The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

The Blogspot version of "PC Watch" is HERE and "Dissecting Leftism" is HERE. The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other sites viewable in China: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism and Recipes. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here for the archives of this site.

31 December, 2004


Los Angeles is notorious for gang violence, but even by LA standards 2002 was gruesome. With 658 murders in just that one year, it became America's murder capital. Of those murders, almost half were directly related to gang turf wars involving drugs and guns. And of those gangs, most are based in south-central or south-east LA.

With a spiralling murder rate and poor police-community relations following the Rodney King riots and the Rampart corruption scandal, the city appointed a new chief to clean up its act. Amid much fanfare and hype William Bratton - the man credited with cleaning up New York's once-soaring crime rate under the political stewardship of former mayor Rudy Giuliani - was brought in to get LA under control. Chief Bratton immediately appointed a second deputy charged with concentrating some officers in gang areas and targeting gangs. He also prioritised improving relations with minority communities.

And 2003 saw the overall murder rate fall in LA by 23%, but so far this year the murder rate is back on the increase across the city. The LAPD's figures show a 5% year-on-year rise in homicides from Jan to April 2004. And while the number of homicides fell in some neighbourhoods last year, it only ever continued to rise in the hardcore gang areas....

Aside from a rising homicide rate, Ms Rice warns that the gangs are crossing a line that has not been crossed before: They are now targeting police officers themselves. She says: "It's one thing for gangsters to exchange fire with the police in situations, but we are now starting to see sniping. We are now seeing the ambushing of cops by gangsters and we should be panicking. "We are on the way to a point of no return and we will end up in a Falluja situation. It is already a Falluja situation in some areas. LA is on the road to Falluja."

Ms Rice also claims potential witnesses are even being murdered by criminals inside jails because the prisons are "so overcrowded and thinly staffed". She says this has happened five times already this year alone. She also says the situation with gangs was so out of control that even older gang leaders were frightened of today's members because they do not operate within a moral framework at all. "Who's bringing them up?" one former Crips gang leader asked Ms Rice after telling her even he feared the younger gangsters....

She claims that while Chief Bratton has made "big changes at leadership level that doesn't mean the desk sergeant gets it." Ms Rice is not optimistic for the future.........

More here


"Record crowds gathered to hear cries of 'tally-ho' and the barking of hounds for what could be Britain's last traditional post-Christmas hunt before a ban comes into force next year. The pro-hunting Countryside Alliance said at least 300,000 people joined huntsmen and women for the meets over the Christmas break -- including Boxing Day, one of the biggest days on the hunt calendar, with more than 300 separate hunts throughout England and Wales. ... The ban on all forms of hunting with dogs will come into force in February. But supporters of hunting have vowed to ignore it, saying jobs will be put at risk. Simon Hart, of the Countryside Alliance, said unprecedented crowds at the Boxing Day meets reflected solidarity and resolve, not only from the hunting community, but also from the many thousands who supported freedom and tolerance."

More here.

30 December, 2004


Historically, children were regarded as the father's pre-industrial assets and custody was out of question. Consequently, the `tender years' doctrine dictated that young children be kept with their mothers (Newsweek, [Online], 1995). But as perceptions about parenthood changed, fathers have become just as much involved as mothers in nurturing their children. For this reason, today, many fathers are seeking primary or joint custody of their children when a marriage breaks down. However, it is questioned whether the court system is biased against men in matters involving custody and access to children when family breakdown occurs. It can be argued that, when deciding custody and visitation, a court gives the best interests of the child the highest priority and not gender (Levin ; Mills, [Online], 2003). Apparently, it is clear that in most custody cases; approximately 90% of the time, primary residential custody of children is awarded to mothers (McNeely, [Online], 1998), thus indicating the presence of gender bias in the family courts.

One of the things propelling prejudice against men in family courts is the basing of decisions on stereotypical attitudes and beliefs. Most judges in the family courts center their decisions on their own understandings and beliefs (Coleman, [Online], 1999). McNeely also writes that, `Many judges raised in traditional homes consisting of fathers as breadwinners and mothers as caretakers have resisted letting go of the `tender years' doctrine, (Online, 1998). That simply shows that some judges still believe that children below the age of five need their mothers to grow hence the reason why such judges award custody to women. In support to that, Henry further contends that, a West Virginia Supreme court justice was quoted saying; `We do the standard drill. She gets the children.

Men don't care, basically, about anything other than money' (Online, 1998). Other myths in courts systems are that men are not usually capable of being custodial parents as are mothers etc. Such hackneyed beliefs of most judges in family courts have been discriminating against men and damaging towards child-parent relationships as most men are separated from their children via unfair court decisions.

Regardless of constitutional pledges of equality, some people are less equal than others. This is the message passed on to men when custody is awarded to women after a custody evaluation. At many times, courts request forensic evaluators to do custody recommendations after doing an evaluation of both parents. Nevertheless, A. Cowling writes that, `in most cases, the `experts' who handle these assessments are not anymore competent in making noble custody decisions than a knowledgeable family court judge'. He further adds that even reputable evaluators find themselves favouring a particular parent in a custody dispute for reasons that have little to do with the quality of parenting offered (Online, 2003). Therefore, it can be noted that even in these evaluations to determine `the best interests of the child', there is the possibility of favouring the mothers by evaluators hence making the court decision biased. Hughson also argues that there is doubt on whether the evaluation process can be fair or lucid because it is constructed without a standardized testing or benchmarks. In addition, he says that `usually, "best interest of the child" is the shorthand for "kids go with mom and dad gets to see the kid over the weekend ." (Online, 2003). Bringing it to a close, it can be said albeit the use of custody evaluators in a custody case, there is still some existence of bias against men as some evaluators tend to favour mothers.



"Where does all this stuff that you've heard about this morning - the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it - where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.

We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it come from? What is it?

We call it "Political Correctness." The name originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend still to think of it as only half-serious. In fact, it's deadly serious. It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world. It is the disease of ideology. PC is not funny. PC is deadly serious.

If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.

First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted "victims" groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges - some star-chamber proceeding - and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole.

Indeed, all ideologies are totalitarian because the essence of an ideology (I would note that conservatism correctly understood is not an ideology) is to take some philosophy and say on the basis of this philosophy certain things must be true - such as the whole of the history of our culture is the history of the oppression of women. Since reality contradicts that, reality must be forbidden. It must become forbidden to acknowledge the reality of our history. People must be forced to live a lie, and since people are naturally reluctant to live a lie, they naturally use their ears and eyes to look out and say, "Wait a minute. This isn't true. I can see it isn't true," the power of the state must be put behind the demand to live a lie. That is why ideology invariably creates a totalitarian state.

Second, the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Economic Marxism says that all of history is determined by ownership of means of production. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, says that all history is determined by power, by which groups defined in terms of race, sex, etc., have power over which other groups. Nothing else matters. All literature, indeed, is about that. Everything in the past is about that one thing.

Third, just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good - feminist women, (only feminist women, non-feminist women are deemed not to exist) blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals. These groups are determined to be "victims," and therefore automatically good regardless of what any of them do. Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.

Fourth, both economic and cultural Marxism rely on expropriation. When the classical Marxists, the communists, took over a country like Russia, they expropriated the bourgeoisie, they took away their property. Similarly, when the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions. When a white student with superior qualifications is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isn't as well qualified, the white student is expropriated. And indeed, affirmative action, in our whole society today, is a system of expropriation. White owned companies don't get a contract because the contract is reserved for a company owned by, say, Hispanics or women. So expropriation is a principle tool for both forms of Marxism.

And finally, both have a method of analysis that automatically gives the answers they want. For the classical Marxist, it's Marxist economics. For the cultural Marxist, it's deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired. So we find, for example, that all of Shakespeare is about the suppression of women, or the Bible is really about race and gender. All of these texts simply become grist for the mill, which proves that "all history is about which groups have power over which other groups." So the parallels are very evident between the classical Marxism that we're familiar with in the old Soviet Union and the cultural Marxism that we see today as Political Correctness.

But the parallels are not accidents. The parallels did not come from nothing. The fact of the matter is that Political Correctness has a history, a history that is much longer than many people are aware of outside a small group of academics who have studied this. And the history goes back, as I said, to World War I, as do so many of the pathologies that are today bringing our society, and indeed our culture, down.......

In conclusion, America today is in the throes of the greatest and direst transformation in its history. We are becoming an ideological state, a country with an official state ideology enforced by the power of the state. In "hate crimes" we now have people serving jail sentences for political thoughts. And the Congress is now moving to expand that category ever further. Affirmative action is part of it. The terror against anyone who dissents from Political Correctness on campus is part of it. It's exactly what we have seen happen in Russia, in Germany, in Italy, in China, and now it's coming here. And we don't recognize it because we call it Political Correctness and laugh it off. My message today is that it's not funny, it's here, it's growing and it will eventually destroy, as it seeks to destroy, everything that we have ever defined as our freedom and our culture.

More here

29 December, 2004


Written before Christmas

"Here is what happened today when I visited the provincial liquor store in Ottawa, Canada: When I had finished my shopping I decided to rearrange my purchases and take a minute to button up my winter coat etc. before venturing out onto the street, I spied a chair way over by the exit so I headed for it. Beside it was an attractively dressed thirty-something blonde, who appeared to be cowering by the chair. I figured her husband had volunteered to plunge into the seething mass and left her to wait. I then noticed one of the plastic "cauldrons " the Salvation Army sets up at Christmas, but could see no attendant. I flung in a coin and -- behold -- the lady thanked me! So I asked "where is your bell"? She replied that so many people hated it that they had decided not to use one this year! I walked on to my next destination -- a large department store with a pedestrian mall running through it There were carol singers, shoppers etc and a large older lady in red vigorously swinging her bell beside the "cauldron". I find this puzzling. I know that alcohol is forbidden to Muslims so that cannot be why the Sallies restrained in a liquor store. But Muslims do patronize the department store -- I see women in headscarves there from time to time -- so what part of the population is offended by the bell?"

"I heard a funny remark by a local council worker the other day about a maintenance manager of Arab origin and his grasp of the English language (i.e. none that could be deciphered). The workers address him as "Tail light". When I asked why, the reply was: "Because he is not bright enough to be a headlight". Ha! There seems to be an epidemic of illiterate or incompetent behaviour among appointments to government bureaucracies and it is also starting to show in large corporations. If council workers can identify the idiots, why can't the management? Or are they tail lights too? Funny if the consequences were not so terrifying."


The Supreme Court of Canada is being asked to hear arguments on whether the word "kemosabe" is racist to native people. The request comes from the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, which is dealing with a grievance dating back to 1999. Dorothy Kateri Moore, a Mi'kmaq woman working at a sports store in Sydney, N.S., had complained that her boss, Trevor Miller, referred to her and other workers as "kemosabe" - the term used by the 1950s TV character Tonto, the Lone Ranger's sidekick, to describe the masked cowboy. Moore said Miller told her the word meant "friend." But she claimed it was a racial slur and that its repeated use led to a poisoned work environment.

Last February, a human rights board of inquiry ruled Moore was not discriminated against because she hadn't shown she was offended by the word, nor did she ask her boss to stop using it. The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal upheld that ruling in October, saying Moore had not shown the term was "notoriously offensive." For the first time in its 37-year history, the commission has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to appeal a decision of the province's Court of Appeal. Commission lawyers say they will argue employees were afraid to speak up to their employer and they want the Supreme Court to draw the line on what language is acceptable in the workplace. "The idea that there are some words that are notoriously offensive and some that aren't, and the burden on the employee shifts depending on that, really creates a lot of confusion in the workplace," said commission lawyer Michael Wood. "We think it's time to clarify that and have some ground rules so people know what's permissible and what isn't." During the inquiry hearings, several members of the Mi'kmaq community testified that "kemosabe" was a racial slur, although others said they were not offended by it.

The board of inquiry spent one day looking at old Lone Ranger shows, eventually concluding that the term was never used in a derogatory way and that Tonto and the Lone Ranger treated each other with respect.


28 December, 2004


Men are more likely to want to marry women who are their assistants at work rather than their colleagues or bosses, a University of Michigan study finds. The study, published in the current issue of Evolution and Human Behavior, highlights the importance of relational dominance in mate selection and discusses the evolutionary utility of male concerns about mating with dominant females. "These findings provide empirical support for the widespread belief that powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less accomplished women," said Stephanie Brown, lead author of the study and a social psychologist at the U-M Institute for Social Research (ISR).

More here


The American Civil Liberties Union wins and the cross on top of Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial cemetery will have to be moved to a new location. After a 15 year old legal battle to keep the cross, which honors the fallen soldiers of WWI, WWII and the Korean War, the cross must now be removed. The ACLU claims it worked to remove the cross in order to preserve the separation of Church and State. The fact of the matter is that they took up the cause of one fanatical atheist named Phillip Paulsen.

The city of San Diego attempted to separate itself from the cross by selling the property to a private party. Mr. Paulsen objected arguing the sale had the effect of preserving the cross. Was that not the point? If the lawsuit was really about separation of church and state, it would be sufficient to sell the property to a private party. The real purpose of this lawsuit was to supress the religious beliefs of 76.5% of Americans and set an example for the millions of others who practice a religion. The lesson to be learned is that the Left, the secularists, act like they are fighting for your freedom when in fact they are fighting to take away from you that which you hold dear.


Exploding the Self-Esteem Myth

Boosting people's sense of self-worth has become a national preoccupation. Yet surprisingly, research shows that such efforts are of little value in fostering academic progress or preventing undesirable behavior

"Regrettably, those who have been pursuing self-esteem-boosting programs, including the leaders of NASE, have not shown a desire to examine the new work, which is why the four of us recently came together under the aegis of the American Psychological Society to review the scientific literature.....

For example, psychologists once thought that people with low self-esteem were especially prejudiced. Early studies, in which subjects simply rated groups to which they did not belong, seemingly confirmed that notion, but thoughtful scholars, such as Jennifer Crocker of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, questioned this conclusion. After all, if people rate themselves negatively, it is hardly proper to label them as prejudiced for rating people not like themselves similarly. When one uses the difference between the subjects' assessments of their own group and their ratings of other groups as the yardstick for bias, the findings are reversed: people with high self-esteem appear to be more prejudiced.....

Modern efforts have, however, cast doubt on the idea that higher self-esteem actually induces students to do better. Such inferences about causality are possible when the subjects are examined at two different times, as was the case in 1986 when Sheila M. Pottebaum, Timothy Z. Keith and Stewart W. Ehly, all then at the University of Iowa, tested more than 23,000 high school students, first in the 10th and again in the 12th grade. They found that self-esteem in 10th grade is only weakly predictive of academic achievement in 12th grade. Academic achievement in 10th grade correlates with self-esteem in 12th grade only trivially better. Such results, which are now available from multiple studies, certainly do not indicate that raising self-esteem offers students much benefit. Some findings even suggest that artificially boosting self-esteem may lower subsequent performance.

Even if raising self-esteem does not foster academic progress, might it serve some purpose later, say, on the job? Apparently not. Studies of possible links between workers' self-regard and job performance echo what has been found with schoolwork: the simple search for correlations yields some suggestive results, but these do not show whether a good self-image leads to occupational success, or vice versa. In any case, the link is not particularly strong.

The failure to contribute significantly at school or at the office would be easily offset if a heightened sense of self-worth helped someone to get along better with others. Having a good self-image might make someone more likable insofar as people prefer to associate with confident, positive individuals and generally avoid those who suffer from self-doubts and insecurities. People who regard themselves highly generally state that they are popular and rate their friendships as being of superior quality to those described by people with low self-esteem, who report more negative interactions and less social support. But as Julia Bishop and Heidi M. Inderbitzen-Nolan of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln showed in 1995, these assertions do not reflect reality. The investigators asked 542 ninth-grade students to nominate their most-liked and least-liked peers, and the resulting rankings displayed no correlation whatsoever with self-esteem scores.

A few other methodologically sound studies have found that the same is true for adults. In one of these investigations, conducted in the late 1980s, Duane P. Buhrmester, now at the University of Texas at Dallas, and three colleagues reported that college students with high levels of self-regard claimed to be substantially better at initiating relationships, better at disclosing things about themselves, better at asserting themselves in response to objectionable behaviors by others, better at providing emotional support and better even at managing interpersonal conflicts. Their roommates' ratings, however, told a different story. For four of the five interpersonal skills surveyed, the correlation with self-esteem dropped to near zero. The only one that remained statistically significant was with the subjects' ability to initiate new social contacts and friendships. This does seem to be one sphere in which confidence indeed matters: people who think that they are desirable and attractive should be adept at striking up conversations with strangers, whereas those with low self-esteem presumably shy away from initiating such contacts, fearing rejection.

One can imagine that such differences might influence a person's love life, too. In 2002 Sandra L. Murray of the University at Buffalo and four colleagues found that people low in self-esteem tend to distrust their partners' expressions of love and support, acting as though they are constantly expecting rejection. Thus far, however, investigators have not produced evidence that such relationships are especially prone to dissolve. In fact, high self-esteem may be the bigger threat: as Caryl E. Rusbult, Gregory D. Morrow and Dennis J. Johnson, all then at the University of Kentucky, showed back in 1987, those who think highly of themselves are more likely than others to respond to problems by severing relations and seeking other partners.

How about teenagers? How does self-esteem, or the lack thereof, influence their love life, in particular their sexual activity? Investigators have examined this subject extensively. All in all, the results do not support the idea that low self-esteem predisposes young people to more or earlier sexual activity. If anything, those with high self-esteem are less inhibited, more willing to disregard risks and more prone to engage in sex. At the same time, bad sexual experiences and unwanted pregnancies appear to lower self-esteem.

