Whole Woman’s Health in Baltimore, Maryland. A blog post at WWH’s website reveals that Horvath-Cosper has also worked for a dozen other facilities, including Planned Parenthood, according to the website AbortionDocs.org — so when she reveals why women obtain abortions, she holds a level of credibility... “One of the dumbest ‘arguments’ about #abortion: is it or is it not birth control? OF COURSE it’s #birthcontrol, because it prevents a birth. It’s definitionally not #contraception because conception has already occurred,” she wrote. “#ABORTION IS #BIRTHCONTROL, no matter how you personally feel about it. Let’s stop shaming and stigmatizing people for knowing what’s best for their own lives.”... In another tweet, Horvath-Cosper says abortion is actually “the best method of birth control,” writing, “When we stop and listen – *really* listen – to people’s lived experiences, we discover that #abortion might actually be the BEST method of #birthcontrol sometimes.”In another tweet, she added, “If people want to use #abortion as birth control, THAT’S 100% OKAY.”"
Yet we are told no one uses abortion as birth control, or says it is or should be

Abortions used as contraception, claims Lord Steel - "ABORTIONS are being used as a form of contraception, according to Lord Steel, the architect of the current laws on terminations.Lord Steel, who introduced the 1967 Abortion Act as a private members Bill, said there are too many abortions.Woman are turning to the procedure "if things go wrong", he said."

| BPAS - "Ann Furedi, bpas Chief Executive, said: “Abortion is birth control that women need when their regular method lets them down.”"

Abortion used as birth control by teens - "Most South African teenagers use abortion as a form of contraception.The New Age reported today that doctors in the public sector warned after more than 400 000 legal abortions were performed in the country between 2008 and last year."

Alyssa Milano Calls for Feminist #SexStrike to Protest Abortion Laws - "Amid legislative calls to limit abortion in several southern states, two prominent Democrat women have urged their fellow feminists to stop having sex with men, who they claim are stealing the “autonomy” they have over their bodies.“Ladies: STOP having sex w/conservative men TOTAL COMPLETE SEX BOYCOTT. Don’t let them anywhere near you,” former candidate for Florida’s 18th Congressional District Pam Keith said in a Friday tweet. “Give them the hand and keep it moving. Get a B.O.B. But make it a rule to run, not walk, from men who want to steal your agency over yourself & your life.” Later in the day, actress Alyssa Milano expressed a similar sentiment, but widened the proposed sex embargo to all men: “Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy.”“JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on,” the progressive activist and “Charmed” star tweeted... Many conservatives applauded Milano’s campaign, saying it aligned with pro-life values such as “abstinence first” teachings... Howe also snarked that Milano and Keith’s tweets showed there are “a whole lotta progressive women having sex with conservative men.”... The actress, who is known for her women’s rights activism, recently called for a boycott of Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets over concerns the company was “refusing to protect farmworker women from sexual assault & rape in the fields.”"
Apparently women should be sex objects and use their bodies to get what they want when it helps the progressive agenda

Inside the quiet, state-level push to expand abortion rights
From 2015. I haven't seen anyone mention the action-reaction hypothesis in coverage of Alabama's and Georgia's abortion restrictions (much less the mention of New York and Virginia's very salient pushes, seeing as they came only a few months prior to May's attempts in the other direction)

RAMZPAUL on Twitter - "Women who support the #SexStrike see sex as simply something they 'give' to men to gain something in return. They do not see sex as a mutual expression of love. In this case, they wish to exchange sex for abortion laws.
Logically, such women are no different than prostitutes."

Alyssa Milano’s sex strike nonsense plays right into the hands of anti-abortion misogynists - "Almost immediately, she was called out for her suggestion, with women pointing out that actually they enjoyed having sex, and it seemed problematic for them to be expected to give up something they want to do in order to protest against something that is done to them. It’s almost like the puritanical monsters trying to control our vaginas and our wombs would win.Milano seemed deaf to criticism though... The analogy fails to acknowledge the possibility that women derive any standalone pleasure from sex – something feminists have been fighting until very recently to even have acknowledged by the social and medical establishment (the clitoris was essentially erased from female anatomy until 1998).Women still struggle to advocate for their own autonomy, consent and pleasure when it comes to sex with men. They’re still constantly judged on their sexual appeal to men. The idea that all women’s power lies in their sexuality is one of the most pervasive evils of a patriarchal society – and this is exactly what Milano is reinforcing. She also ignores the reality that anti-abortion laws affect us all, including LGBT+ women who don’t have PIV (penis-in-vagina) sex with cis men; including women too young to get pregnant, postmenopausal women, trans women or women medically unable to conceive for any reason. It also ignores sex workers – who cannot go on a sex strike if they want to pay their rent – and women in abusive or sexually coercive relationships for whom saying no could be life-threatening... Perhaps most importantly though, Milano’s sex strike narrative dances perilously close to that of anti-abortionists who argue for abstinence-only education (which we know categorically does not work) and claim that if women could only stop having sex for pleasure, we wouldn’t have any abortions"

Emily Ratajkowski Poses Nude To Punish ‘Old White Men’ For Alabama Abortion Law - ""The states trying to ban abortion are the states that have the highest proportions of black women living there," noted Ratajkowski, unintentionally highlighting that black babies stand to gain the most from the pro-life legislation"
This is a great way to encourage more restrictions

