Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Laughing with Diamond and Silk - Lexington

Laughing with Diamond and Silk - Lexington
... the racial battle-lines Mr Trump has drawn leave no room for such niceties. In reality, African-Americans always vote in line with their interests, and a president who has equivocated on white supremacist violence naturally repels them. Fully 84% consider Mr Trump racist. That represents an American tragedy, a reaffirmation of racial-political divisions from which Diamond and Silk provide no comic relief. The joke is on anyone who thinks they do.

A couple of points from the quote above, the final para on the article linked below. 
"... the racial battle lines Mr Trump has drawn". Not sure how one can determine that Trump has drawn any battle lines unless you already accept that he is a racist. That might be self evident to many, bit not to me. His comments about Charlottesville were clearly of the incompetence ilk than motivated by racism. He thought there were people there, conservatives, who merely cared about the statues. And that's true. The Left thinks that the tiki-torch wielding Nazis, calling for death to Jews, were the only ones there. They weren't. They were a small minority who quite naturally garnered the most attention. 
"African-Americans always vote in line with their interests". Really? They voted Democrat which led to the greatest unintended bad consequence of a well intentioned policy ever. I'm talking of the welfare policies of the sixties. They led inter alia to an increase in single motherhood from about 10% in the sixties to about 75% today. Because single motherhood was rewarded with welfare. Studies show (...) that kids of single parents are less likely to be successful in life. African Americans tend to be culturally conservative: family and church oriented and so on. They ought to go back to voting along those lines. Then they'd also have some leverage with the Democrats, who now take their support for granted. 
"That represents and American tragedy". Curious wording that would have you think that African/Americans thinking Trump racist is the tragedy. But that's not it. You're supposed to assume, as the Economist does, that the very fact 84% of African Americans think him racist makes him racist.it doesn't. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Marx is horrible for the world -- there’s *nothing* right about him

Sadly marxists still abide, anti-West, anti-capitalism
I must be one of the very few of the gaggle commenting on Marx's 200th birthday who has actually spent time in a Marxist country.  I lived and worked in China in the seventies; it cured me of my undergraduate fascination with socialism.  When Deng Xiaoping said "it doesn't matter if it's a white cat or a black cat, as long as it catches mice, it's a good cat", he let loose the hounds on Marx, to mix the animal metaphors.  And that's what has made China successful -- to raise out of poverty over 500 million people.  That was capitalism not Marx.  Xi Jinping is lauding Marx, but that's more for the Party's legitimacy, not for his economic theories.  Which stink.
Yet he won't go away.
The New York Times continues its fascination with Communism, this time in an article titled "Happy Birthday, Karl Marx", which online adds "You Were Right".  It's by an associate professor in Seoul, Jason Barker, whose Wiki entry tells us he's a marxist and hangs out with the likes of Judith Butler, a notorious post-mo marxist theorits herself, and whose "writings" I put in scare quotes, because they're basically impenetrable.  The Times might have given us a warning about Barker's leanings.
Then there's The Economist, in an article "Rulers of the world: read Karl Marx".  This one is quite insidious, because they start off with all the horrors that Marx's theories have visited on the world.  But there's the inevitable "but", and on to lauding his "genius" in coming up with his theory of class struggle and oppression, which they reckon ought to be read even today, hence the headline.
Nonsense.
Marxism has been given a pretty fair run.  More than fair one might say. From Albania to Zaire, via Cuba, the Soviet Union, China and today's still marxist Venezuela and North Korea, not a single version of Marxism has worked.  Not one.
Why continue bashing one's head?  He's done for.  Or should be.
The ever facile penned Shapiro starts off his "Karl Marx, You Were Wrong", like this:
This week marks the birthday of one of history’s worst human beings, Karl Marx. Just because Marx’s philosophy would lead directly to the deaths of 100 million human beings over the course of a century, the imprisonment of tens of millions more in gulags and re-education camps from Russia to China to Vietnam to Cambodia to North Korea, and the oppression of hundreds of millions more hasn’t dissuaded those on the modern western left from embracing Marx’s bloody legacy. Realizing, however, that embracing Communism itself might alienate those who remember the Berlin Wall, today’s Marxists rally instead for identity politics. In the pages of the New York Times — the same newspaper that in the past two years has run opinion pieces endorsing Communism’s impact on female empowerment and female sexual activity and its inspirational effects on Americans — Kyung Hee University associate professor of philosophy Jason Barker celebrated Marx’s birthday, writing, “Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!”
A little more detail in David Horowitz's "Happy Birthday, Karl Marx, You Were Wrong -- And Worse", where he details his battles with the lefties on the New York Review of Books, an irredeemably leftist publication, but which can't see the obvious in front of its face, because of ideological blinders.
 Karl Marx was bad for the world. Karl Marx is bad from the world.  He should be ditched, dumped and discarded.  Why he's not leaves me bushed, buggered and bewildered.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Mo Salah of Liverpool Breaks Down Cultural Barriers, One Goal at a Time

