POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH ARCHIVE
The creeping dictatorship of the Left...
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30 April, 2006
RUSSIA OR ENGLAND?
Illegal to criticize the Prime Minister??
A Tory activist who wore a jacket with an offensive slogan about Tony Blair was told to take it off or face arrest. Julia Gobert had been handing out fliers at Earl's Court Tube station, west London, on Tuesday morning, when she was approached by two officers. She was told to remove it or face questioning after a complaint was made, said Tory councillor Barry Phelps.
Labour said it was in bad taste, Greens applauded the sentiment, not the words, and the Lib Dems have yet to comment. Councillor Phelps, who was with Ms Gobert that morning, told the BBC News website: "One Labour gentleman complained to the station staff and so two British Transport Police came along and were clearly embarrassed. "They said a member of the public complained and unless she desisted she will have to be taken in for questioning. "I said to the officer: 'We are not in the business of making life difficult for you - Miss Gobert will take the top off'. "It's not what I would have chosen to wear but there is no doubt that it captured the public mood."
A British Transport Police spokesman said: "People are of course free to wear what they like, but if a police officer receives a complaint about offensive language, they are bound to act upon the complaint." The Public Order Act 1986 prevents the display of words or signs that could cause offence.
THE BRITISH NANNY STATE GETS MORE ABSURD BY THE DAY
Nothing could be easier than easement. You just sit there, flicking through The Sun, checking that the bathroom door is locked and waiting for nature to do its business. Nanny society though we are, the mature adult does not expect to be told how to eat or to breathe. Up in Dundee, however, the local NHS trust has issued an instruction book on how to do the other thing that all species do; in our case, usually once a day.
Potty training is a near-universal experience of early childhood in civilised societies. That NHS Tayside feels obliged to issue a four-page leaflet entitled Good Defecation Dynamics, complete with a diagram, suggests there may be a gaping cultural black hole in a well-populated part of eastern Scotland. Still, let us not fall into the trap of typical Edinburgh nose-in-the-air superiority; we are always ready to learn, from the bottom up. The advice is sound; while sitting on the throne, it counsels, don’t forget to breathe. And, in a hint rarely taught to two-year-olds, it is apparently a good idea to keep your mouth open.
No reason is given for this; perhaps it is to guard against a potentially damaging build-up of pressure that might blow off one or other end of the digestive tract. No recent cases of any such accident have been reported in Tayside, possibly because the population reaches for the prunes before matters reach such a head. But what matters most is posture: not quite balancing a book on your head, as though you were at modelling school, but at least sitting upright. “Do not slump down but keep the normal curve in your back. Keep your mouth open as you bulge and widen,” the booklet says. “You should aim to do this every time you open your bowels.”
Have you ever, while sitting there in silent contemplation, thought about your feet? No, we thought not, but NHS Tayside has. “When you sit on the toilet make sure your feet are well supported; you may need to use a small footstool.” This cannot apply to the young, whose next stage after the potty is to sit on the real thing with little legs swinging in the air while a yellow labrador puppy steals the toilet roll.
Even though they probably don’t know the meaning of “defecation” in Dundee, preferring a more Anglo-Saxon term pronounced in the Scottish way to rhyme with “bright”, the leaflet has been distributed to clinics and GPs’ surgeries in the region. A spokeswoman for NHS Tayside turned the other cheek to accusations that the leaflet was a waste of money and would be better employed hanging on a nail behind the bathroom door. “One in three people suffers from bowel and bladder dysfunction, and this can be extremely debilitating and distressing for individuals,” she said. “These patient information leaflets contain advice for those people who suffer from this condition, and are based on national guidance from the Association for Continence Advice.” The cost of producing the leaflet, she added, had been minimal.
By the strange vagaries of the internet, the text of the leaflet has appeared on a website in Poland, a country of fine peasant customs that should have no need of such advice and where they would instantly dump it
Australian Catholics prepare for fight on homosexual adoption
A law banning gay and lesbian couples from adopting children will be reviewed by an inquiry into NSW adoption legislation. The Minister for Community Services, Reba Meagher, said individual homosexuals could adopt under current laws but the review would consider proposals to remove a ban on same-sex couples. In the past five years similar bans have been overturned in Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. "This is an area of government policy that generates emotion on both sides of the debate," she said. "The review process is a fair way to canvass those views and look at the issue in a systematic way." Ms Meagher said she did not want to pre-empt the review's findings by expressing her opinion on same-sex adoptions.
The Catholic Church is likely to staunchly resist any attempt to endorse gay adoption. The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, told the Herald this week that children had a right to a "mother and father". Dr Pell said the church would present the review with "sociological findings" on children who grew up in marriages, de facto heterosexual relationships and same-sex partnerships. He said there was "significant evidence about the benefits of marriage" over same-sex partnerships. Dr Pell said he could "never anticipate" the church's welfare and adoption agency, Centacare, working to place children with same-sex couples.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, also opposes adoptions by same-sex couples. The NSW Government overhauled adoption laws in 2000 but rejected a recommendation by the NSW Law Reform Commission to extend adoption rights to gay couples. The resulting Adoption Act 2000 requires the minister to report to Parliament within six years on whether the law fulfils its aim of serving the best interests of children. The Department of Community Services is conducting the review and will report to Ms Meagher by November. "We want to place as many vulnerable children as possible into homes that are loving and stable," Ms Meagher said. "That is why our policy does not preclude unmarried people in same-sex relationships from adopting if they are able to care for a child and provide a safe, secure and loving environment."
The NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby is preparing a submission to the inquiry, saying current laws cause uncertainty for families with same-sex parents and prevent homosexual step-parents from making legal decisions about their children's medical condition or inheritance. "The act needs to be modernised and reflect the fact that gays and lesbians are parents and there is no difference between our families and other families in society," said a spokesman, David Scamell.
LEGO NOW INCORRECT IN BRITAIN
A barmy building society has stopped using Lego to keep customers’ children amused — because it says the toy is a health hazard. Bosses at The Saffron Walden, Herts & Essex Building Society told all 13 branches to remove the building bricks. One shocked mum who uses a branch at Ware, Herts, said: “My son always plays with the Lego and went straight for where the toys usually are — but they had been cleared away. “A cashier said they got rid of them all because of health and safety regulations. “I was incensed. The world has gone crackers. I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing.” A building society source said: “They’re worried about somebody tripping over a piece of Lego. It’s just risk assessment gone mad.” The society agreed the Lego had been removed for “health and safety”.
29 April, 2006
THE WONDERS OF DIVERSITY IN MODERN-DAY BRITAIN
A Good Samaritan has spoken of his disgust after a dying man was heckled by yobs. Travis Marshall, 42, tried in vain to save an elderly driver who had a heart attack at the wheel and careered into a bus. But as the victim took his last breath, sick youths in tracksuits and hoods clashed with police and yelled: "He is just a white man."
Mr Marshall, who performed emergency CPR on the man in St James's Road, Bermondsey, last Friday, said: "It was sickening. Here you had a dying man, people trying to save him and police trying to clear the scene. "Then there were these black youths and all they wanted to do was fight the cops. They were saying, `You think I am scared of you because of your uniform'. "I told them to have some respect because a man was dying and they shouted, `Who cares-it's just a white man'."
Mr Marshall told how a black woman next to him pleaded with cops to arrest the youths. He said: "These people should be ashamed to walk the streets. "I would try to help someone whatever their colour. "You can't print what I really think of them. They are scum-scum of the earth."
Mr Marshall was driving for a quiet weekend with sister Terry Choeb at her home in Peckham when he arrived at the crash scene at 4.20pm. He said: "People were just standing around. The man was bleeding from the mouth and was hardly breathing." He talked to the ambulance service on a mobile while checking the man's pulse, but when it started to fade he made the decision to lift him from his car and lie him on the road. Mr Marshall, a former private ambulance driver, then tried to give the kiss of life. Paramedics arrived 10 minutes later but could not save him. Mr Marshall, formerly of Peckham Rye but now from Canterbury, Kent, said: "It is sad, but all you can do is your best."
SHEER BRITISH BARMINESS
Rail passengers are used to bizarre excuses for delays or overcrowding, but even the longest-suffering commuter will be stunned by the latest reason to be given by South West Trains. It is having to withdraw a modern fleet from one of its busiest routes because the letters on information screens are 3mm too small to comply with disability regulations.
The digital displays in each carriage, which show the stations that the train will stop at, are supposed to have letters at least 35mm high. The 28 trains in the Juniper fleet, introduced only seven years ago by SWT, have 32mm-high lettering.
The Government's disability advisers have persuaded ministers that the trains must be mothballed, even though thousands of passengers on the Reading to Waterloo route may have to cram on to shorter trains as a result. The Disabled Persons' Transport Advisory Committee argued that the size of the letters could make it difficult for rail users with sight impairments or learning difficulties to distinguish the words. The committee recommended that SWT's application for a longer exemption from the regulations be rejected even though the train's audio system automatically announces each station in advance.
SWT's existing exemption runs out on July 31 and it had sought to extend it by six months while it introduced a new fleet. The company wrote to the Department for Transport in January expressing concern that, because of teething problems with new trains, it may be left with too few carriages in peak periods if the Junipers were withdrawn in July. Passengers who normally catch eight-carriage trains might find only four, already crowded, carriages turning up at their station. John Horncastle, SWT's mobility and inclusion manager, wrote: "Justifying the withdrawal of these trains on the basis of 3mm shortfall in the letter height on the internal information systems might be difficult, especially as this shortfall would have no discernible impact on journey quality for the majority of passengers."
SWT said that it would cost 750,000 pounds to install new screens. It was unwilling to pay this to extend the trains' service by six months before returning them to Porterbrook, the leasing company that owns them.
The Junipers were ordered in 1997, a year before the existing rules on letter size were agreed.
Roger Ford, technical editor of Modern Railways, said: "It is political correctness gone mad and will cause problems for disabled people because they suffer more on overcrowded trains than ordinary passengers." But Leonard Cheshire, the disabled charity, welcomed the DfT's decision, saying that it had been concerned by "the tendency to grant exemptions too lightly". Guy Parckar, the charity's parliamentary officer, said: "Passengers should blame overcrowding on SWT for not carrying out the work they said they were going to. Three millimetres might sound tiny but the rules are there for a reason. Disabled people face great difficulties in accessing the rail network and the regulations must be adhered to if the situation is to improve."
Porterbrook described the decision as ludicrous. SWT said that it hoped to avoid any shortage of trains by the early introduction of new carriages.
Paternity fraud under legal test in Australia
Comment by Janet Albrechtsen:
Some issues are so fraught with emotion and hurt, they don't bear thinking about. It's tempting to put paternity fraud in that basket. But science is putting pressure on the law to confront this vexed issue. When a woman dupes a man into believing he is the father of a child she conceived with another man, increasingly, DNA tests end up delivering the shattering news. A father loses a child he thought was his, one he raised, loved and cared for as his own. A child loses a father and a family collapses. When that happens, what is the law to do?
The High Court is confronting that issue right now. Liam and Meredith Magill were married in April 1988. A son was born in April 1989. Unknown to her husband, a few months later Meredith began an affair with a man, having unprotected sex until early 1995. In July 1990 a second son was born. Then, the next year, a daughter. After separating, Meredith admitted to Liam her concerns over paternity. A few years later she agreed to DNA tests. Liam learned that the two younger children were not his.
He was left devastated, suffered chronic depression and was unable to work. He sued Meredith for the tort of deceit, claiming financial compensation for his pain and suffering, but not for money spent on the upbringing and maintenance of the children.
While the Victorian County Court found that Meredith had deceived Liam when she nominated him as the father on birth registration notices, that was overturned last year by the Victorian Court of Appeal. The High Court will now decide whether the tort of deceit will hold Meredith accountable for her actions.
There are few hints as to which way the High Court will go. But few will be surprised to hear that at the hearing a few weeks back, Justice Michael Kirby pointed to international law as the guiding light. He cited Article 3 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and said it means that the starting point in any matter that comes before the court must be determining what is in the best interests of the child.
Up in the rarefied atmosphere of international law, it's a neat sounding slogan. But down in the trenches, trying to apply it to the specifics of a case like this is another matter. Kirby suggests that the "best interests of the child" test applies for the simple reason that this case involves the depletion of family income: were Liam Magill to win, Meredith Magill would be forced to pay. It's a novel argument. Taken to its logical conclusion, it would prevent any legal action against any person who also happens to be a parent. After all, any legal payout drains the family income to the detriment of a child.
Note that Kirby's focus on the best interests of the child did not extend to a child knowing their biological father. Given that adoption laws are now premised on this rationale, one might think it should also apply here.
In any event, the High Court will need to probe a little deeper than the fine sounding but vacuous provisions of international law. And the question is simple: should the law of deceit apply where a mother and wife has deceived a husband into believing he is the father of a child? The court need not mess with the law of deceit. The principles are clear. Only the facts are new because science - DNA testing - is now revealing the deceit.
Those who claim there is a public policy argument in letting sleeping dogs lie assume that preventing litigation of this kind will make for happy families. It will do no such thing. It will only encourage women to perpetrate fraud in an age when science can uncover the truth. And there is no turning science back. Legal disputes over paternity fraud do not create the unhappiness. They are merely the aftermath of mothers deceiving men.
As in every other sphere of life, the only way to encourage responsibility is to make people accountable for their actions. The law has an important role in sending powerful messages capable of shaping behaviour in the future. Far from creating more unhappiness, legal sanctions for paternity fraud will, in the long run, encourage mothers to be honest about paternity.
That is why, if the High Court decides that the laws of deceit do not apply, in effect allowing women to engage in paternity fraud at will, parliament will need to step in. As the Australian Medical Association has said, this is a time bomb ready to explode; the AMA suggests that in Australia there are 200,000 families where the "presumptive father is not the biological father".
Unfortunately some feminists refuse to acknowledge the reality of paternity fraud. Following the Victorian Court of Appeal's decision against Liam Magill, the former Victorian convener of the Women's Electoral Lobby, Lisa Solomon, announced: "Women are moral, reasonable, rational beings. It would be a very rare instance where a woman would name someone who wasn't the father of the child."
For Solomon, it was about vindictive men using DNA tests to avoid paying for children. Get the picture? Women, good. Men, bad. Phew. Nothing like a little sex stereotyping when it suits. Leave aside the rank hypocrisy of feminists resorting to the kind of sweeping generalisations that would send them ballistic if made in the reverse. The real problem is that gender-blinkered statements get us nowhere in sorting out what to do when paternity fraud happens.
If a mother gives birth to a child and is negligently given the wrong baby in hospital, no one would question her right to claim damages. Deliberate paternity fraud should be no different. It's not a person's sex that matters. It's the damage caused by another that counts.
One suggestion is that paternity testing be made mandatory whenever a birth is registered. A correspondent from University College in London emailed during the week with the following idea: "As long as BDM [Births, Deaths and Marriages] registries are kept, they might as well be kept accurately. I would give about 10 months' notice before the new regulation or legislation takes effect. That's enough time for people to adjust their behaviour (or improve their contraceptive methods). With complete transparency and accountability, responsible adults will be better empowered." It's an interesting idea. Short of that happening, paternity fraud is here to stay. And so the question is whether we condone it or condemn it. If the High Court or parliament shies away from the issue, that will amount to society, in effect, condoning fatherhood founded on fraud. And that has to be the worst of two difficult options.
28 April, 2006
THE INCORRECTNESS OF SOUTHERN HISTORY
The Left wants all sorts of groups respected -- but not American Southerners
Historic preservationists are clashing with a civil rights group and at least one Congressional budget hawk over plans to spend millions of dollars to restore the former home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Hurricane Katrina caused an estimated $25 million in damage to the house, called Beauvoir. It was built in the 1850s and served as Davis' retirement home after the Civil War.
At the behest of the National Trust and other historic preservation organizations, Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., has included $80 million to restore storm-battered historic property in a $27 billion emergency hurricane package the Senate is scheduled to debate this week. "These funds are important to ensure the full economic and cultural recovery of the coast," says Jenny Manley, Cochran's press secretary.
Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson disagrees: "We adamantly oppose the restoration of Beauvoir. It is one of the most divisive symbols in this state and in this state's history."
The money to restore historic places may be challenged by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. "He would be concerned about this not being a true emergency," says John Hart, Coburn's press secretary. "When people are homeless, that should be the first priority." Beauvoir officials also are seeking private money for the rebuilding effort.
Presumptuous Amsterdam mayor lectures other EU mayors on homosexual rights
But fails to mention the huge numbers of homophobic Muslims in his own city
The mayor of Amsterdam has sent letters to his counterparts in eight European cities warning that gay intolerance is on the increase and asking them to uphold homosexual rights such as allowing gays to get married and to hold demonstrations. Job Cohen said he is "particularly concerned by the news that homophobic attitude and behaviour is propagated by measures and policies of local authorities in some of the new EU-member states," according to the AFP news agency.
The Netherlands introduced gay marriage five years ago, and Mr Cohen is urging other countries to do the same. Mr Cohen's letter was sent to mayors in Warsaw, Prague, Lisbon, Dublin, Vienna and in the Baltic capitals of Riga, Tallinn and Vilnius, as well as to EU justice commissioner Franco Frattini. The move comes after a motion by city councillors, concerned by recent attacks on homosexuals in Europe.
In the letter, Mr Cohen says he is alarmed by measures in some cities to ban gay demonstrations. He calls on his colleagues to "adhere to the universal declaration of human rights, and to do everything in your political power to open up marriage for same-sex couples and safeguard the right of public demonstrations in your city."
When he was mayor, Polish president Lech Kaczynski tried to block a gay pride march in Warsaw in June while Portugal recently turned down a lesbian couple's request for a marriage licence. Recently the Latvian and Lithuanian parliaments decided to table amendments to their constitutions prohibiting same-sex marriage. But countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and the UK have recognised same-sex marriages or partnerships. On 1 April 2001, Mr Cohen became the country's first public official to wed same-sex couples. The Netherlands was one of the first country in the world to allow gay and lesbians to legally marry. Official statistics show that 8,000 same-sex marriages have taken place in the Netherlands since they became legal.
MORE "OBESITY" STUPIDITY FROM AUSTRALIA
Experts stunned by tubby tots
Children as young as four are battling obesity, research shows. And children appear to be losing the fat fight as they get older. A Royal Children's Hospital study found almost one in five kindergarten kids (19.5 per cent) are overweight or obese. And just a year later 21.1 per cent were battling the bulge. Dr Joanne Williams, of the hospital's Centre for Community Child Health, said young overweight children were likely to still have weight problems as adults. "We're just watching the rates go up and up and up, and nothing's being done about it," Dr Williams said. "These kids get teased at school, their self-esteem is low, they have a poor quality of life and there are huge consequences later on in life."
Researchers measured the waistline, height and weight of 340 children aged four to six for the study, which has been submitted to the International Journal of Obesity. Dr Williams said advertising led parents to falsely believe they were feeding kids healthy foods when their diet was packed with sugar and fat.
Health Minister Tony Abbott has refused to crack down on junk food ads during children's television hours. He said parents, not the Government, should be responsible for what their children ate. But Deakin University nutrition lecturer Dr Tim Crowe said junk food TV advertising should be outlawed from 4pm-6pm to remove some temptation from households. "We have to acknowledge we are dealing with a health problem so serious that a group of children are not going to outlive their parents," he said.
Many parents did not seem to recognise when children were overweight. "We are not sure of the reasons why. Perhaps it is because they look at other kids and think their own are not fat," he said. [It's because the mothers themselves are fat!]
OF COURSE kids are getting fatter on average. It is predominantly overweight working class women who are giving birth these days. Huge numbers of slim bourgeois women now consider themselves too grand to have kids. And obesity is highly hereditary. So the increasing prevalence of fat kids is exactly what you expect now that fat women are the main ones having kids. Going on about the evils of junk food or the wickedness of advertisers is flailing at the air.
Schools to put cap back on soft drinks
Water and milk will be the only drinks allowed in some Victorian schools. The primary schools plan to scrap sugary soft drinks this year. Children will be urged to bring water bottles to class in the government-backed trial. Parents will be encouraged to pack only water and milk with lunches. Program co-ordinator and child health researcher Dr Lisa Gibbs said regular water drink breaks would improve students' attention span. Promoting water and milk was also good for teeth, Dr Gibbs said. Six government and private schools in the western and northwestern suburbs will be selected for the trial under the Go For Your Life campaign. The project could spread if successful.
"The idea in the first stage will be that if a student brings a drink into the classroom it can only be water," Dr Gibbs said. "If you have brought a soft drink, it will have to be kept in your bag during class times and only drunk at lunch time. "The eventual aim would be that you would only be allowed to bring water or milk to school." The plan coincides with a ban on sales of high-sugar soft drinks from canteens and vending machines in government primary and secondary schools by year's end.
And what good is that going to do? Milk is extremely calorific and hence fattening. The kids would probably get fewer calories out of drinking fizzy drinks
27 April, 2006
Yep! The hair of blacks is just the same as the hair of whites, believe it or not
Almost three years after Vaughan Thomas says she paid an inflated price at a Montgomery, Ala., hair salon simply for being black, lawyers for Dillard's beauty salons went to court Tuesday to defend the department store from allegations of what Thomas and others call "race-based pricing." Thomas is one of eight black women suing the department store for racial discrimination after she allegedly was told that Dillard's beauty salons charge black customers more than whites because of the "kinky" nature of "ethnic" hair.
"Hair is hair regardless of what color you are, and the prices should be the same for everybody," Thomas told Courttv.com. "This is a practice that's still being done in the 21st century, and it should be stopped."
While lawyers for Dillard's deny that the retailer practices "race-based pricing," they claim that scientific evidence supports the theory that "ethnic" hair requires more effort to treat - and therefore should be subject to higher pricing. A defense brief submitted in Alabama federal court cites numerous supposed characteristics of black hair that make treating it more "time consuming and technically demanding than fulfilling the minimal (or non-existent) conditioning needs" of the typical white customer. "The rendering of professional hair care is a personal service typically tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the individual," Dillard's scientific expert, Mort Westman, said in a deposition. "Numerous factors exist and must be considered during the process of cleansing, conditioning and styling, rendering the resultant treatment somewhat unique."
The brief, which is based in large part on Westman's declaration and a study published in 2003 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, highlights the "highly brittle, tightly curled" texture of ethnic hair as a factor that prolongs the cleansing portion of the treatment. The brief also refers to "lack of resiliency" and the frequent use of "intricate coiffures" and extensions as other factors that affect the complexity of drying and styling the hair of black customers. "These factors would typically indicate that the pricing for the shampooing, conditioning and styling of the African-American client would normally be higher than that of the Caucasian client," Westman claims.
The cosmetic chemist is expected to appear in Birmingham federal court this week to testify on Dillard's behalf in a hearing on whether the individual lawsuits should be consolidated under one class-action lawsuit. The lead attorney for Dillard's, Brian Bostick, said he expected to finish his case by Thursday. He declined to comment further, citing orders from Dillard's. The company's in-house general counsel did not return calls for comment.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs presented their case two weeks ago in support of their argument that Dillard's alleged pricing scheme was part of a systematic effort to charge customers across the country solely on the basis of race. One of the advantages to class-certification would be the plaintiffs' ability to seek an injunction against Dillard's from continuing its race-based pricing, said lead attorney, Patrick Cooper. "It's amazing to me that a Fortune 500 company would use this kind of pseudo-science in court to prove that it takes longer to wash African-American hair," Cooper said. "The day they can show me that every black woman in the country has the same hair is the day I'll ask the judge to dismiss the case immediately," he said.
AIDS CORRECTNESS EXPOSED AS A FRAUD
It came almost two years after the Boston Globe exposed it, but the Washington Post on April 6 acknowledged that the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Africa has been grossly exaggerated by the United Nations in order to generate money through the world body to spend on the disease. In an April 10 editorial, the Post admitted, "The United Nations' credibility on AIDS will now suffer." So should the credibility of the media for taking the world organization seriously.
The Post editorial declared, "It's been clear for a while that UNAIDS, the agency responsible for these statistics, was reluctant to contemplate good strategies for fighting AIDS lest these undermine global support for expanded funding." The Post found the U.N. guilty of publishing "dubious AIDS data."
The FAIR Foundation, which stands for Fair Allocations in Research, had known about and exposed the dubious data. On its website, it highlighted how the UN AIDS office, the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health, and AIDS activists "continually speak of AIDS decimating the world and use that argument to argue for more research funding." It had posted the John Donnelly Boston Globe article of June 20, 2004, explaining how the figures had been exaggerated. "Recent studies in Kenya have confirmed millions of Africans previously thought to have AIDS are disease free," noted the FAIR Foundation. In Kenya, as the BCC reported on January 9, 2004, estimates had put the figure at 15 percent, when a subsequent survey found only 6.7 percent infected.
That's January 9, 2004-more than two years before the Post published its correction of the record. What the Post didn't acknowledge is the role it played in this fiasco. But writing in Human Events, Tom Bethell commented, "Back in 2000, the Washington Post was one of the main sources of hype about AIDS in Africa."
He explains: "The wildly exaggerated claims promoted by the mainstream media created an atmosphere of crisis. Guided by U.N. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Secretary of State Albright, the Clinton Administration took the issue of impending population collapse to the U.N. Security Council. African countries weren't going to be able to field armies or defend themselves because so many young men would soon be on their death beds." Bethell says his new book, the Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, deals with this manufactured "crisis" over AIDS.
26 April, 2006
PATHETIC: THE BRITISH NANNY STATE STRIKES AGAIN
To the patriots of Bromham, a hearty English breakfast seemed the perfect way to celebrate St George's Day. Some 300 villagers were planning to tuck in to the fry-up in their community centre. But yesterday's charity event was cancelled at the last minute - because of a health and safety warning against frying eggs. The local council's guidelines state that volunteers should not prepare "protein-based foods" without proper training. Furthermore, the centre did not have the correct facilities to "chill, prepare and store" the food. Faced with not being able to serve eggs, cheese or milk, organisers abandoned the event.
They had been hoping to raise 500 pounds for St Nicholas Primary School in the village near Chippenham, Wiltshire. Peter Wallis, 39, chairman of the school's parents and teachers association, said: "I was astonished to discover that we had to adhere to health and safety regulations to cook people breakfast. "We have to provide evidence that whoever is handling the food has been trained to do so. "We spoke to other schools in the area and decided that because people were not properly qualified in food preparation we had to cancel the event. "This is just plain daft. These breakfasts have been going on for many years and we've never poisoned anyone. "We are looking at sending some of our parents on training courses but with the turnover of members each year that could be too expensive."
The school, which has 85 pupils aged between four and 11, has held fundraising breakfasts for some 15 years. This year ten parents had promised to help cook and serve the fry-ups. School governors now fear the guidelines could lead to the cancellation of their summer fetes and Christmas parties. The events raise 2,500 pounds a year to be spent on books and teaching equipment.
Tory MP Philip Davies said the guidelines were "bonkers". "It is barmy that parents who want to celebrate St George's Day and raise a bit of money for their local school are prevented from doing so by ridiculous rules and regulations," he said. "Do mums and dads really need to spend valuable time learning how to fry an egg? I'm sure they do it most mornings without training. "These potty rules are one reason people are discouraged from celebrating St George's Day."
Mr Wallis, whose seven-year-old son Sam attends the school, added: "The regulations also say the eggs have to be chilled literally from when we buy them to when they are cooked to be eaten. "What we have done for years and years is to buy them and take them home overnight to someone's home but that is not allowed any more. "Keeping them at some parent's house overnight is not sufficient evidence they have been stored properly." Councillor Mark Baker, vice-chairman of education on Tory-held Wiltshire County Council, said the authority's health and safety guidelines were not legally-binding.
