POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH: MIRROR ARCHIVE
The creeping dictatorship of the Left...
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31 July 2005
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HELPS SUICIDE BOMBERS
In response to the serial subway bombings in London, Mayor Michael Bloomberg prudently ordered the police to start searching the bags of New York's subway riders. But there will be absolutely no profiling, Mr. Bloomberg vowed: the police will select one out of every five passengers to search, and they will do so at random, without regard for race or religion. In that case, the security move is doomed to fail.
Young Muslim men bombed the London tube, and young Muslim men attacked New York with planes in 2001. From everything we know about the terrorists who may be taking aim at our transportation system, they are most likely to be young Muslim men. Unfortunately, however, this demographic group won't be profiled. Instead, the authorities will be stopping Girl Scouts and grannies in a procedure that has more to do with demonstrating tolerance than with protecting citizens from terrorism.
Critics protest that profiling is prejudicial. In fact, it's based on statistics. Insurance companies profile policyholders based on probability of risk. That's just smart business. Likewise, profiling passengers based on proven security risk is just smart law enforcement. Besides, done properly, profiling would subject relatively few Muslims to searches. Elderly Muslim women don't fit the terrorist profile. Young Muslim men of Arab or South Asian origin do. But rather than acknowledge this obvious fact, the New York Police Department has advised subway riders to be alert for "people" in bulky clothes who sweat or fiddle nervously with bags. Well, a lot of people wear bulky clothes. A lot of people fiddle with their bags. And for that matter, a lot of people sweat. Could the Police Department be any more general in describing the traits of an Islamic suicide bomber? Could its advice be more useless?
Truth be told, commuters need to be most aware of young men praying to Allah and smelling like flower water. Law enforcement knows this, and so should you. According to a January 2004 handout, the Department of Homeland Security advises United States border authorities to look out for certain "suicide bomber indicators." They include a "shaved head or short haircut. A short haircut or recently shaved beard or moustache may be evident by differences in skin complexion on the head or face. May smell of herbal or flower water (most likely flower water), as they may have sprayed perfume on themselves, their clothing, and weapons to prepare for Paradise." Suspects may have been seen "praying fervently, giving the appearance of whispering to someone. Recent suicide bombers have raised their hands in the air just before the explosion to prevent the destruction of their fingerprints. They have also placed identity cards in their shoes because they want to be praised and recognized as martyrs."
The bodies of the London suicide bombers were recognized by their identification cards. And on the eve of the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers shaved and perfumed themselves with flower water in a pre-martyrdom ritual called ablution. But don't expect the federal authorities to screen for these indicators on Amtrak, which pulls into Penn Station in New York and Union Station in Washington, two of the biggest commuter-rail depots in the country. Not only is there no passenger profiling on Amtrak, but there's no screening or mandatory searching of carry-on bags. The only restriction on bags is a 50-pound weight limit - and that's not much comfort when you recall that the bombs used in London weighed only 10 pounds.
Once an Islamist suicide bomber is sitting next to you on the train, your chances of escape are slim. The only solution is for the police to stop him well before he boards your car. But with the system as it stands, that terrorist could easily slip in through the numerical window of random security screening. By not allowing police to profile the most suspicious train passengers - young Muslim men who fit the indicators above - Mr. Bloomberg and other leaders not only tie one hand behind law enforcement's back, but they also unwittingly provide terrorists political cover to carry out their murderous plans. Call it politically correct suicide.
Some people learn things the hard way, and not all of them live in Washington. Our English cousins are getting a brutal lesson in reality: Multiculturalism will kill you if you don't watch out.
Many of the Muslims in Britain were put out this week when the cops in the West Midlands raided a block of apartments in Birmingham just before dawn and arrested several suspects in the latest London terror bombings. The raids showed "insensitivity" toward Islam, and the authorities, ever eager to improve "community relations" with what Kipling might have called "the lesser breeds without the law," invited the "moderate" chairman of the Central Birmingham Mosque to participate in a press conference to discuss the raids.
The session had hardly begun before one Dr. Mohammed Naseem began a denunciation of the West, of Britain, of the police and other assorted infidels who had libeled Islam by suggesting that Muslims were in any way responsible for the bombing campaign in London, in which more than 50 men, women and children have died. Prime Minister Tony Blair, he said, is "a liar," and the security forces are evil. The suspects were merely innocent commuters, and he isn't interested in hearing about DNA evidence because DNA science "could not be trusted." Well, of course it can't, since DNA science was developed after the eighth century, when the prophet set out everything that would ever be known about anything.
The degeneration of the press conference into low comedy, and then into farce, embarrassed only some of the cops. The superintendent of police said Mohammed -- the chairman of the mosque, not the prophet himself -- was probably suffering from shock brought on by "the unusual events of the last few hours." This excuse-making was of a piece with the way the British police authorities, perhaps suffering toxic shock themselves, have behaved in the wake of the London atrocities.
The day after the first blasts on July 7, a police deputy rebuked a reporter who asked about the nature of the Islamic threat. "Islam and terrorism," he said sternly, as if rebuking a child for telling a potty joke, "don't go together."
Remarked the London Daily Telegraph yesterday: "When senior police officers go to great lengths to make such prim and dubious politically correct statements, then it is not surprising that Muslim leaders such as [Dr. Mohammed Naseem] end up believing them, and expect to be taken seriously when they take those assertions to their logical conclusions."
Public opinion in Britain, in fact, appears to be saying enough, already. There's a growing consensus that the British have been taken for suckers by the Muslim immigration wave that has overwhelmed the sceptr'd isle. The discovery that the suicide bombers of July 7 were homegrown, second-generation Englishmen, first bewildered many, then angered most. The diversity that everyone was encouraged to celebrate turns out to be fatuous, fraudulent and sometimes fatal.
The one-sided celebration of diversity is beginning to grate as well. Julie Burchill, a columnist for the Times of London, notes that "English toddlers are being forced to celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid when they are still trying to get their heads about the Easter bunny."
There's a sordid creepiness in the way the diversity of even the dead -- that Muslims are killed along with everybody else -- is celebrated by those who can't get their own heads around the fact that the Islamic haters hate us simply for taking up space in a world that would otherwise be all theirs, with nobody to complain about the ranting, raping and beheading that is the worship ritual of the radicals.
The real phenomenon of the age of terror is how the "infidels" -- the Christians, the Jews and the unbelievers -- have kept their cool and their ideals intact in the wake of a rich provocation to retaliate. Few of us in the West necessarily believe the mantra of Tony Blair and George W. Bush that "Islam is a religion of peace" (any more than Messrs. Blair and Bush, despite their huffing and puffing about it, necessarily believe it themselves). But polls here and in Britain consistently show that the majorities are clearheaded about who the villains actually are. It's a tribute first and last to the enduring power of Jewish ethics and Christian faith that shapes and informs the societies of the West -- to which so many millions of Muslims aspire.
NO FREE SPEECH ABOUT ISLAM
Radio talk-show host Michael Graham was suspended by station WMAL-AM yesterday for repeatedly describing Islam as a "terrorist organization" on his program. Graham said he has been ordered off the Washington station, without pay, for an indefinite period while the station investigates the comments that drew complaints from a Muslim group, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Officials at WMAL, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., had initially declined to take disciplinary action against Graham. However, WMAL President and General Manager Chris Berry said last night that Graham would be suspended for making statements that "crossed the line." "We do not condone his position and believe his statements were irresponsible," Berry said in a statement.
Graham, 42, said on his mid-morning program on Monday that the fault for recent acts of terrorism lies not with Islamic radicals alone but also with Muslims generally because religious leaders and followers have tacitly supported extreme elements. "The problem is not extremism," Graham told listeners. "The problem is Islam." He also said, "We are at war with a terrorist organization named Islam."
CAIR denounced the comments as "hate-filled" and asked its members to contact the station's advertisers to express their dismay. Several hundred people across the country sent e-mails to the station and some of its advertisers, said Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's communications director. "I think this action is long overdue and appropriate," Hooper said of Graham's suspension. "I think it's a testament to the determination of individual Muslims who contacted the station and its advertisers to say Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry are unacceptable." One advertiser, Moore Cadillac Hummer, wrote a letter to CAIR denouncing Graham's statements but did not say it would pull its ads, he said.
Graham, whose program is part of WMAL's lineup of conservative talk shows, remained unapologetic and defiant. "I honestly don't know what Disney is investigating me for, unless it's for doing a compelling talk show that gets people's attention," he said. "I thought that was my job." He also said, "If fighting for free speech and for the truth in the war on terrorism means getting fired by some corporate suits at ABC Disney who can't stand up for free speech -- so be it. But I will not recant." However, station sources say Graham is unlikely to be fired and will be back on the air after the current controversy cools down.
30 July 2005
TRADITIONAL ART INCORRECT IN BRITAIN
But elephant dung is great!
The Tate was accused yesterday of snubbing one of Britain’s foremost collections after it rejected a gift of 160 paintings that had been given pride of place at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool. Its director, Sir Nicholas Serota, said that the works did not deserve to be in a national collection, even though their five-month exhibition last autumn drew thousands of people to the Walker, one of the outstanding collections of fine art in Europe and part of National Museums Liverpool.
The works were painted by the Stuckists, an international group of artists founded in 1999 to promote traditional artistry, looking to the Old Masters for inspiration. Experts said that the artists had “inaugurated the rebirth of spirituality and meaning in art, culture and society”, with their works worth £500,000, but the Tate was less than impressed.
Sir Nicholas wrote to the Stuckists, who offered the gift: “We do not feel that the work is of sufficient quality in terms of accomplishment, innovation or originality of thought to warrant preservation in perpetuity in the national collection.”
Charles Thomson, co-founder of the Stuckists, called the decision “a massive snub”. Noting the exhibition’s success, he added: “It shows the Tate is completely out of line with the rest of the country and the public, whose money it spends on things the public don’t want.” He recalled how the Contemporary Art Society, the art charity, had difficulty persuading the Tate to take a Picasso in the 1920s and a Henry Moore in the 1930s. “The Tate . . . rejected Modernism and artists such as Matisse and Picasso . . . Now it has lost the nation the prime works of an international movement founded in Britain.” Mocking the decision to award the Turner Prize to Martin Creed — “someone who switches a light on and off in an empty room” — he also poked fun at recently acquired canvases studded with elephant dung by Chris Ofili. “Excreta seems particularly welcome,” he said.
The Stuckists were confused by a passage in Sir Nicholas’s letter which said that he wanted to ensure “the Tate archive, as the national record of art in Britain, properly represents the contribution of the Stuckist movement to debates about contemporary art in recent years.” Mr Thomson said: “He wants to record our thoughts, to hear what we are saying, but will not allow the public to see our work.”
FOOD CORRECTNESS DEBUNKED
Unless you drink two litres of water a day, your body won't be properly hydrated. People in the west consume far too much salt, increasing their risk of high blood pressure. Non-organic foods are covered in harmful pesticides. The incidence of obesity would be drastically reduced if only we stopped gorging on Big Macs.
Many people would regard all of the above claims as true. After all, they are repeated incessantly in the media, by health officials and in general conversation. They have become nuggets of wisdom that shape our understanding of the relationship between what we eat and the healthiness of our bodies. So they must be true, mustn't they?
