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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Singapore: world capital of the city-dormitory (Part 1)

"At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas." - Aldous Huxley


Here is an article on Singapore in the March issue (#373) of GEO France (like National Geographic), with [rough] translations of choice portions.

Spot the inaccuracies!

You can view the photos in living colour on GEO France's website.

Singapour, capitale mondiale de la cité-dortoir
(Singapore: world capital of the city-dormitory) (Part 1)

"Since 1960, this 'authoritarian democracy' has planned everything: the size of buildings, ethnic divisions. And scrupulously controls everyday life"

"This is not a corridor of a prison, but a corridor which serves studio apartments [Ed: 1 room flats?]

Built in the 1960s to tackle the shortage of housing, the first HDB flats were not built to be pretty. In this block at Bendemeer, the pipes run between gates which double as doors to each apartment"

"Inside, the walls dream of the space that is so lacking outside...

Declared 'homeowners' if they are Singaporean, families have actually a 99 year lease. Access to apartments is based on income and the number of kids [you have]"

"Less than a day away by plane from Beijing, Delhi, Melbourne or Nouméa [Ed: the capital of French New Caledonia, with a population of less than 100,000], Singapore is the Gordian knot through which passes, henceforth, all the maritime, aerial and financial flows of South East Asia. This former frontier province of the British Empire has benefitted from its independence in the 1960s in order to [?] reject its colonial heritage and wiping the slate clean on the past millennium. The objective is clear: open itself totally to 'modernity' and so accede to a radiant future. Having met this challenge 45 years later, the city-state has become the premier centre of world business. Its gigantic airport (seeing 37 million travellers in 2007) is representative of the whole island. Singapore, today, is the epicentre of the tectonic clash of the two most antagonistic cultural and political clates: Pure Hard Confucian Socialism and the Craziest Liberal Capitalism.

In 1947, the island over which the English flag still flew was a small port city with sampans and floating markets, insalubrious zones and an informal economy... Today, 5 million people live in this extraordinary political laboratory... This socio-economic miracle is the work of the cadres of the People's Action Party (PAP), the only party, ideologues of 'authoritarian democracy' led by the same family for 45 years. To counter galloping demography and impossible land expansion, they have adopted a solution which is brutal while efficacious: the total planning of the city, integating ethnic mixing without communitarianism and permanent police control.

Welcome to the Utopia created by 'Singapore's Vision', of the Great Helmsman of Independence, Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. Allied with the Americans and rabidly anticommunist, he warned against a socialism that was open to the world [?] that quickly became a large liberal economy controlled by the State. Imagine a megapolis created ex nihilo, created according to a plan"

(To be continued)

Part 2, Part 3

Responses to motivational drivel on Failbook

"In the fight between you and the world, back the world." - Frank Zappa


"The only disability in the world is a bad attitude :-)"
"What about Autism? And other stuff like that?"
"Yeah I'm with DJ, last time I checked, being in a wheelchair was a disability"

Personally I prefer paraplegia, or quadruple amputations, like in this case: St. Paul man charged with beating up quadruple amputee will turn himself in (the article could also be titled "Guy was hit and golden showered by 4 limb amputee girlfriend")

"There's always going to be bad stuff out there. But here's the amazing thing - light trumps darkness, every time. You stick a candle into the dark, but you can't stick the dark into the light"
"last time i stuck a candle in the dark i got third degree burns on my asshole"

And my favourite:

"If you are faced with a mountain that seems too big to climb. . . Then try to find a way around it. . . And follow your dreams!! :)"
"What if my dream is to climb a mountain?"

The scummiest bust enhancement and slimming ads

"To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than three men, two of whom are absent." - Robert Copeland


I regularly look at bust enhancement (and, to a lesser extent, slimming) ads for entertainment, in order to see what strategies these companies adopt in order to make women feel insecure and thus buy their products.

I am proud to present:

The most scummy slimming ad I've seen so far

""My son now loves his slimmer mummy more!"

... One night, as I was tucking my son into bed, he pointed to my wedding photo and said, 'That slimmer mummy is more beautiful'. I decided to seek treatment with the slimming experts."