Being Classically Liberal - Posts - "What’s really going on with the Georgia abortion bill.It seems the left has once again voluntarily adorned their white bonnets and red hooded robes to emphasize that the GOP is literally hitler. The cause of this outrage is the several bills passed in southern states that look to limit abortion to the moment a heartbeat is detected (around 6 weeks). The most “egregious” and recent of these bills is the one in Georgia.Because this is one of the most restrictive abortion bills past in the last half century it’s gotten loads of media attention and with media attention comes myths and outright lies. This post will go through some of the most popular lies I’ve seen on my social media.
1) “There’s no protection for the life of the mother!”
Flat out false...
2) “There’s no protection for rape or incest!”
Nope...
3) “Women will spend 30 years in jail for a miscarriage!”
This one is massively stretching the bill to fit a clickbait headline... Even Staci Fox, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood, said this was nonsense
4) “It’s illegal to travel out of state to get an abortion!”
This argument, perpetuated by the lefty outlets like Nylon is just nonsense. The “argument” goes, abortion is “illegal” in Georgia, by traveling out of state to get an abortion the individual is engaged in “conspiracy” to commit an abortion. Of course this completely ignores the fact that you have to conspire with someone else to enter a conspiracy, you can’t just conspire with yourself"

In Order To Stop White Men From Legislating Women's Bodies, Democrats Fight To Overturn Roe V. Wade | The Babylon Bee - ""If you don't have a uterus, you don't get a say, so the decision that effectively made abortion a constitutional right is invalid."She then led the protestors gathered in a chant: "No vagina, no ability to declare abortion a human right!"At publishing time, Democrat activists had redoubled their efforts after learning the decision was made by a Republican-appointed majority."

NoOneCaresLOL on Twitter - "Men, your silence on the Alabama abortion ban is deafening."
"But I have no uterus so I was led to understand that I have no opinion on this subject, lol… "

WALSH: Three Reasons Why The ‘Rape And Incest’ Argument For Abortion Is Misleading, Disingenuous, And Wrong - "The bill does not allow exceptions in cases of rape and incest, and this detail in particular has sent the Left into hysterics (though, in fairness, any abortion restriction sends them into hysterics)...
(1) Abortions due to rape are very rare. The vast majority of abortions have nothing at all to do with rape. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute surveyed post-abortion women and found that the top six reasons for getting an abortion, accounting for over 85% of all cases, were: "Not ready for a child," "can't afford a baby," "have completed my childbearing," "don't want to be a single mother," "don't feel mature enough," and "would interfere with education or career plans." In other words, most women get abortions for lifestyle reasons. They are getting rid of the baby because the baby would interfere with the kind of lives they want to live. Less than one percent of respondents said they were rape victims. Considering how often rape comes up in abortion discussions, you'd think that something like half of the women who walk into a Planned Parenthood on a given day are rape victims. That is clearly not the case. Instead of half, it's more like half of one percent. So why do we focus disproportionately on these rare and difficult cases? Because pro-aborts would much rather talk about a 15-year-old girl who gets an abortion because she was raped by her father (an extraordinary hypothetical that probably accounts for half of half of one percent, if the number is even that large) than a grown woman who gets an abortion because she doesn't want a baby to mess up her career plans...
(2) No group is more upset about abortion restrictions than rapists. Rapists love abortion because it helps them cover up their crime"

Halal cert a passport to success

Halal cert a passport to success
(2012)

Getting halal certification from Jakim is good for business but there are some who are wondering if the effort is worth it.

HAKIMAH Mohd Yusoff chuckles when asked about the oddest thing that Jakim has been asked to certify as halal.

“Furniture! One manufacturer wanted to have its furniture certified halal' but we said sorry, we don't have a standard for that'.

“Another asked for knee replacement implants to be halal-certified but these are metal and we can't process that.

“One wanted Jakim to certify his live goats halal' but the goats are still alive. How can we do that? It is only when it is slaughtered that we can certify if it is halal or not.”

Malaysians can be a bit peculiar sometimes, adds Hakimah, director of the Halal Hub Division of Jakim (Malaysia Department of Islamic Development).

One entrepreneur selling dates from Saudi Arabia was stunned at the recent Mihas global halal trade fair in KL when Malaysian buyers wanted to know if the Saudi dates were certified halal.

“I don't know if it's a joke or if they are playing with halal. Dates are fruits. Who gives halal certificates to fruits?” asks Mustafa Iqbal, whose head office is in Jeddah.

He says the dates are not processed or stuffed but merely cleaned and packed yet Malaysians still ask if they are halal.

Concurring, Jakim's Hakimah says dates are fruits so it is fine for Muslims and there is no need for them to be halal-certified. But, she notes, manufacturers see halal certification as a “marketing tool”.

Just take chicken eggs.

These are naturally halal but Hakimah says some local industries selling eggs want Jakim to give them a halal certificate because they believe it will giving them an edge over their competitors.

Jakim's halal certification does not depend purely on whether a product complies with the syariah requirements alone as it also takes into account other aspects such as if the process, hygiene, equipment, storage and safety and standards are quite stringent.

“So some industries feel having a halal logo and label would add value compared to a product that has not been certified halal. And I don't want to dampen their aspiration,” Hakimah says.

Wasli Ibrahim, managing director of Pawada Food Industries Sdn Bhd, received halal certification for the ground pepper his factory produces. Why?

“People are emphasising halal these days. Between a halal and non-halal certified product, buyers would prefer the halal one, so for me it's a marketing strategy,” he admits.