If not sex, then how about alcohol or illicit drugs? Abuse of these substances is one of the most worrisome behaviors among young people, and many psychologists once believed that boosting self-esteem would prevent such problems. The thought was that people with low self-esteem turn to drinking or drugs for solace. The data, however, do not consistently show that low adolescent self-esteem causes or even correlates with the abuse of alcohol or other drugs. In particular, in a large-scale study in 2000, Rob McGee and Sheila M. Williams of the University of Otago Medical School in New Zealand found no correlation between self-esteem measured between ages nine and 13 and drinking or drug use at age 15. Even when findings do show links between alcohol use and self-esteem, they are mixed and inconclusive. A few studies have shown that high self-esteem is associated with frequent alcohol consumption, but another suggests the opposite. We did find, however, some evidence that low self-esteem contributes to illicit drug use. In particular, Judy A. Andrews and Susan C. Duncan of the Oregon Research Institute found in 1997 that declining levels of academic motivation (the main focus of their study) caused self-esteem to drop, which in turn led to marijuana use, although the connection was rather weak.....

For decades, psychologists believed that low self-esteem was an important cause of aggression. One of us (Baumeister) challenged that notion in 1996, when he reviewed assorted studies and concluded that perpetrators of aggression generally hold favorable and perhaps even inflated views of themselves. Take the bullying that goes on among children, a common form of aggression. Dan Olweus of the University of Bergen was one of the first to dispute the notion that under their tough exteriors, bullies suffer from insecurities and self-doubts. Although Olweus did not measure self-esteem directly, he showed that bullies reported less anxiety and were more sure of themselves than other children. Apparently the same applies to violent adults, as Baumeister discussed in these pages a few years ago....

More here

27 December, 2004

British Teachers told to promote Gay Pride

Leftists will do anything to create disturbances to the normal life of society. And if it provokes a backlash, so much the better from their viewpoint

Schools are being urged to advertise gay lifestyles to children in a Government drive to 'challenge homophobia'. In an attempt to clamp down on supposedly homophobic language, the guidelines say teachers should be reported if they refer to boys as 'sissies', accuse them of standing around 'like a mothers' meeting' or call them a 'bunch of girls'. Staff are asked to put up flyers for Gay Pride marches and Mardi Gras festivals. They are told that promoting a 'positive stance' on homosexuals and lesbians can help tackle homophobic bullying. The guidance, which applies to all ages from nurseries upwards, drew a furious response from Church leaders and family campaigners who said it went too far. The booklets, which were sent to every local education authority this month, also urge schools to:

* invite in gay visitors and speakers to act as 'sexual minority role models' where there are no homosexual members of staff;
* keep written records of every homophobic phrase used, either by staff or pupils;
* form a 'homophobia working party' to increase awareness of homophobic bullying;
* teach pupils about homosexual public figures such as MPs and entertainers;
* avoid generic language that assumes parents and staff always have partners of the opposite sex.

Local education authorities are expected to make the guidance known to all schools in their area. Heads and teachers can also download the resources titled Stand Up For Us: Challenging Homophobia in Schools from Government websites. Schools are urged to 'normalise sexual minorities' by putting up information on gay and lesbian issues in corridors and waiting areas. Staff are told never to leave unchallenged any homophobic language, including the use of 'gay' as a generic insult. The booklet gives the example of a pupil who describes a classmate's trainers as 'so gay'. It makes clear that the guidance is targeted at pupils of all ages - even those at nurseries. "The issues and practical approaches outlined in this resource apply equally to early years settings, primary, secondary and special schools, off-site units and pupil referral units."

The guidance prompted renewed concerns over the influence of the gay lobby following the repeal last year of Section 28 - the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. Norman Wells, director of the pressure group Family and Youth Concern, said: "This is part of a radical social agenda which will only cause more confusion among vulnerable young people and expose them to increased risk to their physical and emotional health. "The overwhelming majority of parents opposed the repeal of section 28 precisely because they feared this kind of aggressive promotion of homosexuality."

The Reverend Rod Thomas, of the conservative Church of England Reform movement, said: "Church schools would have a huge amount of difficulty with this and I don't think any would feel at ease promoting a Gay Pride event. "This takes anti-discrimination measures too far into the realm of positive discrimination. A spokesman for the Tories said: "This campaign does appear heavy-handed."

The guidance was produced jointly by the Department for Education and Department of Health. A spokesman for the Education Department said: "It is up to teachers to use their professional judgment in deciding what resources and strategies to adopt."



"This new book by English academic Frank Ellis, Political Correctness and the theoretical struggle, from Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault, shows that political correctness has a history much longer than generally recognised. In this pioneering study, Frank Ellis shows convincingly that PC is a Russian COmmunist invention, going back to the times and plans of Lenin, and an intrinsic part of the unprecedented system of total censorship introduced by the Bolshevik leadership in the late autumn of 1917. It was used to ensure total ideological orthodoxy in the communist part. By the end of the 1920s, the notion of political correctness was dominant in almost every aspect of Soviet society, including education, law, psychiatry and entertainment. It was used to justify terror, torture, and man-made famine, first by Lenin and his successors in what became the USSR and later by Mao Tse Tung in China. Through one of the ironies of history, just when the "Soviet experiment" was beginning to run out of steam after the partial dethroning of Stalin, political correctness took on a new life in the West.

One of the underlying themes of political correctness is that if you change the language, you change the way people behave and thereby culture and society. Ellis demonstrates how, by promoting its ideas of what is and is not politically correct, the New Left throughout the English-speaking world is corrupting our cultural institutions, especially the news media and universities, while its devotees are using the state to re-order our thoughts and lives.

The ideas are being promoted through such instruments as human rights legislation, hate speech laws and government promotion of "diversity" and "tolerance". Ellis says that one of the extraordinary things that makes political correctness different from the older Marxism is that instead of talking about public ownership of the means of production, it is talking about public ownership of the means of expression. The political correctness brigade now control the commanding heights in every area of society, including the media and universities. To combat this, Ellis suggests that we need to recapture language, challenge the PC concepts and be prepared to speak out in defence of reality.

More here


"A teenager is suing her school district for barring her from the prom last spring because she was wearing a dress styled as a large Confederate battle flag. The lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court claims the Greenup County district and administrators violated Jacqueline Duty's First Amendment right to free speech and her right to celebrate her heritage at predominantly white Russell High School's prom May 1. She also is suing for defamation, false imprisonment and assault. 'Her only dance for her senior prom was on the sidewalk to a song playing on the radio,' said her lawyer, Earl-Ray Neal. Duty, 19, is seeking actual and punitive damages in excess of $50,000. She said she worked on the design for the dress for four years, though she acknowledged that some might find the Confederate flag offensive."

More here

New Jersey: Carolers protest religious music ban: "Susan Rosenbluth and fellow Orthodox Jews yesterday came to Maplewood, NJ, to join a crowd of more than 100 carolers in singing Christmas and Hanukkah songs in front of Columbia High School. ... The carolers showed up outside the school, which held its annual holiday music program last night, to protest a South Orange/Maplewood School District ban on religious songs at schools in this community across the Hudson River from New York. 'The greatest works of art in Western civilization are inspired by religious -- predominantly Christian -- convictions,' said Mrs. Rosenbluth, editor of Jewish Voice and Opinion, an Englewood-based monthly. 'We are religious Jews who believe Western civilization is the heritage of all of our children in the United States,' she said, explaining why she and other Orthodox Jews joined the protest."

26 December, 2004


A cathedral dean in Wales has ruled out the singing of "Merry Gentlemen" on Christmas Day, ordering the choir and congregation to use the words "God Rest Ye Merry People" instead. The alternative version, found in some hymn books, was chosen by the Very Reverend John Lewis, Dean of Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, for the parish choir and worshippers to sing.

But Don Jessett, deputy chairman of the cathedral Choral Society, said the change to God Rest Ye Merry People "takes all the bounce out of the line". He added: "If the cathedral choir had been singing it we would have chosen the other version. "So far as I am concerned as a singer I am not worried about this politically correct business. But God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen goes jogging along nicely."

The Dean said he had not chosen the newer version to avoid offending women in the congregation. He added: "To be quite honest, this was done back in November and I came across this version and I thought we haven't sung this carol for some time and it expresses all the feelings of Christmas.

More here


A parent of a Hampton Academy Junior High School student says the principal of the school told his son to leave the school’s holiday dance on Friday night because the boy was dressed in a Santa Claus costume, which was politically incorrect. Michael Lafond said his son, Bryan, went to the dance dressed as Santa because it was a holiday party. "He asked if he could dress like Santa and we said yes," said Lafond. "We went to Brooks and purchased the outfit and everything."

Lafond said his wife dropped off Bryan at the school. "I went to the dance with my friend," said Bryan Lafond, who is in seventh grade. "He had an elf hat on and we thought it was pretty cool. Everyone loved the suit, but when I went by the principal, he asked why I was dressed like that." Principal Fred Muscara said he told the boy he couldn’t get into the dance because he was wearing the costume. "It was a holiday party," said Muscara. "It was not a Christmas party. There is a separation of church and state. We have a lot of students that go to Hampton Academy Junior High that have different religions. We have to be sensitive to that."

Bryan said while Muscara didn’t say he had to leave, he told Bryan if he wanted to go the dance he would have to change out of the suit and put on proper attire for the dance. Having nothing to change into, Bryan left the dance to try and find his mother. "My wife was leaving the parking lot when she saw Bryan running out of the building," said Lafond. "He told her that the principal said it was politically incorrect to wear the Santa outfit."

"I saw him running out of the building crying," said Leslie Lafond, Bryan’s mother. Lafond said while he disagrees with their reasoning he could almost understand it. What he couldn’t understand was why his son was able to leave the dance. "One of reasons why we are so angry is that the school has a policy that says once you go to the dance you can’t leave until it’s over," said Lafond. "You can’t leave school grounds unless they call a parent. If my wife wasn’t there, my son would have been out roaming the streets." Bryan’s mother picked up her son and drove him home to change.

Lafond said his wife had to persuade Bryan to go back to the dance. "He was so embarrassed," said Lafond. "It wasn’t like he was trying to pull a prank. He is just a good-natured kid getting into the holiday spirit who just happened to walk right by Scrooge." .... Lafond said political correctness is getting out of control. "I don’t get it," said Lafond, citing a PTA breakfast with Santa at the school a couple of weeks ago. "What’s next? Are they going to get rid of Halloween because of paganism?" he asked. "The last time I checked, Christmas was the celebration of the birth of Christ and not Santa Claus," Leslie said. "I want them to make an apology to my son. My son was humiliated."

More here

25 December, 2004


To all those who come by here on this great day

And may all those who recognize Jesus as Lord always walk in his wisdom


Germany: "Santa-Free Zones" created: "A group of Germans are wanting to get rid of Santa saying he has become a symbol of the commercialisation of Christmas. Thousands of stickers have been printed declaring whole areas in Germany and Austria 'Santa Free Zones' and pamphlets have been handed out on street corners reminding people that the traditional bringer of presents is St Nicholas and not the red-suited, white-bearded immigrant from the English-speaking world."


Julie West is tired of being wished "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." She's annoyed with department stores that use "Season's Greetings" banners, and with public schools that teach about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa but won't touch the Nativity story. So last week, she sent a baked protest to a holiday party at her first-grade son's school: a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and red icing that spelled out "Happy Birthday Jesus." "Christmas keeps getting downgraded, to the point that you're almost made to feel weird if you even mention it," says West, a resident of Edmonds, Wash., who describes herself as a non-denominational Christian. "What's the matter with recognizing the reason behind the whole holiday?"

This Christmas season, West has plenty of company. Christians and traditionalists across the nation, fed up with what they view as the de-emphasizing of Christmas as a religious holiday, are filing lawsuits, promoting boycotts and launching campaigns aimed at restoring references to Christ in seasonal celebrations. From New Jersey to California, Christians are moving to counter years of lawsuits that have made governments wary about putting Nativity scenes on public property, and that occasionally have led schools to drop Christmas carols from holiday programs:

* In Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., a Christian sued in federal court after town officials refused to let her erect a Nativity scene next to a menorah, or Hanukkah candelabra, on a causeway. Last week, a judge ordered the town to comply.

* In Maplewood, N.J., parents and students recently petitioned the local school board after school officials dropped even instrumental versions of Christmas music from class programs.

* In Denver, a Protestant church responded to the city's decision to drop "Merry Christmas" from public signs by trying to enter a Christmas-themed float in the holiday parade. Supporters picketed the parade and sang Christmas carols after the float was rejected.

* In California, a group called the Committee to Save Merry Christmas is boycotting Federated Department Stores. The group claims that Federated's affiliates, including Macy's, prohibit clerks from saying "Merry Christmas" and ban the word "Christmas" from ads and store displays. The retail giant says it has no such policy.

Even Kwanzaa, the African-American harvest celebration, has taken a hit. In Los Angeles, the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, a conservative black activist, has urged black Christians to spurn Kwanzaa, which he calls a "pagan holiday."

The new battles over religion's role in holiday celebrations come more than two decades after the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups began going to court to try to require municipalities to remove Nativity scenes and other religious displays from public property. The ACLU argued that such religious symbols violated the First Amendment's ban on government-endorsed religion. In two rulings in the 1980s, the U.S. Supreme Court said that Nativity scenes are acceptable when they are combined with other symbols - such as a Santa Claus house - that indicate Christmas is a secular holiday in American culture as well as a religious one.

Nevertheless, the threat of lawsuits and a desire to be more sensitive to the nation's growing number of non-Christians - who made up about 18% of the U.S. population in a 2002 survey by Pew Charitable Trusts - has led many governments, schools and businesses to de-emphasize Christ in Christmastime celebrations. Phrases such as "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" have replaced "Merry Christmas" at many public venues.....

John Whitehead, director of the Rutherford Institute, a group in Charlottesville, Va., that defends against challenges to speech and religion rights, says the recent trend has been for schools and municipalities to excise "all mention of Christmas, out of some misshapen idea that this respects diversity." He is particularly critical of decisions such as that made by the school board in Maplewood, N.J., which decided to drop traditional carols and other Christmas music from public school programs during the mid-1990s after receiving several complaints. This year, the ban was extended even to instrumental versions of Christmas songs....

Whitehead says that overly cautious approaches to mentioning Christ in Christmas celebrations has meant that "in the name of offending no one, you now have high school kids who can't play music that's part of the culture, and store clerks who are afraid to say, 'Merry Christmas.' It takes a joyous and merry day and just makes it blah."

Sandra Snowden agrees. According to papers she filed in a federal lawsuit, the resident of Bay Harbor Islands, Fla., was "offended" that the town allowed a menorah, but not a Nativity scene, to be placed along a public causeway. When she protested, court papers say, town leaders countered that the menorah, which commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a Jewish military victory in 165 B.C., was a secular symbol of freedom. Before a federal judge ruled in her favor, Snowden rejected the town's offer to install a Christmas tree rather than a Nativity scene, which the town officials had called "divisive."

Those seeking to put more Christ into Christmas have had other successes. In Mustang, Okla. on Dec. 14, parents incensed that a Nativity sequence had been dropped from a school holiday program organized to help defeat an $11 million school bond referendum. And in Washington state, cake maker Julie West is claiming a small victory. Although her son's teacher expressed some misgivings, West served slices of her "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake to 20 first-graders and about five other parents. No one complained, she says. "I had gotten a legal opinion from the Rutherford Institute saying I was within my rights before I brought the cake to school," West says. "That's Christmas this year, I guess: candy cane frosting and a legal opinion."

More here


Why am I not surprised? Could it be because the Left inflicted such vast horrors on the 20th century?

The other night my father arrived at a Chinese restaurant on the Upper West Side and said, indignantly: "I want to start a movement called Jews for Christmas." I laughed, then realized he was serious. We'd been discussing the recent news stories about the ACLU's siege on Christmas symbolism. Christians are protesting all over the country, as well they might. In Oklahoma, mangers are being removed by janitors; in Denver, baby Jesus was banned from their wintertime "Parade of Lights" pageant. The religious whitewashers have done their work in the name of Church/State ideals, but was this not the very thing political correctness was designed to protect against?

I can't follow it anymore. "We came to this country," my father said, "and the Christians defended our right to worship as we please. George Washington wrote a letter to the Touro Synagogue in Rhode Island reassuring them that Jews were welcome here and would be safe. Now that the Christian religion is under attack, I think we non-Christians should rise up and say to our Christian brothers and sisters, 'Don't bother fighting. We owe you, big time, and we'll fight this one for you.' And then lead a campaign to make sure Christians have the same right to express their religious faith as they've always made sure we have."

When he was a boy in Greensboro, NC, my father sang the "Ave Maria," solo, in the Christmas pageant. He was singled out for the role not because of his singing voice, but because he knew Hebrew and they figured that was closer to Latin than English. Another year, he proudly played a shepherd in the school Christmas play. My grandmother fashioned a crepe-paper-covered corn stalk as a crook, but it lacked a hook; he wondered how he could corral sheep without a hook. She said it was good enough-that the other kids would deal with the sheep-and told him to hush. All these things planted in him an abiding love of Christmas, indelibly tied to memories of childhood.....

Christmas is, to me, the high point in the year of a lost range in what Johnny Cash called "our love language." Look at the words: joy, adore, king, child, exalt, behold, virgin, Satan, star, glory, come, know, truth, reign, grace. Angels, trumpets, drums, people falling to their knees, souls ascending. What's so bad about the sentiments of Christianity? These people know how to throw a good party. Isn't "Let every heart prepare him room" a more uplifting line than, for instance, "Oh well, whatever, nevermind"?

My father grew up as a Jew in the Bible Belt, the deep South, and one thing about Southerners is, they know about reverb and generosity in language; they know how to throw a word all the way out. I think it's just the pure relief from irony and grudge that we seek in Christmas kitsch. My son is now 10 and attends public school in New York, as I did. In fact, he attends school in the same building I did, and it still smells exactly the same. When he was about three, in pre-school, I began my search, and it was every bit as blatant as the Grinch sliding down the mountainside with all the symbols of Christmas stuffed into his bulging sack. There was nothing you could say; you couldn't even give voice to what was missing, because it was eradicated in the manner of something that was supposed to never have existed. Seven years ago, they were down to songs about potato latkes plus one, if I recall, about Frosty. At that point, the only winter holiday they actually celebrated was.Chinese New Year.