(note the phrasing of their deal: "Exclusively for new female customers with weight problems" - not only do they discriminate against males, but non-overweight females are also welcome, as long as they have vaguely defined "weight problems")

The most scummy bust enhancement ad I've seen so far
NB: Sociological Images beat me to posting this one, and reports that "many fashion/gossip magazines" (presumably in America) have similar ads


Since young, Janet has always felt inferior about her small breasts. Constant teasing from her friends as a 'washboard' totally destroyed her confidence and self-esteem. Things got worse when her boyfriend left her because of her small breasts. Subsequent failed relationships caused her to give up all hopes (sic) on herself.

Let Janet tell you her sad story

"Thank you so much Slim Fit for giving me a pair of beautiful breasts which I’ve always wanted! Now that my bust is so voluptuous and shapely, I finally feel complete as a woman!

But it wasn’t like this before! Since young, I’ve always had small breasts with no cleavage at all. In fact, my breats were so flat that they were almost non-existent. Being constantly teased as a ‘washboard’ really upset me, making me lose confidence and self-esteem.

Things got worse when I started dating. I felt really insecure of my body. I knew my boyfriend minds my small breasts and It was ruining our relationship. I hated myself whenever I see him looking at other girls who were well-endowed. I felt really terrible deep down. I knew it was only a matter of time that I will lose him. And true enough, he left me shortly after. Subsequently, I had countless failed relationships. I felt really unattractive and ashamed of myself. I totally gave up hope and gave up on myself...

I plucked up courage to seek professional help.

Since then, my life has never been the same again! After just 5 sessions of treatment, I could see the difference! For the first time, I have a cleavage and my bust has never been more perfect! I met the guy of my dreams and this time, it worked! We have been happily married for 5 years now."

Points to note:

1) I love how a bust enhancement clinic is termed "professional help"
2) Seeing how many flat attached girls there are in Singapore, her ex-boyfriends might've dumped her because she was so insecure and for the first, at least, also jealous over his looking at other women. And she probably got her current boyfriend because she was secure, not because she had bigger breasts.

As such, this is an example of an indirect effect (small breasts -> insecurity -> lack of success in love) rather than a direct effect (small breasts -> lack of success in love), and bust enhancment might not be the most appropriate treatment for most women.

3) The footnote reads: "All testimonials are not typical", which is more revealing than "your results may vary".
4) This reminds me of a cute HSA ad I saw warning people to beware of dodgy slimming centres which would permanently damage their health.

(I trust that I do not need to justify my choices)

Here's a bonus: the sort of pseudo-scientific babble (notice the disclaimer at the bottom for a tacit admission of that) they use to explain bust enhancement.


Leveraging on the exclusive benefits of cutting-edge Nanotechnology, our new bust enhancement treatment delivers fast and visible results that surpass other bust treatments on the market. The active compounds within our Nano Serum are 100% natural and are structured into tiny nano-sized particles 2000 times smaller than the skin pores around the breasts. When coupled with the unique gentle massage of our therapists, these particles will penetrate deeply and rapidly into underlying breast tissues to achieve immediate growth as well as lifting and firming effects."

This is not the most nonsensical such spiel I've ever read*, but I happened to have this around, so.

* - I believe the prize for that would go to some pseudo-Japanese firm - probably Tokyo Bust Express, which naturally has no outlet in Tokyo, or even Japan, or even outside Orchard Central in Singapore.

Friday, April 23, 2010

So much for that theory...

"People will buy anything that is one to a customer." - Sinclair Lewis


"In a recent article in this journal (Pollet and Nettle, 2009), we reported that women with higher-income partners reported more frequent orgasms in the data from the Chinese Health and Family Life Survey (CHFLS). We also reported, using a stepwise model selection strategy implemented in SPSS 15.0 (SPSS, Chicago, IL, USA), that partner income was a better predictor of reported orgasm frequency than a number of control variables. However, in an accompanying commentary, Herberich et al. show that the model-fit statistics produced in SPSS are not properly comparable between models. This led us to choose an incorrect model as the best-fitting one. As they show, the effect of partner income is no longer significant once the control variables have been accounted for. We therefore wish to correct the conclusions of our article. The association in the CHFLS data between partner wealth and self-reported orgasm frequency is best explained by the fact that women with higher-income partners are healthier, happier, younger, and more educated than women with lower-income partners. The data do not support a direct effect of partner income on self-reported orgasm frequency, once other variables have been controlled for."

