Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday Post

Just in time for the week-end...

It turns out that people really do want uncovered faces during citizenship ceremonies:

The niqab debate is raging in Ottawa.

Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair say the Conservative government is simply fear-mongering.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the “overwhelming majority” of Canadians, including moderate Muslims, support the Conservative government’s opposition to face veils at citizenship ceremonies.  Some new polls suggest he might be right. ...

Stephen Harper also called the niqab “anti-woman” in the House of Commons on Tuesday.  His comments gave rise to the derisive hashtag #DressCodePM on twitter.  But what do Canadians think?

This same poll found that a plurality of Torontonians agree the niqab is a symbol of oppression46% agree it oppresses women, whereas 25% disagree.  Among those who identify as ‘Muslim and Middle Eastern,’ 25% agree it oppresses women, and 26% disagree. 

It gets better:

Even results from the CBC’s Power and Politics’ completely unscientific ballot box question found that overwhelmingly, a whopping 73% of Canadians believe the niqab is an insult to the dignity of women. ...
So much for pathetic political ploys and socio-historical revisionism.


ISIS restricts people fleeing from Mosul:

Freedom from the Islamic State group comes at a steep price, as one newly wedded couple recently discovered. Eager to live a normal life, away from the harsh dominion of the militants’ self-styled caliphate, the young pair is searching for ways to bypass the extremists’ newly-implemented departure taxes and escape the IS-held city of Mosul. ...

Fearing the city might simply empty of civilians, or that fleeing residents may join the fight against them, the Islamic State extremists are imposing tough measures to prevent people from leaving their territory.

Several residents, who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone on condition of anonymity to ensure their safety, said anyone seeking to leave must submit the title for their family home or car – if the vehicle is worth more than $20,000 – to be granted permission to leave for two weeks. If they fail to return within that period, their property will be confiscated.

Once one arrives at the conclusion that the UN is a toothless organisation that actually helps Russia and China, then Russia's helping North Korea with its nuclear weapons program seems less an affront and more of a foregone conclusion:

Under Section 104(a) of the NKSEA, the Russian institute concerned would be subject to mandatory asset blocking, and possibly to criminal prosecution leading to the forfeiture of its U.S.-based assets. Unless, of course, the institute was unwise enough to have kept its funds in Euros or (may God help them) Rubles. In which case, the question would shift to which bank the Institute uses.

The POE stops short of concluding that Russia is in violation, but says it will continue to investigate. The POE is also investigating that recent report that Russia invited North Korean representatives to attend a weapons trade fair. All in all, it’s a promising candidacy for the Axis of Evil.

Stick to recipes, Buzz Feed:

In 23 states, the school districts with the most poor students spend less money per student than districts with the lowest level of poor students, creating stark funding gaps, according to data released today by the Education Department.

In Pennsylvania, the department said, the gap is particularly large: The wealthiest districts spend 30% more per student than their counterparts with large numbers of poor students. In Vermont, poor school districts spend 18% less on their students than the wealthiest districts.

On a local level, the gap between rich and poor districts happens in part because school districts in wealthier areas receive more money from taxes. State budgets are often unable to fully make up the difference by funneling extra money into poor areas.

Yes, about that:

The fewer taxes there are, the less anything can be done with them. Simple math.

Secondly, Pennsylvania and Vermont (blue or leaning towards the Democrats) have lower SAT scores than states that spend marginally lower or higher on education. South Korea and Finland spend less per student yet yield better test scores. If education was simply a matter of money, than South Korea and Finland should score lower than the US. So why don't they? Perhaps one should ask what work the students, the parents and the teachers put in rather than assume money is the cure-all.


An Indian bride walked out of her wedding ceremony after the groom failed to solve a simple math problem, police said Friday.

The bride tested the groom on his math skills and when he got the sum wrong, she walked out.
The question she asked: How much is 15 plus six?

His reply: 17.

The incident took place late Wednesday in Rasoolabad village near the industrial town of Kanpur in northern Uttar Pradesh state, local police officer Rakesh Kumar said Friday.

The groom's family tried persuading the bride to return, but she refused. She said the groom had misled them about his education.

"The groom's family kept us in the dark about his poor education," said Mohar Singh, the bride's father. "Even a first grader can answer this."

Local police mediated between the families and both sides returned all the gifts and jewelry that had been exchanged before the wedding, Kumar said.

When I read this:

Laura MacKeigan recently discovered a piece of jewellery on her walk home from work. At an intersection on Portland Street in Dartmouth, she looked down to make sure her footing was OK, but spotted something that caught her eye.

“I saw this circular thing in the ice and kind of started kicking at it and eventually what appeared was a ring,” she said.

MacKeigan hopes someone will come forward to claim it and she will have the owner describe it to her before she hands it over.

Goldsmith Glenn Fawcett says the value of the cubic zirconium ring lies in sentimentality.

I think of this:

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