Recently we went to my son's "Winter Show," at a local school I won't name. Our expectations were low, Christmas-wise. We were prepared, for instance, to not see kids with shepherd's crooks standing around a pile of hay under a star falling from the ceiling attached to a string. But maybe, instead, it would be a benign, politically correct compromise: a Kwanzaa song, maybe a Karelian snow dance or an upbeat Chinese ribbon performance. We love all that stuff too, and we're not obsessed with white Anglo culture. (My father, a WW2 generation, classic Cold War conservative, is happiest when conversing in a foreign language with a grocery bagger from Bamako or a cab driver from.anywhere but America. Anything about the rest of the world is of interest, so don't peg us for elitist xenophobes.)

With my father to my left and my sister to my right, we sat in the front row, beaming expectantly. Soon it became known that the theme of the Winter Show steered clear of anything whatsoever to do with winter, or any holidays rituals from any part of the world. Though the peg was "the 60s," the true themes of the show were class warfare, American proto-guilt, Bush-bashing and most strikingly, death.

I do think the children need to deal with death, and I am not criticizing them at all. They were terrific. But it was a most unusual choice of themes for a mid-December school play. And it made me wonder about the line separating not Church and State, but Radical Left Faculty and Students Whose Minds Are Still Forming.

The death motif was there from the start, and wound through the production, including a mock horror film, and an impressive but dark monologue by a girl who was having pervasive death anxiety and imagined herself in a coffin being eaten by worms. It was very interesting. I can't swear I'm not being a total prig here, sitting around waiting for shepherds and sheep at the school play, at a time of great political upheaval. But-a mini-play featuring five kids, boys and girls, in combat gear in Vietnam, promising each other that they would get out alive? Four were shot and killed seconds later. Eventually the fifth was too. There were also at least four anti-Bush chants, including one in which even breakfast cereals attacked the president.

We sat pressed back in our chairs. My father was pale. As we walked out into the biting wind, I expected him to say, as he often does when flabbergasted, "Put me on the hog train." He was unusually quiet. I asked what he was thinking and he said, "When I got hungry as a boy, my mother used to snap at me and say, 'Pretend it's Yom Kippur.'"

"Yeah, so?"

He laughed. "So, I'm pretending it's not December."

From here

24 December, 2004


Florida: Baptists erect Nativity scene at government building: "Knowing the Polk County Commission has refused to sanction Nativity scenes on government property, a group of Baptist grandparents took Christmas into their own hands Wednesday. Under the cover of night, they erected a manger scene on the lawn of the Neil Combee County Administration Building. And now the question is whether commissioners will evict Baby Jesus before his birthday. Wednesday's covert mission accomplished what other church groups have failed to do in recent months: move Mary, Joseph and child onto a grassy plot near the center of the county's court, government and sheriff offices."


In 1647 Oliver Cromwell cancelled Christmas: no parties, no fun, no days off work. Cromwell's Puritanism was offended by bacchanalian revelry, led by the Lord of Misrule. Each year, town criers went through the land ordering that "Christmas and all other superstitious festivals" should not be celebrated.

The English were outraged. Secret festivities were held, pro-Christmas riots broke out and dozens of Christmas martyrs were jailed. A pamphlet called An Hue and Cry after Christmas was published, demanding that: "Any man or woman, that can give any knowledge, or tell any tidings of an old, old, very old grey bearded gentleman, called Christmas . . . let him bring him back again into England."

In the past century, the godless Communists banned Christmas. In Cuba, Fidel Castro allowed people to take Christmas Day off work only after an intervention by the Pope.

Now the Christophobes are on the rampage again. The heirs of the Puritans and Communists have declared war on Christmas. But this time it is by stealth and guilt-tripping. The first step is to eviscerate the festival of any meaning by taking the Christ out of Christmas. Even as a lifelong atheist who finds all God stuff embarrassing, I appreciate Christmas's religious message. But you are as likely to find a reference to Christ in civic Christmas decorations as you are to find a sixpence in a Christmas pudding. Almost no companies and few individuals send cards with any religious message. For the third consecutive year Christmas postage stamps will be Christless. A quarter of schools will not have Nativity plays, and almost as many have banned carols.

Once Christmas has been supplanted by a spiritually vacuous post-Christian orgy of consumption, the next phase of the war is to ban it altogether. Simply turn it, as Birmingham famously did, into a generic "Winterval" to make it equally meaningless to everyone. Tony Blair's Christmas cards have no reference to, well, Christmas. The Eden Centre in Cornwall has banned Christmas, replacing it with "a time of gifts".

The war on Christmas is being waged across Christendom. In Italy, a school replaced the Nativity play with Little Red Riding Hood, while another replaced the word "Jesus" in carols with "virtue". The Mayor of Sydney caused outrage by reducing the city's Christmas decorations to a single secular illuminated tree with the sign "Season's greetings". The US now has a national "holiday tree" and schools take " winter holidays". Christianity has gone back to its origins, and become the world's most widely persecuted religion, finally prompting the Vatican to hit back with a campaign against "Christianophobia".

So who are the modern-day Scrooges, Grinches, Cromwells and Castros, and what motivates them? In most cases, the Chistophobes use the excuse of multiculturalism, insisting that celebrating Christmas is offensive to non-Christian minorities, often citing Muslims. But the truth is that it is done in the name of Muslims, rather than at the request of Muslims, who accept the existence of Christ. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists don't mind Christmas celebrations any more than Christians object to Diwali, Eid or Chanukkah. As Trevor Phillips, the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, said: "It's not offensive to minority communities to celebrate the festival of Christmas."

No, the real Christophobes are the self-loathing, guilt-ridden politically-correct liberal elite, driven by anti-Christian bigotry and a ruthless determination to destroy their own heritage and replace it with "the other". It is the American Civil Liberties Union that is threatening lawsuits against any schools that allow the singing of carols and the BBC's editorial policy bans criticism of the Koran, but not the Bible.

In reality, the Christophobes are acting against the interests of ethnic minorities. By stripping Britain of its culture and traditions, they are causing a dangerous rising tide of anger. It prevents social cohesion and integration - who could want to integrate into a culture that is committing suicide?

So do your bit for community relations. Don't let Scrooge and the Grinch win. Like the English under Cromwell, protest if you spot any Christophobes waging war on Christmas, sing a Christmas carol, and wish your neighbours "Merry Christmas!"

More here


For US columnists, the end-of-year column bemoaning the fanatical efforts to expunge all Christmas traditions from public life has become an annual Christmas tradition in itself. This year, there's no shortage of contenders for silliest Santa suit. In one New Jersey school district, the annual trip to see Dickens's A Christmas Carol has been cancelled after threats of legal action. At another New Jersey school, the policy on not singing any songs mentioning God, Christ, angels, etc, has been expanded to prohibit instrumental performances of music that would mention God if any singers were around to sing the words. So you can't do Silent Night as a piano solo or Handel's Messiah even if you junk the hallelujahs. But let's not obsess on New Jersey's litigious secularists. In Plano, Texas, in the heart of God-fearin' Bush country, parents were instructed not to bring red and green plates and napkins for the school's "winter" parties, as red and green are colours with strong Christmas connotations and thus culturally oppressive. In Massachusetts, in the heart of Bush-fearin' country, the mayor of Somerville issued an apology for accidentally referring to the town "holiday party" as a C-------- party.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph long ago got the heave-ho from the schoolhouse, but the great secular trinity of Santa, Rudolph and Frosty aren't faring much better. Frosty The Snowman and Jingle Bells are offensive to those of a non-Frosty or non-jingly persuasion: they're code for traditional notions of Christmas. The basic rule of thumb is: anything you enjoy singing will probably get you sued. At my little girl's school, the holiday concert is a melange of multicultural dirges that are parcelled out entirely randomly: she seems to have got stuck with the H's - last year she wound up with a Hannukah song, this year she's landed some Hispanic thing; next year, no doubt, a traditional Hutu disembowelling chant. It would be offensive to inflict Deck the Halls or God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen on any hypothetical Hutu in attendance, but it's not offensive to inflict hot Hutu hits on bewildered moppets.

Philip Roth famously observed that, with Easter Parade and White Christmas, Irving Berlin had taken the two holidays that celebrate the divinity of Christ and "de-Christed" them both, turning Easter "into a fashion show and Christmas into a holiday about snow". But Berlin found an angle on Christmas that anyone can get into. The new school of "de-Christers" seems to deny the possibility of any common culture, so that the holiday concert winds up a celebration of hermetically sealed cultural ghettos.

And yet this year I'm disinclined to join in the general bemoaning. Flipping the dial on my car radio, I notice more stations than ever have been playing non-stop 24-hour "holiday music" for the month before C-day - not just Winter Wonderland and Jingle Bell Rock but Bing and Frank doing Go Tell it on the Mountain and Andy Williams singing O Holy Night. And not just the old guys, but all the current fellows, especially the country singers: Garth Brooks's new album - The Magic of Christmas - includes Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! but also Baby Jesus is Born and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

The seasonally litigious rest their fanatical devotion to the deChristification of Christmas on the separation of church and state. America's founders were opposed to the "establishment" of religion, whose meaning is clear enough to any Englishman: the new republic did not want President Washington serving simultaneously as Supreme Governor of the Church of America, or the Bishop of Virginia sitting in the US Senate. Two centuries on, these possibilities are so remote that the "separation" of church and state has dwindled down to threats of legal action over red-and-green party napkins.

But every time some sensitive flower pulls off a legal victory over the school board, who really wins? For the answer to that, look no further than last month's election results. Forty years of effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to eliminate God from the public square have led to a resurgent, evangelical and politicised Christianity in America. By "politicised", I don't mean that anyone who feels his kid should be allowed to sing Silent Night if he wants to is perforce a Republican, but only that year in, year out it becomes harder for such folks to support a secular Democratic Party closely allied with the anti-Christmas militants. American liberals need to rethink their priorities: what's more important? Winning a victory over the kindergarten teacher's holiday concert, or winning back Congress and the White House?


23 December, 2004


One of today's most obvious misleading number games is grade inflation. Teachers have accommodated student desires for higher grades to the point that the median GPA of graduating seniors has risen about a full grade point since 1965, when it was about 2.2. At some elite schools, almost everyone gets As and Bs today, and who is valedictorian has become how many 4.0 students will share that title.

High schools have gone even further, making it possible to get better than a 4.0. Many make advanced placement or community college courses worth an extra grade point. These and other policies (e.g., statewide comparisons crafted to show that, as in Lake Woebegon, all children are above normal) have, however, thrown away much of the useful information grades once contained.

Price inflation is another form of ego-building by manipulating comparison numbers. If I want to brag that I make more than my father ever did, the effects of inflation can overwhelm every other difference and make it so. On the other hand, older Americans use it to prove how much better things used to be ("I remember when bread was a nickel ...").

Competitive inflation also occurs in other dimensions. We regularly cheat on the new in "new and improved." Books and new car models come out well before the year starts (you can already buy used 2005 cars). Magazines arrive with dates two weeks into the future.

Statistics and percentages are subject to the same abuse. "Giving it 100 percent" was once going all out, but that has been replaced with giving it 150 percent, 200 percent and even 1 thousand percent. I'm 1 million percent sure there is something wrong with this inflated hyperbole. Similarly, statistics are routinely manipulated to make insignificant changes look significant. Instead of saying some drug increases the probability of some cancer from 0.00001 to 0.00002, reports scream that it doubles your risk.

We cheat on clothing sizes. Adults want to feel thinner, so what was a given size dress years ago is now a smaller size. Parents, however, want their children to be "ahead of the curve," so some companies cut infant sizes smaller, so everybody can have children that are ahead of their peers.

Everywhere you turn, people "cheat" to make today's results look better than yesterday's. This is particularly true in competitive sports, where we often judge quality by numbers (e.g., baseball statistics). We have changed rules to favor the offense in sports, so that more points get scored. We have tuned track surfaces with steel springs to make sprinters faster and have designed more flexible poles so pole- vaulters go higher.

It is time we were honest with ourselves about our innumeracy. While we understand that better mathematics skills are important and that we would like to handle numbers more deftly, most of us are unwilling to put in the time and effort to do so. And in many cases we simply do not want to "do it right," because that would force us to trade in some of the self-delusions we want to keep for the reality we are often desperate to deny.

More here


The arrogant food know-alls are always picking on McDonalds. Why? Not because of what McDonalds sells. It sells only a slight variation on a normal Western diet of meat, bread, greens and potatoes. If meat, bread, greens and potatoes are bad for us we are all in big trouble. But our lifespans are in fact among the world's highest. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has tons more dietary "sins" (animals fats etc) than you find in the average McDonalds meal. If health were really what was at issue, it would make more sense to campaign against roast dinners. So McDonalds is targeted only because it is popular. The motivations of the campaigners are the same as the Puritans of old -- who opposed bear-baiting not because it hurt the bear but because it gave pleasure to the spectatiors. There are plenty of people-haters and would-be dictators around still

The Pizza Hut is shuttered, its neon sign collecting dust on the floor. But knocking down the Golden Arches has proved far more difficult for Toby Cosgrove, the new head of the Cleveland Clinic. A heart surgeon who has cleaned out a career's worth of clogged arteries, Cosgrove didn't think Big Macs, supersize fries and inch-thick, six-cheese pizzas belonged in the lobby of a hospital renowned for its cardiac care. So he decreed the fast-food joints had to go. Pizza Hut went quietly. But McDonald's, halfway through a 20-year lease, has refused to shut down a franchise that serves 12,000 doctors, nurses, janitors, secretaries, patients and visitors each week. "Our menu is something we're all proud of," said Marty Ranft, a McDonald's vice president. "We've got a great relationship with the Cleveland Clinic. We are not interested in closing" the restaurant.

In the struggle against obesity, Americans are losing. And among the favorite targets for blame are fast-food chains such as McDonald's. Studies show that consuming large portions of high-fat, salty, sugar-laden foods has helped create a nation in which 64 percent of people are overweight or obese. They often land here at the Cleveland Clinic seeking treatment for diabetes, strokes, heart failure and crippling joint pain. "We have to set an example with the food we serve our patients and employees," said Cosgrove, a trim 63-year-old. "In a way, McDonald's was symbolic as much as anything else. It is not associated with heart-healthy food; neither is Pizza Hut."

But Cosgrove's crusade has been met with resistance from not just McDonald's executives, who say they are being singled out for a problem that goes beyond the occasional Happy Meal, but also from staff and visitors who resent what they consider to be a paternalistic attitude from bosses who can afford pricier, more healthful food. "What they have in the cafeteria is not a lot better, and it's certainly not affordable," said Donna Wilkison, a post-operative nurse waiting in line for her McDonald's salad with chicken. The cafeteria salad bar, priced at $4.64 a pound, "gets very expensive. They need to bring in something else that's more affordable."

On its sprawling urban campus, the clinic has a Subway sandwich shop, Au Bon Pain and Starbucks. Adjacent to the McDonald's is a cafeteria that features a large salad bar, a grill, a deli and hot entrees. The choices range include fresh fruit and homemade mashed potatoes. At Subway, salads begin at $3.99 and subs are about $5. McDonald's salads cost $4.10.

More here


Trumped-up excuses to avoid exposure of indoctrination sessions

Two parents who objected to a Massachusetts high school's homosexual-awareness day were expelled from the campus after a mother began videotaping a session. Brian Camenker, an activist who has a son at Newton North High School in Newtonville, Mass., and Kim Cariani, mother of two students, said four police officers and the school principal warned they would be charged with trespassing if they didn't leave the campus Wednesday. A distraught Cariani told the Boston Herald she believes the school's "To BGLAD: Transgender, Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Awareness Day" has no place in the curriculum. "It's against my religion," she said. "It's morally wrong and forced in a child's face." Camenker said the event, with assemblies and workshops such as "Out at the Old Ballgame'' and "Color Me Queer," was intended to make students feel good about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism. "This is so incredibly objectionable," he said, according to Concerned Women for America. "The parents are so outraged that this is being pushed on their kids that they don't know what to do. To use children's minds this way without even letting the parents know is horrible."

As WorldNetDaily reported, Camenker's Article 8 Alliance is a pro-family Massachusetts group seeking to unseat the four Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court justices for the Nov. 18, 2003, decision that led to legalization of same-sex "marriage."

The school did not send home a note to parents about the event, a Newton North spokeswoman acknowleged to CWA's Culture & Family Institute. But she said the event is listed on the school's website and in calendars at the beginning of the year, and some e-mails were sent out. While the event was not mandatory, she said, "Classes are scheduled to attend various workshops, but if students are uncomfortable or their parents are uncomfortable, the students can instead go to the library."

Camenker and Cariani, who kept her two children home that day, were in the audience when adults on a panel discussed being homosexual. The video recording began when one man told students he was attracted to his sister's husband. The principal demanded Cariani turn over the videotape or leave, Camenker told the Herald. District policy prohibits taping or photographing students without parental permission. "They took the two of us and pulled us out and gave us one minute to leave and if we came back on the property we would be arrested for trespassing," Camenker said. A local newspaper columnist, Tom Mountain of the Newton Tab, also was barred from the assembly "for the safety and security of the children."

Camenker told CWA he sent a copy of the event schedule to the school superintendent and all eight school board members prior to the event, advising them that parents would be at school that day monitoring activities. At a "gay day" two years ago, Camenker said, a 20-year-old male wearing a dress spoke to students, telling them he was taking female hormones but hadn't yet had his penis cut off ....

Camenker's Article 8 Alliance supports a Parents Rights Bill in the new Massachusetts Legislature that would change attendance rules to make sex-related programs and courses "opt-in" instead of "opt-out" and would include all school programs and activities.

Massachusetts taxpayers pay about $1.5 million annually for a Gay and Lesbian Youth Commission that aggressively promotes homosexuality in public schools and helps schools create "Gay/Straight Alliances," student clubs that press for acceptance of homosexuality. The school's website notice about "To BGLAD" includes the long-discredited "fact" that one in 10 students is homosexual, CWA says. Most researchers place the population at only about 1 percent.

More here

22 December, 2004


Longtime holiday pianist silenced by Midway rules: "By performing Christmas tunes on a piano, Phyllis Silhan can get an airport concourse to break into song or provide comfort to a grieving traveler. Not this year. After 22 years as the piano lady of Midway Airport, Silhan -- a woman once called Chicago's best ambassador by Mayor Daley -- is no longer playing at the airport. Faced with more restrictions by the city -- including a new rule that she could no longer place a tip jar on the piano to collect money for charity -- Silhan decided enough was enough."