--- Correction to Pollet and Nettle (2009): "Partner wealth predicts self-reported orgasm frequency in a sample of Chinese women" / Evolution & Human Behavior, Volume 31, Issue 2, March 2010, Page 149

Why getting married without having pre-marital sex is irresponsible

"It is a sign of a creeping inner death when we no longer can praise the living." - Eric Hoffer


A popular view, even in this day and age, is that remaining a virgin until you get married is a good and desirable thing.

Even if one does not think that pre-marital sex (hereafter, "PMS") is a sin, or even if one cannot adhere to this standard oneself, there are many who would consider it an ideal (channeling Augustine, this sentiment might be called, "Give others chastity and continence, but not me").

On the contrary, I think that it is undesirable - indeed, irresponsible - not to have had PMS before marriage.

As an extreme example, we can look at this possibly apocryphal FML:

"Today, I found out why my husband had wanted to wait until marriage to get it on. Last night was the first night of our honeymoon, and he informed me that he wasn't always Ben, but used to be Brenda. His 'penis' doesn't work and he had wanted to know I "truly loved him" before he had let me know. FML"

Yet, even if one is not so unfortunate as to find oneself in such a situation, there're still good reasons to have PMS - at least with your prospective partner.

The period of time leading up to a marriage (presumably, before the proposal, though it is still not too late after) is when you discover things about your partner which will help you figure out whether your marriage will be a happy and fruitful one. You exchange views on religion, money, children and mother-in-laws, and discuss aspirations, goals and dreams. If many of these are incompatible, it would be wise to reconsider your decision to get married. It would also be folly to get married without discussing at least most of these items.

Now, the popular literature gives many reasons for why marriages run into trouble or end, but virtually all of this information is uncited and, I suspect, incestuous (i.e. one writer gets her information from a web site, which got its tips from a book, which was based on what the author read in a magazine, and so on). We get a clue from what, apparently, is the first question a marriage counsellor will ask a married couple - how their sex life is (though that is arguably more a symptom than a cause).

Delving into the academic literature though, we find ourselves on firmer ground:

"Sexuality and sexual satisfaction are fundamental aspects of marriages and close relationships and are related to overall couple happiness and durability... it has been consistently demonstrated that sexual satisfaction figures prominently as a predictor of global marital satisfaction and distress"
(Sex and affection in heterosexual and homosexual couples: an evolutionary perspective)


"A study of sexuality and relationship indexes found that sexual desire discrepancies (the difference between each partner's level of sexual desire) predicted overall relationship satisfaction"
(Is There a Gender Difference in Strength of Sex Drive? Theoretical Views, Conceptual Distinctions, and a Review of Relevant Evidence)

Given that sex is a very important part of most marriages, it stands to reason that getting married without exploring this realm of inter-spousal relations is irresponsible. Through PMS, a couple can find out their sexual compatibility, and discuss strategies to manage sexual mismatches (if any).

One might argue that talking about sex would do the job, but this is perhaps the part of marriage where verbal intercourse is furthest from that of the physical variety; talking about sex is not the same as having sex.

The only case where one can responsibly get married without having PMS is if both partners do not think that sex is an important part of marriage since, in this case, it would likely not arise as an issue in the future.

To all those who are going to get married, I say: make sure to cover all of your bases!


Here is another FML which illustrates this problem:

"Today, after waiting for sex until marriage, I realized my husband and I have no sexual chemistry. FML"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy Earth Day!

"Save the Planet, Kill Yourself"

(via the Church of Euthanasia)

Indonesia and Democracy, Separatism and Stability

"Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable." - Trey Parker and Matt Stone


Can You Teach Democracy?

