There is precious little courage on display among any of the Swedish political parties or the mainstream media. They are slaves to political correctness and I have a sneaking suspicion that many state agencies act primarily out of the fear of being politically incorrect. And, I observe, cowardice is very much in play when actions are subordinated to fears.
The Schools Inspectorate has approved gender segregation of sport and health classes at a Stockholm Muslim School .
Official complaints were made against the school claiming that gender segregation risked the permanent subordination of women.
“Boys and girls should receive an equal teaching, an equal education. The school argues that if the girls will go along with the boys so many people will avoid participating in physical education that it will not be an equivalent education”, said Frederica Brickman, head of the complaints investigation at the Schools Inspectorate.
“We also heard from the school that the training actually given in the different groups was similar, which means that we could not see that this segregation did not comply with school statutes”
It sounds like rationalisation with a dose of cowardice. An abdication of responsibility I think. But even the teachers’ organisations are equally fearful and quite anxious to be politically correct.
At Al-Azhar school in Stockholm girls and boys are taught separately for sports and health studies. The school refers to students of Muslim background and have got the green light from the Schools Inspectorate. While the girls have physical education the boys have math and vice versa. Segregated physical education is part of the Al-Azhar school’s Muslim profile, as well as its prayer room and its pork-free school meals.
The boys are taught by male sports teachers. About 350 girls receive their education from two female teachers.
I am afraid the Schools Inspectorate in Sweden has little courage. It does surprise – and disappoint – me though, that the fear of being seen as politically incorrect is sufficient for the Schools Inspectorate to pander to a Muslim school and approve gender segregation.
Sweden is now multiethnic and that is irreversible. That should and could be a strength. But pandering to the deeply flawed dogma of multiculturalism can only lead to a splintered and fractured society.
The two Indian medal winners surely deserve all the celebration and adulation they are now receiving. They have overcome corruption and incompetence and indifference that is endemic of the state government and sports organisation in every sport except cricket. To participate in the Olympics is itself a battle won for individual athletes.
But 2 medals (one silver and one bronze) from a population of 1.2 billion is a shameful indictment of the organisation and administration of sports.
The difference between India and China is stark.
Sports Ministers in every State are pathetic. Sporting associations are riddled with incompetence and nepotism and corruption.
I don’t suppose that either is (yet?) the “Chosen of God”. If God is female or a Republican or a Democrat the result is a foregone conclusion. If God is a female Republican then She has a dilemma. If God is a feminist She may abstain from this election.
Hillary Clinton wins if God is female (but not a Republican) If the one true God is Allah, Trump is immediately disqualified, but so is Hillary for being female. If the one true God is Jehovah, He could choose Trump. Donald Trump wins by default if God is a Republican Goddess. He also wins with a Vengeful God. A Compassionate or a Loving or a Caring God has little choice but to abstain. A God for the Meek would also have to abstain. A God of Power would favour Trump while a God of Intrigue would plump for Hillary. A Goddess of Wealth (a Laxmi) would need to decide whether Clinton’s gender was sufficient to offset Trump’s wealth advantage. (If the Clinton Foundation is taken into account, Laxmi would have to choose Clinton). A God of War might well choose Clinton as the most likely to prolong death and destruction in the Middle East. Brahma and Shiva might have reservations about Trump carrying their banners but a Durga could see Hillary Clinton as an acolyte.
If God is black then Clinton wins in the reflected shadow of Barack Obama. If God is a ruddy pink then Trump wins by a landslide. Freyja is the Goddess associated with love, sex, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. A Freyja supremacy would speak overwhelmingly for Clinton (with reservations for the sex component). A Crusading God would charge Trump with winning back Constantinople and Jerusalem. Zeus (Jupiter) and his ability to win games of chance would identify himself with Trump. Hera (Juno) might have some difficulty identifying with Hillary.
In the short term the winner will impact the wealth and misery and the deaths of many. For true believers the winner – whoever it is – must have been, and will be, the Chosen One. It is not possible for the winner not to be the Chosen One. It is equally unthinkable for God to have chosen wrong.