U.K. and Europe hanging themselves by normalising Islamism
One man, the footballer Mo Salah, Liverpool's Egyptian striker, "embodies Islam's values". So we are told in the New York Times.
But the terrorists of ISIS, of al Qaeda, pf al Shabab, of Boko Haram, of the Taliban, these terrorists with their tens of thousands of devout followers, Korans in their kits... why these murderers have "nothing to do with Islam". Neither do the tens of millions Muslims who follow the teachings of sheik al-Qaradawi, who preaches the genocide of jews and the subjugation of infidels; no, they have been "misled", their thoughts "hijacked". 
Repeat after me: Islam is the "Religion of Peace". 
This New York Times article is a shocking example of the fallacy of generalising from anecdote. 
Note that Mo is being promoted by the Muslim Council of Britain a dodgy organisation with a history of Islamism. 
Further down the article there's mention of "hate crimes" against Muslims, as alleged by the Muslim lobby group Tell MAMA. Not mentioned is that this outfit was defunded by the U.K. government a few years ago for inflating hate crime figures. 
The article might also have mentioned, for context, that hate crimes against Jews remain higher in absolute terms than those against Muslims, and in proportionate terms many multiples of them. That's "whataboutery" I know, but surely relevant context. 
(By the way, the hate crime stats for Jews vs Muslims are true for both the United States and the U.K.) 
Then there's the whole issue of "islamophobia". This term should be dropped and the phrase "anti Muslim bigotry" used instead. Because there's no doubt that the likes of the MCB use "Islamophobia" to silence legitimate criticism of Islam as an idea. This is very different from bigotry against individual Muslims, which must surely be fought as should all bigotry against any marginalised group in society. 
And finally there's the issue of Mo Salah prostrating himself in prayer on the field. The crowd is hushed in respect.  But aren't there rules against this sort of thing? And remember in the "other" football, American, the mocking of Tim Tebow who used to kneel in prayer? More double standard. 
I'm afraid this article is another example of the poor and biased reporting of the New York Times
And the Times' tawdry history of normalising the march of Islamism. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Abe and Bibi's Tempest in a Shoe....

Some of the Tom Dixon shoe sculpture collection
This relates to the story that Japanese PM Abe was served "a dessert in a shoe", when he visited Israel. And this was said to be an enourmous gaffe, Bibi had "stepped his foot in it" and similar bad puns....  My email to a friend.

It wasn't  a shoe.  It was a metal sculpture of a shoe, by artist Tom Dixon, and rather nice they are too.  

WaPo, the JPost  and others reported the dessert was in an actual shoe, which would indeed have been odd and off-putting.  But a metal sculpture is no more a shoe than a sculpture of Churchill is the Bulldog himself.

The assertion that shoes are "despised" in Japan, the "lowliest" thing in Japanese culture, this being a "massive offence" to Japan?  I don't buy it.  That story was all down to two anonymous diplomats, who don't really seem to know their onions, let alone their footwear.  I just don't buy it, any more than I'd buy that the Chinese, or we, Jing and I, "despise" shoes because we too leave our shoes outside.  Jing Loooves her shoes!  Chinese women looove their shoes.  Japanese women looove their shoes (I'm sure!)