In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in the halal industry not just in Malaysia but also in other parts of the world with a Muslim population. Both local and foreign manufacturers are tapping into this market.

Four categories

In Malaysia, halal certification is divided into four main categories food and non-food products like cosmetics, soaps, shampoo, toothpaste; restaurants and food premises; slaughter houses and logistics.

Most applications for halal certification, of course, are not as frivolous as for black pepper and eggs but are in fact warranted and legitimate.

Jakim is the sole body in the country authorised to issue halal certification. In the past, state reli gious bodies could issue their own halal certification with their own logos but not anymore.

“Last year, the government decided it was not effective to let states issue the certification because when industries want to export their products, they find they can't export them as halal' products because those (importing) countries only recognise Jakim's halal certification. So now, there's only one issuing body (Jakim) and one logo,” says Hakimah.

She adds that the halal logo issued by private entities such as Ifanca International, Halal Food Council S.E.A, and IFRC Bahtera Lagenda is no longer recognised by Jakim.

Like most things, there is a process to get the certification. It starts with filling up an online application (on the Jakim website) listing out every raw material (including water) used to make the product and stating if these are halal.

Next, the manufacturer would need to submit documentation with the halal certification for each of these raw materials.

If Jakim finds everything in order, it will ask for the fee to be paid, after which it will carry out an unannounced audit on the factory.

An inspection will be done on the raw materials to determine if they are indeed from the sources stated, the processes and whether the factory complies with the requirements as well as hygiene and safety standards.

If there are things lacking, Jakim will advise the manufacturer concerned to rectify the problem.

Last year, Jakim received 4,237 applications for halal certification and it certified 1,674.

Mohamed Zulfikar Ibni Mohamed Hazri, manager of DMG Food Industries Sdn Bhd, finds that if a manufacturer has all the necessary documentation, it is easy enough to get the halal certification.

But some say that despite all the proper documentation, they end up waiting for up to six months for their halal certification because Jakim is short-handed.

“The government is doing a good job promoting the halal industry and we are riding on the advantage. Our selling tool is halal and new oil-rich Muslim countries like Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan prefer to buy from us rather than Europe because we are halal.

“But what we want is efficiency. After we have met Jakim's halal requirements, why do we have to wait six months for the halal certification? We are doing business. That's lost opportunity for us.

“Jakim needs to speed things up and get more manpower. Some of our products have up to 50 ingredients. Does Jakim have the manpower and expertise to go through the documentation for the 50 ingredients,” asks the general manager of a huge Malaysian food manufacturer who declined to be named. It took Chung An-Hung's factory in Hong Kong, which produces premium Three Crabs fish sauce, eight months to get its halal certification from Jakim.

This included paying for the flight and hotel stay for two Jakim officers to audit the factory in Hong Kong. The factory also now employs two Muslim workers a Jakim requirement for certification.

The fish sauce sells for RM18 and is relatively new in the Malaysian market but as it has already made a name for itself internationally, Chung can't tell if getting the halal certification has boosted sales.

But he maintains that the effort was worth it.

“Yes, I would do it all over again. I learnt a little bit about the Muslim community because of the halal issue. And if the Malays accept it here, we can use the halal certification to penetrate other Muslim markets,” he says.

A long slog

Hakimah says Jakim has 154 people in the halal hub section involved in the certification process but they cater to three different major jobs processing the application, auditing the factory, and monitoring.

And the same team handles both local and overseas manufacturers seeking halal certification.

“I won't deny there are times when we are short-handed and applications can get stuck for a bit. That is one of the challenges we face. But the delay can also be due to us finding non-conformance during the audit process, so we have to go back to the client and ask them to make the changes,” she says.

DMG's Mohamed Zulfikar says applications for certification can get held up when a supplier cannot produce the halal certification (for the raw materials). He finds it odd too that Jakim demands halal certification for raw ingredients like salt and sugar.

“Our butter cookies use no animal fat and are suitable for vegans. We use 15 raw materials and Jakim wants halal certificates for each of the 15 ingredients including sugar and salt. Sugar and salt should not need to be certified halal but Jakim insists on it,” says Mohamed Zulfikar who studied food science and technology at university and is well versed with how raw ingredients are processed.

“Butter is made from milk. You don't need to slaughter a cow to get the milk. There are no enzymes from pigs or from any animal in butter yet Jakim wants a halal certificate for it. Flour is from wheat and when you put wheat into a grinder it becomes flour, so why does it need to be halal-certified?” he asks.

He also points out that while suppliers are allowed to produce halal certificates from the countries they import the raw materials from, “there are some halal certificates that Jakim recognises and some that it doesn't.”

“If the supplier can't produce a (Jakim-recognised) halal certificate, we would have to change suppliers even though it may cost us more. Some manufacturers cheat.

They submit documentation of the raw material from a halal-certified supplier but later, without Jakim's knowledge, they switch to another supplier because it is cheaper. That is a silent policy going on in the industry,” he says.

Currently, Jakim only recognises 57 halal certification bodies from a total of 31 countries which is a relatively small number. Of this, none are Middle Eastern countries.

Hakimah explains: “When Jakim first started halal certification, it was mainly for meat so the certification was primarily for imports from non-Muslim countries like Australia and New Zealand. With time, the list expanded.”

She says that before Jakim recognised the 57, it checked their systems, standards, capacity, expertise in syariah, technical knowledge, food technology and even went over to witness how they carry out their audit to make sure that it is up to Malaysian standards and procedures.

