POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH: ARCHIVE
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.
28 February, 2005
OK TO DRINK TEA BUT A HEALTH HAZARD TO RECYCLE THE TEABAG!
IT’S humble, inoffensive, excellent for plants and eminently biodegradable. But householders in Cardiff, having drunk deep of the recycyling message, have been ordered to keep their used teabags well away from the city council’s compost collections. An EU directive of the straight banana variety has obliged officials in the city of Cardiff to classify the teabag, a simple assembly of paper and dried leaves, as an animal by-product, and therefore the potential source of a future foot-and-mouth outbreak. The reason, according to the EU’s Animal By-Products Order 1999, is that teabags, and indeed used coffee filters, could have come in contact with contaminated milk.
Cardiff has been running composting collections alongside the normal dustbin round for more than a year, and the scheme has proved popular. The city’s problem is that the council does not possess a high-temperature composting plant, which the EU directive requires to ensure that any undesirable organisms are killed off. Indeed, there is no such plant anywhere in Wales. The city is contemplating upgrading its composting plant, but it could take several years and in the meantime officials are telling residents that it can no longer collect household waste for processing into garden compost which can then be sold back to residents. A council spokesman said: “This affects every single authority in Wales. We have to uphold the law, and we have been informing residents that by law we cannot compost kitchen waste.”
Cardiff has the backing of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, where a spokeswoman said: “Home composting is no problem, but when it comes to commercial or municipal composting, because you can’t guarantee the teabag hasn’t come into contact with an animal product, namely milk, you can’t technically put it in. It needs to be treated as a by-product.”
The problem is potentially enormous. The Tea Council, a stickler for statistics, has calculated Britons consume 57.2 billion teabags each year. And of the 156 million cups of teabag tea drunk every day, 98 per cent of them are taken with milk. Put another way, approximately half of all the milk consumed in Britain goes into tea.
Taking the salt out of food won't do any good unless you take people's salt-shakers away too. And the CSPI is a far-Left lobby group which masquerades as a "consumer group". Like all Leftist groups, its aim is to dictate to other people.
A consumer group sued the federal government Thursday, saying that salt is killing tens of thousands of Americans and that regulators have done too little to control salt in food. Despite advisories to take it easy on sodium, Americans are now consuming about 4,000 milligrams a day -- nearly double the recommended limit to keep blood pressure under control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest said.
So the CSPI renewed a lawsuit first filed in 1983 to ask federal courts to force the Food and Drug Administration to declare sodium a food additive instead of categorizing it as "generally recognized as safe." This would give the agency the authority to set limits for salt in foods. "There is no way the FDA can look at the science and say with a straight face that salt is 'generally recognized as safe,"' CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson said in a statement. "In fact, salt is generally recognized as unsafe, because it is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke. The federal government should require food manufacturers to gradually lower their sodium levels."
The CSPI said Americans get most of their salt in processed and restaurant foods. In 1983 the FDA had just begun requiring labels describing sodium content on some packaged foods so the court decided to wait and see how it worked. The new lawsuit, filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, contends that it has not worked well because salt content in foods is higher than ever. "FDA is currently evaluating CSPI's report on salt, including the recommendations it contains," Kathleen Quinn, a spokeswoman for the agency, said.
The government says Americans should try to keep sodium to about 2,300 milligrams a day. "This is about 1 teaspoon," the American Heart Association says.
Salt is not found only in the salt shaker. For example, a teaspoon of baking soda contains 1,000 mg of sodium.
Patients with high blood pressure and others at high risk are told to eat even less salt -- 1,500 mg a day. "Nevertheless, sodium intake has increased steadily since the 1970s," the CSPI said in a statement. "The medical community has reached a consensus that diets high in sodium are a major cause of high blood pressure as well as pre-hypertension, or blood pressure just short of high blood pressure," said Dr. Stephen Havas of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "Today roughly 65 million Americans have high blood pressure and another 45 million have pre-hypertension."
The CSPI issued a report saying that processed foods and restaurant fare contribute almost 80 percent of sodium to the U.S. diet. Frozen dinners are especially high in salt, the report finds. Depending on the brand, some salad dressings contain nearly a quarter of the day's allowance of sodium while others are low in sodium, the report finds. One chain restaurant's breakfast contains two days' worth of sodium -- 4,460 mg -- the CSPI report said. Chinese restaurant meals can be especially, high too. "A typical order of General Tso's chicken with rice has 3,150 mg," the group said.
Dr. Claude Lenfant, president of the World Hypertension League and a former head of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute supported the report. "If we could reduce the sodium in processed and restaurant foods by half, we could save about 150,000 lives per year," he said.
A HARVARD PROFESSOR CONDEMNS THE FEMINIST ASSAULT ON SUMMERS
At last week's Harvard faculty meeting, President Larry Summers saved his job, but he took a pummeling from his angry critics. Summers is easily the most outstanding of the major university presidents now on the scene--the most intelligent, the most energetic, as well as the most prominent. So, alarmed at his abilities and intentions, the Harvard faculty decided it would be a good idea to humiliate him......
Summers saved his job by skating backwards, listening to his critics without demur and occasionally accepting their harsh words by saying he agreed with them. At no point did he feel able to say yes, but . . . in order to introduce a point of his own in response. His accusers were relentless and, as always with feminists, humorless. They complained of being humiliated, but they took no care not to humiliate a proud man. They complained too of being intimidated, but they were doing their best to intimidate Summers--and they succeeded.....
More than most people--to say nothing of university presidents--Summers lives by straightforward argument. He doesn't care whether he convinces you or you convince him. He isn't looking for victory in argument. But his forceful intelligence often produces it, in the view of those with whom he reasons. Sometimes the professors he speaks with come out feeling that they are victims of "bullying," as one of his feminist critics stated. As if to reason were to bully.
One faculty colleague said in response to this, "Can anybody on earth have less reason to fear than a tenured Harvard professor?" True enough, a Harvard professor has both the prominence to awe and, if that doesn't work, the security to escape. But feminists do not think like this. They insist on a welcoming atmosphere of encouragement to themselves and to their plans. If they do not get it, they will with a straight face accuse you of intimidating them even as they are intimidating you.
It takes one's breath away to watch feminist women at work. At the same time that they denounce traditional stereotypes they conform to them. If at the back of your sexist mind you think that women are emotional, you listen agape as professor Nancy Hopkins of MIT comes out with the threat that she will be sick if she has to hear too much of what she doesn't agree with. If you think women are suggestible, you hear it said that the mere suggestion of an innate inequality in women will keep them from stirring themselves to excel. While denouncing the feminine mystique, feminists behave as if they were devoted to it. They are women who assert their independence but still depend on men to keep women secure and comfortable while admiring their independence. Even in the gender-neutral society, men are expected by feminists to open doors for women. If men do not, they are intimidating women.
Thus the issue of Summers's supposedly intimidating style of governance is really the issue of the political correctness by which Summers has been intimidated. Political correctness is the leading form of intimidation in all of American education today, and this incident at Harvard is a pure case of it. The phrase has been around since the 1980s, and the media have become bored with it. But the fact of political correctness is before us in the refusal of feminist women professors even to consider the possibility that women might be at any natural disadvantage in mathematics as compared with men. No, more than that: They refuse to allow that possibility to be entertained even in a private meeting. And still more: They are not ashamed to be seen as suppressing any inquiry into such a possibility. For the demand that Summers be more "responsible" in what he says applies to any inquiry that he or anyone else might cite.
THE CLOSED MIND OF ACADEME: THINGS NOT SAYABLE AT HARVARD
Another comment on the Summers affair (excerpt):
"Summers did not contend that one gender is smarter. He postulated the two genders as intellectually different. Is that no longer sayable in the groves of academe? Does the inquiring mind now find itself fenced out? An avalanche of data points in the direction of differentness; anyone with his (or her) eyes open knows it -- and vive la différence!
Is it sexist even to suggest complementary gray matter on the part of the genders? Can the data not even be discussed for fear of what feminist termagants might say in the faculty lounges? If men and women differ in, say, upper-body strength, might they not differ in their brains as well? If genetic predisposition to the arts and humanities (women) and to math and the hard sciences (men) is such a misguided proposition it is not even discussable, then what of debates about affectional preference vs. genetic predisposition among some toward homosexual behaviors?
If we all are equal in rights, are both genders and all races equal in abilities as well? Do we move, now, to the insertion of equal numbers of women as men on the front lines -- and to the elimination of gender-specific sports?
What of the field of behavioral genetics? Are the great debates -- nature vs. nurture, biology vs. society -- now over, with nurture and society declared the victors? Is there no "intrinsic aptitude"? Do innate differences not exist?"
27 February, 2005
THE FLAG OF ENGLAND'S PATRON SAINT NOW INCORRECT IN ENGLAND
But the Palestinian flag is OK, of course
ST GEORGE'S flag won't be seen flying over the civic centre on his feast day this year - because councillors believe it's too socially divisive. Over the years Hounslow council has flown the Palestinian flag, the Co-operative flag on International Co-operators' Day, the Union Flag on the Queen's Jubilee and on Armistice Day and the Welsh Flag on the request of a local resident - but the English flag of St George is too controversial apparently. Cllr Peta Vaught, (Lab, Heston Central) put a motion to the ruling Labour Group's last meeting to raise the flag over the civic centre on St George's Day (April 23) along with articles in the council's HM magazine and events for local schools. However, her fellow councillors defeated the motion - with only one other Cllr Gopal Dhillon, also Heston Central voting for it.
Cllr Vaught said she had put the motion forward as there "hasn't been a celebration before to my knowledge", adding that her fellow councillors thought raising the flag could be "divisive", and would stir tensions with the BNP: "I haven't had any trouble with the BNP - I have heard they are active in Feltham, and some councillors thought it would be divisive there, by excluding the 30 per cent that aren't English. "I understand their reasoning." Others were less understanding.
Cllr John Connelly, a former Labour group leader turned Independent, said: "It is a decision of donkeys. Given that the council celebrates Diwali with fireworks and other ethnic minority festivals, I suspect many residents will be highly offended by what appears to be a snub to the indigenous community. "Even a Scot like myself, who regarded Beckham as the hero of the European Championships in Portugal following his penalty miss, could not fail to notice that the community at large embraced the flag in the support of England. "Indeed in Hounslow I suspect I saw as many residents of Asian origin displaying the flag on their cars as I saw in cars driven by white drivers. I imagine Tony Blair and his associates will be deeply embarrassed by this decision."
GREAT LITERATURE TO BE ABANDONED IN BRITISH SCHOOLS
Some of the most revered names in literature, including Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, face possible removal from the official pantheon of great writers in a modernisation of English in the national curriculum. In their place, children may be required to study a greater range of modern writers and those who reflect the ethnically diverse nature of modern Britain such as the prize-winning black author Andrea Levy.
Other potential candidates for the new list include fantasy writers Tolkien and Philip Pullman, who many believe more closely reflect the reading tastes of children than the current list. Pullman, author of His Dark Materials, will be present this Wednesday when the government's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) launches a consultation on reform of the English curriculum. He will be accompanied by Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, and Lord Bragg, the writer and broadcaster.
Critics are likely to attack any attempt to cut writers seen as part of the canon of literature, but others believe the system leaves little room for teachers to choose books reflecting their pupils' tastes and ability. Some believe the list should be abolished altogether with the possible exception of Shakespeare. A more widespread view is that the list should be modernised and the number of authors cut, enabling books to be studied in greater depth. "There's too much prescription of what to read," said Pullman. "The government doesn't seem to trust teachers. I'm also annoyed that chunks of books are now studied too much and not the whole book itself."
Bragg agreed. "I'm not really one for lists of authors though I would argue that Shakespeare must be on," he said. "What's more important is that youngsters are encouraged to read as many good books as possible. That might help to encourage reading for life and not just the schoolroom."
The current English curriculum was introduced by Baroness Thatcher's government in 1989, although it was modified in the mid-1990s. Currently one Shakespeare play must be studied by 11 to 14-year-olds, and one more by those on their two-year GCSE course. Other plays must be studied from a list of 10 playwrights. They range from William Congreve, who wrote in the 17th and 18th centuries, to 19th and 20th-century authors such as Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and JB Priestley. Four out of 28 listed pre- 1914 poets and two out of 19 novelists from before that year must be studied. From the years after 1914, four out of a list of 16 poets and two out of 11 novelists must be studied. Together, these lists constitute the officially approved roster of great writers in English literature. The novelists range from Defoe, Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters to Charles Dickens, Jonathan Swift, Graham Greene and George Orwell.
According to sources close to the review, the poets' list could be vulnerable, particularly names such as Sir Thomas Wyatt, the Elizabethan love poet, Keith Douglas, who wrote of his experiences fighting in the second world war, and Gillian Clarke, the contemporary Welsh poet. Some question whether John Milton, a difficult poet to read, should remain on the list. His fellow 17th-century poets Robert Herrick and Henry Vaughan may be candidates for removal. Congreve could also go.
TWO GOOD EMAILS RECENTLY RECEIVED:
"My younger sister was in kindergarten at the time, and my mother recieved a phone call at work: "Hello?"... "Hello! Is this Mrs. K______?".... "Yes it is.".... "Hello, my name is __________ from State Road Elementary School. I wanted to inform you that your child, Christina, needs to be placed into therapy immediately.".... My mother was beginning to become worried. "Why?!?"..... "Ma'am, your daughter needs to be put into therapy because she refuses to finger paint. You must understand this is not normal behavior for a 5 year-old child.".... My mother's jaw dropped. "You want to put her in therapy because she refuses to finger paint?!? That's not strange. She doesn't like to get her fingers dirty. None of my kids liked to get their fingers dirty. I don't like to get my fingers dirty. I think you're the one who needs therapy!""
"I wonder if any of the German Greens condemning the Pope for equating abortion to the Holocaust have heard of abortion pioneer Margaret Sanger and her connections to the eugenics movement? -- which won her warm praise from Hitler himself! Thanks to a skillful PR makeover the old eugenicists dream to limit the breeding of the lower "criminal" classes has now been sold as a women's right. Their agenda here has now largely been achieved. There is a further layer of irony here too, of course. The most ardent advocates of women's right to control their own bodies, have not the slightest regard for individual rights or other forms of self government in non-reproductive matters."
DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO
British Labour Party very "judgmental" and not at all "tolerant": "A woman fighting to become an MP has been dropped by the Labour Party after she admitted that she was a former prostitute. Christine Wheatley stunned officials when she confessed to working in Paris as a "tart" for Fr20 a time. She had been shortlisted for the Copeland seat in Cumbria. Last night the Labour Party defended its decision to scratch her name from the candidacy on the ground that she had failed to inform officials of her six-week career on the streets. A senior official said that when Ms Wheatley was asked whether she had any skeletons in the cupboard she neglected to mention that she was once a member of the oldest profession. "She clearly does not regard this as a skeleton," he said. Ms Wheatley shared that view and remained defiant yesterday. She was not ashamed, she said. In fact, she was more ashamed that she had once been an encyclopaedia saleswoman in Germany"
26 February, 2005
CURING CRIMINALS SOUNDS GOOD BUT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FANTASY
And with hundreds of years of experience to draw on, the current British Left has not managed it either
Multi-million pound schemes introduced by Labour to get convicted drug addicts and yobs off crime are failing, according to an independent think-tank. More than 80 per cent of criminals re-offend despite £45 million being spent on the schemes, a report from Civitas says. It says Britain's law and order policies are among the least effective in Europe, with a crime rate of almost one crime per 10 people giving it the fourth highest rate out of 39 countries. It uses Council of Europe figures to show that England and Wales had 9,817 offences per 100,000 of population - more than double the 4,333 average across the continent.
It adds that the Home Office's own research had concluded a number of the Government's crime-fighting schemes were not reducing crime. For example, Offending Behaviour Programmes, such as anger management courses costing £2,000 each, had not reduced crime. The ministry has also admitted that 84 per cent of criminals placed on Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes - which have cost at least £45 million since 2001 - were reconvicted within 12 months of starting. Labour's Drug Treatment and Testing Orders also failed to work, it said, with 70 per cent of addicts failing to complete them and 80 per cent reconvicted within two years.
Civitas also highlighted Tony Blair's tendency to "opt for the clever use of words" - such as his election slogan "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime" - rather than confront real problems. "Despite the blunt rhetoric of the Blunkett era, the dominant influence at every stage has remained a utopian dislike of prison, a naive view about how hardened offenders can be rehabilitated and an underlying lack of respect for the mass of people," the report says
It also said the Government was benefiting from falling figures from an artificially high peak in the mid-1990s and called for more prisons to be built. The current justice system is too soft on persistent juvenile offenders, who should be sent to secure institutions for a "significant period" after committing three indictable offences, it added.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST AFRICANS FROM AFRICA ON THE WAY?
When educators and politicians argue for giving more African Americans the chance to thrive at top universities, they see people like UC Berkeley fourth-year student Obi Amajoyi as a perfect example of what they have in mind. He's a biology major who has emerged as a peer leader and athlete. He recruits high school students and is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. But while Amajoyi was born in the United States, his parents are from Africa. He considers himself both African American and Nigerian. "I definitely identify with all the struggles that we as African Americans have had to go through," said Amajoyi, 21. "But at the same time, I have this (other) history from my parents."
But Amajoyi is not a direct descendant of American slaves. And critics say his presence at the university -- and that of other black immigrants and their children -- shows institutions have failed to reach those who were the original targets of diversity outreach efforts. Affirmative action programs were started in the wake of the 1960s civil rights movement to help African Americans overcome the legacy of slavery and decades of Jim Crow discrimination in employment, education and other fields.
In 1998, the passage of Proposition 209 ended the programs in California and led to -- what many activists say -- a steady decline in African American enrollment. Critics say that the rising number of black immigrants and their children, such as Amajoyi, at the universities has further decreased outreach efforts to African Americans and have raised concerns that American- born blacks will again be left behind.
But outgoing UC Regent Ward Connerly says the debate only shows how affirmative action has always failed to help those blacks most in need. "Over the years, preference programs, affirmative action programs, have really not benefited low-income blacks, those who were the descendants of slaves," said Connerly. "They have benefited middle- and upper-income blacks. "Recent immigrants are the beneficiaries of this terribly flawed program, " said Connerly. "The institutions don't care about that -- all they care about is chalking up the numbers." Connerly says schools run the risk of sowing division between immigrants and African Americans. But he doubts UC officials will do anything to address the issue. "To a large extent, this has flown beneath the radar," said Connerly. "We (regents) have not discussed it, and I don't think we will."
Nathan Hare, who fought to establish the first ethnic studies program in the United States at San Francisco State University in 1968 and is co-founder of the Black Think Tank in San Francisco, blames these numbers on old stereotypes. "I have nothing against immigrants, but there are sociological realities we have to look at," said Hare. "They don't have the stereotypes of them being lazy and so on." Hare says black immigrants often arrive with higher levels of education and are more willing to take low-level jobs, which can affect how quickly they move up in society. "We'd have a much harder time doing that -- we're supposed to have been past that," said Hare. "We are the ex-slaves and inhabitants of the slums. They (immigrants) are coming in without that (baggage)." .......
Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania who have been studying the achievement of minority students at 28 selective colleges and universities (including Berkeley, Columbia, Yale and Duke) last year found that 41 percent of the black students identified themselves as immigrants, children of immigrants or mixed race.
In December, 300 black students at Berkeley staged a "blackout" day to protest the school's lack of diversity, wearing all-black outfits and bandanas over their mouths. Last fall, there were 108 African American freshmen enrolled at Berkeley out of more than 3,600 freshman students. ......
On a recent day, Amajoyi and some other students gathered on UC Berkeley's campus to discuss the challenges they face at the elite institution. "I'm not sure how deep the line between being from Africa or the Caribbean or being African American is," said Amajoyi, who was born in Texas and grew up in Southern California. "Because our numbers are so low, just being black on campus brings you together. The first thing is you're black." Amajoyi's parents both came to the United States on student visas and attended Texas A&M University.
Branden Turner, 20, a third-year biology major from Los Angeles, recalled taking an African American studies class taught by a professor from the Caribbean. His teacher's background was the topic of discussion on the first day of class. "His point was that even though he came to America, once you walk onto American soil, you deal with the black struggle," said Turner. "I'm perceived (by classmates) as not being as intelligent as the others in my class." ......
Harvard law Professor Lani Guinier has voiced concerns that many of Harvard's black undergraduate students are West Indian and African immigrants or their children.
25 February, 2005
The Pope’s new book stirred controversy in Germany as Jewish groups condemned passages in which he draws parallels between abortion and the Holocaust. Paul Spiegel, the president of the Central Council for Jews in Germany, said yesterday that “the Catholic Church does not understand, or does not want to understand, that there is an enormous difference between mass genocide and what women do with their bodies”.
The Vatican rushed to the Pope’s defence, saying that he had been misinterpreted. But the German Greens, who are part of the ruling coalition, said that they were taking court action to ban Memory and Identity, an autobiographical summation of the 84-year-old pontiff’s life.
German law forbids any “offence to the memory of Holocaust victims”. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that in the offending passage the Pope had discussed the failings of parliamentary democracy and sought to make clear that “a course of action is not necessarily right because the majority have chosen to take it”.
The Pope observes that Hitler rose to power by democratic means and yet proceeded to exterminate millions of Jews. He adds that it follows that parliamentary majorities do not always make “morally just” decisions. “The example which springs to mind is abortion,” he says. “Whoever interrupts a pregnancy commits a grave act of tyranny against an innocent human being.”
The British Inquisition
This afternoon, I attended a meeting called by organisations supporting the government's proposed new law against incitement to religious hatred, which I believe threatens to suppress legitimate debate and criminalise people for simply telling the truth. Lined up in support of this bill were the Commission for Racial Equality, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), Justice, the British Humanist Association and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). Interestingly, they were very much on the defensive, as they felt that the attack on the bill, mounted by the comedian Rowan Atkinson and many others on the grounds that it would criminalise legitimate speech, had already done serious damage to the government's case.
Their arguments ranged from the confused to the disingenuous to the alarming. Confused, because even they couldn't agree with each other about what the bill meant or how it would work. Disingenuous, because they argued that the only reason people feared that the bill would criminalise insult and the giving of offence was because the blasphemy law -- which only protects Christians -- was still on the statute book.
Not only was this a non sequitur,but it ignored the real reasons why people have this anxiety -- some of which were promptly illustrated by some alarming comments that were made. For example, Robert Beckley, the ACPO faith officer, related how he had once wanted to launch a prosecution against people who had argued that Hindus and Muslims in Britain would enact a re-run of the violent Ayodhya dispute in northern India, but had been told he could not do so because the issue was religious rather than race hatred (which is covered by the present law). So now we know what kind of remark the police think they will now be able to prosecute on the grounds that it incites religious hatred.
Then I asked Iqbal Sacranie, general secretary of the MCB,whether he thought that any public statements about Islamic terrorism, or any speculation about the number of Muslims in Britain who might support Islamic terrorism, would constitute incitement to religious hatred. He said: 'There is no such thing as an Islamic terrorist. This is deeply offensive. Saying Muslims are terrorists would be covered by this provision'. So now we know what the MCB wants to prosecute under this proposed new law.
There was much emphasis that the aim was not to bring prosecutions. The aim was to change the climate and prevent such sentiments from being uttered in the first place. The result will undoubtedly be intimidation, self-censorship and grossly curtailed public debate. If this bill's supporters think they have allayed anxiety about this measure, they must be living on a different planet.
24 February, 2005
FREE MARKET BEATS THE FOOD FASCISTS
Which could well be the most valuable lesson of their school years
"When Austin High School administrators removed candy from campus vending machines last year, the move was hailed as a step toward fighting obesity," reports the Austin American-Statesman. Instead, the enterprising students created a black market in sweets:
The candy removal plan, according to students at Austin High, was thwarted by classmates who created an underground candy market, turning the hallways of the high school into Willy-Wonka-meets-Casablanca. Soon after candy was removed from vending machines, enterprising students armed with gym bags full of M&M's, Skittles, Snickers and Twix became roving vendors, serving classmates in need of an in-school sugar fix. Regular-size candy bars like the ones sold in vending machines routinely sold in the halls for $1.50. "There was no sugar in the vending machines, so (student vendors) could make a lot of money," said Hayden Starkey, an Austin High junior who said he was not one of the candy sellers. "I heard kids were making $200 a week just selling candy."
In response, the school has restored some candy to the vending machines by declaring it nutritious: "According to the state, milk chocolate, for example, meets minimal nutritional standards because it does have milk in it. Candy with peanuts contains protein. The vending machines still don't carry Starburst, Skittles and other so-called pure sugar products."
NICE NAMES FOR TERRORISTS
If you've been thinking that we have finally defeated the diabolical illness of political correctness that has been plaguing our society for far too long, you better think again! What do you call people who blow up police stations, ambulance services, restaurants, hospitals, schools, water and electric services, behead social workers who feed their hungry and provide medical attention to their sick, murder men who are there to rebuild their schools and teachers who give their children hope for the first time, Muslims who blow up Muslims, even on the holiest day in the Muslim faith, at the mosques no less? .Insurgents? Hardly!
I call them brutal terrorists! Thugs willing to drug some young idiot wannabe Jihadist, tape a bomb to his chest, tell him he's a martyr, on his way to meet Allah and 77 virgins, point him to a group of innocent people outside a mosque, clawing their way towards the first freedom and peace they have ever known.. Filth, Scum, Neanderthals, Dirt Bags, Murderers, Wimps, Criminals, Cowards, I can come up with a whole list of appropriate names for what these so-called people are, but insurgents won't make that list.
The men, who threw tea into the Boston harbor, now they were insurgents. The farmers, who sent the Red Coats packing, they were insurgents. The term "insurgents" implies that there is something noble in their deeds, something justifiable about their tactics, a valiant act of patriotic duty involved. In this case, nothing could be further from the truth.these freedom fighters are not fighting for freedom, quite the contrary. The term insurgent does not apply to these terrorists, so why do we use it? Because we don't like calling anything what it is these days.that's why. (Using the term "we" as loosely as the term "insurgent" of course.)
What do you call the taking of innocent life, not in self defense, without provocation of any kind, not in war? Some call it "a choice" or "abortion". But I looked it up in the dictionary and I like calling things by their rightful name, so I call it murder.
What do you call deposing the worlds most brutal dictator, responsible for the murder of millions of his own people and the vicious torture of millions more, who attacked, raped and plundered his neighbors on more than one occasion? Some call it a "preemptive invasion", but I call it "liberation" of those held under his boot by brutal force.
What do you call a vial of biological or chemical materials capable of killing thousands or millions of innocent people if left in the hands of those who intend just that? I call it a WMD.you call it what ever you want.
What do you call it when American soldiers risk their lives and the American people fork over their hard earned money to liberate, rebuild, re-train, re-arm, feed, clothe, treat, educate and democratize an entire nation that has lived in fear for 40 years? Many call it an "occupation". I call it a damn expensive humanitarian effort that actually has a chance of reshaping the future of the Middle East, which by the way is the only hope for making this world a safer place to live.
I could go on and on but you get the point, or if you don't, you never will. Insurgents my fat fanny! Most of these insurgents are not even from Iraq, yet most of the people they are killing are. When is the last time you saw insurgents attack their own people, their innocent fellow countrymen, women and children? Insurgents don't do these things, terrorists do.
Is the guy who blows up the abortion clinic an insurgent? How about those who mailed anthrax around the U.S.? What about Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, insurgents? The kids who shot up Columbine, insurgents too I suppose? All just helpless victims of the good old U.S.A., rebelling against authority right?
Wrong! All terrorists plain and simple. People (to use the term loosely) with no respect for human life, no tolerance for civilization, who desire a tyrannical control over others, terrorizing those unwilling to be controlled, hoping to break their will to be free. Real fear-mongers who hope we will shrink from our responsibility to put them in their well deserved early grave.
As for those of you who think they are insurgents, well, it's America, so you can think anything you want. Just don't expect the rest of us who know better, to follow you to slaughter. Call them whatever helps you sleep at night, but you better hope they never rebel in your neighborhood.
The problem with political correctness is, has always been and will always be the results. Calling something ill conceived or evil by a friendlier more acceptable name has a tendency to make the act itself seem more friendly and acceptable. Do we have compassion for terrorists? No. But insurgents? Sure. it almost sounds patriotic to be an insurgent, doesn't it?
Would we support a "pro-infant-murder" movement? No, so we call it "pro-choice" and by doing so, it makes a heinous act sound reasonable, worthy of defense.
Coalition forces went out of their way, taking additional casualties to avoid firing upon terrorists intentionally hiding in mosques. But these insurgents, alleged Muslim jihadists, they didn't think twice about attacking innocent civilians in those mosques did they?
That's because they are not insurgents rising up against some brutal tyrannical regime. They are just common terrorists attacking innocent Iraqi men, women and children. They have no respect for human life, their fellow countrymen or their religion.
So we need to stop kidding ourselves. We need to stop referring to common terrorists as insurgents. We need to stop calling their heinous acts by a nicer name, justifying their tactics and motives as if they demonstrate anything honorable. The use of the term insurgents in this case in not only inappropriate, it's an outright lie and it's dangerous.
23 February, 2005
UNHEALTHY FENCE? THE FAR-LEFT BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL IS AT IT AGAIN
They don't recommend that the Palestinian Arabs stop the building of the wall by stopping their attacks!
Almost a third of West Bank Palestinian villages will be denied free and open access to healthcare facilities once the Israeli government has completed constructing the West Bank barrier, says a report by the French non-governmental organisation M‚decins du Monde.
In June 2002 the Israeli government began to build a barrier around the West Bank that, according to the Israel Defence Forces, will "lessen the impact and scope of terrorism on the citizens of Israel." Already 185 km long, it will eventually be 622 km long and consist of fences, ditches, patrol roads, and a concrete wall 8-9 m high costing an estimated $4.7m (2.5m pounds) per km.
Worst hit will be the villages confined within the "seam zone," the territory between the green line (the 1949 armistice line that delineates Israel's pre-1967 border with the West Bank) and the barrier, according to the report. Villages situated in the enclaves formed by the route of the barrier will also be badly affected, it says. Palestinians wanting to leave these areas to travel to another town in the West Bank will have to apply for a permit and pass through a checkpoint or gate guarded by a soldier.
People requiring emergency health treatment in Palestinian hospitals in other parts of the West Bank face an even longer journey than at present and may not be able to access emergency care at all during the night, according to Regis Garrigue, head of Medecins du Monde's Palestinian projects. He said: "The people inside the enclaves are in a big jail. Sometimes the passage into the enclaves is shut for a day or a night or even a week."
In Abu Dis and Aizaria, two Palestinian towns where the barrier has already been completed, the average time for an ambulance to travel to the nearest hospitals in Jerusalem has increased from about 10 minutes to over one hour and 50 minutes, according to the report. Mr Garrigue says that once the barrier is completed this problem will affect many more villages. "If patients don't have access to their medical facilities or if medical staff cannot reach the facilities to provide medical services the healthcare system is bound to deteriorate," the report warns.
Dr Yitzhak Sever, director of the Department of International Relations in the Ministry of Health, said that all the inhabitants on the west of the barrier, located within the seam zone, are given permits to travel to other Palestinian hospitals. More than 45 000 permits for patients were issued over the past year. He also stressed that Israeli doctors treat Palestinian patients and train health professionals, despite the former Palestinian Health Minister's refusal to sit on joint Palestinian-Israeli health committees after the second intifada in 2000. "Maybe the barrier will not be continued, we don't know. It's there for security reasons as determined by the Ministry of Defence. I know in the majority of places in the West Bank, building is frozen and the barrier will be under debate in the negotiations about disengagement and peace. We hope the new era will being peace for the two peoples," he told the BMJ.
Rod Liddle: Things I shouldn't say about black people
There are some things that you can say and there are some things that you can't say. Paradoxically, they are sometimes the same things. "For example, did you know that black and Asian women commit far more crime than their white counterparts? Almost one third of the total female British prison population is drawn from black and Asian communities. "Now, that's one of the things you can't say, or shouldn't say, unless you're the British National party. Indeed, you may already be twitching at your breakfast table. Those who point out that black people commit more crime than white people tend to be racists, don't they? To highlight the apparently greater propensity of black and Asian people to commit crime is what we call "playing the race card". It foments resentment and antagonism, true or not.
Last week an organisation called the Fawcett Society said just this, however. The Fawcett Society is not a descendant of the League of St George or an ally of Migrationwatch UK or Robert Kilroy-Silk. It is an impeccably liberal pressure group. "Our vision is of a society in which women and men are equal partners in the home, at work and in public life," it proclaims, and its latest report is about how women from ethnic minority backgrounds are having a rough time. "They are far more likely to be put in prison, for example. Now, that is one of the things you can say. Black and Asian women make up 8% of the general population and 29% of the female prison population, ergo they are the victims of an institutionally racist society.
But you can't say that black and Asian women commit more crime. Just as you can say that our schools are failing male pupils from a Caribbean background, but not that boys from a Caribbean background are, for whatever reason, academically not up to scratch. It would seem to me to follow that if children from most other ethnic minority backgrounds do well in school, and that girls from a Caribbean background do very well in school, then the problem might lie with some facet of Caribbean male culture, rather than with the education system.
The Fawcett Society report is a perfect model of its kind; disingenuous, simplistic and quick to draw fatuous conclusions from selective data. We are told that British women from ethnic backgrounds (BMEs, as they charmingly put it, for black and minority ethnic) are subject to "systematic discrimination" and that they are "powerless, poor and passed over" and, worse still, "almost entirely absent from the rank of decision makers in the UK". The report's conclusions ignore entirely the enormous and complex differences between the various British ethnic minorities: the implication is that all women from an ethnic minority background are discriminated against by the white male hegemony - and it's bloody well got to stop.
The truth is rather different. In terms of employment and income (and education), British people from Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Malaysian backgrounds easily outperform their white counterparts, both male and female. In terms of earnings, women from ethnic minority backgrounds (excepting those from Pakistan and Bangladesh but including, for example, African and Caribbean women) easily outperform white women. The average weekly wage of a white British woman in 2002 was œ180, compared with œ187 for all black and Asian women, œ199 for African women and œ210 for Caribbean women. These figures come from the Cabinet Office.
One year later the Downing Street policy unit concluded, in a report entitled Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market, that "the old picture of white success and ethnic underachievement is now out of date". So exactly who is being discriminated against here? Should we not be manning the barricades in defence of white women and calling for positive discrimination against those women from our African or Asian communities? And how do we explain the poor performance of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women (who earn only œ140 per week)? Does the problem lie solely with the racist and sexist white hegemony or might there be something within the indigenous culture that is holding these women back? Does our Muslim community, for example, share the Fawcett Society's aspirations of "a society in which women and men are equal partners in the home, at work and in public life"? Humera Khan is a co-founder of An-Nisa, the Muslim welfare organisation. I don't think she is quite in accord with the Fawcett Society, for a start: "Most women of colour come from both religious and cultural backgrounds that appreciate a healthy separation of roles . . . this can be a problem when facing white feminism, which has a completely different starting point".
So when the Fawcett Society complains that there is not a single female Muslim MP, who should we blame? Recently in The Guardian newspaper, Joseph Harker, an excellent journalist, attacked the Labour party's policy of adopting all-women shortlists for selecting MPs. He pointed out that only 12 Labour MPs will be standing down at the next election and in seven of those seats there will be all-women shortlists: this necessarily limits the opportunity to select a black or Asian candidate, he argued.
The obvious question, if prejudice and discrimination were solely the preserve of a white male power elite, is: why should it? Is it not a tacit admission that some of our ethnic minority communities are suffused with more sexism than the rest of us? Harker then went on to demolish the case for "quotas" for selecting MPs before concluding, mystifyingly, that Labour must ensure that all shortlists contain not just women but also people from a black or Asian background, disabled people and of course gays and lesbians. That's a hell of a shortlist, Joseph. And what if they don't want to be Labour MPs - should we round them up anyway? These attempts to level the playing field through crude social engineering do not work. The reason why women, as a rule, earn less than men and occupy fewer positions of power may be put down partly to vestigial institutionalised sexism; but it is also down to individual choice. In other words, often women do not earn as much as men because they wish to make child-caring their primary role. And this preference is more marked in our Pakistani and Bangladeshi community.
And black and Asian women have a greater propensity to commit crime than their white counterparts. There may well be strong socio-economic reasons for why all this is the case; but nonetheless it is the case. Certainly it is not down to genetic predisposition, as your true racist would aver. But neither is it all down to institutionalised racism and sexism, which we might banish with the sweep of a hand and the passing of a law."
(From "The Times")
22 February, 2005
Men are the losers of the sexual revolution
Columnist Jeffrey Hart recently argued that women were the losers of the sexual revolution. He has a point. By making themselves available outside of marriage, women have undermined the institution of marriage. The problem with Hart's analysis is that he assumes that men want sex and women want marriage. But what if men want marriage, too? Aren't they also losers of the sexual revolution?
Men do want marriage. There is no comfort in a different woman every night. Moreover, that approach to sex might produce offspring, but not a lifetime relationship with sons, daughters and grandchildren.
Because of the emphasis on the sexual benefits to men of the sexual revolution, many people blame men for the revolution. But, of course, it wasn't men who created the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution was a happening. Many men were surprised at the sudden availability of young women. I was a university professor during the 1960s. I remember the complaints of male students that "nice girls are ruining themselves." Sex became casual. It no longer was proceeded by a long period of dating, going steady or being "pinned." Sex became a date activity like going to a movie. Eventually with the present-day "hook-up," sex was divorced from dating altogether.
People who study the sexual revolution blame it on feminists. No doubt feminist intellectual arguments in favor of female promiscuity played a role, but I doubt a significant percentage of the suddenly available young women were being guided by the intellectual musings of feminists. I don't know why the sexual revolution occurred. But I do know that many young men were of two minds about it. It was a helpful development for raging harmones, but it made it difficult for a guy to get a girl of his own, someone special to him.
Eventually, guys may get over their reluctance to enter into long-term relationships with women who have been in bed with their friends or friends of their friends. When I ask men I know who are in their 30s and 40s why they have not married, they do not answer that female promiscuity makes it unnecessary. They say that they are reluctant to propose to easy women. One man put it this way: "I would be uncomfortable in social gatherings where 15 percent of the people had been in bed with my wife."