As you suggested the chef should have done, I did Google "Japan and shoes".  Once you get past all the (nonsense) articles about this latest #Shoegate, I can't find anything about Japanese "despising" shoes.   Sure heaps of stories about "Japanese shoe etiquette", the stuff we all know, about how you must leave your shoes outside. So do we here and Mainland.  But Chinese no more despise shoes than do westerners - or Israelis.  I'm sure it's the same with Japan. I can't find anything that would have alerted an alert chef to the alleged "fact" that the Japanese "despise" shoes. They leave shoes outside for the very practical reason that their homes have tatami mats, which shoes would destroy.  

Sure, a metal shoe was an odd choice for a dessert dish, even if it was a famous sculpture.  But it was an artistic piece and apparently Abe loved it. While the media were repeating the same story, all clearly taken from a single source, some wire service I guess, and all gonging around their echo chamber with the same lame puns, and hammering Israel and Netanyahu, Abe was blissfully unconcerned..

These anonymous diplomats shouting "offensive", "appalling" and "contemptible", had too much time on their hands. 

And obviously I do too…. so enough...

I hope in the meantime you've been able to see something of the Art of Japanese Life.  The carpentry, the calligraphy, the design, the architecture. This was a great BBC show.

Best to you both.
p / 

PS: This kerfuffle had the flavour of the recent hubbub in the U.S. over a young high school girl wearing a qipao to her graduation. Check it out at qipaogate….confected outrage at "cultural appropriation" in the U.S., while China thought it was just great...









Monday, 7 May 2018

How Trump stirred controversy in Nigeria - BBC News


I missed this when it happened last week: The Nigerian president in the U.S. and BBC making light of the massacre of Christians in Nigeria -- mainly because it was Trump! who said it.
And the Beebs taking every opportunity to bag Trump.
Really, the BBC tries hard and often manages a reasonable degree of neutrality.  
But this time, some young thing at the Beebs just couldn't keep their bias from showing….
Note how the BBC report downplays the killings of Christians, and makes an equivalence between the killing of Muslims and the killing of Christians.
According to the BBC, it's all just fracas' over land and goats.
It's no doubt some of that.  How could it not be when your wealth is land and goats. 
But on the Muslim side, it's mainly Boko Haram doing the killing, and they are quite clearly inspired by an ideology, and ideology known as Islam.
As for the equivalence of deaths on both sides?  Of course there have been Muslims killed.  Often minority Shia Muslims killed by majority Sunni Muslims.  And then some horrible cases of the army going on rampage and killing indiscriminately.
But the scorecard is heavily skewed: by far the most killed in Nigeria are Christians.  Just as in north Africa Christians have been literally decimated (and I mean that "literally" literally).
According to a report by the International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, there have been 16,000 Christians killed in Nigeria since 2015.  
And this is not a "genocide" according to the BBC?!
You don't have to take the word of the International Society.  There's also a Wikipedia entry "list of massacres in Nigeria".  (imagine living in a country where you can have such a Wiki entry!  We're so lucky to live in Hong Kong.  And all other folks in the developed west, ditto. We just have our first world problems...).  
Thanks to Clarion Project

LATER: let it be said re Trump's "shithole" comment -- first that it's not been determined that he did in fact use that word.  Second, an inconsistency on the Left, which says that we must let into our first world countries all who want to come from such countries because of the poor state they're in, i.e. essentially "shitholes", but gets upset when someone else -- especially Trump! -- states the same fact...

This will be a test of MSM


I'm calling it the "test of the Fifth".
BBC is saying this morning that if Trump is called to testify in front of Mueller, the independent Counsel, Trump may invoke "The Fifth", that is the Fifth Amendment right to silence to avoid self-incrimination.
On Fox News, however, they've had a stream of high-level lawyers saying no way will Trump invoke the Fifth. The most notable being Alan Dershowitz, Harvard professor and constitutional expert, who says that it won't happen because Mueller will offer immunity which invalidates the use of the Fifth. Attendance then becomes a perjury trap instead, for Trump, so he needs to stay away if at all possible.
If you watched only BBC and CNN you would have no idea of the counter-argument and would be led to believe that Trump is going to invoke the Fifth if called by Mueller.
So let's see what happens. It will be a good test of the Main Stream Media (MSM), which kind of self-identifies as the media of the Left. i.e. not Fox!

