race and crime and poverty and television


Watching television you would think that black ghettos in the big cities are the poorest and most dangerous parts of America. Well, it is not quite that simple.

In 2007 the four precincts in New York City with the worst rates of major crimes were these:

  • Bed-Stuy
  • East Harlem
  • Midtown South (42nd to 34th Street)
  • Lower East Side

Only Bed-Stuy is mainly black. East Harlem is Hispanic, Midtown South is white and the Lower East Side is Asian and Hispanic.

True, taken as a whole the black and Hispanic parts of the city have a higher crime rate than the white and Asian parts. But each part of the city is different. You cannot just go by race or even poverty or even the two together. For example:

  • The middle of Harlem, which is mainly black, is safer than Midtown Manhattan, which is mainly white – and far richer.

View original post 408 more words

We were tricked into converting to Islam, claim Christian villagers in remote Sabah distric



The small, white, nondescript wooden Protestant Church in Sabah (PCS) church in the Dusun village of Layung Maliau, in Sabah’s remote Pitas district, was again packed for its Sunday service yesterday.

It has been filled to the brim since the first Sunday of 2014.

But what was strange in this revival of faith in this dirt poor village of 100 people is that a third of the worshippers are “Muslims” – or are supposed to be.

“They think they had converted us (to Islam). They are wrong. We are still Christians and our faith in God has not changed,” housewife Lenney Masangal said, explaining the presence of “Muslims” at the church.

The 41-year-old mother of three was one of 33 people from the village who claimed that they were tricked into converting into Islam for a mere RM100 on New Year’s day.

They were part of a group of about 64 people, including children, from three villages in Pitas – Kampung Layung Maliau, Dowokon and Sosop – who had allegedly been converted.

Their trouble had apparently started on New Year’s Eve.

A fellow villager, on returning from Pitas town, called everyone to his house to announce the “good news” that “some people from Kuala Lumpur” are giving them financial assistance.

“We all went to his house to hear how we could receive the financial assistance,” farmer Maison Bilu said.

When told that the amount would be RM800 per person, Maison was beyond excited.

The 44-year-old lost all sense of reasoning as he – there are seven of them in his family – was only thinking of how much he would be getting.

“Nobody asked who were these people giving us the financial assistance. We were only told ‘people from Kuala Lumpur’. We didn’t even ask the reason they are giving us this money,” Maison said.

“Everyone just wanted the money. That’s all.”

Getting RM800 was like winning the lottery for the villagers who depended on subsistence farming to survive.

Maison plants tapioca, vegetables and maize to feed his family.

Like everybody else in the village, he does not plant cash crop.

The village is still without electricity and running water.

Those who could afford it have generators to light up their houses and power the all-important television sets.

To get to the village, one will first have to take a two-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu to Kota Marudu.

From Kota Marudu, its another two-hour drive up one of the state’s “dog’s ears” to Sungai Penipak, a major river in Pitas.

From the river, it’s another long and exhausting walk of an hour or so on the dirt road left over by the company that used to harvest timber in the area.

The road is strewn with fist-sized boulders taken from the Penipak river and typical of logging roads, many sections are steep.

When it rains, the road is a slippery quagmire. When it’s dry, it’s dusty.

It is so remote that every one of their elected representatives in the last 50 years had never set foot in the village.

Neither had Muslim missionaries.


“We have no income of any kind. That RM800 is a lot more than BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia). Everybody was understandably excited,” Maison said.

“To get it was also easy. We just have to give our name and MyKad number to that neighbour of ours. No questions asked.

“However, we were told we have to go to Pitas town hall the next day (New Year’s day) to receive the cash.”

So early the next day, the 33 villagers excitedly trudged down the dirt road for the 3km New Year walk to the river.

Once they crossed the river via a suspension bridge, three cars were waiting to take them to the town hall.

“When we reached the hall, we were told to go to the ‘masjid’ (mosque) instead,” Maison said.

“At the mosque, we were all treated to refreshments and then they asked for our MyKad. We were then asked to sign a form. I don’t know what the form was as I could not read or write. No one explained to us what the form was.

“All of us were illiterates. I never went to school and neither did my wife,” he said of his wife Nafsiah Momin.

“So I put my finger print on the form.”

What baffled Maison was that the person who helped him put his finger print on the form did not take the form from him.

“He gave me a large envelope and inside the envelope were several smaller, coloured envelopes.

“I did not immediately open them to check what was inside as we were then told to stand in a line across the room.

“A man then asked us to recite some words after him. I didn’t understand a word he said as the words were all foreign to me.