Well, not according to the authors of a bold new book: Panic Nation: unpicking the myths we're told about food and health (John Blake). Edited by two biochemists, Stanley Feldman and Vincent Marks, it sets out to demonstrate that, when it comes to food, we are collectively the victims of an incredible amount of hogwash.
The basic problem, according to the authors, is that our society is in thrall to the "precautionary principle". Ours is a worse-case-scenario mentality whereby any small or medium-sized risk is converted into a portent of near-certain catastrophe. Relatively trivial dangers - such as the recent Sudan 1 scandal - are magnified out of all proportion. Food is a natural focus for scaremongering, since it is common to everyone. According to Feldman and Marks, this is why so many of us believe that the food we eat is killing us, even though life-expectancy is longer than at any time in human history.
It is hard not to concede that they have a point. The tone of the book may be trenchant, but the arguments are sensible and even-handed. The authors do not deny that the food we eat affects us, or that it is important to eat healthily. What they do say is that our ability to look rationally at the issues is hampered by the prevalence of all sorts of myths. The chapter on junk food is particularly thought-provoking. The term "junk food", it is suggested, is an oxymoron, since if a substance has nutritional value, then by definition it cannot be junk. Fat is fat, whether it comes from processed ground beef or from an Aberdeen Angus steak. Big Macs may not be good for you, but they are not outrageously unhealthy either: in fact, they contain roughly the same calories as a Safeway tomato, chicken and basil salad.
Fine, but does this matter? Is it really a problem if we exaggerate the danger of Big Macs? Well, Feldman and Marks would retort, it does matter, because it changes the way we view an issue such as obesity. At present, the responsibility for obesity is placed squarely at the door of a group of foods that we arbitrarily choose to label "junk". If these foods were banned, or at the very least taxed, then obesity would disappear. In fact, the issue is more complex. A number of factors cause obesity, among them exercise levels, metabolism and diet. Whether or not a person habitually visits McDonald's may not be all that important.
The book makes other provocative claims. Pesticides are not present in large enough quantities to be remotely dangerous. The virtues of organic food are largely mythical, as are the hazards of GM. And as for fluid intake, it seems that you can safely put that bottle of mineral water away. Of the two litres the average person requires daily, half is provided as an inevitable consequence of the food they eat, and the rest by two cups of coffee and a glass of beer.
29 July 2005
Feminist "research" leads to bad law
A review of medical studies published from 1990 to 2003 in three prestigious journals -- the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Lancet -- has called the validity of approximately one-third of them into severe question. If a relatively 'hard' science (like medicine) has such difficulty with accuracy, then the results offered by the so-called 'soft' sciences (like sociology) should be approached with a high degree of skepticism. This is especially necessary since public policy and laws are often formed by such studies.
Consider the 'feminist' issues of rape or domestic violence. Studies that address these areas are often released in combination with policy recommendations. Indeed, they sometimes appear to be little more than a springboard from which advocates can launch a campaign for more law.
In turn, the laws that result often provide for more research. The Violence Against Women Act or VAWA -- now up for re-authorization before Congress -- is an example. VAWA includes provisions for more tax-funded research, for precisely the sort of research that created it in the first place. And, so, a re-enforcing cycle is established: studies lead to laws that lead to similar tax-funded studies, which call for more law. The cycle should be broken.
This does not mean that the law should be separated from the reality checks provided by solid data. Quite the contrary. It means that the current self-sustaining cycle tends to discourage contrary evidence and critical thinking about the data on which the laws rest. This is not a mere academic matter. Inaccurate studies become entrenched in laws that govern our daily lives. Using VAWA as an example again, the Act incorrectly assumes that women, and not men, are the victims of domestic violence, and it has been influential in denying men access to shelters. This denial often extends to the older male children of women who seek assistance. In the best of circumstances, research is unreliable outside strictly defined limitations; even within those limits, research generally provides only an indication rather than a proof.
The reliability of studies declines sharply when you move from the hard sciences to the soft ones. 'Hard science' refers to certain natural sciences, like physics and chemistry. These disciplines pursue accuracy and objectivity through observing and measuring objects or phenomena in order to produce results that can be independently replicated. In other words, hard science uses the scientific method. 'Soft science' refers to the social sciences, which include psychology, sociology, political science and other explorations of the human condition. Because human nature is not as easily observed or measured as objects, complex social interactions rarely offer replicable results. There are just too many unpredictable and unknown factors, too few research controls. It must rely more heavily upon interpretation of data. In short, the soft sciences produce less reliable results. Interpretation -- that is, the filtering of data through a researcher's assumptions, goals and beliefs -- is not unique to the soft sciences. It merely runs rampant there due to lack of controls. Nevertheless, all research is vulnerable to being skewed and deliberately so.
On July 11, the Associated Press reported, "Allegations of misconduct by U.S. researchers reached record highs last year as the Department of Health and Human Services received 274 complaints -- 50 percent higher than 2003 and the most since 1989 when the federal government established a program to deal with scientific misconduct." What motivates a researcher to bias a study, survey or report? There are many answers, from laziness to concealing incompetence and seeking prestige. In the hard sciences, the most common answer is probably "funding".
The scientific community is still reeling from recent revelations about Eric T. Poehlman, a leading researcher on aging and obesity. Poehlman simply faked the data on 17 applications for federal grants that totaled near $3 million. His 'findings,' published in prestigious medical journals, helped to define how medicine approaches the effects of menopause on women's health.
The soft sciences share all these research vulnerabilities. But, because they are less constrained by research controls, the most common answer there to what motives bias may well be "political belief." The foregoing statement will surprise few people. For example, 'feminist research' is notorious for arriving at feminist conclusions through research that includes clear political assumptions. It may surprise people, however, to hear that I don't think political agendas are inevitable within the soft sciences. Even on controversial subjects like rape, it is possible to find interesting studies in which researchers sincerely pursue solid data.
But you have to go back a few decades. In his book from the '70s, "Men who Rape: The Psychology of the Offender," Nicholas Groth offered a theory that sounds almost jarring to today's ears. He wrote, "One of the most basic observations one can make regarding men who rape is that not all such offenders are alike." That is, a drunken boyfriend who rapes because he does not hear the "no" being uttered should not be placed in the same research category as a back alley rapist who leaves his victim physically crippled for life.
A rape researcher could not make that statement today on a college campus. He would be fired, bludgeoned into silence, or his funding would be yanked. There is now only one acceptable view of rape; it is an act of power. There is only one research category of rapist: the oppressor. I believe the cycle of studies leading to laws leading to studies should be broken not because I am against solid research but because I am for it. Bring skepticism and common sense to all data you hear; withhold your tax dollars.
Maribel Cuevas: A Great American. Damned Near The Only One, It Begins To Seem
A comment from Fred Everything
Here, in the home of the free, the land of the brave, and suchlike prattle, I encounter this: "An 11-year-old girl who threw a stone at a group of boys pelting her with water balloons is being prosecuted on serious assault charges in California. Maribel Cuevas was arrested in April in a police operation which involved three police cars and a helicopter."
It seems that the rock gashed the little monster's forehead and, according to the BBC, he needed "hospital treatment." I suspect this means that he needed treatment that any general practitioner could have given him in his office, but ambulances don't take people to general practitioners.
Now, if I had a son who was ganging up with other boys to torment a girl who didn't speak English, or did (apparently Maribel barely did), I'd slap him across the room so hard that he would think he was an astronomer, and the next time the idea of doing such a thing occurred to him, he would reflect, "Maybe this isn't a good idea. Dad doesn't seem to like it." No, Dad doesn't. If he came home with a gash where she had belted him in trying to defend herself, I'd say, "Son, you go to school to learn things. You just did." Ask and ye shall receive. Actions have consequences. There are things kids need to know that you don't do, especially boys, who are pack animals.
I said, "Little monster." In fairness, this isn't fair. Kids are mean-girls as much as boys, though they go about it differently. A civilizing duty of parents, and of society, is to make clear that there are limits, and what those limits are. One of those limits is that sorry little jerks do not gang up on girls.
But.but.what leaves me gasping in wonderment is the police. First, why the police at all? Schools and parents can't manage children who haven't even reached adolescence? What is wrong with these absurd, weak, contemptible, anemic larvae? I can be charitable to sniveling parsnips, yes. I mean, worms are people too. But not when they run the schools like Oprah grubs from under a rock.
When I was a kid in high school in rural Virginia, the principal, Larry Roller, didn't need cops to control a school full of rowdy country boys. These were kids who could hurt you. They cut cordwood in the mornings. If you don't know what that means, you need to go to a gym. My girlfriend Gloria, pretty as a flower, could pull a crab boat onto a mud flat by herself, and did. We all had guns.
No serious discipline problems. Ever. Anywhere. The concept was like presidential grammar: unheard of. Nobody bucked Chrome Dome Roller. Anyone who did would have been expelled in three seconds, and would have known better than to go home, ever. His father would be waiting.
How is it that the police department needs three squad cars, an ambulance, and a freaking helicopter to subdue an annoyed girl of eleven? In my many years of riding with the police, I knew them to be men, gutsy, hard-core, willing to go to bad places full of bad people. You might like them or you might not, and you might have reason either way. But they weren't pansies. Real cops would be stone embarrassed to arrest little girls on assault charges. Not these cops, though.
Yet the use of police when frightened mushroomy little purported teachers get upset is becoming the custom in American schools. I like this one:
"Yahoo News, Fri Apr 29: "CLOVIS, N.M. - A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito. Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High."
Yeah. The kid, one Michael Morrissey, had made a thirty-inch burrito for some sort of assigned project, presumably of preternatural stupidity and unrelated to the purposes of school. Anyway, jalape¤os, tomatoes, things like that. Scary things. Armed officers on rooftops? Snipers? I imagine the chief talking by radio to a swatted-out rifleman. Chief: "You see him, sergeant?" Sniper: "Yessir. He's got the weapon under his arm. It's wrapped in newspaper. I got a clear headshot. Do I have a green light?" Chief: "No, not yet. If he does anything threatening.." Sniper: "Hold on! Hold on! He's unwrapping the weapon." Chief: "Green light! Take him out!" Sniper. "Roger that. Wait. He's eating it.."
If I were a cop, and had to take part in something so clownish, I wouldn't admit it. Instead I'd tell my wife I'd spent the afternoon in a brothel. These cockamamie stories are legion, like illiterate federal workers. I've followed any number of them. A little boy swats a little girl on the backside on the playground, and he is arrested by cops, charged with sexual harassment, and put into compulsory psychiatric counseling. Another kid draws a picture of a soldier with his rifle, and gets suspended. On and on.
What twisted circus of social decay is going on here? Have these people's minds, if any, been taken over by extragalactic flatworms? That is my guess. We are seeing the first step toward cocooning us. They plan to feed us to their starving wiggly populations on some croaking planet knee-deep in bloodsucking phyla unknown to science. Gurgle gurgle glop. I'm serious.
Now, I may not know what is really going on, but I sure as hell know what is really not going on. None of this is about security. At least, it is not about security in any sane way, having some minor three-generations-back relation to reality. We are a nation frightened of our daughters of eleven? Are girl kids that dangerous? Does any other country, anywhere, fear its daughters? Give me a break.
It is truly weird. America, the most aggressive nation on the planet, the grr, bowwow, woof superpower, is also the most timid. Sure, I know, aggressive because frightened, the bully terrified by sock-puppets that might wait in the closet. But, my god, a kid with a burrito? In Mexico, where I live, lots of kids have burritos. You can carry one, concealed, without a permit. No helicopters and no snipers.