Suspect ingredients

People in Middle Eastern countries are asking why they need to have their products halal-certified because they feel that as they are Muslim, naturally all their products are halal, Hakimah says.

“But we ask them about their gelatin, additives and emulsifiers. Are they made locally or imported? If they are imported, are they sure these are halal? That has made them think again. Now these countries are aware and are interested in setting up their own halal certification body and have asked for our assistance.”

As for sugar and salt needing to be halal-certified, Hakimah refutes this. She says that while Jakim does ask for the source and supplier of all ingredients, it does not demand halal certification for sugar and salt.

“Sometimes the industry doesn't check with us and just bases things on hearsay. They should ask us,” she says. But when it comes to water, she says, there is a possibility of it being not halal.

“Water from the pipe is not a problem but when it comes to distilling water, some parts of the equipment can be made up of bones and if the animal is not slaughtered then the water is not halal,” she explains.

But what about concerns that listing out ingredients to Jakim is as good as giving away one's trade secrets or recipes? Phyto Herbal Industries' factory manager Yi Chee Hwa does not have a problem with this.

It manufactures a phytonutrient drink formulated with 23 ingredients and gives Jakim a list of all 23 ingredients complete with halal certification for each. Hakimah says all Jakim wants to know is what the ingredients are and not the formulation.

“We just want to know what you use. Otherwise, how can we tell if it's halal or not? We don't ask how much sugar or how much salt you put in. That's your secret. A company will never reveal its formulation and we don't ask for it either,” she says, adding that even huge companies like Pepsi and Coca Cola have no problems listing out their ingredients.

The Pepsi and Coke made in Malaysia have been certified halal.

Jakim charges small industries RM200, middle-sized industries RM800 and multi-national industries RM1,400 for the two-year halal certification. Hakimah describes this as only a “token”.

“Our expenses are more than that especially if they had to correct some things and we have to return to do a re-audit. When we do audits in Malaysia, we pay for the flight, transport and hotel stay ourselves. We are doing it as a government service so we are not profit-based. And I think our fee is probably the lowest in the world. Singapore and Indonesia charge more,” she says.

She stresses that manufacturers are not obliged to apply for halal certification. But Mohamed Zulfikar says that without the halal certification, sales will definitely be affected.

“We don't use animal fat at all but there is a thing called customer stigma. So we have to get halal certification to give customers the confidence.”

The food manufacturer who declined to be named, adds that 70% of his customers are Malays and without the Jakim halal sticker, many would stop buying his products because they would be wary.

As for imported goods, Jakim approved halal certification for 35 products last year. When Iranian Amir Sallehi, who imports Clipper's organic tea and coffee from Britain into Malaysia, applied for halal certification from Jakim, he found the requirements were more than he bargained for.

Jakim wanted to visit the factory in the UK to do an audit for this he would have to bear the cost of the flight and hotel stay and there was the specification that there must be two Muslim staff working in the UK factory.

“It's just tea and coffee and it's organic and imported in places like the UAE. The principal company doesn't need the halal certification because its product is organic, and they told me I have to pay the cost.

“I thought getting halal certification from Jakim would be easy but it's been nine months. It's not worth it, so I think I'll give up. I can put the tea and coffee on the shelves in supermarkets here without the halal sticker.”


Related:

Islam-friendly coconuts: has Malaysia’s halal drive gone too far?

"Coconuts do nut automatically spring to mind when it comes to food fit for consumption by Muslims... Linaco, Malaysia’s largest coconut product company, has been halal certified since 2000.According to executive director Joe Ling, halal certification was not a requirement but being declared halal has improved business...

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) is one of several government agencies working to expand halal beyond the narrow question of what is permitted or prohibited by Islam to encompass higher standards of quality, safety and health in production processes.

“Halal is beyond food and beverages – halal is a lifestyle,” said Wan Latiff Wan Musa, the agency’s CEO...

Even non-Muslims had come to regard the halal seal as a sign of quality, he said...

The question of whether bottled water or carbonated drinks could be labelled halal ignited a social media debate in the Middle East. As Sirajuddin Bin Suhaimee, the director of the halal hub division of Jakim, noted, some water-purification systems use charcoal made from pig bones in the filtering technology.

In Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, even if medicine is not halal it can be used to prevent death or illness. In Malaysia, though, the pharmaceutical industry has suggested it is possible to create genuine halal medications free of pork products and alcohol. However, not every medication can be produced this way...

[Indonesia's] President Joko Widodo last month moved to implement a law requiring all food, drinks, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to be certified halal or carry a stamp making clear they are not...

Electronics giant Sharp released Indonesia’s first halal-certified refrigerator, designed to provide customers “with a sense of security and comfort”, according to the promotional materials. However, some observers suggested this was a bridge too far in the expanded definition of halal.

Also, according to some halal advocates, the Indonesian law places an undue burden on businesses – particularly smaller ones – which make consumer products...

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), which implements halal certification, is led by Indonesian Vice-President Maruf Amin, and Indonesian news site Tirto estimated that MUI could have made US$8.8 million from halal-certification fees in just four years."