There is something unique about diabetes: it is an incurable illness that can be controlled. It is a medical success story - perhaps one of the greatest of the twentieth century - that is now being treated as a modern plague, an out-of-control epidemic. For the very reason that diabetics no longer face certain death, it is one potentially fatal disease that public health campaigners, health journalists and anybody else can comment on with impunity. With a clear conscience, every health guru can take a good kick at the unhealthy, King Size Mars bars guzzling masses who are apparently asking for the wrath of diabetes to be visited upon them.

A thinly disguised paternalistic condemnation of underclass fat munchers breaks out when the 'diabetes crisis' is publicly discussed. Ulster Unionist assembly member Billy Armstrong was in tub-thumping form when he declared 'the diabetes epidemic must be addressed!' and, citing concern about economic strain on the NHS, Billy issued dire warnings about the cost that diabetic slobs could inflict on society: 'If the diabetes epidemic continues to rise, the losers will not simply be those who suffer the condition. All of us could be directly affected. Each of us [has] an obligation to encourage people to practise healthy living, both in dietary form and in physical exercise. If we do not, the prospects are too terrible to contemplate.'

Diabetes UK, a charity that has done much to support diabetics and their families, is not immune to the 'brought it on themselves' point of view. Diabetes UK national manager Delia Henry said: 'We also know that because of lifestyle changes, people being overweight and not having as much activity in their life as they should have, that can be a trigger for diabetes. The combinations are not good for the future and we know that the number of people with diabetes will double.' (2) A recent advert for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation reads 'Juvenile diabetes strikes our children at random. Let's strike back' (3). I'm all for striking back, but the first part of this well-meaning declaration is a serious misrepresentation of scientific fact.

Diabetes is not random, and juvenile diabetes is the least random of all. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is early onset, and there is a considerable body of scientific research that shows a strong genetic predisposition to developing this sort of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is late onset, and is thought to be associated with obesity in some cases.

At the heart of current representations of diabetes is a medical profession that has lost a sense of its duty to cure rather than chastise. When the medical profession turns to prevention instead of cure, the disease becomes fetishised around individual behaviour and experience rather than an understanding of the disease itself. The disease comes to define the person rather than being a physical obstacle to be overcome.

Even if there is a link between obesity and some forms of diabetes, shouldn't we focus on cure rather than lecturing people about their lifestyle? Prevention is not better than cure: it is more often than not a copout.

There are many dedicated medical researchers and doctors determined to find a once-and-for-all cure for diabetes. The turning away from cure is something that has happened within a society that no longer believes in progress and in our ability to defy the odds with which we are born.

More here


Among the most foolish ideas to emanate from the foolish '60s is that what you feel in your heart is more important than what you publicly express. According to this thinking, to cite one example, patriotism is a feeling, not a flag displayed on national holidays. On the contrary, such displays are derided as "flag waving," which has been rendered a pejorative term. We have lost an appreciation for the monumental significance of public ritual in maintaining our national identity and values. We have also greatly overstated the ability of feelings to be maintained without public expression of those feelings.

Additional examples make this point clear. Ask your wife if she would feel equally loved and appreciated if you never gave her a card or gift on her birthday, your wedding anniversary or Mother's Day. After all, if you really believe that feelings need not be manifested in any formal, ritualistic way, why bother with a card or gift on her birthday? Presumably you love her just as much on that day as any other, so why engage in card waving?

The reason is that for the vast majority of people, their birthday is a significant day, and its significance should be publicly manifested and even celebrated, not just internally felt. "Honey, there's no card, no dinner out, no party and no gift, because I don't believe in those things. I love you in my heart" -- that doesn't work. Nor does, "I love my country, so any public manifestation or celebration of that love is pointless." So many Americans are tone-deaf to patriotism as anything more than public dissent, or affirmation of the Constitution, or personal feeling. Yet, Americans have died for the flag, and members of Congress had tears in their eyes (as I had in mine) when Republican and Democrat alike sang "God Bless America" after 9-11.

That is why many of us want the Pledge of Allegiance with the words "under God" said in schools every day. The argument that anyone can do all the God-talk they want at home or at church is no more convincing than the argument that anyone can sing the national anthem at home, so why have people do it at baseball games? Public expressions of societal values are crucial to keeping those values alive. An America without its flag displayed on national holidays is an America that has lost its sense of self. I am not arguing that displaying the flag guarantees patriotism, only that (a) it is an indispensable aid to its survival, and that (b) never displaying the flag will eventually kill patriotism.

Which brings me to Christmas decorations. A Christian can feel deeply religious and personally celebrate Christmas with great fervor without hanging one light bulb in front of his home. But society suffers from such a self-directed faith. It will be a very sad day in America if Christmas decorations are entirely absent. I am a religious Jew who deeply bemoans the absence of Christmas decorations (or menorahs in windows) in large parts of my city, Los Angeles. My city and I are the poorer for it.

Life is greatly enhanced for Americans of all faiths by people who take the time and pay the expense to put up Christmas displays. Do some people put up displays so lavish that the purpose is partly to outdo their neighbor? Probably. But so what? The rest of us benefit from such competitions. So here's the bottom line: If you celebrate Christmas and you put up no public display, please reconsider. It is one way you can immediately have a positive impact on our society. But if you won't, at least consider this -- send a thank-you note or some other token of appreciation to your neighbor who does put up a display. They are doing a major public service.

From Dennis Prager

21 December, 2004


Headteachers in some inner city schools have had to introduce initiatives to stop tearaway pupils from bringing knives, knuckle-dusters and other weapons into the classroom. But a school on the edge of the Cotswolds has felt the need to go a little further, ordering students not to wear tinsel at a Christmas party for fear they could be throttled. It has become customary for some pupils of Chipping Sodbury school in Gloucestershire to wear tinsel around their necks at a "mufti" party which they are allowed to attend out of uniform. To the bemusement of parents and children, the school banned pupils from wearing tinsel this Christmas, citing "health and safety reasons".

The deputy headteacher, Mel Jeffries, said: "We want all our children to enjoy Christmas and have a good time, but at the same time making sure there are no accidents to spoil it. If tinsel is worn loosely around the neck it can be pulled tight and we don't want anything like that." One mystified parent, Julie Brown, said: "It's only tinsel - I haven't heard of anyone getting hurt by it." Her eldest daughter, Michelle, 17, has just left the school - having survived years of wearing tinsel on the last day of term. "She always went on the last day of term with some tinsel in her hair and it was never a problem," said Mrs Brown, 42, who has two other children still at the school. Another parent said: "How can the school ban tinsel but allow ties? Surely ties are more likely to cause injury to pupils?"

More here


From Jeff Jacoby

My one-year-old hasn't built up much of a vocabulary yet -- "wow" and "hey" and "oh" are about the only words he's mastered. But they were all he needed the other night as we drove through Boston's Mission Hill section, gazing at the lavish Christmas displays lighting up so many front yards. On one block we saw Santas and reindeer and a giant polar bear ("Wow!"); on the next there was a beautiful nativity scene and dazzling lights made to look like fireworks ("Hey!"). Rooftops were trimmed with icicle lights, trees pulsed with color, and streets normally bland and unremarkable were lovely in their holiday glow.

I enjoy Christmas decorations -- and Christmas music, and the upbeat Christmastime mood -- and I say that as a practicing Jew for whom Dec. 25 has no theological significance at all. I have never celebrated Christmas, but I like seeing my Christian neighbors celebrate it. I like living in a society that makes a big deal out of religious holidays. Far from feeling threatened when the sights and sounds of Christmas surround me each December, I find them reassuring. They reaffirm the importance of the Judeo-Christian culture that has made America so exceptional -- and such a safe and tolerant haven for a religious minority like mine.

Unfortunately, it isn't only nativity scenes and Santas that make an appearance every Christmas. The holiday season also heralds the annual return of Scrooge and the Grinch. Or, as they're known in Bellevue, Wash., these days, Sidney and Jennifer Stock.

The Stocks are atheists who want Bellevue's city council to remove the Christmas tree from the lobby of City Hall. Since "it is impossible for everybody's religious belief to be displayed and non-religious belief to be displayed," Sidney Stock told reporters last week, "no religious beliefs [should] be displayed."

Never mind that Christmas trees themselves have no religious significance. In Bellevue, as it happens, they don't even call it a Christmas tree. They call it a "giving tree," because its purpose is to stimulate gifts to the poor. In addition to tinsel and gold ribbon, the tree is hung with requests from needy families, and passersby are encouraged to help the less fortunate by making a donation. According to KOMO-TV in Seattle, the giving tree generates nearly $25,000 in contributions.

Most Americans, whatever their faith, would regard Bellevue's tree as a beautiful demonstration of true Christmas spirit. But to the Stocks, its presence on city property is a matter of "injustice and inequality." That is the voice of anti-religious fanaticism -- what Rabbi Daniel Lapin, the Orthodox Jewish founder of Toward Tradition, calls "secular fundamentalism."

Every year these fundamentalists renew their assault on Christmas and its Christian meaning. Sometimes they claim the Constitution bars any expression of religion in government venues (it doesn't). Or they speak of "sensitivity" to those of other faiths. Or they couch their censorship in the language of "tolerance" and "diversity." Or they simply oppose any reference to Christmas at all. One way or another they end up demanding that America's vast Christian majority keep its religious feelings to itself. It's an outrageous demand, and it leads to outrageous results:

(*) In Maplewood and South Orange, N.J., the school board has banned all Christmas carols, even instrumentals, from holiday concerts.

(*) In Denver, the city's annual Parade of Lights included German folk dancers, a gay and lesbian Indian group, and belly dancers -- but a Christian-themed float was banned because it would have included a message reading "Merry Christmas."

(*) In Southwest Florida, the rule against celebrating holidays is so rigid that one middle school principal told the Sarasota Herald Tribune: "You won't see any Christmas trees around here. We keep it generic."

(*) In New York City, official school board policy authorizes displays of "Christmas trees, menorahs, and the [Muslim] star and crescent" -- which it describes as "secular holiday symbol decorations" -- but prohibits depictions of the nativity.

(*) In Franklin, Mich., the annual Holly Day celebration has been renamed the Franklin Winter Festival. "Holly Day," the sponsors decided, sounded too Christmassy. "We wanted to try to make it more inclusive."

But there is nothing inclusive about silencing the 90 percent of Americans who celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christians, after all, have freedom of religion, too -- and that freedom shelters my faith no less than it does theirs. Christmas is a blessing for all Americans. May yours be filled with joy.


Compulsory religious studies would be dropped in favour of lessons on human society and the environment under a plan being considered by school authorities. But Jewish and Christian groups warned yesterday that ending mandatory teaching of religion to primary school students would increase intolerance and division. The NSW Board of Studies is considering changes to the syllabus for kindergarten through to Year 6 that reduce the number of mandatory subjects. Teachers would have more time to focus on helping students with literacy and numeracy as well as greater flexibility to develop their lessons, says a consultation paper released by the board. The paper suggests teaching students about the customs, practices, symbols, languages and traditions of their family and community as part of a mandatory subject called human society and its environment. But mention of religion has been dropped.

NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff said yesterday he was very concerned about the proposed changes, which would apply to all primary school students. Religious schools in NSW teach religion as a separate subject. In most other states, teaching a basic understanding of religions and cultural diversity is part of the curriculum. "We live in a multicultural society and it is critical that people, especially from a young age, are not only familiar with the differences in our society but are comfortable with these differences," said Mr Alhadeff, whose board has written a submission for the board of studies. "And the best way to achieve that is in a classroom where there is nothing exceptional about it being taught."

Other community leaders said they were concerned that as a result of the changes, religious schools would be able to teach their own religion but would have no obligation to mention the existence of others. "With so many conflicts in the world at the moment based on religion, this seems extraordinary," one said. Christian Schools Australia said it also had concerns about the plan, although a spokesman said its schools taught students about the existence of all religions, not just Christianity. "To not discuss openly and fully the background of the Australian community is both un-Australian and potentially divisive," said CSA chief executive Stephen O'Doherty. "I think it works against the interests of the public schools and works against the interests of tolerance and respect for each other."

More here

20 December, 2004


But you can say anything you like about Christianity

An evangelical Christian ministry has been found to have vilified Islam during a seminar and in a newsletter which mocked the religion. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) today blasted the Catch the Fire Ministries, its pastor Danny Nalliah, and speaker Daniel Scot over the March 2002 seminar in Melbourne and several articles in the church's newsletter. In a decision handed down today in a key test of Victoria's three-year-old racial and religious vilification laws, Judge Michael Higgins found in favour of the Islamic Council of Victoria, which took the action against Catch The Fire.

Judge Higgins found that Catch the Fire and Pastor Scot had breached section eight of the Religious and Racial Tolerance Act. Also found in breach was church leader Pastor Nalliah, who was an unsuccessful senate candidate for the Family First party in this year's federal election. Judge Higgins will decide on penalties, which could include orders for an apology or damages, early next year. Judge Higgins said the seminar run by the ministry, a newsletter on its website, and a website article written by an author identified as Richard all breached the Act.

In a summary of reasons for his decision, Judge Higgins said Pastor Scot had throughout the seminar made fun of Muslim beliefs and conduct. "It was done, not in the context of a serious discussion of Muslims' religious beliefs," Judge Higgins said. "It was presented in a way which is essentially hostile, demeaning and derogatory of all Muslim people, their God, Allah, the prophet Mohammed and in general Muslim religious beliefs and practices." Judge Higgins said that, during the seminar, Pastor Scot had claimed that the Koran promoted violence, killing and looting and that Muslims were liars and demons. Pastor Scot also had said Muslims had a plan to overrun western democracy by violence and terror and wanted to turn Australia into an Islamic nation, and he exaggerated Muslim population numbers in Australia. "I find that Pastor Scot's conduct was not engaged in reasonably and in good faith for any genuine religious purpose or any purpose that is in the public interest," he said. Judge Higgins said an article in the church's newsletter, written by Pastor Nalliah, incited fear and hatred of Muslims, as did a third article by a person identified as Richard, which claimed it was not possible to separate Islam from terrorism.

More here


In February we noted that a kerfuffle had erupted at the University of Oregon over a production of "The Vagina Monologues," with protesters objecting to the lack of "diversity" in the show. We're pleased to report that hilarity has ensued as a result of the efforts to head off problems in this year's performance. The result, as recounted in the Daily Emerald, a student newspaper, is a perfect story of political correctness:

* The producers will not hold auditions. Last year, says "Women's Center spokeswoman" Stefanie Loh, "the fact that they had auditions means that some people are automatically excluded." Instead, the "Women's and Gender Studies Program" will nominate potential cast members.

* Producer Nicole Pete says that last year, "the queer community, the women of color community and the plus-size community did not feel represented," and she plans to remedy this by selecting performers who are " 'not necessarily drama-oriented' in favor of 'people who work (toward) 'The Vagina Monologues' mission of ending violence against women."

* "All parts in the script calling for women of color will be played by women of color," reports the Emerald. Says Pete: "That was one of the big concerns last year was that a white woman portrayed a woman of color." Presumably it will be all right for a woman of color to portray a woman of pallor.

* There's one big problem, however: "It will be more difficult to ensure that women who identify with the queer community participate in the production. 'That's where it gets kind of tricky,' Pete said. 'I don't think we can legally ask anyone what their sexual orientation is.' Instead, the producers will inform a potential actor that a particular part is a 'queer role' and ask, 'Do you feel that this represents you?' "

This whole story is wonderfully rich, but our favorite part is the bit about "the plus-size community," a euphemism for fat women. Will anorexics now demand to be called "the minus-size community"?

Post lifted from Taranto. The original of the story is here.


In August 1998, Storey placed a Confederate flag sticker on his lunch box and put two Confederate flag bumper stickers on his pickup truck. One bumper sticker included the slogan, "The South Was Right," and the other proclaimed, "Heritage not Hate."

In 2001, supervisors at Burns told Storey that the company was about to implement a "diversified hiring program," and that Storey would have to remove his Confederate flag stickers. When Storey refused, they explained that Sony and Burns had a "zero tolerance" policy with respect to the display of Confederate symbols, according to court papers.

Top managers tried to persuade Storey to remove or cover his stickers because other employees might be offended by them, but Storey refused, saying that, as a Christian, he was offended by things that occurred at work -- such as the use of profanity -- but that he accepted it as something he had to deal with, according to court papers.

The next day, Storey was told that the company had concluded that he had voluntarily resigned

More here

19 December, 2004


For the first time ever in the Netherlands a schoolteacher has been shot by a student. But everyone is saying that nothing can be done about it. I wonder why? I think the answer is to be found somewhere in the paragraph below:

"Despite the fact that many groups have said the shooting could not have been prevented, difficult questions will still be asked about the matter, particularly in light of the fact that the suspected killer was a known trouble maker. Facing the prospect of being suspended from school due to misconduct, suspect Murat D. allegedly walked into the canteen and placed a pistol against deputy headmaster Van Wieren's temple and pulled the trigger. Murat was reportedly facing suspension from class after throwing seats. He also allegedly threatened Van Wieren, who was involved in the incident, that he would come to regret the decision, newspaper De Telegraaf reported. Students also said that fourth-year student Murat is of Turkish ancestry. The shooting is thus likely to spark renewed concerns about ethnic crime".

More here


In my nearest city, Treviso, one school has replaced its Nativity play with Little Red Riding Hood, with the teachers stating that they did not wish to offend their Muslim pupils. In the province of Vicenza, an annual contest for the best Nativity scene in schools has been scrapped.

A modern-day Inquisition has begun, with teachers who have changed the Christmas message being blacklisted. Antonio Fogazzaro, a teacher from Como-Rebbio near Milan, has been vilified for deciding to replace 'Jesus' with the word 'virtue' in the carols for his elementary school's Christmas play. 'As the city administration, we condemn this teacher's behaviour, and we will decide on what measure to take', threatened the mayor of Como, Stefano Bruni. The president of the Treviso province Luca Zaia has proposed that a record should be taken of teachers who meddle with Christmas Nativity plays. He has also asked the education minister to make classical Nativity plays obligatory.

