Friday, March 27, 2009

Without comment

Women told: 'You have dishonoured your family, please kill yourself'

When Elif's father told her she had to kill herself in order to spare him from a prison sentence for her murder, she considered it long and hard. "I loved my father so much, I was ready to commit suicide for him even though I hadn't done anything wrong," the 18-year-old said. "But I just couldn't go through with it. I love life too much."

All Elif had done was simply decline the offer of an arranged marriage with an older man, telling her parents she wanted to continue her education. That act of disobedience was seen as bringing dishonour on her whole family – a crime punishable by death. "I managed to escape. When I was at school, a few girls I knew were killed by their families in the name of honour – one of them for simply receiving a text message from a boy," Elif said.

So-called "honour killings" in Turkey have reached record levels. According to government figures, there are more than 200 a year – half of all the murders committed in the country. Now, in a sinister twist, comes the emergence of "honour suicides". The growing phenomenon has been linked to reforms to Turkey's penal code in 2005. That introduced mandatory life sentences for honour killers, whereas in the past, killers could receive a reduced sentence claiming provocation. Soon after the law was passed, the numbers of female suicides started to rocket.

... read the rest in the Independent (UK) after the click.

My comment: No comment. Draw your own conclusions.

More Why You Believe What You Believe

Learning How to Think


Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff?

One explanation is that so-called experts turn out to be, in many situations, a stunningly poor source of expertise. There’s evidence that what matters in making a sound forecast or decision isn’t so much knowledge or experience as good judgment — or, to be more precise, the way a person’s mind works.

More on that in a moment. First, let’s acknowledge that even very smart people allow themselves to be buffaloed by an apparent “expert” on occasion.

The best example of the awe that an “expert” inspires is the “Dr. Fox effect.” It’s named for a pioneering series of psychology experiments in which an actor was paid to give a meaningless presentation to professional educators.

... read the rest in the New York Times after the click.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Matt Taibbi makes some sense

on The Rachel Maddow Show:

Well, first of all I'm obviously not an expert on any of this stuff but I think on this one point the logic here to me doesn't seem all that hard to follow. If these companies are too big to fail, they're too big to exist. In a capitalist society we can't have a situation where all you have to do to stay in business forever is get so big that whenever you screw up the government comes and bails you out.

That's the reason we had the trust busting and the anti-monopoly laws back in the day and I think that's the reason we have to make sure that these companies are manageable and if they are incompetent and irresponsible that we can just let them fail.

The Origins of Disaster or Those Who Don't Study History are Doomed to Repeat It.

November 5, 1999

Congress approved landmark legislation today that opens the door for a new era on Wall Street in which commercial banks, securities houses and insurers will find it easier and cheaper to enter one another's businesses.

The measure, considered by many the most important banking legislation in 66 years, was approved in the Senate by a vote of 90 to 8 and in the House tonight by 362 to 57. The bill will now be sent to the president, who is expected to sign it, aides said. It would become one of the most significant achievements this year by the White House and the Republicans leading the 106th Congress.

"Today Congress voted to update the rules that have governed financial services since the Great Depression and replace them with a system for the 21st century," Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers said. "This historic legislation will better enable American companies to compete in the new economy."

The decision to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 provoked dire warnings from a handful of dissenters that the deregulation of Wall Street would someday wreak havoc on the nation's financial system. The original idea behind Glass-Steagall was that separation between bankers and brokers would reduce the potential conflicts of interest that were thought to have contributed to the speculative stock frenzy before the Depression.

... read the rest in the New York Times archives.

My comment: It would appear that Republicans, in their rush to deregulate everything in sight, are not prone to studying history.