When you copy Arab customs thinking they make you more Muslim but still try to out-Muslim the Arabs (by declaring water and salt Halal)

Links - 28th June 2019 (1)

SAT will assign a new score that factors in where you live and the crime level in your neighborhood
The value of the SAT is going down

The Independent says Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is racist, but 88% of African-Americans viewers liked it
Maybe the explanation is that they were too stupid to realise it was racist

This economics journal only publishes results that are no big deal - "Series of Unsurprising Results in Economics (SURE). The journal publishes papers with findings that are, well, really boring — so boring that other journals rejected them just for being boring. Its first paper, published Tuesday, is about an education intervention that was found to have no effects at all on anything.But before you close this tab, hear me out. SURE is actually far from boring, even if the papers it publishes are guaranteed to be, as the name implies, unsurprising. In fact, it’s a pretty big deal, and a significant step toward fixing a major problem with scientific research.SURE exists to fight “publication bias”... Publication bias is often cited as a major factor in the so-called replication crisis in research."

600 pupils reportedly withdrawn from Birmingham school as protestors announce ‘God created women for men’s pleasure’ » Humanists UK - "A Birmingham school facing protests around the teaching of LGBT issues has reportedly seen 600 pupils withdrawn from the school today in an alarming escalation which is placing children’s safety and education at risk... 600 pupils have been taken out of Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham by their parents due to increasing pressure from Muslim demonstrators outside the school who claim teaching about LGBT rights is against their religion. The school has 749 pupils on its roll."
Islamophobia!

Mob gathers outside Parkfield school to protest gay teacher Mr Moffat - "Mr Moffat was subjected to chants of ‘say no to Moffat’ outside the school’s gates after a crowd of aorund 100 protesters turned up. Parents claimed the teacher is pushing his ‘personal beliefs’ on the children shouted that they must be ‘protected at this tender age’.Some carried signs that read ‘my child my choice’, ‘no Islamophobia’ and ‘preserve innocence and purity of our children’... The petition accuses Mr Moffat of ‘betraying our trust’ and argues that he is discriminating against them based on their religion by ‘enforcing his sexual orientation and opinion’."

Birmingham LGBT lessons 'not age appropriate' says MP - "Roger Godsiff, Birmingham Hall Green MP, said he did not feel four or five-year-olds "could comfortably handle" discussions about sexuality.The protests' leader said the lessons amounted to "social engineering"... Labour MP Mr Godsiff said: "As a parent pointed out, some of these children are only just out of nappies."Is it age appropriate for them to have to engage with their own sexuality and also learn about other sexualities at that age? That is the issue."... In England, relationships education will be compulsory for all primary pupils from September 2020... The complaints, mainly from Muslim protesters, focus on lessons for which pupils have been given books featuring cross-dressing children and gay families."

Ammar Anwer - Left's opportunism:- A Birmingham primary school... - "Left's opportunism:-
A Birmingham primary school that taught pupils about LGBT rights as part of a program to challenge homophobia decided to suspend the lessons indefinitely until a resolution was reached with protestors. Who were these protestors?
They were not overwhelmingly Christians or Jews, but largely parents of Muslim students in that school. In March,600 Muslim children, aged between four and 11, were withdrawn from the school by their parents. Had the parents been predominantly Christians or Jewish, the same level of silence would not have been maintained by the left-wing circles in the country. Jeremy Corbyn, who otherwise pretends to be the bastion of sexual diversity and social equality, might have even brought the issue to the Parliament. But let's not to do that, because the fuss has been made mostly by Muslims and therefore it would be "Islamophobic" to condemn them for being "homophobic" and ‘'intolerant"."

When Protected Characteristics Collide - "parents crossing picket lines were subjected to the refrain: “If you take your kids to school today, you’re not a Muslim and will burn in hell.” LGBT campaigners were pelted with eggs for tying rainbow ribbons and messages of love and tolerance to the school gates... This has chilling echoes of the campaign against Headteacher Neena Lall at St Stephen’s School, which was ranked the UK’s best state primary school by the Sunday Times in 2017. In September 2017, Lall held a meeting with parents to inform them of a restriction on headscarves for girls under the age of eight. The petition which sought to overturn the ban attracted signatures from all over the UK, not just the school’s catchment area in Newham, and Whatsapp groups were used to drum up additional support."

Alejandra Pablos Still Seeks Pardon to Prevent Deportation - "Alejandra Pablos, a feminist immigration activist facing deportation to Mexico and who frequently speaks out against systemic racism in the United States, is now actively seeking a pardon from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, which would allow her to remain in the country she has repeatedly characterized as “Amerikkka.”... The 33-year-old anti-capitalist reproductive rights activist and community organizer has variously critiqued the “white women wave of fake resistance,” the “loser” men who deny the patriarchy exists and “racist ass cops.” She has expressed a belief that women should be paid more than men, that police officers are murderers and proudly touted the multiple abortions she has obtained in four different circumstances with four different partners."
It's curious how those who keep bashing Western countries for being racist want to stay there so much. I'm sure it has nothing to do with how non-Western countries don't put up with this kind of bullshit, and how it's easy to guilt white people into supporting you by claiming you're offended

Belgium: First Islamic State in Europe? - "The French acronym of Belgium's ISLAM Party stands for "Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality". The leaders of the ISLAM Party apparently want to turn Belgium into an Islamic State. They call it "Islamist democracy" and have set a target date: 2030.According to the French magazine Causeur, "the program is confusingly simple: replace all the civil and penal codes with sharia law. Period". Created on the eve of the 2012 municipal ballot, the ISLAM Party immediately received impressive results. Its numbers are alarming.The effect of this new party, according to Michaël Privot, an expert on Islam, and Sebastien Boussois, a political scientist, could be the "implosion of the social body". Some Belgian politicians, such as Richard Miller, are now advocating banning the ISLAM Party... Redouane Ahrouch, one of the party's three founders, also proposed segregating men and women on public transport. Ahrouch belonged in the 1990s to the Belgian Islamic Center, a nest of Islamic fundamentalism where candidates for jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq were recruited.The ISLAM Party knows that demography is on its side. Ahrouch has said, "in 12 years, Brussels will principally be composed of Muslims""

‘France does not belong to the French!’ 100s of ‘Black Vest’ migrants occupy Paris airport (VIDEO) - "“France does not belong to the French! Everyone has a right to be here!” one of the demonstrators shouted into a loudspeaker."