It could be that God does not much care who wins.
But in the long term, it does not really matter whether it is Donald Clinton or Hillary Trump who wins.
Four electric motors that can produce a combined 738 horsepower. Mercedes says that will be enough to get the car to 62 mph from a standstill in under 4 seconds. The motors are backed by an 80 kWh battery that the company says can propel the car up to 200 miles. Perhaps more interesting than its range is the fact that the Mercedes-Maybach 6 can pick up a charge worth 62 miles in just 5 minutes, assuming you’ve got the right charger.
You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?
The UN introduced cholera to Haiti which has killed some 10,000 (and perhaps up to 30,000). This was apparent over 5 years ago.
It is not just UN incompetence – mistakes happen – which increases my level of bile. It is partly because the UN actions amounted to gross negligence and could have been prevented with trivial amounts of money. It is the knee-jerk denial of responsibility and – always – the claim of immunity (just in case they are found to be responsible). It applies as well to cholera in Haiti as to the sexual exploitation of poor African children by UN troops. And Ban Ki Moon – may his name be forever exalted – has been the Denier-In-Chief. There ought to be a public dismissal of the irresponsible incompetents. But that will never happen.
The UN and its agencies has more than its fair share of incompetents. Many countries appoint UN officials as a political reward. That gives us incompetent doctors, engineers, economists and administrators in many key positions, who are there either as a sinecure and/or a political reward. Of course these are just a few “bad apples”, but when they are bad they are horrid. That’s bad enough but what is obscene is that they are immune from any consequences of their incompetence.
I would have thought that these highly-paid, privileged and protected officials, particularly in such institutions (UN, EU, EC, WB, IMF, WHO, ADB …..), rather than being granted immunity, should be held to much higher standards of performance and accountability than any other bureaucrats.
A special rapporteur has slammed the UN in a confidential report to the UN. The epidemic “would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.” The United Nations’ Haiti cholera policy “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.”
For the first time since a cholera epidemic believed to be imported by United Nations peacekeepers began killing thousands of Haitians nearly six years ago, the office of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged that the United Nations played a role in the initial outbreak and that a “significant new set of U.N. actions” will be needed to respond to the crisis.
The deputy spokesman for the secretary general, Farhan Haq, said in an email this week that “over the past year, the U.N. has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its own involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.” He added that a “new response will be presented publicly within the next two months, once it has been fully elaborated, agreed with the Haitian authorities and discussed with member states.”
The statement comes on the heels of a confidential report sent to Mr. Ban by a longtime United Nations adviser on Aug. 8. Written by Philip Alston, a New York University law professor who serves as one of a few dozen experts, known as special rapporteurs, who advise the organization on human rights issues, the draft language stated plainly that the epidemic “would not have broken out but for the actions of the United Nations.”
The secretary general’s acknowledgment, by contrast, stopped short of saying that the United Nations specifically caused the epidemic. Nor does it indicate a change in the organization’s legal position that it is absolutely immune from legal actions, including a federal lawsuit brought in the United States on behalf of cholera victims seeking billions in damages stemming from the Haiti crisis.
But it represents a significant shift after more than five years of high-level denial of any involvement or responsibility of the United Nations in the outbreak, which has killed at least 10,000 people and sickened hundreds of thousands. Cholera victims suffer from dehydration caused by severe diarrhea or vomiting. ….
Special rapporteurs’ reports are technically independent guidance, which the United Nations can accept or reject. United Nations officials have until the end of this week to respond to the report, which will then go through revisions, but the statement suggests a new receptivity to its criticism.
In the 19-page report, obtained from an official who had access to it, Mr. Alston took issue with the United Nations’ public handling of the outbreak, which was first documented in mid-October 2010, shortly after people living along the Meille River began dying from the disease. …….
….. Mr. Alston wrote that the United Nations’ Haiti cholera policy “is morally unconscionable, legally indefensible and politically self-defeating.”He added, “It is also entirely unnecessary.”The organization’s continuing denial and refusal to make reparations to the victims, he argued, “upholds a double standard according to which the U.N. insists that member states respect human rights, while rejecting any such responsibility for itself.”