That's us. The country of Davy Crockett, John Singleton Mosby, Apollo Thirteen, now somehow scared of our own sprats, unable to teach them to read, absolutely absurd in the eyes of the world. Of course,the schools being what they are, lots of us have never heard of the world. It wasn't always this way. Anyway, I guess the Chinese will be merciful. Maybe they will put us in special homes, with soft walls.
28 July 2005
Ending bias in domestic assault law
Last week, with international terrorism still the center of attention, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on a different kind of domestic security issue: the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. The legislation, which funds programs aiding victims of sexual assault and family violence, is the kind of measure no one wants to oppose for fear of appearing insensitive or even antiwoman. But maybe now, 11 years after the passage of the original measure, is a good time to reevaluate some of its premises and policies.
The act, first introduced by Democratic Senator Joe Biden and later championed by some leading conservatives such as Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, could be seen an example of positive and mainstream feminist accomplishment. But underneath its mainstream trappings, the 1994 bill was steeped in a radical feminism of the ''men bad, women good" variety -- an ideology which regards domestic abuse and rape as part of a collective male war against women. Ironically, the law's political success was partly due to the fact this kind of feminism dovetails easily with a traditional, putting-women-on-a-pedestal paternalism.
Despite its ideological origins and its reliance on inflated statistics (such as the long-debunked claim that ''battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the US"), the act has undoubtedly done some good. Reauthorized in 2000, it contained many beneficial practical measures in the area of victim services and criminal justice: for instance, making restraining orders issued in one state enforceable in another, or making abusers subject to federal charges if they cross state lines to stalk or assault victims. It also encouraged some solid research on domestic violence, sexual assault, and related issues.
Unfortunately, it also helped enshrine a dogmatic and one-sided approach to family violence. For one, while the legislation is ostensibly gender-neutral, its very title reflects the notion that partner abuse is a ''women's issue" -- leading, in some cases, to confusion over whether programs serving male victims are even eligible for grant money. At last week's hearings, the issue of abused men was explicitly acknowledged. According to Dave Burroughs, a Maryland-based activist on behalf of male victims who did not testify but attended the session, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter specifically questioned a witness on the availability of services for men and noted that according to federal crime surveys, 12 percent of domestic assault victims are male. (In other studies which do not focus on whether the respondent regards the attack as a crime, that figure goes up to about 40 percent.)
In fact, some aspects of the act promote covert gender bias. For instance, the legislation requires states and jurisdictions eligible for federal domestic violence grants not only to encourage arrests in domestic assault cases, but also to ''discourage dual arrest of the offender and the victim." This provision is based on the false belief that in cases of mutual violence, one can nearly always draw a clear line between the aggressor and the victim striking back in self-defense. While the language is ostensibly gender-neutral, the assumption is that the aggressor is male; the feminist groups which pushed for this clause made no secret of the fact that its goal was to curb arrests of women.
The law has also created a symbiotic relationship between the federal government and the battered women's advocacy movement, which is heavily permeated by radical feminist ideology. The state coalitions against domestic violence, which formally require member organizations to embrace the feminist analysis of abuse as patriarchal coercion, play a vital role in the allocation of federal grants and in overseeing the implementation of programs and policies. Among other things, these groups frown on any batterer intervention programs that focus on drug and alcohol abuse or mental illness as causes of domestic violence.
Here are two modest proposals for reauthorizing the measure. First, give the legislation a gender-neutral title such as ''The Family Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Act." Second, abolish the special role of feminist-dominated domestic violence coalitions in shaping federally funded domestic violence programs. The bill should direct each state to create a domestic violence board on which no more than a quarter or a third of the seats can be filled by members of battered women's advocacy groups. The rest should be filled by scholars, mental health professionals, and community activists. Over the past decades, our understanding of domestic violence has expanded beyond feminist orthodoxy to a more complex view. Our federal policies should reflect this ideological diversity.
ATTRACTIIVENESS INCORRECT IN BRITAIN
Drinks companies have been ordered to hire paunchy, balding men for advertisements to meet new rules forbidding any link between women’s drinking and sex. Watchdogs have issued a list of undesirable male characteristics that advertisers must abide by in order to comply with tougher rules designed to separate alcohol from sexual success.
Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive. The offending poster featured three women “hooking” a slim, young man in a parody of a fairground game scene. Harmless fun to lead its summer campaign, Lambrini argued. But the Committee of Advertising Practice declared: “We would advise that the man in the picture should be unattractive — overweight, middle-aged, balding etc.” The ruling continued: “We consider that the advert is in danger of implying that the drink may bring sexual/social success, because the man in question looks quite attractive and desirable to the girls. If the man was clearly unattractive, we think that this implication would be removed.” The ruling comes after ministers’ warnings to the drinks industry to take measures to tackle binge-drinking or face legislation.
The new CAP code instructs that “links must not be made between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success”. Romance and flirtation are not forbidden but adverts must not be aimed at the under-18s or use celebrities in a “sexy” or “cool” manner. The Bacardi adverts that turned Vinnie Jones into a “party animal” would now be banned, and the measure could affect George Clooney’s £2.5million deal to advertise Martini.
The similarly desirable Brad Pitt reportedly earned £4 million for his recent Heineken advert, which was shown mainly in America. However, the family-sized Peter Kay will presumably be approved to retain his John Smith’s contract.
Lambrini’s makers complained that the ruling was offensive to a large tranche of the male population. Are Jack Nicholson, Bruce Willis, Sean Connery and Ray Winstone unattractive to women, the company asked? John Halewood, the Lambrini owner, said: “The watchdog makes some very understandable rulings to encourage sensible drinking but we’re not sure they’re qualified to decide for the nation who’s sexy and who’s not. “Beauty is, after all, in the eye of the beholder.” Lambrini has now recreated its advert employing a balding, male figure whose lack of pulchritude has proved acceptable to the watchdog.
27 July 2005
Toronto Man to be Evicted from Apartment for Displaying Sign in Favour of Traditional Marriage
Free speech is un-Canadian, apparently
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." The famous line from George Orwell's Animal Farm, a satire on a Marxist revolution and the lies and distortions required to achieve and maintain it, is a comment on the hypocrisy of governments that proclaim the absolute equality of their citizens but give power and privileges to a small elite. In Canada, Christians upholding the meaning of sexuality and marriage have found that Orwell's axiom is as relevant as ever and equality is often a one-way street.
In one small but very telling case, the axiom can be observed directly in the case of a man living in the notorious "Boys' Town" neighbourhood of Toronto, an area dominated by seedy homosexual clubs and bathhouses. Lee Konik, who is opposed to legitimizing homosexual "marriage", is being threatened with eviction from his apartment in Church street for publicly displaying his opinion that marriage is a union of one man and one woman.
In an article appearing in a Toronto weekly, the Catholic Register, reporter Dominic Nicassio wrote that Konik, after attending a Defend Marriage rally, took home a sign that read, "Marriage = 1 man + 1 woman," and put it in his window where it remained through the annual Pride Week activities. On June 28 Konik was served a notice that informed him that his display of an opinion which differs from that which prevails in Church street and in Canada's Parliament, had cost him the home in which he had lived for 25 years. The notice specified that he was to be evicted for having displayed a "controversial (sic) worded banner."
Konik's situation came to the attention of the Catholic Register when he wrote a letter to the editor asking, "Don't we have a right to express our feelings and convictions? We live in a society that has freedom of expression and democracy, and we believe that all people are created equal. I am a person, one of the people of Canada." Mr. Konik, a parishioner at St. Paul's Basilica, had previously displayed a sign that read, "Gay Shame" which resulted in his being forced to sign an agreement that he would not put up signs "that may be perceived as being directly or indirectly derogatory toward others, either during Gay Pride period or at other times." The property manager Philip Eram, when asked if such an agreement violated Mr. Konik's constitutional rights to freedom of expression, replied, "That would be up to a judge to decide."
In the repeated experience with Canadian courts, however, Christians opposed to the homosexual political juggernaut, have discovered that while all Canadians may be equal, the politically correct supporters of the new sexual morality, are more equal than others. "It's not so much he has no rights, it's the other way around. It sounds like someone who chose to ignore the rights of others, and the rights of the co-op," Eram said. Mr. Eram, President of Toronto-based Precision Property Management Inc. however, declined to explain how the expression of a differing opinion could be a violation of anyone's rights.
Study busts myth of TV's link to childhood obesity
Television and computer games are not to blame for children playing less sport, contrary to popular belief, a major Australian study has found. Rather, family stability is far more important in determining whether kids are active or not. The new research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that children who played sport or danced also watched between 10 and 20 hours a week of television and played an average of seven hours a week of computer games. The internet was not a problem either as children were even more likely to be active if they had access to a computer at home. The growing tendency for children to clock up hours of screen time indoors instead of running around outside has been heavily blamed for the nation's epidemic of childhood obesity.
But study author Mike Stratton said the ABS research showed there was no reason children couldn't spend time using electronic media, as long as they balanced it with physical activity. "This study is a challenge for a lot of people. It's a bit of a mythbuster," he said. "There's no doubt that screen-based activities do compete for a child's time. But if you want to look at the reasons why they are really not participating [in sport], it's more to do with socioeconomics."
The single biggest factor influencing a child's lack of involvement in sport was having unemployed parents, the study showed. This was followed by having parents born in a non-English speaking country, and having low socio-economic status. Children were more likely to play sport if they were in a higher socio-economic bracket, if they were involved in cultural activities such as music, singing and drama and if both their parents were employed. The amount of time spent watching television or computer games was either not significant or only slightly influenced rates of sporting activity.
Mr Stratton, who presented the results at the Australian Social Policy Conference last week, said the results suggested family stability might be the key factor that separated active from inactive children. "When a family has a regular income there is security, and that family can settle into a routine," he said. "It means mum or dad can take the kids to Saturday morning, or Wednesday evening sport." Mr Stratton said the cost of club fees, uniforms, equipment and dance lessons might also dissuade low-income parents from enrolling their children in activities. He said the move to incorporate sport into after-school care was the best way of ensuring all children got a fair chance to be active.
This year, the Australian Sports Commission began its Active After-school Communities Program to address the problem of childhood obesity after research found half of children aged five to 14 spent more time in front of a screen than in the classroom.
26 July 2005
THE INCORRECTNESS OF "PROFILING" KILLS PEOPLE
MINNEAPOLIS'S MURDER RATE peaked in 1995; that year the New York Times dubbed Minneapolis "Murderapolis." Gangs had taken over the city's poorest neighborhoods and gang crime had become highly visible. In 1996 three Minneapolis officers were dispatched to New York City to study the "broken windows" crime-prevention program which had been implemented by Rudy Giuliani and Police Chief William Bratton.
Upon their return to Minneapolis, the officers helped introduce a version of that program they named "CODEFOR." Then-Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and then-Minneapolis Police Chief Robert Olson supported the implementation of the program and were delighted to claim credit for its success, which was virtually immediate.