Rapper Sings “I Fuck France, I Burn France” as He Symbolically Strangles a White Woman - "Nick Conrad was previously found guilty of incitement to violence and fined 5,000 euros for releasing a song in which he advocated killing white babies. Conrad appealed the verdict, claiming the track “was a comment on racism”... Conrad raps, “Cock in France’s mouth, I cum like a pig” and “this country has never been sweet” while complaining about racism and referring how the press accused him trying to “stir up violent civil war”... While Facebook claims that it bans “dangerous people” who spread “hate,” the social network giant has taken no action against Conrad, nor has Facebook-owned Instagram or any other platform."

Uncle Chang on Twitter - "Youtube deleted the video where all I did was replace "white" with "jew" in @HuffPost @Salon articles"

Emanuel Kidega Samson sought to kill 10 white churchgoers, prosecutor says - "a black man charged with fatally shooting a woman and wounding seven people at a Nashville church aimed to kill at least 10 white churchgoers and cited a 2015 massacre at a black church in South Carolina."
If it'd been the other way around...

What The Camembert Rind Does For The Cheese Inside - "For lovers of Camembert, the downy white rind is the tart bite that balances out the fat-laden, oozing, pungent layer inside.For a group of Swiss bioengineers, that moldy rind is one of nature's greatest living surfaces, doing double duty as a shield and a cleaner. The rind allows the cheese's deep flavor and aroma to mature, but also defends it against microorganisms that could spoil it. The cheese repays the fungi on the rind by supplying it with nutrients.So amazing is the rind that the scientists, who are interested in designing "smart," functional materials, used it as an inspiration to build their own living material"

New Harvard Study Shows the Dangers of Early School Enrollment - "children who start school as among the youngest in their grade have a much greater likelihood of getting an ADHD diagnosis than older children in their grade... “Our findings suggest the possibility that large numbers of kids are being overdiagnosed and overtreated for ADHD because they happen to be relatively immature compared to their older classmates in the early years of elementary school.”... As universal government preschool programs gain traction, delaying schooling or opting out entirely can be increasingly difficult for parents. Iowa, for example, recently lowered its compulsory schooling age to four-year-olds enrolled in a government preschool program."

So I am confusion on Twitter - "South East Asian countries according to the 7 Deadly Sins:
Myanmar: sloth
Vietnam: gluttony
The Philippines: pride 🏻
Singapore: envy
Brunei: wrath
Thailand: lust
Indonesia: greed
Malaysia: all 7 of them "

Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes requires $4-5k to get to 'tip of the spear' - "Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes may require players to spend between $4,000-5,000 a year to gain access to the highest tier of rewards in the game. The lead producer of the game made the declaration in response to complaints about certain new characters only being accessible to higher spenders in the free-to-play title... The lead producer’s comments received a wide-range of comments across Reddit and Twitter. Some users pointed to industry practices regarding loot boxes and game addiction... Carrie Gouskos also spoke about receiving complaints from the other side of the argument... Star Wars games and microtransactions have been at the forefront of gaming conversation this week. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order was announced at the weekend, and Respawn head Vince Zampella was quick to point out the game would have “no microtransactions.”"

Satiria - Posts - "Research already amply supports the claim that gender identity is resistant to external attempts to change it. The tables have turned, and further research no longer brings important socio-political benefits. It is now time to cease research into the biological roots of gender identity."
"#WokeBlog: each person’s innate immutable Gender Identity was formed at the creation of the Universe."
Ironically this is erasing the genderfluid

German academics and authors call for end to 'gender nonsense' - "A group of German authors, comedians and academics have added fuel to the flames of an increasingly bad-tempered culture war over language bias by calling for a fightback against “ridiculous linguistic constructions” designed to make German more gender-neutral.In an open letter published by the Dortmund-based German Language Association, signatories including the philosopher Rüdiger Safranski, novelist Peter Schneider, comedian Dieter Hallervorden and the former head of the country’s domestic intelligence Hans-Georg Maassen, hit back against calls for more gender-neutral generic nouns.In German, where nouns have either a male, female or neuter gender, words for mixed groups of people are traditionally based on the masculine form. If you are talking about a group of teachers, for example, you would say die Lehrer, not die Lehrerinnen."