The breakfast rumpus is the latest in a string of healthy and safety controversies. Last week grandfather Brian Heale, 73, was ordered off a bus in Cardiff because he was carrying a tin of paint. Earlier this month a lifeguard instructor and her husband were banned from taking their three children into the toddlers' pool at Sedgemoor Splash in Bridgwater, Somerset. Keren and David Townsend were told their children needed individual supervision.
MORE MUSLIM CORRECTNESS
A brothel in Cologne was forced to black out the flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran from a huge World Cup soccer-themed advertising banner after angry Muslims complained and threatened violence. The 24-metre-high by 8-metre-wide (78 by 26 ft) banner displayed on the side of the building features a scantily-clad woman and the slogan: "The world as a guest of female friends," a variation on the World Cup slogan: "The world as a guest of friends." The flags of the 32 nations taking part in the month-long soccer tournament which kicks off in June are shown below.
Those of Saudi Arabia and Iran have been covered with black paint, according to a worker at the brothel who would only give his name as Peter. "Some people turned up and demanded that we remove the flags," Peter told Reuters. "First they were sensible but then they became threatening. The management here decided to do it so that we didn't get any more trouble." "They didn't want these two flags to be associated with this go-go girl on the banner as it's a brothel and it offended their religious feelings," said a spokeswoman for the Cologne police. "The owner removed the flags even though he wasn't legally obliged to as no crime had been committed."
Rhapsody of babies
A wise woman tells you what no feminist will:
My mother called from Melbourne the other day with big news. She's going to be a grandmother again. "That'll make 10," she said. I quickly did the maths: there are already eight little ones plus one of my sisters-in-law is pregnant for the third time, so that makes nine grandchildren for mum. But who could be carrying No.10? Sadly, neither me nor my sister, or my brother's wife, so who? "It's Nick!" she said.
Nick? But Nick - my stepbrother - only just turned 21. Have we even returned the tap for the keg and the spit we hired for his party in the backyard? I didn't know he had a girlfriend, let alone they were doing ... well, that. "They've only been together a few weeks," Mum said. "She's just turned 19." Nineteen!
"What can you do?" Mum said. "It happens," I agreed. "Nineteen is plenty old enough ... for that." "They'll manage," Mum said. "They'll have to." I agreed. We both understood that some people would see this as a problem in need of a solution, so we felt very pleased and grateful that Nick's new girlfriend - I still don't know her name - has decided to have the baby.
"It's not like they won't have help," Mum said. She will pitch in when she's needed (and butt out when she's not). Also, critically, the other grandma - Nick's girlfriend's mum - is reportedly over the moon. Apparently, she isn't yet 40 and this grandchild will be her first. "See, she must have had her first when she was still a teenager or maybe only 20," Mum said. "It didn't used to be so strange. I had three by the time I was 21. That's how it used to be."
Indeed, country girls have always started young and many suburban girls still do. Hospitals on the outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne regularly have mums in their 20s on the wards. It's different in the city. I'm 35 and both my children are at school, which makes me positively freaky in my profession. Many of the 33 and 34-year-olds in my office haven't married, let alone started families.
Lately, however, I've noticed a change. My friends are starting to catch up. One by one, as they get into their mid to late 30s, even early 40s, they are getting pregnant and having babies, their lives suddenly transformed. Others are confiding an itch, a nagging feeling, tugging at their soul, a song that sounds like: "Baby, baby, have a baby, quick, now, before it's too late." It's the ticking of the biological clock. "It's not that I'm suddenly dying to have a baby," says one woman in her 30s. "But I am thinking, well, if not now, then never, and I'm not sure I want to miss out." Another says: "I had a dream the other day that I had a daughter and it was fine. I mean, it wasn't a nightmare."
To all the women who are lucky enough to be able to have children, I unashamedly say: "Have the baby! Instantly! It will make you happy." "We are happy," they say. "What we're worried about is doing something that will cost a lot and make a great deal of noise."
I tell them: "You will be overcome by a love so powerful it will leave you speechless. Every feeling that you previously regarded as love will feel like something less."
"But what about the sleepless nights?" they say. "I like my sleep." I say: "In the dark sleepless months that follow the birth, the only relevant thing in your life will be your child, your baby, your heir, your genes, your creation, the greatest love of your life, lying their swaddled so innocent, so pure. You will find yourself thinking: 'Oh my goodness, I really would lay down my life for this baby."' For the first time, you will completely understand those stories about mums who find superhuman strength, able to lift the four wheels of a car clear off the ground to rescue their trapped child.
From time to time - maybe once in six months - you and your husband will drag yourselves, half-willingly, away from your baby to have a night out. You'll spend the whole time talking about your baby: "Have you seen the way he stretches his fingers out like stars when he wakes up? Isn't it the most divine thing?" You'll get home feeling like you wasted money on the babysitter. You'll find a bridge to humanity, a whole world of shared experiences with other parents, a feeling of companionship and solidarity that does not exist in the single world.
You will have no clothes to wear and you will not care, not while the baby looks so gorgeous in their new romper suit. You will stop on the street to share intimate notes with complete strangers simply because they happen to have a baby the same age as your own. You will be amazed to find that all the babies are sleeping beautifully, yet somehow none of the mums are getting any sleep at all. People will ask you how it's going and you will say, wistfully: "We wish we'd done it five years ago."
Nobody else will think your baby is anywhere near as precious as you do and this you will find incredible. Single friends will call you with their relationship dramas and their problems with office politics, and you won't care. They'll accuse you of coming over all strange since you had a baby and you will look at them, thinking: "Don't you get it? I've had a baby." And no, they won't get it. You'll wake up every day knowing that all your energy, all your love, labour and its rewards, belongs to somebody else. I say: "It will feel divine!"
They say: "God, you're nauseating." I say: "Nauseating? My friend, get pregnant. Then let's talk about nauseating."
25 April, 2006
SUPPRESSED DEBATE SURFACING IN BRITAIN
A Tory MP has presented David Cameron with the first real test of his pledge to create a more tolerant Conservative party. Philip Davies claimed voters were turning to the BNP because political correctness had left white Britons afraid of being 'sacked or locked up' for expressing their feelings on race. Davies said politicians were failing to debate asylum and immigration enough, prompting voters who felt ignored to turn to the far right. And he cited the suspension of a university lecturer who suggested whites were cleverer than black people, plus the unsuccessful prosecution of BNP leader Nick Griffin for allegedly inciting racial hatred, as incidents that caused voters to reject mainstream politics.
Davies, the MP for Shipley, North Yorkshire, said he would 'obviously' like his own party to talk more about the issue, but added that he believed Cameron agreed with him that tough immigration policies were crucial to good race relations. 'People feel nobody is standing up and talking about [asylum and immigration] issues. This whole thing about political correctness is a key driver of that. They feel the only way they've got now to express their opinions is to put a cross in a secret ballot for the BNP,' he told The Observer. 'The fear is if you are white and you say something that may be considered derogatory by somebody about an ethnic minority, you are going to be sacked or locked up.'
Labour MPs demanded the Tories disown Davies's views. 'If David Cameron wants to show that his party has genuinely changed, then he needs to take action against the extreme right wing in his own party,' said Martin Salter, the MP for Reading West. A Tory party spokesman said Davies was 'entitled to his views' but added: 'We don't accept that we haven't really dealt with immigration.'
Davies's intervention follows an agonised debate within the Labour party over the BNP, after the Employment Minister Margaret Hodge warned that eight out of 10 white voters she canvassed in her Barking constituency in east London had at least flirted with backing the extremist party - citing competition with asylum seekers for homes as a flashpoint. Some colleagues accused her of unwittingly worsening matters by publicising the BNP threat.
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett said it would have been 'slightly more helpful' to have debated the issue well before next month's local elections. He conceded people were 'confused' about how council housing was allocated, telling The Observer: 'Over the last 20 years, we have moved away from the time-based entitlement for public sector housing to a points-based system or even a bidding system. That has confused people in terms of who is entitled to what.' Blunkett also called on judges to consider the political consequences before making decisions such as overturning restrictions on so-called bogus marriages or ruling that Britain must house jobless people from other countries, including those recently granted asylum. 'Far from giving people rights, it's more likely to give people justification for voting for a party or parties that would take away rights,' he said.
PETA MUST NOT HAVE BEEN LOOKING!
The Brits in general are bird lovers so no wonder it had to be done while most people were still in bed
Pigeons at a market in Bolton were shot dead by marksmen using high-powered air rifles in an early morning cull. The 90-minute licensed cull followed complaints by traders and managers at Farnworth Market about high levels of droppings. A total of 40 birds were shot dead from 6am on Wednesday. Usually poison or even birds of prey are used to control roosting pigeons. Special nets were also put up at the market to cover its stalls. But Bolton council said it had no choice but to order a cull as a last resort after the situation worsened.
The council said the cull was carried out with the knowledge of the police to protect the public from health risks associated with bird droppings. It ended at 7.15am - and the council said another one could be necessary. A spokesman said: "It was decided to carry out the operation at 6am on a day when the market was not open to ensure there was no risk to the public or traders. Pest control officers were called in at the request of market management and traders."
FLIES IN THE FEMINIST OINTMENT
Some excerpts from a BIG article:
In 1945 the British public sector abandoned the marriage bar, which had required female teachers and civil servants to stay single or resign in favour of male breadwinners. In the 60 years since, women's lives have been transformed, and, with them, family and community.
You might not think it-given the media focus on pay gaps and glass ceilings, and the Women and Work commission's recent finding that women in full-time work earn on average 17 per cent less than men-but for the first time, women, at least in developed societies, have virtually no career or occupation barred to them. The people most affected by this change, and the main subject of this essay, are professional and elite women. Women used to enter the elite as daughters, mothers and wives. Now they do so as individuals.
This marks a rupture in human history. It is one that has brought enormous benefits to many people, and to many women in particular. But its repercussions are not all positive, either for society as a whole, or for all women. We are no more likely to return to the old patterns than we are to subsistence agriculture, so we need to understand what the new female labour market means for all our lives.
Three consequences get far less attention than they deserve. The first is the death of sisterhood: an end to the millennia during which women of all classes shared the same major life experiences to a far greater degree than did their men. The second is the erosion of "female altruism," the service ethos which has been profoundly important to modern industrial societies-particularly in the education of their young, and the care of their old and sick. The third is the impact of employment change on childbearing. We are familiar with the prospect of demographic decline, yet we ignore, sometimes wilfully, the extent to which educated women face disincentives to bear children.
In the past, women of all classes, in all societies, shared lives centred on explicitly female concerns. Today it makes little sense to discuss women in general. Instead, they divide into two groups. A minority of well-educated women have careers. A majority do jobs, usually part-time, in order to make some money. For the former, there is very little, if any, disadvantage associated simply with being a woman. If they are equally qualified and willing to put in the hours, they can do as well as any man. Of course there are still individual chauvinists around, but the statistics are clear: among young, educated, full-time professionals, being female is no longer a drag on earnings or progress. But for the majority of women, this sort of life remains a fantasy. Their families are their top priority, they dip in and out of the labour market, and they are concentrated in heavily feminised occupations, such as retailing, cleaning and clerical work. Their average earnings-per hour and over a lifetime-are well below those of males. Ambitious graduates generally belong in the first group; all other women in the second.
This is a caricature-but not much of one. Academic experts on the female labour market occupy very different points on the political spectrum, but they agree on the polarisation of women's experiences. The feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, reflecting and feeding into a revolution in women's lives, spoke the language of sisterhood-the assumption that there was a shared female experience that cut across class, ethnic and generational lines. The reality was that at that very moment, sisterhood was dying.
Gender politics still encourages us to talk about women as a group with common interests and demands. Yet this is far less true today than when, as Kipling observed, the "Colonel's Lady an' Judy O'Grady" really were sisters under the skin. In The Gentleman's Daughter, her fine study of 18th-century elite women's lives, Amanda Vickery quotes one of her feminine subjects, writing that "my time is always imployed and if I do take a pen I always meet with some interrupsion." Once childbearing began, this would have been true for all classes. Only in a tiny number of very wealthy homes did servants free wives and mothers from the running of a household, in which the vast bulk of food and clothing was prepared from scratch. Nursemaids were a supplement to the mother, not a replacement; before aspirin, let alone antibiotics, women could expect to spend much of their time, wracked with anxiety, tending the sick....
One could interpret today's feminist assumptions as reflecting the appetite of global capitalism for all talent, female and male, at the expense of the family. Certainly our current economic arrangements offer precious little support to family formation. On the contrary, they erect major barriers in its way. We all know by now that in most developed countries, birth rates are well below replacement level. Less recognised is the massive change in incentives to have children. In the past, adults had no tax-financed welfare state to depend on. Their families were their social insurance policies: children paid. Today, they expect the state to take care of their financial and health needs when ill or retired, regardless of whether they have six children or none. The benefits we get are completely unrelated to whether or not we contribute a future productive member to the economy.
Moreover, our labour market, with its greater gender equality, makes childbearing a very expensive prospect for successful professionals. Rearing a healthy, balanced child requires intensive attention and large amounts of time, and is not something that technical progress is going to alter. The price of that time is especially high for high-earning, busy elite parents-female or male. If they give up or cut down on work, the opportunity cost in terms of income forgone and careers stalled is far greater than for an unskilled 16-year-old school-leaver. In addition, elite children are expensive. Children are dependent for longer, high-quality childcare is costly and formal education has become increasingly important as the route to success. Parents know this, and it explains why the professional classes devote so much money and attention to their children's schooling.
As the American economist Shirley Burggraf has pointed out in The Feminine Economy and Economic Man, the financial disincentives to childbearing have become so high for upper-middle income families that the puzzle is not why professional women have so few children but why they have any at all. She observes, "no society until recent times has expected love alone to support the family enterprise. To put it another way, parental love has never cost so much."
Value-based volunteering is giving way to professionalised organisations with public sector contracts, and personal fulfilment for both sexes is increasingly evaluated in economic terms. Yet we still rely on traditional values and emotions to produce the next generation. It is fortunate that children are so intrinsically rewarding or our birth rate would be far lower still.
The hard economics tells us that professional women will have to give up most if they have children, and so will be least inclined to do so. Highly educated women overwhelmingly stay in work and so pay little or no earnings penalty when they have children. But more and more of them in the developed world have no children at all. "The rich get richer and the poor have children" still applies; but this time around, it is women specifically that we are talking about. About 30 per cent of graduate women born in the early 1960s entered their forties childless. For graduate women born in 1970 (a substantially larger group) the expected figure is 40 per cent.
Unlike professional graduates, childbearing is a rational career choice for academically failing girls and one that a good many duly select, especially in countries where they are supported by the state. Among British women born in the late 1970s, almost half of those with no academic qualifications at all had their first child by the age of 20, compared to 1 per cent of those with degrees. Only 20 per cent of the first group, compared to 85 per cent of the latter, were still childless by their late twenties. There is no reason to believe that teenage and uneducated mothers are any less loving and devoted than others. But there is plenty of evidence that their children are likely to be relatively unproductive future citizens, less skilled in their turn, and more likely to experience unemployment.
Birth rates have been low before. The average proportion of women bearing children, and the average number of children per mother, is pretty much the same for those born in 1910 and those born in 1970. In between, of course, there was a baby boom. What is different this time, however, is the pattern of child-bearing. Today there is a very strong inverse relationship between education and childbearing. Last time around there was not.
Authors on the left find it especially hard to recognise that the occupational emancipation of women may create intransigent problems for the future of our societies. The IPPR think tank illustrates the problem. One of its most recent reports, "Population Politics," recognises the demographic crisis and calls sensibly for clear population policies. But in doing so, it manages virtually to ignore the well-established relations between education and childbearing.
Burggraf, in contrast, argues that the tension between the modern workplace and family wellbeing is real and irresolvable so long as our societies place no financial value on the activities that take place within the home. In her view, feminists and economists share the blame. For the feminist, unpaid home-based activity is labour performed under the lash of patriarchy. For the economist, unpaid work does not contribute to GNP and so does not exist .
Politicians, journalists and businessmen often emphasise the negative economic consequences of any barriers to female participation in the workforce, and of losing half the country's best brains to the kitchen sink. Of course they are right, and I am in no hurry to go back there myself. But it is striking how little anyone mentions, let alone tries to quantify, the offsetting losses (or "social externalities") when women choose work over family. This is stupid.
Women today are no more homogeneous a group than men, and the service ethic that traditionally supported civil society and public service has weakened. Families remain central to the care of the old and sick, as well as raising the next generation, and yet our economy and society steer ever more educated women away from marriage or childbearing. The repercussions for our futures are enormous, and we should at least recognise this fact
24 April, 2006
RACIST SWIMMING POOLS
Very puzzling -- unless you know of the wide-ranging effects of IQ differences
Swimming-pool drowning cases involve a disproportionate number of black boys and young adults, and public pools appear to be the primary danger zone, U.S. government researchers have found. In one of the most extensive studies to look at the issue, investigators found that nearly half of the swimming-pool drownings they tracked occurred among African Americans - with males being at particular risk. The findings, published in the American Journal of Public Health, not only confirm past research showing that a large number of young drowning victims are African American, but also identify where these deaths are happening.
Nationally, between 1995 and 1998, 51 percent of drownings among blacks ages 5 to 24 happened in a public pool. Most often, it was a hotel or motel pool. That stands in contrast to white children and young adults, 55 percent of whom drowned in a residential pool. It's not clear why young African Americans, males in particular, are more likely than other racial groups to drown. But the new findings point to the places where prevention efforts are most needed, according to the investigators, led by Dr. Gitanjali Saluja of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Hotel and motel pools, they point out, often lack lifeguards. So it's vital for children to always have an adult with them.
The study findings are based on federal data for 678 swimming-pool drownings among 5- to 24-year-olds between 1995 and 1998. Overall, three-quarters of the victims were male, and black males were at greatest risk. Their rate of drowning was anywhere from 5 to 12 times higher than that of white males, depending on the age group. Hispanic males were also at greater risk than whites, but the difference was much smaller. Among females, African Americans had a higher drowning rate through the teen years. White and Hispanic females had similar rates at all ages.
Researchers have speculated that the higher drowning risk among African Americans has to do with income; lower-income families are less likely to be able to afford swimming lessons. However, Saluja's team found that the racial discrepancy persisted even when they factored in income. More research, they say, is needed to understand the underlying reasons.
The researchers lacked information on whether drowning victims had ever had swimming lessons, but they point out that pediatric experts recommend that all children age 6 and older learn to swim.
WHINY WOMAN LOSES "HARASSMENT" CASE
Sometimes vulgarity is not just acceptable but necessary in the workplace, the California Supreme Court ruled as it threw out a sexual harassment case by a former assistant on the "Friends" TV show. The justices, ruling 7-0 Thursday, agreed with Warner Bros. Television Productions that trash talk was part of the creative process and, therefore, the studio and its writers could not be sued for raunchy writers' meetings. No jury would believe the writers' assistant was the target of harassment during profanity-laced script sessions "for an adult-oriented comic show featuring sexual themes," Justice Marvin Baxter wrote. "Most of the sexually coarse and vulgar language at issue did not involve and was not aimed at plaintiff or other women in the workplace," Baxter wrote.
Amaani Lyle, 32, alleged six years ago that raw sexual remarks peppering work sessions and conversations added up to harassment against women. Lyle said she was offended by repeated references to the actors' sex lives and to the writers' own sexual exploits as they penned the successful NBC sitcom rife with bawdy banter about six New York City friends. She was fired after four months on the job, allegedly because she could not transcribe meetings fast enough or capture the flavor of the meetings.
Jeffrey Winikow - an attorney for the California Employment Lawyers Association, which filed a brief in support of Lyle's suit - said the high court should have let a jury decide whether the behavior was harassment. "There was absolutely no evidence to link any of the conduct at issue with anything that occurred on the show," Winikow said. Warner Bros. acknowledged that some of the sexually explicit talk took place but said it was vital to the show's chemistry. The justices noted that Lyle had been warned when she was hired that explicit discussions were part of developing the sexually charged comedy.
Still, the court added that the same dialogue and behavior might be illegal elsewhere. "Language similar to that at issue here might well establish actionable harassment depending on the circumstances," Baxter wrote.
Adam Levin, an attorney for Warner Bros. who argued the case before the justices in February, said the decision was a boon for Hollywood and other fields that thrive on creativity. "I think employers in the motion picture industry and other industries are going to breathe a collective sigh of relief," Levin said. Warner Bros. Television Productions is a division of Time Warner Inc.
Los Angeles employment law attorney Anthony Onicidi speculated that a ruling in favor of the former assistant have made it virtually impossible to produce TV programs or other creative works. "If your concern is with every statement or gesture, you could be subject to a lawsuit, that is going to inhibit the creative process," Onicidi said.
THIS JERK THINKS FOOD IS POLLUTION:
"America is fat and getting fatter. Today 140 million American adults are overweight or obese. Their bodies carry 4 billion pounds of excess fat, the result of eating 14 trillion excess calories. Numbers of this size belong in the domain of economists, not physicians. And therein lies the solution.
Medical and public health attempts to control obesity should continue, but it is time to add marketplace approaches. The first step is realizing that, nationally, weight gain is not a medical problem, it's a pollution problem.
Food calories are so pervasively and inexpensively available in our environment that they should be regarded as a pollutant. Just as an asthmatic can't help but inhale pollutants in the air all around him, we Americans cannot help but ingest the calories present in the environment all around us. Our Stone Age biology is optimized to survive famine by triggering eating at the slightest provocation. We are not optimized to eat prudently in an environment of cheap and easy calories.
Public policies have succeeded in reducing air pollution. They can teach us how to reduce calorie pollution. Tradable emission allowances, for example, establish markets where permits to emit air pollutants can be bought and sold. Market forces then provide incentives to reduce pollution emissions.
A program for tradable emission allowances could target foods with a high caloric density, that is, foods with a high number of calories per ounce. These foods are more likely to produce weight gain than foods with a low density of calories. It's easier to eat 1,000 calories in dessert than in vegetables, because the calories in dessert are concentrated.
A food's caloric density generally depends on its water and fat content. Dry, fatty foods have the highest caloric density, because water has weight but no calories and because fat has more calories per ounce than proteins and carbohydrates. For example, butter, which is fatty and dry, has 195 calories per ounce. Frozen spinach has seven calories per ounce.
A specific example illustrates how tradable emission allowances could work. Suppose the calorie-emission allowance is set to 100 calories for each ounce of food emitted into the environment (i.e., sold). A four-ounce food item having more than 400 calories could not, therefore, be sold unless "calorie credits" were purchased to cover the excess calories. So a standard four-ounce stick of butter, containing 780 calories, could not enter the marketplace until the butter producer acquired 380 additional calorie-credits from someone having credits to sell.
On the other hand, the producer of a four-ounce block of frozen spinach would emit only 28 calories into the environment and could sell the unused 372 calorie-credits to the butter producer.
With such a program, high-density foods would become more expensive and low-density foods would become cheaper. Unlike a tax, the program could be designed so the net cost change to consumers was zero. Thus, consumers who alter their eating habits need pay no more to eat the same number of calories. The hope, which should be tested, is that the number of calories eaten would drop, owing to the difficulty of consuming large numbers of calories from low-density foods. This would then reduce food costs and, ultimately, health-care costs."
23 April, 2006
MORE ILLEGAL HARASSMENT OF CHRISTIANS
Two residents of a Southern California senior mobile home park are suing the homeowner's association for barring prayer and Bible study meetings in common areas. For 17 years, residents met weekly in the Warner Springs Estates clubhouse for a prayer and Bible study meeting, most recently led by local pastor Andy Graham. But in August 2004, after new leadership took over the homeowner's association, Graham was told in a threatening letter posted at the clubhouse to stop the Wednesday night meetings, according to the United States Justice Foundation, or USJF, which represents residents Susan Eva-Marie Heraver and Catherine Lovejoy.
Colette Wilson, the lead attorney in the case, told WND the letter essentially said, "Anybody who tries to defy us, we're going to sue your pants off." Just prior to that, when the Bible study group gathered for its regular meeting, tenants and mobile home park staff were allowed to harass, threaten and interfere with the meetings, Wilson said. During other events scheduled during the week, such as Bingo on Tuesdays, it's understood that others in the room should be respectful and not in interruptive, but during the Bible study, the hostile residents acted in a "threatening manner," with antics such as blasting the volume on the TV and talking loudly, according to Wilson. One woman threatened meeting participants with a pool cue, and when she was videotaped, grabbed the camera, called police and claimed she was attacked, Wilson said.
After the threatening letter, the attorney noted, the Bible study group gave up and began meeting in each other's homes. But Wilson said it limited them, because they couldn't accommodate the up-to-40 people who met in the clubhouse, where there also was adequate parking and handicapped access. Wilson said the meetings were nondenominational and included people of many different backgrounds, including Catholics, Jews and Protestants.
Responding to an attempt by USJF to resolve the dispute without litigation, the defendants argued the residents have no right to have prayer services. The homeowners association, they insist, can determine who will use the common areas and under what conditions. Wilson contends this is contrary to the constitutions of the U.S. and California and the Unruh Act. She argued "numerous case precedents bar discrimination against people wishing to use commons areas in mobile home parks, in condominium complexes, and in other areas from holding Bible meetings or prayer meetings." "The attempt by the homeowners association to discriminate against those who wish to hold such prayer or Bible meetings, and the support of the homeowners association of the attempts to intimidate tenants out of having such meetings, is not only inexcusable, but illegal," Wilson said. The homeowners association passed resolution against religious meetings then revoked it, she explained, but in practice, the ban remains in effect.
At the association's monthly meeting, residents ask about whether they can have a religious group and the head of board always says no, Wilson explained. She plans to file a new preliminary injunction in court asking that the meetings immediately be allowed to resume.
PC TAKES A TUMBLE IN GEORGIA
Georgia became what is believed to be the first state to offer government-sanctioned elective classes on the Bible, with Gov. Sonny Perdue signing a bill into law Thursday. The governor also signed a bill permitting the display of the Ten Commandments at courthouses, an issue that has raised thorny constitutional questions. Critics say the measures blur the line between church and state. National civil rights groups said they want to see how the laws are implemented before deciding whether to challenge them in court.
The Bible is already incorporated into classes in Georgia and other states, and some local school districts have passed measures permitting classes devoted solely to the Bible. But education analysts say the law in Georgia is the first time a state government has endorsed such courses. The new law allows elective classes on the Bible to be taught to high school students. Local school systems will decide whether to teach the courses.
The state Education Department has until February to craft curriculums. The law requires that the courses be taught "in an objective and nondevotional manner with no attempt made to indoctrinate students."
The state's new Ten Commandments law was prompted by controversy over the posting of the commandments at the Barrow County Courthouse. A federal judge ordered the display removed in July. Backers of the law made clear they were trying to craft a statute that would survive any constitutional challenges. In a split decision last June, the U.S. Supreme Court declared exhibits of the Ten Commandments constitutional if their main purpose was to honor the nation's legal, rather than religious, traditions, and if they didn't promote one religious sect over another. Both bills passed the state Legislature by comfortable margins.
Muslim women demand single-sex gym workouts
Never mind that this is a business that caters to both men and women and there are women-only fitness companies operating in this area that they could go to. Even providing separate exercise areas is not enough, apparently. Men have to be banned from the premises altogether on certain days. Dearborn, Michigan is home to one of the largest populations of Arabs outside of the Middle East. Another step on a slippery slope that will make us all follow the rules of Islam.