By the fall of 2002, however, two high-profile murders suggested that gangs had retaken the streets and that Murderapolis had returned. In September, 19-year-old University of Minnesota student-athlete Brandon Hall was gunned down by a thug in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Hall had survived the mean streets of Detroit only to lose his life a year after moving to Minneapolis to fulfill his dream of playing Big 10 football. In November, 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards was shot and killed while she studied at home with her younger sister at her side, caught in the crossfire of a shootout among three gang members. Chief Olson memorably commented: "This is just another case of someone who's mad at somebody else getting mad and firing shots."
This year the situation in Minneapolis has continued to deteriorate in remarkable ways. Downtown sidewalks have become daytime hangouts for gang thugs. When Minneapolis businesses desperately sought law enforcement assistance this past spring, they were told to hire private security guards for their customers. In April, a group of nine thugs--six of whom were known gang members--attacked a 15-year-old boy who was dragged from a Metro Transit bus, pummeled, and robbed before he escaped and sought help. (The assault was caught on a chilling videotape, courtesy of the camera installed on the bus.) The 15-year-old victim had boarded the bus at the intersection of 7th Street and the Nicollet Mall--the heart of the shopping area in downtown Minneapolis. Earlier this month the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that murders have increased 55 percent in Minneapolis over the same period last year.
What happened between 2000 and 2005 to cause the sharp deterioration in the progress made in controlling Minneapolis crime? Minneapolis is a case study in the destructive effects of one-party liberal rule and a stultifying political culture.
STARTING IN THE SPRING of 2000, the Minneapolis Police Department voluntarily collected data on the race of drivers stopped in routine traffic checks. Chief Olson reported the results in January; both he and Mayor Sayles Belton contributed to the predictable charges of "racial profiling" that followed the announcement of the results. Olson was quoted observing that "there is a problem, but we don't know the level of it and how, yet, to identify it." Sayles Belton pronounced herself disappointed but not surprised by the numbers. Chief Olson submitted the data to Minneapolis's "independent" (liberal) Council on Crime and Justice, a key purveyor of the "racial disparities" line of attack on law enforcement.
As Dr. David Pence wrote of the Council on Crime and Justice in City Fathers magazine, "there is no group whose work and philosophy are more diametrically opposed to the police strategy represented by CODEFOR." Pence continued: "Handing over police data to this ideological group (currently headed by former County Attorney Tom Johnson) is a breach of confidence between the chief and police officers. To give [the Council] data, which places [it] in the role of unbiased expert, is to supply one's executioner with both well-made bullets and a shooting vantage point."
The results of the Council's study were released in April 2001 and produced an occasion for the Star Tribune to trumpet "racial disparities" in traffic stops, although the report itself was agnostic on the question of "racial profiling." The Star Tribune has observed a strict taboo against an exploration of the connection between "racial disparities" in traffic stops and other law enforcement outcomes and racial disparities in crime rates.
More important than the Star Tribune's superficial coverage of the traffic stop data was the lack of support for the police on the part of both the mayor and the chief. Not surprisingly, Minneapolis police officers reacted accordingly, reducing traffic stops and other discretionary enforcement activity that had helped get gangs off the streets just a few years earlier. Minneapolis has not been the same since.
AS A RESULT of Mayor Sayles Belton's failure to support the officers, the police supported R.T. Rybak, Sayles Belton's opponent in the 2001 mayoral election, despite the fact that Rybak was the more liberal candidate. Rybak, in fact, talked about crime and law enforcement solely in the context of "racial disparities." Rybak never seriously addressed the problem of crime in Minneapolis or the necessity of supporting the CODEFOR policing program. His key supporters were Minneapolis's lakeside liberals, for whom crime is not a problem, and his victory in the mayoral election has had predictable results.
Gangs have returned to Minneapolis in full force. First they returned to the residential neighborhoods north and south of downtown. This year they expanded their territory to the streets of downtown.
QUEENSLAND STUDENTS EVADE FOOD POLICE
Arrogant neo-Stalinist bureaucrats think what people want does not count and also totally ignore evidence that overweight people live longer. Prosecuting them for shortening students' lifespans would be real fun
Students are going elsewhere for fast-food fixes as tuckshops take chips, pies and lollies off the menu. Primary and secondary students are beating the State Government's healthy food reforms by bingeing on junk food before school and heading off-campus for greasy lunches. Nutrition experts say the alarming trend is contributing to the obesity crisis among Queensland's youth. "It's a crisis . . . and it's getting worse," Griffith University's Dr Shawn Somerset said.
Education Minister Anna Bligh concedes schools may have to introduce even tougher rules to stop the unhealthy trend. It is likely school lunch passes will be reviewed. "Parents and schools should be actively discouraging students from bringing these types of foods into school grounds," Ms Bligh said. Education Queensland last month outlined policies requiring school canteens to have healthy menus in place by next July. Many tuckshops have already started introducing the changes. Students have already shown their distaste for the new food. "Kids are going to the shops because they can get fast foods there," 16-year-old Gold Coast student Toke told The Sunday Mail. "We go to the corner shop now. There's no hot chips at school."
Another teenager predicts students would rebel against the fast-food bans. "There will be complaints," 17-year-old Elizabeth said. "Whatever anyone brings from home you can't control. Kids will be bringing soft drinks and chocolates to school."
The Sunday Mail this week watched as parents dropped their children at fast-food outlets, where they bought bags of hash browns and fries before making their way to class. Other groups of students were seen stocking up on litre bottles of soft drink, or leaving school grounds at lunchtime to buy hamburgers and hotdogs at corner stores.
An alarmed Ms Bligh will consider introducing rules forcing students to remain at school during breaks. Dr Somerset, a nutrition researcher, said students who binged on fast foods risked serious long-term health problems. He warned the problem was contributing to an "epidemic of obesity" among youths. "It's caused by the trash culture. We're being bombarded by it. They see people eating junk on television, on billboards their peers are eating junk, and then what happens is they start mimicking it," Dr Somerset said. Because Australia was such a successful sporting nation, many parents and their children wrongly believed they could "burn off" their increased fat intake from the "fast food palaces". "Sometimes you can. Sometimes you can't undo the damage, particularly when it's your arteries."
Queensland Parents and Citizens Association operations manager Greg Donaldson demanded corner shops and fast-food outlets "lift their game". "We've said right from the start that the school community can't control what kids eat before nine and after three and on the weekends," Mr Donaldson said. "When they're in the care of schools they will be given a range of healthy things to eat and drink. "But there's also a corporate responsibility for people selling these unhealthy foods to play their part, to lift their game."
An Education Queensland spokesman said that as part of the tuckshop reforms, staff would teach students about making good food choices "at all times of the day, and not just when they are at school". He indicated schools would also crack down on students using lunch passes to stock up on fast foods. "The intent of these lunch passes is to allow an individual student to leave the school to go home for lunch and return to school. "Lunch passes are not intended to allow students to leave for other reasons."
25 July 2005
PEDDLING OBSCENITY TO KIDS
When Rick Plouffe picked up a copy of a book on his daughter's school reading list, he came across something he didn't expect - pages littered with obscenities. To his shock, the book on Wellesley High School's required summer reading list contains dozens of vulgarities. ``I got four pages into it and f-bombs started flying all over the place,'' said Plouffe, whose daughter is a sophomore. ``You get a few more pages into it and the language gets even more colorful.''
Despite the book's goal of helping people understand autism, Plouffe said ``The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'' is not appropriate for young teens and violates the school's student handbook, which bars students from using ``abusive'' or ``hostile'' speech. The book tells the story of Christopher Boone, a 15-year-old autistic savant. WHS Principal Rena Mirkin defended the book's choice, saying its message overrides the vulgarities. She said the school considered other books, but none were as effective in conveying the realities of autism. ``It's not about the language; it's about the issue,'' she said.
Ploufee said, ``I'm sure they can find plenty of books that convey the same message without the use of vulgarity. This is a distraction to conveying the story about autism.''
CANADIAN LEFTIST HYPOCRISY
Miss Universe is one of many victims of liberal narrow- mindedness, which is in reality a rigid intolerance masquerading as tolerance, Michael Coren argues
We should remember the last few days as The Week of Hypocrisy. A revealing glimpse into the world of contemporary North America and its ways and wants. As so often, it started with the CBC. Taking its lead from the BBC and Reuters, the network refuses to employ the word "terrorist" when describing people who purposefully murder harmless men, women and children.
Quite clearly, we need to distinguish between armed resistance to oppression and the intentional killing of the innocent. But when the latter is obvious, as with the London mass murders, we cannot hide behind euphemisms. This is particularly so for the CBC, which for years has used pejorative and judgmental words to describe people who are pro-life, orthodox Christian and conservative. If the words aren't enough, one only has to look at the gestures and listen to the inflection of various anchors and interviewers, to know where they stand. Some years ago, a leading CBC commentator and host described Roman Catholicism as an international criminal organization and was not even challenged. There's fairness for you.
In Toronto, the city's mayor sensibly apologized to the new Miss Universe, who happens to be a Canadian. She had been refused a welcome at City Hall because municipal bylaws prevent any "activities which degrade men or women through sexual stereotyping, or exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purpose of attracting attention." Odd, then, that the rainbow flag is now officially flown from City Hall by this same authority every year for the Gay Pride parade and the ceremony around this is attended by the mayor, the chief of police and assorted political and business figures. Odd because at the Gay Pride Parade, numerous women march topless, men dance about as sexual objects in leather briefs and male cross-dressers cover themselves in ghoulish make-up, wear high heels and claim to look like women. Not only does this objectify women, and men, but it degrades them as well. As for "attracting attention" and "stereotypes," the truth really does cry out to be heard.
A new cause: The fashionable left has found a new cause in Hassan Almrei, a 31-year-old Syrian accused of having ties to al-Qaida. He has been detained for almost four years because Canadian intelligence believes him to be a threat to our security. Alexa McDonough, Alexandre Trudeau, Avi Lewis and their friends believe this to be unacceptable. Perhaps they are correct. Yet why, one wonders, did they not speak out when Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel was also categorized a security threat and kept in solitary confinement? Islamic fundamentalist terrorism (apologies to the CBC) is certainly a threat. Nazi propaganda may be vile, but is far less serious. As awful as he may be, it could well be argued that Zundel is less of a threat than Almeri. Yet fashionable he certainly is not.
Across the border in the United States, a 24-year-old female teacher conducted a sexual relationship with a boy of fourteen. What she did was, of course, repugnant and immoral. The same public and politicians who are so angry at her behaviour, however, said very little when the age of consent was lowered, when the law was changed to allow young girls to go on the contraceptive pill without parental consent and when major corporations produced, and produce, clothing for six-year-old children that is sexually suggestive.
Job at risk: Finally we have intolerance in the name of tolerance. Marriage commissioner Orville Nichols has supervised thousands of weddings in Saskatchewan but now looks likely to lose his job. The reason is that he has refused to marry a gay couple. Predictably, the people he so offended have gone to the provincial Human Rights Commission and the 69-year-old Nichols knows that there is none so angry as a liberal scorned. Perhaps comrades McDonough, Trudeau and Lewis will fight for his right to have an opinion without being fired and stand up for his freedom. Then again, perhaps not.
No more cheating for a good cause
From DAVID GELERNTER
Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement from the Supreme Court should make us ponder affirmative action. Her most influential piece of writing might well be the 2003 court opinion allowing the University of Michigan Law School to continue race-based admissions for the time being — so long as there were no racial quotas. It was the first time the court had ever endorsed race-based university admissions.