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Shiite Iraqi scholar Jawad Al-Khoei: ISIS violence is rooted in Islam; Christians were owners of land, Muslims their guests | JNS.org

Shiite Iraqi scholar Jawad Al-Khoei: ISIS violence is rooted in Islam; Christians were owners of land, Muslims their guests | JNS.org
Above is NOT a video, so don't click on it.  Go here to see it. 
... ISIS is deeply rooted in Islam and that "when [violence] dons the cloak of religion, it is a hundred times more evil."
If non-Muslims said that they'd be labelled islamophobic.  Especially for suggesting that ISIS has anything to do with Islam.  For the apologist narrative is the Islamic version of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy: ISIS (and all terrorism) is nothing to do with Islam.
But this is a Shi'ite cleric, Jawad who makes some other startling statements in the article below. Including that when Muslims first came to the Middle East they were "guests"'of Christians. True, but rarely grated by Muslim scholars.
https://www.jns.org/shiite-iraqi-scholar-jawad-al-khoei-isis-violence-is-rooted-in-islam-christians-were-the-owners-of-this-land-muslims-their-guests/

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump |The New York Times | Charles Noonan

The Post-Campaign Campaign of Donald Trump - The New York Times


This is really funny, from the New York Times.
I remember that bit of Trumpian theatre that Charles Noonan refers to, though at the time i was too startled to laugh. But it is laugh-out-loud funny. 
Talking of Trump, Charles Noonan says:
This evening, [at a rally in Pittsburgh] he was talking about Peggy Noonan, the conservative Wall Street Journal columnist. ("She's a Bushie!" an older man next to me yelled scornfully.) Noonan had apparently written something, or (more likely) said something on cable news, where she appears often as a pearl-necklaced avatar of political normalcy, about Trump's appearing inadequately presidential. "I'm very presidential!" Trump told us, with mock indignation. Then he stiffened in his suit and adopted a stentorian tone, like a fourth grader doing an impression of his school principal. "Laaaadies and gentlemen," he intoned, "thank you for being here tonight. Rick Saccone will be a great, great congressman. He will help me very much. He's a fine man, and Yong is a wonderful wife. I just want to tell you on behalf of the United States of America that we appreciate your service. And to all of the military out there, we respect you very much. Thank you. Thank you." He broke character for a second: "And then you go, 'God bless you, and God bless the United States of America, thank you very much.' " He turned and faced the V.I.P. guests in the riser behind him, and did a sort of rigid penguin walk.
The crowd whooped and laughed — not the cruel laughter you come to know at Trump rallies but real belly laughter, for what was a genuinely funny bit. Trump, who loves nothing more than being loved, kept penguin-walking, and everyone kept laughing. It took a few more seconds for the spectacular strangeness of the moment to settle in: We were watching a sitting American president imitating an American president. [my emphasis]
A bit later in the piece, Homans goes on to make the following point, despite which he still ends up hating Trump (whereas I would have thought being "radically post modern"
with no discernible difference between the private and public persona would count in Trump's favour). 
 I have never interviewed Trump, but people I know who have often remark on an uncanny element of the experience: the absence of any indication of an off-limits private self distinct from his public image. The phenomenon feels radically postmodern: a complete communion of the thing with its representation

Monday, 30 April 2018

Quite the best summary of the inanities of religions


I came across this ages ago, clipped and filed it, and forgot about it.  Just came across it in some housekeeping.  I think it's a wonderful summary... [Click to enlarge]


Pope Francis in the Wilderness | The New York Times | Jason Horowitz

The pope stands up for a blinkered view of Islam, while igorning the
plight of his flock in the middle east

From the New York Times today:

