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There are many advantages to being officially "disadvantaged."
"At stake in the unconventional class struggle is access to millions of government jobs and free college places allocated to lower castes under the 'reservation system' of affirmative action to counter ingrained discrimination.
"Up to 50 per cent of such positions are ring-fenced for Dalits (previously known as the 'untouchables'), tribal peoples and social groupings designated together as 'other backward classes' (OBCs), whose ranks include Mr Modi, a tea-seller's son....
"By contrast, the Patels - the family name of the Patider caste - are traditional landholders who over the years gained important roles in politics and commerce in Gujarat, a major trading hub.
"They are also one of the country's best-known castes internationally, with a major diaspora across North America and Britain where their numbers include Priti Patel, MP, the environment minister.
"But as the cost of education soars and land-holdings have been divided into smaller parcels, a new generation of Patels claim that they are the ones suffering discrimination by their exclusion from jobs and college places set aside for lower castes."
"Left-wing Jews live, work, and socialize with left-wing non-Jews; and they believe that they are -- to their great regret -- identified with the Jewish state in the eyes of fellow leftists.... But with Israel's Jews repeatedly electing conservative governments, American Jews on the left believe that they must make it as clear as possible that they in no way support a right-wing Israel. Their moral self-esteem needs it and their left-wing credentials need it....
"The Left lives in John Lennon's song "Imagine." Thus, the Left imagines that if Israel completely withdrew from the West Bank and allowed a Palestinian state to be created now, it would be completely unlike Gaza and completely unlike Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Libya; it would be a peaceful Arab Muslim island in the midst of the cruel sea of Arab Muslim countries that surrounds it."
In his book Republican Party Reptile, P. J. O'Rourke recounts the 1986 "snap election" in the Philippines between incumbent Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino, the widow of his murdered rival. O'Rourke spotlights the fecklessness of the American observers, particularly preening Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and Indiana Senator Dick Lugar.(Via Ace of Spades HQ.)
MORE: Neo-neocon calls John Kerry a cargo-cult Secretary of State: "He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.... He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough."
STILL MORE: Boston political columnist Howie Carr on John F. Kerry's trademark phrase, "Do You Know Who I Am?"
"Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in thirteen U. S. states.
"To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic....
"The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality."
Some good news from the Telegraph's international business editor Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: America is supplying nearly three-quarters of its energy needs, up from half a decade ago. Wage inflation in China is encouraging manufacturing to come back home as the cost gap closes. A caution: "The switch in advantage to the US is relative. It does not imply a healthy US recovery. The global depression will grind on as much of the Western world tightens fiscal policy and slowly purges debt, and as China deflates its credit bubble." But the advantages are real: "It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia."
Mapping survey results on a two-axis graph: Traditional vs. Secular-Rational and Survival vs. Self-Expression. There's an interesting Anglosphere cluster (US, UK, Australia, Canada, NZ, Ireland) straddling the Traditional vs. Secular-Rational line but well in the direction of Self-Expression over Survival. (Via Ace of Spades HQ overnight thread.)
Interactive HTML5 map. Click a country and see the top 10 sources for immigrants and the top 10 destinations for emigrants. Migrants are defined as people born in one country now residing in another, so these numbers are cumulative.
A searchable database of two centuries' worth of speeches, debates, and reports in the British House of Commons and House of Lords.
There's a bill in the British Parliament that would require independent counselling prior to abortion. "At the moment, abortion providers like BPAS and Marie Stopes offer counselling to women, but they are paid only when the termination is carried out." Nadine Dorries MP, a sponsor of the bill, says, "Abortion has become a factory-efficient process that denies women the right to independent, professional counselling. Many women who are given the opportunity to talk through their situation in a calm environment cease to panic and begin to consider other options. It is every woman's right to be given the choice of access to professional help at the time of a crisis pregnancy."
25 years ago: Remembering the IRA terrorist attack on the Conservative Party conference in Brighton