And of course, O'Connor herself was the first woman on the Supreme Court. When President Reagan nominated her in 1981, affirmative action was fairly new; O'Connor made it look good. She was superbly qualified, yet presumably would have been overlooked had Reagan not searched expressly for a female.
But that was long ago. Today, affirmative action is ripe for the junkyard. There's dramatic evidence in President Bush nominating a garden-variety white male to O'Connor's seat. He said something important by doing so. Consider the fact that for much of the 20th century, the "Jewish seat" was a Supreme Court convention. To have one Jew on the court (no more, no less) seemed proper and fitting. But in time Jews went mainstream and the single "Jewish seat" quietly disappeared. (There are now two Jewish justices).
Bush has delivered a comparable message to women and minorities: Welcome to the mainstream! We don't need a "woman's seat" on the court. There are no more outsiders in American life.
Now let's get rid of affirmative action. In practice, affirmative action means cheating in a good cause. (But all cheating, for any cause, gnaws at a nation's moral innards like termites.) Affirmative action means a plus factor in university admissions, job hiring and promotion for candidates from protected groups, in the interests of "diversity." (But why should "diversity" mean official "minorities" and women but not libertarians, farmers, Mormons, Texans, children of soldiers, aspiring Catholic priests, etc.?)
Affirmative action is highly unpopular: A 2003 Washington Post-Harvard-Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 92% of the public (86% of blacks) agreed that admissions, hiring and promotion decisions "should be based strictly on merit and qualifications other than race/ethnicity." Only bureaucrats and intellectuals (species that are more closely related than they seem) love affirmative action.
Is it really "cheating"? In 2003, Linda Chavez, the head of the Center for Equal Opportunity, described University of Michigan freshman admissions as they stood in the mid-1990s: "We found that the odds ratio favoring admission of a black applicant with identical grades and test scores to a white applicant was 174 to 1." The high court struck down that admissions procedure, but it's a frightening reminder of what people can do in the name of fairness.
Affirmative actions begs comparison with the Vietnam War: two hugely ambitious programs with no exit strategies. In 1965, the Johnson administration launched affirmative action. The Nixon administration relaunched it in 1970, requiring all federal contractors to set "goals and timetables" to govern black hiring. It spread quickly (as a legal requirement or voluntary policy) to unions, government agencies, big business, universities.
It was intended originally not to create diversity but to stamp out prejudice in a hurry. As such, it bears another strange resemblance to Vietnam. You could argue in both cases that we won but refused to admit it. Some modern historians insist that we defeated the Vietnamese communists, then walked off and let them win by default. And we have stamped out so much prejudice that nowadays we are at least as strongly bigoted in favor of women and minorities as we are bigoted against them — as any 10-year-old can tell you.
Textbooks widely used in public schools consistently downplay white men in favor of women and minorities. (Thomas Edison gets less space than a black scientist who tweaked one of Edison's inventions. A Navajo physicist gets a detailed write-up, but Albert Einstein doesn't appear. A biologist of the Seneca tribe is credited with nothing noteworthy, but he gets a picture while James Watson and Francis Crick, co-founders of modern genetics, don't rate a mention. At virtually any U.S. university, female or minority faculty candidates are in vastly greater demand than plain old white males.
Affirmative action has turned the United States into an aristocracy. British aristocrats have enjoyed their own kind of "reverse discrimination" for a thousand years. America's affirmative-action aristocrats were only created a generation ago; until then, they were targets of bigotry themselves. So what? No aristocracy is acceptable in the U.S.
O'Connor wrote in the University of Michigan ruling that affirmative action must end some day. George W. might be just the man to end it.
24 July 2005
HOMOSEXUALITY TRUMPS ISLAM!
An employee at William Paterson University who was reprimanded for using a private e-mail to describe homosexuals as "perversions" says his rights were violated. Jihad Daniel, 68, of Hackensack, made his comments in March in response to an e-mail he received that had been sent university-wide by professor Arlene Holpp Scala. That message invited people to a film about lesbian relationships, titled "Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House." Daniel, who works repairing the university's computer networks, responded in an e-mail to Scala that he did not want to receive messages about "Ruthie and Connie." "These are perversions," he wrote as part of his one-paragraph response. Daniel went on to write that "the absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the earth is never mentioned."
Scala forwarded the e-mail to a university office responsible for handling discrimination complaints, saying she thought it was threatening and also went against the school's anti-discrimination policy. The publicly funded university reprimanded Daniel, saying his comments were derogatory and demeaning.
Daniel, who also takes communications classes part-time at the university, challenged the reprimand. "Even if someone didn't like what you said, you still have the right to say it," said Daniel, who told The Record of Bergen County that he was expressing his Muslim beliefs. Daniel's appeals have been rejected by the university. A Philadelphia-based organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has taken up the case and says it will fight to have the reprimand removed.
Winnipeg's Museum For Human Rights: Canada's $300 Million Temple of Ideology
Right at the heart of Canada a host of the most influential, wealthy and socially liberal Canadians and world leaders are planning to construct the most powerful propaganda institute the country has yet seen. A giant glass blaze of light constructed at the crux where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet, with deliberate architectural ties to mother earth and native Indian earth spirituality, the Museum For Human Rights will eventually serve as the temple of Canada's new state ideology. It will be a `sacred' spot where Canadians can come together and learn to worship Canada's most destructive political document, the deceptively named `Charter of Rights and Freedoms' of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
This secular temple will be a place for Canadian schoolchildren to be taught to marvel at their country's `achievements' in advancing what are questionably, if not outrageously, called `Human Rights' since the implementation of the 1982 Charter. Mingling with legitimate exhibits about the internment of the Japanese in WWII and other true human rights violations justly mourned, will be exhibits championing reproductive `rights', sexual `rights', same-sex `rights'.
The Winnipeg museum will be the Sunday School of the left, where police, military and political personnel will be taught the new double-speak of ideologically defined and dangerously limited "human rights", and be trained in the most effective means of discovering, discouraging and punishing `bigots' and `extremists'. And it will be a place for the more ambitious to consider the next logical step of introducing these `rights' to the rest of the world, of evangelizing the globe in the light of the Charter's new world religion of humanistic ideology.
But, there is something deliciously right about architect Antoine Predock's winning design for the museum. A huge, shapeless construct of glass in the tradition of the Crystal Palace, to be erected in Winnipeg, the building is designed, according to the architect himself, to be an "apparition" resembling a cloud, "light filled and buoyant". When all is said and done the delightful final impression is a building designed to look as vaporous and vacuous as the false religion and the empty idol which it will have been created to celebrate.....
Repeated remarks by those involved in the costly venture have indicated that all the exhibits of the Museum will be seen through the lens of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Trudeau himself will most certainly be one of the museum's most celebrated personalities. This is hardly surprising as Trudeau's disciples are powerful, influential, and passionate; but it doesn't bode well. Canada seen through the lens of the Charter is the mere skeleton of a formerly strong, free and solidly grounded nation, stripped of its flesh and its life.
Typical of the delusional liberal attitude towards the Charter, in a 2003 interview shortly before his death, `Izzy' Apser went so far as to compare it to the American Declaration of Independence.... The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, on the other hand, is boring and philosophically and legally vague, fraught with juicy loopholes, ripe for exploitation by one who knows how....
One way of coming to a true understanding of the Charter, and through it the purpose and meaning of the so-called Museum For Human Rights, is to understand the man behind the Charter, former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau..... Trudeau, more than any Canadian PM, shoved his personal convictions, including the Charter of Rights, down the gagging throat of his country. Western Canadian columnist Link Byfield, wrote in a September 2000 Globe and Mail article that "Parliament annoyed [Trudeau], so he bulldozed his Charter of Rights into the Constitution (1982) and surrendered statutory supremacy to the court."
In the last twenty-two years since its inception the Charter has lead to the worst abuses of judicial authority in Canadian history. Ian Hunter, in an article entitled "Canada's Judicial Captivity", printed in 1997 in First Things, explains. With the advent of the Charter, he says, "Canada ceased to be a country of parliamentary supremacy and became.a country of constitutional supremacy, where the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is `the supreme law the land'." However, "the problem with constitutional supremacy is that constitutions are not self-interpreting." There, as Hamlet would say, is the rub.
The Charter is an amalgamation of various rights which in the very act of being placed in writing are stripped of their breath and soul and instead exist in a permanent and antagonistic tension with one another. That is, none of the rights in the charter are absolute, and all are left completely open to the interpretation of a small number of un-elected judges who enjoy years of unaccountability with extended periods of tenure. In the midst of a conflict Canadians are now reduced to yelling out "I have a right!", and then sitting back to observe which right will come out on top this time around.....
"The Canadian voter still goes to the polls quadrennially" says Hunter, "but is it is judges who have imposed abortion on demand (R v. Morgentaler), who came within a single vote in the Supreme Court of creating a Charter right to physician-assisted suicide (R. v. Rodrigues), and who are systematically eradicating any normative distinction between homosexuality and heterosexuality (M. v. H.). Canada now has same-sex `marriage' especially thanks to several activist judicial decisions based on the Charter, despite the fact that the Charter's framers specifically rejected including `sexual orientation' in it. However, this didn't stop Paul Martin, just before the June 28 vote that passed Bill C-38, from stating, about the marriage redefinition bill, "this is about the Charter" and "a right is a right and that is what this vote is all about tonight".
Not only have the Charter and its authors introduced a powerful dictatorship of relativism, but so too have they imposed the added scourge of the dictatorship of the judiciary. Better yet, the relationship can be explained thus: the dictatorship of relativism is the religion, the Charter its idol, and the judges and certain politicians the priests who sacrifice truth on the triple altars of `tolerance', `freedom without responsibility' and `political correctness'.
All that the members of this new religion of ideology need now is a place to gather and worship - a temple. And they are determined to build themselves one-Canada's Museum For Human Rights.
Lawyers hurt kids: "Fearful of lawsuits, authorities everywhere have been stripping playgrounds of dangerous things like teeter-totters, swings and even sandboxes. Now elementary schools in Broward Country, Fla., have playground signs that read: "No running." One mother interviewed for the July 18 South Florida Sun-Sentinel fretted about her children and others being bored at playgrounds where the only unregulated activity seems to be grubbing in the dirt. But Joe Frost, who heads the University of Texas' Play and Playgrounds Research Project, looks at the problem differently. "Play is one of children's chief vehicles for development," the Sun-Sentinel quoted him saying, and "right now it looks like we're developing a nation of wimps."
23 July 2005
MORE SOFT-DRINK NONSENSE
Nonsense that systematically ignores the scientific findings
The food police filed a petition this week with the federal government to require that regular (non-diet) soft drinks carry health warning labels. But scientific data, including a new study published this week, expose such soda scaremongering for what it is - junk science-fueled nanny-ism. Anti-fun food activists at the self-proclaimed "Center for Science in the Public Interest" called on the Food and Drug Administration to require a series of rotating health notices on containers of most non-diet soft drinks. Warnings suggested by CSPI include: "The U.S. Government recommends that you drink less (non-diet) soda to help prevent weight gain, tooth decay and other health problems"; "To help protect your waistline and your teeth, consider drinking diet sodas or water"; "Drinking soft drinks instead of milk or calcium-fortified beverages may increase your risk of brittle bones (osteoporosis)"; and "This drink contains caffeine, which is a mildly addictive stimulant drug. Not appropriate for children."