Five years ago, Pope Francis was elected to be an agent of change within a church shaken by scandals and the historic resignation of Benedict XVI. He quickly became a global force in geopolitics, setting the agenda on climate change and care for migrants. World leaders wanted to be near him. Even non-Catholics adored him. [So says the NYT]
Not this non-Catholic.  I consider him a crypto-Marxist and Islamopologist.  A few years ago, in response to the latest murderous Islamic atrocity, one of his own vicars butchered by an Islamic lunatic, and shortly after the Charlie Hebdo islamic atrocities, the pope said something along the lines of "if someone hits my mother i will hit him back".  With this he effectively excused grievance murder and murder of christians.  He has spent far more time excising Islam, than speaking in defence of far-flung catholics in the middle east.
The Gatestone Institute gets it right, from A.Z. Mohamed ("A Muslim born and raised in the Middle East" (!))
Pope Francis seems determined to disseminate a blatant misunderstanding -- even possibly a denial of what is often clearly emphasized in Islam. One wishes that he understood that his belief in God (Jesus), expressed in his prayer -- that can save us from evil, from our "hatred, selfishness, pride, greed, revenge, idolatry" -- is absolutely denied by Islam and Muslims.
Read it all here.

Michelle Wolf White House routine ignites backlash and defence of Sanders | The Guardian

Sarah Sanders, in blue, listens to Michelle Wolf.
Photograph: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters
This is about the WHCD held two nights ago in Washington.   There was furore over Michelle Wolf's set, especially her roasting of Sarah Sanders, WH Spokesperson. 
The furore is from both sides.  For e.g., I found this titbit  in the reliable leftie Guardian.
What caught my eye was this paragraph from Margaret Talev:
Margaret Talev, senior White House correspondent for Bloomberg, told CNN's Reliable Sources she "regretted" that the 15 minutes of Wolf's speech "are now defining four hours of what was a really wonderful, unifying night. And I don't want the cause of unity to be undercut. [my emphasis].
Now this is the nub of the problem with coverage of the White House.  It's not supposed to be "unity".  That means all reporters on the same side. Which they pretty much are: left to far left, and violently anti-Trump to TDS.  Whatever one's views of Trump — and mine are certainly not positive — there should surely be some voices from the conservative side.  We need diversity in views not just in race and gender.
Enough of media "unity"!  Leave that to the China's, the Russia's and the North Korea's of the world.
[Of course, the leftie Vulture loved it]

Grilling Adventures in Meatless Burgers | SCMP | Bernice Chan

Hong Kong chefs on challenge of selling vegan Impossible Burger to city's meat-lovers | South China Morning Post
This stuff tastes pretty much as awful as it looks.
Though I'm into it for my heart....(I'm a seven-stent man....)
If someone can work out how to make a meatless meat that really tastes like meat — as in, close your eyes, take a chomp, and, boy! that's a beaut burger! type of really-tastes-like-meat — they will change the world and make billions.
So far that's not the case. Having gone vegan for a couple of months (and still "basically" vegan) I can say there's nothing like meat.  Not Quorn, not Linda McCartney's line and seemingly not prof Pat Brown's Impossible Foods Co burger either... 
But he's trying, this ex Stanford professor, and he's worth a go. He's just opened up in Hong Kong with Impossible Foods' first restarurant outside the U.S.. 
Here is professor Brown with some scary news for carnivores:
He says the use of animals to produce food creates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the aeroplanes, boats, cars and trucks combined. Meat production uses more water and creates more water pollution than any other technology, and is the biggest driver of biodiversity loss: in the last five decades, 50 per cent of wild animals have disappeared.
Read it all here, free and no registration required. 

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Sexism in Islam – Aysha Akter



Interesting thoughts from Aysha Akter, a secular Muslim (perhaps ex-Muslim; it's not clear), Bangladesh-born British, mother of three, rising 40.  Her blog "Sexism in Islam".