About 200 Muslim women have asked the Fitness USA chain to honor what they say was its promise to provide separate exercise times for women and men. They say they need single-sex workout times to accommodate Islam's standards of modesty. Arrwa Mogalli, 28, of Dearborn said that she agreed to buy a $1,465 lifetime membership with the chain after being promised that its Lincoln Park facility would be open only to women on certain days. This month, the gym in this southern Detroit suburb decided to open up part of the center to both sexes every day. "I felt like all the money I just spent ... has gone to waste," Mogalli said.
Mogalli is among about 200 women with Fitness USA memberships who have signed a petition asking the chain to restore single-sex exercise days for the entire gym or to put up a divider so men and women cannot see each other while exercising. Fitness USA officials met Tuesday with petition drive supporter Ammerah Saidi and Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, at the company's corporate office in West Bloomfield. "We don't want to punish" Fitness USA, Walid said. "We just want to make matters right."
The company is reviewing the women's concerns, said Jodi Berry, administrative director for Fitness USA. But the company said that the women's written contracts say nothing about gender.
Southeastern Michigan, home to about 300,000 Arab-Americans, has undergone some changes because of the growing Muslim presence. Public schools in Dearborn offered single-sex physical education classes for several years in response to requests from some Muslim parents. "In Islam, there are codes of modesty for both genders," Saidi, a 23-year-old lifetime Fitness USA member from Dearborn, told the Detroit Free Press this week. "When you're working out, you're not dressed modestly, and you're bending in provocative ways, so you can't be working out with the opposite gender."
Saidi said she joined Fitness USA last year because managers repeatedly gave oral promises that there would be single-sex workout days at some facilities. She said people of other faiths, including Orthodox Jews and some Christians, share similar concerns.
At the Dearborn location, women can work out without men on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. In Lincoln Park, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday are women's days. There also are women-only days on alternate Sundays in Westland.
22 April, 2006
RESTROOM FACILITIES TURN 90 DEGREES IN UK JAILS
Jail bosses are rebuilding toilets so Muslim inmates don't have to use them while facing Mecca. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers money are being spent to ensure lags are not offended. The Islamic religion prohibits Muslims from facing or turning their backs on the Kiblah - the direction of prayer - when they visit the lav. Muslim lags claimed they have had to sit sideways on prison WCs. But after pressure from faith leaders the Home Office has agreed to turn the existing toilets 90 degrees at HMP Brixton in London. The Home Office refused to reveal the cost of the new facilities - part of an "on-going refurbishment".
One Muslim former inmate said: "The least the Prison Service can do is make sure people can practise their religion correctly in prison." But a Brixton jail officer said: "If they didn't get locked up for committing crime they would not have this problem. Yet we have to sort out their loos. If we weren't paying for it as taxpayers I'd laugh my socks off." Around a quarter of prisoners at the Category B jail are Muslims.
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: "As far as I understand this rule only applies in a place of worship." Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: "Some common sense needs to be applied."
COMPULSORY INDOCTRINATION ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY IN MASSACHUSETTS SCHOOLS
Lexington public school officials have told Rob and Robin Wirthlin that since "gay marriage is legal" they may describe homosexual relationships to their son in second grade, without notice, and that parents may not opt their child out of such discussions. The Wirthlins are livid.
On March 24, their second-grade son came home from the Estabrook Elementary School and repeated to his mother the story read to him earlier that day about men getting married to each other. His teacher had read the book "King and King" to the class, in which a prince doesn't want to marry any princesses, but instead falls in love with a princess's brother and marries him in a big palace wedding. The Wirthlins immediately contacted the teacher, Heather Kramer, who acknowledged she had read the book to the class, and admitted that it was not part of the curriculum.
Several days later, the Wirthlins met with the teacher and principal, Joni Jay, to discuss the matter. Kramer told them that the theme of the day was "weddings" and that since "gay marriage is legal," she wanted to present all points of view. Jay told the Wirthlins that they cannot opt their son out of these discussions, and no notice will be given, and that she cannot guarantee it will not happen again. She added that has no plans even to inform parents after the fact that such incidents have taken place.
"We are outraged," said Mrs. Wirthlin. "This is a highly charged social issue. Why are they introducing it in the second grade? And we cannot present our family's point of view to our children if they don't tell us what they're saying to them." The emails between the Wirthlins and school officials can be read here
According to other parents in the school, Kramer attended a presentation last year by the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) on promoting homosexuality in the classroom. Lexington school officials continue to claim that homosexuality and homosexual relationships do not does not constitute "human sexual relationships" [!!!!!] and thus do not trigger the Massachusetts parental notification law - Ch. 73 Sec. 32a.
Joni Jay and Estabrook Elementary School were in the news last year when David Parker, father of a kindergartner, spent the night in jail over notification of discussions of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism in his son's class.
Source. Another report on the same story here
21 April, 2006
Equal rights for unwed fathers
While the ''Roe v. Wade for men" lawsuit filed in Michigan earlier this month seeks the right for men to terminate their financial obligations to a child in case of unwanted pregnancy, another dispute over male reproductive rights has been making news as well. Last week, a front-page New York Times story explored the plight of unwed fathers who fight for children placed for adoption by the mothers.
One of the men profiled in the article, 23-year-old Arizona resident Adam Clayton Jones, learned that his former fiancée -- who had ended their relationship -- was pregnant and seeking to put up the baby for adoption in Florida, where they had met while attending college. An adoption agency called Jones to ask for his consent to the adoption. He refused, fully intending to raise the baby himself. But Jones did not know that in order to exercise his parental rights, he had to register with the state registry for unmarried fathers. Because he missed the deadline, he lost all his rights and has never seen his child, now 18 months old.
Sadly, this case is all too typical. While divorced fathers complain that they are often treated as second-class parents, never-married fathers are much lower on the totem pole. True, their situation has improved since the 1970s, when an unwed father's children could be given up for adoption without his consent even if he had raised them.
Today, partly as a result of several legal controversies in which unmarried fathers successfully contested adoptions, the majority of states have ''putative father registries" by means of which a man can assert his paternity. But the purpose of these registries often seems to be less to protect the rights of the father than to protect the rights of everyone else: the mother who wants to give up the baby, the adoption agency, and the adoptive parents. Some would say that they also protect the rights of the child. But that depends on whether you believe that a child is better off being adopted than being raised by the biological father.
In most states, the unwed father has to file with the registry either within a certain period of the child's birth -- from five to 30 days -- or, as in Massachusetts, at any time before the adoption petition is filed. But neither the mother nor the adoption agency has any obligation to notify the man of the adoption, or of the fact that he is a father or father-to-be. Even when the father is notified, he may not be told about the putative father registry -- which is what happened to Jones, whose attorney, Allison Perry, refers to the Florida registry as a ''well-kept secret." That is the situation in most states. Not only are most men unaware of the registries' existence, even some lawyers don't know about them.
Amazingly, many specialists believe that it's too much of a burden on the woman or the adoption agency to require that a man be notified of his paternity. Instead, they argue that it should be his responsibility to file with the putative father registry every time he enters a sexual relationship with a woman, on the off-chance that a pregnancy may result -- a requirement that, if nothing else, smacks of a humiliating invasion of privacy. Surely, it is far more efficient and less invasive to limit the notification requirement to cases in which a pregnancy actually happens, and to place the burden on those who are aware of the pregnancy.
You would think that, unlike men who seek to avoid their paternal responsibilities, fathers who want to be responsible for raising their own children would at least encounter societal sympathy and support. Sadly, that has not generally been the case. Unwed fathers who contest adoptions are often faulted for not taking affirmative steps to find out about the child's existence, and in some cases are blamed even if they were actively deceived by the mother. Often, they're suspected of being abusers whose real hidden motive is to control the mother.
The issues of men burdened with responsibility for unwanted pregnancies, and of men who are not allowed to be fathers to wanted children, are linked by a common thread. Biology has made men and women unequal with regard to reproduction. In recent decades, thanks to both technology and social change, we have made strides to alleviate the inequality for women, helping them avoid unwanted childbearing. But we have lagged far behind in equalizing the situation for men. We cannot ask men to be equal parents while giving virtually all the power in reproductive decisions to women.
Justice for men coming in Australia?
A looming battle that could allow cuckolded men to sue deceitful wives for the cost of raising children conceived outside their marriage has been described by High Court judge Michael Kirby as opening a "Pandora's box". If the full bench of the High Court rules in favour of Victorian father Liam Magill, the court will set the ball rolling for dozens of new compensation cases, including those brought by men who learn they are not genetically related to their children and who want to recover child-support payments and other damages. Mr Magill has alleged he was tricked into paying tens of thousands of dollars to his unfaithful former wife in support of two children that were not his own.
However, Justice Kirby said the court would have to take care in deciding the case. "This is the Pandora's box we open ... every case where the male, hurt and having to pay child support, is unhappy about it, they are going to sue and claim minutiae of time they spent with the child who turns out not to be their genetic child," he said. "We all know that in the family law situation, it is not just an ordinary case about money, it is often a case that involves a lot of emotion."
While the Liam Magill case could pave the way for dozens of new compensation cases, the same principle could also be used by an embittered "ex" who claims to have been duped into marriage because their partner said they were a millionaire, or they "owned a country castle". Claims for damages could even arise if a partner committed bigamy as a result of their spouse lying about a previous marriage.
Justice Kirby, one of six judges hearing the case, told a hearing in Canberra this month that the law of deceit could be used vindictively by emotionally wounded couples. Historically, the law of deceit, which is related to fraud, has only applied to commercial relationships, not those on a personal nature. Justice Kirby said three important social changes appeared to be pushing the need for legal reform in this area: availability of quick and discreet tests to establish paternity, the rising rate of marriage breakdown and the end of laws allowing spousal legal immunity. A decision in favour of Mr Magill would mean family issues involving the tort of deceit would be heard in the civil courts and not the Family Court.
Lawyers for Mr Magill's ex-wife Meredith argued it would be wrong to apply the law of deceit to family relationships, and warned that a finding for her husband would cause a rush of litigation against women.
Mr Magill learned he had not fathered two of his supposed children after he applied to the Family Court in 2001 for a DNA test to be carried out. He married Meredith in 1988, but 18 months into the marriage she began a long-term affair. The marriage ended in 1992 after Ms Magill had given birth to three children, only one of whom was Mr Magill's. He continued to give 32 per cent of his income as child support for all three children until 1999, believing they were all his.
The court heard that the US has allowed such civil suits for years, dubbing them "heart-balm" actions. But judge Ken Hayne pointed out that some US states were considering halting all spousal claims for deceit.
20 April, 2006
PAINT INCORRECT IN WALES
With every day that passes the world seems to go increasingly mad. It has just gone particularly bonkers on a Cardiff bus. In a vivid demonstration that who really runs Britain is not the Government, the Civil Service, big business nor Labour Party donors but the health and safety police, a man has been thrown off the No 9 service from Heath Hospital via city centre to Prospect Place for carrying a tin of paint. There are some items that it is inadvisable to carry on a Cardiff bus, such as an England rugby shirt. And there are some that are forbidden, such as guns, swords, gas cylinders or cans of petrol. But when Brian Heale got on board with his purchase for a DIY job at home he found that “antique cream” emulsion had been added to the list of undesirable luggage.
Mr Heale, 73, an RAF veteran who suffers shortness of breath after a heart attack, could not manage the 20-minute walk from the paint shop to his home in the Leckwith district of the city so, naturally, he caught the bus. But the driver caught Mr Heale in the act of carrying a can of emulsion and ordered him off. “When he told me I couldn’t take the paint on the bus I thought he was joking. But he parked the bus and called head office. He told me carrying the paint was against new health and safety regulations and told me to get off,” Mr Heale said yesterday. “It’s crazy and hysterical. Next thing, you won’t be able to take a wet umbrella on in case it drips water on the floor. Health and safety rules are one thing but this is just daft; it was a No 9 bus not a dangerous building site.”
Ejected on to the rainy street, Mr Heale took shelter in a cafe and ordered a cup of tea to steady his nerves. There the manager took pity on him and gave Mr Heale, and his paint, a lift home.
New health and safety rules governing public transport do indeed list paint as a “hazardous article”. It can be taken on the bus only if it is “carried in two containers, ie, a sealed pot and a bag, and is not left unattended on a parcel shelf where it could slide and tip, burst open and spread across the floor”.
Cardiff Bus admitted that it may have been a little hard on Mr Heale. A spokesman said: “We apologise to Mr Heale for the obvious inconvenience caused. The safety of our passengers is our No 1 priority, which is why the company takes regulations on health and safety very seriously.” The company admitted, however, that there were times when it needed to display a little more flexibility when enforcing the rules.
More examples of loony British safety regulations:
Paper napkins being handed out with meals-on-wheels in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, were suspended by the council after fears that pensioners and disabled people might choke on them
After a woman caught her foot in the new doors at BBC Birmingham the corporation issued a memo “Revolving Security Door User Instructions”, advising staff on how to use a revolving door
Police called to investigate a broken stained-glass window at a church in Rochdale in March 2005 refused to inspect the damage because they did not have specialist “ladder training”
Moscow State Circus was warned in July 2003 that any acrobat performing at a height above that of the average stepladder would have to wear a hard hat or risk losing its insurance cover
Plans to chop down 20 horse chestnut trees were announced by Norwich City Council because it claimed that passers-by risked head injuries from sticks thrown up by children to knock down conkers
Gardeners working for Cheltenham council, in Gloucestershire, were banned from planting pansies under town centre trees because workers digging with trowels risked spraining their wrists in the root-filled soil
HAPPY HOUSEWIVES AGAIN
A new breed of educated women has discovered the secret of a happy marriage - opting to stay at home instead of pursuing a career. The phenomenon, in which wives prefer their husbands to be the main breadwinner, has been identified by American sociologists and is now gaining a foothold in Britain. Unlike the housewives of the 1950s, who had little choice over rearing children and acting as homemaker, this generation of women is building on the advances of the feminist movement to determine their optimum lifestyle. The women are predominantly drawn from the middle classes and have young offspring. They regard themselves as "at-home mothers", seeing their prime responsibility as bringing up the children rather than housekeeping. They include women who have given up jobs altogether as well as those who have taken extended career breaks to be with their children throughout their upbringing.
According to research by academics at the University of Virginia, 52% of modern housewives describe themselves as "very happy" with their marriages compared with 41% of working women. Other key ingredients to matrimonial bliss include an attentive and emotionally responsive husband, a sense of fairness in a relationship and a lifelong commitment to the institution of marriage. Women who go to church with their husbands also claim they are happier than those who do not, according to the study, which is based on the responses of more than 5,000 couples. "Progressive women with kids at home feel it is a legitimate choice," said Brad Wilcox, co-author of the report, which has been published in the Social Forces journal.
In a second study that has not yet been published, Wilcox found that even wives who described themselves as feminists claimed they were happier staying at home to raise children. The research shows fairness is seen as vital, although this need not mean splitting domestic chores down the middle. In most marriages, wives do twice as much housework as husbands, yet only 30% of women in the study thought their relationship was unfair. "They tend to think things are fair, either because the man is taking the lead in breadwinning and/or he is taking care of the car and other household affairs," said Wilcox.
With divorces in Britain reaching a seven-year high in 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, some couples might heed the example of Jessica Renison, a self-declared "liberated" housewife. Renison, 33, a former English teacher from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, has chosen to stay at home to raise her 16-month-old son George, while her husband Mark continues to teach physics at a secondary school. "I certainly feel a woman has a right to work if that is what she feels is right for her family," said Renison. "But I am happier than I would be if I was working. If you are working, you can be torn between professional and home life. "It is a difficult decision to make from a financial standpoint, but I do feel liberated."
Kirsty Robeson, 32, from Wolsingham, County Durham, gave up her job in financial public relations to raise daughters, aged one, three and five. "If your mind is fully occupied with other things and you don't put the effort into marriage, then it can go awry," said Robeson. "My husband Simon is involved emotionally with everything that happens at home and everything to do with the domestic side."
The University of Virginia study does, however, have its critics. Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas in London, said: "What makes a happy marriage is likely to be people engaging with each other. If the full extent of your relationships with the external world is the toddlers' group, daytime TV and ironing, it has got its limits."
19 April, 2006
Men as wimps or vicious villains, women as innocent victims
Below are the first two paragraphs of a paper written by Swedish academic Lennart Sjoberg. The full paper can be found here.
Gender-based prejudice is an important factor in human misery. Its roots are manifold, but one is found in media, in particular in entertainment movies. In the present paper, several movies, conceived in a misoandric mood, are discussed. Women are depicted as victims and good, men as perpetrators and bad. This stereotypical theme is so common that it is not even noticed and it is commonly accepted without reflection. Causes of contemporary misoandry are discussed and it is suggested that they reside in the economic and political conditions, together with the basic psychobiology of love and sex, which have fundamentally changed the conditions of family life in most of the USA and Europe. Reflection on these conditions will not change anything but understanding prejudice is better than not even recognizing how prevalent it is.
The stereotypes of men and women are factors in gender-based prejudice. They are present everywhere: in media, in common-sense thinking and talk, in schools, homes and places of work. In the present paper I focus on the movies where the stereotypes are, at the same time, obvious and invisible. The invisible messages are particularly persuasive and therefore dangerous. The much-celebrated Dutch movie Antonia (1995), which won an Oscar for best foreign movie in 1995, is a very cleverly done piece. Here, women are strong and very clever, even brilliant, and men are either brutal criminals, stupid wimps or mentally disturbed. Marriage is out of the question, of course, and the male role in reproduction, while unfortunately still necessary, is minimized. The movie is extremely clear in its prejudices, so very obvious in its distortions of how real men and women are - yet it was given great praise by critics. On the web site www.imdb.com we read that it is "An immensely charming tribute to life". More examples will now be mentioned, their structural causes and effects discussed.....
Conservative Books Equate to 'Sexual Harassment'
A "sexual harassment" investigation is ongoing at an Ohio college after the school's librarian suggested that students read a few books from a conservative perspective. According to the Alliance Defense Fund -- a legal alliance that aggressively defends religious liberty -- a librarian at Ohio State University at Mansfield has been slapped with a "sexual harassment" charge after he suggested that freshmen read four best-selling conservative books.
Scott Savage is a reference librarian at OSU Mansfield and a member of the school's First Year Reading Experience Committee. After suggesting that students read "The Marketing of Evil" by David Kupelian, "The Professors" by David Horowitz, "Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis" by Bat Ye'or, and "It Takes a Family" by Sen. Rick Santorum, Savage was put under "investigation."
The Alliance Defense Fund reports that three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against Savage because the list of books he suggested made them feel "unsafe."
"Universities are one of the most hostile places for Christians and conservatives in America," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, who heads ADF's Center for Academic Freedom. "It is shameful that OSU would investigate a Christian librarian for simply recommending books that are at odds with the prevailing politics of the university." The Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter to school officials informing them of the librarian's constitutional rights -- just in case they forgot. But, according to the ADF, the university is proceeding with its investigation saying it takes "any allegation of sexual harassment seriously."
Even more troubling, this ridiculous "sexual harassment" claim was supported by the school's entire faculty as they voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. Later they voted to allow the individual professors to file charges, according to the ADF. "The OSU Mansfield faculty is attempting to label a librarian as a `sexual harasser' because they disagree with his book suggestions," said French. "It is astonishing that an entire faculty would vote to launch a sexual harassment investigation because a librarian offered book suggestions in a committee whose purpose was to solicit such suggestions."
Curious as to which chapter of the Nazi Party was running this university, "the Dean" of Human Events U visited the school's website and found the following statement on "diversity" -- ".we celebrate and learn from our diversity and we value individual differences. Academic freedom is defended within an environment of civility, tolerance, and mutual respect." But, apparently, this policy doesn't extend to conservatives.
I also found an incomplete list of the "Top Ten Reasons" why someone should attend OSU Mansfield. I say "incomplete" because while the school listed such attributes as "student tickets to OSU athletic events," "housing on campus" and "convenient location with free parking," the school didn't mention its most attractive feature: vilifying conservatives
SLURS AGAINST OLDER WHITE MEN OK
Post lifted from Resisting Defamation -- who have set up a "Julius Streicher Award" to protest defamation of whites and compare it to Nazi defamation of Jews
Julius Streicher occupies an unusual historical position in recent European history, having been hanged in October 1946 for the crime of publishing a newspaper, Der Stuermer, which was relentlessly critical of a particular ethnic group in Central Europe from 1923 until the end of World War II. His role did not include, according to Wikipedia, military activities or the Holocaust. Still, he was convicted of "crimes against humanity" and executed. This is an adequate precedent for legal actions against those elements in the dominant media culture and the corporate entertainment culture which, like the San Jose Mercury News, promote a relentless agitprop against European Americans, their children, their cultures, their histories, and their diversities
Leo Burnett, First Award (16th Edition)
Our first winner of the Julius Streicher Award is Leo Burnett, a well known advertising expert, who developed a campaign to smear "old white men" in television ads for Washington Mutual. Older European American men are portrayed as greedy, ugly, and stupid, much like Streicher's depictions of the ethnic group he disliked. His advertising firm and Washington Mutual have a joint web page here which shows his racist and sexist video spots which easily qualify Leo Burnett for the Julius Streicher Award.
His minions include Mary Kelly at Washington Mutual and Karlyn Nelson at the Leo Burnett Agency. (Click on names for email addresses to send them messages about Leo Burnett and his Washington Mutual ads).
18 April, 2006
Tolerance, Acceptance, and Civility
A libertarian perspective
There is a phenomenal episode of South Park in which the main characters are forced to visit a "Museum of Tolerance" where they are bombarded by PC propaganda on various social and racial issues. When the brainwashing doesn't work, the kids are sent to a Nazi-style "Tolerance Camp" for more intensive indoctrination. The moral of the story is the difference between acceptance and tolerance. To tolerate something, as one of the young heroes precociously explains, is simply to put up with it. It does not mean you have to like it or approve of it. And so all that coercive inculcation had not been to impart the children with tolerance, after all, but rather to mandate approval, to force acceptance.
The distinction is lost on many people. We should seriously want social toleration, in the narrow sense, meaning the willingness of people to coexist with those of different opinions, lifestyles, religions, ethnicities, and so on, and to refrain from using force to make others conform to their own will. But not everyone is going to like everyone else, or want to associate with everyone else. To impose acceptance on people is to be intolerant and make a crime out of their thoughts.
Libertarianism boils down to true tolerance. To live and let live, to refrain from initiating force or threatening or delegating initiatory force against peaceful people, is the essence of the libertarian ethic. It does not mean that libertarians approve of all behavior that we would shield from violent sanction. It is common to confuse what libertarians believe should be legal, should be tolerated, with what we think is virtuous. Crack cocaine and racist job discrimination should both be legal. They should both be tolerated. To say this is not necessarily to endorse them or to say that everyone needs to accept them.
It seems that a lot of people have trouble with this concept because they tend to believe that their own idea of what's good and bad naturally corresponds to what should be enforced by the state. It is discouraging that most people accept using the government to force their way on others and see government as a proper moral guide. While acceptance is something that is obviously going to vary from person to person, and tolerance is something we should all want everyone to practice, there is something else that the world could use a whole lot more of, and that's civility.
Civility lies somewhere between tolerance and acceptance. It is tolerance, for example, to leave in peace those whose consensual sexual practices one might find distasteful. It is acceptance to actually approve of what they're doing. Civility is, at a minimum, not being a total jerk, spewing lewd invectives at them every time they walk by on the street.
Tolerance is not punching someone in the face because of his religion. Acceptance is being completely okay with what he believes. Civility is, at least, not mocking his God in front of him at every opportunity. Not relentlessly insulting others is a bare minimum. Civility, however, should not always be at its minimum. It is often proper to treat others with some respect, to give them, when you can afford to give it, the benefit of the doubt, to be open to learning and gaining from their humanity even if you don't accept everything about them, to be polite and, when appropriate, to smile.
The market, thankfully, does encourage civility among people, for the most part. It inspires people to trade with one another courteously, to engage with each other politely enough to share resources and perspectives. Commerce cannot, however, create civility all on its own. Indeed, the relationship between the two is reciprocal. Just as trade bolsters civility, civility enables market transactions. In the process, acceptance is to some extent encouraged, but one grand wonder of the market is how well it caters to diverse demands, including those of the petulant and contemptuous. You can refuse to accept 99% of the world and still get what you need. But while acceptance is not intrinsic to market transactions, the market simply cannot function without a requisite amount of tolerance.
Tolerance is in fact the baseline of civility. It is impossible to be genuinely civil if you're being positively aggressive. The president who bombs a village is less civil than the most inconsiderate moviegoer you've ever had the misfortune to sit behind. The drug war is more uncivil than a junkie relieving himself on the sidewalk. Taxation is less civil than common greed. After a century of the global empire and myriad progressive experiments, it is no surprise that America's not as civil a place as it used to be. Without at least some civility there is no civilization. Without being tolerant there is no being civilized. We should accept this today if we want the future to be tolerable.
Some degree of acceptance probably helps in maintaining tolerance and civility. The PC establishment can go way too far, but accepting some differences among people, even if you don't embrace them completely, helps make civility easier and tolerance effortless. But the biggest danger is in being intolerant against that which you simply don't want to accept. Of this, the PC establishment is frequently guilty, as it puts so much stock in its version of acceptance that it often neglects tolerance.
In the ideal world, everyone would at least stay civil. On a day-to-day, personal basis, it is usually best to try to be civil, even when others aren't even trying. Civility can be hard to achieve, even harder to retain. Perhaps sometimes it's too hard, and being uncivil is perfectly appropriate. Sometimes it's impossible to disagree without being disagreeable. But even then, it is surely possible to be uncivil without being uncivilized.
Government and the obesity "Epidemic"
Obesity is an increasingly common problem around the world, and especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight, and nearly half of those are heavy enough to be considered obese. The proportion of obese children in the United States will almost double over the next four years, according to projections. By 2010, nearly half of all children in North and South America will be obese, according to a recent report in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.
Medicaid and Medicare bear significant costs for treating health conditions associated with obesity, including diabetes and cardiovascular problems. A 2001 Surgeon General's report put the social cost of obesity at about $117 billion per year. Because of all this, public health advocates are increasingly calling for government intervention to slow the increasing incidence of obesity. They are trying to remove from schools foods and drinks they consider unhealthy. Trial lawyers have explored suing fast food restaurant chains. One of the more extreme proposals is a so-called "fat tax" to offset government medical expenditures and raise the cost of unhealthy foods.
Current government efforts to control obesity largely take the form of consumer education and food industry requirements for transparency in nutritional information. The federal government has required food producers to disclose nutritional information for years. The Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (1966) required all consumer products involved in interstate commerce to have labels that are both accurate and informative. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 further enhanced labeling requirements. Many of the larger restaurant chains and fast food establishments make the nutritional information of their menus available on Web sites or on printed menus or posters.
Could government do even more? Economists generally agree government should intervene when the costs of one person's actions are borne by others. However, most also say government should not interfere when the cost is borne primarily by the individual. The reason economists give is that individuals are better than government at making choices that best fit their preferences. For example, even though we might prefer to be slender, we value the taste of food in the present more than we dislike the added weight that will accumulate in the future. Hence, we are only as fat as we want to be.