Ironically, the day after the CSPI news conference calling for the warning labels, a study published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet undercut CSPI's claims concerning weight gain. Researchers studied the role of physical activity in relation to changes in bodyweight in about 2,300 adolescent girls for 10 years from ages 9-19 and reported that exercise, rather than eating, was key. "These results suggest that habitual activity plays an important role in weight gain, with no parallel evidence that energy intake had a similar role," concluded the researchers.
This new study is consistent with what scientists know about sugar intake and weight. "There is no clear and consistent association between increased intake of added sugars and [weight]," stated a 2002 report from the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine titled, "Dietary Reference Intakes on Macronutrients." And let's not forget about the more recent 15,000-child study spotlighted last fall in this column in which Harvard University researchers concluded that, "although snack foods may have low nutritional value, they were not an important independent determinant of weight gain among children and adolescents."
While consumption of dietary sugars has been linked with dental caries, it's not a simple relationship that merits a special warning label on soft drink. "Many factors in addition to sugars affect the caries process, including the form of food or fluid, the duration of the exposure, nutrient composition, sequence of eating, salivary flow, presence of buffers, and oral hygiene," wrote researchers in a 2003 article entitled "Sugars and Dental Caries" published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Emphasizing the complexity of the issue, the researchers noted, "Since the introduction of fluoride, the incidence of caries worldwide has decreased, despite increases in sugar consumption."
The researchers also noted a study linking white bread with caries. Will CSPI also demand that consumers be warned about the risk of tooth decay that might be posed by sandwich bread, French bread and pizza?
CSPI's suggested warning about soft drinks increasing the risk of osteoporosis is also without merit. As discussed in an earlier column, there simply is no evidence that soft drinks are replacing milk in the diet of children and adolescents. That same column spotlighted a CSPI-inspired researcher who previously attempted to link cola consumption with bone fractures in high school girls; but her statistics were weak and she had no credible explanation for how cola consumption could lead to bone fractures.
By the way, while CSPI ostensibly worries about soft drinks replacing milk, it actively campaigns against the consumption of whole milk and 2 percent milk, advocating consumption of only 1 percent milk and skim milk. CSPI accuses the dairy industry of "putting profits ahead of the hearts of American's school-aged children," even though the activist group can't point to a single child whose heart health has been compromised in the slightest by milk.
As to caffeine and children, a 2002 review of the science in Food and Chemical Toxicology concluded, "Overall, the effects of caffeine in children seem to be modest and typically innocuous." Of course children should avoid overconsumption of caffeine - that's just common sense - but they can safely consume the typical amounts found in soft drinks....
The bottom line on soft drinks is that, like virtually everything else in life, moderation is the key. Soft drinks can be part of a healthy lifestyle - along with a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, sufficient sleep, good oral hygiene and other common sense lifestyle habits. If consumers need to be waned about anything, it should be CSPI's alarmist antics.
SOVIET-STYLE RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN CANADA
An excerpt from here
You don't have to be a right-wing fanatic like me to realize that religious freedom and freedom of speech are under fire in Western civilization (heretofore known as "the free world"). Recently I blogged about the anti-vilification laws in Victoria, Australia, which have been used to muzzle criticism of Islam by two Christian pastors. And "hate speech" laws in Canada already limit public criticism of homosexuality, whether in religious contexts or not.
Now comes the July 18 commentary at the top of the queue from the CBC, the Canadian government-run broadcasting system. The CBC has found a chap named Bob Ferguson, a retired professor from the Royal Military College, who has a bright idea--require licensing of all pastors and other "religious practitioners" and directly and drastically control the content of religious teaching by law. Think I'm joking? I couldn't make this stuff up.
Mr. Ferguson's commentary is set in the context of the debate over women's ordination, with special reference to the Roman Catholic Church. His idea is that the RC church should simply be forced by law to ordain women, at least in Canada.
Given the inertia of the Catholic Church, perhaps we could encourage reform by changing the environment in which all religions operate. Couldn't we insist that human rights, employment and consumer legislation apply to them as it does other organizations? Then it would be illegal to require a particular marital status as a condition of employment or to exclude women from the priesthood. Of course the Vatican wouldn't like the changes, but they would come to accept them in time as a fact of life in Canada.
This is bad enough. The subject of women's ordination is a controversial one, but that is no reason for the government to usurp the power to decide that religious bodies must follow secular society's ideas about non-discrimination. But it gets better. Ferguson suggests that all pastors, priests, etc. should have to be "registered religious practitioners" and should have to have a license to "practice religion" legally. And he has specific suggestions about the content of religious teaching that should be, by law, declared "unethical" for an RRP to promulgate:
We could also help the general cause of religious freedom by introducing a code of moral practice for religions. They will never achieve unity so why not try for compatibility? Can't religious leaders agree to adjust doctrine so all religions can operate within the code? ..... I won't try to propose what might be in the new code except for a few obvious things: A key item would have to be a ban on claims of exclusivity. It should be unethical for any RRP to claim that theirs was the one true religion and believers in anything else or nothing were doomed to fire and brimstone. One might also expect prohibition of ritual circumcisions, bans on preaching hate or violence, the regulation of faith healers, protocols for missionary work, etc.
So claiming "exclusivity" is just as bad as, if not worse than, advocacy of female genital mutilation or open incitement to violence? (I just love the bit about "adjusting doctrine" to make all religions compatible.) Let me get this straight: Under this proposal, if you get up before your congregation and say that Jesus is the only way to heaven, you will probably lose your "religious practitioner" license for "unethical practices" and be punished in some fashion by law if you continue to "practice religion without a license." Bob now waxes patronizing, while giving us the punch line. What is this all about?
Now what is the point of proposing this? I do it because I am worried that the separation between church and state is under threat. Religion is important in our lives, but it can become a danger to society when people claim that the unalterable will of God is the basis for their opinions and actions. Yes religion can be a comfort and a guide, but we cannot take rules from our holy books and apply them to the modern world without democratic debate and due regard for the law.
Do I really need to point out the silly illogic of this? The government needs to micromanage the content of religious teaching, require all pastors to register, outlaw bodies that don't ordain women, and ban "claims of exclusivity" by religious groups because otherwise the separation of church and state would be threatened?....
Of course, Bob is just some guy, right? The CBC can easily say that it is not endorsing his views, that he is not even an employee, that this was just a guest commentary. And this is all true, formally and as far as it goes. But let's not fool ourselves. The CBC wouldn't have given these views this degree of publicity, not to mention the respect shown in their introductory paragraph (see the link), if they didn't like them. A trial balloon it may be, but we should not be naive about the importance of trial balloons.
Anti-patriotism in Britain: "Councillors want to ban "Land Of Hope And Glory" from a Remembrance Day festival because it is “too political”. Labour members are pushing for the stirring patriotic anthem to be kicked out and replaced with Rod Stewart’s 1975 hit "Sailing". [Which celebrates homosexuality] Wolverhampton Councillor Peter O’Neill said: “It is my view that the song has political connotations. It should be replaced by Sailing because that will connect better with the younger generation.” But old soldiers who will proudly carry the Union Flag blasted the plan. The Royal British Legion’s John Mellor said: “It’s nonsense. To say it is political is barmy.” Lyndon Purnell, 70, who spent 23 years in the Paras, said: “The main reason you ban something is because it is going to offend people — but it WON’T offend anyone going to the festival.” Mr O’Neill will urge a ban on Edward Elgar’s classic when a committee meets today to discuss November’s festival."
22 July 2005
Sex-ed urged for 5-year-olds
A clinic that specializes in sex education and offers free birth control for youth in Oslo thinks sex education should begin while small children are still in local kindergartens. "I think that the last year of kindergarten is absolutely the time to start providing simple information and answers to the many questions children have," Siv Gamnes, head of the clinic (KSO, Klinikk for seksuell opplysning) told radio station P4 on Tuesday. "There's a lot of things they're wondering about, and we can answer why boys and girls are different, and how a baby is created," Gamnes added.
Most Norwegian children start attending kindergartens, or day-care centers, as toddlers and continue until formal schooling begins at the age of six. Gamnes doesn't think age five is too early to start talking about sex. That's because she's experienced a lot of misinformation among the youth who seek help at KSO."By the 10th grade, when many start getting sex education, many of the students are already sitting with information that's wrong," she said. "We have to 'un-teach' them before we can start teaching them." Starting early with sex education can help prevent children from getting wrong information that they can go around believing for a long time, Gamnes said.
British call to turn exam failure into a qualified success
A retired primary school teacher has called for the word "failure" to be banned from the classroom and replaced with "deferred success". Liz Beattie, who taught for 37 years, said that children's aspirations to learn are crushed as soon as they are deemed failures and that they should be praised instead. The motion to remove the word "fail" from the educational vocabulary will be put formally to members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) at the union's annual conference in Buxton, Derbyshire, at the end of the month.
Critics said that it was just another example of "politically correct madness" creeping into the classroom, but Mrs Beattie, who lives in Ipswich and is the Suffolk Federation Secretary of the association, said that children responded better to encouragement than to being told they had passed or failed. She said: "I think we all need to succeed at something. You need encouragement rather than being told you haven't done very well. "Learning should be lifelong and it should be something that everybody knows they can do and knows they can have a bash at. I'd rather tell kids that they have done jolly well. You can then say, `Tomorrow we should try that', rather than just saying, `You have failed'."
The union of 35,000 teachers already recognises that pupils have "differing abilities and learn at differing rates and that all individual achievement should be recognised". Mrs Beattie, 68, insisted that the association should go further. She said: "I would be surprised if we didn't get the motion through because there are enough teachers at all levels who know that, with little ones, you've got to get them motivated and with the older ones you've got to give them confidence going into exams."
But the idea was denounced as "politically correct madness" by Suzanna Proud, 28, a mother of two. "When you apply for university they are hardly going to say, `Well you have had some deferred success so we'll let you in'. They will say, `Sorry, you failed your exams. You don't meet requirements'." If the motion to ban the word is accepted by the union, its ruling council will make it part of policy for its members in primary, secondary and nursery schools across the country. Howard Martin, 54, who runs an online campaign against political correctness, said: "When children go through school they should learn how life works. Mollycoddling them will have completely the opposite effect."
A victory for multiculti over common sense
By Mark Steyn
It has been sobering this past week watching some of my "woollier" colleagues (in Vicki Woods's self-designation) gradually awake to the realisation that the real suicide bomb is "multiculturalism". Its remorseless tick-tock, suddenly louder than the ethnic drumming at an anti-globalisation demo, drove poor old Boris Johnson into rampaging around this page last Thursday like some demented late-night karaoke one-man Fiddler on the Roof, stamping his feet and bellowing, "Tradition! Tradition!" Boris's plea for more Britishness was heartfelt and valiant, but I'm not sure I'd bet on it. The London bombers were, to the naked eye, assimilated - they ate fish 'n' chips, played cricket, sported appalling leisurewear. They'd adopted so many trees we couldn't see they lacked the big overarching forest - the essence of identity, of allegiance. As I've said before, you can't assimilate with a nullity - which is what multiculturalism is.