“At the end of it, the man told us that we have converted to Islam and we are now all Muslims.

“I was shocked. I quickly dragged my wife and children out of the mosque to ask ourselves what was going on,” Maison said.

He said when he later opened the smaller envelopes, he found RM100 in the yellow envelopes and RM50 in the green envelopes.

It was only later that he found out that the RM100 were for adults and the RM50 for children.

The form that Maison still had with him was later passed to a church elder who informed him that it was a consent form and he had consented to be converted to Islam.

To 41 year-old Jusman Masid, the whole episode made him feel sad and cheated.

“Yes, RM800 is a very large sum of money to me. I felt very happy to think that I was going to get such financial assistance.

“But only to find out later that I had been deceived for RM100 and covertly converted, I really felt cheated.”

Jusman’s wife Lenny said the so-called conversion meant nothing to all of them.

“We are still Christians. We still go to church every Sunday and the church has been packed since this incident.”

After more than two weeks of mental agony, Lenny said she felt “happier” now as Christian non-governmental organisations in the state had engaged a lawyer to seek legal redress and see how the villagers could get out of their religious predicament.

“I had never thought of being a Muslim and never want to be one.”

The villagers, led by the neighbour who told them of the assistance, Makadan Masabu, 54, had lodged a police report over the alleged covert conversion.

They urged police to investigate their claim of covert conversion so that they not only retain their faith as Christians but to warn others who might be similarly tricked. – January 20, 2014.






Hollywood’s audience using yahoo sports app to make memes with racist slurs

Hey, Yahoo! Great job on the new sports app. That “loop” feature is all sorts of meme-making fun. It’s just too bad you didn’t quite account for the fact that a lot of your users are complete assholes, like the racist piece of shit who created the image above and shared it on the app Saturday night. (I’ve blocked out the kids’ faces.)

Allow me to explain. Yahoo! Sports recently introduced its newly redesigned mobile app, including a “Loop” feature which allows users to create, customize and share GIFs from real time sports footage.



A brief history of circumcision


BY Jacqueline Hooman

As you read this, you may be sitting to breakfast eating your morning Cornflakes.  But have you ever stopped to think about the man behind the cereal?  Born in 1852, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, of Cornflakes fame, was a nineteenth century puritan.  His ideals about health and hygiene are some of the most oppressive to women and men alike.  He attained his medical degree in 1875 and was hired by the Adventist Church as a Health Reformer.  Among many controversial practices, one of the most highly debated treatments recommended by Kellogg was circumcision of males.

Kellogg recommended male circumcision as a cure for masturbation, impure thoughts, and sexual desires.  He is quoted as saying, “A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision… The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases.” It was important that the boys not be infantile, so as to be mature enough to understand the “punishment”.  His remedy for females was, “…the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement, and preventing the recurrence of the practice in those whose will-power has become so weakened that the patient is unable to exercise entire self-control.”

The circumcision techniques performed by Kellogg and colleagues are practiced the same way today. However, modern circumcisions are performed on infants as opposed to older children or teens.  But the method remains the same.  The male is strapped down or restrained, his penis is clamped, crushed, and the foreskin is sliced away from his body.

Many may argue that modern circumcision is an effective way to prevent infections or diseases.  But it is no more effective now than it was in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The procedure remains the same while the reasons for it continue to evolve. It was once recommended to cure everything from epilepsy to blindness.

The concept of circumcision is almost as old as recorded history. There are hieroglyphics of Ancient Egyptians performing circumcisions. It is even mentioned in the Bible and other religious texts. Circumcision thousands of years ago was a vastly different procedure than the one practiced today. In Biblical times, and previous to them, circumcisions involved either a prick of the foreskin to draw blood, or a small slice of the skin. Little to no tissue was removed.  Alternatively, modern circumcisions remove up to half of the penile skin, along with more than a dozen immune, protective, and sexual functions, as well as twenty thousand highly sensitive nerve endings found nowhere else on the human body.

Even in this modern world of medicine, antibiotics, doctors, and hospitals, circumcisions are still being performed as preventative medicine. The fact remains that less than 1% of intact males will ever need to be medically circumcised. The male prepuce (foreskin) is fused to the glans (head) in infancy in childhood. Its sole purpose is to keep out dirt and bacteria, thus preventing infections. There is no other healthy body part, on males or females, which is legally allowed to be amputated without immediate medical need. Parents cannot authorize, or consent to, appendix removal at birth on the chance that it may become infected later in life. Nor can they request that a male child have his breast buds amputated at birth as prevention for breast cancer, of which he is more likely to die than penile cancer.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.” (Section 15-1.) While females are protected from even a prick of their foreskin, males continue to be subjected to ancient barbaric practices with no medical or legal basis. The Canadian Medical Association’s Code Of Ethics maintains that medical personnel have a duty to “consider first the well-being of the patient” and “refuse to participate in or support practices that violate basic human rights.”