The controversy has provoked further debates about the integration of non-Europeans, especially Muslims. Italy has a population of 57million, with one million officially registered Muslims, but the actual number of Muslims is much higher and growing. Muslims are much less integrated into Italian society than in countries such as Britain, France and Holland where many generations of immigrants have settled. Most immigrants in Italy are still first generation, with the second generation only just emerging.

But the debate isn't about the presence of Muslims or other non-Europeans per se. Controversy has raged in schools where there are no Muslim pupils (such as my son's school). The key discussion is whether to try and defend absolute values in our relativist times or to opt for embracing a diversity of values. The following comments from the Mayor of Como about the replacement of the word 'Jesus' in a Nativity play express this dilemma:

'This decision is false social integration. Each one must reciprocally respect the cultures and religions of others, but cannot impose those children to not express their religious faith to respect others.. We cannot pretend to integrate different cultures with these methods. Each must defend his culture without arrogance but without fears of one's cultural identity, trying to transmit respect for other identities. Only with a confrontation of ideas, cultures, traditions, and religions can one create real social integration.' While these comments suggest a defence of religion and culture, it is noticeable that there is no assertion that Christianity is the one true religion. Instead, it is seen as merely one of many - the emphasis is on respecting others while defending one's own culture, religion and identity.

The Vatican is also stressing the value of mutual respect. On 8 December, Cardinal Camillo Ruini of Rome called for the defence of and respect for the traditional Nativity on national television. Bishop Agostino Marchetto, head of the Vatican's department for migrants, emphasised the acceptance of others. 'It is a perfect example of how not to respect the presence of different people, in this case our Muslim brothers, by annihilating our own identity', said Bishop Marchetto. 'We have to accept others but others have to accept our identity', he added....

But Catholicism is not the only religion to have given ground to relativism over the debate about Christmas. Hamed Shaari, head of a major Islamic cultural institute in Milan, stated that it is 'senseless' to change the words of a Christmas song that has 2000 years of tradition behind it. 'It's great that people are aware of our feelings but traditions should be respected. This way, we can respect ours as well', he added.

More here

The Pope weighs in on anti-Christian bigotry

The Pope urged Christians to embrace the true meaning of Christmas yesterday, amid a row in Italy over traditional celebrations.... At the weekend the Pope weighed in over whether Italian state schools were right to cancel Nativity plays and cribs because of the alleged sensitivities of immigrant Muslim children. The Pope said on Sunday that Christmas traditions remain "an important element of our culture and faith". The Nativity scene was "a familiar and expressive representation of Christmas".

One school at Como has replaced the word "Jesus" with "virtue", in a carol, and another at Treviso is to stage Little Red Riding Hood this year instead of a Nativity play, arguing that the fairytale also represents "the struggle of good against evil". Schools from Cagliari to Modena have decided not to display cribs.

"Exaggerated attacks on Christmas traditions reflect a much wider attitude," said Cardinal Camillo Ruini, a papal aide. Vatican officials are campaigning to have "Christianophobia" recognised by the United Nations as an evil equal to hatred of Jews and of Muslims. Vatican officials argue that Christianity is under threat not only from militant Islam and New Age sects but also from the secularism of increasingly vocal and influential "anti- religious forces".

The Vatican was dismayed over the failure of the European Union to refer to Europe's Christian heritage in its new constitution, as well as the rejection by the European Parliament of Rocco Buttiglione as Italy's EU commissioner because of his traditionalist Catholic views on homosexuality and the family. The Vatican hopes the United Nations will this month condemn "Christianophobia" in the same way as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, the Vatican Foreign Minister, coined the term - or at least gave it currency - by telling a recent conference in Rome on religious freedom that "the war against terrorism, although necessary, had as one of its side- effects the spread of Christianophobia in vast areas of the globe".

However, even Italian Muslim leaders have criticised an "excess of zeal" by school authorities, and Bishop Agostino Marchetto, head of the Vatican department for migrants, said he suspected "Muslim sensitivities" were being used as a pretext by secular leftwingers to attack Catholic culture. "The real enemy is secularisation," he said.....

More here

18 December, 2004


"All I'm asking for is inclusiveness," Sandra Snowdon, discrimination plaintiff in a case involving a manger scene in her own yard, told the St. Petersburg Times one year ago. "I do not know why a baby Jesus in a manger would be so offensive to this town." (Nativity Banned, But Muslim, Jewish Symbols Allowed, WorldnetDaily.com, accessed 12-10-04). "...A high school principal in the Seattle area canceled a dramatic performance of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol," partly because he feared it would raise questions about the place of religion in public schools" (School Censors Christmas From Student Performance but Superintendent Leaves References to Hanukah, Kwanzaa, WorldNetDaily.com, accessed 12-10-04). The article continues, "Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat describes himself as a 'secularist and agnostic,' but, pointing to a wider trend, he wrote... 'even a lifelong doubter like me can see that something crucial is being lost, especially in the schools. If kids can't see a Charles Dickens play, hasn't the cause of separating church and state gone too far?' he asked.... Seattle area commentator Ken Schram commented, 'As the principal of Lake Washington High School, Robertson has joined the ranks of a sanitized society; the oh-so-nice, homogenized world of the politically correct,' said Schram, known for his blunt commentaries. 'PC paranoia,' he said, 'has led to the banning of a Dickens classic, by a seemingly nice guy who probably thinks he's doing the right thing. 'God help us, everyone''" (Dickens Classic Too Religious for School, WorldNetDaily.com, accessed 12-10-04).

In another case just this week, an Oklahoma school superintendent cancelled the singing of Silent Night and a nativity scene from a school play. He said, "I just could not break the law," Springer said. "We may have sins of omission occasionally, but we won't have sins of commission. If I know about something that I believe to be against the law, (then) we will take action on it." This telling ignorance of the law and fear of church-state separation issues plays out nationwide more and more each year, thanks in no small part to the secularizing force of the American Civil Liberties Union. More conservative legal rights organizations like the Alliance Defense Fund (www.alliancedefensefund.org) and Free Market Foundation (freemarket.org) routinely mail letters on behalf of hapless Christians to school boards and officials informing them of case law and the Constitutional right to freedom of speech in such cases. Kelly Shackelford, president of the Free Market Foundation says, "Censoring Christmas is not what the Constitution says, not what the law says and not even what the Supreme Court has said.

More here


They have not even got the excuse that Christian symbols are being displayed -- showing that they want people to be politically correct, not happy

Move over, ACLU: The latest tyrannical dictator to declare war on Christmas is Fidel Castro. Cuba is threatening James Cason, the United States' senior diplomat in Havana, with "serious consequences" unless he takes down Christmas decorations at the American Interests Section. The display "includes a reference to 75 dissidents jailed last year," BBC reported today, adding in a whining aside that "the display does seem designed to irritate the Cuban government." Cason insists he won't obey Castro. "We're prepared to pay whatever price for the things we believe in," he said. "They could expel us. They could continue to hinder our activities. ... We don't know what they're going to do." The exhibit "includes a huge white Santa Claus, an image of galloping reindeer and a flashing sign wishing Cubans a Happy Christmas," according to BBC. Candy canes and white lights are also featured, the Associated Press reported. Apparently, then, there aren't any Nativity scenes or other symbols commemorating what Christmas actually is, or used to be: a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ



Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on attempts to censor Christmas in the workplace:

"The University of Alabama's Office of Cultural Diversity recommends that all nativity scenes should be banned because they are `religion-centered.' The menorah, which is a Jewish religious symbol, is `fine' because it is really a `secular' symbol. Employees are also instructed to `avoid confronting others from different religions about their beliefs.' Failure to do so may result in `unintentional oppression or hostilities.' They actually said this.

"An attorney at Strauss & Troy in Cincinnati warns that `if the workplace is permeated with religious symbols-presumably of another religion-to the extent that the employee feels intimidated, ridiculed or insulted, he or she could make the claim that the company has allowed or created a hostile environment.' The bottom line: the bigot is not the problem.

"Penelope Trunk, a columnist for a Virginia weekly, titled a recent piece, `Skipping Christmas: Erase Holiday from the Office.' She says that `acting as if everyone has the `holiday spirit' squelches the spirit of workplace diversity.' She also objects that as a Jew she is forced to `take a holiday' on Christmas. Why the anger? `No stores are open. There's nothing on TV. Most restaurants are closed. It's a boring day, a good day to be at work.' Talk about oppression! Perhaps her boss could give her the keys to the office that day.

"What bothers these cultural fascists is traditional morality. For example, consider what the nation's top labor law firm, San Francisco's Littler Mendelson, said on December 10: `Renewed interest in moral values-as evidenced by the recent presidential election-and increased religious activity in the workplace can lead to clashes during the holiday season.'

"This may explain why New York's Bar Building is featuring a menorah in the lobby but no Christmas decorations. But there is a big bundle of twigs shaped like a diamond with a red sash made out of what looks like pantyhose. No wonder those who work there call it a `Blair Witch Christmas.' All this is courtesy of the high priests of tolerance."


17 December, 2004


San Francisco State University has been in the spotlight lately, and the picture that has emerged is not a flattering one. Following last month's nationwide elections, members of the SFSU chapter of the College Republicans were confronted by an angry mob simply for setting up a table and handing out political literature. Members of the International Socialist Organization, the General Union of Palestinian Students and others surrounded the Republican students, shouting at them to "get out" of SFSU.

After trying to provoke the Republican students, four Middle Eastern women claimed that they had been the victims of racism and physical aggression. Although the exact details are still being disputed by the various parties, police reports and eyewitness accounts appear to back up the College Republicans. It seems that free political expression is no longer welcome at SFSU, at least not if one is espousing unpopular views.

A question arises: How did such a threatening environment become associated with a campus located in one of the most liberal and tolerant cities in the nation? The truth is that SFSU has a reputation for intolerance that goes back at least 10 years. In this case, Republican students, clearly a minority at SFSU, were the targets. But in the past, such animosity was directed mostly at Jewish students or those seen as supporting Israel. Jews at SFSU have been spat on, called names and physically attacked, as well as censured by the administration for defending themselves, even as their attackers went unpunished.

The case of Tatiana Menaker, a Russian Jewish emigr, and former SFSU student, is an example of the latter indignity. After committing the "crime" of responding verbally to another student's anti-Semitic epithets during a 2002 rally, she found herself persecuted by the administration.

Pulled into a kangaroo court, threatened with expulsion and ordered by the university to perform 40 hours of community service (but specifically not for a Jewish organization), Menaker was later exonerated after seeking legal assistance from the Students for Academic Freedom and the local Jewish Community Relations Council....



The University of Louisville has withdrawn, at least temporarily, the contract of a sociology lecturer who was accused of urging violence against conservative voters. The university said in a statement yesterday that instructor John McTighe's contract has been withdrawn for the spring semester by mutual agreement, pending a review of a student's allegation about comments made after the Nov. 2 election. The student, according to the statement, claims McTighe made comments to his class that "could be interpreted to advocate gun violence against `religious zealots.'"

Last Thursday, the university received 1,600 e-mail messages after the American Family Association said on its Web site that McTighe had urged violence against conservative voters.

In an interview last week, McTighe acknowledged that he made comments Nov. 4 similar to those cited in a conservative student newspaper and on the association's Web site that conservative voters should be shot with automatic rifles. But he said that the comments were later taken out of context and that he was not calling for violence. McTighe couldn't be reached for comment yesterday. He said in the statement that there was "absolutely no attempt to advocate violence" and agreed to withdraw his contract because he has "confidence in the university process." McTighe is on a semester-by-semester contract. He said last week that he had signed a contract for the spring semester.

Student Brian Yates, publisher of the Louisville Patriot, a conservative student newspaper, quoted McTighe as telling his sociology class in explaining President Bush's re-election: "It was the religious zealots who say they are voting on morals. I think we should all buy AK-47s and shoot them all! That's what I would suggest, if it were allowed." McTighe has said the column misquoted him.

"We strongly support academic freedom," UofL President James Ramsey said in the statement. "The quote attributed to Professor McTighe is unacceptable and not an issue of academic freedom." Provost Shirley Willihnganz said in the statement that the review would be completed as soon as university officials could meet with students, who have left the campus for the holiday break. "Our goal is to determine the facts in this matter and to act responsibly to both students and faculty," she said.

Source (Via Commonsense & Wonder)


American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.


16 December, 2004

French Thought Police Ban 'Christian' Chocolate

France's latest attack on freedom of religion: The thought police have outlawed Christmas chocolates in the government school monopolies. "It's an unhealthy political affair. Absolutely regrettable," said Andre Delattre, mayor of Coudekerque-Branche, which has shipped traditional chocolates shaped like crosses and St. Nicholas to schools for 11 years. "What's the point? It's the children who are being penalized for this difference of opinion," he said. "They've been deprived of a festive moment."

Bruno Frappat, editor of the Catholic daily La Croix, wrote: "In 1968, the slogan was, 'It's forbidden to forbid.' In 2004,it 's, 'Forbidding is a must.' And one of the phobias most in vogue is Catho-phobia." This most recent assault on Christmas is part of "Jackass" Chirac's war on religious symbols, including Christian crucifixes, Muslim head scarves, Sikh turbans and Jewish skullcaps.



The emancipation of women in the Netherlands has come to a standstill and is failing to meet the government's targets, the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) said on Monday. The government set specific targets that relate to employment rates and economic independence three years ago. But the SCP said in its Emancipation Monitor 2004 report that the goals appear to be entirely unattainable by the target year 2010. In particular, the Social Affairs Ministry aimed to have 65 percent of women employed by 2010, but there were just 55 percent of women working outside the home in 2003. The employment of women is growing by just 1 percent each year.

The SCP attributed much of the failings to the current economic slowdown. But it also asserted that the struggling economy could not fully explain the nation's emancipation problems, newspaper NRC reported. This absence of economic factors was highlighted by the fact women are well represented in industry sectors that are less vulnerable to the economic climate, such as the education and healthcare sectors. Instead, the bureau claimed the failing is due to weak government policy. It asserted further that the cabinet had set clear targets, but was inadequately informing relevant groups and employers on how to attain them.

The Christian Democrat CDA, Liberal VVD and Democrat D66 coalition cabinet is the first in decades which does not have a separate minister responsible for emancipation. Minister Aart Jan de Geus combines the emancipation role with his duties as the Social Affairs minister. De Geus has in the past said he can combine the two responsibilities because the process of emancipation of Dutch native women is almost complete, and should be finished by 2007. But the SCP dismissed the minister's comment and De Geus has also withdrawn his statement. "It is expected that women will leave the labour market earlier or work less and men will work more," the SCP and co-authoring authority the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) said.

The main target of the Dutch government for almost 20 years has been to create a society which gives both and men and women the chance of economic independence. Men and women must be equal in rights, opportunities, liberties and social responsibilities. Economic independence is considered the foundation of equality. A person is deemed economically independent if they work and earn at least 70 percent of the Dutch minimum income, NRC reported.

In 2003, some 41 percent of women aged between 15 and 65 were economically independent, while the target figure was 44 percent. The target for 2010 is 60 percent, but the SCP is doubtful of the chances of meeting that target. It is has also proven difficult to reach the objectives set for the desired percentage of women occupying higher functions in business. The representation of Dutch women politicians in the European Parliament is the only area currently on schedule. The SCP blamed the traditional opinions of employers for much of the problems. It said employers are much more conservative than the population as a whole in relation to the combination of work and family care and part-time managers.

It was initially hoped that the life savings scheme levensloop would assist the combination of work and family care, but the SCP expects it will only be used to take early retirement. The SCP report also said the cabinet's plans to extend the working week will have a negative impact on emancipation because it will make the combination of work and family care more difficult.


15 December, 2004


An email from someone who did not see the joke

I’m Aaron Michels, the Vice President of the UWSP College Republicans. Thank you to all who are helping to publicize this issue at our campus. I originally brought up this issue and wanted to pursue it much more aggressively from the outset, but unfortunately most of the CRs did not share my enthusiasm. I’m very happy this is finally getting the attention I feel it deserves. I’ve attached a letter to the editor I wrote which appeared in the next week’s school paper, and was the first criticism of the Rothfuss column. The original letter asked for an apology from Rothfuss, on behalf of the CRs. When Rothfuss saw the letter he came to our meeting the night before it was to appear in the school paper to try to convince the group not to run the letter and not to make an issue out of his column. I’m convinced he was afraid of the consequences of what would happen if we pressed the issue, but he put up a good front and convinced most of the CRs that this was a fight we didn’t want. Among other things he told us if he was forced to apologize it would look like “the Gestapo” coming down on him and on our leftist campus he could use his column to make fun of us “until your ears bleed.” What a delightful use of his authority status. At this time, the majority of the CRs decided we didn’t want to raise controversy and shouldn’t run the letter. After getting Rothfuss to leave the room I managed to persuade most of the CRs to run the letter – minus the apology request. I was extremely unhappy I had to retract the apology request, but as an officer I was obligated to honor the wishes of the majority of the group. Anyhow, that’s some background on why I retracted the apology request. Again, I’m very grateful you’re helping to publicize this issue. Thank you.


In some parts

California jumped into the yearly fray over why Christmas symbols and carols get banned from schools and other public places when that well- known religious radical, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, pointedly called the state's official "holiday" tree its "Christmas" tree. Schwarzenegger is a (shudder) Catholic. His spokesman tells me, "Well, it is a Christmas tree. ...But somebody did ask us whether the governor misspoke. " Former Gov. Gray Davis had bowed to special-interest groups, dubbing the huge conifer a "holiday tree."

Arnold's audaciousness was preceded by the shocking actions of that well- known right-wing nut, California first lady Maria Shriver. Shriver went to Washington Elementary School in Sacramento to share a set of books. According to a reporter, Shriver held up one book and said to the children, "This is a book called 'What's Heaven,' then pointed to a photo of herself on the back cover and noted, 'That's me. I look younger.' " Shriver mentioned heaven at a school? Good grief! Later on, "a discussion followed about whether or not Santa Claus is real. 'That's a good conversation for you to have with your parents or your grandparents,' Shriver said." A discussion of Santa ensued in a public school? Obviously, the Schwarzenegger-Shriver clan is blissfully unaware of the raging effort each December to rid schools and public spots of people exactly like them.