The sexual revolution has provided men with easy sex, but not with families and wives who don't walk out on them. Feminists may have destroyed the chastity of women, but they certainly destroyed the security of marriage. Today it makes no sense for a man to marry even if sex were unavailable from "hook-ups." The reason is the extreme risk that marriage today imposes on husbands. A wife can throw her husband out of his house, take his children and half or more of his income without having to have a real reason for the financial and emotional ruin she brings to her husband. We hear a lot about successful middle-aged men who leave their wives for younger "trophy" wives. But most divorces are initiated by women and are involuntary divorces from the husbands' standpoints.
Back when marriages were real, solid grounds were required for divorce. Moreover, divorce was not designed to financially ruin men. Today divorce proceedings treat husbands and fathers as criminals in the dock. If a husband fights over custody of children or visitation rights, the wife simply tells the police that he has threatened her and gets a restraining order, or she reports him to Child Protective Services as a child abuser. A man who marries today is either ignorant of the risks, has great confidence in his choice of mate or is a fool.
VILIFICATION LAWS TO KILL FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Charges under such laws have now been thrown out in the USA and Sweden but there has been one conviction of a Christian pastor in the Australian State of Victoria -- though only in a low level tribunal so far. It has not yet gone to appeal. But it does focus the minds of concerned Australians:
A raft of new legislation is being passed throughout the Western world. These laws are called by various names, such as vilification or tolerance or discrimination laws. Sometimes they are referred to as hate-crime legislation. Whatever their title, these laws are problematic for a number of reasons.
There are different types of vilification laws, based on a wide variety of issues, such as race, religion, gender, sexuality and ethnicity. They often come with stiff penalties if a person is found guilty. While the intentions behind them may have been good (to reduce hatred and vilification, etc), these laws have generated a number of worrying outcomes (whether intended or not). I list here 10 major shortcomings of this type of legislation:
A first problem with these sorts of laws is that they tend to confuse different issues. For example, one should not mistreat or discriminate against particular persons because of something they cannot help, such as their country of birth or their gender. But these laws are less helpful in other areas, such as in lifestyle choices or in religious beliefs. When a belief or behaviour is chosen, it is quite different from something that is intrinsic to a person and cannot be altered. Thus, in the Victorian Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001, we have the conflation and confusion of two quite different issues: race and religion. Race cannot be helped. You are born into one race and remain a member of that race for the rest of your life. But religion is different. While most people at first follow the religious practices of their parents or community, when older, people often will accept or reject that religious upbringing. Religious conversion of course is a chief example of this.
There are a few rare exceptions, when both race and religion overlap, as among Jewish people. Jews can be described as both a race and a religious community. But some Muslims want to claim both race and religion for their faith, something which is clearly far-fetched.
Similarly, some homosexuals argue that they are born that way. But sexual preference is not at all akin to racial make-up. Increasingly, however, vilification laws are being passed which include sexual orientation.
Victoria's vilification legislation confuses two quite different issues, and muddies the waters from the very beginning. Fortunately two Australian states have recently dropped plans for religious vilification legislation: South Australia and Western Australia. They have realised that while there might be a case for racial vilification laws, there is no rationale for religious vilification legislation.
Second, these laws are usually broad, vague, nebulous and filled with ambiguous and unclear terminology. Consider the Victorian Act. It speaks of "severe contempt", "revulsion" and "severe ridicule". Such terms are far too subjective, arbitrary and loose to serve any useful role in a judicial setting. Good legislation should always have not only clear terminology, but also clear aims and objects. A law is a bad law if one is never quite sure whether it applies to oneself or not. Such fuzziness in the legislation makes these laws particularly vulnerable to misuse and abuse.
One can act in good faith, and still be found guilty. Indeed, acting "reasonably and in good faith" is part of the exceptions in the Victorian legislation. Yet two Christian pastors who thought they were doing exactly that were told by a judge that they were not. So some official must now determine, with all the wisdom of Solomon, what is in good faith and what is not. In fact, the very issue of acting in "good faith" seems to be thrown into doubt in the Victorian Act when it states that a "person's motive in engaging in any conduct is irrelevant"! If motivation is irrelevant, then how can one begin to even speak about acting in good faith? Is that not a matter of motivation and intent?
Third, these laws are usually instigated by particular members of the community at the expense of the rest of the community. In Victoria, it was mainly certain Muslim and Jewish groups which pushed for the legislation. There was no general demand for the legislation. When the Victorian legislation was first debated, the Government and Opposition received more than 15,000 submissions, letters and e-mails on the issue, with almost all of them against it. In spite of this huge outcry by the community, a handful of politicians, influenced by a handful of minority activists, foisted this unpopular and unnecessary law upon all Victorians. So much for democracy at work.
Twice I publicly debated the author of the legislation. On both occasions she said that she did not feel there would be many cases at all arising because of this legislation. But as I pointed out, if that is the case, why do we need the law in the first place? If so few cases are expected, then that proves that things are fine as they are, and we do not need this big-brother legislation forced upon us.
Fourth, most Western nations and states already have legislation on the books that deals with assault, incitement to violence, defamation, slander or libel. All the serious activities that do warrant political and legal sanction are already covered. So why the need for these extra laws, unless there is an attempt to promote someone's agenda, to engage in social engineering and manipulation?
Fifth, usually in these laws the burden of proof is on the one accused of being offensive or of vilifying. Unlike the usual course of judicial events, the person charged is in effect found guilty until proven innocent. Those charged must prove that they have not committed the crime, or why they qualify for any exemptions. And usually they must bear all the expenses as well (court costs, legal costs, time off work, etc.) In the meantime, the one bringing the charges gets the full backing of the state, often with all costs paid by the state (or taxpayer). Thus these laws are discriminatory and are unjust in their application.
Sixth, when religious cases are involved, we have the anomaly of a secular judge or authority making complex judgements on matters of religious and theological dispute. When religious people themselves are quite divided on many questions of theology and religion, how is some secular arbiter who knows nothing of the theological subtleties and complexities supposed to make a helpful and informed decision concerning issues that would baffle and divide even professional theologians and religious educators? The State should not encroach into religious matters, and should not set itself up as an arbiter of theological disputes. It is exactly the hallmark of totalitarian states when governments decide upon questions of religion and belief. By telling people what to think and what to believe, the State moves well beyond its role in a democratic society.
Seventh, concerning religious vilification, the whole idea of bringing up concepts like offence and vilification is quite bizarre. Religious truth claims by definition imply that some religions are true, some are false. Of course a Muslim will be offended if a Christian says that Jesus is God. Of course a Hindu will be offended if a Muslim claims that only Islam is the final and true religion. Of course an atheist will be offended if a Jew insists that God exists. Of course a Christian will be offended if a Muslim says Jesus did not die and rise again from the tomb. If an atheist scoffs at the claims of Mohammed and mocks the Koran, of course a devout Muslim will take offence. If homosexual activists send up nuns in a pride march, of course Catholics will feel ridiculed and vilified. If I say that Jesus is the only path to eternal life, of course universalists will be offended.
Devoid of truth
To seek to do away with all feeling of ridicule, offence and insult would be to effectively rob most religions (and especially those which make exclusive truth claims) of most of their core doctrines and teachings. We will be left with a watered down lowest-common-denominator mish-mash that offends no one. And one which is totally devoid of truth as well. But of course many of those behind the multicultural lobby and the push for tolerance (and the authors of these laws) have exactly that in mind. Indeed, plenty of inter-faith councils and other ecumenical bodies have stated their aims quite clearly in this regard. They seek to rid the world of what they consider to be offensive religious claims. And usually the claims of Christianity are first and foremost the ones they have in mind.
Eight, hate crimes are double jeopardy. Not only are the crimes themselves judged, but now so too are the "bad thoughts" behind them. Hate-crime legislation says we must punish you further for the hateful thoughts that went into your illegal action. In fact, it is even worse than that: it creates a crime where none previously existed. By simply expressing a point of view which results in no outward action, a judge can rule that your words may have incited violence or hatred. So we have here a crime with no victims. There is only the potential for an unpleasant outcome to occur. Someone, somewhere, sometime, might be offended. No crime has taken place. Just some vague potential for someone to feel offended, maybe.
Nine, hate-crime laws are bad laws because they punish people for their thoughts. In turn, thought police are needed to make sure everyone is thinking politically allowable thoughts. But who determines what a hate crime is? And how? If a homosexual activist calls a Christian a bigot, is he guilty of a hate crime? If a secularist calls a concerned Catholic a religious Taliban, is that a hate crime? There seem to be a lot of double standards here. Christians are vilified every day, but I do not hear those screaming for tolerance and acceptance rushing to their defence. But if Christians dare stand up for what they believe in, they are dragged off to the tribunals by those same advocates of tolerance.
Ten, the very idea of vilification legislation is a severe curb on freedom of speech. The right to argue one's case, to criticise other points of view, to point out differences of religious and political viewpoints - these are all fundamentals of a free and democratic society. When we say that government officials will decide who is allowed to debate issues, and how that debate its to take place, we are then moving away from freedom to repression. And when state authorities decide questions of political and religious truth, we have then moved from democracy to tyranny.
21 February, 2005
CHILDHOOD OBESITY JUST ANOTHER UNFOUNDED SCARE
The belief that childhood obesity is at epidemic levels and is rising exponentially are no more than unsupported speculation, according to recent data from the annual Health Survey for England 2003, published by the Department of Health on 14 December 2004, and analysed by the Oxford-based Social Issues Research Centre. The new analysis shows that:
-- Body Mass Index (BMI) trends have been broadly flat for both boys and girls aged under 16 in the period 1995 to 2003, with very modest increases in average BMI of around 0.5 for boys and 0.6 for girls.
-- The UK National Standard for assessing child obesity used by the government's recent Public Health White Paper overstates the scale of the child obesity problem - 15.5 per cent obese - compared with the less arbitrary International Standard - 6.75 per cent obese.
-- Although the rates of increase of obesity under both measures are broadly similar (60 to 70 per cent), the difference between the numbers of children defined as obese is likely to have a significant impact on the appropriateness and scale of the measures to tackle the problem of obesity.
-- There is no indication of any significant change in the number of children with chronic illnesses, including type II diabetes, over the past nine years. The absence of any evident deterioration in the health status of children supports the conclusion that children are not becoming fatter as fast as is widely believed.
-- The prevalence of obesity is strongly related to age. The 16 to 24 year age group - both males and females - is substantially less at risk of becoming obese than older age groups, and the incidence of obesity for males in this age range has declined very slightly in recent years. Those aged between 25 and 34 have the second lowest rates of obesity. Middle-aged people and those of retirement age are the most 'at-risk' groups.
-- More young men and women in the 16 to 24 year age group have a 'desirable' BMI of between 20 and 25 than any other BMI category. Men of this age are twice as likely to be underweight as they are to be obese.
As the report concludes: 'We do no service to the people at risk of obesity-related morbidities in our society by "hyping" their plight, exaggerating their numbers or diverting limited educational, medical and financial resources away from where the problems really lie.
'Banning advertising of "junk food" to children and similar measures may be popular in some quarters, but they are unlikely to impact much on the generation of people in their 50s and 60s - those with vastly higher rates of overweight and obesity than children and young people.
Harvard Hates The White Race?
Is the multicultural campaign really about diversity? Or is it about stamping out Western civilization and the “white race” itself? College students will tell you that a university education today is a guilt trip for whites. The purpose is to prevent whites from appreciating and absorbing their own culture and to make it difficult for whites to resist the unreasonable demands (quotas, reparations, etc.) from “people of color.” To the questions, “who am I, what am I,” the white university graduate answers: “a racist, sexist, homophobic oppressor.”
Neither parents, trustees, alumni, nor the public are aware of the anti-white propaganda that masquerades as education. When someone who is aware tells them, they think the person is exaggerating in order to make a point.
Now comes Harvard educated Noel Ignatiev, an academic at Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African-American Research. Dr. Ignatiev is the founder of a journal, Race Traitor, which has as its motto, “treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.” The journal’s purpose is “to abolish the white race.”
At the least, Dr. Ignatiev intends cultural and psychological genocide for whites. It is unclear whether physical extermination is part of the program. A statement by the editors on the web site says that the new abolitionists
“do not limit themselves to socially acceptable means of protest, but reject in advance no means of attaining their goal.”....
Where did he get this view? His only education was at Harvard where he received two graduate degrees. Is Harvard embarrassed? No. Dr. Ignatiev [email@example.com] is showcased in the current issue of Harvard Magazine. Getting rid of whiteness is not controversial at Harvard, because it is the business of American universities. A white skin, you see, is a mark of privilege. It is not the privilege of being admitted to Harvard even though you don’t meet the entrance requirements. It is not the privilege of being hired independently of ability because of government enforced racial quotas. It is not the privilege of being able to sue whites and “white companies” if blacks are not proportionately represented in the work force. It is not the privilege of being able to call whites every name in the book and sue if a white replies in kind. The privilege of being white is that whites can secretly believe they are superior and, as long as they don’t mention it, be loyal to the white race.
But Dr. Ignatiev has an idea like Hitler. A race is guilty and must go. The communists said it was a guilty class that had to go. If you thought genocide was left behind in the 20th century, be apprised that today genocide has a home in the educational system.
20 February, 2005
Pro-Homosexual Study Authored by Lesbian
Raising questions about a conflict of interests, a pro-family leader claims that the co-author of a 2002 study of the children of homosexual couples is not a researcher but a propagandist. Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network in Virginia, said that he was puzzled by the work of University of Virginia professor Charlotte J. Patterson, who co-authored a study which claimed that the children of lesbian couples are as happy and well-adjusted as children living in traditional homes. In addition, the study recommended -- as steps toward "breaking down legal barriers to maintenance of parent-child relationships in families headed by gay and lesbian parents" -- repeal of all sodomy laws, legalization of same-sex "marriage" throughout the U.S., and legalization of adoption by same-sex couples as well as "second-parent adoptions" (adoption of the children of the other same-sex partner).
Such reforms, stated the report, "would extend to gay and lesbian parents and their children the legal protections that are now generally taken for granted by other families." In that report, titled "Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents: Research, Law and Policy," Patterson cited her own research extensively.
However, Glover did some research of his own, and discovered that Patterson is a lesbian in a relationship with a female partner, and the couple has three children between them. The pro-family advocate said Patterson has an obvious agenda and is using her title as a psychologist to put forth one-sided propaganda. "She actually writes books on how lesbians can manipulate the law in order to have double adoption processes so they can create these lesbian so-called 'families,'" he said. Patterson, he added, is a radical homosexual activist "who has a clear agenda to redefine what a family is or should be."
In addition, according to an article in The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, Virginia), Patterson admitted that the study did not deal one of the most controversial issues -- whether or not kids raised in same-sex households were more likely to become homosexual themselves.
Those in favor of legitimizing same-sex families frequently gloss over or completely ignore this area of debate. For example, in a panel discussion at Tufts University, Dr. Ellen Perrin, professor of pediatrics at the Tufts-New England Medical Center, said the matter was not even a valid question. "One of those questions that always gets asked is, 'What are these kids [raised in same-sex families] going to be?' I'm bothered by that question," she said, adding that "it's a homophobic question, because it doesn't matter" if a child turns out to be homosexual. Perrin was instrumental in getting the American Academy of Pediatrics to change its policy to favor same-sex families.
MORE ON THE BRITISH LEFT'S HATE FOR FREE SPEECH
Performers and writers, reports The Times (London), 'have helped to force a government climbdown' over new legislation banning something called 'incitement to religious hatred'. Well, that's what they have been trying to do, at least.
The legislation in question, part of the UK government's Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, represents yet another attempt by the illiberal New Labour administration to chip away at the right to free speech. Since the immediate aftermath of 9/11, no opportunity has been spared to attempt to whip up concern about the terrible consequences of 'Islamophobia' (consequences that have yet to materialise), and to use this as a pretext for outlawing speech deemed offensive to religious minorities. So the government should climb down, and this legislation should be scrapped.
In fact, there has been no climbdown, only something rather less dramatic. Following intense lobbying by some of Britain's respected actors and writers, including Rowan (Mr Bean) Atkinson and Salman (The Satanic Verses) Rushdie, the government is reportedly changing the working of its legislation slightly. The offence will become 'hatred against persons on racial or religious grounds' to make it clear that religious jokes, beliefs or ideas are not threatened by the new law. 'It is hatred against people rather than hatred of ideas that we are trying to prohibit', explained Home Office minister Fiona Mactaggart.
Leaving aside for the moment how a government can hope to use law to make 'hatred against people' illegal, it is clear that, as opponents of this 'religious hate' law have pointed out, such wordplay makes the legislation no less restrictive of free speech. The idea that it can be a crime to use words or behaviour 'with the intention or likelihood' that they will stir up hatred against people based on their religious beliefs amounts to creating a new kind of thought crime. The effect could be to outlaw any criticism or joke about religion that can be deemed to be somehow offensive.
It is not difficult to imagine the chilling effect this would have upon art, let alone upon journalism and politics. As we have long argued on spiked, without the right to be offensive there is no right to free speech.
How heartening it is, then, to see writers and artists banding together to oppose this legislation, under the banner 'Offence'. Organised by English PEN, the writers' organisation for free expression, the Offence campaign on 10 January sent an open letter to home secretary Charles Clarke, signed by nearly 300 of the UK's eminent writers, outlining its concerns. 'The new legislation encourages rather than combats intolerance', states the letter. 'We do not need it. What we need is a signal from government that it wishes to defend true democracy and its many virtues, including those of dissent and the freedom of expression.' (4)
To indicate the UK government's contradictory approach to religious tolerance, the Offence campaign highlights its refusal to repeal the blasphemy law, 'a relic of pre-multicultural times'. And to show the crucial role that offending contemporary sensibilities has played in history, the campaign has compiled a list of great writers whose work was deemed highly offensive at the time.
Whatever happens to the government's new religious hate law, such a campaign is valuable, and well overdue. Our anodyne, risk-averse culture has elevated hurt feelings and sensibilities to such a level that anything that can be deemed remotely offensive to the current 'acceptable' etiquette is seen as just cause for censure and censorship. Whether it's football managers making racist gaffes or politicians arguing for unpalatable programmes, the cries of 'Shame!' and the demands for apologies, resignations and bans are loudly heard. By contrast, the notion that it is a good thing for people to challenge the orthodoxy, even if the arguments they use to do so are repugnant, often seems like a quaint custom of history that has no relevance in our modern, right-thinking world.
The Offence campaign seems to be trying to put the case for dissent back on the political agenda, and this is something we badly need. It may not stop the passage of more laws restricting free speech: New Labour's illiberal streak is too strong, and the political opposition too weak, for that. But such campaigns help to expose the problems of these laws and the cultural climate they create, as well as the utter disregard our politicians hold for free speech, even while they pay lip service to the importance of liberty and democracy.
'It is right and the state has a right to put some boundaries on free speech', blithely stated Fiona Mactaggart on 7 February. At least now some are beginning to argue that no, it's not right for the state to do this; no, the state does not have an automatic 'right' to do it; and free speech surrounded by 'some boundaries' is not free speech at all.
