Saturday, August 29

40% of Somali & Ethiopian Women in Netherlands Genitally Mutilated

This was indeed shocking news. I quote:

THE HAGUE, 30/05/09 - Four out of ten Somali and Ethiopian women who give birth in the Netherlands have been genitally mutilated. This is relatively few, Health State Secretary Jet Bussemaker wrote to the Lower House on Friday.

The figures were recorded by research organisation TNO after questioning midwives. The number of cases of female circumcision is fairly low, since nine out of ten women in the countries of origin have been circumcised, Bussemaker reasoned.

To obtain a better picture of female circumcision, the state secretary previously announced that midwives would be registering this form of mutilation. They will also be trained in how to discuss circumcision with families.

I realise that the populace concerned is small, but the percentages are shocking. Criminal. And dont  think this is just Islam. Ethiopia is a Christian nation. Christ, what a mess. But there is hope over to the south of Europe. I quote:

Italy plans to launch a campaign to focus attention on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in a bid to stem its practice in the country, Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna said on Wednesday. Some 150 million women are victims of the practice world-wide, with an estimated 35-40 thousand cases in Italy by foreigners living in the country, said Carfagna who called FGM "torture, a barbaric action".

The government plans to run a series of ads on state-run television in a bid to convince parents to end the practice.It is also setting up a committee to deal with the problem, which Carfagna said is "an underestimated phenomenon". "I plan to use my ministry's funds to combat and prevent a practice which violates human rights," she told a news conference. The government has already earmarked some 3.5 million euros and plans to add another four million to back 21 projects set up to deal with FGM.

FGM, which is also known as female circumcision, covers a number of different practices, usually involving either removing the clitoris or sewing up the vagina. The most severe form, infibulation, entails both, and accounts for around 15% of all procedures. An estimated 150 million women around the world have undergone genital mutilation, while some 6,000 girls are mutilated every day, according to the London-based human rights organization Amnesty International.

It is practiced in at least 28 African countries, and is also common in some Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Yemen and the United Arab Emirates. Italy passed a law in January 2006 outlawing FGM. IT lays down jail terms of up to 12 years for those who carry out the procedure on adult women and up to 16 years if it is carried out on a minor or in exchange for money. Doctors caught carrying out FGM are banned from their profession for up to ten years. The law is applicable even if the woman is operated on abroad.

National Socialist Emails

I am a member of several libertarian and conservative lists here in the UK. And i frequently come across BNP members who infest these lists. I frequently wonder why is it that they tend to come into these groups and then I think i found the answer. These knuckle dragging neanderthals who believe in the white race, are happy with shooting immigrants and are basically incoherent in trying to define nationality or race, cannot actually have a conversation with each other. Every thing they see and talk is coloured through the eyes of immigration and race. I mean, their entire existence is tied up in that frame of mind. And the frequent protestations of being a patriot or wrapping themselves in the flag, appealing  to the military, getting into bed with fascists, referring to the images of wartime, hating jews. Pretty much the same. The massive conspiracy theories, the vague muttered imprecations towards the media and mainstream politics.

So it was funny when Little Green Footballs pointed to Wikileaks showed this list of private message :

US National Socialist Movement private emails until 15 Aug 2009 mail archives (chronological)

So like the ones which I read and chuckle. Poor sods, clowns, all of them. Read and giggle.

Friday, August 28

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs with a sense of humour

You normally dont associate tax people (or even bankers or even anybody who has anything to do with finance and figures) to have any sense of humour) but check out this letter by HMG’s tax chap. I wouldn't mind paying my taxes if they are accompanied with missives of this wonderful nature.

Dear Mr  Addison,
  I am writing to you to express  our thanks for your more than prompt reply to our latest  communication, and also to answer some of the points you raise. I will  address them, as ever, in order.

  Firstly, I must take issue with  your description of our last as a "begging letter". It might perhaps  more properly be referred to as a "tax demand". This is how we at the  Inland Revenue have always, for reasons of accuracy, traditionally  referred to such documents.

  Secondly, your frustration at  our adding to the "endless stream of crapulent whining and panhandling  vomited daily through the letterbox on to the doormat" has been noted.  However, whilst I have naturally not seen the other letters to which  you refer I would cautiously suggest that their being from "pauper  councils,  Lombardy  pirate banking houses and pissant  gas-mongerers" might indicate that your decision to "file them next to  the toilet in case of emergencies" is at best a little ill-advised. In  common with my own organisation, it is unlikely that the senders of  these letters do see you as a "lackwit bumpkin" or, come to that, a  "sodding charity". More likely they see you as a citizen of Great  Britain , with a responsibility to contribute to the upkeep of the  nation as a whole.