In recent years, various California schools have banned the hideous "Silent Night" (in Sacramento's San Juan School District), banned "Jingle Bells" because of offensive religiousness (in Fresno, where outraged parents quickly overturned the ban) and removed red-and-green lights that were seen as a "provocation" (in a Newport Beach school). One pundit questioned whether upscale Newport Beach should also take down traffic signals.

Most parents don't realize Christmas is being banned at their school because the media don't really give a rip. Yet blacklisting of angels and stars of Bethlehem and Christmas trees is not required by any law, anywhere. I am a secular humanist with no religion. But I wince each year as my intolerant secular humanist brethren increasingly shame teachers into stamping out Christmas. The courts say the U.S. Constitution's establishment clause can't be used to promote hostility to a religion, such as Christianity, in schools. Religious expression is allowed if there's a legitimate secular purpose -- such as, oh I don't know, perhaps explaining to children the most widespread cultural holiday in America, observed even by many nonbelievers?

Lance Izumi, with the conservative Pacific Research Institute, says bureaucrats and teacher colleges work hard to convince teachers there's a mystery Christmas ban. "Everybody is walking on eggshells when discussions of Santa or heaven come up. And how dare Arnold call it the Christmas tree? ... Yet we have this huge multicultural effort to teach multicultural methods and multicultural instructions to our teachers, where you are supposed to value everyone's culture. Christians are a major part of society, and they have a culture. But it conflicts with the PC ethic." This PC intolerance is why we blue states are viewed by the heartland crowd as hostile, godless places.

A few weeks back, schools in Maplewood, N.J., banned all carols. This inspired outraged WABC radio co-hosts Curtis Sliwa, the conservative Guardian Angels founder, and outspoken left-wing lawyer Ron Kuby -- two guys who rarely agree on anything -- to poll listeners. Of 3,750 respondents, 93 percent said the ban on carols was "another example of the PC crowd going nuts. "

The Anti-Defamation League has gotten into the guilt-tripping, urging on its Web site that "to avoid First Amendment violations," public schools not hold Christmas concerts dominated by Christmas songs. What nonsense. There is no such First Amendment ruling. The ADL also urges schools not to display "a nativity scene, crucifix or other undeniably religious symbols." Again, no such court ruling.

The Catholic League responded on its Web site, "The use of religious Christmas symbols within the context of a discussion of the season, or acknowledging the religious Christmas celebration along with the secular aspects of the season and the traditions of other faiths within December is not only permissible but appropriate. Christmas is being stamped out among adults as well. Residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco now invariably say "Happy Holidays" instead of the increasingly repressed "Merry Christmas."

Feeling a need to act in a world gone insane, I'm boldly saying "Merry Christmas!" this year. As I learned from my irreligious father, having religion is not a requirement for cherishing the warmth and decency of the most widespread cultural tradition in America. California, or much of it, already lacks a key ingredient for a classic Christmas: snow. How awful if our busy thought police stamp out the songs, the merry greeting, the red-and-green and the enduring question among children, so deftly handled by Maria Shriver the other day, of whether Santa Claus is real.


14 December, 2004


The piece of advice below appeared under the heading "College Survival Guide" in The Pointer, the student newspaper of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on November 4, 2004, p.4. There is a shot of the page concerned up here at the moment.

"Vengeance. Killing yourself is sissy and it doesn't do anything to fix the problem. Instead, why don't you go on a killing spree? I pet you can take out fifteen for sixteen republicans before they gun you down. Duke, youd be like a heroe"

If you were a freshman student, how would you take that? I think you would see it as at the very least expressing hatred of Republicans. And given the many attacks on Republican campaigners in the recent Presidential election, you might even be tempted towards some violence towards Republicans.

But it was all a joke, we are told. What an hilarious joke! Substitute in the above sentence "black" for "Republican" and you will see how funny it is! Quite clearly it is in fact hate-speech and should be treated like any other instance of hate-speech. It is not being so treated, though. Even the campus Republicans have been fairly meek and mild about it. See here. But given the prejudice against them on campus I guess they have to be.


Unforeseen consequences: "Five months after banishing "junk food" from their premises, Los Angeles public schools have stumbled upon a remarkable discovery: children won't spend their allowance money on carrot sticks and broccoli. Banning soda also had another, equally predictable result: the soft drink companies ended sponsorship deals that had previously brought campuses tens of thousands of dollars. Apparently not anticipating this rather obvious consequence, the Los Angeles Unified School District is now faced with a serious decline in revenue."


A Melbourne school is limiting the singing of carols, and banning the use of festive wrapping and the saying of "Merry Christmas". Angry parents said yesterday the move by Ruthven Primary School in Reservoir to outlaw traditional Christmas activities and symbols was being done for fear of offending non-Christian students. They said the number of carols at the school's annual concert would be slashed and children had to greet each other with "happy holidays", not "Merry Christmas". Parents said most of the 90-minute concert -- now named "The End of Year Celebration" -- would be non-religious recitals, including Arabic songs. They said the school was almost free of Christmas decorations, with non-religious mobiles and artworks adorning rooms. A day for the giving of gifts was renamed "Friendship Day", with children being told to wrap presents in plain paper.

Ken O'Sullivan, a parent of two girls at the school, said the controversial moves flew in the face of Australian culture. "They are not even allowed to say 'Merry Christmas' -- they have to say 'happy holidays'," he said. "This is ridiculous -- it's totally overboard. We are a Christian country and we have always celebrated Christmas." Mr O'Sullivan said many children, including one of his daughters, were upset over the bans.

Michelle Woollard, whose two sons and daughter attend the school, said the bans and changes were ludicrous. "My son has been told he has to give friendship presents, not Christmas presents. He said he was not allowed to put any Christmas decorations on them. "But I don't accept that. I've put Christmas holly stickers on and a Merry Christmas message," Ms Woollard said. "They cannot tell the kids not to celebrate Christmas. "This is Australia -- what they are doing is so wrong."

Yesterday, acting principal Kent Silfo could not be contacted at home or on his mobile phone. School council president Hugh Kilpatrick said he knew nothing about the issues. "We have a fairly large Muslim population, but I am not aware of any of this," he said. "It is a bolt out of the blue for me." John Dainutis, a spokesman for Education Minister Lynne Kosky, said the principal had told him the school would have a night tomorrow of carols and non-religious songs. "I asked whether the school was celebrating Christmas in the broader sense and he said, 'Some teachers do, others don't. It varies from year to year'," Mr Dainutis said. "The minister wants all our schools to celebrate Christmas in a manner that is entirely appropriate to the school community."


13 December, 2004


A 10-year-old girl was placed in handcuffs and taken to a police station because she took a pair of scissors to her elementary school. School district officials said the fourth-grade student did not threaten anyone with the 8-inch shears, but violated a rule that considers scissors to be potential weapons. Administrators said they were following state law when they called police Thursday, and police said they were following department rules when they handcuffed Porsche Brown and took her away in a patrol wagon.

"My daughter cried and cried," said her mother, Rose Jackson. "She had no idea what she did was wrong. I think that was way too harsh." Police officers decided the girl hadn't committed a crime and let her go. However, school officials suspended her for five days. Administrators will decide at a hearing whether she may return to class, or be expelled to a special disciplinary school. The scissors were discovered while students' belongings were being searched for property missing from a teacher's desk.

More here


Baby Jesus and obvious religious references left public school holiday celebrations long ago, but now even snowflakes are being blown out of some Southwest Florida schools. Instead of Santa and snowmen, students at Freedom Elementary School in East Manatee will be singing about America and patriotism at this year's winter concert. The switch from Nativity scenes to nationalism is the epitome of the new politically correct seasonal celebration. "There's a lot of rules and regulations out there," said Freedom Principal Gary Holbrook, "You're trying to be respectful of everyone."

While it may seem extreme, Freedom Elementary's elimination of all holiday and seasonal references is becoming more common as school administrators struggle to balance political correctness and a desire to celebrate the holidays with their students. Across the region, school officials are scrambling to ensure no one gets offended. They're setting rules that ban religious symbols and in some cases most seasonal references in the classrooms.

The guidelines for "recognizing" the holidays ("celebrating" is against the rules) are so stiff that some administrators don't even want to talk about their school's traditions. "You won't see any Christmas trees around here," said Anthony DiBello, principal of Braden River Middle School in East Manatee County. "We keep it generic." But across the parking lot at Braden River Elementary School, administrators aren't questioning whether to get a Christmas tree. They're deciding whether it will be real or fake. "You don't want to take it away," said Principal Chuck Fradley.

The two principals' different approaches to celebrating the holidays reflect how the rules are being interpreted differently from school to school. Though the rules in most districts ban teachers from displaying holiday symbols in classrooms, they allow them to use the symbols in a lesson. Teachers argue that all holiday symbols have cultural or historical significance that can be included in lessons. "If you want a Christmas tree you should be able to have it," said Haile Middle School teacher Susan Darovec. "It's kind of ridiculous to be treating it as a religious item."

At Lakewood Ranch High School, students set up a "holiday tree" and decorate it with ornaments reflecting all of the season's celebrations, from Hanukkah to Kwanzaa. The history club plans to display holiday traditions

More here


A Democratic city councilman is demanding that a baker remove photos of President Bush from his stand in Lancaster's farmers market, saying the city needs a "healing period" following the bitterly contested election. City Councilman Nelson Polite asked baker David Stoltzfus last month to remove the pictures. When Stoltzfus refused, Polite threatened to try to enact a city ordinance that would ban all political material from public places. "I just feel that since it was a close election and the city's so divided, that we should have a healing period," Polite told the New Era of Lancaster on Friday.

Republican Mayor Charlie Smithgall said potential visitors have told him they will skip the old city in the heart of Amish country because of Polite's statements. "They're saying, 'What kind of crazy people live in Lancaster? We're never coming to Lancaster,'" Smithgall said Friday.

Stoltzfus, 54, of Lititz, and his wife opened the Upper Crust Bakery stand in March 2003. A Bush photo is attached to the stand portico and a photo of the president and first lady Laura Bush sits on a shelf. The baker said he is enjoying the attention, and other standholders have shown their support by putting up photos of the president. "It's fun," Stoltzfus said Friday. "Even the Democrats come to me and tell me, 'Don't take that picture down.'"

(Source). George Mortensen has some good comments on the affair.

12 December, 2004


None of that nasty "winner" stuff:

A Richmond man says his son's hockey team faces permanent suspension because it is too good. Lucas Mangotich, 10, plays on the Seafair Atom C Eagles, a team the league suspended because it says the nine- and 10-year-olds are too much for the competition. "Not only will our team be suspended, but all three teams at the Atom level may be suspended," said Larry Mangotich, who has been in discussions with league officials in an effort to to save his son's season. "The boys have been locked out and their play suspended indefinitely with threats that their entire season may be ended," he said.

The tempest arose when league officials reviewed scoring summaries and decided the Eagles were flying too high. They told the team to unload one of their stars, or quit playing. When the team couldn't come up with a compromise by a Dec. 1 deadline, it was suspended.

Seafair Minor Hockey Association president Len Cuthbert has been trying to reach a deal acceptable to both the Eagles and the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association, which has decreed that all C-level teams must be balanced. "I'll be one happy camper if this is settled," Mr. Cuthbert said. "They don't want one team to be strong, and one team to be weak. The spirit of the rule is so every team in every organization wins and loses about the same number of games."



Not everyone on campus is excited about the University of Oregon men's basketball team playing No. 1-ranked Illinois on Saturday. Student and faculty groups have met with UO officials in recent weeks to call for cancellation of the game because of Illinois' continued use of the Chief Illiniwek mascot, which some American Indians and others view as derogatory or racist..... The Faculty and Staff of Color Coalition, a campus group formed in 2002, has also weighed in, calling the university's decision to proceed with the games "a dishonor and insult" to American Indians at the UO. The most ethical choice is to withdraw from the Illinois games, said coalition co-director Lynn Fujiwara.

Dan Williams, UO vice president for administration, said the university signed contracts to play the two Illinois games believing that the mascot issue would be resolved by now. As expected, the University of Illinois board of trustees took up the issue in June - but voted 9-1 against a motion to abolish the chief mascot. In the face of strong alumni support, the board instead voted to pursue a "consensus approach" to the symbol's future.

UI and UO officials have already decided that the Chief Illiniwek mascot - a white student dressed in Plains Indian headdress and garb - won't appear at next year's game in Portland. But he is scheduled to appear at Saturday's contest in Chicago, said UI Athletic Director Kent Brown.

Williams said the UO did not request that the mascot not appear this weekend. "I'm not sure it's our place to tell a home school what to do and not do," he said. "We would not want them telling us what to do." Williams said a policy relating to offensive mascots would likely extend beyond American Indian imagery. What if someone objected to the Trojans, or if animal rights activists were to protest the Huskies, he asked. "We have to define what an offensive mascot is," he said.

Greg Vincent, UO vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, is expected to help craft the policy. He said academia's concerns about team mascots is not a case of political correctness run amok. "Symbols are very powerful, and if symbols are appropriated by a university that claims to be diverse and inclusive, then the symbols need to be as inclusive as possible," he said. Vincent cited the University of Mississippi's decision to ban the Confederate flag from athletic events as an example of eradicating hurtful images.

In Illinois, the chief mascot's appearance at home contests is limited to a 4 1/2 -minute halftime show that is respectful of American Indian traditions and culminates in a mass singing of the Illinois alma mater, said Roger Huddleston, a former UI student and activist in a pro-mascot group called Honor the Chief. The chief mascot controversy has roiled for years, with no end in sight. The UI board of trustees in September passed a resolution to preserve and celebrate the state's American Indian heritage - a move that critics quickly labeled an effort to legitimize Chief Illiniwek.

An accreditation agency report in August, meanwhile, said the university's failure to resolve the debate is evidence of failed leadership. And an appeals court in June upheld a ruling that the university violated the free speech rights of anti-mascot professors when it said they couldn't try to dissuade prospective student-athletes from attending UI without first getting permission from the athletic director.

Despite all the turmoil, Huddleston said he believes the chief will stay because most students, alums and other Illinois residents embrace him as a revered symbol. Most polls on the subject, he said, show that even most American Indians are supportive of such mascots. A survey released this fall by the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey found that 90 percent of American Indians surveyed did not find the Washington Redskins football team's name to be offensive. The survey was conducted between October 2003 and September 2004 and had a margin of error of 2 percent. More than 65,000 people were polled, including 768 who identified themselves as Native American or Indian.

More here. (Via Clown Ops)

11 December, 2004


French comedians, worried that they might be out of a job, sided with freedom-of-speech advocates yesterday after Parliament passed a law that makes it an imprisonable offence to insult homosexuals and women. Jokes about blondes, La Cage aux Folles — the hit show and film about camp gays — and even the Old Testament could be banned under the law, suggested critics who said that political correctness was running riot in France. “We are plunging ever more into le politiquement correct,” Laurent Ruquier, a star television comedian, said, using an expression imported in the 1990s from America. “You are not allowed to mention anything or anyone,” Ruquier said, noting that he is himself gay.

The unease is being felt on both the Right and the Left as France follows the US and Britain down the path of trying to stamp out the potential for causing offence to minorities of any kind. In Britain the comedian Rowan Atkinson has joined the fight against government plans to criminalise incitement of religious hatred, arguing that comics must be free to lampoon religion and religious leaders. The Catholic church opposed the new French law and some critics on the Left said that the State was resorting to the methods of the Thought Police of George Orwell’s 1984.

Meanwhile, France Soir warned its readers to avoid the most common French insults: “Calling a woman mal baisée (sexually frustrated) or uttering a homophobic enculé (a***hole) could cost you six months’ jail.”

Last month the National Human Rights Commission urged the Government to abandon the Bill that outlaws sexist and homophobic insults. “If it is adopted, we will face difficulty defining insults and will thus have to condemn words. Certain films, books and even the Bible could come under its terms,” said the state body. The centre-right Government of President Chirac ignored the advice, redrafting the Bill but leaving in place the maximum six months in prison and £15,000 fine for “defaming a person or a group of persons on account of their sex or their sexual orientation”.

In a stormy parliamentary session, rebel MPs from M Chirac’s Union for a Popular Majority (UMP) inserted the handicapped as another protected minority but this is likely to be dropped by the Senate. The new law, which also includes penalties for incitement, puts sexual insults into the same framework as longstanding laws against racist and anti-Semitic speech and denying the Holocaust. The Bill also creates a high authority for combating all “discriminations”.

Homosexual and feminist groups welcomed the law, which the Government drafted in an attempt to regain credit with gay and women’s groups after it opposed homosexual marriage last spring. One of the first steps planned by SOS homophobie, a campaign group, is the prosecution of football supporters who chant pédés (queers) at players who do not meet with their favour. According to Les Chiennes de Garde (Guard Bitches), a feminist group, the law would act as a brake on the physical abuse of women “by first outlawing verbal violence

More here

10 December, 2004

BBC board 'are amateurs' : "The BBC's governors have been labelled a bunch of "amateurs" picked because they tick politically correct boxes. Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the culture select committee, said: "They are largely there on tokenism, be it ethnic, social, class or territorial." He said their inexperience had caused the Hutton crisis and suggested an accountable "statutory remit" as with Channel 4".