19 February, 2005
SANDWICHES: SENSE OF HUMOUR INCORRECT AT RUTGERS
Rutgers University has banned the "Fat Dyke" and the "Fat Bitch". Both were the names of sandwiches listed in the menus on the sides of food trucks that park along the College Avenue campus. Students from the school's gay organization and several female students complained to the administration that the sandwich names were homophobic and sexist.
The independent food trucks are licensed by Rutgers. Following the complaints the university ordered that the offending names be removed. The vendors' contractual obligations include "showing respect to all students, faculty and staff, and operating in a professional, courteous manner," Rutgers spokeswoman Sandra Lanman said in a statement.
By Wednesday afternoon, they were covered up with duct tape or magic marker. "It's not like it's a bad thing. I'm not trying to discriminate or anything," Sam Algar owner of one truck told The Star-Ledger of Newark. "It's extraordinary. It's funny."
But, Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a statewide gay and lesbian political organization, isn't laughing. "These sandwich businesses manage to be sexist, homophobic and offensive all in one grand slam," he told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This is how hate crimes start, when people feel it's OK to make biased comments publicly."
If you've ever been to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, you've undoubtedly heard of The Fat Darrell sandwich. Well MajesticGroove Entertainmentä is proud to announce that this artery clogger was created by none other than our founder, Darrell W. Butler, during his pre-personal trainer days.
It all started out with the Fat Cat a Rutgers University staple 1979 that consists of two cheeseburgers, french fries, lettuce, tomato and onions. That Fat Cat remained the number one selling sandwich at the school ever since it was created in 1979...that is until 1997 that is when a new king was crowned-The Fat Darrell Especiale. And while many other students have tried to create their own sandwiches since then, none have or may ever duplicate the startling success or longevity that the Fat Darrell has enjoyed.
Some sandwich-relevant student comment:
Bonnie Schubert, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she does not understand the need to change the names and was never offended. "They're just words, just something funny," she said. "If they didn't want to eat there, they could choose to go somewhere else."
Rutgers College sophomore Barjdeep Kaur said she doesn't believe that covering up the names was necessary. "I don't think it really mattered," she said. "If you don't like the names, don't buy the sandwich."
The controversy emerged when members of the LGBT community on campus said they were offended by the names of certain sandwiches. The outcry was brought to the attention of PATS, and all names deemed offensive were asked to be taken down, otherwise a citation would be issued to the offending Grease Truck.
Kathy Lopes, a Rutgers College sophomore, said she's concerned about all the changes that have to take place to please everyone. "Everyone's all stuffy. Now, the food has to change their name," she said. "Soon everything will have to change."
And more wicked Rutgers sandwich names:
But the lunch crowd was all right with the sandwich names. "They're just part of the culture of this corner," said Amy Gehrmann, a secretary who works at the university. "It's fine."
The Fat Phillippino? "I think it's kind of cool," said Jeff Torralba, who was born in the United States 17 years ago but whose parents come from the Philippines. "I don't think they're using the word in a bad way or anything like that." "Fat Phillippino!" a cook yelled from the RU Hungry wagon. "Uh, that's mine," Torralba said and went to pay for his sandwich.
The Fat Phillippino is one of the sandwiches Rutgers complained about. It will be renamed. "No big deal," said Ryan Gaboy, whose ancestry is in part Italian. "I'm not offended by these names." The Fat Romano sandwich is all right? "Sure," Gaboy said.
Well since it's OK to refer to name a sandwich with a euphemism for a gay man, would it be all right with Gaboy if, instead of a Fat Romano, Elfeiki were to use an ethnic insult to name one of his sandwiches? "No problem," Gaboy said. "I'd probably order one."
THE DESTRUCTIVE SELF-ESTEEM GOSPEL OF THE LEFT
Andrea Sobel shudders at those oh-so-positive messages aimed at boosting kids' self-esteem. She has heard her fill of "good job" or "great picture" or any of the highly exaggerated claims that parenting experts and educators spouted as the way to bring up well-adjusted children. Sobel, the mother of 16-year-old twins in Sherman Oaks, Calif., says they could tell "what was real and what was fake," even when very young. "I was tired of going to the sports field and seeing moms say, 'Great job at going up to bat.' It hit me early on that kids could see through inane compliments."
Those often-empty phrases, however, raised a generation. Kids born in the '70s and '80s are now coming of age. The colorful ribbons and shiny trophies they earned just for participating made them feel special. But now, in college and the workplace, observers are watching them crumble a bit at the first blush of criticism. "I often get students in graduate school doing doctorates who made straight A's all their lives, and the first time they get tough feedback, the kind you need to develop skills," says Deborah Stipek, dean of education at Stanford University. "I have a box of Kleenex in my office because they haven't dealt with it before."
To be clear, self-esteem is important to healthy development. Kids who hold themselves in poor stead are thought to be most vulnerable to trouble — from low academic achievement to drug abuse or crime. For those from disadvantaged backgrounds, the stakes may be higher and the needs even greater. But empty praise — the kind showered on many kids years ago in the name of self-esteem — did more harm than good. "Instead of boosting self-esteem, it can lead you to question your competence," says developmental psychologist Sandra Graham of UCLA.
Self-esteem became a buzzword more than 20 years ago, fueled by parenting experts, psychologists and educators. Believers suggested that students who hold themselves in high regard are happier and will succeed. That culture was so ingrained in parents that protecting their children from failure became a credo. This feel-good movement was most evident in California, which created a task force to increase self-esteem. "At the time my children were raised, we were suffering from a misguided notion that healthy self-esteem results from something extrinsic that tells you you are a good person," says Betsy Brown Braun, a child development specialist in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and the mother of 26-year-old triplets.
It wasn't limited to the West Coast. Raising self-esteem became a national concern, and educators thought it could help raise academic achievement. But schools got sidetracked into worrying more about feelings, says Charles Sykes in Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add. "Self-esteem has virtually become an official ideology," he writes.
A 1991 teacher training session in the Houston area taught the evils of red ink and told teachers to pick another color, says Pat Green, a teacher since 1982. "They said it had a very negative impact, because red is so symbolic of wrong answers," she says. Some also said grammar and spelling errors should be overlooked so students wouldn't be discouraged from writing, Green says. "It was so 'don't damage their self-esteem' to the point where you would praise things that weren't very good."
Cassie Bryant, 22, is a product of those times. "I kind of became an award junkie," she says. She believes the awards motivated her and helped her get into a competitive college. But, she recalls her first semester at New York University as "brutal." "I had always been in honors in high school, and the writing teacher said, 'I don't think that's a good place for you.' I started crying right there. I had never been told that before."
Now, the tides have turned. Schools teach the basics to improve performance on standardized tests, and self-esteem programs have evolved from phony praise to deserved recognition for a job well-done. Girl Scouts of the USA promotes self-esteem by emphasizing strengths and skills while encouraging feelings of competence, says developmental psychologist Harriet Mosatche, senior director of research and program. "It used to be, 'Whatever you do is great.' That old-fashioned misuse of the notion of self-esteem is not positive. It's unrealistic, and not helpful," she says.....
Overall, research shows that self-esteem scores have increased with the generations, says Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University who compared studies on self-esteem of 66,000 college kids across the USA from 1968 through 1994. Such studies are typically based on self-ratings. She also has noticed that the undergraduates she teaches tend to have an inflated sense of self. "When you correct writing, they'll say, 'It's just your opinion,' which is infuriating. Bad grammar and spelling and sentences being wrong is not my opinion, it's just bad writing," she says.
So when the criticism flows, some college students are increasingly seeking counseling. Sam Goldstein, a neuropsychologist at the University of Utah, likened some students to bubbles — on the surface they seem secure and happy, yet with the least adversity they burst.
Neil Howe, co-author of Milliennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, urges colleges and employers to better understand this group, born in 1982 and later, who are in college or recently graduated. Howe believes "milliennials" are a very connected, team-oriented generation that could benefit society. "It's a positive for the workforce and possibly for politics and community life and citizenship," he says.
But employers such as Sobel, director of recruitment for an entertainment firm, aren't so sure. "One of the things the managers talked about is an incredible sense of entitlement for people who don't deserve it," she says. "They'll come in right out of college and don't understand why they're not getting promoted in three months."
18 February, 2005
AMERICA STEPS BACK FROM THE BRINK TOO
"A judge dismissed charges on Thursday against four anti-gay Christians accused of violating hate crime laws when protesting at a gay street festival, saying free speech rights allowed them to do so. Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe said the four members of "Repent America" exercised their right to free speech when they refused to move away from the city's gay pride "Outfest" last October.
The protesters used bullhorns and placards to warn festival participants that they would suffer eternal damnation for their homosexual behavior. After a noisy, nonviolent confrontation with gay people, they were charged with incitement to riot, and violating a 1982 Pennsylvania law that bars inciting hatred on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality or sexuality. "You cannot stifle free speech because you don't want to hear it," Dembe said. "Many of these messages may be repulsive and offensive but people are allowed to make them. The right to free speech extends to neo-Nazis marching in towns where Holocaust survivors live and to the Ku Klux Klan, the judge told a packed courtroom.
The leader of the group, Michael Marcavage, 25, said after the ruling that he felt vindicated. "It's a good thing to know that there are still some judges who respect the First Amendment," he said, adding that his group plans to protest another local gay rally on May 1".
HARVARD OPPOSES ACADEMIC FREEDOM
No free speech or concern about the truth at the People's Republic of Harvard
The president of Harvard University is under attack from his academic colleagues that could force him from his job after he suggested that women may be not as good as men at mathematics and science. Lawrence Summers, who was Treasury Secretary to President Clinton, was buffeted by complaints about his leadership at an angry faculty meeting on Tuesday and could face a confidence vote next week. Many professors at the Ivy League school were outraged by Dr Summers’s suggestion, at an academic seminar last month, that “innate differences” may be the reason why fewer women than men teach mathematics and science there.
More than 250 professors crowded University Hall on Tuesday for what old hands described as the most heated staff meeting since the Vietnam War. It was closed to the press except for The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, and professors recounted their remarks to reporters outside. “Many of your faculty are dismayed and alienated and demoralised. There is a legitimation crisis concerning your leadership and style of governance,” Arthur Kleinman, chairman of the anthropology department, told Dr Summers.
Dr Summers, a former World Bank economist known for his blunt manner, has said that the comments were made “in the spirit of academic inquiry” to underscore the need for further research. According to the Crimson, he began the meeting by reiterating that he regretted his remarks. “I deserve much of the criticism that has come my way,” he said. “If I could turn back the clock, I would have said and done things very differently.” He cited his creation of two task forces on hiring female professors as proof of his commitment to improving the status of women at Harvard.....
HORRORS! MALE AND FEMALE BRAINS HAVE BIG BASIC DIFFERENCES
Larry Summers vindicated
Men and women do think differently, at least where the anatomy of the brain is concerned, according to a new study. The brain is made primarily of two different types of tissue, called gray matter and white matter. This new research reveals that men think more with their gray matter, and women think more with white. Researchers stressed that just because the two sexes think differently, this does not affect intellectual performance.
Psychology professor Richard Haier of the University of California, Irvine led the research along with colleagues from the University of New Mexico. Their findings show that in general, men have nearly 6.5 times the amount of gray matter related to general intelligence compared with women, whereas women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence compared to men. "These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior," said Haier, adding that, "by pinpointing these gender-based intelligence areas, the study has the potential to aid research on dementia and other cognitive-impairment diseases in the brain." The results are detailed in the online version of the journal NeuroImage.
In human brains, gray matter represents information processing centers, whereas white matter works to network these processing centers. The results from this study may help explain why men and women excel at different types of tasks, said co-author and neuropsychologist Rex Jung of the University of New Mexico. For example, men tend to do better with tasks requiring more localized processing, such as mathematics, Jung said, while women are better at integrating and assimilating information from distributed gray-matter regions of the brain, which aids language skills.
Scientists find it very interesting that while men and women use two very different activity centers and neurological pathways, men and women perform equally well on broad measures of cognitive ability, such as intelligence tests.
This research also gives insight to why different types of head injuries are more disastrous to one sex or the other. For example, in women 84 percent of gray matter regions and 86 percent of white matter regions involved in intellectual performance were located in the frontal lobes, whereas the percentages of these regions in a man’s frontal lobes are 45 percent and zero, respectively. This matches up well with clinical data that shows frontal lobe damage in women to be much more destructive than the same type of damage in men.
Both Haier and Jung hope that this research will someday help doctors diagnose brain disorders in men and women earlier, as well as provide help designing more effective and precise treatments for brain damage.
17 February, 2005
SWEDEN STEPS BACK FROM THE BRINK
A Swedish pastor convicted of hate crimes for a sermon denouncing homosexuals as a ``cancer'' was acquitted Friday by an appeals court that said he was protected by the country's free speech laws. The Goeta Appeals Court said that while Aake Green's views of gays can be ``strongly questioned,'' it was not illegal to offer a personal interpretation of the Bible and urge others to follow it. ``The purpose of making agitation against gays punishable is not to prevent arguments or discussions about homosexuality, not in churches or in other parts of society,'' the court said.
Green, 63, was the first clergyman convicted under Sweden's tough hate crimes laws, which make it a crime to make inflammatory remarks against racial, religious or national groups. The laws were ratified in 2003 to include homosexuals. Green gave his sermon the same year, telling a congregation on the small southeastern island of Oeland that homosexuals were ``a deep cancer tumor on all of society.'' He warned congregants that Sweden risked a natural disaster because of its leniency toward gays. ``Homosexuality is something sick,'' Green said. He compared it with pedophilia and bestiality, saying gays were more likely to rape children and animals. He was convicted in June and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Green said it was not the month in prison he's worried about, but ``the freedom to preach God's word.'' The appeals court shared that concern, saying statements during sermons rarely qualify as racial agitation.
Green's acquittal brought a sigh of relief from some ministers who saw the case as a challenge to freedom of religion and expression. ``This indicates that the justice system works, and that it gives a certain amount of protection to us who preach God's word,'' said Ralph Toerner, a priest from the Swedish branch of the British-based Holy Catholic Church. ``But at the same time, I think this should be a warning signal to preachers overall, that they shouldn't use such coarse language when talking about something sensitive. The Christian faith is not about judging people.''
Prosecutor Kjell Yngvesson argued that Green -- who invited several newspapers to hear the sermon -- ``expressed disdain for the homosexuals as a group. He compared the sermon to a racist shouting out the Nazi salute ``Sieg Heil.'' Johanna Nystroem, a spokeswoman for RFSU, the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education, had hoped Green's sentence would be upheld. ``To say these things in a public setting is to call for action (against gays),'' said Nystroem. ``It's one thing to be against homosexuality, but when you're urging people to take action in the way he did, it's a completely different matter.''
Not all religious leaders support Green. Swedish Archbishop Karl Gustav Hammar has denounced his sermon, calling it ``a miserable theology,'' and said the case should not be seen as a threat to religious freedom. ``It's not a question of the freedom of the pulpit,'' Hammar said. ``The sermon was evidently sent out to the media to create a reaction.''
ISLAM NOW A STATE-SPONSORED RELIGION IN BRITAIN
No separation of church and state in Britain! Religious Education students in Britain must now include the letters “pbuh” (“peace be upon him”) in parentheses every time they write the name of Mohammed
Religious Education in most schools in the UK is about comparative religion. There are six statutory religions in teaching RE. The law says that Christianity has to be the dominant religion taught in RE. Schools then choose amongst Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism to fill out the rest of the curriculum. My school does the first three. These four religions are taught in years 7, 8, 9 (the same ages as 6th-8th grade in the US).
At GCSE* we do one of the Christianity papers and one of the Islam papers (with corresponding essay coursework). Now I don’t have a problem teaching comparative religion generally. I think it is a good thing for both children and adults to know about other religions and understand the cultures around them.
The potential problem has arisen in teaching about Muhammad. The exam board requires that every time Muhammad is written, the letters “pbuh” in parentheses be placed after it. This is shorthand for “peace be upon him”. The writer therefore prays a blessing upon him everytime his name is written, as is the custom of Muslims. So I have to tell my students (over and over if there is any hope of them remembering) that they must bless Muhammad every time they mention his name.
For most, if not all, of my students, this will be no problem. Few, if any, have any religious convictions whatsoever. It’s not so bad that I have to tell them to do something that I would find reprehensible. However, I am expected to model what they should do to reinforce their learning. I will never pray a blessing upon Muhammad. To do so would be to repudiate my faith. It would imply I believe the Shahada (the Muslim declaration of faith) even if those hearing or reading it were unable to infer this.
THE LOST CULTURE WAR -- (SO FAR ANYWAY)
Here are three small news items from around the world you might have missed:
1) An unemployed waitress in Berlin faces the loss of her welfare benefits after refusing a job as a prostitute in a legalized brothel.
2) A British court has ruled that a suspected terrorist from Algeria cannot be detained in custody because jail causes him to suffer a ''depressive illness.''
3) Seventeen-year-old Jeffrey Eden of Charlestown, R.I., has been awarded an A by his teacher and the ''Silver Key'' in the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards for a diorama titled ''Bush/Hitler and How History Repeats Itself.''
A trio of itsy-bitsy little stories from the foot of page 27 of your daily paper, if they made it at all. But they're as revealing about the course of the war as anything going on in Iraq. The Germans, in the bad old days when their preferred field of combat was France rather than Fraulein Helga's government-regulated bondage dungeon, used to talk about ''wehrwille'' -- war will. America, Britain, Australia and a select few other countries have demonstrated they can just about muster the ''war will'' on the battlefield. On the broader cultural front, where this war in the end will be won, there's little evidence of any kind of will.....
When the Germans legalized their whorehouses, they thought it showed how relaxed and enlightened they were. The al-Qaida types take a different line: They think it's a sign that the West is decadent and weak and cannot survive. And they have a point: The government forcing women into prostitution is merely the latest example of the internal contradictions of the modern secular state.
That British court judgment is another. SIAC, the United Kingdom's anti-terrorist court, found in 2003 that the 35-year-old Algerian male in question had ''actively assisted terrorists who have links to al-Qaida.'' But he was released from Belmarsh Prison because of his ''depressive condition.'' I'd be in a depressive condition if I were a terrorist: The Afghan camps are gone, the Great Satan's liberated Iraq, and Osama re-emerges from his three-year sabbatical only to release a floppo ''Vote Kerry!'' video recycling a lot of lame Michael Moore gags. The more Islamists in a depressive condition the better. Maybe if they get sufficiently depressed they'll stop being terrorists and become trainee accountants or male hairdressers.....
I'm not worried about Iraq. As they demonstrated on Jan. 30, they'll be just fine. The western front is the important one in this war, the point of intersection between Islam and a liberal democratic tradition so mired in self-loathing it would rather destroy our civilization just to demonstrate its multicultural bona fides. It's not that young Eden knows nothing, but that neither his teachers, judges nor furniture showroom proprietors do. By contrast, our enemies know us very well, at least when it comes to courtroom strategies and canny manipulation of the fetish of ''tolerance.''
It's an open question whether the West will survive this twilight struggle: Europe almost certainly won't, America might; on the other hand, the psychosis to which much of the culture is in thrall may eventually reach a tipping point into mass civilizational suicide. And then the new barbarians will inherit, and young Master Eden will end his days pining for the rosy-hued nostalgia for the Bushitler tyranny.