  Which brings me to my next  point. Whilst there may be some spirit of truth in your assertion that  the taxes you pay "go to shore up the canker-blighted, toppling folly  that is the Public Services", a moment's rudimentary calculation ought  to disabuse you of the notion that the government in any way expects  you to "stump up for the whole damned party" yourself. The estimates  you provide for the Chancellor's disbursement of the funds levied by  taxation, whilst colourful, are, in fairness, a little off the mark.  Less than you seem to imagine is spent on "junkets for Bunterish  lickspittles" and "dancing whores" whilst far more than you have  accounted for is allocated to, for example, "that box-ticking facade  of a university system."
  A couple of technical points  arising from direct queries:

  1. The reason we don't simply  write "Muggins"on the envelope has to do with the vagaries of the  postal system;
  2. You can rest assured that  "sucking the very marrow of those with nothing else to give" has never  been considered as a practice because even if the Personal Allowance  didn't render it irrelevant, the sheer medical logistics involved  would make it financially unviable.

I trust this has helped. In the  meantime, whilst I would not in any way wish to influence your  decision one way or the other, I ought to point out that even if you  did choose to "give the whole foul jamboree up and go and live  in  India " you would still owe us the  money.
  Please send it to us by  Friday.
  Yours  sincerely,
  H J Lee
  Customer  Relations

Death and Taxes, ancient history

What’s that saying? Only death and taxes are the only constants in this life, but also that taxes are the only one which constantly goes up.

As it so happens, one of the oldest complaints about taxation has been found. I quote:

Inscriptions revealing complaints about high taxes from 1,700 years ago have been found during the excavation of the ancient city of Rhodiapolis in Antalyàs Kumluca district, daily Today's Zaman reports. "In addition to many historical artefacts, we uncovered some relics concerning the social life of the people during the excavation", Nevzat Cevik, head of the archaeology department in Akdeniz University, said, adding that " we found a tablet written by a messenger describing that the people was complaining of high taxes; the tablet was sent to the emperor to request a discount". "

When we consider that people wanted sales tax and income tax rates to be lowered, we can infer that toward the A.D. third century the people of Rhodiapolis could not pay their taxes", the scientist said. Noting that the people of Rhodiapolis wanted Roman Emperor Septimius Severus to lower taxes, Kizgut declared that "The emperor gave the green light and promised the messenger that taxes would be lowered. Upon his return to Rhodiapolis, the messenger informed the leader with great joy and in his honor, an inscribed stele was erected in the agora"

more things change, more they remain the same. Perhaps we should send messengers to Gordon Brown asking to reduce the tax burden. Fat chance of that happening, watch us all turn into squeaking pips.

"That's my niece Diane, and she's going to Hell"

You couldn't make this up even if you wanted. This is an actual advertisement for a church.

Also check out the last line, God sends another plague of Muslim Airline Pilots our way. Welcome to Thomas Road Baptist Church.

Cleaning up the corrupt stinking mess in Nigeria

I am a firm believer that Africa no longer needs aid. What it needs is the belief of the outsiders that they can do it themselves. Frankly, we keep on pumping in money and they keep on stealing it. If giving money indeed was the solution, then it would have sorted out the damn continent 4 times over. Think about Nigeria, one of the most valuable resource owning countries in that continent, but it is now a byword for corruption. But still, some small steps are being taken. I quote from here:


Nigeria's special fraud police say they are preparing to act against business tycoons who have failed to pay back billions owed to banks. The move comes with the expiry of a deadline for those owing money to return it to the troubled banks.

The government was forced to rescue five banks and sack their entire leadership teams last week to save the banks from collapse. Some senior bankers are in custody but two chief executives are on the run.

Yes, chuck them into jail and demand performance. And yes, i speak as a banker. Naming and shaming them is not going to work, its not as if they have any honour really. They are thieves, pure and simple. I further quote from here:

The central bank has published a list of dozens of prominent Nigerian businessmen as debtors to the ailing banks.

The list includes tycoon Aliko Dangote, rated by US Forbes magazine as one of the world’s richest Africans with a net worth of around 3.3 billion dollars, as debtors to these banks.

Dangote, 52, who is also the new president of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), has denied managing the oil and gas company listed as owing Intercontinental Bank more than eight billion naira.

Central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi put the total loan portfolio of the five ailing banks - Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank - at 2.8 trillion naira (17.8 billion dollars).


1 in 6 households with nobody working in that household

Quite an interesting statistic, no? I quote:

The ONS also reported that the number of working-age people in so-called workless households jumped by 500,000 to 4.8 million in the year to June.

The workless household rate increased by 1.1 per cent to 16.9 per cent, the highest since 1999 and the biggest year-on-year increase since Labour came to power in 1997. The number of households with someone in work fell by 410,000 to 10.7 million, the figures revealed.

The workless household rate was highest for lone parents at 40.4 per cent, followed by one-person households at 30.1 per cent, with the worst figures recorded in the North East at 23.2 per cent. The lowest rate was in the East of England at 12.2 per cent. Figures showed that the biggest fall in the employment rate over the past year was for married fathers, down 2.1 per cent to 88.8 per cent.

Also see this. Two million people who can work have never ever worked in their life. Now imagine the drag on society with this kind of dead weight. I realise we are just coming out of one of the most difficult recessions in living memory, but bloody hell!