But USDA researchers Fred Kuchler and Nicole Ballenger argue not all of the bad consequences ("negative externalities") of obesity are borne solely by the individual. Some, they note, are absorbed by society in the form of higher health care expenditures. That problem could be remedied by charging higher health insurance premiums to obese people. The fact insurers have not done so is probably because it is not worth the effort to underwrite populations in this way.
Economist Arnold Kling, author of the forthcoming book Crisis of Abundance, suggests there is an additional role for government, but it is limited. In an interview for this story, he said, "The impression I have is that we do not have knowledge in these areas that is sufficiently definitive to provide a basis for a major policy initiative." He continued, "I believe that the main contribution of the government at this point would be to continue to support research concerning the causes, consequences, and treatments for obesity."
As Kling points out, to fight obesity we must first understand what causes it. Obesity is a complex medical condition and likely related to a number of different factors. People often blame overeating, too much fast food, and sedentary lifestyles. Other theories include increased automobile use and living in suburban neighborhoods where people walk less than in other areas. Carbonated beverages and sweeteners made from corn syrup are often mentioned as contributing factors. But not everyone agrees preventing obesity is simply a case of counting calories consumed and subtracting those that are burned.
Sandy Szwarc, a registered nurse who has worked with international obesity researchers and eating disorder clinicians for years, says the evidence for obesity being directly caused by diet and exercise is less clear than people often believe. Szwarc says, "It's easy to accept the popular beliefs that inactivity, gluttony, and eating the wrong foods are the cause of fatness, and to believe that exercising and eating 'right' will keep us slim. But researchers, using a variety of methodologies, have shown time and again for more than 50 years that it isn't consumption of fat, sugars, or any 'bad' food; 'overeating'; or even exercise that predicts and precedes the onset of obesity. It is primarily our genes and restrictive eating," Szwarc concludes, with the latter term referring to caloric restriction diets. Szwarc points to work by the prominent researcher Jeffrey M. Friedman, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller University, who finds obesity has a hereditary basis similar to a person's height.....
Another important observation is that obesity has increased largely due to the stroke of a bureaucratic pen. Dr. Eric Oliver, an associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago and author of Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America's Obesity Epidemic, argues the obesity epidemic is largely a creation of the diet industry. Over the past 30 years, the weight of the average adult American has risen by only 8 to 12 pounds. At the same time, however, the definition of what is overweight was lowered by the National Institutes of Health.
As Oliver told Health Care News, "The only reason that over 60 percent of Americans are 'overweight' and roughly 25 percent are 'obese' is because these definitions are set at unreasonably low levels. In fact, the official definitions of overweight and obese are based on dated and inaccurate data linking body weight to mortality and were written by a handful of doctors with extensive financial ties to the weight loss industry. The most recent scientific evidence suggests that the optimal weight for mortality is what we consider 'overweight' (i.e., a BMI between 25 and 29)."
It's easy to see there is no simple fix for the obesity "epidemic." Many of the factors behind obesity are desirable to society: lower rates of smoking, higher standards of living, less expensive foods, and technology that makes food cheap and work easy. These are indicators of economic development, and most Americans see them as worth carrying a few extra pounds for. To achieve the goal of making Americans reach an unreasonably low body mass standard, anti-obesity advocates will increasingly have to confront this reality.
17 April, 2006
A witch-hunt by the anti-white forces that rule America has been undertaken against the Duke lacrosse team
No "innocent until proved guilty", it would seem
"I am angry and outraged. As one of the few people on the planet that regularly writes a column commenting on issues that effect the white “community” I will take the liberty to speak for the people whose views I represent and say that I (we) feel extremely angry and outraged at the high tech lynching being performed on the white members of the Duke University lacrosse team.
There has been a concerted effort by the anti-white elite and their enablers in the media to try and convict these fine young men for a crime they did not commit. It is beyond outrageous to see the treatment they are getting from the university staff, the student body and the local and national media. In a country that values its legal tradition and the concept of innocent until proven guilty, the behavior of these people has been contemptible.
It's no secret that the media has a decidedly biased viewpoint on racial matters. They have a strong desire to promote diversity and multiculturism, which ensures that they will line up squarely on the side of any non-white “victim” in a high profile criminal case. This often leads to them being easily manipulated, such as in the “Tawana Brawley” hoax of years ago which ruined the lives of several white men but made Al Sharpton a national figure. Which means it was a disaster by any measure.
The Duke lacrosse team is made up of some of the best of our young men. They are student athletes in the truest sense of the word. They play for the love of the game, not fame or fortune. They are good students and good citizens. It’s only through the poisonous effects of our modern culture that they have been made to think that it would be entertaining to invite strippers to one of their parties.
The media would try to insult these men by indicating that they are “privileged” or “well-to-do,” as if these qualities were insults. What "privileged" means is that their parents, grandparents, and other ancestors worked hard to provide for their offspring. It is through the sweat and toil of their families that the Duke players are fortunate enough to be able to afford a first class education. Many of them will be the future captains of our industries (should any be left) and leaders of our society (if it still exists). All due to the hard work of their family.
Yet our sympathies are supposed to be with the black stripper. She is a single mother who has chosen to support her offspring by taking her clothes off and putting her naked body against the bodies of strangers for money. Only in America circa 2006 where good is bad, and ugly is beautiful can the life choices of a stripper be looked upon more favorably than that of high achieving students and athletes.
The woman in question has made allegations of rape. Her allegations have been accepted as true with little doubt by the media and the public. Thus we have young men who come from good families, families that have a long history of lawful behavior, and they are automatically assumed to be the bad guys in this tragic farce.
However, despite the full-court assault on these young men, the case is unraveling faster than a cheap sweater. There are pictures of the stripper/victim just before the incident with many of the signs of injury that she indicated to authorities came from the alleged rape. A gang rape is sure to leave behind copious amounts of DNA by the perpetrators yet DNA testing has been announced that completely exonerates the “suspects.”
But the local DA, Mike Nifong (spit when you say his name), will not let up. He still insists that a crime has been committed even in the total absence thus far of any evidence. He has vowed to see this through to court. It is unbelievable that in America a wife-beating murderer like O.J. Simpson, who is black, can leave his DNA all over a crime scene and it’s not enough to convict him; but the complete absence of the DNA of 40+ white men accused of a gang rape is not enough to cause a “reasonable doubt” in the eyes of the legal system.
Not only is it quite possible that this hoax has ruined the lives of these men, but the coach of the lacrosse team has resigned, Duke’s nationally ranked team has forfeited all it’s games, and one player has been expelled for writing an email that is typical of the stuff kids write nowadays but since it is violent in nature — he’s gone.
Also thrown into the mix is a 911 call from that night by a white girl and her black female friend complaining that someone was yelling racial insults at them. While this appears to be part of the hoax it’s another example of the ridiculous and terribly frustrating thinking of the modern world. How many people would ever think that being called names amounted to an offense great enough to be considered an emergency?
The women in question should be cited for improper use of the 911 system. How in heavens name can any adult alive in America think that the apparatus of the police and legal system exists to protect them from being called names? Reminder: the use of the word “n-word,” like the use of the words “honkey”, “redneck”, or “cracker”, does not constitute a crime, and if it did there would be even more black people in jail than there are now because black people use the word all the time.
There has not been one official organization that has been impartial, let alone taken the side of these young men. All of them, the Duke University staff, the DA’s office, ESPN, other TV and the print media, have chimed in on the condemnation of these men who by any rational measure are innocent of wrongdoing. That is how it is in the US of A, relentless attacks on all things white, no exceptions.
The only reason this story could possibly be noteworthy is because it brings up the possibility of a crime that is so rare as to be almost unheard of: white gang rape of black women. Yet the opposite situation, the black gang rape of white women is so common that it gathers little news attention.
The actual truth about the danger of interracial rape is not prejudice; it is reality. Every year there are about 15,000 black-on-white rapes, but fewer than 900 white-on-black rapes. Each year there are 3,000 gang rapes of whites by blacks and too few white gang rapes of blacks to show up in the statistics. That is 8 gang rapes of white women PER DAY!!!!! Eight!!! Compared to nearly ZERO by white men annually. That means that if there is any truth to this fabrication at Duke then we are talking about an incident that is so rare that it can be of no significance to anyone but the people involved.
Another addendum to this absurd incident is the constant complaining by blacks and their apologists that if this was about black men raping white woman there would be more attention paid to it, as if there could possibly be any more attention than it is now getting.
And would someone please pay attention to those 15,000 rapes!!!! 15,000! Annually! That is over 40 rapes committed by black men against white women each day. And these numbers only reflect those crimes that are reported. That means there are many, many, more that actually occur and certainly go unpunished. This means that black men are effectively waging a war on white people by raping our women. And it doesn’t stop there.
Everybody already knows that blacks make up over 60% of the nation's prison population but only about 12% of the general population. But did you also know that blacks kill about 12 white people each day? How about the fact that blacks are as much more dangerous than whites as men are more dangerous than women? Or that blacks commit violent crimes at four to eight times the white rate? And there is more black-on-white than black-on-black violent crime. Blacks even commit more HATE crimes then white people.
For God’s sake why is everyone so interested in what happened at a Frat house on a university campus when white people are being ethnically cleansed across the country? Can anyone imagine the sheer terror of being gang raped by a group of thugs? What about the safety of our wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers and daughters? It’s as if the nation were stuck in some strange episode of the “Twilight Zone” where everything that was true was disbelieved and everything that is a lie was treated as truth. There is hardly any other explanation for it.
Clearly the enemy has taken over the reins of power. When there is no public or privately voiced support for your people and your causes you may be assured that you have lost control of your country. How sad it is to know that so many of those that have deserted our race are in fact people of our own blood. Can there be any pain greater than to be put under attack by your enemies and all with the help of people that make up your extended family?
Why would white Southerners, kith and kin to these young men, be so quick to attack and condemn them? Have these people no children themselves? Do they see a brighter future for their own offspring growing up in a country where they too will be under attack and considered guilty in all cases just because they are white? Why such self-hate by a people who have such a wonderful history and otherwise have so much to be proud of?
These are difficult questions to consider let alone try to answer. That it happens so often is even more distressing but rest assured as they sow so shall they reap. You may decide for yourself what are the causes of this distressing racial abrogation of duty. You can also assign blame, cause, and guilt. It is all there in front of you. It is only necessary for you to honestly look and you will see what others have seen before and what we must all someday acknowledge and confront together".
CENSORSHIP COVERS UP FAMILY LAW ABUSES
Nearly ninety years ago, when divorce liberalization was being advocated by feminists, G.K. Chesterton warned in The Superstition of Divorce that undermining the family would imperil civic freedom. His warning was vindicated recently when Massachusetts family court judge Mary Manzi outlawed a book that criticizes government officials. Manzi herself is sharply criticized in the book but obviously did not recuse herself from the proceeding.
On March 24, Kevin Thompson received an order prohibiting distribution of his book, Exposing the Corruption in the Massachusetts Family Courts. The court also impounded the records of Thompson's custody case, reinforcing the secrecy in which family courts like to operate.
The standard justification for secret courts is the one Judge Manzi now extends to censorship: "privacy interests of the parties' minor child." Thompson's son has already been forcibly separated from his father, and his life is now under the total control of state officials. What "privacy" does this child have left? Thompson understands that the true reason for the secrecy and censorship is not to protect privacy but to invade it with impunity: "The only interests that are protected are the interests of the racketeers and hypocrites who invade 'family privacy' by removing loving fathers from the lives of their children against their will and without just cause to fill their pockets."
Many people have trouble believing the harrowing tales of human rights abuses now taking place in American family courts and wonder why, if they are true, we do not hear more about it. Perhaps because in many jurisdictions it is a crime to criticize family court judges or otherwise discuss family law cases publicly. In other words, censorship works. Thompson's case is not isolated. Under the pretext of "family privacy," parents are gagged and arrested for criticizing the courts:
* Alice Tulanowksi of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was placed under a gag rule in 2000, though judges and the New Jersey Chapter of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts were left "free to discuss the intimate details of Alice's case" in public.
* Stanley Rains of Victoria, Texas, in 2001 was gagged "from speaking, writing, or publishing his opinions" about why he was cut off from his daughter for more than two years, according to court documents. The order covers private conversations and discussions with mental health professionals and his minister. Issued with no evidentiary hearing, the order followed an article Rains published in Fathering Magazine. He was also prohibited from criticizing a city council candidate who was a divorce lawyer. The order precluded Rains from photographing death threats written on his mother's car.
* The former husband of singer Wynonna Judd was arrested and jailed for talking to reporters about his divorce.
* A California judge shut down the web site of the Committee to Expose Dishonest and Incompetent Attorneys and Judges in 2001.
* In 2005, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott formally asked a federal court to punish Charles Edward Lincoln, for criticizing the state's family courts. Abbott termed the criticism, which consisted in filing some court papers, "bloodless terrorism."
Outright censorship is only the start, since judges usually prefer more subtle methods for stopping the mouths of their critics. Thompson is also being forced to pay the attorneys who advocated the book ban. This practice has the marvelous double effect of providing booty for the judge's cronies and justifying incarceration of critics who cannot pay the instant "debt." Following his criticism of the family courts in testimony to Congress, Jim Wagner of the Georgia Council for Children's Rights was stripped of custody of his two children and ordered to pay $6,000 in fees of attorneys he had not hired. He was soon after arrested for nonpayment.
Censorship of speech and press is only the tip of the iceberg and serves to cloak even more serious constitutional and human rights violations. Writing in the Rutgers Law Review, David Heleniak recently revealed the "due process fiasco" of family law. Calling family courts "an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice," Heleniak identifies six major denials of due process by which courts seize children and railroad innocent parents into jail: denial of trial by jury, denial of poor defendants to free counsel, denial of right to take depositions, lack of evidentiary hearings, lack of notice, and improper standard of proof. In family law, "the burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant," according to a handbook for local officials published by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Dean Roscoe Pound writes that "the powers of the Star Chamber were a trifle in comparison with those of our juvenile court and courts of domestic relations."
In fact, even this only scratches the surface. One can run point-by-point down the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protections, and there is hardly a clause that is not routinely ignored or violated in family law, where practices include mass incarcerations without trial, summary expropriations, presumption of guilt, coerced confessions, ex post facto provisions, bills of attainder, and more. Family courts and their hangers-on are by far the greatest violators of constitutional rights in America today.
Journalists of both the left and right studiously ignore these violations, as do "human rights" groups, even when shown undeniable evidence. It will be interesting to see if they can ignore censorship that touches their own profession.
For his part, Thompson says he intends to ignore the censorship. "Everything that I am doing right now is for my son," he declares. "I will not be shut up."
Cheerleaders ordered to cover up
Incorrect midriffs! Do any of these gals look "anorexic"??
Scantily-clad cheerleaders have been ordered to cover up because of fears they may be encouraging schoolgirl anorexia. Cheerleading's governing body Gymnastics Australia is banning teams from baring their midriffs and has given them until the end of the year to find new uniforms. The organisation believes the revealing costumes make sensitive teenagers feel uncomfortable about their weight and "affect the self-esteem of others". It is also keen for cheerleaders to be seen as athletes in sports wear, rather than bimbos in bikinis.
This has angered cheerleading squads who say audiences don't want a cover-up. Brisbane Broncos cheerleaders' manager Anthony Ikin, whose squad is not affected by the ban, described it as "ridiculous and way too extreme". "The midriff is not an area to be concerned about exposing ... no one wants to go to a game and see people in tracksuits and baggy clothes, it's not appealing ."
Broncos cheerleader Angeli Chupungco, 21, said she was happy wearing the uniform of a sports top and shorts with stockings. "The outfits are appropriate for what we're doing and we look the way people want us to look as cheerleaders." The ban, which has already been imposed in the United States, will affect teams which are registered with Gymnastics Australia or compete at their events.
15 April, 2006
BRITAIN'S OFFICIAL RAPE FETISH
A school of 1970s and 80s feminism held that rape is a defining part of the relationship between men and women. Rape is at the back of every man's mind, apparently, an intrinsic part of his desires. Indeed, these feminists argued that penetration was in itself an act of male domination; sex was rape even if the woman thought she was consenting.
It appears that the Dworkinite school of feminism has wound up working at the UK Home Office. The assumptions - that all men are potentially rapists, that rape is part of everyday life, that all defendants in rape cases are guilty - now form the backbone of policy documents and legal reforms.
The government last week announced new measures to 'increase rape convictions'. Not to improve evidence gathering or social services, but to increase convictions, a demand that is normally restricted to totalitarian states. In the ensuing debate, everybody seemed to assume that nearly all defendants are guilty - they talked of 'rapist' and 'victim' not 'defendant' and 'witness' - and the question was simply how to lock more men up. Indeed, solicitor general Mike O'Brien claimed that only 'between three per cent and nine per cent of rape claims' were 'vexatious'. He didn't reveal how he knows this - surely the question of guilt is for the trial to decide?
The law has now taken something like Robin Morgan's view on board. The 2003 Sexual Offences Act makes consent 'active, not passive'; if a woman goes along with sex but doesn't give explicit active consent, it's rape. Official promotion campaigns in men's mags present rape as something that any man could stumble into on a drunken night out. Rape is presented as part of the everyday way men relate to women.
Rape convictions are indeed very low compared to other crimes. This is in part because rape is difficult to prove - there are often no witnesses, little physical evidence, and it's a matter of his word against hers. Over the past few years the rape conviction rate has fallen further - the numbers of rape cases have shot up while successful convictions increased only marginally - but this is largely the result of the government's redefinition of rape. More cases are reaching court that no sensible man or woman would call rape: drunken students who woke up the morning after and couldn't remember what they had done, for example.
There was another view in 1970s feminism, which held that rape should be seen as a crime of violence. This is an argument we could do with dusting off today.
These feminists - including Germaine Greer - argued that rape had nothing to do with normal sexual attraction: it was about power and degradation, just like other physical assaults. One feminist blog, Den of the Biting Beaver (motto: 'gnawing away at sexism and misogyny'), put this case recently: 'Rape is not sex. Sex is not rape. We cannot allow this confusion to escalate or continue. Men rape, not because a woman is sexually attractive to them, but because he wants to get his orgasm from the degradation and control that he is wielding over his victim.'
The 'rape is violence' feminists were arguing against a dominant view that saw rape as a 'crime of passion', the idea that men raped because they saw a sexy woman and couldn't help themselves. 'She was wearing a short skirt, y'honour.'
Greerite feminists argued that rape should be tried like other acts of violence. Rape occurs when a man forces himself on a woman, and the woman resists. There should be no doubt that a crime is being committed: this is a question of assault, not of him neglecting to check for consent at every stage of proceedings. As the individualist feminist Wendy McElroy argued in an essay, 'The New Mythology of Rape': 'Regarding consent the crucial question is, of course, "has a woman agreed to have sex?" It is not: has she been talked into it, bribed, manipulated, filled with regret, drunk too much or ingested drugs. And, in an act that rarely has an explicit "yes" attached to it, the touchstone of consent in sex has to be the presence or absence of physical force.'
As well as proof of physical force, a rape conviction requires the presence of a 'guilty mind'. That is, the man must have intentionally committed rape, just as a person must have intended to murder in order to be convicted. The standard for this was set in a case known as Morgan, where a man invited his friends home to have sex with his wife. She would struggle, he told them, but she liked kinky sex and the struggle contributed to her pleasure. The men were convicted and their appeal later failed. But on appeal the House of Lords laid down a new standard of consent, holding that an honest, mistaken belief in consent could be a defence in rape cases.
This sensible principle has now been replaced with the notion that rape is the outcome of thoughtlessness or insensitivity. Home Office ads tell men: your belief that she consented is no defence against rape. Rape is again seen as a 'crime of passion', letting go when you see a sexy woman, rather than consciously and violently forcing yourself upon her.
Anti-rape ads don't show dodgy men in dark alleys; they show attractive woman in lingerie. 'Why is she portrayed as being sexual in a campaign designed to stop rape?', asked Den of the Biting Beaver. One Home Office ad showed a slim female torso in white knickers that bore a no-entry sign. This is saying, lads, if you don't check yourself you'll end up in the dock. One young male columnist said that rape was the outcome of lads mags' sex talk, as if a culture of Puritan restraint were the only check on rape.
The 'rape is violence' feminists also sought to demythologise rape, to take away its special stigma. A woman should no more be ashamed of being raped than a man would be ashamed of being hit over the head with a bottle. Neither act is the victims' fault, and both victims should be able to move on and get on with their lives.
Rape is not the worst thing that can happen to a woman, argues Greer in a recent article. 'If you allow a man to put his penis into your body because otherwise he will cut your nose off, you clearly feel that having your nose cut off is miles worse, but the asinine law does not agree with you.' She points out that rape was in the past seen as such a terrible crime because it was about tainted male honour. A raped woman would be defiled, a source of shame to fathers, husbands and brothers; the deed was done and could not be undone.
Now rape is again seen as a matter of permanent defilement. Women never get over rape, we are told; they are scarred for life. Rape cases are a law unto themselves - the woman's name is kept secret, she is allowed to testify via a video link - set apart from other crimes. Everything reinforces the notion that this is a uniquely devastating and shameful crime.
Give me those feisty 'rape is violence' feminists any day. Some even called on women to learn self-defence to force off an attacker - Wendy McElroy proclaims the necessity of learning to 'shoot lying down and to aim for the head'. They sought to remove patronising patriarchal assumptions about women, and put rape on the level of other violent crimes.
The agenda of multiculturalists
Remember the ancient city of Troy in your public school studies? The residents of Troy were intrigued with the large, unusual wooden horse outside of the city's gates. The Trojans were warned not to take the wooden horse into the city, but they did so nevertheless. Troy was destroyed after its own people brought the wooden horse into their city.
America is faced with a similar situation. The American Trojan horse is multiculturalism. Americans have become intrigued with the phenomenon of multiculturalism, a modern Trojan horse. They have brought the horse inside our nation. Now, occupants of this modern Trojan horse have opened the gates to let their fellow warriors into the nation's schools and universities, businesses, government, and churches. The ongoing demonstrations in favor of illegal immigrants is witness to this.
What is multiculturalism? Alvin J. Schmidt in his book, "The Menace of Multiculturalism," defines multiculturalism as a leftist political ideology that sees all cultures, their mores and institutions, as essentially equal. No culture is considered superior or inferior to any other; it is merely different. Criticism of other cultures, especially non-Western/minority cultures, is labeled "insensitive" or "bigoted." There is one major exception, however. The Euro-American culture with its Judeo-Christian underpinnings is not only criticized but often condemned, being accused of racism, sexism, and classism.
The goal of multiculturalists is to transform the Untied States from a culturally assimilated (melting pot) society to an unassimilated multicultural society with a wide variety of cultures, subcultures, and linguistic groups spread across the country's landscape and accorded equal status. Multiculturalists seek to create and "celebrate diversity" and are not concerned that their diversity methods may ultimately balkanize and divide the United States. Remember Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union? Canada and Quebec?
What about this "Euro-American culture" do the multiculturalists dislike? What is it? Schmidt defines it this way: "The term 'Euro-American culture' refers to those components of American culture that are derived from the beliefs and practices of England and, to some degree, of Northern Europe and adapted to American needs. Briefly, these beliefs are as follows: God created human beings and the world; human behavior is to be judged as right or wrong, moral or immoral, in light of the Ten Commandments of the Bible; objective knowledge is attainable; the rights, freedoms, responsibilities, and dignity of the individual take precedence over those of groups; people are governed by the rule of law; laws are formulated democratically; every man or woman is equal before the law; every accused individual is innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial where he or she can face the accuser; people have the right not only to succeed but also to fail; and a free society that provides equal opportunity but does not guarantee equal outcome."
Schmidt cautions us that multiculturalism must not be confused with multicultural education. Multicultural education presents and examines the values and practices of other cultures objectively and critically in a nondoctrinaire manner, i.e., not standing firm in support of a culture in an unyielding, dogmatic way. It recognizes that American culture has always had some diversity, especially religious and ethnic differences, but it views such diversity as subcultural and subordinate to America's majority culture rather than standing separately alongside of it.
In Part I of this examination of multiculturalism, let's think about one question regarding multiculturalism (Schmidt) that may help us understand how multiculturalism is a Trojan horse for America. Isn't America really a multicultural society?
No. America is a monoculture. The United States is a multiethnic, not a multicultural, country. America has never been, nor is it now, a multicultural society in the sense of the former Yugoslavia or the former Soviet Union. The United States is not a multicultural society with a German culture, Dutch culture, Greek culture, African culture, or the like. They do not exist. There may indeed be an annual German Oktoberfest, a Greek festival, or Dutch tulip festival, but these and other ethnic festivities only reveal a "symbolic ethnicity." These "ethnics" do not see themselves as having or maintaining a foreign culture. Rather, they all see themselves as Americans.
Multiculturalists encourage groups from minority cultures not to give up their non-American values and practices - to not be assimilated (melted) into the Euro-American culture. America is to accept their culture without question. Educators, business people, and church leaders everywhere have naively accepted and promoted the multiculturalist movement under the guise of democracy and toleration. If multiculturalism continues to grow, America will become an arena of ethnic-tribal groups, each intolerant of other ethnics, each group seeing itself as superior to the others. Each group's different values and lifestyles will invariably clash with those of other entities. Gone will be America's common cultural bond that has been the envy of the world. Though imperfect, the melting pot has worked remarkably well for more than 300 years.
14 April, 2006
Since Richard Lynn very kindly sent me a copy of his latest book, I thought it would be a good idea to do a review of it. I have had various reviews of academic books published before. I therefore prepared the review below and submitted it to the mainstream Australian e-zine Online Opinion. I have had one previous article published there. Although initially interested in the idea of such a review, they rejected the review when they actually saw it -- on the vaguest of grounds. That the whole topic suffers from severe political incorrectness is, however, the obvious real reason for the rejection. In the age of the internet, however, such editorial filtering of the information available does not work. So I am posting the review here and in a couple of other places
"Race differences in intelligence: An evolutionary analysis" by Richard Lynn. Washington Summit Publishers, Augusta, Georgia, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-1-59368-021-3
Review by John Ray (2006)
Maverick academics such as Frank Ellis in Britain and Andrew Fraser in Australia have recently attracted some press with their public declarations that they believe that there are differences in average IQ between whites and blacks. So this book is a timely one.
The essential thing to note about this book is that it is NOT an expression of opinion. It is an attempt to do something far more difficult -- an attempt to gather together ALL the available scientific evidence on its topic. Let me give you a little personal anecdote to show you how hard that is.
Like Lynn, I am a psychometrician (specialist in psychological measurement) but my interest is in measuring attitudes and personality. And one of my interests is in how to measure ambition (what psychologists call achievement motivation). And roughly once a year somebody publishes a new set of questions designed to do that. But nobody ever seems to be aware of all the previous attempts in the same field. Typically, they seem to know of only two or three attempts to measure ambition in that way. On a couple of occasions, psychologists have published what they thought was a comprehensive survey of the literature in the field but the best of them could find (from memory) no more than 16 such articles in the academic literature. So a couple of years later I published a catalogue of such articles. And I found around 70 such!
How come? It is because the standard resources for searches of the academic literature are very imperfect. They miss heaps. You cannot instantly acquire a knowledge of the findings on a topic simply by doing a search. You have to be a specialist in the field who continually has an eye out for interesting findings and who systematically collects such findings over a period of many years. Richard Lynn is such a person in the field of IQ. Lynn's book is, in other words, about as authoritative as you can get. And in comparison with the measly 70 articles that I could find on my topic, Lynn records over 500 surveys of IQ.