16 February, 2005
NEW SUMMARY OF MULTI-CULTI ATTACK ON BASIC VALUES
"MULTICULTURAL MADNESS" documents how multiculturalism, which started on college campuses during the "cultural revolution" of the '60s, has succeeded in making America so confused, "politically correct" and "minority-sensitive" that it has all but forgotten its original, core, Judeo-Christian values. Because of rampant multiculturalism:
* American heroes from Christopher Columbus to the Pilgrims are now likened to genocidal racists and maniacal bigots.
* "Whiteness studies" - the latest incarnation of multiculturalism on America's college campuses - teaches that "whiteness" is the underlying cause of practically every conceivable social ill and that white people are almost inherently evil.
* Devil-worship and witchcraft are now afforded the same respect as worship of God. For example, a Virginia judge ruled that officials in Chesterfield County discriminated against a Wiccan when they barred her from opening a government meeting with prayer. And Britain's Royal Navy allowed a non-commissioned officer to conduct satanic rituals on board one of its ships, giving him his own satanic altar where he could dress up in black robes and perform ceremonies to worship the devil using bells and candles.
* Perversion and sexual criminality are now equated with traditional, monogamous marriage. In 2004, thousands of same-sex marriage ceremonies were conducted throughout the U.S. - in open defiance of the law - under the banner of fundamental fairness and non-discrimination. Polygamy may soon be legalized in Utah. Even adult-child sex - euphemistically called "intergenerational sex" - is making surprising headway into the mainstream, based on today's pervasive climate of moral equivalence among all forms of consensual "love."
This worldview whereby we declare all human cultures and moral codes, from the fairest to the foulest, to be equal in value is made possible only by the total abandonment of any objective standard of right and wrong. And this confusion is now even compromising America's ability to fight and win the "terror war," hindering the government from clearly identifying who the enemy actually is:
From the Beltway snipers (who had praised 9-11 and threatened jihadi violence) to the Muslim pilot of Egypt Air Flight 990 (who intentionally crashed his plane into the Atlantic killing all aboard while praising Allah), to the killers who recently executed all four members of a New Jersey Christian family in the ritualistic Islamist way (multiple knife attacks and near-beheading) - the official response is always the same: reluctance, in the face of overwhelming evidence, to conclude that "Islamic jihad" was the crime's motive.
Likewise, the press - the filter through which Americans receive their information - is also paralyzed by political correctness. Stephen Jukes, Reuters' global head of news, decreed that the giant wire service's 2,500 journalists should not use the word "terrorist" to describe terrorist acts. "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist," he wrote in an internal memo. "We're trying to treat everyone on a level playing field . To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack." 9-11 was not "a terrorist attack"?!
At least one media organization is not in the grip of political correctness, says WND/Whistleblower Managing Editor David Kupelian.
"Unlike our colleagues at Reuters and CNN and the rest of the so-called 'mainstream' press - which isn't very mainstream - we at WorldNetDaily aren't confused about our loyalties or about what's right and wrong, or about what made America great," said Kupelian. "And this issue proves it. It delivers a sparklingly clear, in-depth expose of what multiculturalism is really all about - namely, hatred of everything Western, white, male and Judeo-Christian."
Puncturing the politically correct
By Johnnie Carrier
What's wrong with the world? Have we all gone completely mental coo-coo? Who started this political correctness stuff and why do we need it? Can't anyone take a joke anymore?
Stuffed animals in straight jackets causing a national uproar: What's up with that? The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has been charged with insensitivity over a Teddy bear in a straight jacket? The bear called Crazy Over You has started petitions and has politicians speaking out against it. Can't we laugh anymore? It appears that the mother of a person with mental illness has started the campaign to get the bear off the shelf - all because her son is ... er, mentally challenged.
After going on its Web site, I saw the Vermont Teddy Bear Company had another Valentine bear. It was a Cupid bear - a Cupid bear shooting arrows of love. Shouldn't they take that off the market, since my Great Uncle Lucas Carrier was killed by an Injun (I mean a Native American) in 1878?
You can't say anything without offending people. We don't go blind anymore; we are "vision impaired." We can't go crazy anymore; we "lose our mental capabilities." Are you fat? No more. You are "horizontally challenged." Are you a bum on the street who found this paper on a park bench? No way. Now you are an "unemployed, hygienically impaired person"
Do you wear false teeth? No more. You have improved your chewing capabilities. Have no teeth? Well, depending upon you age you are either pre-or post-dental. Heartbroken? Some cardiologist may take that the wrong way. Let's change that to "romantically in need of repair." Change the name of a smoker to a tobaccoist. Eyeballs? Now they will be known as focal orbs.
Not only did George Orwell write a novel named after a cool Van Halen album, "1984" included something we are living out today, and that, sport fans, is called NEWSPEAK. The totalitarian government in Orwell's novel thought by changing the way we spoke we would change the way we thought. Bad became ungood. Great became doublegood. We need to be really careful here, kids, or chocolate will soon become unvanilla.
I really don't think it's a blue state, red state thing. Both shades of those two primary colors are guilty. Political demigods from both sides of the aisle want to change the name of antipasto because it might offend those who are propasto. If we don't get a hold of this soon, heavy petting will mean a fat dog playing in your yard. Or jumbo shrimps will blow their tops at the suggested reference to obesity.
What's wrong with saying what's on your mind? Where did those easily offended people hang out when they were kids? Didn't you tease each other? In other words, didn't you learn to take a joke? Soon the world will be filled with mommies giving their sons and daughters Inuit kisses instead of Eskimos kisses. Look how stupid it is. Would you drop the word pervert for uninhibited? Of course not (even though people have called me both of those words). But the word pervert may offend you. Well, the term snowflake offends me, so from here on we will call them "crystallized frozen water in one-of-a-kind shapes."
People are so afraid to offend. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams changes its name from the Mohawks to the Trailblazers. What they should have done was change the name to the Mohicans because James Fenimore Cooper killed off the last one of those in his "Leather-Stocking Tales," published in 1826. How come pro sport teams don't have to change their names? The Atlanta Braves could be called the Flames, after the match that General Sherman lit during the Civil War. The New York and San Francisco Giants need to be renamed. I'm surprised that people suffering from giantism haven't raised a really big stink over that one. The Washington Redskins will be changed to the Monuments, and they won't be able to take ticket reservations any more. The queen will expect the Kansas City Royals to change their name. I would recommend that we change the name of the New England Patriots, but we don't have any of those left in this country so why bother. The San Diego Padres? I went to a parochial school, and trust me, you don't want to tick off those dudes or their sisters.
Don't be afraid to say what's really on your mind, as long as it comes from your heart - and then who can complain? Only the truly crazy among us.
15 February, 2005
HOW WHITE LEFTISTS PERPETUATE THE GHETTO
An email recently received:
A number of years ago my wife's business partner (who happened to be black) was a conservative who insisted on good behavior, sent his children to a conservative Lutheran parochial school, spanked them when they misbehaved through high school, insisted that his girls wear dresses and not jeans, preached premarital abstinence, had a zero tolerance attitude toward drinking and drug use (he never used alcohol, although he didn't condemn its moderate use), and had daily prayer and bible devotions in his home. He was faithful and kind to his wife, although it was clear that he considered himself to be the head of his family. He had a close friend (who was also black) who was a principal of an inner city school. This gentleman tried his best to move his school toward standards despite the interference of the liberal school board, etc.
One day his sixteen year old daughter defied him by seeing a boy she had been forbidden to see and staying out until the wee hours of the morning. When she got home her father gave her a sound bare bottom spanking with a hairbrush. In her anger his daughter called the police afterwards. Her father was carted off to jail, convicted of child abuse, and ordered to attend parenting classes.
During the trial the daughter said that she was profoundly sorry for having called the police, that she did it out of anger, that her father had never abused her, that she knew that she would be spanked if she disobeyed her father, that she deserved the spanking, and that she hoped that after the trial her father would be permitted to give her a much longer and harder spanking for having showed her ingratitude to him by calling the police!
Here is an example of how the court and social workers undermined the stability of an inner city black family by interfering with the commendable disciplinary decisions of an exemplary black family. The father of this family has been seriously wounded in his self-confidence and self-esteem. I would argue that the court and the social workers involved (all white) are morally inferior to the black family in their values. I think they are a great threat to everything that is decent about our society. The problem is not race but moral issues and values. Whites should be making alliances with blacks with solid values to resist the politically correct nonsense.
Swedish government bans science on gender differences
(Post lifted whole from Secular Blasphemy)
Columnist Carl Hamilton in Aftonbladet writes about a very troubling conflict between science and politics in Sweden. My translation:
The government bans opinions on men's and women's brains
In one respect Sweden's government is unique in the world. It has a definite opinion about a scientific controversy: whether women's and man's brains are different, or not. The first time i realised that the government had involved itself in neurobiology, was when gender equality minister [! - ed] Jens Orback in a speech about sexual deviations and living with horses [!!! - ed], affirmed:
- The government considers female and male as social constructions, that means gender patterns are created by upbringing, culture, economical conditions, power structures and political ideology.
Apart from taking a position on this scientific question, the government has deiced to side with the most extreme researchers: gene theoreticians who for ideological reasons state that biology can not have any saying in explaining why male and female behaviour differs.
This reminds me about the Soviet biologist Trofim Lysenko. Lysenko was by Stalin proclaimed a scientific genius and his "creative darwinism" was hailed as a huge step forward for genetic research. Lysenko argued that learned traits could be inherited and that by manipulating the environment one could easily cause fundamental changes in plants and animals. Career hungry politicians loved him. Ideology meant everything, experiment and science nothing.
The real scientists, who protested, were cleaned out (and executed).
One of the reasons I write this is that the county government (länsstyrelsen) in Norrbotten has banned the publication of a book about gender equality because it contains an interview with a scientist who argues that the difference between men and women is not only caused by the environment, but a combination of inheritance and environment.
According to professor Annica Dahlström, one of the world's leading neurobiologists, men's and women's brains are different. Thus she has entered an area where Sweden's government has already ruled what is scientifically true and false.
The result is that the book is being censored. The county government has demanded that the interview with Dahlström has to be removed, or there will be no money and no book.
The county government doesn't hide what this is about:
- Since our job is to execute Swedish policy, we cannot stand behind a book that expresses these opinions.
Thus, no deviating opinions about gender roles, especially not if they happen to be correct.
If the Swedish governent decided that the Earth is flat, all Swedes would fall over the edge.
PS: We remember the controversy around Harvard President Lawrence Summers.
"Our Swedish gender equality policy is based on us being equal and being socialised into different gender roles," declared Britt-Marie Lugnet-Häggberg in the Wednesday DN. "Annica Dahlström is an essentialist feminist (särartsfeministisk) and believes that boys and girls are totally different. The county government cannot publish material with that opinion."
One should believe that the gender equality director is joking. But she is not.
The term I have chosen to translate "essentialist feminist" refers to feminists who believe that men and women are different biologically, and that gender equality can be achived by emphasising the strengths of the feminine nature. Many ecofeminists are in this category. I have no idea if this characterisation of Dahlström is correct, but it is somewhat amusing to see a book being banned not only for promoting a mainstream scientific opinion, but also for promoting a heretical branch of feminism.
PS 2: I have somewhat reluctantly used the term "gender" in this posting, even though I consider it a misnomer when discussing sex differences. "Gender" really refers to noun forms in grammar, where languages like Greek, Latin, German, Norwegian and many others have (especially) nouns separated into feminine, masculine and neuter categories. This term was then used by feminists to describe sex as a social construction (as opposed to a biological one). Since using "gender" avoids the term "sex," which easily brings our mind to think about sexual relations, this neologism has been a huge success. I know a lost philological battle when I see one, but I don't have to like it.
Feminine in grammar sometimes, but not always, reflects feminine in nature. Many are endlessly amused that the German word for girl, Mädchen, is neuter.
COCA COLA INCORRECT -- OF COURSE
Another way for the children of well-off families to show how superior they are
"Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change (SSJIC) held a "Kick Coke Off Campus" party last Thursday, February 3, in the Campus Center. It was a casual event in the basement, with a DJ and plenty of food and Coca-Cola alternatives for students to sample. Some of the alternatives were POLAR seltzer, Cape Cod Dry and a few generic brands of cola. Students were also able to make patches for bags and clothing, while reading up on the recent activities of Coca-Cola as well as about the past relationship of Coke and Smith College.
The "Coke Off Campus" campaign began in response to the decision by SINALTRAINAL, a Columbian food workers' union, to make public to the international media the alleged human rights abuses of Coca-Cola last spring. The right-wing paramilitaries in control of the corporate branches there have recently threatened and assassinated several union leaders. The executive Coke office claims that it cannot be held responsible for the political situation abroad.
But from right on campus, some students are calling on Coke to assume more corporate social responsibility. "Instead of randomly going to rallies, students should realize that colleges are complicit in the global economy, and make the change here," said Emma Roderick '07".
14 February, 2005
PC PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS CONTINUES
Trial this week
"It is a story that has the Christian community on the edge of its seat. In Philadelphia [on Oct. 19th, 2004], 11 Christians were arrested and charged under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law (the Ethnic Intimidation Act), for preaching the Gospel. The arrests took place at a homosexual event last October, and five of the 11 still face serious criminal charges. Twenty-five-year-old Michael Marcavage is at the center of a case that could determine whether preaching the Gospel is a hate crime; specifically, whether preaching against homosexuality is a hate crime. Marcavage, who has a ministry called Repent America, and 10 other Christians, took their message "Homosexuality is sin, Christ can set you free" to Outfest, Philadelphia's annual gay "coming out" celebration, last October.
The video of the event shows the Christians being surrounded by an aggressive homosexual security force that was holding giant pink styrofoam angels and blowing loud whistles. Marcavage's lawyer, Scott Shields, says the video is key to their defense. Shields said, "Because a picture tells a thousand words, it shows exactly what happened and when the Christians appeared at this event. Michael Marcavage and the other defendants were met by this hostile, lawless mob -- and they really were. They had these gigantic, pink styrofoam boards to block their written messages, and they were blowing these obnoxious whistles, and when you see the whole video, you can tell that the police are just getting very tired of hearing all of this noise. And the only way to stop that wasn't to tell them to stop and put down their pink boards and put their whistles away. They arrested our clients."
Marcavage is seen on the video questioning police about his First Amendment rights. Later, he and the others are led away from the crowd, handcuffed, and put into a paddy wagon and taken to jail. Once behind bars, Marcavage discovered just how serious the charges were: three felonies and five misdemeanors. The felonies include: ethnic intimidation and inciting a riot found under Pennsylvania's hate crimes law. The charges could mean 47 years in prison, if convicted. Marcavage said, "Well, it was absolutely astonishing. I had no idea that I would be one of the first victims in our nation to be charged under hate crimes legislation, which I see as the criminalization of Christianity. When you look at the target audience of these hate laws, it is the Christians -- they want to silence our message."
The case is unprecedented, because, according to Shields, "It's the first time in America that preaching the Bible has become the evidentiary basis for a hate crime." Shields remarked, "In my estimation, this is sort of the `last gasp' of this whole movement. They want to go into the public square, they want to have their open celebrations of sin, as Mr. Marcavage states; yet when the Christians come with a message that's completely antithetical to what their message is, they act like a lawless mob and they put the Christians down." Shields said that the case is a clear violation of his clients rights to free speech, provided not only under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, but even more strongly under Pennsylvania's free speech laws. And Shields added, "I think it's disturbing, because it's a complete and absolute abuse of power. Our government officials are going to do everything they can to protect any special interest group out there, and I think that these prosecutions are all about getting the Christians to just go back into the closet.".....
Philadelphia is a city rich in history. The signing of the Declaration of Independence happened here, the Liberty Bell is here, this is the birthplace of American freedom, including religious freedom, but it may also go down in history as the city that jailed 11 Christians, and charged them with a hate crime for preaching the Gospel. It is a charge that the founder of Pennsylvania himself was familiar with. William Penn, who now looks down from his perch atop city hall, was once arrested for preaching the Gospel in public. But that happened in England. He came to America to escape religious persecution.
Marcavage fears Christianity itself is now on trial. He said, "What does this mean for the pastor in the pulpit, or the Christian sharing his faith in the workplace? We're going to find more and more Christians who are going to be targeted under these types of laws in the future, and our hope is that Christians would awaken to the fact that if we don't say something now, we'll end up saying something behind bars."
Philadelphia's District Attorney Lynn Abraham, who is one of the architects of Pennsylvania's Hate Crimes Law, is aggressively pursuing the criminal charges against the Christians. She is up for re-election, and some charge, trying to cater to the homosexuals.....
Although there is a possibility that the case could be thrown out later this month, many say the fact that it ever made it this far should send chills to every Christian in America. The Department of Justice is looking into the legal charges surrounding the action, and apparently the judge is not too impressed with the Commonwealth's case. She remarked, "If they don't want to hear messages they don't like, there are plenty of other countries they can move to.""
As a result of the above abuse of the law by the aggressively Leftist female DA, there are now moves to scrap the law as it applies to homosexuals. See here and here, which could result in REDUCED protection for homosexuals -- a fine example of foot-shooting!
Note the contrast of the above events with this note of events elsewhere by Thomas Sowell: "When pro-life demonstrators tried to hold a peaceful march in San Francisco on January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a pro-abortion crowd not only followed them, shouting to drown them out and hurling insults at them, some sat down in their path to block the march and force them to detour". Christians are apparently fair game and those who oppose them are sacrosanct.
LANGUAGE REALISM INCORRECT
"A group of Latino constituents from Worcester say their state representative is discriminating against them because the veteran lawmaker recently told them not to waste his time at a meeting by addressing him in Spanish, which he doesn't understand. Members of the group Neighbor to Neighbor, which represents low-income residents, said Representative John J. Binienda humiliated them when he told the group member who sought a meeting: 'Only English in this meeting. ... People in America need to speak English. They can't function without speaking English.' The group meets approximately once a year with Binienda. In a phone interview, Binienda explained that he is simply pressed for time and trying to allow the maximum number of people to address him."
DANGEROUS BLACK CRIMINALS OK
(As long as they are young)
"Is there no one in Los Angeles politics who can tell the truth? Not when it comes to crime, apparently, as has been vividly demonstrated this week in the aftermath of a police shooting that claimed the life of a 13-year-old auto-theft suspect. This is what we know: Just before 4 A.M. Sunday morning, LAPD Officers Dana Grant and Steve Garcia were on patrol in South-Central Los Angeles. They saw a maroon Toyota Camry run a red light, and when they attempted to pull the car over the driver led them on a brief, high-speed pursuit on the Harbor Freeway and on surface streets. The Camry's driver lost control of the car while attempting to make a turn, and when the car came to a stop on the sidewalk a male passenger jumped out and fled on foot (he was later arrested). The officers' car came to a stop just behind the Camry, which now contained only the driver. Officer Garcia was the passenger in the police car, and as he stepped from the car the Camry began backing toward him. Believing that the Camry's driver was attempting to run him down, Garcia opened fire, firing ten rounds. The Camry struck the police car, causing damage to much of its right side, including the passenger door where Garcia had been standing. The Camry continued backing up, then lurched forward and came to a stop next to the police car. The driver had been struck by Garcia's gunfire and was killed. Investigators learned the car had been stolen a few hours earlier.