So, if Islamist extremism is the genie you're trying to put back in the bottle, it doesn't help to have smashed the bottle. As the death of the Eurofanatic Ted Heath reminds us, in modern Britain even a "conservative" prime minister thinks nothing of obliterating ancient counties and imposing on the populace fantasy jurisdictions - "Avon", "Clwyd" and (my personal favourite in its evocative neo-Stalinism) "Central Region" - and an alien regulatory regime imported from the failed polities of Europe. The 7/7 murderers are described as "Yorkshiremen", but, of course, there is no Yorkshire: Ted abolished that, too.
Sir Edward's successor, Mr Blair, said on the day of the bombing that terrorists would not be allowed to "change our country or our way of life". Of course not. That's his job - from hunting to Europeanisation. Could you reliably say what aspects of "our way of life" Britain's ruling class, whether pseudo-Labour like Mr Blair or pseudo-Conservative like Sir Ted, wish to preserve? The Notting Hill Carnival? Not enough, alas.
Consider the Bishop of Lichfield, who at Evensong, on the night of the bombings, was at pains to assure his congregants: "Just as the IRA has nothing to do with Christianity, so this kind of terror has nothing to do with any of the world faiths." It's not so much the explicit fatuousness of the assertion so much as the broader message it conveys: we're the defeatist wimps; bomb us and we'll apologise to you. That's why in Britain the Anglican Church is in a death-spiral and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. There's no market for a faith that has no faith in itself. And as the Church goes so goes the state: why introduce identity cards for a nation with no identity?
It was the Prime Minister's wife, you'll recall, who last year won a famous court victory for Shabina Begum, as a result of which schools across the land must now permit students to wear the full "jilbab" - ie, Muslim garb that covers the entire body except the eyes and hands. Ms Booth hailed this as "a victory for all Muslims who wish to preserve their identity and values despite prejudice and bigotry". It seems almost too banal to observe that such an extreme preservation of Miss Begum's Muslim identity must perforce be at the expense of any British identity. Nor, incidentally, is Miss Begum "preserving" any identity: she's of Bangladeshi origin, and her adolescent adoption of the jilbab is a symbol of the Arabisation of South Asian (and African and European) Islam that's at the root of so many problems. It's no more part of her inherited identity than my five-year- old dressing up in his head-to-toe Darth Vader costume, to which at a casual glance it's not dissimilar.
Is it "bigoted" to argue that the jilbab is a barrier to acquiring the common culture necessary to any functioning society? Is it "prejudiced" to suggest that in Britain a Muslim woman ought to reach the same sartorial compromise as, say, a female doctor in Bahrain? Apparently so, according to Cherie Booth.
One of the striking features of the post-9/11 world is the minimal degree of separation between the so-called "extremists" and the establishment: Princess Haifa, wife of the Saudi ambassador to Washington, gives $130,000 to accomplices of the 9/11 terrorists; the head of the group that certifies Muslim chaplains for the US military turns out to be a bagman for terrorists; one of the London bombers gets given a tour of the House of Commons by a Labour MP. The Guardian hires as a "trainee journalist" a member of Hizb ut Tahir, "Britain's most radical Islamic group" (as his own newspaper described them) and in his first column post-7/7 he mocks the idea that anyone could be "shocked" at a group of Yorkshiremen blowing up London: "Second- and third-generation Muslims are without the don't-rock-the-boat attitude that restricted our forefathers. We're much sassier with our opinions, not caring if the boat rocks" - or the bus blows, or the Tube vaporises. Fellow Guardian employee David Foulkes, who was killed in the Edgware Road blast, would no doubt be heartened to know he'd died for the cause of Muslim "sassiness".
But among all these many examples of the multiculti mainstream ushering the extremists from the dark fringe to the centre of western life, there is surely no more emblematic example than that of Shabina Begum, whose victory over the school dress code was achieved with the professional support of both the wife of the Prime Minister who pledges to defend "our way of life" and of Hizb ut Tahir, a group which (according to the German Interior Minister) "supports violence as a means to realise political goals" such as a worldwide caliphate and (according to the BBC) "urges Muslims to kill Jewish people". What does an "extremist" have to do to be too extreme for Cherie Booth or the Guardian?
Oh, well. Back to business as usual. In yesterday's Independent, Dave Brown had a cartoon showing Bush and Blair as terrorists boarding the Tube to Baghdad. Ha-ha. The other day in Thailand, where 800 folks have been killed by Islamists since the start of the year, two Laotian farm workers were beheaded. I suppose that's Bush and Blair's fault, too.
I'd like to think my "woolly liberal" colleague Vicki Woods and the woolly sorta-conservative Boris Johnson represent the majority. If they do, you've got a sporting chance. But in the end Cherie Booth and Dave Brown and the Bishop of Lichfield will get you killed. Best of British, old thing.
21 July 2005
STUDY FINDS ONE-THIRD OF STUDIES ARE WRONG!
Remember this when you hear the diet dictators:
New research highlights a frustrating fact about science: What was good for you yesterday frequently will turn out to be not so great tomorrow. The sobering conclusion came in a review of major studies published in three influential medical journals between 1990 and 2003, including 45 highly publicized studies that initially claimed a drug or other treatment worked. Subsequent research contradicted results of seven studies -- 16 percent -- and reported weaker results for seven others, an additional 16 percent. That means nearly one-third of the original results did not hold up, according to the report in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.
"Contradicted and potentially exaggerated findings are not uncommon in the most visible and most influential original clinical research,'' said study author Dr. John Ioannidis, a researcher at the University of Ioannina in Greece. Ioannidis examined research in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA and Lancet -- prominent journals whose weekly studies help feed a growing public appetite for medical news.
Experts say the report is a reminder to doctors and patients that they should not put too much stock in a single study and understand that treatments often become obsolete with medical advances. "The crazy part about science and yet the exciting part about science is you almost never have something that's black and white,'' said Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, JAMA's editor-in-chief. Editors at the New England Journal of Medicine added in a statement: "A single study is not the final word, and that is an important message.''
The refuted studies dealt with a wide range of drugs and treatments. Hormone pills were once thought to protect menopausal women from heart disease but later were shown to do the opposite, and Vitamin E pills have not been shown to prevent heart attacks, contrary to initial results. Contradictions also included a study that found nitric oxide does not improve survival in patients with respiratory failure, despite earlier claims. And a study suggested an antibody treatment did not improve survival in certain sepsis patients; a smaller previous study found the opposite.
Ioannidis acknowledged an important but not very reassuring caveat: "There's no proof that the subsequent studies ... were necessarily correct.'' But he noted that in all 14 cases in which results were contradicted or softened, the subsequent studies were either larger or better designed. Also, none of the contradicted treatments is currently recommended by medical guidelines.
Not by accident, this week's JAMA also includes a study contradicting previous thinking that stomach-lying helped improve breathing in children hospitalized with acute lung injuries. The new study found they did no better than patients lying on their backs. DeAngelis said she included the study with Ioannidis' report to highlight the issue. She said the media can complicate matters with misleading or exaggerated headlines about studies.
Ioannidis said scientists and editors should avoid "giving selective attention only to the most promising or exciting results'' and should make the public more aware of the limitations of science. "The general public should not panic" about refuted studies, he said. "We all need to start thinking more critically."
From Associated Press, 14 July 2005
Benny Peiser comments:
"Scientists and editors should avoid giving selective attention only to the most exciting results and should make the public more aware of the limitations of science. 'We all need to start thinking more critically...'"
Shock, Horror! This borders on heresy! Less selective science reporting? More critical thinking? That's dangerous and only fosters doubt and scepticism. It certainly will undermine political agendas, scare tactics and funding campaigns! On the other hand, perhaps someone should convey the basic message to our friends, the climate alarmists. Or better still, why not conduct a similar survey of climate research papers published during the last 20 years? I am pretty sure we would get very similar results.
THE CORRECTNESS OF "EBONICS"
Post lifted from Bear to the Right
The San Bernardino City Unified School District wants to teach "ebonics" to black students in order to "provide students a more well-rounded curriculum", according to this article in the San Bernardino Sun. According to the article:
"Mary Texeira, a sociology professor at Cal State San Bernardino, commended the San Bernardino Board of Education for approving the policy in June. Texeira suggested that including Ebonics in the program would be beneficial for students. Ebonics, a dialect of American English that is spoken by many blacks throughout the country, was recognized as a separate language in 1996 by the Oakland school board. "Ebonics is a different language, it's not slang as many believe,' Texeira said. "For many of these students Ebonics is their language, and it should be considered a foreign language. These students should be taught like other students who speak a foreign language."
I thought that we teach English to students who speak a foreign language. This is more of the failed "multiculturism" policy that I wrote about here. The article indicates that
"Beginning in the 2005-06 school year, teachers will receive training on black culture and customs. District curriculum will now include information on the historical, cultural and social impact of blacks in society. Although the program is aimed at black students, other students can choose to participate." Board member Danny Tillman, who pushed for the policy, said that full implementation of the program at all schools may take years, but the pilot program is a beginning. "At every step we will see positive results,' Tillman said. Tillman hoped the new policy would increase the number of black students going to college and participating in advanced courses.
What's that? Teaching ebonics to black students will increase the number going to college and participating in advanced courses? I always thought that in order to go to college students needed to have proficiency in English. Programs such as these, that set apart a group of children from mainstream culture and celebrate their differences, tend to alienate those children from mainstream society, as I wrote here.
Children of all ethnic backgrounds and races should be taught English and should be taught to be Americans, assimilating and blending in to the American culture, rather than being alienated from that culture. This is a policy destined to program these children to not feeling part of American culture and therefore to not being able to take advantage of the opportunities that may come their way when they are adults. It is a program proposed by the Left to keep African-Americans and other ethnic groups dependent on a welfare-state. By not preparing them to have the ability to achieve success on their own, Democrats and liberals will have another generation of dependent ethnic groups who will be their constituency.
If only African-Americans and other ethnic groups would realize that these so-called multicultural proprams work to their economic and cultural disadvantage and prevent their children from success in the American culture. Liberals need "victims" who will support them when they promise to bring them government benefits. Independent and economically successful minorities don't need liberals. Figure it out, folks.
AN INCORRECT AUSTRALIAN TENNIS STAR
Lleyton Hewitt's already exciting week just got a little spicier with the news that he had joined the likes of John Laws and landed in hot water with the gay lobby.
The short-fused groom-to-be said "Who is this poofter?" during his fiery, three-hour match against Argentina's Guillermo Coria in the Davis Cup quarter-final in Sydney on Saturday.
Lleyton's apparent use of the P-word has angered the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, which has demanded an apology. "I know it is a term that is used widely, but for him to say it and get away with it means anyone can," a spokesman, Paul Dillon, told Spike. "It is more than rude; it is a term that is only ever used as a means to put someone down."
Spike's calls to Hewitt's management were not returned yesterday, so we don't yet know if he's going to retract his remark.
20 July 2005
APARTHEID CORRECT IN HAWAII
"Apartheid" means "apartness"
Congress considers setting up a race-based government for Native Hawaiians: Some congressional staffers are calling it "the worst bill most voters have never heard of." Hyperbole aside, the Senate is preparing to take up legislation that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. If this bill becomes law an entrenched racial spoils system will hand benefits to as many as one-fifth of the state's population and could inspire mainland groups such as Hispanic separatists to seek similar spoils, should they ever gain enough political leverage.
