Sunday, 29 May 2016

Paul Keating on Mabo, 1992

Rare politicians actually acting as statesmen. At least, Keating was in the right here. Sadly, Aboriginal Australians still are treated as second-class citizens & kept in poverty. Just watch John Pilger's documentary Utopia.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Elites vs. Too Much Democracy: Andrew Sullivan's Afraid of Popular Self-Government

Mike Lofgren, May 24th 2016

The trouble with Trump isn't because of too much democracy; it's decades of political malfeasance that have made Americans furious.

British expatriate writer Andrew Sullivan recently returned to the public eye with a piece that has aroused considerable comment, some of it reasonably on point, and some bloviatingly incoherent.

What is all the fuss about? Sullivan, in critiquing the Donald Trump phenomenon and the political factors that gave rise to it, makes a few good points, but buries them under a ridiculous premise: The culprit responsible for Trump is too much democracy, and the cure is more elite control of the political process.

Sullivan gets everything backward. It is as if a safety inspector had gone aboard RMS Titanic, minutely examined her watertight hatches, boiler and steam turbine, and then declared her safe because he judged that the lack of lifeboats reduced the chances of capsizing from too much top weight. Read the whole thing here

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Is uber sexism & bigotry tolerable because it's your religion?

Is uber sexism & bigotry tolerable because it's your religion? People who hide under the umbrella of islamophobia to escape rightful criticism of religious fundamentalism are those who are infantilizing the word 'repression' & who are in fact arguing for the right of families to fuck up their children.

This is the kind of reaction from muslims that I like to see. ++Switzerland's Muslim community had largely refused to support the boys' refusal to shake hands, pointing out that it was a Swiss tradition that many Muslims quite happily accept. To "the students and parents I would suggest the following reflection: Can the denial of shaking hands be more important than the Islamic commandment of mutual respect?" Montassar Ben Mrad, president of Federation of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland, had said in the statement.++
Read more about it here:

PS: Someone told me I should get a pet to get my mind off of policing people with different "values". Values which he never explained why they are worthy to be kept & not discarded. So I decided to get a woman; because Islamic fundamentalism says man's best pet is a woman. :))
At any rate, the norm will have to hurt a bystander (for lack of a better word), until the whole dumbass ritual gets eliminated. And plenty of people will point the finger to the backwards reactionary for bringing about the ire of the authorities on all of them.By the way, I don't believe fines are the way to tackle this (which are way too high). But I do believe in verbal admonishment. "Hey, Abdul, you're an asshole for not shaking my hand just because I'm a woman (subhuman in your religion). See you tomorrow." :))))
I'll conclude with these beautiful words by Ibn Khaldun, an intellectual titan.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Ancient ways for determining counter-cyclical fiscal policy

American and Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a rare structure called a nilometer in the ruins of the ancient city of Thmuis in Egypt’s Delta region. Likely constructed during the third century B.C., the nilometer was used for roughly a thousand years to calculate the water level of the river during the annual flooding of the Nile. Fewer than two dozen of the devices are known to exist.

“Without the river, there was no life in Egypt,” says University of Hawaii archaeologist Jay Silverstein, a member of the team who works at the site where the nilometer was found, near the modern city of El Mansoura. “We suspect it was originally located within a temple complex. They would’ve thought of the Nile River as a god, and the nilometer was this point of interface between the spiritual and the pragmatic.”

Before the completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1970, the Nile flooded the surrounding plains each year in late July or August. As the waters receded in September and October, they left behind a blanket of fertile silt that was essential for growing crops such as barley and wheat.

But the volume of the yearly flood varied widely. If the inundation was inadequate, only a small area of cropland would be covered with the life-giving silt, often resulting in famine. If the water level was too high, it would sweep away houses and structures built on the plain and ruin the crops. It’s estimated that the flooding was either inadequate or excessive roughly once every five years during the pharaonic period.

Water Gauge and Tax Table
Made from large limestone blocks, the nilometer was a circular well roughly eight feet (2.4 meters) in diameter with a staircase leading down into its interior. Either a channel would have connected the well to the river, or it would have simply measured the water table as a proxy for the strength of the river. Seven cubits—roughly 10 feet (3.04 meters)—was the optimum height for prosperity.

“During the time of the pharaohs, the nilometer was used to compute the levy of taxes, and this was also likely the case during the Hellenistic period,” says Robert Littman, an archaeologist at the University of Hawaii. “If the water level indicated there would be a strong harvest, taxes would be higher.”

Read more here

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Can never get tired of this

Conan Learns To Dance Cuban Rumba 

White & Black Doll Test & idiotic conclusions

I actually read a comment that insisted these children are "self-haters". I don't pity the children, cause children say stupid shit all the time. I pity the adults who come up with this sort of idiotic conclusions, because they're dumb as fuck & are likely to never change. The kiddies chose the paler dolls because it's easier to contrast detail from background. Sure, it has to do with the parents too, with the myths/stories they teach their children, and other exogenous factors such as television & interaction with peers - linking the appearance of others with their behavior & ideas. Daylight is clear. Night time is unclear/scary. Light is good. Shadow is bad. But my opinion is that the former is the main driver. To know for sure, it would be good to conduct this test in an all-black region in Africa (where black is the norm, and non-blacks are the rare exception) to see what doll the children pick.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

New Minimum Wage study finds no correlation with employment levels

Seven decades of historical data find no correlation between minimum wage increases & employment levels. You can download the pdf of the study here:
Also, see Nick Hanauer's comments about the study here.
Nick Hanauer is a billionaire venture capitalist who is in favor of the 15$ minimum wage, progressive taxation, government spending for public purpose, and is against trickle down economics.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016