LATER: I wanted a photo for this post so I went to Mr Google.  Started to type in "sexism in Islam" which is the name of the post I'm linking to by Aysha. 
Here's the interesting thing: I get as far as typing "sexism in I ..." and Google suggests "Israel". Israel! The best place in the Middle East for women. Continue on and add the "S" and it suggests "Sexism in the Isle of Dogs"!  A movie, which I've just seen, much enjoyed, but confess I hadn't been struck by sexism, though I can imagine how the fragile SJWs might find it. After all the female lead is a sexy bitch...  
Carry on to add the "L" and it *still* doesn't suggest "Islam" but the following "Is there sexism in Islam?"  Curious, I clicked on that and found that the articles linked on the first page (which is not as far as the vast majority of searchers go) are apologias: that is, articles denying there is any sexism in Islam!  
For those that doubt there's a leftist agenda at the likes of Google and Facebook, this is proof positive that there is in fact such bias, in this case to hold Islam innocent of any nastiness,
for fear of being labelled Islamophobic, presumably. And I'm guessing this would have to be done by humans not algorithms. 
Anyhoo in the end got the photo.... 

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

"Amy Chozick Exposes Hillary’s Groveling Press Corps" | National Review | Kyle Smith

I read an article by Amy Chozick in yesterday's International New York Times, the print edition, which I take daily.  I thought it a pretty amazing article, in that it was clear that the Times thought it would give a good insight, and sympathetic view, to the women covering Hillary's campaign, whereas it made me think how clearly biased they all were, all the press covering the campaign. More: the headline to her article yesterday, "They were never going to let me be president", reveals, yet again, how out of touch Hillary was and remains about the reasons for her loss.  It's everyone's fault but hers. In fact, Hill, you ran the worst campaign ever and should really have taken notice of those "deplorables" out there in the mid-west.
This article, by Kyle Smith in the National Review, takes apart Chozick's book, Chasing Hillary (on which Chozick's Times article yesterda was based).  He sums up the book as "might as well be called Worshipping Hillary".  

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Islam on Stornoway: Why the church should support Muslims' right to build mosques | Christian News on Christian Today


David Robertson, writing in Christian Today, sounds like a very lovely fellow and I'm sure he is.  He welcomes Muslims building a new mosque on his remote Island, which has to this day been dominated by the Free Church.
He ends his homily with these words:
The whole story is another reminder that the world is not as black and white as our soundbite culture portrays it. Thank the Lord that we live in a diverse and multi-coloured culture in which we still have freedom to preach the gospel to all.
That's all very fine and nice, and to be hoped for.  But what of this: in the US, five separate studies, including one by an imam, have revealed 80% of mosques to be infiltrated by extremists and extremist literature (here).  In the post immediately below, we have the Mayor of Brussels stating that every mosque in the European capital is controlled by Salafists (here).  
What's to stop the eventual takeover of the very nice mosque in Stornoway by the same radicals.  Why, nothing, for the radicals are the ones most motivated and relentless in their pursuit of Allah's order to spread Islam worldwide.  This is their religious passion and religious duty.  
Poor Father Robertson.  He may not live to see this happen in his lifetime, but likely his progeny will, and find they lose "the freedom to preach the gospel to all", for that's blasphemy in Sharia law.

Belgium: First Islamic State in Europe?

The Islam party of Belgium wants to introduce Sharia law

Well, Europe did this to itself. When the Muslim population is in the majority there will be nothing to stop the ISLAM party of Belgium doing what it wants, namely to install Sharia, to which all — Muslim and non-Muslims alike — will have to adhere.  This is not the Europe that we've known and not the Europe that most Europeans (still) want.  Just that their betters, the politicians and people on the Left, have brought it into Europe to show their openness and tolerance.
And when Sharia is installed, the Left will say "oh well, it's democracy, if the majority want it, so be it".  
I've worked in Sharia countries — Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi and Iran — and it's not pretty.
By the way, this also gives the lie to the Left which says that conservatives are hyperventilating when they share concern about Islamisation of Europe. "Bigotry" and "Xenophobia" and "Islamophobia" they say. 
From the summary:

  • The leaders of Belgium's ISLAM Party apparently want to turn Belgium into an Islamic State. They call it "Islamist democracy" and have set a target date: 2030.
  • "The program is confusingly simple: replace all the civil and penal codes with sharia law. Period". — French magazine Causeur.
  • "The European capital [Brussels] will be Muslim in twenty years". — Le Figaro.
LATER: There's news of the ISLAM party in Belgium in this report in Euronews, Islam Party stirs controversy ahead of Belgium election,  26th April.