Wednesday, August 26

Argentina May Import Beef First Time as Herds Die

I would say that besides Kobe in Japan, perhaps the only other country at top of the best steak in the world is Argentina. It is absolutely brilliant, loved the place since my mum taught me about the pampas, the soft sweet grass and the huge herds of cows. So it was with disbelief that I read that Argentina may have to import its beef. I quote:

Argentina, the biggest beef- consuming nation, may resort to imports for the first time within two years as a drought kills cattle and export controls prompt ranchers to quit the business.
Pastures have dried up and forage prices gained so much that farmers are allowing livestock to die in the fields, said Arturo Llavallol, a director of Buenos Aires-based farm group The Rural Society. Ranchers are killing higher than usual numbers of breeding stock, compromising future output, he said.
The nation’s herd has dwindled 7 percent since 2006, when the government restricted beef exports to boost supplies in the local market, Llavallol said in a telephone interview from his farm in Saavedra, southwest Buenos Aires province. The country may need imports within a couple of years, he said.

Argentina is being ruined by basic economic incompetence. The ruling family is frankly stupid, starting from the debt crisis, then the export restrictions, then the very silly and clearly stupid grab for the pensions, this country, which was supposed to be the jewel of the world, has now slowly got completely buggered up. At the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina was one of the top 10 richest nation’s in the world. And now? between stupid left wing governments  and even worse bellicose right wing governments, they have totally mucked up the country. Read this lament.

And all this while the chances of getting a good beef steak are slowly reducing…

Interethnic marriages – how are the children impacted?

Quite an interesting question, no? And a partial answer is given here. I quote some interesting bits:

As interethnic marriages are becoming more common in immigrant countries research  on how these marriages affect the development of human capital of their children is growing. The findings are mixed. Chiswick and DebBurman (2004) and Ramakrishnan (2004) find that children from couples with one US born parent attain more years of education than children from couples with two foreign born parents.

The two studies differ in the importance of the gender of the US born parent. Chiswick and DebBurman (2004) find that having a US born father (+0.19 years) is more important than having a US born mother (+0.13 years), but according to Ramakrishnan (2004) having a US born mother (+0.26 years) is more important than having a US born father (+0.14 years). Furtado (2005) finds that having a US born mother even has a negative effect on the educational attainment of children. Children with a foreign born father and a US born mother have a higher high-school dropout rate than children from a foreign born mother and a US born father or two foreign born parents.

Besides this, the authors find that:

We find that children from marriages with native mothers have a higher educational attainment than children from ethnic homogeneous Moluccan couples or couples with a native father. In raising Moluccan children, mothers traditionally play a dominant role, and for native Dutch mothers it is easier to support their children in their educational career because they have more experience with and knowledge about the Dutch educational system and possibly also better language skills than Moluccan mothers from the first and second generation.

This was quite interesting. I never thought about it in this way at all. Always thought that there was a difference between the native born kids and foreign born kids, but as it seems, the impact of the parents is important. I have seen that in my own case as well. We missed out on many opportunities for our own kids because we did not know the in’s and out’s of the British educational system. For example, in hindsight, we should have worked much harder on getting our son into the grammar school stream and for that, we should have bought a house near the damn school. But we will learn from this for our little princess.

Monday, August 24

Proposing that polygamy returns

I did not know that Tunisia (besides Turkey), a Muslim country, had banned polygamy way back in 1957. It is actually quite an interesting social phenomena from two perspectives. The first is obviously from the religious perspective (in Islam, for example). Evidence of a patriarchal society, no doubt. I wonder what they would make of a situation like Draupadi, one of the demi-goddesses in Mahabharat, a mythological Hindu epic, who undertook polyandry, marriage of one woman to multiple husbands. Fall off the planet at the very idea, eh? Anyway, here’s an interesting article about the background of women’s rights in Tunisia.

But there is now a proposal to legalise polygamy again. And just read the comments on that site. I quote another site.

"An increase in the number of unmarried women and in a state of moral degeneration and excessive freedom favouring extra-marital relations," makes it necessary to "authorise polygamy", which is "permitted by Islam" and on which the prophet Mohammed "provided us a good example".

One of the supporters was Samira Laouati, a married woman according to whom the regulations adopted by former President Habib Bourguiba go against the will of Tunisian women. And she believes that the current law encourages moral decline and divorce. In Tunisia last year a record number of 9,127 divorces were recorded compared to 16,000 marriages. Among the main causes of divorce is domestic violence, followed by cultural and social differences. Among the least frequent causes are sterility, handicaps, loss of virginity before marriage, deceit, lack of trust, and jealousy. Abolishing the law that prohibits polygamy, in Laouatìs opinion, would contribute to "fighting against growing trends of arrogant women with too much freedom, who don't respect marriage or any other rules". Polygamy would put them "on the right path".

Interesting arguments, eh? Unfortunately, with the increase in ostensible piety in the world, i am willing to bet that it will get legalised in Tunisia sooner or later.

How not to use Powerpoint

Thanks, Dan :)

Loan Sharking in the UK


76.9% APR!!!!, go choke! but wait


1737% APR, that is totally amazing. Unbelievable! Took these photographs off the Metro newspaper. Liquidity is there, lending is there, just are you happy with the rates? Microlending anybody?