A tragedy, to be sure, but one made all the more sickening by the shameless political sideshow that soon followed. The dead driver was Devin Brown, a 13-year-old black boy. I mention his ethnicity here only because of its relevance to the carnival of racial pandering that's been escalating all week, with politicians falling over themselves to denounce the shooting, and the always reliable chorus of "community activists" calling for the officers to be brought up on murder charges. Perhaps the most craven of all was Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn, who called for swift changes to LAPD policy. He addressed reporters and protesters at a news conference staged in front of a South L.A. police station on Tuesday. "I am joining in the anger and the frustration," Hahn said, "and I stand here with great concern over this latest use of force." One wonders if the mayor joined in the anger and frustration expressed by those protesters who carried signs reading "Death to the pigs." Addressing the LAPD policy on shooting at moving cars, Hahn said, "We need to make sure this doesn't happen again." As to how to prevent 13-year-old boys from using stolen cars to run over police officers, the mayor had no suggestions.
More puzzling have been some comments from police commissioner Rick Caruso. Ordinarily a rational man (recall his reported 2002 characterization of Rep. Maxine Waters), Caruso came a bit unhinged at a commission meeting. "It's almost inconceivable to lose a child under these circumstances," said Caruso. "So, to the African-American community and to all of Los Angeles, I apologize, and we need to do the right thing."
It's inconceivable to Caruso, certainly. He lives in a gated Brentwood mansion, with 24-hour police protection, so the grim realities of life in South-Central L.A. are probably little more than abstractions to him. But cops on the street are asking, Apologize for what, exactly? A 13-year-old behind the wheel of a car is just as dangerous as a 30-year-old, probably more so. And neither Caruso nor anyone else has proposed a method by which officers might determine the age of a driver during a high-speed pursuit through the early morning darkness.
Though current LAPD policy discourages officers from shooting at moving cars, there are deliberate ambiguities for those situations in which an officer has no other choice but to fire in order to save his own life or someone else's. Press descriptions of Brown as being "unarmed" overlook the fact that he was aiming a 2,000-pound car at a cop. California law explicitly states that a police officer may use deadly force to confront an assault likely to inflict serious bodily injury. The damage to Garcia's police car leaves no doubt that he would have been seriously injured or killed had he not taken action. Whether it may have been wiser for him to hold his fire and run out of the way of the car is debatable, but he was not obligated to do so under current law.....
This will be a long, sorry spectacle. But one sure result will be that the LAPD, which only now is starting to make inroads into the violent-crime problem in South-Central L.A., will be less proactive and less effective. The sentiment among many cops is this: If I chase him I might catch him, and if I catch him I might have to hit him or shoot him. And who needs that?"
13 February, 2005
UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA AT LOS VEGAS UNDER PRESSURE
UNLV appears to have chosen to hide behind a cloak of secrecy in dealing with its attempt to discipline Professor Hans Hoppe for the comments he made regarding homosexuals and his claim that they have a tendency towards high time preference.
Many in the news media and many on the internet have chosen to raise questions with regard to the contractual "Academic Freedom" rights of Professor Hoppe and whether UNLV has over-stepped its bounds by attempting to discipline him for his remarks. UNLV simply says it will not discuss the matter. What next? Will UNLV claim National Security Concerns as a reason for not discussing the situation?
Here is the UNLV press release: http://www.economicsdaily.com/unlvrelease.html
In my book, university campuses are supposed to be institutions where free and open discussions can be made, it thus seems almost bizarre that UNLV refuses to even discuss the disciplinary actions it has attempted to enforce against Hoppe.
This strikes one almost as an old Soviet Union type method where rulings are made and who know's why? Sadly, if UNLV gets its way, all students will know about this situation is that Prof. Hoppe said homosexuals have high time preference and he was punished for it.
If there is more to the story UNLV, let's hear it.
Don't hide behind the weak argument of protecting the student's identity. We don't want to know the student's identity. We want to know why you are trying to discipline Prof. Hoppe.
To the UNLV officials responsible for putting out the above referenced press release, you should be embarrassed that you did so.
Frankly this press release looks to me like the Politically Correct Crowd getting caught with their pants down, and now they are trying to run for cover.
Post lifted from Economics Daily
MORE CRAZY BLAME-SHIFTING LAW
No more lifeguards on Australian beaches?
Surf lifesavers have warned they may have to abandon their red and yellow patrol flags on beaches after a High Court ruling upheld a multi-million-dollar payout to a man left as a quadriplegic after an accident on a patrolled beach. This week's 3-2 High Court decision to reinstate a $3.75million negligence award to Guy Swain, 31, had the potential to halt beach patrols by Surf Life Saving Australia, the group's chief executive officer Greg Nance said yesterday.
Mr Swain was permanently disabled when he dived into a sandbank while swimming between the flags on Bondi Beach in Sydney. "Our lawyers have indicated there is not a problem. Our insurers, on the other hand, want to have a look at it, and that worries me," Mr Nance said. "Without public liability insurance, I can't put the patrols out and I can't put the flags out. If it's taken away from us, it's a sad day for Australia."
Lawyers and insurers for SLSA will meet Mr Nance on Monday to decide whether the SLSA still had the ability to put the flags out.
After his accident in 1997, Mr Swain successfully sued Waverley Council for negligence and was awarded $3.75 million in damages by the NSW Supreme Court in 2002. However, the verdict was overturned on appeal by the council. In making this week's decision, Chief Justice Murray Gleeson said the original jury's finding of fact - that Waverley Council failed to exercise reasonable care in positioning the flags - should not have been overturned during the appeal.
Since Mr Swain's accident, the states have introduced legislation aimed at capping public liability payouts. But Mr Nance warned the Swain case may have a "knock-on" effect and that successive interpretations by judges would see the state laws wound back. "I hope it's not the first shot in a protracted battle that we lose eventually, and that these laws get watered down," Mr Nance said. He said he hoped the decision did not expose SLSA to claims of negligence or affect the organisation's ability to obtain insurance. For the past six years, SLSA has been able to get affordable insurance only from overseas brokers. Claims against SLSA had dropped to zero in the past two years since the laws were introduced, Mr Nance said.
The contribution of Australia's volunteer lifesavers could also be undermined if, as a result of the judgment, the burden of proof shifted and lifesavers, instead of the injured, were required to record and collect evidence to justify their actions and decisions, Mr Nance said.
The blame game: "It seems that everybody's looking for somebody to blame these days. In things large and small; all encompassing and personal; important and, well, laughable; the greatest effort is spent laying the problem at someone else's doorstep rather than actually figuring out how it is there's a problem in the first place. And then once fault has been set to somebody's satisfaction, somebody else will get sued instead of anybody bothering to see what it might take to actually fix the problem. It's important, of course, in this process that a few facts don't get in the way of any predetermination of blame, and that the whole story not be publicized when half of the story is more incendiary."
12 February, 2005
BRITISH CHARITIES THAT HELP EVERYONE ARE INCORRECT
Only discrimination is acceptable
"The Samaritans may have to close a large branch after lottery organisers ruled that it was not helping enough “disadvantaged” people. The charity, best known for its work to help the suicidal, said it had been told that an application for a £300,000 grant was rejected because it was not targeting asylum-seekers, ethnic minority communities, the young and the elderly. Instead, the Big Lottery Fund has given £360,000 to a group that helps prostitutes. Ann Widdecombe, the former Home Office Minister, last night labelled as “quite mad” the award to the UK Network of Sex Work Projects.
The decision has also baffled staff at the Sheffield branch of the Samaritans, which needs to renovate a former factory to house its 120 volunteers. Isobel Bincow, of Sheffield Samaritans, said that the branch received 22,000 calls a year from across Yorkshire and Humberside. “We are very disappointed to be turned down. We accept any callers of whatever creed or colour,” she said. “We have no barriers, yet the lottery organisers are saying we are not targeting specific groups. We are not discriminatory, but it seems we have been discriminated against. It feels like they’re saying our work isn’t worthwhile.” The Samaritans applied for the grant because its rented Sheffield premises have been sold for conversion into a restaurant and the charity will have to leave in six months. The branch used a £100,000 legacy to buy a former goldsmiths’ factory and initially applied for a £500,000 lottery grant to help to renovate the building. When that was rejected, the Samaritans applied for the lesser sum of £300,000.
Mrs Bincow, who has been appointed MBE for services to her local community, said: “I don’t think we were asking for too much. We haven’t enough money to move into the new building and it’s possible we may have to close temporarily unless we can raise enough cash at least to open one floor.” Mrs Bincow said that lottery organisers had told her that the Samaritans’ failure to target disadvantaged sections of society had counted against it.
However, Gerard Oppenheim, director of planning and performance at the Big Lottery Fund, blamed the grant failure on “sheer competition for funds. They were asking for £300,000. The plain fact is that the committee had a budget of £1.3 million, but faced 30 applications for funding totalling £5 million,” he said. Mr Oppenheim said that there may have been a “small misunderstanding” over why the application was turned down.
Ms Widdecombe was scathing of the three-year grant to the UK Network of Sex Work Projects. The money will be spent to provide Britain’s 80,000 sex workers with advice on safety, welfare, sexual health services and legal rights. “I’m sure it’s not what people have in mind when they buy a lottery ticket,” Ms Widdcombe said. “If they (the advice group) are advising the workers to get out of the industry, then that’s one thing, but if they are advising them on how to stay in the industry then it’s quite mad.”
Several British charities have recently had National Lottery grant applications rejected because of their perceived failure to target the disadvantaged. Last month the Severn Area Rescue Association’s request for £5,000 to replace the 14-year-old Land Rover used to launch its lifeboats was turned down because it could not provide details of the social backgrounds of the people that it has rescued. The Preston-based Bowland and Pennine Mountain Rescue Team’s £200,000 application was rejected on the same ground.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS CAN COST HEAPS
Pity the shareholders
Hewlett-Packard Co. ousted Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina yesterday, leaving only seven female chief executive officers among the nation's Fortune 500 companies. The Palo Alto, Calif., computer giant accepted the resignation of Mrs. Fiorina, one of the most powerful women in business, after disagreements over the company's 2002 purchase of Compaq Computer that failed to produce the profits Hewlett-Packard sought. She was appointed head of the technology giant, the nation's 11th-largest corporation, in 1999....
Her salary and bonus totaled $3.5 million last year, and she was the first woman named CEO, chairman and president of a big computer company. Among Fortune 500 companies, only 13.6 percent of corporate board members are women, according to a survey by Catalyst Inc., a New York nonprofit research and advisory organization on women's business. "What we heard from women provided evidence there is still a glass ceiling in place," said Paulette Gerkovich, Catalyst's senior research director. "Just under one half of women told us they faced exclusion from informal networks, gender-based stereotypes and a lack of role models." ....
"The Compaq merger was a fiasco right from the start," analyst Jason Maxwell told Bloomberg News. His Los Angeles firm, TCW Group Inc., manages $100 billion and owns Hewlett-Packard shares. The company's shares rose $1.39, or 6.9 percent, to $21.53 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. The stock has fallen 55 percent since Mrs. Fiorina was named CEO.
11 February, 2005
RACIAL SEGREGATION NOW CORRECT AGAIN!
Ontario schools have failed black students by having too few teachers of colour, too few courses on black thought and a zero tolerance code that hits black students hardest, charges a leading Canadian researcher into race and schooling. And sociology professor George Dei drew an explosion of applause from a crowd of 500 last night when he called for black alternative schools to right some of these wrongs.
Dei, who is chair of equity in education for the Ontario Institute for Studies In Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, was one of several panellists at a heated forum last night called "Making the Grade: Are We Failing Our Black Youth?" The town hall-style meeting at the St. Lawrence Centre on Front St. drew a standing-room-only crowd and left dozens more disappointed in the lobby, unable to enter because of fire regulations. "Are we failing black youth? Yes, yes, yes," said Dei, who has done extensive research on why black teens often feel disengaged in Toronto high schools. "The curriculum doesn't reflect their lives, there are too few black teachers and the zero tolerance policies stigmatize them. The dropout rates don't tell the whole story: black students are being pushed out."
Cheers broke out when Dei called for the creation of experimental black-focused schools that would have more black teachers, guidance counsellors, Africa-centric curriculum and more open discussion of race. "These schools would be very different from the segregated schools of the South, because those were designed to disconnect blacks," Dei said in an interview. "These schools would be created to address a problem and they would be open to students of any colour."
Dei was reviving an idea first raised in 1991 when Ontario's Royal Commission on Learning urged school boards to set up alternative black-focused schools to address the lower graduation rates among black students. "Black students tell me they graduate from high school without ever being taught by a visible-minority teacher," said Dei. "Some speak of the low expectations teachers have of them. Some say the schools are just not welcoming." Speaker after speaker supported his case......
The Toronto District School Board only recently decided to start gathering statistics on student performance based on race for the first time since 1991, when the board of education for the old city of Toronto found black students dropped out at a higher rate than students of other racial backgrounds.
MUSLIM BIGOTRY OK WITH U.K. AUTHORITIES
It was a shock, but hardly a surprise. The week before, another brick had been thrown through the window as the family were preparing for bed in their Bradford home. The victim of a three-year campaign of religious hatred, Mr Hussein's car has also been rammed and torched, and the steps to his home have been strewn with rubbish.
He and his family have been regularly jostled, abused, attacked, shouted at to move out of the area, and given death threats in the street. His wife has been held hostage inside their home for two hours by a mob. His car, walls and windows have been daubed in graffiti: "Christian bastard".
The problem isn't so much what Mr Hussein, whose parents came from Pakistan, believes, but what he doesn't believe. Born into Islam, he converted eight years ago to Christianity, and his wife, also from Pakistan, followed suit.
Muslims who lose their faith face execution or imprisonment, in line with traditional Muslim teaching, in many Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt and Yemen. In the Netherlands, the former Muslim MP Ayan Hirsi Ali had to go into hiding after renouncing her faith on television. The Prince of Wales recently held a meeting with religious leaders to consider ways to stop former Muslims being persecuted in other countries, but Britain itself is also affected.
Mr Hussein told The Times: "It's been absolutely appalling. This is England - where I was born and raised. You would never imagine Christians would suffer in such a way." The police have not charged anyone, but told him to leave the area. "We feel completely isolated, utterly helpless. I have been utterly failed by the authorities. If it was white racists attacking an Asian guy, there would be an absolute outcry," he said. "They are trying to ethnically cleanse me out of my home. I feel I have to make a stand as an Asian Christian."
Yasmin, who was raised in the North of England, has been forced out of her town once, and is now trying to resist being chased out again. Brought up in a Muslim family, she converted after having a vision of Jesus when she gave birth to her youngest son, and was baptised in her thirties.. "My family completely disowned me. They thought I had committed the biggest sin - I was born a Muslim, and so I must die a Muslim. When my husband found out, he totally disowned my sons. One friend tried to strangle me when I told him I was converting," she said. "We had bricks though our windows, I was spat at in the street because they thought I was dishonouring Islam. We had to call the police so many times. I had to go to court to get an injunction against my husband because he was inciting others to attack me."
She fled to another part of Britain, but the attacks soon started again as locals found out about her. "I wasn't going to leave again," she said, adding that it was the double standards of her attackers that made her most angry. "They are such hypocrites - they want us to be tolerant of everything they want, but they are intolerant of everything about us."
With other converts, Yasmin has helped to set up a series of support groups across England, who have adopted a method of operating normally associated with dissidents in dictatorships, not democracies. They not only have to meet in secret, but cannot advertise their services, and have to vet those that approach them for infiltrators. "There are so many who convert from Islam to Christianity. We have 70 people on our list who we support, and the list is growing. We don't want others to suffer like we have," she said.
10 February, 2005
POLITICALLY INCORRECT DRINKS BANNED
How brain-dead can you get? They allow flavoured milk, which is FAR MORE fattening. And fruit juice has lots of sugar and other nutrients too. So this is a policy to INCREASE obesity!
"Philadelphia school officials approved a policy banning the sale of carbonated soft drinks in all city schools. Starting in July, only milk, water, fruit juice and the occasional sports drink will be available from most of the district's 740 vending machines and in its cafeterias, according to rules passed Wednesday by the School Reform Commission. The 214,000-student district took the action following a January recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that soft drinks be eliminated from schools as a way of fighting an obesity epidemic among young people. "This policy will go a long way in supporting one of the district's core missions; doing everything we can to keep our students safe and healthy," reform commission Chairman James Nevels said in a written statement.
Sodas will continue to be sold from vending machines in faculty lounges that are off limits to students, the district said. Sports drinks, which also contain a high sugar content, will continue to be available to students but only in high schools and only in vending machines near athletic facilities. Carbonated beverages were never sold in the city's elementary schools. School officials estimated that the loss of soda sales will cost the district about $500,000 per year.
The district also set some ingredient restrictions on the types of beverages that have not been banned outright. Fruit drinks must be of 100 percent fruit juice, with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Drinking water must contain no additives, except small amounts of natural flavors and the kind of minerals found in tap water. Flavored and sweetened milks are OK, but no artificial colors allowed. In elementary schools, serving sizes for any beverage, except drinking water, will be capped at 12 ounces".
FRUIT JUICES MAKE YOU FAT
Sweet drinks -- whether Kool-Aid with sugar or all-natural apple juice -- seem to raise the risk of pudgy preschoolers getting fatter, new research suggests. That may come as a surprise to parents who pride themselves on seeking out fruit drinks with no added sugar. "Juice is definitely a part of this," said lead researcher Jean Welsh of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While fruit juice does have vitamins, nutritionists say it's inferior to fresh fruit. The new U.S. dietary guidelines, for example, urge consumers away from juice, suggesting they eat whole fruit instead.
The bottom line, though, is that "children need very few calories in their day," Welsh said. "Sweet drinks are a source of added sugar in the diet." She said preschoolers were better off snacking on fruit or drinking water or milk.
[This loon has still not noticed that milk is full of nutrients!]
Welsh's research, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, found that for 3- and 4-year-olds already on the heavy side, drinking something sweet once or twice a day doubled their risk of becoming seriously overweight a year later. The sweet drinks seemed to have little effect, however, on children of normal weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting preschoolers to 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day. Some parents and schools are paying attention. One Chicago Head Start program banned juice last year as part of an anti-obesity effort after finding that one out of five of its students was obese. Monica Dillion, community health nurse for the Howard Area Family Center, said the preschool also added more fruits and vegetables to meals and more exercise to the daily schedule. The preschool has never served soft drinks. The juice ban drew no complaints, Dillion said. "The kids didn't notice at all."
The Pediatrics study followed 10,904 Missouri children in a nutrition program for low-income families. Researchers looked at the effect of sweet drinks in three groups: normal and underweight children, those at risk of becoming overweight, and those who already were overweight. The researchers compared the children's heights and weights, approximately one year apart. They also looked at parents' reports of what their children ate and drank during a four-week period at the beginning of the first year. Fruit drinks like Kool-Aid and Hi-C were included as sweet drinks, along with juice and soda.