He said, “It provides highly combustible fuel for those who claim that U.N. peacekeeping operations trample on the rights of those being protected, and it undermines both the U.N.’s overall credibility and the integrity of the Office of the Secretary-General.”
Every year after 12th August it is crayfish party time (kräftfest, literally crayfish feast) in Sweden.
sweden: Crayfish have been eaten in Sweden since the 1500s. For a long while, only the aristocracy enjoyed these delicacies, as popular suspicion of shellfish was widespread. Originally, crayfish meat was used for sausage, ragout, patties or puddings.
In the mid-1800s, people started eating crayfish as they are eaten today. The crayfish feast or crayfish supper in the month of August spread through the middle classes. In the 1900s, crayfish became a national delicacy and people in all sectors of society began celebrating the occasion. The price of crayfish fell as a result of imports from Turkey and elsewhere. The crayfish feast, at which people gather to eat, drink and be merry, is a typically Swedish festivity marking the end of the summer.
I attended my first crayfish party of the season yesterday – and very enjoyable it was – but not because of the crayfish.
I find crayfish bland. It is a strange animal without the delicacy of shrimps or prawns and without the strength of lobsters. It is a lot of very fiddly work for very little meat. The predominant taste is of dill (which is not my favourite herb). Nearly every crustacean I have ever eaten is superior in taste to crayfish – shrimp, prawns, crabs, soft-shelled crabs …. . But it is one particular custom, a behaviour, which makes the crayfish party such a blast.
But the real secret of the crayfish party is that one must wash down every crayfish with a snaps (schnapps). One is expected to burst into song. Naturally every song must be accompanied by a skål, and the songs get shorter and more frequent as the night wears on. The bread and cheese and Västerbottenpaj, also usually available, takes care of hunger. It also provides for some absorption of the alcohol.
I try to hold with traditions. I tried to respond properly to every skål. A shortage of glasses meant that I even had to pour some of my snaps away since we were going to finish with whiskey. (Fortunately I had my my coffee available to pour the snaps away.) But since I don’t much care for the taste of crayfish, I only had eight last night!
The Brazilian public is failing. It has no apparent understanding of the celebration of endeavour that the Olympics is supposed to be. They have little concept of “fair play”. The booing of competitors by the Brazilian public is a real stain on the Rio Olympics. They booed some teams at the opening ceremony. They booed the Swedish women’s football team last night when they beat Brazil on penalties. They booed Matt Kuchar in the golf tournament.
They booed at every event. They booed athletes, cyclists, boxers, swimmers – and any opponent of a Brazilian competitor in any sport.
Maybe the Olympics have cost too much. Maybe the handling of the green diving pool was proof of incompetence. No doubt the Olympics as an organisation is endemically corrupt. Retroactive penalties for alleged doping in the 2008 games is childish. Russian doping may be widespread but there is no justification for collective punishment. But the audience also has standards to meet.
The Olympics should be about endeavour and not just results.
But the Brazilian public have been contemptuous about endeavour. Booing a runner who came last in her heat as she struggled across the finish line after achieving the best time of her career was beyond the pale.
I have been to Brazil many times and the hospitality and friendliness is out of this world. Notwithstanding the street crime in Rio and Sao Paolo which is nasty and brutish. But this Brazilian public has proven to be immature, with little appreciation of “fair play” and have not lived up to my expectations. Every Russian participant was booed. They even booed the French pole vaulter because he was beaten to gold by a Brazilian. The Brazilian public shamed themselves.
They have not been an audience deserving of the Olympics.
Ultimately it is the consumer who pays for ads. I strongly dislike being forced to “consume” unsolicited advertisements. I resent TV channels and their commercial breaks and the inane, predatory advertising I am compelled to watch. Though, I note that these days I only partly watch TV programs – upto the first commercial break – after which I surf away. Sometimes – but not always – I return to complete watching some program. I have no alternative to suggest but the business models based on advertising are fundamentally flawed. They all rely on “forcing” a large number of uninterested viewers or readers to “consume” ads they don’t want to be exposed to by dangling “free content” as the bait.