So what the book tells us is not what Richard Lynn thinks. Lynn of course has his opinions and he does express them (he argues, for instance, that an evolutionary history of coping with cold winters selects for high intelligence) but that is not what the book is primarily about. What the book shows us is what the entire body of scientific research on the subject stretching back over the last 100 years or more has shown. And, as all psychometricians know, the findings are remarkably uniform. There is normally a huge gap between the average scores of African-origin populations and European-origin populations. Brilliant blacks do of course exist. The person whom I quote most on my blog is an African-American (Thomas Sowell). But brilliant (high IQ) people are simply much rarer in African-origin populations than in European ones. And all the studies of the genetics of IQ show its transmission to be overwhelmingly genetic.
Confronted with this now very old and very persistent finding, the usual response from those who feel challenged by it has been to dismiss IQ tests. They say that IQ scores mean nothing, do not measure intelligence and are of no importance generally. Lynn of course takes such claims seriously and devotes his opening chapter to such challenges. The essential thing that you need to know in evaluating such challenges is however very simple: IQ is a DISCOVERY, not a product of theory. The whole concept of IQ arose in the late 19th century when educationists began to notice a very strange thing: People who were good at solving one type of problem or puzzle also tended to be good at solving quite different puzzles and problems. There WAS such a thing as a general problem-solving ability. And it is for that reason that the scientific literature does not usually use the term "IQ". In the scientific literature, it is usually referred to as 'g' (short for "general factor"). And that is also why IQ tests normally are comprised of a whole series of quite different and apparently unrelated problems -- because problem-solving ability IS general, regardless of the sort of problem. And something as general as that is obviously of considerable importance.
I will not go on here to look at all the various arguments that have been raised about the utility of IQ tests generally or about non-genetic explanations for the findings with Africans and others. That is what Lynn's book is for. Be assured, however, that all the possible objections are well known to experts in the field and have been extensively researched. It is a case of there being "nothing new under the sun" as far as theories of that kind are concerned and most such theories can be decisively rejected in the light of the research available. The one non-genetic but physical explanation for IQ differences that has stood up fairly well is nutrition. Good or bad nutrition in childhood can affect how well the brain develops and hence IQ. The brain is however pretty good at protecting itself so the differences observed due to nutrition are generally very small, much smaller than the black/white difference, for instance. The best diet in the world won't make a dummy into an Einstein nor will the best education or the best anything else. But if you want to get a doctorate it helps a lot if your father has one -- even if you don't live with him or know him.
Perhaps in closing I should mention the one aspect of Lynn's work which has attracted a lot of press. A reporter from "The Times" of London had a look at the book and from it extracted what he claimed were the average IQ scores for various European countries. And, to much hilarity, Germany was shown as having an average score of 107 compared to Britain's 100. German psychometricians (such as Volkmar Weiss) knew of course that this was a nonsense and there is certainly nothing to that effect in Lynn's book. If you take either the mean or the median scores from the results for Germany presented in Lynn's book you get an unremarkable average of about 99.
What happened was that there was one outlying result from one German survey that showed a mean of 107 and the reporter gleefully seized on that as if it were typical of what is found in Germany generally. Which all goes to reinforce the importance of Lynn's book. You cannot rely on just one survey or one result. You have to have a collection of many findings on any given topic or question before you can confidently make generalizations. And no book does a better job of providing you with such data as "Race differences in intelligence: An evolutionary analysis".
Dr. John Ray was a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of NSW until his retirement in 1983
A QUESTION OF BALANCE
Below is the opening salvo from an online book by British historian Guy Leven Torres:
The headlines of the Daily Mail proclaimed that a retired couple had been paid a visit by two burly police officers who wanted to,'re-educate' them about some of their 'attitudes' to homosexuals, after they had asked a local council if Christian literature could be placed alongside the 'gay' material being advertised by the latter as part of a 'minority equality program'. The couple were informed that their request and attitude was 'close to hate crime and that they were treading on eggshells'. A year before, a vicar had been prosecuted and fined for protesting in public about 'homosexuals' and calls for them to repent. At about the same time as the old couple were being reported for 'homophobia' by the district council, a well known social commentator, received a phone call from a police woman stating that she was 'investigating' a report of a homophobic' incident on Radio 5 London, when during a topical discussion on recent 'gay partnership' legislation she had expressed the opinion it was wrong to allow same-sex couples to adopt children of the same sex as themselves for fear of harming the adoptee. She was informed she would be 'placed on a list' even though 'no crime had been committed'. When she asked, 'What list?' the police officer was unable to tell her which one.
This is Britain today. These incidents are not uncommon either. What does it tell us about our society? Does it mean that merely to express an opinion that the state disagrees with, can find one under the prying eyes and bullying of police officers like the ones above? The majority of people in this country hold quite negative opinions towards homosexual life styles, especially wherein they conflict with traditional attitudes of family life and behaviour. There is no point in denying this fact and what right has a supposedly 'elected' government, national or local have to persecute the majority that either, do not care too much even to discuss the subject or who feel they have to make a point against such a way of life? Personally, I could not care less whether somebody is gay provided they are decent and law abiding but I do care when I see innocent souls set upon by politicised police and council officials who do not like their views. More than one gay friend has also stated that such activity in the 'interests' of people like himself sent a 'cold shudder' through his spine.
The truth is that it is not about homosexual equality at all. It is about a Left wing elite's determination to impose its political power and control upon the people of this land and the political use of minorities to do so as 'victims of Society'. Marx would have recognised this new 'Class War' but since the traditional working class no longer exist or even live in real poverty, it is issues such as homosexuality, ethnic and religious minorities and especially the disabled that now provide the inspiration to man the revolutionary barricades. A colleague of mine suffers from the debilitating illness of Neurasthenia. He finds these attentions unwanted and unwarranted. He does not want his illness politicised by the left or any other faction. What he would like, is practical assistance and constructive understanding instead of what is usually on offer in the form of politicised social workers, wearing their hearts upon their sleeves, ever ready to promote his 'victim-hood' and the cloying attitudes that normally accompany this. The trouble is he feels he is not a victim in any real sense apart from being unfortunate to suffer from an illness that makes no political distinction whatsoever between its sufferers. Indeed it is very 'inclusive' and well into 'equality and diversity' as it strikes at people of all backgrounds, classes and religions irrespective of colour or creed, even sexuality.
When I recently looked upon the internet for some practical support and assistance for him, all we found were sites offering page after page about 'equality and gender' issues in respect of his illness. However, we found absolutely nothing in all the verbiage and jargon that even remotely concerned his illness and its reality. He was trying to get support in his work but it seems that under our new elite, such things as support officers to assist him in finding and sustaining a career were abolished like so much that was of practical value to somebody like himself. All he and I found was a diatribe about how wonderful it would be to suffer from my neurasthenia in New Labour's 'inclusion and equality' driven Britain. What has politics and its jargon to do with depression and anxiety? Now we realised what the papers meant when they talked of 'spin and no substance'. It is a disgrace. The only websites that did offer some form of practical assistance were private and even in these one had to wade through web-pages of policies of 'inclusion and diversity' etc, etc.
Even worse was the realisation that many of the older traditional care projects and much needed support in our local area had been abolished in the name of 'providing policies' of 'value and inclusive diversity' within the community that meant in reality that the accountants and political ideologues had moved in and cut services back far and wide, often leaving families alone to cope with sufferers without adequate medical and psychiatric support. Even if it had been a genuine attempt to provide sufferers with a better way of life, which we doubt, it certainly is one of the most foolhardy and dangerous political experiments we had ever come across.
He has a loving wife, children and friends like me, who support him in his 'down' periods but he is also aided by a high intelligence and a thorough understanding of what the illness itself is all about. What of those isolated souls on sink estates and even private conurbations who have no real understanding of an illness that can strike anywhere at anytime irrespective of age or sex? The initial attacks are frightening and disorientating to both the victim and his family and friends. Many begin with a suicide attempt and unexplainable anger but fortunately he had a General Practitioner on hand who was already concerned with his illogical mood swings and who immediately sent him into hospital. One doubts if those facilities exist anymore.
During one attack, nearly thirteen years ago, his wife and I. went for assistance and were informed, 'that the Doctor could do nothing unless he asked for help'. Upon stating that he was not capable of knowing what was best for myself, we were informed that under the 'equality and inclusive' policies that respected all 'individuals rights and individual values' they were not allowed to interfere with his 'privacy'. Only the timely interference of his social worker and our own dogged insistence that would not take 'no' for an answer, obtained the treatment he urgently needed. He could so easily have died in my unconscious state. This experience is not uncommon either. Deaths have already occurred and despite several attempts to address this ridiculous obsession with 'rights' and the usual left wing jargon of 'inappropriate', 'totally unacceptable', and assurances it would not happen again and report after report, making recommendations, little, if anything has changed and is still buried under a deadweight of political jargon and talk of 'equality and inclusiveness' as we have seen above.
We live in an age of a bureaucracy that generates more bureaucracy in order to justify its existence. Even worse is the fact that this same bureaucracy singularly fails to do anything of any practical value and indeed is causing misery and unhappiness to millions of Britons from every walk of life. It seems that when one makes a complaint to any local body these days it generates a paperwork trail and a plethora of jargon, if anything else at all, except perhaps, when it involves a prized section of the Politically Correct Establishment's favoured classes of 'Victim-hood' such as homosexuals, lone parents and their wayward offspring, asylum seekers, or the disabled. However, many like my colleague and I resent this whole idea that individuals like him are 'victims of Society' and especially the interference that comes with it. On the other hand when we or our families require practical everyday assistance, we face a wall of bureaucratic crassness and stupidity.
I know one or two 'gay' people and count them as worthy friends and they are quite capable of looking after themselves and like my friend, deeply resent being seen as 'victims of society' and especially the attempts by Left leaning government bodies, national and local to ingratiate themselves with them. One fine example is Elton John who lives not far away from me and whose wealth and estate runs into millions. The gays I know are more than capable of looking after themselves and in many cases do so far better than their heterosexual counterparts like me, shouldered with raising children and even grandchildren.
Yet we read of a council in the West Country trying to find 'gays' in an area in order to provide 100,000 pounds for 'their welfare'. They were only able to find two, so it seems, among all the inhabitants of the local area and one is led to believe these were none too pleased about being 'found' by the local council, rightfully fearful as they were of public censure and feelings of resentment caused by such unfair acts of 'generosity' at a time when public facilities like hospitals faced closure. The fact is 'gays' do not want special treatment but to be seen as normal members of wider society, subject to all the normative pressures that everybody else faces. If 100,000 pounds were given to my Neurasthenic friend he too would feel the same. The simple truth is they do not want the cloying, dripping Maternalism of these local and national bodies trying to assist them with such outrageous grants of cash or social assistance in this manner when all they seek is to fit in like anybody else. Their needs and worries are the same as everybody else has! Those are survival and comfort and acceptance in a hostile world.
The trouble is that the neo-liberal fascists that now permeate every level of our society in government, the arts, science, education, legal and caring professions, police and increasingly the military never do ask the opinions of those they seek to utilise politically as 'victims of society'. And when these do object like me, we are usually met by looks of pitying condescension and ignored. 'You simply do not understand!' they mutter. The trouble is we do understand perfectly well indeed.
13 April, 2006
Reshaping the American mind
Shortly before the confirmation of Justice Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, Senator John Kerry (who still apparently harbors presidential hopes) had warned ominously that Alito's confirmation would cause "irreversible damage to our country." Now the irony and sheer chutzpah of such hypocrisy never fails to gall me, though we are exposed to a constant barrage of similar perverse remarks that stream constantly from the mouths of liberals. That statement is so ironic because the determination of conservatives to get a bona fide Constitutional jurist on the bench (one who recognizes and respects the limits that are intended upon his authority) was specifically aimed at reversing the damage to our country that has been done by activist liberal judges who don't view the Constitution as an instrument that should be respected and adhered to. It is, to them, a relic of the past, written by dead white men, and must therefore be updated to correspond with the more enlightened thinking of the modern era. Those of us who see the seeds of our destruction in their "enlightened" rulings are simply ignorant bigots and religious fanatics who must be silenced, our judgments suppressed.
I have been distracted of late by some disturbing developments at my place of employment that concern a larger issue I have wished for some time to try and elucidate, but have not been able to until now. I shall endeavor to be clear, but I may come off as some raving, paranoid conspiracy theorist. Bear with me.
I am employed at a university that has recently proposed some new policies and regulations (to bring us in line, I am told in lawyerese, "with the current state of the law") that will soon be implemented. The changes instituted and the methods used are instructive for those who keep tabs on the New World Order and its progress in subsuming the culture and sovereignty of all the nations under its flag.
The new policies were delivered one at a time in a manner that likely went unnoticed by the university community. I'm sure you've all heard the analogy of the frog in the pot: If you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, he'll move heaven and earth to get out, but if you put him in cold water, then turn the temperature up one degree at a time, he'll stay in the pot until he boils to death. This is how they are turning the temperature up one degree at a time: First a new "diversity statement" was added to the personnel handbook of the university, which highlights the university's desire to "recruit, hire and retain employees who bring a diversity of viewpoints, cultures and a broad range of human experiences to the university", and, of course, "it is expected that all in the university community will appreciate and respect the dignity, individuality, and the uniqueness of our individual community members. Sounds harmless, right? A bit heavily laden with liberal feel good words, but to the average person, it would sound reasonable and fair, almost.well, heck.almost Catholic. Except that this statement was preceded by a campus climate survey that focused on sexual orientation and whether or not gays felt "safe" on the campus. One didn't have to be clairvoyant to see where this was going.
Right after the diversity statement was issued, the committee on Equal Opportunity and Diversity for the campus asked for a volunteer to work on the Diversity Committee, whose responsibilities would include reviewing campus climate surveys, and recommending "ways in which the university can broaden opportunities for all members of the community to participate in institutional efforts to enhance the diversity among faculty, students, and staff," and to propose "programs that foster greater appreciation of and sensitivity to the importance of diversity within the university community."
Well, as anyone with a brain could anticipate, the next step was to add sexual orientation to the EEO regulations of the university, which automatically makes it fall under the campus "diversity statement" adding that to the individual differences and life experiences we are all supposed to appreciate, respect, and promote. Phase 3 was the kicker, though, as some vague and subjective language was added to the sexual harassment policy which virtually shut down any discussion outside of specific classes that pertains to the topic, lest someone be made to feel "unwelcome". (So much for the "diversity of viewpoints" the diversity statement claims to encourage.) So now "diversity" has become a euphemism for enforced ideological conformity.
Campus speech codes and other infringements on free speech, freedom of association, religious freedom and expression, and freedom of the press, are rampant on campuses and in corporate and government places of employment. By placing free discussion about a political and social issue of great concern to all under the threat of "sexual harassment" charges, they create a de facto "hate speech" law that does exactly what a real hate crimes law would do -- muzzle public dissent or any speech which opposes the homosexual political and social agenda. And the universities and corporations that institute such policies now hold the livelihood of their employees hostage to compel them to conform to that agenda. People have been fired, expelled, and disciplined for refusing to toe the line. If the university had simply added sexual orientation to the EEO regulations and applied the same objective US government definitions of sexual harassment to that as to everything else, it would probably not raise an eyebrow. Authentic harassment (sexual or emotional) could be dealt with in the same way for homosexuals as for heterosexuals without crossing the line between compelling civil conduct and speech (which an employer has the right to impose) and compelling ideological conformity (which violates the civil liberties of the employees). But the addition of a "diversity statement" reveals an agenda with broader implications than simply keeping the peace or trying to prevent lawsuits.
In an earlier column, I remarked about how grade schools had become early training grounds for secular humanist morality. The recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals' against parental rights in determining what kinds of "education" the schools have the authority to expose children to also suggests an agenda at work. (A current bill in the California state legislature to add "gender" and "sexual orientation" to its antidiscrimination policies is a case in point. If the bill is signed into law, schools will now be forced to "teach school children as young as kindergarten to accept and embrace transsexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality in all its forms," according to the president of the Campaign for Children and Families in that state, Randy Thomasson.) There are increasing efforts to normalize and compel acceptance of what is clearly abnormal to any rational thinking person, and we are seeing it in sex education that includes a curriculum aimed at desensitization toward and acceptance of homosexuality (including homosexual marriage and adoption), transexualism, transgenderism, transvestitism, and adult-child sex.
Books such as Heather Has Two Mommies and Jim's Two Dads accomplish in grade school what "diversity statements" accomplish in colleges and corporations: Under the pretext of creating a "safe" environment for learning or working, what is really happening is people are being indoctrinated and opposition silenced, and the methods are sometimes coercive. At the same time, religious values are being treated as backward and bigoted, and requiring remedial "programming". Though it is no where stated in law, sexual orientation is being given status as a "civil right", possibly laying the groundwork for adding it to existing civil rights laws. The persistence of Democrats in Congress (led chiefly by Sen. Ted Kennedy) in trying to offer legal protection to homosexual behavior via hate crimes laws (which will be used to censor speech against the homosexual lifestyle), and the more successful efforts in Canada and many European nations to criminalize speech and to recognize sexual orientation in human rights laws makes it clear that this is what we are being groomed to accept. Sexual orientation will be a protected class as soon as society is made ready to accept it. This agenda seems so surreal. It is hard to believe that so many ordinary people oppose this, yet so many people in positions of power are implementing it. But the evidence is there that we are being indoctrinated in preparation for that day.....
It is useful to look at the European Union to get a feel for how human rights are being redefined, and how member states are being pressured to get on board with the more "progressive" states in promoting, for example, "reproductive health services" and gay rights. The pressure is tremendous, and the economic penalties for resistance or refusal could be harsh, just as it might be against the lone individual who stands against an employer trying to indoctrinate him with secular humanist ideologies, just as perhaps it is for those employers and for universities who don't go along with the dictates of the Working Group (or other organs of the government) charged with bringing us into compliance with those international treaties. The failure, indeed the obstinate refusal, of the European Union to acknowledge the Christian roots of European civilization in its Constitution, and the kind of bullying now taking place to compel submission to the full spectrum of secular movements rings an ominous warning for the rest of the world. In the past, governments have found faith useful in controlling its populations, and so encouraged faith, sometimes enforcing it. But authentic faith recognizes the rule of law, and the duty to obey that law until the law comes in conflict with the laws of God. Then authentic faith must take a stand. It isn't popular, it's not the easy way. Thomas Jefferson famously wrote in another Declaration, the Declaration of Independence:
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
We can still avoid that kind of conflict, but it's going to take fortitude, courage, and character, and a rebirth of manly virtue of the kind we glimpsed so briefly during the September 11 attack on our nation. Surely there are still enough heroes among us who will stand up for God, family and country
BRITISH FOOD DICTATORS BEING RESISTED
There's no doubting the popularity of Jamie Oliver right now. Having previously been the often-lambasted frontman for a laddish food culture, he has reinvented himself as social entrepreneur by training unemployed kids at his restaurant Fifteen - and his ascension to secular sainthood was confirmed by last year's TV crusade, Jamie's School Dinners.
The result of the Channel 4 series was an extra o280million from the government to be spent over three years, increasing food budgets to 50p per head in primary schools and to 60p per head in secondary schools. Many parents seem to believe that school meals are now better than before. A BMRB poll reported in the UK Observer suggests that three-quarters of parents think school grub has improved, and almost half think Oliver was the biggest factor in changing things.
However, the results of this poll are at odds with parents' actual response to the TV series - and Jamie is not a happy bunny. Far from increasing uptake of school meals, the series seems to have put many parents off them completely - even in areas where 'healthy' options have been introduced. This fall in numbers taking school dinners is not so surprising, however, if one recalls the overblown horror stories Oliver cooked up (see Hard to swallow, by Rob Lyons).
For example, officials in Gloucestershire, one of the first to make the switch to healthier dinners, have watched the numbers of primary school children taking meals falling from 11,600 to 9,800 out of a total of 40,000 pupils. The biggest decrease was in Suffolk, where the total number of school meals served last year fell from 19,000 to 13,000. In the country as a whole, 400,000 children have reportedly turned their backs on school meals - a 12.5 per cent fall. There are now concerns that with so few children taking hot meals, the service may soon cease to be viable (1).
Many parents are choosing to send their kids to school with packed lunches instead. Kevin McKay, chair of the Local Authority Caterers Association, told the Independent on Sunday: 'People's perception of meals is what they saw on TV. Many authorities were already doing healthy meals. They also saw a decrease. More and more children are now bringing their own packed lunches in, which have been proved to be not as healthy.' (2)
Jamie Oliver was more forthright. Packed lunches 'are the biggest evil. Even the best packed lunch is a shit packed lunch', he declared (3). A bog-standard packed lunch apparently consists of a white bread sandwich, a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and a fizzy drink - just the kind of low-fibre, high-salt and high-sugar combination that sends the food police apoplectic.
Thankfully, packed lunches are not (yet) under the control of government inspectors, and so parents have control over what goes into them. And given that parents aren't around during school hours to force their kids to eat things they don't like, it's no wonder they tend to play safe and make sure the boxes are full of stuff that will be eaten. Parents have to make a judgement call on these kind of things - and it is precisely that judgement which is called into question by the likes of Oliver.
He seems to think that parents cannot be trusted to feed their kids properly. Jamie's School Dinners featured plenty of asides about how we must feed children better at school because we don't know what they get at home. And Oliver is not alone. There has always been a school of thought in authority that looked down on the efforts of parents - particularly working-class parents - to bring their children up in the appropriate manner. However, having battered us into submission with panics about obesity and educational underachievement caused by additives and malnutrition, parents are more open to such intervention into their parenting behaviour than ever before.
It must be a source of considerable wonderment to Oliver that human beings survived for thousands of years without olive oil and broccoli. In fact, true nutritional deficiency is very rare in Britain today. Even so-called 'junk' food contains plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals - and just to be on the safe side vitamins are added to all sorts of foods, from breakfast cereals to sugary drinks. For all the furore about food, children eat better now than ever before.
It is true that children are getting fatter on average than in the past, but the numbers involved and the risks associated with obesity are hotly contested (4). The diminishing opportunities for independent exercise and play must be at least as important in that process as the food children eat.
Getting children to eat better food is no bad thing. But for Oliver and others, there seems to be only one right way to raise children. Parents who haven't provided their kids with five portions of fruit and veg a day, or who insist on providing convenience food over home-cooked organic meals, are increasingly seen as deficient.
While Oliver bangs on about re-introducing compulsory cooking lessons to schools, the real lesson of the day is that experts are keen to butt into the most basic aspects of our lives, even how we feed our children. We should tell them to get lost - and when it comes to schools, we should be worrying far more about the paltry fare being dished up in classrooms than what children are scoffing in the canteen.
No food panic in the Australian government
As he completed a charity bike ride raising more than $300,000 for diabetes research, the federal Minister for Health, Tony Abbott, ruled out a ban on junk food ads on children's television. The rate of diabetes, mostly caused by poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle, is soaring in line with children's obesity.
However, Mr Abbott said children's eating habits were an issue for parents and schools, not government nor the advertising industry. "The only person responsible for what goes into my mouth is me, and the only people who are responsible for what goes into kids' mouths are the parents. "What we really need is more responsible dietary behaviour from parents, from individuals and school canteens. I won't at this point in time, or I suspect down the track, be demanding that they ban ads." Mr Abbott was among more than 80 cyclists who rode from Brisbane to Sydney to raise money for a diabetes research laboratory at the Westmead Millennium Institute.
The Greens yesterday released the findings of a survey showing that teenagers who watch a lot of television ads are not only more likely to eat more junk food but are less likely to favour healthy food. "It is time for [Abbott] to admit what everyone else has known for years: junk food advertisements work and we need to protect children from them," the Greens leader, Bob Brown, said.
12 April, 2006
MORE ON THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT'S LOVE OF CRIMINALS
American and British criminologists have long been puzzled and angered by the fact that Britain seems to have learnt nothing from the experience of New York in successfully reducing crime. The big drop in virtually all types of crime in New York has generally been attributed to the zero-tolerance policy associated with Mayor Guiliani. Now Britain, far from adopting zero-tolerance, looks like it's adopting a policy of not prosecuting many serious crimes at all. This is the subject of an official Home Office directive to all British police forces. British police have now been told that instead of arresting a range of serious criminals, they can be let off with a caution.
The Home Office says offenses that may now be dealt with by a caution include burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine if police decide a caution would be the best approach. Other crimes including common assault, threatening behavior, sex with an underage girl or boy, and car theft should normally be dealt with by a caution, if the offenders admit their guilt but have no criminal record.
London and British crime rates have been increasing for years. Recently total crime rates for London have been estimated at about seven times those of New York for a slightly smaller population and some authorities suggest these figures have been minimized. England and Wales are now accounted by some estimates as the most dangerous places for crime in the developed world.
New York and London have populations of 8 million and 7 million respectively and comparable police budgets, though New York has about 40 percent more police actually on the beat. British papers retail many incidents of British police, rather than preventing crime, being kept busy "celebrating diversity" and prosecuting politically incorrect remarks and behavior (large amounts of money and court time have been spent by the Crown Prosecution Service on cases of children who have made politically incorrect remarks in school playground fights, for instance).
In Norfolk, where the Tony Martin affair and other matters revealed a state of professional criminal gangs systematically robbing and terrorizing isolated rural dwellers, police recently alerted all officers to the fact a man was still at large after having stolen four soft porn magazines. This desperado's picture was sent to stations throughout the county, and the police released closed circuit television footage of the crime and appealed to members of the public to ring a Crimestopper number if they knew his identity and could help bring him to justice.
There have also been numerous and well-publicized cases of people being prosecuted and jailed for defending themselves from criminal attacks. A storekeeper was knifed in the back as he tackled a gang of youths stealing wine from his Norwich store. He was arrested on two charges of assault.
Shirley Best, owner of the Rolander Fashion Boutique, was ironing some garments when two youths broke in. They pressed the hot iron into her side and stole her watch, leaving her badly burnt. "I was frightened to defend myself," said Miss Best, "I thought if I did anything I would be arrested." In July 2002, a shopkeeper, Richard Barnes, hit a teenage thief whom he had confronted with a single blow. The thief had previously thrown a punch at him. Mr. Barnes was arrested, tried before a jury, and eventually acquitted after a three-day trial in the Hull Crown Court.
There have been doubts expressed that a right to self-defense still exists in British law. Following one homicidal home burglary Dr. Ian Stephen, an Honorary Lecturer (Forensic Psychology) at Glasgow Caledonian University, told householders: "If you attack the burglar, or react in an 'over-the-top' manner... you will inevitably end up on the receiving end of a prison sentence that will far outstrip that imposed on the intruder in your own home.... [W]hen individuals are confronted by intruders there are some actions they should follow. Direct contact should be avoided whenever possible. If unavoidable, the victim should adopt a state of active passivity..."
In 2002 a study found that 11 million crimes had been left out of British government figures, including hundreds of thousands of serious crimes involving woundings, robberies, assaults and even murders as well as thefts. Dr. David Green of the Civitas research institute said: "When you check the small print, it turns out the Home Office itself thinks that there were far more than the 13 million crimes discovered by the [official] British Crime Survey, perhaps four times as many." Dr Green said the Office of National Statistics was subject to political interference and a genuinely independent statistical service was needed.
An official study published by the British Home Office in 2005 stated one in four youths aged 14 to 17 has been classified as a serious or prolific offender -- that is had six or more minor offenses or one major offense within the past 12 months. The study suggested there were 3.8 million active offenders overall, far more than the government had previously acknowledged, yet only one percent of offenses resulted in a court appearance. Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, described the figures as "appalling," and said, "we have to drive down the idea that crime is acceptable," evidently a novel idea.