The link between sweet drinks and being overweight showed up for all three weight categories, although it wasn't statistically significant for the normal and underweight children. Taking into account other differences, such as ethnicity, birth weight and a high-fat diet, didn't erase the effect of sweet drinks. The children in the study drank, on average, more fruit juice than soft drinks or sweetened fruit drinks.
9 February, 2005
SALMAN RUSHDIE CONDEMNS THE BRITISH ATTACK ON FREE SPEECH
Offense and insult are part of everyday life for everyone in Britain (or the U.S., for that matter). All you have to do is open a daily paper and there's plenty to offend. Or you can walk into the religion section of a bookshop and discover you're damned to various kinds of eternal hellfire, which is certainly insulting, not to say overheated.
The idea that any kind of free society can be constructed in which people will never be offended or insulted, or in which they have the right to call on the law to defend them against being offended or insulted, is absurd.
In the end, a fundamental decision needs to be made: Do we want to live in a free society or not? Democracy is not a tea party where people sit around making polite conversation. In democracies, people get extremely upset with each other. They argue vehemently against each other's positions. (But they don't shoot.)
At Cambridge I was taught a laudable method of argument: You never personalize, but you have absolutely no respect for people's opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks. That seems to me a crucial distinction: People must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it's a belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.
With its proposed "incitement to religious hatred" law, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has set out to create that impossibility. Privately they'll tell you the law is designed to please "the Muslims." But which Muslims, when and on what day?
The ability of this proposed law to protect "the Muslims" seems to me arguable. It is possible that instead it will be used against Muslims before it's used against anyone else. There are identifiable racist and right-wing groups in Britain that would argue that Muslims are the ones inciting religious hatred, and these groups would use, or try to use, this law against them.
There is no question that there also are Muslim leaders who are anxious to prosecute others (for example, me and my book, "The Satanic Verses") and will try to do so if this law is passed. So this law would unleash some major expressions of intolerance.
Rioting Sikhs already have forced the closure of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti's play, "Behzti," in Birmingham, and the government has said nothing to criticize them for attacking the theater, breaking windows and issuing death threats. Hanif Kureishi made one of the best comments about all this when he noted that the theater was a temple too — just as much as the fictional temple in the play. Evangelical Christians caught on quickly and protested against the BBC's screening of "Jerry Springer: The Opera."
What this kind of attitude ultimately does, and what the law would do, is undermine a principle of free expression that affects everyone in Britain, religious or not. If we cannot have open discourse about the ideas by which we live, then we are straitjacketing ourselves.
It does matter that people have the right to take an argument to the point where somebody is offended by what they say. It's no trick to support the free speech of somebody you agree with or to whose opinion you are indifferent. The defense of free speech begins at the point when people say something you can't stand. If you can't defend their right to say it, then you don't believe in free speech. You believe in free speech only as long as it doesn't get up your nose. But free speech does get up people's noses. Nietzsche called Christianity "the one great curse" and "the one immortal blemish on mankind." Would Nietzsche now be prosecuted?
There is a long tradition of irreverent, raw and critical remarks about religion in Britain, some by very eminent thinkers, some by our favorite comedians — like Rowan Atkinson in "Blackadder" muttering "bad weather is God's way of telling us we should burn more Catholics." Even if the government doesn't think that such remarks will find their way into court prosecutions, the very possibility that they might, at the discretion of its chief legal advisor, will be enough to bring down the curtains of self- and corporate censorship.
JOKES EXEMPTED FROM ANTI-FREE-SPEECH LAW IN BRITAIN
We must be thankful for the small mercies that the masters allow us
Performers and writers, including Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie, have helped to force a government climbdown over new legislation which bans incitement to religious hatred. The Government is to rename the offence "hatred against persons on racial or religious grounds" to make clear that it is not religious jokes, beliefs or ideas that are being targeted. Opponents of the legislation dismissed the change as no more than a "slight improvement", alleging that it would still imperil the country's tradition of free speech.
Fiona Mactaggart, a Home Office minister, conceded that even under its new name the offence would place new boundaries around freedom of speech. "It is right and the State has a right to put some boundaries on free speech," she said. The legislation, part of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, goes through its report stage and will receive its final reading in the House of Commons today before entering the House of Lords, where it is expected to take a month before becoming law.
The new incitement offence will carry a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. The provisions will make it an offence for a person to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intention or likelihood that they will stir up hatred against a group of people based on their religious beliefs.
The Government's retreat comes two weeks after Ms Mactaggart had a private meeting at the Home Office with Mr Atkinson, Mr Rushdie and Geoffrey Robertson, QC, a leading human rights barrister. The trio also put their names to a letter to the House of Lords, which was also signed by the authors Ian McEwan and Zadie Smith, and hundreds of members of PEN, the writers' organisation. At a meeting with the Home Office minister, the protesters said that the clause would radically restrict free expression.
PEN, which has run a campaign opposing the legislation, claimed that Ms Mactaggart had sought to reassure the delegation that legitimate criticism of religion or humour would not be targeted and that prosecutions would take place only at the discretion of the Attorney-General. But the delegation responded that it was "not reassured", because "laws outlive the government that brought them in".
Mr Robertson told Ms Mactaggart that the law was "unnecessary and clumsily framed yet carries a very serious sentence". He said that the Public Order Act already included the offence of incitement to religous hatred and was perfectly adequate. Mr Atkinson said that comedians had told him that similar legislation had "gone badly wrong" in Australia.
8 February, 2005
HOORAY! OBESITY WARRIORS HIT
Nothing is going to stop people getting fat. The money could definitely be better spent elsewhere. And the costs of obesity have been vastly exaggerated
"Obesity prevention schemes and agricultural subsidies will be targets of sharp falls in funding when President Bush delivers his budget today. The President said over the weekend that the programmes to be slashed "were not getting the job done". He said: "It's time to be wise with the people's money."
The government agency that controls and prevents disease will have its funding cut by 9 per cent, if Congress approves the budget document. One of his most controversial proposals is to slash the Health Department's spending by 2.4 per cent to $68 billion, including a public service programme that prevents and controls obesity, which is at epidemic levels. Already it costs the nation more than smoking.
However, Mr Bush will also seek an extra $2 billion for community health centres, to achieve his goal of having a clinic in every poor county. He wants $718 million to push for more children to enrol in health insurance programmes.... "
IMMIGRATION: BRITS SOLVE A PROBLEM THEY DON'T HAVE
It is illegal immigrants and "asylum seekers" that are the problem so Britain is attacking legal immigrants!
"Strict new controls for migrant workers involving compulsory fingerprinting and an Australian-style points system will be announced today. Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, will tell MPs that would-be migrants must prove that they will bring economic benefits to Britain before they are allowed into the country. The initiative is widely seen as an attempt to outflank the Conservatives, whose immigration policies have struck a chord with voters.
However, the Tories, who are proposing also to limit the number of asylum-seekers, insisted that voters would still have a clear choice between policies. They claimed that Tony Blair had a long history of making promises on asylum that he had failed to keep. David Davis, the Shadow Home Secretary, said that the asylum system was out of control. "After eight years in power, and just months before an election, Mr Blair claims that he can fix Britain's chaotic asylum and immigration system. It's all talk."
Mr Blair, writing in The Times today, calls his plans "strict controls that work". The Prime Minister acknowledges public disquiet over asylum and immigration, calling it difficult and immensely complex. He denies that ministers wish to avoid a debate on the issue and attacks an annual quota solely on practical grounds. "The Tory pollsters will have told them it's a hot issue for the public, as ours tell us," he says. "They will also have told them that the public believes the politicians won't discuss immigration and asylum for reasons of political correctness.... The reason this area of policy is difficult is nothing to do with an absence of political will or political correctness. It is because the challenge of immigration and asylum is immensely complex. Every wealthy country in the world has it."
At the heart of the strategy, set out in a five-year plan being published today, are a points system to prove that immigrants would benefit the economy and fingerprinting for two million people with visas to stop them destroying documents and disappearing into the black economy. The decision to embrace a points system puts Labour policy close to that of the Tories, the chief difference being that they want an annual cap on numbers, including refugees, while Labour proposes limits based only on economic need.
The key to the proposals, is tough new controls on "chain migration" when immigrants who enter legally are followed by their extended family".
7 February, 2005
IS ANYTHING CORRECT ANYMORE?
Leaving cookies for a neighbour can get you fined? It is the neurotic neighbour who should have been fined for being a nuisance
A Colorado judge ordered two teen-age girls to pay about $900 for the distress a neighbor said they caused by giving her home-made cookies adorned with paper hearts.
The pair were ordered to pay $871.70 plus $39 in court costs after neighbor Wanita Renea Young, 49, filed a lawsuit complaining that the unsolicited cookies, left at her house after the girls knocked on her door, had triggered an anxiety attack that sent her to the hospital the next day. Taylor Ostergaard, then 17, and Lindsey Jo Zellitte, 18, paid the judgment on Thursday after a small claims court ruling by La Plata County Court Judge Doug Walker, a court clerk said on Friday.
The girls baked cookies as a surprise for several of their rural Colorado neighbors on July 31 and dropped off small batches on their porches, accompanied by red or pink paper hearts and the message: "Have a great night."
The Denver Post newspaper reported on Friday that the girls had decided to stay home and bake the cookies rather than go to a dance where there might be cursing and drinking. It reported that six neighbors wrote letters entered as evidence in the case thanking the girls for the cookies.
But Young said she was frightened because the two had knocked on her door at about 10:30 p.m. and run off after leaving the cookies. She went to a hospital emergency room the next day, fearing that she had suffered a heart attack, court records said.
The judge awarded Young her medical costs, but did not award punitive damages. He said he did not think the girls had acted maliciously but that 10:30 was fairly late at night for them to be out.
SUMMERS WAS SO INCORRECT BECAUSE HE CHALLENGED BASIC LEFTIST RELIGIOUS BELIEFS
Forgive Larry Summers. He did not know where he was. Addressing a conference on the supposedly insufficient numbers of women in tenured positions in university science departments, he suggested that perhaps part of the explanation might be innate — genetically based — gender differences in cognition. He thought he was speaking in a place that encourages uncircumscribed intellectual explorations. He was not. He was on a university campus. He was at Harvard, where he is president. Since then he has become a serial apologizer and accomplished groveler. Soon he may be in aKhmer Rouge-style re-education camp somewhere in New England, relearning this: In today's academy, no social solecism is as unforgivable as the expression of a hypothesis that offends someone's "progressive" sensibilities.
Someone like MIT biology professor Nancy Hopkins, the hysteric (see above) who, hearing Summers, "felt I was going to be sick. My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow." And, "I just couldn't breathe because this kind of bias makes me physically ill." She said that if she had not bolted from the room, "I would've either blacked out or thrown up."....
Men and women have genetically based physical differences; the brain is a physical thing — part of the body. Is it unthinkable — is it even counterintuitive — that this might help explain, for example, the familiar fact that more men than women achieve the very highest scores in mathematics aptitude tests? There is a vast and growing scientific literature on possible gender differences in cognition. Only hysterics denounce interest in those possible — differences or, in Hopkins' case, the mere mention of them — as "bias."
Hopkins' hysteria was a sample of America's campus-based indignation industry, which churns out operatic reactions to imagined slights. But her hysteria also is symptomatic of a political tendency that manifested itself in some criticism of President Bush's inaugural address, which was a manifesto about human nature. This criticism went beyond doubts about his grandiose aspirations, to rejection of the philosophy that he might think entails such aspirations but actually does not. The philosophy of natural right — the Founders' philosophy — rests on a single proposition: There is a universal human nature.
From that fact come, through philosophic reasoning, some normative judgments: Certain social arrangements — particularly government by consent attained by persuasion in a society accepting pluralism — are right for creatures of this nature. Hence the doctrine of "natural right," and the idea of a nation "dedicated," as Lincoln said, to the "proposition" that all men are created equal.
The vehemence of the political left's recoil from this idea is explained by the investment political radicalism has had for several centuries in the notion that human beings are essentially blank slates. What predominates in determining individuals' trajectories — nature or nurture? The left says nature is negligible, nurturing is sovereign. So a properly governed society can write what it wishes on the blank slate of humanity. This maximizes the stakes of politics and the grandeur of government's role. And the importance of governing elites, who are the "progressive" vanguards of a perfected humanity.
The vehemence of Hopkins' recoil from the idea that there could be gender differences pertinent to some cognition might seem merely to reflect a crude understanding of civic equality as grounded shakily on a certain identical physicality. But her hysteria actually expresses the left's ultimate horror — the thought that nature sets limits to the malleability of human material. Summers should explain this to her, over lunch, when he returns from camp.
From George Will
6 February, 2005
ANIMAL TERRORISM NO LONGER CORRECT
Animal rights activists in the UK could face five years in jail for targeting firms linked to animal research facilities, under new government plans. The amendment to the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill covers suppliers such as construction firms or cleaners working for animal research firms. Measures to stop harassment of animal research facilities and their employees are already in the bill.
Campaigners say the government's proposed laws are not justified. The amended bill would make it a criminal offence to cause "economic damage" through campaigns of intimidation.
The plans already in the bill include giving police powers to arrest anyone protesting outside the homes of scientists - and the power to ban them from returning to a specified home for three months. Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt told BBC News: "We can't have these extremists going way beyond the bounds of peaceful protest into these vicious campaigns of intimidation which have not been stopped by individual laws." She added: "The simple fact is attacks by animal rights extremists put medical breakthroughs in areas like Aids, cancer and Alzheimer's directly at risk." Ms Hewitt said the new law would not affect people's "important right" to peaceful protest but would "crack down hard" on extremists committing crimes....
The powers to take action against attacks on companies in the supply chain covers company employees, their relatives, business suppliers, plus charity shops and universities.
The government plans follow attacks on centres such as the Huntingdon Life Sciences and a farm in east Staffordshire where guinea pigs are bred for medical research. Suppliers have also been targeted - last year work on Oxford University's new testing laboratory had to be halted after contractors complained they had been harassed and intimidated by animal rights activists.
Medical Research Council chief executive Professor Colin Blakemore welcomed the announcement, saying: "It is essential that researchers and those working with them are able to carry out their work without fear of intimidation."
5 February, 2005
BERKELEY'S RACIST HOUSING POLICIES
How about that! The Federal Dept. of Housing is hitting on Berkeley's policy of giving its assistance mainly to blacks. It looks like "affirmative action" CAN get too gross to be tolerated. Some excerpts:
Suggesting that Berkeley's public housing program unfairly favors African Americans, federal officials are urging the city to recruit people of other races and, specifically, UC Berkeley students. The recommendations - some of which Berkeley officials have criticized -- stem from a routine fair-housing compliance review conducted in July by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Berkeley Housing Director Stephen Barton said he was stunned' when he got the Oct. 13 letter of preliminary findings from HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity recommending, among other things, that the city recruit UC Berkeley students. Barton said he had called another city housing official in disbelief -- "and I laughed." Still, he is taking HUD's letter very seriously because the agency pays for the city's housing program, which operates 61 rental units and distributes more than 1,700 rental vouchers to qualifying people with limited income.
Charles Hauptman, regional director of HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in San Francisco, said his agency had only issued preliminary findings and was in the midst of negotiating with Berkeley over possible remedies. "The numbers are what the numbers are. We try to be objective," said Hauptman, who predicted his agency would work out a corrective plan with Berkeley in about 30 days. Asked about the idea of seeking out UC Berkeley students, Hauptman said simply, "We'll talk to them about that if that's something they want to address."
In its letter to the city, Hauptman's office pointed out that while the 2000 census showed 15.7 percent of Berkeley's low-income population was African American, 74.2 percent of the people getting Section 8 rent vouchers and 87 percent of tenants in city-owned rental units were African American. By comparison, Asians were 30.5 percent of the city's low-income population but 3 percent of the Section 8 recipients, and whites were 41.5 percent of the city's poor but 22 percent of the voucher recipients. Barton this week sent a letter disputing some of HUD's conclusions, particularly the need to focus on university students, many of whom he said received financial support from their parents.
THE IDIOTIC "PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE"
Because we have grown accustomed to an easy, comfortable life, and because the risks that we now face can appear genuinely frightening, we have as a society become a lot more risk-averse. There is an increasing use of the "precautionary principle" - the idea that it is better to err on the side of caution, even if this means letting opportunities slip by.
The precautionary principle has unfortunately crept into everyday policy. Governments today are increasingly legislating and regulating with a view to minimising all risks, no matter how trivial. Take the preoccupation with obesity. Western populations are getting fatter, which has health implications. At the last federal election both major parties released policies to tackle obesity. The Liberals suggested after-hours exercise programs for schoolchildren; Labor wanted to ban junk-food advertising during children's TV shows.
These initiatives are well-intentioned, but it is devastating for personal responsibility when the most basic decisions of what to eat and when to exercise are delegated to government. True, the main focus in Australia so far has been on children, but isn't it the parents' or guardians' role to raise their children so that they learn about self-control and a good diet? Rather than government banning the ads, shouldn't parents be teaching their children how to respond to them?
The banning instinct does not stop at obesity. In Victoria, following two incidents where broken glass was used as a weapon in pub brawls, the police chief commissioner proposed a ban on glasses in pubs and nightclubs as the best way to prevent injuries. In NSW, the Premier, Bob Carr, announced a $1100 penalty for people who buy alcohol for friends who are intoxicated. The message in both cases is that drinkers should no longer be expected to control their alcohol intake, or to behave with restraint.
Instead, pubs must prevent risk by serving beer in plastic glasses, as if at a children's party, and friends must under pain of law determine when others have had enough.
In the risk-averse society that is emerging, government is making it its business to anticipate and prevent every foreseeable negative event. This is the precautionary principle gone mad; nothing is to be allowed to go wrong. When a population is encouraged to depend on government to protect it from risks, personal dignity is threatened and the principle of limited government disappears. Before World War I, the federal government passed an average of 23 new pieces of legislation each year. Today, that has risen to average 178. As time goes by we become increasingly regulated and monitored, which means we lose the habit of self-reliance.
The clearest example of this is the growth of the welfare state, the ultimate government risk-minimisation strategy. In 1965, only 3 per cent of working-age adults relied on welfare payments as their primary source of income. Today, that figure is 16 per cent, or one in six people. The less we are required to look after ourselves, the more government assumes the task for us. And for all the cost, the erosion of liberty, and the learned helplessness, preventive government policies do not even work.
In the case of childhood obesity, for example, research suggests that it is parents - not government or advertising - who have the greatest effect on their child's weight.
Effective or not, politicians keep spending money as "proof" they are "doing something" even though in many instances there is very little they can do. And the more preventive programs fail in their declared objectives, the stronger the pressure to bring in more controls. The philosopher David Hume wrote: "It is seldom that liberty of any kind is lost all at once". Instead, governments - often with the best of intentions - just chip away at our freedoms.
We need to recognise that, even in our modern world, we cannot eradicate all risks and all dangers, and that the attempt to do so signals a path to totalitarianism, not happiness. It is better to be left to make our own mistakes than to be smothered in the suffocating embrace of a paternalistic state.