It is a myth to think that a person forced to “consume” unsolicited ads is not also paying a price. My contention is that the “free” content is never actually free. It is paid for by the “psychological stress and suffering” the ad causes to the non-consumer. Effectively I pay for the “free” content on a site by having to suffer the slings and arrows of their rubbishy ads for things and services I will never buy. I pay in time and stress. I use “Adblocker”. Some sites get upset and don’t wish to grant me access. That’s OK. It’s a mutually acceptable parting of ways. There are a very few sites whose content is so good that I am willing to turn off my adblocker to put up with their intrusions into my personal space and consciousness. The really good sites are those where I am willing to pay a subscription – and there are only a very few of those.
So, in the battle between Facebook and Adblocker, I am firmly in the Adblocker camp. And I am perfectly aware that Adblocker’s business model, which is to “blackmail” advertisers into paying to be whitelisted, is morally equivalent and just as low as the advertisers bombarding non-consumers with unsolicited advertising.
The MIT Technology Review writes:
Facebook Can’t Win Against Ad Blockers, and Here’s the Proof
Facebook can’t win the war it started on ad blockers last week.
So say Princeton assistant professor Arvind Narayanan and undergraduate Grant Storey, who have created an experimental ad “highlighter” for the Chrome browser to prove it. When you have Facebook Ad Highlighter installed, ads in the News Feed are grayed out and written over with the words “THIS IS AN AD.”
Facebook announced that it was taking measures to prevent ad blockers from working on Tuesday last week. On Thursday the largest ad blocker out there, Adblock Plus, informed users of a simple tweak to their settings that would defeat Facebook’s blocker blockade.
The ad blockers in use today work by looking at the HTML code that tells your Web browser how to render a page and where to get the images and other files embedded into it. Facebook’s initial move against ad blockers removed clues in its HTML that gave away which parts of a page were ad content.
The Princeton duo’s ad highlighter works differently. It looks at the parts of the Web page that are visible to humans. Facebook Ad Highlighter simply looks for and blocks any posts with a giveaway “Sponsored” tag. It appears to be quite effective. Facebook must clearly label ads to stay within Federal Trade Commission rules on transparency and its own commitments to its users.
Narayanan concludes in his post that Facebook’s anti-ad-blocking campaign is doomed, at least if it continues in the current vein of acting as if the social network can somehow neutralize ad blockers completely.
Narayanan’s blogpost is here:
Can Facebook really make ads unblockable?
Facebook announced two days ago that it would make its ads indistinguishable from regular posts, and hence impossible to block. But within hours, the developers of Adblock Plus released an update which enabled the tool to continue blocking Facebook ads. The ball is now back in Facebook’s court. So far, all it’s done is issue a rather petulant statement. The burning question is this: can Facebook really make ads indistinguishable from content? Who ultimately has the upper hand in the ad blocking wars?
There are two reasons — one technical, one legal — why we don’t think Facebook will succeed in making its ads unblockable, if a user really wants to block them.
The technical reason is that the web is an open platform. When you visit facebook.com, Facebook’s server sends your browser the page content along with instructions on how to render them on the screen, but it is entirely up to your browser to follow those instructions. The browser ultimately acts on behalf of the user, and gives you — through extensions — an extraordinary degree of control over its behavior, and in particular, over what gets displayed on the screen. This is what enables the ecosystem of ad-blocking and tracker-blocking extensions to exist, along with extensions for customizing web pages in variousotherinterestingways.
I wish there was a business model which would save me from these pernicious ads.
I got into a discussion/argument a few days ago about how the health services available were dependent upon wealth and about the need for “equality”. The motion was that “everybody should be equally entitled to the best care available”. But I couldn’t quite get my point across that the search for “equality of treatment” was itself based on a fundamental inequality. The fact that some people were sick and some were not, irrespective of wealth, was the underlying inequality. Provision of health services was, inherently, the unequal provision of resources to some (the sick) and therefore, the denial of those resources to others (the healthy). An unequal allocation of resources (more to the sick, less to the healthy) was being used to correct for the underlying inequality. It was “affirmative action” to help the sick. Admirable no doubt, but not an exercise of “equality”. In fact it was a manifestation of “unequal treatment” in the name of correcting a perceived “inequality”. All forms of “reservations” and “affirmative action” use discrimination against some to try and correct for some other perceived disadvantage of others. Campaigns for “equality” are nearly always about meting out unequal treatment to some to compensate for a perceived disadvantage in others.