Dr. Green commented on the latest directive: "They appear to have given up making the court system work and doing anything about delays and the deviousness of defense lawyers. "This is part of the wider problem that the Home Office has an anti-prison bias. But while they regard prison as uncivilized, they don't seem to care whether the alternatives work or not."
As Leader of the Opposition, Tony Blair ("tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime") succeeded in watering down the previous Conservative government's proposals in the Crime Sentencing Act 1997 for a mandatory three-year prison sentence for home burglary (one of the most dangerous crimes, and one often extremely traumatic for the victims), so that, in the seven years after the act came into force, fewer than 15 of the hundreds convicted of burglary for a third time had been given the allegedly mandatory three-year sentence.
Burglars and muggers should be spared prison more often, courts have been told, and very recently sentencing authorities ordered a further "raising of the custody threshold" to keep out of prison more offenders who would in the past have been given up to a year in jail.
The Home Office said the latest guidance had been circulated nationally because there had been regional anomalies in the way offenders were dealt with and these needed to be removed. A spokesman said: "Cautioning in individual cases is an operational matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service. The new circular firstly provides up to date guidance on the use of cautions to encourage consistency across the country. "Secondly, with the introduction of statutory charging, the guidance needed to clarify what the effect would be on police responsibility for cautions. Finally the guidance was introduced to outline the practical process of administering a caution."
Dr. Green said: "The Home Office is missing its target to achieve a set number of offenders brought to justice. But it seems they regard a caution as an offender brought to justice. This is a nod and a wink to police forces -- deal with your cases by cautions and we will hit our target."
In March 2005, The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Steve Green, said his force was overwhelmed with violent crime, and "could no longer cope." He said police were smothered in bureaucratic duties. Gun-related crimes had hit record levels across England and Wales in the preceding year, rising by about 11 percent in a single year (sexual offenses rose by 18 percent), to more than double their rate when Labor took power. At that time the Home Office had promised a renewed drive against crime in various areas. Home Office Minister Caroline Flint admitted that having a gun pointed at one was a "frightening experience." However, she continued, in many cases the triggers were not actually pulled.
A study by the Institute for Criminal Policy Research in June 2005 found that violence from teenage thugs had a major impact on the lives of one in five of the population. According to a 2005 survey of 200,000 National Health Service workers, one third of ambulance staff and more than one half of paramedics had been subjected to violence in the course of their work. Civitas said previously that the rise in British crime-rates was "so spectacular" that it was "difficult to comprehend." Britain was "a seriously crime-infected and disintegrating society." Burglaries had increased from 72,000 in 1964 to 402,000 in 2004. Robberies of personal property had risen from 3,000 in 1964 to 101,000 in 2003-04. The report added: "England, from being a society remarkably free of crime and disorder, especially from the middle of the 19th to the middle of the 20th century, by the late 1990's had a worse record than France, Germany or the United States."
Andrew Lloyd Webber recently claimed the London crime rate was driving away theatre goers and killing the West End. Actress Joan Collins, who had lived for many years in Belgravia, announced she was moving to New York, claiming that even in this expensive and fashionable district she felt continually threatened. Miss Collins said: "As a young girl in my teens and 20s I could stroll round the streets of London by night if I chose and know that I'd be safe. I'm sad to have to say it, but that is no longer the case. I don't even feel comfortable walking the few hundred yards from my flat round the corner to my hairdresser's. "Groups of muggers are frequently attacking people in the area where I live in London. And the police don't appear to be able to do anything about it. The gangs just cock a snook at them."
At any rate, the new British policy should provide criminologists with an interesting control-group experiment to compare against New York zero-tolerance, though it may not be too hard to predict the results in advance.
MORE ON THE ABSURD BRITISH POLICE "CAUTIONS"
Rapists who are cautioned are being put on the sex offenders register for a maximum of two years after the Government relaxed registration rules three years ago. Young rapists go on the register for only a year from the date on which they are cautioned after admitting the sex attack, The Times has learnt. Yet a rapist convicted in the courts and given a jail term of 2« years is on the register for the rest of his life. The huge disparity in the registration requirement between a rapist who is cautioned and one who is convicted will fuel demands for the Government to give more details about the circumstances behind the 40 rapists a year who are given cautions. It will also heighten suspicion among women's groups that rape is still not being treated seriously by the police and justice system.
A Home Office official confirmed that rules governing how long offenders cautioned for sex offences, including rape, should spend on the sex offenders register had been relaxed under a law that came into force in 2004. He said: "The requirements for cautions were reduced because cautions were not treated as seriously as offenders found guilty in the courts." The change was a result of a consultation exercise undertaken before an overhaul of the sex laws in England and Wales. Under the old rules an adult - over 18 - cautioned for rape would have been put on the sex offenders register for five years, but on May 1, 2004, this was reduced to two years. Anyone under 18 cautioned for rape now goes on the register for only 12 months instead of 30 months under the old rules. But an offender jailed for rape for thirty months would be on the register for life, and someone given between six and thirty months would be on the register for ten years.
Last night women's groups and anti-rape campaigners said that the discrepancy reinforced their view that the justice system was not treating rape seriously enough. Meena Patel, of Southall Black Sisters, said: "The Government is saying that cautions for rape are being used in only the most exceptional circumstances. But then why are rapists only going on the register for such a short period? They should be on the register for longer than one to two years." Women's groups continued to demand more details of cases where cautions had been given for rape, but there was little information supplied by the Home Office, Crown Prosecution Service or police.
The CPS said that two rapists cautioned in 2004 had been males under 18 involved in family rapes. Other examples are a pensioner cautioned last year for raping his sister when they were children 50 years ago. In another case a boy aged 13 was cautioned for raping a young child. There were signs of exasperation at the Home Office over the failure of the police and the CPS to provide more examples of cautions for rape to reassure the public that they were being used properly. A statement from the department said: "We feel that a caution is not an appropriate sanction for rape. However, the police and CPS must have flexibility to act in the best interests of the victim in exceptional circumstances."
The CPS defended the use of cautioning, insisting that it was used in only exceptional circumstances. Clare Ward, of the CPS, said that figures had been fairly stable at about forty cautions a year since 2000. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "The police, Government and the courts must do more to reassure victims of rape that their attackers will be caught and properly sentenced. "There are rare cases where a caution might be appropriate for someone who has committed rape. However, every effort should be made to bring rapists to trial."
11 April, 2006
PERVERSE BRITISH LAW ENFORCEMENT
REAL criminals are just fine. It's ordinary decent citizens you have to crack down on.
Like millions of others in modern Britain, David Langton is a law-abiding citizen who keeps getting into trouble. His crimes? To drive, to park, to be an ordinary person who makes occasional mistakes. In the past year he has had his car towed away from outside his home when the parking bay was suspended; he has been caught by two "safety" cameras when driving a few miles an hour over the speed limit; and he has twice been fined for forgetting about the London congestion charge.
"Most recently I've been fined 100 pounds for stopping on a red route at 3am for a few minutes while a friend bought a takeaway meal," said Langton, a 28-year-old freelance writer from north London. "I am utterly fed up of the sledgehammer approach of police and councils when it comes to dealing with minor motoring misdemeanours. "I have never had an accident, and in every case I was not blocking traffic, causing a nuisance or endangering life; but none of that is taken into account. My biggest crime is absent-mindedness." Yet he has had to pay almost 1,000 pounds in fines and risks losing his licence if he falls foul of the dreaded speed cameras just twice more. "I consider myself a fundamentally honest person," he said. "It makes my blood boil when I read about burglars being given community service when people like me are taken to the cleaners over parking offences. The legal system is skewed in favour of real criminals."
It is not just motoring law that is driving ordinary people round the bend. About 1m people are also fined for filing their tax returns late; worse, more than 40,000 people were fined in the past two years even though they had filed their returns on time.
If you fail to recycle your rubbish properly, you can now be stung for up to 2,500 pounds. In recent weeks police issued a teenager in Kent with an 80 pound penalty notice for saying "f***" (though the case was later dropped). In another case a 10-year-old boy was prosecuted after calling a mixed-race pupil "Bin Laden" in a playground argument. Judge Jonathon Finestein called the decision to take him to court "political correctness gone mad".
Was this what voters expected when Tony Blair said he would be "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime"? Hardly, says David Fraser, author of a new book called "A Land Fit For Criminals". Fraser, who spent 26 years working in the probation and prison services, argues that the public have been consistently hoodwinked over the true nature of government policy on crime and punishment. In a detailed analysis, he claims successive governments have talked tough on crime but acted soft. The reality, says Fraser, is that criminals convicted of many nasty offences often face nothing tougher than probation, fines or community service.
SOME RAPISTS GETTING OFF WITH JUST A WARNING IN BRITAIN
Forty rapists a year are escaping jail sentences and instead are allowed to walk free with a caution, reprimand or final warning after admitting sex attacks on men and women. Senior police officers, women's groups and academics who have investigated the way that rape is dealt with by police and the justice system last night expressed surprise at the figure. Chief police officers said that as far as they were concerned rape was not an offence suitable for a caution.
The women's groups and experts on rape called on the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to provide details of cases in which cautions have been given rather than a full trial taking place. Jennifer Tempkin, Professor of Law at the University of Sussex and an expert on the law on rape, said she had never known of a rape case resulting in a caution. "Some of these cases may be justified, but we just do not know anything about it," she said. "Some explanation would be useful so we can all be sure that cautioning is being used properly. Forty cases of cautioning for rape in a year is a not insubstantial figure."
The number of people cautioned for rape has more than doubled in a decade. Cautioning for rape has risen at a time when the rate of conviction for rape has fallen from one in thirteen reported cases in 1999 to one in twenty in 2004. More than half of rapists were current or former partners or boyfriends.
Latest figures show that in 1994, nineteen people were cautioned for rape, but by 2004 Home Office statistics disclose that the number had risen to forty, comprising thirty-six males and one woman cautioned for raping a female and three males for raping another male. When Labour came to power in 1997, the figure was twenty-six, comprising twenty-three men cautioned for raping a woman and three men for raping another male. The overall figures for cautions include final warnings and reprimands which since 2000 have been used to deal with young offenders under 17. Like a caution, they involve individuals admitting their guilt.
In 2004 cautions were given to: nine boys aged 12 and under 15 who admitted raping a female; eleven boys aged 15 and under 18; three males aged 18 and under 21; and sixteen to males aged 21 and over. In the same year a further 751 people were convicted in court of rape, only 5.29 per cent of rapes reported to police.
Despite concern in Whitehall at the fall in convictions to a record low, the CPS was able to give only one example of a caution being used. A CPS spokesman said: "Cautioning is only used in very extreme circumstances and is not a decision that is taken lightly." Last night the Association of Chief Police Officers said that it had never heard of a case where a caution was given for a rape. It said: "Our guidance is that rape is excluded as an offence for which a caution is available."
California: Get government out of the bedroom?
It's getting back in, it would seem
The California Supreme Court will sift through the ruins of the marriage of an AIDS-infected couple today to decide what information partners must tell one another about past high-risk sexual activity. At a hearing in Los Angeles, the court will look into the legal consequences of a woman's claim that her husband -- a healthy person, by all outward appearances and his own assurances -- infected her with HIV. Her lawsuit, in which she is seeking damages, raised issues that require the justices to weigh health concerns against the right of sexual privacy a quarter century into the AIDS epidemic.
One question the court will address is how much one spouse, or unmarried partner, is entitled to know about the other's sexual past as a safeguard against infection. Another is whether a partner who was unaware of his condition can be held responsible for infecting his mate if his past practices or health condition should have given him cause for concern.
The case has given rise to some unusually blunt language in written arguments to the court. In particular, a lawyer for the wife, identified only as Bridget B., minced no words in arguing that she should have been told about her husband's past sexual contacts with men before she "decided to risk her life by having unprotected sex'' with him. "This is not a hooker and trick in some back alley -- or a sordid affair in a cheap hotel,'' wrote attorney Roland Wrinkle. "This was a formal marriage. How can the state protect a wife's contractual and property status in dealing with her husband, yet not protect her life?''
In response, lawyers for her former husband, John B., said requiring an infected partner to disclose details of his sexual past would intrude on his privacy -- and the privacy of his former partners -- without providing any meaningful health protection. In light of sex education programs and public health campaigns for more than three decades, "the public at large is already on notice of the risks of unprotected sex,'' attorney Eric Multhaup said. A ruling is due within 90 days.
The couple, from Los Angeles County, married in July 2000. According to Bridget B.'s lawsuit, as described by an appeals court, she started suffering exhaustion and fevers two months later and tested positive for HIV. She said her husband, who had never seemed ill before the marriage, first showed signs of sickness in October 2001, though he later disclosed he had tested positive for HIV in October 2000. She said he told her for the first time in November 2001 that he had had sex with men before their marriage. Her suit accuses him of knowingly or negligently infecting her, claims that he denied. The case reached the state's high court after an appeals court ruled in 2004 that John B. would have to answer questions about when and how often he had had sex with men, though he would not have to reveal their names. That information is relevant, the appeals court said, because it might show that John should have known he was infected.
In arguments to the state Supreme Court, John B.'s lawyers said someone with a sexually transmitted disease should be held responsible for spreading it only if he had actually known he was ill. To allow a jury to decide whether he should have known of his infection, and disclosed it or taken precautions, invites intrusive and needless questioning about sexual practices, they said. "The disclosure of one's past sexual history can at most (provide) a speculative basis for a guesstimate about some indeterminate risk of infection,'' attorney Multhaup said in court papers. He and co-counsel Donald Garrard also argued that requiring John B. to disclose the number of his male sex partners would violate "the fundamental public policy against intrusive state action based on sexual orientation.''
Wrinkle, Bridget B.'s lawyer, responded that those who negligently spread infection should also be held responsible -- particularly within a marriage, where the law requires partners to look out for one another's interests. Limiting liability to those who knew they were ill "would reward the intentionally or recklessly ignorant.''
10 April, 2006
Being a Man: Harvey Mansfield ponders the male of the species
Christina Hoff Sommers has reviewed Mansfield's recent book on manliness. Excerpt below. Hat tip to Big Tent
One of the least visited memorials in Washington is a waterfront statue commemorating the men who died on the Titanic. Seventy-four percent of the women passengers survived the April 15, 1912, calamity, while 80 percent of the men perished. Why? Because the men followed the principle "women and children first."
The monument, an 18-foot granite male figure with arms outstretched to the side, was erected by "the women of America" in 1931 to show their gratitude. The inscription reads: "To the brave men who perished in the wreck of the Titanic. . . . They gave their lives that women and children might be saved."
Today, almost no one remembers those men. Women no longer bring flowers to the statue on April 15 to honor their chivalry. The idea of male gallantry makes many women nervous, suggesting (as it does) that women require special protection. It implies the sexes are objectively different. It tells us that some things are best left to men. Gallantry is a virtue that dare not speak its name.
In Manliness, Harvey C. Mansfield seeks to persuade skeptical readers, especially educated women, to reconsider the merits of male protectiveness and assertiveness. It is in no way a defense of male privilege, but many will be offended by its old-fashioned claim that the virtues of men and women are different and complementary. Women would be foolish not to pay close attention to Mansfield's subtle and fascinating argument.
Mansfield offers what he calls a modest defense of manliness. It is modest, not because its claims are cautious--Mansfield courts wrath and indignation on almost every page--but because, as he says, "Most good things, like French wine, are mostly good and accidentally bad. Manliness, however, seems to be about fifty-fifty good and bad. . . . This is what I mean by a modest defense."
"Manliness," he says, "is a quality that causes individuals to stand for something." The Greeks used the term thumos to denote the bristling, spirited element shared by human beings and animals that makes them fight back when threatened. It causes dogs to defend their turf; it makes human beings stand up for their kin, their religion, their country, their principles. "Just as a dog defends its master," writes Mansfield, "so the doggish part of the human soul defends human ends higher than itself."
Every human being possesses thumos. But those who are manly possess it in abundance, and sometimes in excess. The manly man is not satisfied to let things be as they are, and he makes sure everyone knows it. He invests his perception of injustice with cosmic importance.
Manliness can be noble and heroic, like the men on the Titanic; but it can also be foolish, stubborn, and violent. Achilles, Brutus, and Sir Lancelot exemplify the glory of manliness, but also its darker sides. Theodore Roosevelt was manly; so was Harry "The Buck Stops Here" Truman. Manly men are confident in risky situations. Manliness can be pathological, as in gangsters and terrorists.
Manliness, says Mansfield, thrives on drama, conflict, risk, and exploits: "War is hell but men like it." Manliness is often aggressive, but when the aggression is tied to the concept of honor, it transcends mere animal spiritedness. Allied with reason, as in Socrates, manliness finds its highest expression.
Women can be manly--Margaret Thatcher is an example--but manliness is the "quality mostly of one sex." This creates problems for a society such as ours that likes to think of itself as "gender neutral," egalitarian, and sensitive. Manliness is not sensitive. Today, we mainly cope with it by politely changing the subject. The very word is deemed quaint and outmoded. Gender experts in our universities teach as fact that the sex difference is an illusion--a discredited construct, like the earth being flat or the sun revolving around the earth.
And yet, the complex range of behavior that "manliness" characterizes persists. It is still mostly men who embody it. We have succeeded in bringing the language to account, but we have not managed to exorcise masculine thumos.
After almost 40 years of feminist agitation and gender-neutral pronouns, it is still men who are far more likely than women to run for political office, start companies, file for patents, and blow things up. Men continue to tell most of the jokes and write the vast majority of editorials and letters to editors. And--fatal to the dreams of feminists who long for social androgyny--men have hardly budged from their unwillingness to do an equal share of housework or childcare. Moreover, women seem to like manly men: "Manliness is still around, and we still find it attractive," says Mansfield.
MORE ON THE INCORRECTNESS OF MASCULINITY
Can you imagine the African American uproar that would rightfully ensue if Hollywood produced a movie that painted black people as idiots that white people had to help or they just couldn't make it life?
Or what if Tinsel Town got their best and brightest together to spit out a flick that framed Muslims as violent, religiously illegitimate zealots with glazed over eyes that must be quickly kicked to the global curb? Whaddya think the Islamic reaction would be? Huh?
Or, what if TV writers and producers took a turn and started cranking out sitcoms and commercials that pitched women as dense, manipulative, unfeeling and vicious whores? I'm talkin' about one show after the other where women are depicted as insipid bottom feeders who follow only the dictates of their lower cortex monkey brains and whose only hope for escape from their innate ignobleness is through totally yielding to the Zen of men. How do you think the ladies would respond to such an egregious assault upon their fair sex? I can tell you how: with claws out.
The above mentioned bigoted and unthinkable cinematic scenarios are exactly what men who wish to be men-and not women-get assaulted with day after day in the entertainment industry, on the university campus and in a lot of churches. The clear message that comes from popular culture is that masculinity sucks, and femininity is fabulous-even for men. Men who would be men are getting pounded in pop culture more than Scott Phillips' drum skins during a gig, and everyone is expected to be cool with it.
Look, I know guys aren't perfect . . . that we're a scratchin', fartin', beer, sex and gadget driven gender. I can laugh at our stupidity and knuckle dragging tendencies, but it has officially gone over the top from poking fun at male foibles to a nasty, systematic, organized bigotry cranked out by feminists towards men that would not be tolerated if it were even mildly volleyed at women, at a particular race or a specific religion. And you know I'm spot on.
This leaves two options for parents of boys who want them to become men: 1) capitulate to the current cultural castration in raising their male kid or 2) rebel against the emasculating metrosexual machine. I suggest rebellion-unless you're cool with your son acting like JLo.
In order to rebel you need a vision of what is preferred and a blueprint regarding how to proceed. That's where the most hated book by the female chauvinist pigs comes in, i.e., the Bible. You don't have to unpack the scripture too much until you start getting the message that God created men to be wild, to lead, to make life better for everyone, to slay serpents, to be wise and to reflect His majesty (Gen.1-3). Having tackled the first four topics in my last few columns, here's my run at numero cinco (as they say in California).
One way to foment the female chauvinist pigs is to make sure, mom and dad, that your son is incredibly smart. You must make certain that he not only has a well-fed wild streak, a willingness and ability to lead in life, that whatever he gets his hands on prospers, and that he will tackle evil wherever and whenever it raises its ugly head, but that he is also the most well read boy on the block.
Parent, if your son stays dumb (and I'm not referring to children with learning disabilities) then he boosts the malicious stereotype that the fem's are shoving up our society's tailpipe, and he unwittingly sets the stage for a worse maana, at least as far as masculinity goes. Mom and dad (and especially dad), don't give the female chauvinist pigs any ground by pitting one form of masculinity (leading) against another form (reading). Parents, teach your rough and ready boy that:
1. Serious studying is not just for Poindexters and geeks.
2. Studying, learning and holding intellectual discussion are all part of being masculine.
3. The intellectual target you're aiming for him to strike doesn't look like Tommy Boy or Homer Simpson; but rather more like King David, William Wallace and Sir Winston Churchill.
4. It takes guts and nuts to tackle the various sciences and no matter what his Beavis and Butthead friends think, serious study is not for "wusses." As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite. Reading, meditating, gaining understanding and knowledge and staying abreast of what has happened and what is happening on this world's stage is so hard that the effeminate, the little Sally's, the prancing, petite male poodles won't do it; they actually avoid it like Rosie O'Donnell does Jenny Craig.
5. God intends for him to be sharp and to not be a bastardization of his great gender. Then, Daddy-O, go to work to get your kid a killer library. Spend the cash!
6. The rowdy realm of ideas and debate can be just as fun as any sport. It fact, one of my greatest joys is when I get to go toe-to-toe on the radio, TV or over dinner with a flaming liberal or raging atheist. Yeah, it is right up there with hunting Africa's green hills . . . nearly.
Finally, parent, can you imagine the angst when Hollywood and the multitudinous, hijacked-by-feminists universities can no longer play the stooge card when it comes to men because the sons you have raised have engaged their brains and have not opted for anti-intellectualism? Can you picture, mom and dad, how the faces of the female chauvinist pigs will contort and how their stomachs will gurgle with acid as the stereotype they've worked so long and hard to prop up no longer works because you, the parent, have raised your son to be intellectually astute? I have a dream!
WILL THEY BE TEACHING THIS IN CALIFORNIA SCHOOLS?
New statistics suggest San Francisco has the highest percentage of gay men among major cities in the world, with a quarter of them HIV-positive, a top city health official said on Friday. "Despite an overall loss in the population in San Francisco in the last five years, we think there has been an absolute gain in gay men," William McFarland, head of HIV/AIDS statistics at San Francisco's Department of Public Health, said in an interview. "From all the data I have seen ... it's the gayest city in the world."
McFarland has compiled the city's first survey in five years on gay men and HIV to be presented at a meeting next week to discuss HIV/AIDS prevention. He said it found an estimated 63,577 gay males aged 15 and above in San Francisco, a city with a total population of 764,000. That figure represents nearly one in five of the city's males above the age of 15. 0ne out of every four gay males -- 25.8 percent -- is infected with the HIV virus, giving San Francisco an estimated total of 16,401 HIV-positive men, said McFarland, an epidemiologist who has also worked on studies in Uganda, Zimbabwe and Egypt.
9 April, 2006
PROPOSED HOMOSEXUAL INDOCTRINATION IN CALIFORNIA
A bill requiring students to learn about the contributions homosexuals have made to society and that could remove gender-specific terms including "mom" and "dad" from textbooks is making progress in California. The state's Senate Judiciary Committee has approved SB 1437, which would mandate grades 1-12 buy books "accurately'' portraying "the sexual diversity of our society.'' It also requires students hear history lessons on "the contributions of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender to the economic, political, and social development of California and the United States of America.''
It also precludes textbooks, teaching materials, instruction, and "school-sponsored activities" from reflecting adversely upon persons based on their sexual orientation, or actual or perceived gender. "School-sponsored activities include everything from cheerleading and sports activities to the prom," said Karen England of Capitol Resource Institute, a traditional-values organization. "Under SB 1437 school districts would likely be prohibited from having a 'prom king and queen' because that would show bias based on gender and sexual orientation. "Under SB 1437 school districts would also likely have to do away with dress codes and would have to accommodate transsexuals on girl-specific or boy-specific sports teams." England says the measure amounts to unneeded social experimentation. "SB 1437 disregards the religious and moral convictions of parents and students and will result in reverse discrimination," she said.
Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Sheila Kuehl – a lesbian actress best known for playing Zelda in "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" in the '60s – the legislation would add "gender" (actual or perceived) and "sexual orientation" to the law that prohibits California public schools from having textbooks, teaching materials, instruction or "school-sponsored activities" that reflect adversely upon people based on characteristics like race, creed and handicap. "We've been working since 1995 to try to improve the climate in schools for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender kids, as well as those kids who are just thought to be gay, because there is an enormous amount of harassment and discrimination at stake,'' Kuehl told the San Jose Mercury News. "Teaching materials mostly contain negative or adverse views of us, and that's when they mention us at all." "In textbooks, it's as if there's no gay people in California at all, so forget about it,'' she added.
Another comment on the same matter below:
Bills AB 606 and SB 1437 would force all California public schools, from grades as young as kindergarten, to teach normal children to think of themselves as possibly transsexual, bisexual, or homosexual, and to experiment with this risky behavior.
AB 606 would give inappropriate power to the California Superintendent of Public Instruction to unilaterally withhold state funds from school districts that don’t promote transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality according to his arbitrary “standards.” Because two-thirds of a school district’s funds come from the state, AB 606 would obstruct the learning of millions of California schoolchildren.
While AB 606 forcibly determines what schools must teach, its sibling, SB 1437, tells school districts what curricula they may NOT use. SB 1437 expressly prohibits textbooks, instructional materials, and presentations from “reflecting adversely” on transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. This means textbooks would have to teach children about “a man and a man” along with “a man and a woman.” Instructional materials could not only say “a husband and wife,” but must include “two wives who are married lesbians.” Sex education assemblies would have to include information on sex changes (so as to avoid “reflecting adversely”).
This subjective sexual agenda, combined with the hammer of the California Department of Education, would greatly interrupt school’s educational priorities – which obviously should be reading, writing, and computing. AB 606 and SB 1437 would make every California school a trans-bi-homosexual school…or else!
Soda and the Sin Tax
In the intellectual battle for liberty, sometimes it's a good idea to skip the latest high-brow attack on capitalism from the Left or Right and instead poke fun at a ridiculous news article. A recent AP story, "Scientists in food fight over soda," provides a perfect target. The article begins by informing us of new reports in science journals that "add evidence to the theory that soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks don't just go hand-in-hand with obesity, but actually cause it." The point is important because "proving this would be a scientific leap that could help make the case for higher taxes on soda, restrictions on how and where it is sold — maybe even a surgeon general's warning on labels."
Before continuing, I note with dismay that I am old enough to remember when libertarians and conservatives would object to government interference with tobacco and alcohol by asking, "What next? Will the government start taxing fatty foods and put warning labels on fettuccine alfredo?" I can honestly remember that the proponents of the "serious" regulations dismissed this particularly slippery slope argument as absolutely absurd, that nobody would ever advocate a tax on fatty foods. And yet now, Barry Popkin at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill defends the taxes on soda by pointing out, "We've done it with cigarettes."