4 February, 2005
Diversity Experts Angry - College Freshman are Colorblind
A recent survey conducted by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) reveals that college freshman "are less preoccupied with race and diversity." Stuart Silverstein reports for the LAT "that a record high 22.7% of freshmen said racial discrimination was no longer a major problem in America," and "just 29.7% of the nation's college freshmen characterized 'helping to promote racial understanding' as an essential or very important personal goal. That was the lowest level ever in the 28 years that the poll has raised the question," as opposed to a record high of 46.4% in 1992.
The experts are worried. Sylvia Hurtado, director of HERI at UCLA, said "the freshman views on race were troubling." Why? "'There are different groups in society experiencing life differently in the United States, and that's always historically been the case,' she said. 'If they don't see these issues as important, we won't be able to change that.'" Apparently the tautology of her statement escapes her-what if the reason students "don't see these issues as important" is because they are increasingly "experiencing life" together, and in much the same way? After all, we are all equally human beings, aren't we?
Anthony Lising Antonio, Assistant Professor at Stanford's School of Education, is quoted as saying: "I worry about these trends, because they may indicate that our youth are beginning to take on an attitude of color unconsciousness, a kind of colorblindness that allows them to ignore racial diversity..." Professor Antonio's remarks reveal the naked absurdity of the new science of diversity that infests the academy. He is worried that students are increasingly colorblind?
He and his cohorts no doubt reject the famed dissenting words of Justice Harlan in Plessy V. Ferguson, when Harlan proclaimed that "our Constitution is colorblind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among its citizens?" As Edward J. Erler said in the Summer, 2004 edition of the Claremont Review of Books, "...it has become orthodoxy among liberal constitutionalists to argue that adherence to the idea of a colorblind Constitution was a mistake."
Thankfully, the young are far wiser than many of those who are certified to teach them. Unlike their elders, who define people by their pigmentation, many of the next generation truly disregard what color skin people happen to have. Often without realizing it, their reason and experience reveal to them the self-evident truths of the Declaration that are accessible to all men-truths which their teachers utterly reject.
"UCLA freshman Karina Hernandez...says she isn't especially concerned with the issue of race and ethnic relations." Karina "brushed aside" the "worries" of Professor Antonio: "'You don't need any extra, hard-core official concentration on learning about other cultures. It'll just happen' as part of a student's experience, she said."
The UCLA study provides no data on how college seniors respond to the same questions after four years in the artifical environment of the modern academy with the likes of Professor Antonio-one wonders. But if the survey is to be trusted, Karina and others like her will weather the silly, race-baiting world of the academy well.
WE ARE ALL INCORRECT!
How Leftists hate their own society: The post below is lifted bodily from Daily Ablution in London, U.K.
BBC political editor Andrew Marr, writing in the Telegraph, reminds us of an interesting exchange that featured in his Start the Week programme (which, as the BBC website modestly informs us, "sets the cultural agenda every Monday"). Marr recalls:
"... a guest I had on Start the Week, the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, who believes that we are living among many parallel universes, possibly in different dimensions all around us. He further believes that, as our universe accelerates towards a final chill nothingness, humans may eventually be able to escape through a "wormhole" and start again in alternative dimensions."
Now I suspect that most people would, upon hearing this theory, react with either "that's utterly bonkers" or "cool!" (I'm one of the latter, since you ask - and Mr. Kaku makes it sound almost plausible. A few million years from now, anyway.)
But Carol Rutter is not most people - as a professor of English, an academic steeped in Western European guilt, her first reaction (streaming RAM, ~11:18 in) reveals an ear that is precisely tuned to the ever-present bogeyman of colonial injustice:
"I was thrown back on the last time Western Europe discovered a parallel universe, when we discovered the New World - and when we went into that world we as colonisers didn't actually work very well to the benevolence of what we found there. And I just wondered if we go into a parallel universe - if there's going to be somebody there - what is our relationship going to be to those people, or those aliens who are there, and are we going to have as disastrous a future in this parallel universe as we've had in our own?"
Sage nodding all round...
Onora O'Neill, who appeared on the same broadcast, is not most people either - she's a moral philosopher! On the programme to support her arguments for limiting freedom of the press (Fox News being the predictable exemplar of why stricter controls are needed), she describes how terrorist acts ought to be covered by the media (~32:00 - emphasis added):
"Report terrorism, not by reporting the violence that terrorists do, but by trying to understand what terrorists are trying to communicate."
In other words, the press should ignore the brutal reality of mass murder and reduce such acts to the equivalent of an earnest Radio 4 conversation among academics (rather than, say, a Dadaist happening - the latter being notoriously difficult to decode).
Listening to Monday's broadcast, I was struck by how neatly these two excerpts illustrated (once again) the moral vacuity of a certain prevalent brand of academic thought. We have, of course, seen such examples time and time again, so this in itself is nothing new. But what's interesting about this particular manifestation is that it so starkly points out the consequences of this self-flagellating mindset.
The likes of Ms. Rutter and Ms. O'Neill are wracked with a feeling of collective guilt so extreme that, given the opportunity, they would hesitate to save the entire species from certain extinction because of the chance of a negative effect on some quite possibly nonexistent aliens.
But this is not altogether surprising, since they're also quite ready stand back and watch (or, rather, deconstruct some communication) as the civilisation that makes them so ashamed - that which allows the existence of English professors and moral philosophers - is similarly threatened.
3 February, 2005
SELF-ESTEEM MYTH UNDERMINED AGAIN
Excerpts from an article by Roy F. Baumeister, a professor in the department of psychology at Florida State University
Does low self-esteem lie at the root of all human suffering, failure and evil? When I ran my first research study on self-esteem in 1973, that certainly seemed to be the case. Psychologists everywhere were persuaded that if only we could help people to accept and love themselves more, their problems would gradually vanish and their lives would flourish. They would even treat each other better.
Not surprisingly, California led the way, establishing a task force for exploring ways to boost healthy self-esteem to solve personal and social problems. The task force members — like many of us — were undeterred by the weakness and ambiguity of the evidence suggesting a benefit in boosting self-esteem; we all believed the data would come along in good time. Then-Assemblyman John Vasconcellos (and many other experts) predicted that self- esteem could solve, or at least help solve, such problems as crime, teen pregnancy, pollution, school failure and underachievement, drug abuse and domestic violence. (Vasconcellos even expressed the hope that higher self-esteem would one day help balance the state budget — a prospect predicated on the observation that people with high self-regard earn more than others and therefore pay more in taxes.)
A generation — and many millions of dollars — later, it turns out we may have been mistaken. Five years ago, the American Psychological Society commissioned me and several other experts to wade with an open mind through the enormous amount of published research on the subject and to assess the benefits of high self-esteem. Here are some of our disappointing findings. High self- esteem in schoolchildren does not produce better grades. (Actually, kids with high self-esteem do have slightly better grades in most studies, but that's because getting good grades leads to higher self-esteem, not the other way around.) In fact, according to a study by Donald Forsyth at Virginia Commonwealth University, college students with mediocre grades who got regular self-esteem strokes from their professors ended up doing worse on final exams than students who were told to suck it up and try harder.
Self-esteem doesn't make adults perform better at their jobs either. Sure, people with high self-esteem rate their own performance better — even declaring themselves smarter and more attractive than their low self-esteem peers — but neither objective tests nor impartial raters can detect any difference in the quality of work.
Likewise, people with high self-esteem think they make better impressions, have stronger friendships and have better romantic lives than other people, but the data don't support their self-flattering views. If anything, people who love themselves too much sometimes annoy other people by their defensive or know-it-all attitudes. Self-esteem doesn't predict who will make a good leader, and some work (including that of psychologist Robert Hogan writing in the Harvard Business Review) has found humility rather than self-esteem to be a key trait of successful leaders.
It was widely believed that low self-esteem could be a cause of violence, but in reality violent individuals, groups and nations think very well of themselves. They turn violent toward others who fail to give them the inflated respect they think they deserve. Nor does high self-esteem deter people from becoming bullies, according to most of the studies that have been done; it is simply untrue that beneath the surface of every obnoxious bully is an unhappy, self-hating child in need of sympathy and praise. High self-esteem doesn't prevent youngsters from cheating or stealing or experimenting with drugs and sex. (If anything, kids with high self-esteem may be more willing to try these things at a young age.)
In short, despite the enthusiastic embrace of self-esteem, we found that it conferred only two benefits. It feels good and it supports initiative. Those are nice, but they are far less than we had once hoped for, and it is very questionable whether they justify the effort and expense that schools, parents and therapists have put into raising self-esteem. After all these years, I'm sorry to say, my recommendation is this: Forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline. Recent work suggests this would be good for the individual and good for society — and might even be able to fill some of those promises that self-esteem once made but could not keep.
SANITY AGAIN IN CRIMINAL-LOVING BRITAIN?
Householders can attack and even kill intruders in defence of their home, new guidelines make clear. People risk prosecution only if they step over the line to retribution or revenge or set a trap to hurt or kill an intruder. The "licence to kill" guidelines, where people do what they "honestly and instinctively believe is necessary", have been drawn up to reassure the public over the force they can use when facing intruders.
People can use objects as weapons, such as a bat, knife or gun, and almost any level of violence against a burglar could be acceptable in the right situation, Ken Macdonald, QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said. The Government has ruled out a change in the law despite calls to do so, including one from the Tories - who want the concept of "reasonable force" replaced by "grossly disproportionate" - after consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo).
Ministers have decided, after concerns triggered by the case of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing a burglar, that the law is not properly understood. The guidelines leaflet from the Crown Prosecution Service and Acpo aims to end confusion over the point at which defending one's family and property becomes a crime. Even using items as weapons would not lead to prosecution if householders were doing what they "honestly and instinctively" believed was necessary "in the heat of the moment", it says.
The leaflet, to go to Citizens Advice Bureaux and police forces in England and Wales, adds: "You are not expected to make fine judgments over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in self-defence. "This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon." Fear is a factor, the leaflet says. The "more extreme the circumstances and fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence".
The leaflet also points out that householders do not have to wait to be attacked before they use violence themselves. "If you have acted in reasonable self defence . . . and the intruder dies, you will still have acted lawfully."
But they are warned that if they cross the line into revenge, retribution or setting a deliberate trap, they can still face the courts. Chris Fox, the Acpo president, said officers would have to be satisfied that "reasonable force" had not been overstepped. "There has to be a line, otherwise we develop into anarchy," he said. "However, that line is quite a long way towards the householder. People will be questioned about what happened. There is going to be statement-taking and interviewing."
Mr Macdonald said: "The law is on the side of householders. Even where householders have badly injured or even killed burglars, the CPS has declined to prosecute unless they have used wholly excessive force." He added: "My impression is that people were beginning to believe that we routinely prosecute householders who have protected themselves against burglars. That is completely untrue."
Almost any level of violence against a burglar could be acceptable in the right situation, he said. "The key thing to bear in mind is that, as long as someone hasn't stepped over that line into retribution or revenge, it is quite difficult to perceive of a level of violence that would not be regarded as reasonable by a prosecutor. "This is something the intruder brings on him or herself. I don't think we need to be too squeamish about the situation."
2 February, 2005
BOORTZ ON SMOKING
This morning on CNN, Jack Cafferty was a bit exercised over reports that more and more companies are not only refusing to hire smokers, they're firing them. They're getting fired not for smoking on the job .. but for just being smokers. Bad? No ... Good!
In Michigan, Weyco, Inc. has a new policy. They won't hire smokers. They're also requiring all current employees undergo testing to see if they are currently smokers. Presumably this will be a step toward firing all smokers. Employment lawyers say this reeks of discrimination. Well, duh! Of course it's discrimination! It's discrimination against people with unhealthy lifestyles who are going to send your health insurance costs even higher. It's discrimination against people who have been shown to have poor work habits and higher absences from the job. Oh .. and it's discrimination against the stupid and ignorant ... and people who stink. Now don't you think that these are all perfectly good reasons to discriminate?
First of all, don't give me that discrimination nonsense. We all discriminate every day, and nobody thinks anything of it. The simple chore of making a decision between Mexican or Chinese food for lunch is an act of discrimination. To say that someone has "discriminating tastes" is a compliment, not a slam. Smoking isn't a race or a gender, nor is it a religious belief. It's a pathetic, sickening, stupid, self-destructive behavior. It's an act of self-hatred. Discriminate away.
Just consider health insurance. Unfortunately we have come to the point in this country where it is expected that employers will take care of most of the health care for their employees. This unfortunate situation is the primary reason health care costs are seemingly out of control in this country .. but that's another subject for another sermon from the Church of the Painful Truth. If you, as the employer, are going to be responsible for the cost of your employee's health care then you should be allowed to select employees, and get rid of employees based on any aspects of their lifestyle that would be unhealthy and, therefore, would cost you money.
Nobody would suggest that someone who hires people to drive company vehicles should not be able to discriminate against people with bad driving records. An accident could cost you money, so why not keep the accident-prone dangerous drivers off your payroll? Similarly, a smoker is going to drive up the cost of your health insurance, so why not keep that smoker off your payroll? And higher insurance premiums isn't the only cost you'll have to pay for having smokers on your payroll. Generally speaking, smokers simply aren't as productive in the workplace as are non-smokers. They take more frequent breaks (to do drugs,) and they're absent from work more often due to illness.
And ... to cap it all off ... smokers just aren't all that bright. In repeated trials smokers have scored lower on intelligence tests than non-smokers. Smoking, then, is an excellent way for you to get an immediate indication of who has common sense, and who doesn't . OK .. I know that there are exceptions, but across the board the rule holds. An employer who has a policy of simply not hiring smokers, and getting rid of employees who do smoke, is going to have a smarter, more capable workforce than will an employer who hires these pathetic drug addicts.
So there. If you're a smoker, don't direct your anger at me. I'm not your problem. YOU are your problem. You need to figure out why you hate yourself and why you're so bent on self-destruction. I don't know the answer to that question. You do. Start figuring it out.
ANTI-AMERICANISM MASQUERADING AS "CIVIL LIBERTIES" AND "HUMANITARIANISM"
At every step in our battle to protect ourselves from jihadist terrorism these self-intoned "humanitarian" groups have done everything possible to block our efforts at protecting ourselves. Be it by railing against the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, calling for the court-martial of our soldiers on the ground and charging them as war criminals, and setting up legal barriers to our interrogation of terrorist detainees in Guantanamo Bay, equating the present Iraqi administration with the regime of Saddam Hussein. They have been partially successful -- even frightening the Bush administration -- due to our fear of being labeled " racist" or "indifferent to international and constitutional laws". Their accusations are false and based entirely on interpretations they invent so as to stymie our anti-terrorism efforts.
These non-governmental, unelected ad hoc organizations are making it impossible for law-enforcement to uncover the murderous schemes the jihadists have planned against our citizenry. The upshot is that a handful of self-appointed "moral police" are now controlling the destiny of 300 million Americans and putting us more at risk.
One of the great themes of the Bible is to preserve life: "Therefore shall you choose life". "Choosing" Life commends to the individual and society that significant measures be taken to protect citizens. The measures used thus far by our law-enforcement and military -- even the highly publicized ones -- fall far within the standards allowed under the rubric of self-defense and protection of life. Because of our timidity and lack of understanding of concrete verities, our society has allowed itself to be brainwashed into believing that 'sensitivity" is a greater imperative than protecting life -- even our own life.
Fanaticism is defined as being so attached and involved in one point as to be blind and indifferent to other countervailing needs and concerns. When will we, the American people, put a stop to this political-correct madness that values inane, warped liberal ideology over the physical survival of ourselves and children? When will we apprehend the Leftist ethos and agenda for what it truly is: national suicide. Who are these people that we need even listen to them?
What motivates these self-important, upper-middle-class "better than thou" fanatics? It certainly is not a deeper attachment to compassion given their ruthlessly non-compassionate drive to punish as a war criminal a frightened U.S .soldier who in self-defense shot a Najaf terrorist probably playing possum. The "understanding of the mitigating circumstances" they for decades demanded for hard-core criminals and terrorists is not offered by them when dealing with embattled U.S. soldiers on the fields of hell.
It certainly is not rooted in a greater regard for international law in light of their silence regarding the Castro atrocities and those endemic to Moslem societies. Who can give credence to "legal" judgments that in the same press-release juxtaposes the non-approved antics of a few individuals at Abu Ghraib with the prolonged, deliberate wholesale torture and ethnic cleansing of 70,000 at Darfur.
By now it should be obvious that the "humanitarian" groups are driven by an inner anti-Americanism, one that dislikes its own country as now constituted. In life, we generally excuse and provide justification for that and those we love while being critical of those and that which we dislike. Being that in most circumstances -- foreign and domestic -- this crowd is always there to blame and criticize America first while defending and finding rationales for terrorist and criminals, it is obvious where their sentiments and identification lie......
The most foolish politically-correct assertion today is that if we do anything to terrorist detainees short of Club Med treatment or if we undertake procedures that CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations) calls "offensive" then "we are no better than the terrorists". To equate emotional trivialities with brutal beheadings or self-defense to ideological genocide shows how far liberal thinking has strayed from classic moral understanding. Its moral relativism is simply nouveau paganism....
If we are to survive, we must first purge ourselves from this foolish yet destructive liberal political-correctness, as it is the rope being used to hang us. The first step is to ignore these groups, especially now that we know what are their true motivations.
1 February, 2005
A University of Central Oklahoma student group is planning what it calls "Straight Pride Week" on campus. Members of the College Republicans said despite objections from some, they have every right to celebrate. "The general gist is that if you are a straight student on campus be proud, be loud, this is your time to shine," said college Republican Kyle Houts. The group has posted fliers on campus that read, "we're here, we're conservative, we're out." Members of the Gay Alliance for Tolerance and Equality say they consider the College Republican's celebration an attack on gay and lesbian students. "What is there to say about it, 'I'm proud, and I'm straight and I guess white,' I don't know?" said GATE member Jennifer Rodriguez. "I think they definitely are being discriminatory because there's probably a lot of gay Republicans out there." University officials have given the College Republicans permission to put up their fliers, but say their approval does not constitute an endorsement.
SOME SIGNS OF SANITY IN BRITAIN
"Muslims were warned by the Director of Public Prosecutions yesterday that new laws designed to combat religious hatred would not stop people from being rude about Islam. Ken Macdonald told MPs that he wanted to play down Muslim expectations to avoid a backlash against police and politicians because very few cases were likely to reach the courts. People will remain "perfectly free to be rude or offensive" about Islam or any other other religion because in most cases the right of free speech will still prevail, Mr Macdonald said. He added: "It is very important people understand what the law will achieve. It will stop the grossest form of conduct but it will not stop people being rude about Islam."
Mr Macdonald was speaking at the Home Affairs Select Committee, where he also repeated his caution to ministers to keep the right to jury trial even for terrorist suspects. He told MPs of his concern that religious incitement laws, part of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, were expected by some to stop all forms of criticism or abuse of Islam.
The proposals have also been criticised for threatening to stifle free speech. Mr Macdonald said that they would not have been possible in the United States because of the First Amendment. But in the light of existing laws on incitement to racial hatred, British courts would "set the bar very high" before convicting, he added.
Since 2001 there had been 86 referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service for racial hatred but only six prosecutions and two convictions, with one dropped and three ongoing.
Mr Macdonald added: "The main issue is managing expectations . . . Communities have said they believe it will protect them from people being rude or offensive about Islam - but you are perfectly free to be rude or offensive about any religion and the law protects you".