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Links - 27th June 2019 (3)

BBC Radio 4 - Best of Today, The lions that are bred to be killed - "He wants the UK Government to close a loophole which allows lions’ skins and bones to be imported here as long as they've been obtained from a sustainable hunting operation. That's illegal in many countries. Lord Ashcroft has been telling me about his findings."
This is telling - sustainability/conservation/preventing extinction is not the aim when it comes to 'protecting' charismatic megafauna, just an excuse

BBC World Service - The World This Week, Sri Lanka mourns its dead - "China eats more pork than the rest of the world put together. 700 million pigs were slaughtered here last year and eaten...
‘The idea that’s being pushed around by IS supporters online, that this is some kind of revenge for the mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, I think is very dubious, because they would have had to been put together at a very short notice. You couldn't do that. This would have taken months of planning. There are reports that the Indian authorities gave their first warning to the Sri Lankans as long ago as the end of last year. Certainly, something of this sort of sophistication takes a lot of planning. You've got to acquire the explosives, you've got to hide them somewhere safe, you've got to train people to use them. You've got to also keep your suicide bombers motivated so that they don't veer off and bottle out at the last minute... it takes a lot of skill and coordination to do all of that. And it's unlikely that a small radical group in Sri Lanka could do that on their own’...
‘China eats more pork than the rest of the world put together. And this is the year of the pig in a nation that's home to half of the world's pigs'...
'Pork is the main source of protein for most Chinese people. That's how they get their protein on a daily basis. It is a huge, huge business. It's hugely important to this country's economy. It's hugely important to every dinner table across this country'"

Tech Bias Story Sharing Tool - "SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear “violations” of user policies.
No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump"

Porn viewers more likely to see women as equals than non-viewers - "Both male and female pornography viewers had better attitudes towards women working outside the home, and were more supportive of abortion rights, in comparison with those who had not watched pornography.In addition, male pornography viewers had more positive attitudes about women holding positions of political power in comparison with male non-viewers. There were no differences between pornography viewers and non-viewers in terms of either feminist identification or attitudes towards traditional family gender roles."
Another feminist myth bites the dust

Porn Viewing Impacts Attitudes on Women in Workplace - "Should women receive preferential treatment in the workplace? Newly published research suggests your attitude toward that complicated issue may be shaped, in part, by whether you indulge in a specific leisure-time activity: Watching porn."
Given from other research we know porn viewers are more likely to see women as equal to men, we can see that here porn viewers oppose affirmative action for women because that treats women as inferior

Lisa on Twitter - "KEEP REPEATING PHRASES
KEEP REPEATING PHRASES
KEEP REPEATING PHRASES
KEEP REPEATING PHRASES
KEEP REPEATING PHRASES
WHEN YOUR ARGUMENTS ARE FLIMSY AF
AND IF THAT FAILS TO GET RETWEETS THERE'S ALWAYS THE CLAPPING EMOJI"

Sweden far-right plans gay parade in mainly Muslim area - "Sjunnesson says the leftist media has been very critical of the parade which they say is "provocative"."I don't think there is anything wrong with that! I think it's good to be provocative and have an element of surprise," he said... A counter parade is planned on the same day, according to a post on the Facebook page of the Anti-racist Pride Park March."
Apparently gay rights are Islamophobic

Sam Harris on Twitter - "A paradox for our time: The far Left is disproportionately white, wealthy, and well-educated. So extreme “wokeness” is now one of the most glaring symptoms of “white privilege.”"

Why is 38C air hot but 38C water not? - "Water in your sweat sucks the heat out of you and cools your skin temperature by several degrees so the air temperature 'feels hot' in comparison, says Kuncic.But when we immerse our bodies in water at 38°C, the difference in temperature between our skin and the environment is smaller... On a hot summer's day your body will try to cool itself by sweating, which it can do very effectively if there's not very much water in the surrounding atmosphere, say Kuncic."But as soon as the humidity starts to rise and there are more water molecules in the surrounding air, the rate at which your body can sweat suddenly becomes very limited."You feel sticky because the sweat on your skin cannot evaporate as readily into the surroundings when the air is humid as compared to when it is dry.Although you might not feel the same sense of 'hotness' as you would on a dry day at the same temperature — when there's a larger difference between the air temperature and your skin temperature — your body can find it even harder to get rid of excess heat in order to regulate its core temperature.As a result, you can feel more lethargic on a humid day, says Kuncic, as your body tries to reduce the amount of internal heat it generates as it continually converts food into energy."

Africans accuse black Americans of cultural appropriation - The Stockton Times - "A group of Kenyan men have told black Americans to stop appropriating African culture after a series of high profile black film and video being released by the movie and music industries... “Childish Gambino is about as African as Prince Harry but for some reason he thinks he can go around making Zulu noises in his music videos” he said.“You reckon he could find Nigeria on map?”“Just cause they have the same colour skin doesn’t mean they’re allowed to steal our culture. Especially seeing as most of these American’s don’t know a damn thing about being African”Mr Kusan also said that black American’s singing and portraying people from Africa was just as bad as white folk dressing up in black face. “I watched Black Panther and all I saw was a bunch of black Americans in African face.”“African face is very offensive to our people. They couldn’t even get real Africans for the parts. They had to dress up black hollywood actors and pass them off as Africans.”“It was very offensive and now I listen to Childish Gambino and he’s got black Americans singing like us Africans.”Childish Gambino hit back at the claims saying that although it was true he’d never been to Africa, or even met an African, that doesn’t mean he’s not allowed to steal elements of their culture.“Haha only white people can be accused of appropriation like that” he said."