The news article, in a nod to fairness and balance, naturally quotes people who are scandalized by the proposals. For example, Adam Drewnowski, director of nutritional sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, says, "The science is being stretched." Ah, but don't worry about his view, because immediately after the quote the article tells us, "[Drewnowski] owns stock in beverage companies and has done extensive research in the field, much of it financed by industry but also some by government."
There are all sorts of things that bother me about that last bit. First, do you mean to tell me that the reporter couldn't find one single qualified scientist who opposes these new regulations, and yet doesn't own stock in beverage companies? The way the article currently reads, the only scientists who oppose the taxes are the stooges of the corporations. Besides Drewnowski, the article quotes a Richard Adamson who said it's "laughable" to compare obesity with lung cancer, but the reader is quickly told that Adamson is "a senior science consultant to the American Beverage Association."
Second, what about the government funding of all of the pro-tax scientists? These connections are ignored; for example, the article didn't mention that Barry Popkin of UNC Chapel Hill is an employee of the government. If we are to automatically assume that anyone who is funded by the beverage industry would therefore oppose taxes on soda, why shouldn't we also assume that anyone who is funded by the government would support taxes on soda (and everything else)? Note that I don't simply mean the vague connection between tax receipts and scientific funding out of tax revenues; I am being far more cynical and suggesting that the government might be more willing to fund those scientists who get behind programs that expand the government's power. But by all means, let us move on to the evidence behind this scientific link. For example, we are told that soft drink consumption rose "more than 60 percent among adults and more than doubled in kids from 1977-97," and that "the prevalence of obesity roughly doubled in that time." Now get ready: "Scientists say these parallel trends are one criterion for proving cause-and-effect."
I don't really know that I need to ridicule that last sentence; just quoting it should be sufficient. But in case you don't see what the big deal is, let me spell it out: Did we really need scientists to tell us that when two things happen at the same time, it suggests that there might be a cause-and-effect relationship? And, I'm sorry to say for these scientists, mere association is never ever proof of causation. The other "criterion" besides the "parallel trends" would be the complete absence of kids who drink more soda and don't gain weight. Of course such counterexamples exist; there are indeed people who drink a lot of soda and aren't obese. Whoops, there goes the possible proof of a strict cause-and-effect relationship.
But let's go back to the precious statistics: "[A study] of 548 Massachusetts schoolchildren found that for each additional sweet drink consumed per day, the odds of obesity increased 60 percent." What exactly does this statement even mean? It surely doesn't mean that if you drink two cans of soda per day, you have a 120 percent chance of being obese. So it must mean that of the 548 Massachusetts children who drank zero soft drinks, a certain percentage A were obese. Then if you look at the sample children who drank 1 soft drink per day, a certain percentage B were obese. Of the children who drank 2 sodas per day, C percent were obese, and so on. Now do you mean to tell me that B=(1.6)A, while C=(1.6)B, D=(1.6)C, etc.? In other words, do we really believe that the increase for "each additional sweet drink consumed per day" was 60 percent regardless of the number of initial drinks to which we add one? Of course not; even that figure of 60 percent must itself be an average. And for all we know, the initial percentage could be very low, so that even drinking 200 sodas per day gives you a 1 percent chance of being obese. (Naturally I don't think that's the case, but it could be, for the scant information provided by the news article.)
Our good friend Popkin also tells us that sugar-sweetened beverages "may be psychological triggers of poor eating habits and cravings for fast food." To this end, he studied the dietary patterns of 9,500 American adults in a federal study and found that those "who drank healthier beverages — water, low-fat milk, unsweetened coffee or tea — were more likely to eat vegetables and less likely to eat fast food." On the other hand, "fast food consumption was doubled if they were high soda consumers and vegetable consumption was halved."
You don't say, Dr. Popkin. Can I get some federal money too? I have a strong hunch that plastic sporks cause people to eat the unhealthful offerings at Taco Bell. In a follow-up study, I'll examine the psychological triggers of their Mild and Hot sauce packs.
After giving a nod to the other side — but again, not without reminding the readers that they are all funded directly or indirectly by the beverage industry — the article closes with "[o]ne of the nation's leading epidemiologists who has no firm stake in the debate, the American Cancer Society's Dr. Michael Thun." This august scientist adds the following to our understanding of this important social issue:
"Caloric imbalance causes obesity, so in the sense that any one part of the diet is contributing excess calories, it's contributing causally to the obesity," Thun said. "It doesn't mean that something is the only cause. It means that in the absence of that factor there would be less of that condition."
Did you get that, folks? Soda causes obesity in the sense that soda has calories, and so if you drink more soda and don't cut back on other sources of calories, you'll have more obesity. Who would've thought?
8 April, 2006
If this suit is upheld it will make insurance a lot dearer for everybody -- forcing many to go uninsured
A federal discrimination lawsuit filed in Minneapolis accuses Geico Corp. and its subsidiaries of making education and employment status a factor in determining the rates the insurer charged on some automotive policies. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, alleges that blacks paid higher rates on auto policies because they are "less likely" than whites to occupy jobs requiring advanced education. Geico, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc., offers auto insurance in most of the country. "Geico didn't get to be the fourth-largest auto insurance company in America by being unfair to anyone," the company said in a prepared statement. "Geico's underwriting and rating systems are based on data, not subjective judgments."
The suit alleges that Geico steered customers to one of its four subsidiaries depending on a risk-assessment formula that includes customers' jobs and education level. Applicants with less education are considered a higher risk, according to the suit. Higher premiums are charged to blue-collar workers than to doctors and lawyers, the suit alleges. The suit says Geico "intentionally" discriminated against blacks and "concealed" the practice from policyholders and regulators. "Geico knew that its use of occupation and education level to establish auto insurance rates would cause African Americans/Blacks to be charged higher premiums than Caucasians with similar driving records," the suit says.
The suit was filed on behalf of three former policyholders but seeks class-action status for blacks who purchased auto insurance from Geico within the past six years. The suit seeks a "permanent injunction" against using such criteria and disgorgement of premium overcharges as well as punitive damages.
EXTRAORDINARY INJUSTICE TO A MOTHER IN HOMSEXUALITY-LOVING BRITAIN
AND an injustice to her kids
Two young sisters were taken away from their biological mother and handed over to her former lesbian partner on the orders of the Court of Appeal yesterday. In a landmark ruling that boosts the rights of same-sex partners, the two girls, aged 7 and 4, will now be cared for primarily by the former lesbian partner instead of their mother.
The mother, a teacher, had previously defied the orders of a judge by secretly taking the children to a new home in Cornwall, in “flagrant” breach of an order by the Court of Appeal that the women should share parental responsibility for the sisters. After the mother and children were found, the High Court granted primary care of the children to the former partner. That decision was confirmed yesterday by the Court of Appeal.
Lord Justice Thorpe, who headed the panel of three judges, said in his ruling: “We have moved into a world where norms that seemed safe 20 or more years ago no longer run.” He then posed the question: “Who is the natural parent?” In the past, judges have held that the biological parent is the natural parent, he said. “But in the eyes of the child, the natural parent may be a non-biological parent who, by virtue of long-settled care, has become the child’s psychological parent.” He said that in this case, the upbringing of the children had been shared, and the sisters would not distinguish between the women on the ground of biological relationship. None of the parties can be identified, by order of the court.
Mark Harper, a family law partner with Withers and a member of the Law Society family law committee, welcomed the decision as ground-breaking. He said: “It shows how the courts recognise that it can be the quality of parenting, not genes, that matters, especially in the face of flagrant disobedience of court orders.” Andrew Greensmith, national director of Resolution, the family solicitors’ association, said: “This is welcome recognition of the fact that the world has moved forward and of the effect of a joint parental responsibility that would come from a civil partnership anyway.” Andy Forrest, of Stonewall, the gay rights group, said: “We are really pleased that the courts are doing what is in the best interests of the child.”
The biological mother, referred to as CG, gave birth to the children during the relationship with her partner, referred to as CW. That relationship broke down in 2002 and the mother found a new partner. After initially being denied access to the children, CW was awarded joint residency rights. But despite a condition that the girls’ mother could not take the children to Cornwall, she and her partner moved there. In February this year, Mrs Justice Bracewell heard the case in private at the High Court Family Division and allowed the mother’s partner to take over as the children’s primary carer.
The mother took the case to the Court of Appeal, where yesterday Lord Justice Thorpe said the child’s views on which partner was the psychological parent should be taken into consideration when deciding the claims of same-sex unions. “The family may be created by mutual agreement and with much careful planning. Both partners seek the experience of child-bearing and child-rearing in one capacity or another.” Lord Justice Thorpe, dismissing the mother’s appeal, said that he agreed with Mrs Justice Bracewell’s conclusion that she had “no confidence that if the children stay in Cornwall that CG would promote the essential close relationship” with her former partner’s family. [So flaming what??]
Lady Justice Hallet said that she dismissed the appeal but “with a degree of hesitation”. “I am very concerned at the prospect of removing these children from the primary care of their only identifiable biological parent who has been their primary carer for most of their young lives and in whose care they appear to be happy and thriving.” She said that despite changing attitudes, she still attached greater significance than others to the biological link between the mother and her children.
Although unmarried couples now have fewer legal rights than same-sex couples in a civil partnership, the ruling gives no extra rights to gay couples that unmarried couples do not have. An unmarried father can apply to the court for a joint parental responsibility order.
ONE SMALL REMNANT OF COMMONSENSE IN THE BRITISH LEGAL SYSTEM
Legal proceedings against a 10-year-old boy over alleged racist name-calling have been labelled political correctness gone mad, by a judge. The boy from Irlam, Greater Manchester, was summonsed to court accused of racially abusing a fellow pupil. Judge Jonathan Finestein told Salford Youth Court the boys would have been given "a good clouting" in his day. Adjourning it to 20 April, he asked prosecutors to reconsider whether the case was in the public interest.
The boy is accused of abusing an 11-year-old pupil in a school playground between 1 July 2005 and 30 January 2006. The court was told that the boys are now friends and play football with each other. But Mr Finestein said he thought the decision to prosecute the youngster was "crazy" and urged the Crown Prosecution Service to reconsider its decision. "Have we really got to the stage where we are prosecuting 10-year-old boys because of political correctness? "I was repeatedly called fat at school. Does this amount to a criminal offence? He added: "Nobody is more against racist abuse than me but these are boys in a playground, this is nonsense. "I think somebody should consider reversing the decision to prosecute."
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said the force took all crimes seriously [except for the assaults and robberies that they just issue "cautions" for] and was totally opposed to any racism.
7 April, 2006
Did pedophilia hysteria in super-"correct" Britain cause a child's Death?
For similar reasons it is a brave male these days who becomes a schoolteacher
On Nov. 28, 2002, 2-year-old Abigail Rae died by drowning in a village pond in England. Her death is currently stirring debate because the ongoing inquest revealed an explosive fact. A man passing by was afraid to guide the lost child to safety because he feared being labeled "a pervert."
In the article "Day of the dad: paedophilia hysteria leaves men afraid to help," The Telegraph raises a question that applies equally to North America. Have high profile cases of pedophilia created such public hysteria that the average decent human being, especially a man, is now reluctant to approach a child in need? Consider what happened to Abby. The toddler wandered from her nursery school, Ready Teddy Go, through a door left open. A bricklayer named Clive Peachey drove past her in his truck. At the inquest, he stated, "I kept thinking I should go back. The reason I didn't was because I thought people might think I was trying to abduct her." Instead, he assured himself that the parents must be "driving around" and would find her.
A few minutes thereafter, Abby fatally fell into an algae-covered pond. Meanwhile, the nursery staff searched. When the mother noticed the staff near her home, she was told they were looking for a "lost dog" but the truth soon emerged. The frantic mother's search ended when she leaped into the pond to fish out what she thought was Abby's shoe. She stated, "As I grabbed for the shoe, I missed and was shocked to touch what felt like a leg. I pulled the leg upwards." The dead child emerged.
Abby's case may be extreme but it hinges on a question that commonly confronts everyone who interacts with other people's children. Is it possible to touch a child in a non-abusive manner without risking terrible repercussions? Before moving to this question, however, it is necessary to consider a related issue that arises in almost every discussions of Abby. Is Clive Peachey legally or morally responsible for her death?
For several reasons, I argue that he is not. First and foremost, the responsibility lies with the nursery staff who became her guardians. Abby was in no immediate danger when Peachey saw her and he contacted the police upon later hearing a 'missing child' report. Arguably, if he had phoned the police immediately, Abby would have been dead long before they arrived. Moreover, by coming forth, Peachey has accepted the damage to his life that comes with the public disgrace of saying "I drove past her."
Important information in judging Peachey is missing. For example, if Peachey has a family, he may have been reluctant to place his reputation or livelihood at risk. He may have balanced possible harm to his own children against helping a stranger's child.
Peachey's fears have precedents on this side of the Atlantic. Last summer, an Illinois man lost an appeal on his conviction as a sex offender for grabbing the arm of a 14-year-old girl. She had stepped directly in front of his car, causing him to swerve in order to avoid hitting her. The 28-year-old Fitzroy Barnaby jumped out his car, grabbed her arm and lectured her on how not to get killed. Nothing more occurred. Nevertheless, that one action made him guilty of "the unlawful restraint of a minor," which is a sexual offense in Illinois. Both the jury and judge believed him. Nevertheless, Barnaby went through years of legal proceedings that ended with his name on a sex offender registry, where his photograph and address are publicly available. He must report to authorities. His employment options are severely limited; he cannot live near schools or parks. Arguably, the law would have punished Barnaby less had he hit the girl or not cared enough to lecture her. Perhaps that's the equation that ran through Peachey's mind.
Again, Barnaby is an extreme case. But ordinary people make decisions on how to interact with children based on such high profile stories. The effect on average people in non-extreme situations can be partially gauged through a study conducted by Dr. Heather Piper at Manchester Metropolitan University: "The Problematics of 'Touching' Between Children and Professionals." Piper examined six case-study schools through interviews with teachers, parents and children regarding the propriety of touch.
Commentator Josie Appleton reviewed the study, "Reported cases include the teacher who avoided putting a plaster [bandaid] on a child's scraped leg; nursery staff calling a child's mother every time he needed to go to the toilet; a male gym teacher leaving a girl injured in the hall while he waited for a female colleague." One school reportedly kept an account of every 'touching incident.' They stated, "We write down a short account and date it and put which staff were present and at what time, we then explain it to the parent and ask them to read and sign it."
Appleton observed that this is more in keeping with "police logs than teaching children." The last words encapsulate the problem. Touching a child, even to render medical assistance, has become a potential police matter. Child abuse must be addressed but it is worse than folly to punish those who help children. Our society is creating Clive Peachey -- decent men who will walk away from a child in need. Abby Rae died not only from drowning but also from bad politics.
COPS WHO CANNOT ADD UP ARE OK?
VIRGINIA BEACH - The city has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to resolve allegations that it discriminated against black and Hispanic police recruits. Under a consent decree filed Monday in federal court in Norfolk, the city will change the way it scores the police entrance exam. The Justice Department had complained that the math portion of the exam had an adverse effect on minority applicants and unfairly excluded them from being hired.
The city will offer to let 124 black and Hispanic former applicants resume the hiring process. Those recruits failed the math test between 2002 and 2005 but would have passed under the new standards. The city also will create a $160,000 fund to compensate those applicants.
In the 27-page settlement, the Justice Department states that the city did not intentionally discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. "The Department of Justice has alleged that the testing component disproportionately disqualified minority applicants," Deputy City Attorney Mark Stiles said. "They don't allege that we engaged in that conduct with the intent of discrimination, but rather that the disparate impact was found to have occurred by our simply using the test."
In a letter to the city in February, the Justice Department said Virginia Beach had "engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination" against black and Hispanic applicants. After an 18-month investigation, the Justice Department found that the police force did not reflect the diversity of the city's population because of how the math test was graded. The Justice Department claimed that the test's pass-fail system had a disproportionate effect on minorities because the passing rates for blacks and Hispanics were less than 80 percent of the passing rate for whites. From 2002 to mid-2005, about 85 percent of white applicants passed the math exam, compared with 59 percent of blacks and 66 percent of Hispanics. Under the old standard, Virginia Beach required all recruits to score 70 percent on each of three written tests for reading comprehension, grammar and spelling, and math.
The Justice Department questioned whether math is relevant to the daily duties of a police officer. The city agreed to eliminate the 70 percent cutoff score for the math part of the test. Under the new standard, an applicant must score at least 70 percent on the reading and grammar parts of the test and score an average of at least 60 percent on all three parts of the exam. The new scoring method will take effect as soon as next week, when the next exam will be administered. According to data from the city, an additional 15 percent of applicants probably could pass the overall exam under the new standard. "This is the right standard," Stiles said. "The investigation, at least in part, helped us realize what we have to do."
At least one city official, Councilwoman Reba McClanan, said she does not agree with the settlement. "One of the things that's insulting about it is they're telling us we don't have a right to insist on certain standards," McClanan said. "My feeling was we should hang in there. We want fairness and we want as many minorities working for our departments as possible, but we also want them to meet certain standards."
The city will give 124 applicants a chance to resume participation in the hiring process. Of that number, the city has committed to hiring at least 15 - three Hispanics and 12 blacks - who complete the application process. Those recruits could begin the Police Academy sometime in 2007 or 2008. "I hope that we get more than 15 because we have tried to diversify," Police Chief Jake Jacocks Jr. said. In the end, the applicants who failed under the old standard will still have to meet the department's other entry requirements.
Wotta Gal!: "Men have been wrongly told it is more difficult being a woman and blokes do not pull their weight at home. The comforting message for menfolk came from the nation's sex discrimination commissioner yesterday. Speaking at an Institute of Public Administration Australia breakfast in Adelaide, Pru Goward said while figures showed women did more housework, it was unfair to simply blame men who work long hours. "It is our unpaid working arrangements that have a major impact on our work decisions," Ms Goward said. While research shows women working full-time did more housework, this should not be used to just "blame men". "The most significant reason why men don't do more work at home is they are not there because they are working huge hours," she said, adding that was up to 60 hours a week for some. "It is unfair to just suggest that men don't want to do it. They just can't." The women's movement had "made mistakes" through the "blame game". "We kept telling men how hard it was being women," Ms Goward said. "If you are an average rational bloke and all you hear is that women earn less ... they don't become prime minister or heads of departments and they end up part-time casual, you'd think, 'Who would want to do that?'."
6 April, 2006
Religious bigotry still a hallmark of the media
Excerpt from Don Feder
Last week (March 27-28), Vision America convened a War On Christians conference in Washington, D.C. It was the first to address escalating attacks on Christians from Hollywood, the news media, academia, the courts, and activist groups like the ACLU and Anti-Defamation League.
Speakers included scholars, authors, clergy (among them an Orthodox rabbi), lawyers and members of Congress. Delegates came from as far away as South Africa. I was the conference coordinator, as well as a speaker on two panels ("Jews Confront the War On Christians" and "Hollywood: Christians Through a Distorted Lens").
You will be shocked - shocked! - to learn that the mainstream media did its best to trivialize and marginalize the conference: to present a thoughtful examination of the rising tide of anti-Christian bias and persecution as the work of hysterical, paranoid whack-jobs who are manufacturing a crisis to generate donations and mobilize Republican votes.
* An alleged news story in The Washington Post, (March 29th) by Alan Cooperman, was headlined "'War' on Christians Is Alleged." Try to imagine the Post covering the 2005 conference Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right and headlining its story "Coming `Theocracy' Alleged."
* Cooperman misidentified Dr. Rick Scarborough, president of Vision America (the conference host) as a "radio commentator." You know, one of those guys who screams at you over the airwaves. In fact, besides being the head of a growing national movement, Scarborough is a Baptist minister, an author and an acclaimed speaker.
* Cooperman included extensive quotes attacking the conference - SOP for reportage on conservative events. A professor of social ethics charged that the meeting was "a spoiled brat response by Christians who have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position." A mainline Protestant cleric claimed that by calling attention to the war on Christians in the U.S., the conference "disrespects the experience of people who have been jailed and died because of their faith."
* This theme dominated news "coverage" - Christians are so powerful that it's absurd to claim they're persecuted. Thus, a commentary in USA Today (March 28th) by Tom Krattenmaker (who called the conference's theme "overblown" and reckless): "We are in the second term of the most faith-friendly, explicitly Christian presidency in many a decade..Hollywood is producing more Christian-friendly movies [like The DaVinci Code? - DF] while Christian news media, Christian music, Christian novels and other forms of Christian pop culture continue making their strong mark on society." I'm only surprised Krattenmaker didn't cite the presence of "In God We Trust" on our currency to refute claims of Christian persecution.
Apparently, a majority of Americans are equally hysterical, reckless and disrespectful of real persecution. According to a FOX News poll taken in December 2005, 59 percent of the American people agreed with conference organizers that "Christianity is under attack" in the U.S. today. In reality, you have to be dogmatic, blind and biased - which pretty much describes the mainstream media - to miss the obvious here.
THE INCORRECT BIDINOTTO
Robert Bidinotto has written the following letter to Borders Books
I have been a loyal Borders customer -- now a Borders Rewards customer -- for quite a few years. I spend many hundreds of dollars annually in your store.
However, I have just learned that Borders and its affiliated Waldenbooks have banned the next issue of a publication, Free Inquiry, from your magazine shelves, because that publication is reprinting the controversial Danish cartoons of Muhammad on inside pages. The reason given by Borders is alleged fear of violence from radical Muslims, and desire to "protect" customers and employees.
Your company's craven policy of capitulation in the face of the mere hypothetical threat of terrorism is absolutely appalling -- a complete moral abdication that only encourages those threatening our rights and liberties.
I am a writer, and the editor of The New Individualist, a news and cultural magazine. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, I am the first editor in the nation to dare to print one of those "offensive" cartoons of Muhammad right on the cover of our Winter 2006 issue. I therefore have no doubt that our magazine, which is still available only by subscription, would have been banned by Borders, too.
Let me be clear: I did not publish the cartoon to offend Muslims. I did so as a profound matter of principle: to stand up to those who are trying to annihilate our First Amendment rights. I did so because here, in America, nobody can be permitted to get away with coercion and intimidation against anyone's freedom to write and speak and publish. I did so because I learned many years ago, as a child on school playgrounds, that when you surrender to bullies, you grant them dictatorial power over your life.
By its public declaration of pre-emptive surrender, Borders has given the bullies of our age a clear message: Your intimidation works. Your bullying works. Your coercion works. Your terrorist threats work.
Borders has set a morally irresponsible and frighteningly dangerous precedent. It has told fanatics everywhere that all they need to do in order to obliterate First Amendment rights is to growl menacingly -- at which point a leading bookstore chain in America will clear its shelves of anything that could possibly offend the thug of the moment.
Having now encouraged the use of violence and intimidation, which magazine or book are you next prepared to expunge from your stores? Will you remove books about abortion, for fear of provoking some "right to life" fanatic? Will you eliminate Jewish magazines or black publications, for fear of upsetting neo-Nazis and skinheads? Scientology has been known to intimidate critics; are you about to bow to their demands for "proper" treatment in magazines and books, by eliminating all critical material? Or if some investigative journalist probes organized crime, will you hide his work in the back room, for fear of retaliation from the Mob?
You have given a sorry example of where such capitulation begins. But where does it end?
Not only is your policy ethically disgusting and counter-productive, it is completely nonsensical. With many thousands of book and magazine outlets in this country, there is absolutely no reason for Borders to believe that its stores, staff, and customers would be singled out for harm. Yet despite all of this, Borders does stand out: as the first and most gutless of them all. It is the first American bookstore chain to adopt a policy that I have labeled "anticipatory capitulation": advance surrender in the face of a mere hypothetical threat.
Terrorism and fanaticism are the gravest menaces of our age. Our nation is dispatching thousands of soldiers abroad to meet that threat to our liberty and our modern way of life. But after 9/11, it should be clear that all of us -- not just our soldiers -- are on the front lines of this war.
If we value our rights and freedoms, all of us must stand together and resolute in the face of threats, intimidation, and violence. The worst possible message we can give to terrorists or to anyone else willing to initiate force is that we do not stand united against them -- and that their tactics work.
I exhort you to rescind immediately this contemptible cut-and-run policy. Until and unless that happens, be advised that I will no longer be shopping in your stores, and that I will encourage everyone I know to do likewise.
"ORGANIC" CORRECTNESS AT BERKELEY (WHERE ELSE?)
Let's not bother with the evidence about whether "organic" is good for you!
Veggies at the University of California, Berkeley, got a little greener with Monday's debut of what campus officials say is the first certified organic salad bar at a college or institution. Berkeley, which started serving organic carrots, dressings, kidney beans and other salad fixings at its Crossroads dining commons, joins a number of colleges nationwide offering organic food.
What makes UC Berkeley different is that it has certification, which means it follows a detailed set of rules governing everything from how dishes are washed and pests chased out to how food is prepared. Organic produce is kept separate from the moment it arrives on the loading dock under a meticulous system that includes color-coded cutting boards and a food processor earmarked for organic produce only. "It shows just that much more effort toward being dedicated to serving organic and making sure the product is as organic when it's in the counter here as it was when it left the farm," said Jake Lewin, director of marketing and international programs at Santa Cruz-based CCOF, which issued the certification.
A key challenge for campus officials was adding organic products, which can be more expensive, without pushing up fees, said Shawn LaPean, director of Cal Dining. They were able to do that by negotiating with vendors.
Berkeley officials hope to expand the salad bar to all four dining halls and are looking into offering more organic options. At the Organic Trade Association, based in Greenfield, Mass., spokeswoman Barbara Haumann said a growing number of colleges are going at least partially organic, but it appears Berkeley is the first to get certification. "It definitely gives a guarantee and assurance that procedures are being used so from the OTA perspective, yes, it's certainly important," she said.
5 April, 2006
EVEN SERIOUS CRIMINALITY NOW ONLY MILDLY INCORRECT IN BRITAIN
The Left have always favoured criminals. They have a lot in common. Both oppose society's normal rules and both lack moral anchors. But in Britain it has got to the point where even serious crimes such as burglary or assaulting people are to be treated with a nod and a wink
Burglars will be allowed to escape without punishment under new instructions sent to all police forces. Police have been told they can let them off the threat of a court appearance and instead allow them to go with a caution. The same leniency will be shown to criminals responsible for more than 60 other different offences, ranging from arson through vandalism to sex with underage girls. New rules sent to police chiefs by the Home Office set out how seriously various crimes should be regarded, and when offenders who admit to them should be sent home with a caution. A caution counts as a criminal record but means the offender does not face a court appearance which would be likely to end in a fine, a community punishment or jail.
Some serious offences - including burglary of a shop or office, threatening to kill, actual bodily harm, and possession of Class A drugs such as heroin or cocaine - may now be dealt with by caution if police decide that would be the best approach. And a string of crimes including common assault, threatening behaviour, sex with an underage girl or boy, and taking a car without its owner's consent, should normally be dealt with by a caution, the circular said. The Home Office instruction applies to offenders who have admitted their guilt but who have no criminal record. They are also likely to be able to show mitigating factors to lessen the seriousness of their crime.
The instruction to abandon court prosecutions in more cases - even for people who admit to having carried out serious crimes - comes in the wake of repeated attempts by ministers and senior judges to persuade the courts to send fewer criminals to jail. The crisis of overcrowding in UK prisons has also prompted moves to let many more convicts out earlier. It emerged last month that some violent or sex offenders, given mandatory life sentences under a "two-strike" rule, have been freed after as little as 15 months.