Furthermore, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons deems that for consent to be valid it must be “related to treatment, informed, voluntary, not be obtained through fraud or misrepresentation.” In Layman’s terms, the Physician is obligated to inform the patient of all potential risks associated with a procedure, along with the risks of not performing said procedure.  But infants are incapable of giving consent.  In the instance of proxy consent (parental consent) to treatment, the O.C.P.S. states, “A physician must provide the substitute decision-maker with the information that would otherwise have been given to the patient to enable him or her to make an informed decision as to consent.”  (18.) and that “A physician must consider whether the substitute decision-maker is complying with the principles set out in the HCCA. If a physician is of the view that the substitute decision-maker is not acting in accordance with the HCCA, he or she can call the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.”  In other words, doctors are not allowed to amputate healthy, functional body parts just because the parents request them to do so.

The rights of the parent end when they infringe upon the rights of the child.

So why are circumcisions still being performed if they violate the law and medical ethics?  One word: money.  As per The Human Tissue Act which states, “A person shall not buy, sell or otherwise deal in, directly or indirectly, for a valuable consideration, tissue for a transplant or a body or part of a body, other than blood or a blood constituent for therapeutic purposes, medical education or scientific research” it is illegal to sell human tissues.  They must be donated with written and informed consent.  Consider the appalling fact that forcibly amputated foreskins are (illegally) sold to cosmetic and pharmaceutical companies to make everything from skin grafts to anti-aging skin cream, and can fetch up to a whopping $100,000 each in sales and subsequent profits.  There is money to be made, hand over fist.  A prime example would be an enthusiastic public endorsement by Oprah Winfrey of a skin moisturizer by SkinMedica.  Its not-so-secret ingredient?  Foreskin.  And the fibroblasts are not hard to come by, if one knows where to look.  Anyone with a credit card can buy them online.  There is also a market for foreskin fibroblasts with uses in skin grafting and cosmetic testing.  Circumcision is a billion-dollar-a-year industry.  It is a business, nothing more.


More religiously conservative Protestants? More divorce, study finds

By Emily Alpert ReyesJanuary 17, 2014, 11:32 a.m.

Divorce is higher among religiously conservative Protestants – and even drives up divorce rates for other people living around them, a new study finds.

The study, slated to be published in the American Journal of Sociology, tackles the “puzzling paradox” of why divorce is more common in religiously conservative “red” states. If religious conservatives believe firmly in the value of marriage, why is divorce especially high in places like Alabama and Arkansas?

To figure that out, researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Iowa analyzed county divorce statistics against information from an earlier study of religious congregations. They categorized Protestant denominations that believe the Bible is literally true as “conservative Protestants.”

Researchers discovered that higher divorce rates among conservative Protestants were tied to earlier marriages and childbearing – factors known to ramp up divorce. Starting families earlier tends to stop young adults from pursuing more education and depresses their wages, putting more strain on marriages, University of Texas at Austin professor Jennifer Glass said.

But the study went a step further: Glass and another researcher also discovered that people living in areas with lots of conservative Protestants were at higher risk of getting divorced, even if they weren’t conservative Protestants themselves.

County by county, for every 1% increase in the share of conservative Protestants compared with mainline Protestants, the divorce rate increased 0.02%, the study found. Glass argued that community institutions in such areas might encourage early marriage, affecting divorce rates for everyone who lives there.

“Pharmacies might not give out emergency contraception. Schools might only teach abstinence education,” Glass added. On top of that, “if you live in a marriage market where everybody marries young, you postpone marriage at your own risk. The best catches … are going to go first.”

The study also found that it was not poverty nor higher rates of marriage, on the whole, that were driving up divorce in “red” counties, as others had theorized.

“It’s surprising,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. “In some contexts in America today, religion is a buffer against divorce. But in the conservative Protestant context, this paper is showing us that it’s not.”

Wilcox added that the study also showed that more “secularism” – people not adhering to any religious tradition – was also linked to higher rates of divorce.

The nonprofit Council on Contemporary Families, where Glass is a senior scholar, provided a map to illustrate how divorce rates and populations of conservative Protestants overlap. “Young people of every religious belief — or none — are influenced by cultural climate,” it wrote in an announcement on the study.