Standing up to aggressive secularism

Some reverses for political correctness in Australia

Wogs-Are-Stealing-Christmas is the perennial festive season story, popping up on talkback radio in late November with enduring reliability. But this year - the year the ideology pendulum swung back towards reason - the story has finally been exposed as a myth and a smokescreen. As it turns out, multicultural Sydney just loves Christmas. Bankstown's Centro shopping centre, smack bang in one of the most multicultural areas of Australia, with more than 132 nationalities, 53 per cent of the population born overseas, and an abundance of young mums with headscarves, happens to boast one of the city's most lavish Christmas displays. "Despite Bankstown being one of Sydney's most ethnically and religiously diverse areas, Christmas and what it stands for is a huge celebration in my local area and we are proud of it," the Bankstown MP, Tony Stewart, told the NSW Parliament last month. So keen was Stewart to explode the old theft myth he even tabled a list of 226 Christmas songs played "every hour of shopping time at Centro Bankstown". They include Six White Boomers, The Spirit of Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

"We love to see Christians celebrating Christmas," said Keysar Trad, the president of the Lakemba-based Lebanese Muslim Association. "We love Christ and Mary." After an outcry in December 2001, when the previous owner of the Bankstown shopping centre downgraded the decorations and ditched the big nativity scene, the new owner has installed almost $200,000 of Christmas baubles. There is a Santa Claus with a real beard, nativity scene, trees, elves, angels, bells and stars. A young woman who personalises coloured Christmas balls for shoppers is Muslim, wearing a headscarf, Trad said yesterday.

The decorations at multicultural Bankstown are far more elaborate than the desiccated version of Christmas in the city of Sydney, under the professed Catholic Lord Mayor Clover Moore. In contrast to her predecessor Frank Sartor's generous, even over-the-top, coloured lights and ornaments on the 19th-century sandstone Town Hall, Moore has provided a drab little tree above the portico and a bleak Seasons Greetings card. The excuse is always used by those such as Moore and the head of the Oporto chicken chain - who tried to ban Maltese Catholic franchisee Charlie Saliba from putting up a nativity scene in his Hornsby store - that keeping the Christianity in Christmas is offensive to minority groups. But there is no sign in this essentially easygoing country that Muslims, Jews, Buddhists or Hindus are trying to ban Christmas. As is often the case, self-appointed arbiters of public tolerance have simply co-opted a non-existent cause to serve their own ends, damaging those they profess to protect in the process.

"What purports to inspire tolerance instead inspires hostility and intolerance," Waleed Aly, a member of the executive of the Islamic Council of Victoria, wrote in The Australian newspaper this week. Jesus is a revered prophet to Muslims. Driving an "anti-Christmas campaign" is not Islam but "aggressive atheism". Others, such as American rabbi Daniel Lapin, have called it fundamentalist secularism, the umbrella under which new intolerances have gathered in the name of tolerance. "If Christmas decorations help bring people back to God, whether they are Christian or Muslim, that is a good thing," said Trad. "At the moment society is being told that religion is the cause of all conflict. But religion is in fact the cause of unity, harmony, respect and all the high principles."

Conservative Christians have much in common with moderate Muslims. Both are under attack by the zealots of secularism. They share a desire to stem the tide of the "I Am Charlotte Simmons" world created by intolerant anti-religious fundamentalist secularism. It is a world of empty materialism, patois and degrading hooking-up sex, which Tom Wolfe brings to life in his latest novel about university existence. It is a world in which a Bringelly father appears in Campbelltown Local Court, charged with common assault and stalking, for trying to stop his 14-year-old daughter from having an affair with a middle-aged man. It is a world in which a middle-aged married teacher has an affair with his 15-year-old student, shacks up with her, causing her to be permanently estranged from her family and then receives $28,000 in compensation from the NSW Government because he lost his job.

These topsy-turvy corrupted values are not the result of religion; they are the result of no religion. Aggressive secularists have had a free kick at religion and every other institution for the last 40 years, blaming them for all the ills of the world, while steadily dismantling the protections and respect for authority that kept them safe while they were growing up. And now their influence is waning, they are desperate to keep alive the old myths. A perfect recent example is an article in The Guardian newspaper about a coming movie, Kinsey, about the American sex researcher Dr Alfred Kinsey. Reprinted in these pages this week under the headline "Moral right tries to turn the flock back to dark ages of sexuality", it claims no one had a "guilt-and-fear-free orgasm" until Kinsey researched sex, Margaret Sanger launched bra-burning, and Hugh Hefner mass-marketed big-breasted nudes.

It is a ridiculous proposition, since, in most religions, orgasms between a husband and wife have always been as guilt-free as they come, especially if they produce lots of little believers. Guilt - for adherents - comes into the equation only if the sex occurs outside marriage or is harmful to one or other party, which is less a case of opposing sex than trying to harness desire for the sake, ultimately, of protecting families.

This year, despite attempts to resurrect the old myth, Christmas in Sydney is doing just fine, with or without the Town Hall's participation. We should really thank Moore for her grim Clayton's cards and her joyless approach to Christmas. She is an interesting reminder of a disintegrating world view, a lagging indicator, quite out of step with the spirit of the age.

From Miranda Devine

9 December, 2004

CSPI: Snuff out tasty food: "This week Hardee's introduced its Monster ThickBurger, which the company calls a "monument to decadence." Ever on the look-out for decadent foods to condemn, the nutrition Nazis at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) immediately added the ThickBurger to its long list of "food porn." In fact, Hardee's has CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson so hot and bothered that he deemed the burger the "fast-food equivalent of a snuff film." That's right, a snuff film. This is hardly the first time Jacobson has delved into the moribund. Last year he warned ice cream eaters: "Just know that you're going to kill yourself." Trying to resuscitate the media magic of CSPI's infamous claim that Fettuccine Alfredo is a "heart attack on a plate," Jacobson told NBC Nightly News: "This is a heart attack in a bun." Also appearing on the Nightly News, Hardee's head honcho noted: "If you're the romaine lettuce, raspberry vinaigrette crowd, this is not your burger." But for Jacobson, it's not enough to belong to that crowd. He wants everyone in the crowd, whether we like it or not.

A militant Merry Christmas

"I'm not sure when I noticed that "Merry Christmas" had been supplanted by "Happy Holidays." I thought this generic term was rather strange, considering that Hannukah is a minor Jewish holiday and Kwanzaa has less of a historic basis than Middle Earth or "Star Trek," but I simply filed it away for future reference. Two years ago, though, I noticed something that struck me as bordering on the ominous. People I did not know, namely salesclerks, were starting to correct me when I wished them a Merry Christmas. "Don't you mean Happy Holidays?" I was asked. "No, actually, I don't," I replied. "I am buying these gifts and having them wrapped here at your store, which is decorated with an overtly Christmas theme, because Dec. 25 is fast approaching. "I am not buying them because of oil magically reappearing in a Jewish lamp. I am not buying them because Kwanzaa Timmy is coming to town with his maize and his copy of the "Communist Manifesto." I am buying them because it is Christmas time."

Since then, I have become militant about any generic reference to "the holidays" or even worse, "the season". The season of what? "Have a good season" is something you tell an athlete, not a fellow celebrant of Jesus Christ's birth. Now, I have no quibble with those who harbor doubts that the Prince of Peace was, in fact, laid in a manger 2,000 years ago. Believe or don't believe, that's totally up to you. If God is content to let you decide, then who am I to tell you what to think? But if the fact that Christians celebrate the birth of their savior bothers you so much, then for the love of all that is collectively approved and societally consensual, don't celebrate it! Forget the carols, the gift-giving, the candlelight services. Forget "Silver Bells" and "Silent Night" and the stockings hung with care.

Christians, it is time to realize that the gloves are off and the gauntlet has been thrown down. The TV shows of our childhood have come to life and the Christmas grinches are real. The separation of Church and State has invaded our department stores and both Santa and the little baby Jesus are under attack. The secular elite seeks to establish its atheist apartheid, and now that Christianity has been eradicated from the government schools, it has the most popular symbol of Western Christianity firmly in its sights......

(From Vox Day)

8 December, 2004

A small victory: "Christmas is back -- at least that's what Denver's mayor is saying. After receiving a negative backlash from residents for announcing an adjustment to the city and county building seasonal sign to the more secular 'Happy Holidays' from the more traditional 'Merry Christmas,' Mayor John Hickenlooper decided to nix the idea. He said he was simply trying to be more inclusive when he made the initial decision. 'Clearly a mistake, what I'm trying to do now is let people know that just because there's two o's in Hickenlooper doesn't necessarily make me scrooge,' the mayor said. Colorado's not alone. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reversed former Gov. Gray Davis' decision to call the state holiday tree a 'holiday tree,' and reverted to the familiar title of 'Christmas tree' during the annual lighting ceremony."

Leftist "tolerance" and "compassion" on display: "Local conservative radio talk show host, Lars Larson, exploded on air Wednesday in response to several death threats against his wife. "Let's make this deal. Stop threatening my wife. Come and threaten me, so I can just fill you full of bullets. You come threaten me in person. You bring it on, but leave my wife out of this," Lars said in response to the threats to his wife and family. Larson spoke about how disturbing the calls were on air to listeners, explaining that they brought his wife to tears. "They said, 'We're going to come and rape your wife to death - we're going to rape her until she bleeds.' If this is offending anybody - good! 'Cause I'm mad," Larson said".

7 December, 2004

New Jersey: School's carol rule for the Grinch? "There won't be any herald angels singing or little drummer boys drumming at schools in Maplewood this holiday season. Last year, when students in the chorus sang Christmas songs at holiday concerts, a few people complained that lyrics about the baby Jesus or angels made non-Christians feel left out. So, the music director for the New Jersey district issued an edict that all songs representing any religion were to be avoided. But at a school board meeting this month, many parents argued the ruling is more Grinch than goodwill. Those that read the actual school policy say it's being misinterpreted since the policy permits 'the inclusion of religious literature, music, drama, (etc.) provided ... it neither inhibits nor advances any religious point of view.'" [How can it be religious and not advance a religious point of view?]

Suppressing free speech for college credit: "Some students at Rutgers' all-female Douglass College received college credit for a petition drive to ban a student weekly, The Medium, which published photos of nude women. Paul Mulshine, a Newark Star-Ledger columnist who once was The Medium's editor, writes: As part of a required 'activism' project, (Douglass) students in a class called 'Woman, Culture and Society' decided to petition for the Medium to be banned from campus. If you are a student of the First Amendment, as I am, you will note that such a ban would be in violation of the Constitution. Nonetheless, the students set up a table on campus and began gathering signatures on a petition."

6 December, 2004

Obesity hype takes another hit: "Now that the government's bogus estimate of 400,000 deaths caused each year by obesity has been discarded, other obesity myths are receiving much-needed scrutiny. This week The New York Times highlighted the ridiculous Body Mass Index (BMI) standard, which considers our fit President Bush 'overweight' and is the basis of the much-abused notion that 65 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. Now another one of our nation's top papers has examined the crucial debate over the relative importance of physical fitness versus a simple measure of fatness. In an article titled 'Can Being Fit Outweight Fat,' the Washington Post quotes leading obesity researcher Steven Blair offering the skinny in the fit-versus-fat debate: 'We've studied this from many perspectives in women and in men and we get the same answer: It's not the obesity -- it's the fitness.'"


Political correctness used to be something that most people considered an annoyance, well-adjusted people anyway. Championed by a group of malcontent busybodies who were probably "traumatized" as children and who have developed a passion for sticking their noses into other people's business, political correctness, in its infancy, was about gender pronouns, hyphenated nationalities and stereotypes that only the thin-skinned could possibly consider offensive. Alarmingly, this is not the case anymore.

Many have said that we're in the midst of a culture war, a war between those of liberal beliefs and those of conservative beliefs. This is most likely the case and the 2004 presidential election was evidence of that. While traditionalism, in the form of conservative votes, won out in the presidential, congressional and many state and local elections, political correctness is detached from the will of the voters and is encroaching on the very sovereignty of our nation. It is encroaching through the vehicles of our courts and our schools courtesy of organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association.

Political correctness is literally a form of cultural Marxism. Where Marxism is an economic-political doctrine, political correctness is a cultural-political doctrine. They are both totalitarian. They are both dangerous. The fact that political correctness is derived from Marxism is the last thing that its supporters want you to know. Left to their ways, whether knowingly or unknowingly, these tools of Marxism would eventually rewrite our nation's history to reflect their neutered, genderless, religion-less and factually perverted version of how we came to be.

In the Cupertino Union School District of California there exists just such a `tool' in Principal Patricia Vidmar. Where almost 100% of the principals in our education system are derived from its compliment of teachers we can argue that Vidmar is heavily influenced by the politically correct champion of left-leaning educational philosophies, the NEA.

Vidmar and the Cupertino Union School District are currently being challenged in court for not allowing a teacher to hand out supplemental literature to students about American History because the historical documents contain references to "God." This is disturbing and a blatant example of the encroachment of political correctness into our history. More stunning and enraging is the fact that the supplemental literature in question is the United State's Declaration of Independence.

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb said, "Throwing aside all common sense, the district has chosen to censor men such as George Washington and documents like the Declaration of Independence." He further stated, "The district's actions conflict with American beliefs and are completely unconstitutional." He was being nice.

Trying to manipulate our country's history through political correctness is despicable. Nauseatingly, it happens all the time and more often than not in California where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reigns. But censoring, effectively outlawing, our Declaration of Independence from the classrooms of our schools in an effort to be politically correct is tantamount to a direct attack on our country by Marxism. Make no mistake, this censorship; the outlawing of one of our founding documents was deliberate. Vidmar is a traitor guilty of sedition and should be held accountable for her actions. Personally, I believe the full strength of our laws should be used against her and she should be tried for her crime. After being found guilty of treason, she should be marched into a public square and, pursuant to our laws against treason and sedition hung, for all to see. Some will protest that this is strong language, "over the top" as Monsieur Kerry would say. I do not believe this to be the case. Words, sentiments and ideology are just as lethal as the bullet, knife or bomb. Nazi Germany stands in testament to that.

The first shot of the War on Political Correctness has been fired and their target is our Declaration of Independence. Unless we want the didactics of Mao, Marx and radical Islam to supersede the factual teaching of our country's origins and creation, unless we want the likes of Osama bin Laden teaching American History in our classrooms, we must take a stand.

Contact your representatives in Congress and insist that political correctness, in any fashion, be halted immediately. Reject the marketed persuasion of political correctness. Let us, the silent majority, the same majority that rejected the notion of four years of ultra-liberal rule in the last election turn the tide against this totalitarian insurrection upon our country's priceless history, traditions and values.

The ACLU succeeds in getting a cross removed from a city seal and a nativity scene banished from a public square. A teacher is reprimanded for having a picture of a sitting president on her classroom wall. A principal banishes the Declaration of Independence from the classroom. The history and traditions of Islam are being taught in our schools yet the word "God" is under fire in our Pledge of Allegiance. I ask you, what will be next if we fail to stop this cancer?

Who will stand with me in this most noble of endeavors? For if we do not fight this evil, this direct attack upon our nation, her heritage and her principles, we should not be surprised if Khrushchev was correct and our country falls without a shot being fired in her defense.


5 December, 2004


The lord mayor of Australia's largest city was under fire Friday over a decision to limit spending on Christmas celebrations, a move some critics see as an attempt to avoid offending non-Christian immigrant communities. Christians have decried the trend to play down the importance of the season as anything other than a time of consumerism and overindulgence, with all references to the Christian message removed. Lord Mayor Clover Moore's decision to restrict city council spending to about $465,000 means the city hall has been decorated with a single illuminated tree, which is perched on a balcony over the building's entrance. Other low-key decorations have been put up elsewhere in the city, as have banners with the words "Season's Greetings" in English and eight other languages, but no specific reference to Christmas.

Under a headline "Where's our Christmas?" the Daily Telegraph, a Sydney tabloid, published front-page pictures Friday contrasting Sydney's lone tree with the lit-up streets of New York, London and Paris.....

Prime Minister John Howard, a resident of the city of almost four million people, entered the debate in a radio interview Friday, saying that Moore's plans were "silly" and should be reconsidered. "I have never met a Jewish person or a Muslim Australian who wants us to stop celebrating Christmas," Howard said. "You can't have a generic approach to Christmas -- it celebrates an historic event, it celebrates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and it has become a focal point around the world for families to get together, to celebrate. You can't replace that." Sydney prides itself on being one of the world's most vibrant and popular cities whose celebrations of Christmas and New Year usually rival those of other centers......

Almost 70 percent of Australians identified themselves as Christians in a 2001 national census. Peter Stokes, director of a Christian ethics action group, said Christians were "seeing a huge amount of this type of political correctness happening across the country at the moment. "Pre-school and kindergartens staff are literally afraid to put up anything religious for fear a parent will complain," Stokes said. "Businesses are telling staff not to say 'Happy Christmas' -- so as not to offend customers."

In Australia's third-largest city, the Brisbane city council has given the go-ahead for a homosexual group called the "Caroling Queens" to sing Christmas songs at a shopping mall. "The glamorous Caroling Queens offer ... camped-up performances of favorite Christmas carols," the organizers said in a press release that promises "choreographed routines, feel-good tunes and a whole lot of sequins."

[Christmas for Queers only?]

More here


They have long abandoned dedication to truth. Lies are a lot more convenient

At Hamilton College--an elite liberal arts institution in Clinton, N.Y.--you can take courses in Roman civilization, Shakespeare and the "Emergence of Modern Western Europe, 1500-1815." All well and good. You can also take something called "Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity and Change." That last course--a month-long, half-credit seminar--is scheduled to begin next month. Its teacher is Susan Rosenberg, formerly of the Weather Underground.

Remember the Weather Underground? Its self-described revolutionaries, mostly middle-class, dedicated themselves to supporting radical black causes and tearing apart American society in the 1970s and early 1980s. In 1970, they blew up a townhouse when a bomb detonated prematurely and killed a few of their troops. Kathy Boudin, Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn and other high-profile members of the group spent the next decade or so running from the police and, some of them, continuing to pursue careers in criminal violence.

Ms. Rosenberg did her part. In October 1981, in an operation code-named "The Big Dance," several black radicals and members of the Weather Underground held up a Brinks armored car in Nanuet, N.Y. In the course of that act of domestic terrorism, they murdered Peter Paige, a Brinks guard, and police officers Edward O'Grady and Waverly Brown, the only black officer on the Nyack, N.Y., force. Ms. Rosenberg, then still at large, was indicted as an accessory....

Under fire, Hamilton administrators have wrapped themselves in the mantle of free speech. "As long as public safety and the rights of others are not compromised," they stated, "the college does not normally put limits on which voices can be heard and which cannot."