The latest move provoked condemnation yesterday from Tories and critics of the justice system. Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "Yet again the Government is covertly undermining the penal system and throwing away the trust of ordinary citizens that criminals will be punished and punished properly. "In the last few weeks we have witnessed a serial failure of Labour to protect the citizen, with murders of innocent people by criminals variously on early release or probation, and now we're finding that ever more serious crimes are not being brought to court at all."
Criminologist Dr David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, said: "They appear to have given up making the court system work and doing anything about delays and the deviousness of defence lawyers. "This is part of the wider problem that the Home Office has an anti-prison bias. But while they regard prison as uncivilised, they don't seem to care whether the alternatives work or not."
The Home Office circular to police forces has been sent amid a Government drive to reduce the number of cases coming before the courts. A number of crimes - notably shoplifting - are now regularly dealt with by fixed penalty notices similar to a parking fine. A whole range of offenders who admit traffic and more minor criminal offences will in future have their cases "processed" by new Government bureaucracies rather than by the courts.
At the same time judges and magistrates have been bombarded with instructions from the senior judiciary to send fewer criminals to jail. Burglars and muggers should be spared prison more often, courts have been told, and last week sentencing authorities ordered a further "raising of the custody threshold" to keep out of prison more offenders who would in the past have been given up to a year in jail.
The new instructions to police on how to keep criminals out of the courts altogether are given in a 'Gravity Factor Matrix'. This breaks down offences into four categories, with the most serious rated as four and the least serious as one. For criminals over 18, who admit offences ranked at the third level of seriousness, the instruction is: "Normally charge but a simple caution may be appropriate if first offence". Officers dealing with those who admit level two crimes are told: "Normally simple caution for a first offence but a charge may be appropriate if (there are) previous convictions or appropriate to circumstances."
The Home Office said the guidance had been circulated nationally because there had been regional anomalies in the way offenders were dealt with and these needed to be removed. A spokesman said: 'Cautioning in individual cases is an operational matter for the police and Crown Prosecution Service. "'The new circular firstly provides up to date guidance on the use of cautions to encourage consistency across the country. "Secondly, with the introduction of statutory charging, the guidance needed to clarify what the effect would be on police responsibility for cautions. Finally the guidance was introduced to outline the practical process of administering a caution."
Cautioning was used heavily in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly for juvenile offenders under 18. Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard cracked down on cautions in 1994 because young thugs and thieves were getting repeated cautions but no punishment. But cautioning for adult offenders is now on the rise. Dr Green said: "The Home Office is missing its target to achieve a set number of offenders brought to justice. But it seems they regard a caution as an offender brought to justice. "This is a nod and a wink to police forces - deal with your cases by cautions and we will hit our target."
CALIFORNIA: AFFIRMATIVE ACTION FOR FORESTRY!
A federal judge ordered the U.S. Forest Service to diversify its work force in California, ruling that the agency has failed to eliminate hiring and promotional barriers to Hispanics as required by a 2002 court agreement. Hispanics only make up about 9 percent of the forest service's 5,000-member work force that manages 18 national forests in California. That's about the same percentage as it was in October 2002 when a lawsuit accusing the agency of discrimination was settled, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken of Oakland said Thursday.
Wilken said the agency has failed to conduct an effective recruitment and outreach program, employ a full-time recruitment coordinator or make good-faith efforts to employ a civil rights director in California as required by the 2002 agreement. The judge ordered the agency to sign a contract with "an effective outside recruiter" and allow a court-appointed monitor to hire a new staff member to review all new hires and promotions.
Those measures should help diversify the Forest Service, said plaintiffs' attorney Willie Nguyen of the Employment Law Center in San Francisco. He said the biggest barrier to Hispanic employment has been the agency's "willful ignorance of the problem."
Forest service spokesman Matt Mathes said the order makes it clear that "Judge Wilken expects us to do better." He said the agency would start working Monday morning on a plan to comply.
4 April, 2006
NOW THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WANTS TO DECIDE WHO GOES FISHING
It is Britain's most popular participation sport and crosses the class divide. The four million people who enjoy a quiet afternoon on the river bank are, according to the Government, too white, too male and too middle-aged. The Environment Agency, which protects waterways, has decided to spread the message about coarse and fly fishing to ethnic minorities and women. The agency's 10-year campaign will use money from the 19 million pounds raised each year by the sale of fishing licences, and a leaflet has already been produced covering "10 things you should know about angling". These include: "Angling does not discriminate against gender, race, age or athletic ability", and the "Government is interested in angling in the context of social inclusion in deprived urban areas".
Pilot schemes, such as one in Swansea, where Muslim women and children have been taught to fish by experts from the Salmon and Trout Association, are set to be extended nationwide. Richard Wightman, the angling development manager for the Environment Agency, said: "We have a corporate commitment to diversity. There is a huge number of social benefits."
But the proposals, to be set out in a strategy paper, Angling 2015, were condemned as a waste of money. Robin Page, the countryside campaigner, said the money would be better spent on increasing biodiversity in rivers, by, for example, safeguarding otters, kingfishers and native crayfish. "This is an insult to serious conservation. It is utter nonsense - politically correct Britain gone mad," he said. James Frayn, the campaign director for the Taxpayers' Alliance, called the plans bizarre and asked: "What is the Government doing, trying to socially engineer who goes fishing? They should be looking to save money, not spend it on projects like this."
Research by the Environment Agency found that only seven per cent of anglers were under 18, five per cent were female and "very few" came from ethnic minorities. It concluded: "We want to see angling available to all sectors of society, irrespective of gender, race, age and ability/disability." The campaign has won the backing of Martin Salter, Labour's parliamentary spokesman on angling. Mr Salter, who fishes in his Reading West constituency, said: "There are very few women anglers. And, in a multicultural town like Reading, I have always been surprised at how rare it was to see a black face on the river bank. I applaud the Environment Agency initiative."
In the Swansea pilot scheme, Muslim women and children are taken by coach to a lake and learn to fish for trout. The project is run by Nica Prichard, 68, the international president of the Ladies Flyfishing Association. She said: "A couple of hours out in the countryside and you come back a new woman. If you could just see their faces when we're teaching them, you'd know we're really on to something." The Salmon and Trout Association has recruited Terry Atkinson, a former Army major, to broaden the sport's appeal in a scheme funded by Sport England. He said: "People always think of fishing as a bloke thing but it isn't. The numbers of ladies fishing is going up all the time."
Mr Salter, who learnt to fish as a boy on outings organised by working men's clubs, said: "Coarse fishing was traditionally a white, working-class sport. It had a cloth cap image - the men went fishing on a Sunday while the women stayed at home. "Game fishing for salmon and trout was the preserve of the upper classes and the landed gentry. "Things have changed a bit, and it's common now for the working class to go trout fishing or the middle class to go coarse fishing."
CANADA: PARENTS DICTATED TO OVER MEDICATION FOR THEIR KIDS
The case of a 12-year-old Longueuil boy suspended from school when his mother refused to give him Ritalin has sparked concerns over who is in charge of the medicine cabinet. Do parents have the right to say "no" when their child's school says they need prescription drugs? "Absolutely, they do," said Montreal family law lawyer Alan Stein. However, Stein said, some parents second-guess themselves when a teacher or school social worker recommends Ritalin, a drug that stimulates the central nervous system and is used mainly to treat attention deficit disorder.
Stein was reacting to the case of Gabriel Lavigueur, who was suspended from Ecole Secondaire St. Jean Baptiste in Longueuil on March 20. He remains out of school. After two meetings last week with the boy's mother, Danielle Lavigueur, Stein said he will petition to file a class-action suit this week in her name and on behalf of Quebec parents who believe they have been bullied into putting their children on Ritalin. The Quebec-wide suit is expected to tap into growing concerns about the long-term consequences of the stimulant that has been called "kiddie cocaine," and on how Quebec schools have become increasingly involved in the Ritalin prescription process.
To date, parents have been fighting the troubling trend on a case-by-case basis, said Richer Dumais. Dumais is the executive director of a Montreal-based non-profit parents' rights group, the Commission des citoyens pour les droits de l'homme. Over the past year, his group has received 81 complaints of parents being pressured to put their children on Ritalin by a teacher, school principal, board social worker or psychoeducator. The group has documented 13 individual cases involving mostly boys, age 8 through 12, and in schools in Montreal-area school boards, among them the Commission scolaire de Montreal, the Commission scolaire Marguerite Bourgeoys and the Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin. In protest, he said, the group has written letters to the school boards involved, the Quebec College des medecins and to the provincial Education Department.
In Quebec, prescriptions for Ritalin doubled between 1999 and 2004, according to IMS Health, a Montreal-based company tracking prescription drug sales. Dumais said those increases mirror the success of the Quebec government's education department's 2000 action plan, a research and community-based program designed to identify schoolchildren at risk and help them succeed. Over the past two years, according to the Education Department, 148,147 Quebec children have been identified as "at risk."
Ritalin may be part of their individualized education plan, said ministry spokesperson Francois Lefebvre, but if it is, the drug is prescribed by a doctor. That's well and good, Dumais said, but when a parent is told his or her child will be expelled from school if he or she doesn't take Ritalin, that's coercion. "We're going to see a lot more cases of this kind of thing," he predicted. In one instance documented by his group, he said, "the parent was told by his son's teacher that his son had problems with the neurons in his brain." The parent responded: "Are you a doctor?"
In the case of Gabriel Lavigueur, his mother had signed a "plan d'intervention" that identified him as "at risk" and included prescription drugs along with other school, community and home initiatives. But she said she stopped giving her son Ritalin at the beginning of January when he started suffering side effects, including insomnia, loss of appetite and aggressiveness. Simultaneously, she said she also stopped giving him Paxil and another medication, two other drugs he had been prescribed but which are not approved by Health Canada for anyone under the age of 18. At that time, Lavigueur said, her son, who is bright but has been labelled hyperactive with attention deficit disorder, became less agitated. His appetite and ability to sleep returned.
But school officials said they also noticed a change in his behaviour. They maintain Gabriel Lavigueur became unmanageable. He was given repeated two- and three-day suspensions in January and February and was eventually suspended indefinitely.
Francois Houde is the lawyer representing Commission scolaire Marie-Victorin. Ritalin, Houde said, had nothing to do with Lavigueur's indefinite suspension. Houde said the boy repeatedly failed to follow the school's regulations pertaining to dress, hair colour, behaviour and school performance. He added the school is open to allowing the boy to return if he is willing to follow its ''code de vie" and the intervention plan his mother signed.
However, George Mentis, president of National Parents Association, another Montreal group compiling cases, said "it's a Catch-22." When he hears the term "code de vie," he said, "it means medicate your child or else." "It's an alarming trend," Mentis said. On Friday, Mentis and Danielle Lavigueur met with Houde, the board's lawyer and other school officials involved in the case. "They keep saying drugs are not the issue," Mentis said. "But they also say Lavigueur can't come back to school until he follows the intervention plan that mandates drugs."
3 April, 2006
ON THE DECAYED BLACK FAMILY
Black Blogress La Shawn speaks some much needed but very "incorrect" truths. Excerpt:
Many black children grow up in fatherless homes. Mothers may love their children and may be the best parents in the world, but even the Greatest Mother of All Time (whoever she is) can't take the place of a father. Fatherlessness correlates with juvenile crime, drug use, academic underachievement, premarital sex, and many other problems, I'm sure.
I'm one of these religious folks who believes that Adam and Eve existed and that God knew exactly what he was doing when he made them uniquely for his purposes. In the years I've spent on this planet, I clearly see that men and women are different and that it is good. Their God-given roles are different, and each role complements the other.
Generally, mothers feel an intense attachment to their children that men do not. That's not to say fathers don't have an attachment to their kids. Fathers may love them with all their hearts and minds, but "mother love" is different. Babies grow inside the mother. Mothers labor to give birth to their babies. Many mothers breastfeed their babies. Mothers tend to "baby" their children, but that's OK because "father love" is there to balance it out.
Men have no idea what it's like to have another human being feeding off their bodies, sharing the same nutrients. They have no clue what it means to give birth to another human being. This makes women profoundly different than men when it comes to raising children. Generally, fathers feel an urge to physically protect their children. Women also have this urge, but it's not exactly the same. I believe a woman's physical attachment to her child is of a different quality than the man's. We've all heard that mothers nurture and fathers discipline. Both parents do these things, but in general, women are more emotional and "touchy-feely" than men. Both parents understand that children need nurturing and discipline, but each parent does more of one than the other.
At this point some of you may be saying, "Wait a second, you don't know what it's like to give birth, either." True, and although I may never give birth, I was created with the capacity to give birth. I have the necessary biological system (including the hormones!). As such, I can speak about these things with more insight than someone not made to carry a human being inside his body.
Still with me? Remind yourselves as you read this post that I'm speaking in general terms. There will always be exceptions.
Back to God. There is harmony in the way he created the two sexes and the family unit. It's as though they were meant to be joined together. And I came up with that all by myself! They are meant to be joined together, and you don't have to be a Bible-believing Christian to understand that.
Without "father love," children grow up missing an important part of their development. That's not to say they grow up without men, but no brother or uncle or boyfriend or "friend" can ever take the place of a father. In fact, no man could ever take the place of a biological residential father. When children grow up with a mother and father living in the same house, whether family life is ideal or not, they see each role in action. Personalities differ, so in some cases, the mother will be a stronger disciplinarian than the father. The point is that children grow up observing how their parents interact and how they treat each other. A boy learns what it is to be a man by watching his father. There are lousy fathers out there who live with their kids, but there are many more who're honorable and decent.
I believe that just as parents have biological urges directed toward their children, children have biological urges toward their parents. Even if a child has never known a father, there is something in him that needs a father, whether he realizes it or is able to articulate it. Some have speculated that fatherless boys join gangs to receive the "father love" they didn't have at home.
This absence of "father love" continues to manifest itself once children reach puberty. Fatherless children, especially girls, are more likely to engage in premarital sex. They don't get to observe their parents' marriage and the role each parent assumes. Unless there are loving, strong, and involved men in a boy's life, he's cheated out of learning how women should be treated.
Without the benefit of seeing a man (who loves him) go to work to provide for him, come home, discipline him, interact with his mother and treat her well, a boy can't emulate the behavior. He has to learn a "female version" of it and/or get it in bits and pieces from whichever male figure is handy. While he may frequently interact with related males (uncle, grandfather, etc.), without the chance to observe the marital relationship of his parents up close and personally, a large part of his father/husband training is missing.
I repeat, no matter how good a mother a woman is, she cannot make up for this missing part. A single mother can try - in fact, she must try - to socialize her son to be a good father and faithful husband, but she will fall far short of the goal because the father's role is crucial in the boy's development.
I repeat, I am speaking in general terms. Fatherless boys can and do grow up to be good fathers and faithful husbands, but with only a third of black children raised in two-parent families, many fatherless boys won't experience life as a responsible father and committed husband, but only as a "baby's daddy."
Women and Money
Egalitarians, with a boost from Statistics Canada, are all in a lather over the fact that women are "losing the battle of the sexes" in terms of their "earning power." We are informed that too many of them - 67% - prefer the "pink ghetto" to the Boardroom, the same percentage as a decade ago, and the level of female managers (oh, the national shame of it!) has "dropped back" to where it was two decades ago. So we are said to be "losing the war for general equality." In light of the higher numbers of educated women today, Statistics Canada is surprised by "the continuing stubborn wage gap," and by the number of women still working in traditionally female jobs.
Egads! More impenetrable national stupidity here. A little voice asks: what if women prefer the so-called pink ghetto? And anyway, who says women and men must crave the same jobs, and earn the same pay? Never-married women and never-married men in Canada have always earned about the same wages. Actually, the last time I investigated this ridiculous battle of the sexes, there were a couple of decades of life shown where never-married women earn more than never-married men.
Fact is that the great majority of healthy women not already brain-washed by a materialistic commercial society do not crave money and job status. They do not want the Boardroom. They want a strong male earner in the bedroom. And from him they want healthy beautiful babies, a happy family, and a financially secure life. That is what they have craved since they were teenagers. Some of them get it. But far too few.
Statistics Canada's own figures on the earnings of never-married women show that what causes the so-called "wage-gap" is the natural female preference for marriage and children over commercial work outside the home. Mothers refuse jobs that are too demanding or switch to part-time work so they can fulfill their own ambition to raise their kids properly.
Some cannot afford to turn down money, however, and it is a national scandal that millions of them have become wage-dupes of all the modern welfare states that so badly needs their tax dollars. Such states strive to keep as many men and women in the work-force as possible paying as much in taxes as possible so the state can take over life's most meaningful functions such as child-rearing in government daycare centres, education in government schools, social-welfare needs in government housing and programs, and care of the sick in government-controlled hospitals and old-age homes.
Don't buy it. Fight back. Encourage every man you know to be a real man. Take a better job. Work harder. If the good wife loves working outside the home, fine. But if she is trapped there, then let's encourage husbands to go for a pay raise to get the mothers of their own children out of the work force and raising the kids at home. Shame on Statistics Canada for partaking in this number-juggling scam.
2 April, 2006
MURDER OF WHITE GIRL BY MUSLIMS IGNORED BY MEDIA
Britain's heavy controlled Politically Correct mass media continue to ignore one of the most unpleasant cases of suspected racist murder - which probably involved gang rape as well. 14-year-old Charlene Downes is believed by Blackpool police to have been turned into kebabs and tile grout after her disappearance in November 2003. Two Muslim men - one a former social worker - have been charged with her murder or with assisting in the disposal of her body.
The combination of murder, the appalling likelihood that scores of unwitting customers actually ate Charlene, and the unasked question as to whether this was another case involving the grooming for sex and drugs of a young white girl by a Muslim sex predator gang should have made this killing national front page news.
But, with the sole exception of the Metro (Manchester version) Friday 10th March 2006 (report reproduced here) not one significant newspaper has even mentioned Charlene and her terrible fate.
Perhaps this will change when her alleged killer and his accomplice come to full trial. But the media bias is already all too clear. Cases such as the murder of Anthony Walker became national news within hours of their murder, running with ever-increasing media frenzy until - and beyond - the actual trial of his moronic drug-using killers....
"The body of a missing schoolgirl may have been turned into burgers and kebabs and served up at a seaside fast food outlet. Police fear the remains of 14 year old Charlene Downes, who went missing in November 2003, may also have been ground up into tile grout. Iyad Albattikhi, 28, who ran the Funny Boyz takeaway in Blackpool, is charged with her murder. The co-owner of the business Mohammed Raveshi, a 49 year old former social services worker and foster father, is charged with assisting in the disposal of her body. The men appeared at a hearing at Blackpool maistrates court yesterday.
The teenager whose body has never been found left home on Halloween saying she was meeting friends on Blackpool's North Pier. It was initially thought Charlene, a pupil at St George's Church of England High School, had run away. Appeals for her to come forward were subsequently posted in missing persons' columns.
However six months after her disappearance police searched freezers at three Blackpool curry houses looking for her remains. During the investigation some 3000 men were DNA tested and a TV appeal for information was broadcast on the BBC's Crimewatch show. Darren Day, Charlene's favourite West End performer, even made a plea for help in finding her.
During the ten minute hearing yesterday the two accused, who were flanked in the secure dock by four security officers, spoke only to confirm their names and ages and to state that they understood the charges against them. Neither of the defendant's lawyers applied for bail.
Whitewashing academic debate
A student of Dr Frank Ellis - the Leeds lecturer suspended for his racist views - asks why the university couldn't handle a heated argument
Dr Frank Ellis was suspended from his job teaching Russian at Leeds University last week, after comments he made in an interview with the Leeds Student suggesting that ethnicity played a role in determining IQ. Ellis claimed it was 'beyond any reasonable doubt [that] there is a persistent gap in black and white average intelligence'. A succession of people have come forward to denounce him, from the university authorities to a local MP. According to the latest edition of the student paper, he is even under investigation by the West Yorkshire police on the charge of incitement to racial hatred.
As someone taught by Dr Ellis, the presentation of this case doesn't tally with reality. Dr Ellis is certainly an eccentric, but I had no idea about his views on race before the student paper published them; he's always found far more diverse topics to talk about, from his dislike of the BBC to how to survive a bomb going off near you. His particular topic of interest is Stalingrad.
The main accusation that Ellis' attackers raise is that he is using his position of authority to indoctrinate students. Russianists are presented as delicate, naive creatures, who are incapable of forming their own opinions. There's been no shortage of people eager to protect us from Ellis' subversive doctrines, but as far as I'm aware no students from within the department have raised any concerns along these lines.
When seven former students wrote to the Observer complaining of his 'offensive comments' during seminars that undermined their confidence in his ability to assess them on merit, it left most of us baffled. Leeds has a fairly strict system of staff-student committees, at which any issues about teaching can be raised anonymously; if these former students had put forward their concerns at the time, disciplinary proceedings would have been brought against Ellis long ago. Some have complaints about the way he conducts lectures, but the campaign has shown no interest in the quality of his teaching.
The level of student support for the campaign has been overestimated by the media. After the Leeds Student interview, the Unite Against Fascism group managed to get over 500 signatures on a petition calling for Ellis to be sacked. This was hailed as popular support for the campaign. This is a little optimistic, however; when a petition like this is waved in people's faces outside the main union building, it's rare that they even read the whole document.
Unite Against Fascism then organised protests outside his lectures two weeks ago; this was written up as a 'boycott', as if large quantities of his students had refused to attend out of disgust for his opinions. I did know a few people who weren't planning on turning up, before the department cancelled the day's classes - though some of those were more motivated by the prospect of a few more hours in bed than by political principles. The people I've talked to mostly find Ellis' views repugnant, but have no desire to see him lose his job over them.
The university authorities have tried to silence and repress the debate, out of an apparent fear for their public image. This isn't the first time they have come into conflict with Ellis; they attempted to ban him from attending an American Renaissance conference in Virginia, at which he would attack the findings of the Macpherson Inquiry. During the recent debate, Ellis has been asked repeatedly by the university to remain silent - one of the reasons given for his suspension was his failure to do so.
Although the university naturally wants to protect its image, it needs to realise that there is still a debate on race and multiculturalism to be thrashed out. Objectionable opinions are best defeated with argument rather than suppression. More to the point, the university has completely misjudged how to handle Ellis, someone who thrives on the opportunity to air his views and take the moral high ground of free speech. He's been arguing for many years that the multiculturalist system imposes a regime of Soviet-style censorship, under which the expression of controversial ideas is not tolerated; recent events allow him to confirm his claims.
Ideas as offensive as those held by Ellis should have their flaws revealed by reasoned debate and scientific research. If the University of Leeds doesn't have the self-confidence to allow a debate on the important issues of modern society within its walls, then we really should be worried.
Some Statements about Race now Illegal in Australia
Australia's political correctness court, the "Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission" has just declared illegal statements made by Prof. Andrew Fraser about racial aspects of Australia's immigration policy. Prof. Fraser has a response to the verdict here. It appears that he will refuse to comply with the verdict.
Fraser has set out his views both in the popular press and in an academic journal article -- an article which was suppressed before it could be published. You can however find the article here. It is a very thorough defence of his views. Predictably, the only substantial scholarly riposte to Fraser that I know of comes from a moderate conservative -- Windschuttle. The only talent the Left have in these matters is for hysteria and abuse.
Just for the record, I should perhaps note that I personally disagree with much of what Fraser says -- particularly with regard to Asians. I do however find it utterly bizarre that statements can now be declared illegal that would have attracted near-universal assent (including assent from many Leftist intellectuals) in the Western world up until about 60 years ago.
1 April, 2006
Female liberation is a myth, delegates are told at the British Psychological Society conference
Another failure of feminism. Women remain different in their attitudes
Women may well have come a long way since the sexual revolution of the Sixties and Seventies, but research suggests that the enormous strides that they have made in the workplace have not been matched in the bedroom. The portrayal of complete female sexual liberation in television shows such as Sex and the City could be a myth, according to research suggesting that many women regard one-night stands and casual sex as wrong.
The idea that women might seek to have a one-off sexual encounter purely in the pursuit of pleasure is simply not believed by most women, who regard others who have one-night stands as desperate, pitiful or extremely needy. Sharron Hinchliff, of the University of Sheffield, said that the findings suggested that women's sexual behaviour was still "problematised" by society, even though similar behaviour by men was accepted. Dr Hinchliff conducted interviews with 46 women to explore their ideas on sexuality as part of a wider research programme on women's sexual health. Participants, chosen from the electoral roll in Sheffield, were aged between 23 and 83, with an average age of 48.
The findings, presented at the British Psychological Society annual conference in Cardiff, show that while women did not condemn others who had casual sex, 90 per cent believed them to be wrong. Many believed that women couldn't have sex for their own pleasure outside of a committed relationship. "They argued that women who have casual sex or one-night stands do it not because they are sexually liberalised, but because they have `lost control' on alcohol or drugs or because there is `something lacking' in their lives. They pitied these women and they saw it as deviant behaviour," Dr Hinchliff said.
The findings show a degree of double standards. The 10 per cent of women who admitted to having had one-night stands said that in their case it had been different - they had simply been finding out about relationships. Overall, older women were more accepting than younger women, although they still shared these views
AN IMMIGRANT WITH A DIFFERENCE
A Sri Lankan businessman who came to Europe as a refugee has started an "anti-political correctness party" to fight for the right to discuss race and immigration without fear of persecution. Johannes Shanmugam believes that political correctness has gone too far in Britain. He is particularly incensed at what he claims is the ingratitude of those who have been given refuge in Britain yet complain endlessly about their new home. He announced the formation of his Political Correctness Corrective Party, which has so far just one member, himself, in his local newspaper and is now waiting to gauge the response.
Mr Shanmugam, who owns a sandwich shop in Cheltenham, believes that people are afraid to speak up in case they say the "wrong thing". He is outraged at the way an Oxfordshire nursery school changed the words of Baa-Baa Black Sheep to "Baa-Baa Rainbow Sheep" for fear of causing offence. He said: "We're so scared of offending minority people in this country that we've come full circle and got into an absurd situation. Is it all right for me to serve black pudding? Should Blackpool be renamed? Where's it going to end?"
Mr Shanmugam, who fled Sri Lanka for Sweden in 1990 and moved to Britain eight years ago, says that people who are genuinely fleeing persecution and are given refuge appreciate the freedoms that Britain offers. If they don't like it here, they can go elsewhere, he said. "I do think we should have controls on immigration. I can say these things because I am dark-skinned but, if a white person says them, they are accused of being racist. We need to have a civilised political debate. You can't go around waving placards and threatening to behead someone just because you disagree with them."
California students lead push to weaken school soda law: "Some students at Shasta High School want to return soda pop to their campus vending machines -- and they're preparing a statewide ballot measure to do it. Even though California high schools have until July 2007 to start replacing soda with water, juice and sports drinks, many -- including Shasta and high schools in Oakland and San Francisco -- have already switched over. Rocky Slaughter, 18, who is president of the Shasta High Student Union, thinks it's better to have a choice -- but be encouraged to choose wisely. 'Now it's like the Prohibition movement, and we all saw what happened with that,' Slaughter said on a tour of his school's vending machines and cafeteria. 'You take away certain things, and they become more desirable.' Under Slaughter's proposed initiative, half of school vending machine space would be devoted to sodas, the other half to drinks that would be labeled "healthy choices." Nutritional information about the different beverages would be posted on vending machines so students could make an informed choice. "We're allowed to drive a car. We're allowed to shoot guns. These are dangerous activities. So why can't we make decisions about nutrition?" asked Slaughter, who is now collecting money to turn his idea into an initiative and place it on the ballot."