"Sceptics had argued that Indonesia would break up after the fall of Suharto, buffeted by a ravaging recession and torn apart by social, racial and religious tensions. But, Yudhoyono said, the advent of democratic rule had helped Indonesia to weather the storm, with the separatist conflict in Aceh resolved and the old question of a choice between democracy and economic growth proven to be a false dichotomy.

'We have shown that Islam, democracy and modernity can grow together,' said the president of the world's largest Muslim nation, which is also the world's third-largest democracy and the third-fastest growing economy in the G20 (after China and India)...

Many of Burma's neighbours, he said, accept at face value the junta's argument that a strong military is vital to keep the country together given the profusion of separatist conflicts. But didn't Indonesia's experience show that a democratic government was actually better placed to resolve such issues?"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another feminist myth punctured

"Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history." - George Bernard Shaw


New TV Show Perpetuates Anorexia Myths

"A new VH1 show called “The Price of Beauty,” hosted by Jessica Simpson, will premiere soon. The theme of the show is the extreme measures that some women will endure to look beautiful. It’s a worthy subject, but unfortunately the series is already spreading misinformation about a serious disease: anorexia...

What Isabelle Caro, Jessica Simpson, and the VH1 show don’t realize is that anorexia has little or nothing to do with fashion modeling. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia are biological diseases, not voluntary behaviors. The idea that a model, photo of a model, or Web site can "encourage" anorexia is not supported by science or research. Images of thin people cannot "encourage" anorexia, any more than photographs of bipolar patients "encourage" bipolar disorder, or photos of diabetics "encourage" diabetes.

Though many people are convinced that anorexia is a threat to most young women because of the media images they see, that’s not what the scientific evidence says. Anorexia is a very rare and complex psychological disorder with many indications of a strong genetic component; as anorexia expert Cynthia Bulik noted in her 2007 study “The Genetics of Anorexia,” published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, “Family studies have consistently demonstrated that anorexia nervosa runs in families.” Most research studies have failed to find a cause-and-effect link between media images of thin people and eating disorders.

For example, R.A. Botta, writing in his 1999 study, “Television Images and Adolescent Girls’ Body Image Disturbance” in the Journal of Communication, noted that, “Concrete evidence is still necessary…to show that this existence of thin images and ideals has an effect on viewers….At this point, the relationship between television exposure and body image disturbance remains in question.” This view is supported by other researchers...

Nearly every woman in America regularly sees thin women in everyday life and the media, yet according to the National Institute of Mental Health, only about one percent of them develop the disease. If there a strong link existed between media exposure and anorexia, we would expect to see an incidence many orders of magnitude higher than is found...

The first step in solving a problem is correctly understanding it, and TV shows like “The Price of Beauty” may actually end up doing more harm than good"

The same writer elsewhere:

Thinspiration: Do Web Sites Encourage Anorexia?

"A 2006 study, "Surfing for Thinness," published in the journal Pediatrics, examined nearly 700 families of patients diagnosed with eating disorders. Among their conclusions, "Pro-eating disorder site users did not differ from non-users in health outcomes," and those visiting "pro-ana" Web sites were not hospitalized any more often than those visiting Web sites promoting healthy recovery...

Ironically, mainstream anti-eating disorder materials may do more harm than "pro-ana" Web sites. Research shows that depictions of bulimic behavior actually encourages young women in their disordered eating. Experts suggest that televised depictions showing girls bingeing and purging (such as might be seen in after-school specials) serve as a behavior model"

Meanwhile, we already knew that dolls didn't necessarily screw you up, but now Research Debunks 'Barbie Ideal' (I read this paper, but it isn't that convincing, but it does challenge the naive perspective that all girls are helplessly brainwashed by Mattel, and deprived of agency):

"A team of British researchers announced that many young girls mutilate and torture their Barbie dolls. According to University of Bath researcher Agnes Nairn, "the girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity....The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking, and even microwaving." The reason, Nairn said, was that girls saw Barbie as childish, an inanimate object instead of a treasured toy...