Jewish Power at 70 Years | New York Times | Bret Stephens

Israelis celebrate 70th anniversary of their independence.  New York Times
Much of the discussion of Israel's 70th anniversary is critical.  Roger Cohen in the New York Times, for example, who seems to be wandering off the reservation at regular intervals lately.  And Amos Oz, Israel's most famous living author, talking to The Economist.  All talk about the iniquity of the "occupation" of the West Bank, and the need for a two-state solution.  Agreed, but how does this work?  How does Israel give land back when it will only lead to attacks on Israel's homeland.  As Gaza withdrawal proved.
As Bret Stephens says in the article below:
The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.
Read the whole article here or below the fold.

“Despairing on Earth Day? Read This” | New York Times | Richard Conniff

Opinion | Despairing on Earth Day? Read This - The New York Times
A view of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Asia is urbanising more quickly than
any other region in the world, and 64 per cent of Asia will be urban by 2050
Somewhere I'm sure I've written about the seemingly counter-intuitive fact that urbanisation is good for the environment. Mainly because city dwellers emit less carbon dioxide per capita (more concentrated transport). 
And, as described in this article, child mortality in cities is less than the country so people, in time, have fewer children. 
Mr. Walston sipped his beer and listed what he called "the four pillars" of conservation in the modern era — (1) a stabilized human population, (2) increasingly concentrated in urban areas, (3) able to escape extreme poverty, and (4) with a shared understanding of nature and the environment — "and all four are happening right now." He singled out the trend toward urbanization as the biggest driver of environmental progress, bigger perhaps than all the conservation efforts undertaken by governments and environmental groups alike.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Elderly in Hong Kong need helpers on hand, everyone must realise that

A helping hand for the elderly is a win for all
My letter to the editor of South China Morning Post was published today, a bit to my surprise because I hadn't sent it as a "letter to ed" just as a comment meant to be passed to Peter Kammerer.  Oh well, they printed it anyway....
Here's the text, which in the printed version was headlined "We must realise that our elderly need assistance":

Good to see your senior writer, Peter Kammerer, admit that he was wrong (“I was wrong: Hong Kong does need domestic helpers for elderly care”, April 9). He now makes exactly the points I made in my letter published on December 7 (“Elderly need helpers as well as more clinics”).
But I do wonder: why does it take a personal experience – his elderly mother needing household care – to change his mind? Why could he not have empathised with others in the situation he now finds himself in, and done so before the fact? 
It seems that too many people are ready to denounce others without thinking. In his case, let’s not forget that he called it “laughable” that people should want to employ domestic helpers to help with elderly relatives. 
Still, it’s good that he has come around and had the integrity to publish in full the eating of his humble pie.
Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Feminists don’t care about the gender gap in ballet. Why should we care about the one in tech?

Men just don’t dig ballet as much as doing nerdy stuff...
This relates to the efforts of tech companies to get more gender equality, being that men are about 70-90% of staff in most silicon valley companies.  And if you write about what it might be that stops women going into STEM careers, it must be discrimination and bigotry.  You’re not allowed to consider other possible causes, like maybe, women just don’t want to go into STEM as much as men do. What, if anything, do ballet and tech have in common? The obvious answer is that both fields show highly disproportionate gender distributions.  That you’re not allowed to even raise this possibility was proved by the James Damore case a while back, where he was fired for writing a thoughtful memo on the subject.  He was pilloried, slimed and fired.
Here is Madison Breshears writing on the subject, in the Washington Examiner:
Less acknowledged but no less relevant is this uncomfortable commonality: Both are industries where it pays to be in the sexual minority. I know, because I was a ballet dancer for 16 years.
Another thing: in countries with the most equal gender policies like Scandinavia, women choose STEM at a lower rate than in places like the US where they are agonising over the lack of women in STEM. And what about men in nursing? Or in ballet, as in this article linked below.