Well, that depends. In 2002, it is true, when Annie Sprinkle, a pornography star and performance artist, came to Hamilton to regale students and members of the local community about the proper use of sexual appliances, Hamilton administrators stood high on the pedestal of free speech. But when Brendan McCormick, a Hamilton alumnus and official class representative, sought to alert his classmates to the Rosenberg appointment, the college's development office refused to send out a letter from him, as it normally would. "I pointed out the hypocrisy of sending out a press release claiming that you do not censor speech and then turning around and doing just that," Mr. McCormick later said.

Ah yes: Free speech for me, but not for thee.

More here

4 December, 2004


If groups celebrating American Indian holy people, German culture and the Chinese New Year can march in the city's Parade of Lights, why can't a Christian group march to celebrate Christmas? That's just one of the questions bothering prominent Denver-area Pastor George Morrison. He said he was barred from participating in the parade because his multicultural church group wanted its Christian-themed float to feature traditional yuletide hymns and a "Merry Christmas" message. "It's a little confusing to me," said Morrison, pastor of Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, one of the region's largest evangelical churches, with more than 4,000 worshippers. "Here we have this holiday, Christmas, approaching, and Parade of Lights is suddenly changed into something where you can't even sing a Christmas song?"

The one-hour parade, which is celebrating its 30th year this Friday and Saturday nights in downtown Denver, features elaborate floats with holiday symbols such as Santa Claus and gingerbread houses, plus an "international procession" of cultural groups. But the parade does not allow "direct religious themes," said spokesman Michael Krikorian. That includes "Merry Christmas" signs and the singing or playing of traditional Christmas hymns. He added that the rules were spelled out when Morrison's intermediary called last spring to inquire about contributing a float. "We want to avoid that specific religious message out of respect for other religions in the region," Krikorian said. "It could be construed as disrespectful to other people who enjoy a parade each year."

Morrison suggested that Parade of Lights wants it both ways - to capitalize on the festive Christmas holiday and its large crowds, but also to keep Christmas an unmentionable part of the season. "Maybe they should hold Parade of Lights in January or February," Morrison said. "By holding it in December, it's assumed by a majority of people that the reasons the lights are up is the continuation of the celebration of the birth of Christ. In America, that's our tradition, that's what the holiday is about." Morrison doesn't question any group's presence in the parade, only wonders why Christian groups can't be among them. This year, the "international procession" includes the Two Spirit Society, which honors gay and lesbian American Indians as holy people; a German folk dance group; and performers of the Lion Dance, a Chinese New Year tradition "meant to chase away evil spirits and welcome good luck and good fortune for the year."

Those groups are considered examples of ethnic diversity, not religious groups, Krikorian said.

Ironically, Morrison said he only asked about participating because he and his family are fans of the parade. He thought Christians weren't being represented because the cost of entering, several thousand dollars, was prohibitive to most churches. "I was thinking of a float, a little choir, some musicians and a cross-cultural band" that would include Hispanic and black Christians, he said. "A picture of the city." Instead of being in the parade, Morrison's group now plans to walk the route an hour before, singing hymns and offering hot chocolate.



When Race Counts: The dirty little secret behind the UC Regents' 1-12 vote last week against creating a single check box labeled "multiracial" on their admission forms is that having students check boxes for many separate races actually benefits UC in its game of claiming great diversity. Student applicants are now permitted (even encouraged) to check more than one box on the race/ethnicity section. Many students do because their heritage reflects our multiracial society. However, UC does not count all the check marks; instead it categorizes applicants using the one box that represents the race where UC is lacking in students. So if the student checks the boxes for black and Asian, UC will forever, for statistical purposes including government grants, call that person black because UC already has an abundance of Asian students. Ward Connerly is right. We are a multiracial society with proud blends of different heritages, and its only racists and UC administrators who still believe there are any pure blood, single race people.


3 December, 2004


Below is an email one of my readers recently sent to Amazon:

"Last year, when I asked Amazon why they said 'holiday' for the Christmas season (where undoubtedly, at least 90% of the gifts purchased are for Christmas) I was given some dribble about diversity, multiculturalism, etc..

Well, I went to my front page and saw in the movies section this: " This holiday season Amazon.com brings you Amazon Theater, an exclusive collection of five short films all centered on the theme of karma. "

Did you know 'karma' is overtly religious (Buddhism). So I am curious, why is 'Christmas' such a taboo word, even though the overwhelming majority of your December shoppers celebrate it, yet you have no problem showcasing a Buddhist belief?"


I am the event coordinator for the ''Rally Against Global Terrorism,'' which is to be held on January 16th, 2005 between noon and 3 p.m. I applied to the City of Berkeley on September 9th, 2004, for the use of Martin Luther King Jr. Park for the purpose of the rally. A grassroots coalition of groups has come together to co-sponsor the rally. The visual centerpiece of the rally is the wreckage of the Jerusalem #19 municipal bus, which was bombed on January 29, 2004 (Shevat 1, 5764, according to the Jewish calendar) in Jerusalem, Israel.

The City of Berkeley never responded to my application for a permit, although they cashed my check for the rental of the park on September 11th, 2004. After numerous phone calls to a Mr. Hector Manuel, of the Permits Department (MHector@ci.berkeley.ca.us), I finally received a call to come to a hearing at City Hall, which was attended by representatives of the Parks, Police, Fire Dept. (Safety and Emergency Services), and other city officials.

Several members of the rally coordinating committee were present at the hearing. The negativity towards the rally at the hearing was extraordinary. The spokesman said that the rally ''might be perceived as a pro-Israel Rally and this would make Women in Black, MECA (Middle East Childrens' Alliance), and other anti-Israel groups counter-demonstrate.'' Security might be impossible, as it was when Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to speak in Berkeley several years ago, but had to be cancelled because of a near riot. The City of Berkeley’s concern was ''security,'' they said.....

I really resent the denial of my free speech rights in Berkeley, of all places. Plus, it's a real double-standard. Other groups such as ''The Indigenous People'' and the ''Veterans'' have used the park recently for rallies. Pro-Palestinian groups regularly demonstrate in Berkeley and on the UC Berkeley campus. This Monday, for instance, a pro-Palestinian group is planning to build a mock ''Overpass over the Israeli Security Fence'' in the UC Berkeley Sproul Plaza.

The City of Berkeley has placed obstacles in my way at every turn.... I find it ironic that Berkeley, the so-called ''city of free speech,'' would deny (through endless bureaucratic stalling) a permit for a Rally Against Global Terrorism.

More here


There are striking parallels between the Nazi 'war on cancer' and the New Labour crusade against smoking. In Nazi Germany, every individual had 'a duty to be healthy'; furthermore, to ensure that individuals fulfilled this duty, the government insisted on 'the primacy of the public good over individual liberties' (2). Tony Blair acknowledges that smokers - and non-smokers - have rights. More importantly, however, 'both have responsibilities - to themselves, to each other, to their families, and to the wider community'.

To ensure that smokers meet these responsibilities, the government is planning further bans and proscriptions on their activities. In Germany in the 1930s, the medical profession played a leading role in the state campaign to restrict smoking. In Britain today, doctors again provide medical legitimacy and moral authority for state regulation of individual behaviour.

If anti-smoking campaigners have been slow to recognise the German contribution to tobacco epidemiology, they have been even more reluctant to acknowledge the parallels between their public health policies and those pursued by the Nazis. Yet the similarities are remarkable. According to Proctor, the government in Germany in the 1930s 'launched an ambitious anti-smoking campaign, involving extensive public health education, bans on certain forms of advertising, and restrictions on smoking in many public spaces'.

Women and youth were a particular focus of anti-smoking propaganda and restrictions on sales. Furthermore, 'activists called for bans on smoking while driving, for an end to smoking in the workplace, and for the establishment of tobacco counselling centres'. Enterprising firms marketed a range of anti-smoking preparations, from mouthwashes to intravenous infusions. Therapists offered hypnotism and a range of counselling techniques to encourage people to quit smoking.

A number of themes recur in the anti-smoking campaigns. In Germany, campaigners asserted that smoking caused infertility among women and impotence among men, dubious claims echoed in the recent British Medical Association report on 'the impact of smoking on sexual, reproductive and child health'. Anti-tobacco activists have consistently emphasised the particular vulnerability of women, both to the physical effects of smoking and to the seductive power of cigarette advertising. National socialist propagandists railed against 'tobacco capitalism' and stigmatised tobacco as an 'enemy of the people'; they condemned 'smoking slavery' and even 'tobacco terror' - slogans with an alarmingly contemporary ring.

Scaremongering about smoking as an 'epidemic', even a 'plague', was as familiar in Germany in the 1930s as it is in Britain today. At the founding conference of the Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research in 1941, Professor Otto Graf warned of the dangers of 'passive smoking' and called for a workplace ban.

More here

2 December, 2004

Chicken shop welcomes back Jesus

Australian conservatives win a round. Marvellous what happens when loss of business is involved

A fast food chain yesterday admitted it was overzealous in its pursuit of political correctness when it banned one of its Sydney stores from displaying a traditional Christmas nativity scene. Last Thursday, Westfield Hornsby Oporto franchise owner Charlie Saliba was told to remove his nativity scene - depicting baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Three Wise Men and a shepherd - for fear it would offend non-Christian customers. Mr Saliba, a Catholic, said: "I am Maltese and we are very much into our Christmas decorations ... they told me take it down and I thought it was a shame because, without a nativity scene, it's not Christmas. "I've been putting the nativity scene up for the past 3 1/2 years and have not had one complaint. I have had a lot of compliments."

Oporto chief executive Jeff Fisher had previously told The Daily Telegraph the chain supported generic decorations over nativity scenes because Australia was a multicultural society and it would be wrong to push any one religious belief. Mr Fisher was singing a different tune yesterday after a wave of public opinion. "The issue [of the nativity scene] is obviously something the community feels very strongly about," he said. "We have listened to the community and corrected the situation. "We are guilty of being over-sensitive by wanting to keep the decorations to a general nature. We tried to be politically correct and that was overzealous."

Yesterday morning the nativity scene, which cost $500 to construct, was returned to its pride of place next to the shop's second most sacred object: the chip machine. Regular customer Noreen Dillon, 65, said it was good to see sanity prevail. "I think sometimes people are afraid of upsetting minority groups, who in reality don't care about the nativity scenes anyway," the Wahroonga resident said. "I have Muslim neighbours and they wish me a happy Christmas so what's the big deal?"

Mr Saliba who said Muslim and Jewish staff had not complained about the nativity scene and were happy to have it in the store. Keysar Trad, a director of the Australian Lebanese Muslim Association, said Muslims would have no objection to nativity scenes. "We celebrate the life of Christ and see him as one of the five greatest people who ever lived and a prophet of God," he said.

Westfield public relations manager Julia Clark said most of the company's shopping centres had nativity scenes. The only two without were because of space, she said. Even Bankstown Square, amid a large population of non-Christian backgrounds, has a nativity scene.



The American Family Association is encouraging its supporters to do their holiday shopping someplace other than Target this year after the retail giant announced it will no longer allow Salvation Army bell ringers to collect Kettle Drive donations in front of its stores. Target Corp.'s decision to apply its "no solicitation" policy to The Salvation Army was announced in January this year. The statement said, "We receive an increasing number of solicitation inquiries from nonprofit organizations each year and determined that if we continue to allow The Salvation Army to solicit, then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests." Target Corp. has over 1,000 outlets.

According to AFA Action Alert e-mail, "Target's new policy is opposite of that with community-minded giants like Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney's, and Big Lots. They believe the Salvation Army serves a critical need by offering kindness to a family in need," said Don Wildmon, founder of AFA. Wildmon urged readers to contact the Target customer service and also the manager of their local Target store to tell them they will be doing their shopping at Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney's, and Big Lots.

Nearly a tenth of the $90 million the Salvation Army earned through the 2003 holiday appeal was donated to kettles at Target stores. At Wal-Mart stores, the Army received $14 million in kettle donations. "We do welcome them in front of our stores," said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Campbell in a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article. "We've always had a great relationship with them."

But kettle donations this year will be affected from Target's decision to close its doors. "We're going to lose 112 days of food service for the hungry because of [Target's] decision," Russ Russell, Salvation Army executive director for development told The Detroit News.

The Salvation Army officially launched its national Kettle Drive during the half-time show of the Dallas Cowboys' Thanksgiving game. Kettle donations benefit local chapters of the Salvation Army.



Because only believers would understand what was banned anyway. I think I know a lot about religion but it meant nothing to me. So the REAL motive of the ban has to be opposition to Christianity. And the claim that an obscure religious reference would be offensive to people who see every day on their coins "In God we trust" is an excuse that is worthy only of a four-year-old

Pat Jameson is a stay-at-home mom who never imagined she would be at odds with the state of Vermont. But that's exactly what happened when she applied for her first personalized plate after buying her first brand new car. Her request: "SHJ with a space BVM." The initials might not mean much to most, but for Jameson-- a devout Catholic-- it meant a lot. "Which stands for Sacred heart of Jesus, blessed virgin Mary," explains Jameson. "The only ones it would mean anything to are catholics and it would be the older generation catholics, probably 50 and above."

She applied and when asked on the form explained exactly what the initials stood for. "There was no idea in my mind that they would not be approved." Three weeks after Pat Jameson applied her license plates arrived in the mail. But when she opened them they read DSY 204. "My first reaction was I was sent someone elses license plates by accident," she says. But the plate was hers. Jameson called the DMV who said her requested license plate was denied because of its religious reference. "It should have been denied," says DMV Commissioner Bonnie Rutledge.

Under the law, DMV can deny personalized plates it they are vulgar or refer to religion, race or drugs. Rutledge says even though SHJ BVM may not be recognizable as religious to some, it still is, and the department is on solid legal ground to deny it. "The law is specific in that I have to deny it because it might be offensive to some people out there," explains Rutledge.

"I guess you would have to say there is a draw line somewhere, but to be so (politically correct) nowadays is getting out of hand," says Jameson.


1 December, 2004

Chicken shop bans baby Jesus

A fast-food chain has banned one of its Sydney stores from displaying a traditional Christmas nativity scene because of fears it would offend non-Christians. The head office of the Oporto chicken store chain last week imposed the edict on its Hornsby store. The chain's area manager discovered the 1m long nativity scene, showing a baby Jesus in a crib along with a Christian cross, on a counter. The traditional display had been erected by the store's franchise owner. The chains's chief executive, Jeff Fisher, said the company had a policy supporting "generic" Christmas decorations, such as trees or tinsel, but not nativity scenes. "We are just trying to keep a generic approach without trying to push any one religious belief. We are cognisant of the fact that in Australia we are a very multicultural society," he said. "The significance of a Christmas tree versus the more poignant Christian-type decorations is that the majority of people can relate to a Christmas tree and it is fairly generic in nature."

Mr Fisher said the chain had 66 stores and the Hornsby franchise owner was the only one to push for a nativity scene. "Part of the concept of being part of a franchise is the consistency of approach in uniform and look and signage," he said. The company said later: "Oporto respects the multicultural nature of Australian society and therefore does not promote one religious expression over another." In the shopping centre where Oporto is located, Westfield management has erected a nativity scene.

The Oporto nativity scene had been hidden in a storeroom last night. The store's franchisee declined to comment.



Lorenz Jaeger's biography of Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) is a useful study of an unpleasant but influential figure. From the 1920s until his death, Adorno was the prime mover behind the aggregation of cultural and social iconoclasts known as the Frankfurt School. Together with his more down-to-earth co-organizer Max Horkheimer, who contributed family wealth to their enterprise, Adorno took his socially radical think tank, the Institute for Social Research, in 1934 from its interwar home in Frankfurt to New York and later Los Angeles.

In 1949, at the urging of Horkheimer, who was then rector at the University of Frankfurt, he returned to his native city to resume their research activities uncovering the bourgeois sources of "fascist" and "pseudo-democratic" pathologies. During their American wartime stay, the two friends also collaborated in the compilation of a bulky anthology of disquisitions dealing with the allegedly fascist mentality of the American population. This work, The Authoritarian Personality (1950), had far-ranging consequences for American educators and social reformers despite its turgid and preachy prose and the dubious proofs extracted by the authors from primitive interview techniques.....

After the war, Adorno praised the Soviet Union and the governments that it set up in Eastern Europe as an "anti-fascist necessity." Nonetheless, he made no effort to move to an "anti-fascist" place of refuge, and when he left his adopted country, which he scolded for its anti-Communist hysteria, he did so with documented reluctance. Moreover, notwithstanding his supposed loathing for bourgeois privilege, Adorno lived sumptuously to whatever extent his circumstances permitted. His "untimely death" (as his passing is described in Yale Book News) occurred while he was away from his wainscoted offices on a periodic visit to a resort near the Matterhorn. And for all his talk about the oppression of women in late capitalism, and despite his frumpy appearance (as revealed by the photo on the covers of both the German and English editions of this book), this feminist champion cheated persistently on his wife of many years, Gretel, who, if truth be known, looked less plain than he did......

But Jaeger also documents that Adorno expressed the same attitudes and emotions that he condemned in his fellow Germans. He too was disturbed by the amount of rubble that the Allied bombing left behind. Moreover, he exhibited profoundly bourgeois taste in literature and art, an unfashionable aversion to Negro jazz, and a 19th-century sensibility that kept creeping into his aesthetic judgments. J,ger depicts in his subject a cultivated man of learning who was at war with himself and whose internal conflict had a fateful impact on the lives of others....

What has been called "cultural Marxism" (inaccurately, given its lack of Marxist substance), and which flourishes in Europe and to a lesser extent here as political correctness, would be unthinkable without Adorno and the Frankfurt School. Thanks largely, albeit not exclusively, to their activities, bourgeois normality, belief in God, and patriotism have come to be linked in academic culture and among social reformers to a slippery slope leading to fascism. Marxism, which had previously been primarily concerned with economic revolution, was transformed through Frankfurt School guidance into an unrelenting war against patriarchy, Christianity, and traditional community. By means of their translated writings and the infusion of their attitudes and grievances into American professional psychology in the 1930s and into pop social science thereafter, Adorno and his circle made themselves dramatically felt in the New World. (Since this reception was far more enthusiastic than American conservatives would like to believe, one may have to speak here of a natural fit rather than a deception.)

More here