While Barbie has long been badgered about her "unhealthy" shape, no one complains that Mr. Potato Head's tubby physique is even less healthy. Girls are far more intelligent than Barbie critics give them credit for; they know their dolls are just that: dolls.

The girls in the British study are not alone. One adult woman in an informal survey reminisced, "Mostly I helped my brother decapitate Barbies and threw limbs in neighbors' yards. No one told me I should look like Barbie and I never felt like I should look like her." Said another, "I never regarded Barbie as a model for a real person. I actually hated her shape because it made it hard to put clothes on her"...

Not a single survey, poll, or study has shown that girls actually want to look like Barbie dolls"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chinese guy tests a 5 million volt Taser on himself

"Category: Comedy"

This is damn retarded

Links - 20th April 2010

"Well, the telling of jokes is an art of its own, and it always rises from some emotional threat. The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful." - Kurt Vonnegut


Thinner girls more at risk of breast cancer - "Girls who are thin at the age of seven are at higher risk of breast cancer after menopause than chubbier counterparts and more vulnerable to a worse type of tumour, according to a Swedish study published on Wednesday. The surprising conclusion is made by Karolinska Institutet researchers who looked at data from 2,818 Swedish breast cancer patients and 3,111 healthy counterparts. “Large body type at age seven years was associated with a decreased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer,” said lead researcher Jingmei Li"
Good luck to Singaporean girls

Cambridge Union pole dancing class - "We are of the opinion that classes like these are a way of empowering women, as well as being a fantastic way to exercise and have fun together with other women. If an intelligent, independent woman wishes to learn a particular form of dance in respectable surroundings, we see nothing degrading in that"

Save money by changing your printer font - "Because different fonts require different amounts of ink to print, you could be buying new printer cartridges less often if you wrote in, say, Century Gothic rather than Arial... some fonts that use less ink, including Century Gothic, are also wider... ink comprises the main cost of a printout, but the environmental costs of paper are probably higher"

14-year-old blind kid, angry and alone, discovered that he possessed a superpower — one that put him in the cross hairs of the FBI - "Telephone phreaking isn’t new: The practice, which dates back half a century, was the forerunner of computer hacking. In 1957, a blind eight-year-old named Joe Engressia accidentally discovered that he could whistle at the precise frequency — 2,600 hertz — used to control phone networks. A pioneering phreak named John Draper later realized that the free whistles given out in Cap’n Crunch cereal boxes also replicated the exact same tone. Kids with a mischievous streak and too much free time were soon competing to see who could achieve the most elaborate phone hack. A tech-savvy student named Steve Wozniak, who would soon invent something called Apple with his friend Steve Jobs, once used a series of high-pitched whistles to make a free international call to the Vatican to prank the pope."

Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused, Robbed By County Officials in California
Golden indeed

The paradoxical nature of hunter-gatherer diets: meat-based, yet non-atherogenic. - "Field studies of twentieth century hunter-gathers (HG) showed them to be generally free of the signs and symptoms of cardiovascular disease (CVD)... Based upon limited ethnographic data (n=58 HG societies) and a single quantitative dietary study, it has been commonly inferred that gathered plant foods provided the dominant energy source in HG diets... In this review we have analyzed the 13 known quantitative dietary studies of HG and demonstrate that animal food actually provided the dominant (65%) energy source, while gathered plant foods comprised the remainder (35%). This data is consistent with a more recent, comprehensive review of the entire ethnographic data (n=229 HG societies) that showed the mean subsistence dependence upon gathered plant foods was 32%, whereas it was 68% for animal foods... The high reliance upon animal-based foods would not have necessarily elicited unfavorable blood lipid profiles because of the hypolipidemic effects of high dietary protein (19-35% energy) and the relatively low level of dietary carbohydrate (22-40% energy). Although fat intake (28-58% energy) would have been similar to or higher than that found in Western diets, it is likely that important qualitative differences in fat intake, including relatively high levels of MUFA and PUFA and a lower omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio, would have served to inhibit the development of CVD. Other dietary characteristics including high intakes of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and phytochemicals along with a low salt intake may have operated synergistically with lifestyle characteristics (more exercise, less stress and no smoking) to further deter the development of CVD."
So much for triumphant feminist crowing dissing ""scientific" narratives"