They are all exercises in inequality rather than a pursuit of equality.
Concepts of equality are not real. They are merely “feel-good” excuses, a panacea for perceived injustices and a stick to beat political opponents with. All the various “forms” of equality are mirages. Absolute equality – of any kind – is a convenient myth. You cannot have both diversity and equality. “Different but equal” is a fine catch phrase but is a contradiction in terms. Difference IS unequal.
Justice and equality are quite different things. Justice demands inequality.
(I note in passing that “freedoms”, like equalities, are also convenient myths. The so called four fundamental freedoms (of speech, of worship, from want and from fear) are political nonsense. In virtually every human society “freedom of speech” is actually nothing more than “freedom of allowed speech”. “Freedom of my worship” has become the “freedom to impose my worship” and is the cause of more atrocities and barbarism than any other. Freedom from want denies the fundamental driver of human development – to want. Freedom from fear is an empty platitude. Humans are capable of feeling fear because it, like pain, is a necessary requirement for survival. Elimination of fear or pain would require genetic manipulation and that would also eliminate happiness and pleasure.)
“We are all born equal” – No we are not (and thank goodness for that). We each have our unique genetic make-ups (our natures). That, in turn constrains what any one of us is capable of physically or cognitively. Our environment (nurture) then determines how we behave. The very concept of being unique individuals precludes equality.
“Equality of Opportunity” – This makes for fine political theatre but is meaningless. “Opportunity” is not a scalar quantity. It is vector which needs direction. Opportunity, for what? I would have liked to run faster than Usain Bolt but I just wasn’t given the “equal opportunity”! Of course for the purposes of “equality” I would be entitled to an 85 m head-start (90 m might be better). Watching the Olympics it occurs to me that for true equality a handicap system is needed to ensure that everybody wins. It would be totally unjust, but it would be equal.
“Gender equality” – This is politically very correct but has two parts. There are those fighting to ensure just treatment for women and that is wholly admirable. But there are also other idiots who believe the realities of gender difference can be denied. Femininity is denied in the name of feminism.
“Equality before the law” is another nonsense phrase. The point of law and courts is to make a judgement based on actual behaviour against some “standard” (the law). What is meant, of course, is that different people not be treated differently for the same behaviour. That the rich man with a good lawyer not be treated preferentially. Yet, we also ask our judges to do exactly that. Juveniles or the mentally ill are treated differently. Past behaviour influences the penalty (or reward) for present behaviour.
“Racial equality” – This phrase is also fatally tainted by the politically correct view that “races” don’t exit. Racial difference exists and is real. The “long distance running gene” is real and is more prevalent among East Africans. The “high altitude gene” is real and and is more prevalent among Tibetans. Skin colour genes are real, as are those for the shape of our eyes. Again, “just treatment” is wrongly presented as “equal treatment”.
Yesterday the women’s 10,000 m world record was broken by Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia (a fantastic run). The runners all started at the same time (equality). The finish was completely unequal with almost two laps between the winner and the last to finish. Ayana’s unequal advantages (nature and nurture) took her to the finish almost half a lap ahead of her nearest rival. For true “equality”, she should have had a handicap. With proper “affirmative action” maybe all the runners could have finished at the same time. But that would have been unjust. (Why is there no campaign for “gender equality” in the Olympics 10,000 m? I suppose for the same reason that flyweight boxers are not required to fight against the heavyweights.) The Olympics is a celebration of inequality.
The fundamental truth is that what is just is all about being unequal. Justness consists of “getting what is deserved”. The loose use of “equality” actually moves us away from what is just. We need to dump the deification of equality and focus on what is just.