Former minister quits Labour saying party has been ‘destroyed’ under Corbyn’s leadership - "A former minister has quit Labour with a furious attack on Jeremy Corbyn, warning the party has been “destroyed” under his leadership.Bridget Prentice accused Mr Corbyn of failing to stand up to antisemitic “bigots and bullies” and of “complete ignorance” about the damage to come from Brexit.“In all the major issues of the day, you have called it wrong,” the former justice minister wrote"

Adobe Tells Users They Can Get Sued for Using Old Versions of Photoshop - "Adobe is warning some owners of its Creative Cloud software applications that they’re no longer allowed to use older versions of the software. It’s yet another example of how in the modern era, you increasingly don’t actually own the things you’ve spent your hard-earned money on... In a controversial move, Adobe pivoted away from the standard software model to the cloud-based subscription model in 2013, resulting in notably higher revenues (and higher prices for customers)... It’s yet another example of how the products we buy in the modern era can lose functionality or stop working entirely on a lark. Be it a game console that loses features with a firmware update or entertainment products that just suddenly disappear, it’s a problem that’s increasing popping up in the always online era... consumers now live in a world in which consumers almost never actually own anything that contains software. In this new reality, end users are forced to agree to “take it or leave it” end user license agreements (EULAs), in which the licensor can change its terms of service without notice... Both Doctorow and Gilbert noted that this kind of shifting landscape can often be particularly problematic for artists and creators, who often don’t want to risk ongoing projects by suddenly jumping to new versions of software that may contain unforeseen bugs. “When your tools are designed to treat you as a mere tenant, rather than an owner, you're subject to the whims, machinations, and unforeseeable risks of the landlord from whom you rent,” Doctorow noted. “And your legal rights are likely defined by a ‘contract’ that you clicked through a million years ago, which says that you agree that you don't have any legal rights.”"

Amazon takes away access to purchased Christmas movie during Christmas - "This is what was set in motion in the 1970s, when we started using the term "intellectual property" instead of "copyright" or "author's monopoly." If the movie is Disney's "property" for ever and ever, it follows that it is never your property, no matter that you "buy" it. And since "IP" is embedded in everything from blenders to cars to yoga studios, there is nothing that you can ever own -- you can only be a tenant in someone else's fields"

In 2008 I bought a Sony PS3 for entertainment and, specifically, to run Linux using the "OtherOS" feature. Within a couple years Sony sneakily pushed an update to remove this functionality. 10 years later I finally received this litigation check in the mail. : linux

Woman Seeking Prenatal Care At Planned Parenthood Given Directions To Real Health Clinic | The Babylon Bee

That $6.60 plate of “economic rice” – why Sengkang leads in price - "It is not surprising that the story struck a chord with many Singaporeans. After all, one in four of us (24%) eat out daily, and more than half (55%) of us have our meals out-of-home weekly, according to a 2018 Nielsen survey... A Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) report in 2018 found that “a majority of households have a larger proportion (from 12% to 14%) of household expenditure on eating out as compared to households with higher income (11.8% of household expenditure on eating out).”... The study also found that Sengkang led the list for the most expensive basket of food used in the Makan Index, an indicator of the cost of eating out in Singapore. The index focuses on only 3 types of eating places: coffee shops, hawker centres and food courts.The Index was then compared across different planning areas and its correlation with socioeconomic characteristics of the planning areas was analysed.The study found:“[The] cost of eating out differs across planning areas.“Specifically, Sengkang, Tampines, and Sembawang are among the top three planning areas with high Makan Index score and Ang Mo Kio, Queenstown and Bukit Timah are among the planning areas with low Makan Index score. The price difference between the planning areas with highest (Sengkang) and the lowest (Ang Mo Kio) Makan Index score is about 22.9%.“Mature planning areas tend to have a relatively cheaper basket of food items as compared to a younger planning area. In general, the price difference between mature and younger planning area is about 7.7%.”... "lower food prices are correlated with planning areas with higher income diversity, a higher percentage of residents aged 65 and above, and a higher percentage of households staying in rental flats.”"

The city with 20-year waiting lists for rental homes - "There’s a hidden reason so many Stockholm renters go for Nordic minimalist interiors. In a capital gripped by an acute housing shortage, it’s no fun constantly lugging all your worldly goods from apartment to apartment.The Swedish capital may be one of the most desirable locations on the planet to be an expat, but once you’ve bagged the dream job, finding somewhere to live brings a whole new set of problems. The city’s queue for rent-controlled housing is so long that it’s being considered by the Guinness Book of World Records. On average, it takes nine years to be granted a rent-controlled property – and that jumps to two decades in some of the most popular neighbourhoods"
Regulation cannot escape the laws of economics

The 33 Whitest Jobs in America - "Whites account for about 81 percent of the workforce. But there are 33 occupations counted by the BLS (particularly those on farms, around heavy machines, in doctor's offices, and in C-suites) where whites officially account for nine in ten of all workers, or more"
Affirmative action incoming in...

Pink Dot ambassador Tosh Zhang apologises for discriminatory comments - "the 29-year-old was named an ambassador for this year's annual Pink Dot event, which aims to raise awareness of issues that impact the daily lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.The theme of this year's event is 'Against Discrimination'.Yesterday, Facebook user Sarah Yip expressed her surprise at Zhang's appointment when she posted screenshots of some of his tweets from 2010 to 2013.The tweets by Zhang, who also goes by the name Tosh Rock, made several discriminatory comments about LGBTQ people, including their physical appearance. Pink Dot issued a statement yesterday calling his comments "homophobic and misogynistic""
When you jump on the SJW tiger...
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