Smelly litter box mistaken for meth lab, neighborhood evacuated - "Hazmat teams tested a Westland, Michigan home after the landlord said she thought the former tenants were running a methamphetamine lab inside"

Nintendo Wii made me nympho! - "A WOMAN has gone from Nintendo to nympho after a fall from her Wii Fit board turned her into a sex addict. Randy Amanda Flowers needs 10 sex sessions a day after the slip-up... Single Amanda, 24, from Harpurhey, Manchester, said: “With no cure I just have to try to control my passion by breathing deeply. Hopefully one day I’ll find a superstud who can satisfy me”"

KittehRoulette - refresh for random kittehs of the internet

Students swayed by high uni fees - "She has nothing but praise for the inner-city bordello where she has worked as a well paid prostitute for the past year. "It is clean and safe, my customers are real gentlemen and the brothel operator treats me very well... The hours fit in very well with my heavy student workload"... A confidential State Government report has found up to 25 per cent of the prostitutes working in Victoria's brothel industry are students. "Overall, students found sex work an effective mechanism to manage study, work and finances," the report said. The report revealed one international student got a shock when her university tutor arrived as a client at the legal brothel she was working in, as did he... male international students were working as managers within the industry"

The shape of things: women's cups runneth over - "As a nation we are getting bigger all over, but the number of ''average-sized'' women with above average bust lines has ballooned, with the most common bra cup size increasing from a B to a DD in the past 50 years. Women's health experts blame a range of environmental and hormonal factors, while lingerie specialists say some women have realised they have been wearing the wrong bra size for years... Ms Ferlito says she can spot a breast enlargement a mile away. ''They're difficult to fit, not a natural shape. The breast doesn't fall naturally into the bra''"
My favourite line from the video: "Remember, girls, a great-fitting bra is the foundation to any outfit"

"'Tis an ill wind that blows no minds." - Malaclypse the Younger

"Please enjoy this culturally, ethnically, religiously, and politically correct cartoon responsibly. Thank you."

Painfully Ironic

"We would rather people see us for our talents than our bra size" --- D Cup personage, Kanny Theng

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Japan's victory in the Russo-Japanese War

"If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith." - Albert Einstein


"But by winning the war aganst an opponent who performed badly and was weak did not mean that the Japanese were invincible.

As the historian Geoffrey Regan points out:

"A British admiral once said, 'It takes three years to build a ship, but three hundred years to build a tradition.'"

Japan thought that the victory had completed this task in a matter of a few years. It had all been too easy.

Looking at Togo's victory over the world's great powers convinced some Japanese military men that with more ships, and bigger and better ones, similar victories could be won throughout the Pacific.

This overconfidence in her own abilities would, in the long run lead to the Second World War"

The full quote:

"It takes three years to build a ship. It would take three hundred to rebuild a tradition. The evacuation will continue.

It takes two years to build a battleship: it would take two hundred to rebuild the Commonwealth."

--- Admiral A. B. Cunningham; The Battle of Crete, May 1941

I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that!

"Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence." - Frank Zappa


It is amusing that anti-Neo-Nazis are more violent than Neo-Nazis:

(Picture from FoxNews)

White supremacist rally at L.A. City Hall draws violent counter-protest

"A rally of about 40 white supremacists Saturday on the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall drew hundreds of counter-protesters, sparked brawls in which two people were severely beaten and ended with crowds of demonstrators hurling rocks and bottles at police and departing supremacists...

At least five [counter-protesters] were arrested by the end of the demonstration for throwing eggs and rocks...

A bare-chested middle-aged man with Nazi insignias tattooed on his chest and back walked into a crowd of hundreds of counter-protesters... About a dozen protesters suddenly began pelting the man with punches and kicks. He fell and was struck on the back with the wooden handle of a protester's sign, which snapped in two. Police eventually reached the man and pulled him from the melee, as blood poured from the back of his neck.

Another man was rushed by a mob on Spring Street. He was punched in the face and kicked for about 20 seconds before police made it to the scene. After that beating was broken up, the man began running south on Spring Street, only to be chased down by a protester and slugged in the face. He collapsed and his face slammed to the curb as protesters began pummeling him again.

The bloodied man was then escorted away by police. Both victims were treated and released, police said.

His sign, unclear in its intended meaning, read "Christianity=Paganism=Heathen$" with an arrow pointing at a swastika.

"Gosh, I think he just didn't have a clear message. I don't even think he was a Nazi," said one man, looking at the broken pieces of the sign left behind...

The rally ended around 2:30 p.m. with counter-protesters rushing toward the criminal courts building parking lot where the white supremacists had parked their cars. Dozens of them hurled rocks and glass bottles at the neo-Nazis and their police escorts."

Comments from one site (which also has a video):

The so called pacifists attacked one neo-Nazi with bottles and rocks... these jerks do this every year and every year the so-called pacifists wind up getting arrested for violence... while I disagree wholeheartedly with the Neo Nazi's, I find the behavior of the crowd more disturbing"

Police officer quoted elsewhere: "It's just one group of racists protesting another group of racists"

This is what counts for progress.

Kill the bigots!

Je me moque du Diable ! Il reçoit les âmes, mais ce n'est pas lui qui les damne

La terre est libre, et le ciel est ouvert.
Il voit un frère où n'était qu'un esclave,
L'amour unit ceux qu'enchaînait le fer.
Qui lui dira notre reconnaissance

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"Tea is really a slow poison, and has the corrosive effect upon those who handle it"

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?"
Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night.""

--- Charles M. Schulz


Debunking Boston Tea Party Myths

"Myth 1: The dispute was about higher taxes

Parliament insisted on taxing colonists to support—and command—colonial administration. Colonists countered that they were more than willing to tax—and rule—themselves. No more "taxation without representation" became their rallying cry, not "down with high taxes."

Myth 2: Tea taxes were an onerous burden on ordinary Americans

At three pence per pound, the tax on tea was barely felt by American consumers, who also had access to the smuggled competition...

Participating in the elaborate British ritual of teatime—with an array of fancy crockery and silver utensils—was prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Americans. Calls for a continued boycott of tea dovetailed nicely with lower-class resentments. Tea was an easy target, a symbol both of Parliament's arrogance and a crumbling social hierarchy.

Moreover, tea consumption was deemed suspect, even sinful, by a large segment of the American public. "That bainfull weed," as Abigail Adams called it, was an artificial stimulant, what we would call today a recreational drug. Promoters of virtue, who had long been expounding the evils of tea, suddenly became patriots. One concerned writer, in a Virginia newspaper, claimed that ever since tea had been introduced into Western society, "our race is dwindled and become puny, weak, and disordered to such a degree, that were it to prevail a century more we should be reduced to mere pigmies."

Pointing to his medical expertise, Boston's Dr. Thomas Young declared authoritatively that tea was not just a "pernicious drug," as some assumed, but a "slow poison, and has the corrosive effect upon those who handle it. I have left it off since it became political poison, and have since gained in firmness of constitution. My substitute is camomile flowers."

Resistance leaders also launched a new wave of negative propaganda that played to anti-foreign sentiments: Tea from the East India Company was packed tightly in chests by the stomping of barefoot Chinese and was infested with Chinese fleas. In turn, a vast number of colonists vowed to protect American business from foreign competition, even if that business was smuggling. Beware of products from China, buy America, wage war on drugs, down with corporations [were slogans]...

Myth 3: Dumping British tea unified the patriots

For Americans who called themselves patriots, the slogan "liberty and property" was a common rallying cry, shouted at least as often as "taxation without representation." George Washington, among many others, chided Bostonians for "their conduct in destroying tea." Benjamin Franklin was hardly alone when he argued that the East India Company should be compensated for its losses...

The destruction of tea had been a catalyst for events leading to independence, but its belligerent tone ran counter to the favored patriotic story line: The British were the aggressors, causing peace-loving Americans to act in self-defense"
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