This isn't how it was supposed to be in Hawaii. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2 to undo a previously established race-based system. Under that system non-Native Hawaiians were barred from voting for trustees overseeing the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The ruling, which was joined by liberal Justices David Souter and Stephen Breyer, found that a Hawaiian law requiring that the trustees be Native Hawaiians and elected only by other Native Hawaiians was obviously discriminatory. "There can be no such thing as either a creditor or a debtor race," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia. "In the eyes of government, we are just one race, it is American."
Rather than accept colorblind government, however, supporters of racial restrictions have tried for five years to negate the court's ruling by pushing a measure called the "Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act" or, for short, the "Akaka bill," after Hawaii's Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Democrat. The bill would skirt the Fifteenth Amendment's constitutional ban on race-based governments by requiring that Washington, D.C., recognize Native Hawaiians in the same manner it recognizes separate governments for American Indians and Alaska natives.
That comparison, however, quickly falls apart. It's true that the Founders (and the British before them) recognized Indian tribes to be separate, sovereign governments. They signed treaties with tribes and carved out territory for tribes to occupy--a system of separation that never led to equality. But in Hawaii, the history is demonstrably different. When the island chain became a state in 1959, there was a broad consensus in Congress that Native Hawaiians would not be treated as a separate racial group, and that they would not be transformed into an "Indian tribe." Indeed, Native Hawaiians have never asked to be recognized as an Indian tribe; they not only lack their own system of laws, but are widely geographically distributed throughout Hawaii and have a high rate of intermarriage with other groups.
Reversing this policy with what would amount to federal recognition of a "tribe" for Native Hawaiians today would create an independent state within a state that would lie outside the Constitution and laws of the United States as well as those of the state of Hawaii. The Akaka bill would also authorize the transfer of a portion of Hawaii's state-owned lands, natural resources and other assets to the new race-based government (at no cost to that new government, of course). Hawaiians would also be unable to fight back, as the state does not allow for referendums. And, just as on American Indian land, a shopkeeper who is part Hawaiian could claim exemption from state taxes and other laws, giving him an advantage over his next-door, non-Native Hawaiian competitor.
Not surprisingly, there is strong public skepticism in Hawaii about the establishment of what would amount to racial enclaves. "It's telling that there have been no public hearings organized by the state, the University of Hawaii, the state's congressional delegation or the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to determine if there actually is support for the Akaka Bill," says Malia Zimmerman, the editor of the news service HawaiiReporter.com. "There is a complete atmosphere of silence in the state government and mainstream media about this bill's weaknesses."
In the sphere of government intervention, there are varying degrees of intrusiveness, and generally the more important the government's purported goal, the more "butting-in" people are willing to tolerate from their elected officials. In fact, when something as crucial as national security is at stake, citizens will put up with an alarming degree of intrusion and Big Brotherism (grist for a whole column on another occasion, perhaps). But surely not even the most statist-minded of voters will be of a mind to stomach government meddling over something as personal and subjective as good taste.
That's what I'm hoping, anyway. And we'll soon find out because the city of Anderson, South Carolina should serve as a perfect test case. There, Mayor pro tem (which one can only imagine is a Latin term meaning "can't mind her own business") Bea Thomson is working on banning people from plunking indoor furniture on their outdoor porches. People who violate the law will be fined $1,000. What next? A city ordinance outlawing white shoes after Labor Day on pain of sacrificing a month's pay check?
Now, maybe Ms. Thomson has an aesthetic point when she says, "Your house could look a little bit better...if you had the appropriate porch furniture [and didn't] store refrigerators on your front porch."
You don't often find random kitchen appliances or La-Z-Boys strewn about the posh patios featured in outdoor Martha Stewart spreads. But whether or not your porch is deserving of a design award should be up to you, not your city council.
The idea that anytime your property could "look a little better" you should expect a law to be passed forcing you to make it so, is awfully disturbing. There could soon be garden police roaming the yards of Anderson and issuing citations to those who have not adequately color-coordinated their seasonal blooms ("Sorry, ma’am, but your delphiniums clash with your hydrangeas, so I'm going to have to write you up.") The kids of the area could be heavily fined for leaving anything but the latest and most stylish models of bicycles and skate boards in plain sight of passersby. And it might not be long before the law is all over any family who kits out its deck in anything from last year's Restoration Hardware catalog, since this year's merchandise is so much more pleasing to the eye.
The offensive ordinance is set to be passed next month. Unless, of course, the residents of Anderson decide to stand up for their rights to be as tacky as they wish on their own property and to place upholstered loveseats on their porches whenever they darn well please.
You might think that putting up such opposition would be a no-brainer. It seems obvious that it should be none of the government's business whether or not a person's own home could, in the city council's bureaucratic view, look "nicer" or be put to a "better" use than the one the owner has chosen. Yet the residents of Anderson can be forgiven if they are a bit confused about their rights given that the United States Supreme Court came to a contrary conclusion in its recent Kelo decision. There, a majority of the justices held the government can use its power of eminent domain to forcibly boot a homeowner out of his house if someone else could make more money from the property.
Thankfully, the misguided Anderson council has not gone so far as to suggest that residents who commit the style faux pas of putting a couch out on the porch should lose the titles to their homes.
But the dreadful course that eminent domain law has now taken should be a reminder to Andersonites of why they should fight the ridiculous proposed ordinance tooth and nail.
The area busybodies may seem harmless enough when all they are going after is inappropriate patio furniture. But their invasive attempts to control will not seem nearly so trivial or easy to brush off when they escalate their orders to destroy or vacate a home entirely, as so many municipalities and towns have now begun to do under the guise of urban development and community betterment. The core of property rights is too easily lost when the apparently frivolous benefits (like the right to stick a plaid ottoman on the porch) are not sufficiently guarded.
Let's hope the good folks of Anderson, South Carolina understand that. Otherwise, the city may soon suffer the fate the Kelo decision threatens to bring upon the whole country: Becoming one of the prettiest, most profitable places no one wants to live.
19 July 2005
MORONIC CALIFORNIA POLICE
They are a failure at dealing with the gangs so they pick on little kids
Police apparently came prepared for gang warfare when they sent three squad cars and a helicopter in response to a 911 call. Instead, they found an 11-year-old girl who had thrown a rock to defend herself as neighborhood boys pelted her with water balloons. Little Maribel Cuevas says she didn't mean to hurt the boy - who admitted to officers that he started the fight and was quickly released from the hospital after getting his head stitched up.
But police insist she's a criminal - she's being prosecuted on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon. "We responded. We determined a felony assault had taken place and the officers took the actions that were necessary," said Fresno Police Sgt. Anthony Martinez.
Her family says Maribel was simply defending herself when 9-year-old Elijah Vang and several other boys pummeled her with water balloons outside her home in a poor Fresno neighborhood in April. They say she quickly sought help and tried to apologize to the boy and his family. The Vangs have since moved away.
"She's 11 ... they're treating her like she's a violent parole offender," said Richard Beshwate, Jr., Maribel's lawyer. Maribel, who speaks limited English, spent five days in juvenile hall with just one half-hour visit from her parents. She then spent about 30 days under house arrest, forced to wear a GPS ankle bracelet to monitor her whereabouts. She's due in court Aug. 3.
Maribel's family said the soft-spoken girl, who turned 11 in March, remains terrified - she's a good student who struggles sometimes because English is her second language, but in a neighborhood where kids grow up fast, she keeps close to home, helping her mother take care of her four younger siblings. Maribel attends school with the boy, and says she's been taunted by him in the past. She says was playing on the sidewalk with her 6-year-old brother and other younger children on April 29, when the boys rode by on their bikes. They started teasing her, calling her names and hitting her with water balloons, she said, holding her 1-year-old brother in her lap in her family's modest living room, where a couch and dining table share space with a crib and a bed.
BRITISH RETHINK ABOUT MULTICULTURALISM UNDERWAY
From The Scotsman
Tony Blair faces two enemies in his new war against British terrorism: the seed of jihad, and the fertile ground on which it is sown. The last mission of his premiership will be finding policies to neutralise both. The response to the July 7 attacks was always going to be determined by the life story of the culprits. If they were foreigners, it would have been easy to restrict visas and tighten security. But the truth is grotesquely more complex. Britain is incubating its own suicide bombers and has become the European headquarters for people seeking to indoctrinate them. It is not enough for Blair to "uproot this evil ideology"; he must also treat the soil from which it springs.
The solutions proposed so far say much about Britain's woeful progress in tackling jihadism: Gordon Brown seeks to freeze the assets of terrorist groups - as if the mission is to suspend their ISAs, not lock them away; it will, we learn, become an offence to provide or receive terrorism training. Such activities have, it seems, been allowed until now by British authorities. It is as if the attacks of 11 September 2001 never took place.
This is what French and American security forces despairingly call the "Londonistan" problem: that Britain's liberal tradition provides shelter for terrorists who are kept safe from extradition requests. Sheikh Omar Bakri, who leads the banned al-Muhajiroun group of jihadists, talks of an unspoken deal with UK security officials: Britain won't be hit if it looks after the bad guys. Last August, Hassan Butt - another pro-terrorist Islamist - said they had better break this covenant in style: "Any attack will have to be massive. After one operation, everything will close down on us here in Britain." The jihadists, it seems, believe they have spent the last few years protected by a non-aggression pact with British authorities. And as Butt predicted, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, is now promising to close everything down.
Up to a point. Ministers can pass new laws banning the "glorification" of terrorism - but it is up to individual police forces to implement them. Many will be reluctant to sour race relations by starting a witch-hunt for mullahs. But even if every jihadist cleric in Britain was dealt with, there is nothing to stop young British Muslims with an appetite for murder travelling to Pakistan to learn the art of suicide attacks. Hasib Hussein, the youngest bomber, was radicalised in Pakistan, where he was sent by his worried parents to put a bit of discipline in the life of this school dropout. He returned to Leeds devout - and suicidal.
So as well as tightening laws, ministers are ambitiously turning their minds to the society that bred such people - realising that the Islamic Britain they thought they knew has murkier corners than they dared imagine. The poison has been fermenting in Britain for a long time, especially among Asians with Pakistani links. In May 2003, a British Muslim from Hounslow, west London, flew to Israel to blow himself up. In March last year, Operation Crevice stopped an al-Qaeda UK lorry bomb, and made eight arrests. Investigators believe that Mohammed Sidique Khan, the eldest bomber, was in contact with one of those now in custody.
Sir John Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police, estimates that 3,000 Britons have travelled to terrorist training camps in Pakistan. If he is even 10% right, this suggests there are more attacks to come.
Those close to Blair say it is now time to ask whether multiculturalism is to blame - and to accept that pockets of Muslim Britain have been allowed to become isolated and radicalised, thinking they live in an enemy state. It is a sign of the paucity of debate in Britain that multiculturalism is used interchangeably with 'immigration'. It is, instead, a specific form of immigration where the foreigners are not encouraged to integrate. The alternative is the "melting pot" method of integrationism used by the United States, whose newcomers must learn English, salute the flag and sign up to a set of values. They must buy into a basic idea that they have to belong.
This would be seen as cultural imperialism in Britain, where a mosaic-style of immigration has been preferred. The natural consequence has been segregated ghettos - and pockets of radicalism, left alone to seethe. Americans look on aghast at the Britain's immigration mismanagement. "You seem to shun these folks off to the side, and let them behave as if they never left Islamabad," says Deroy Murdock, fellow at the Atlas Foundation.
Even in Islamabad, the Pakistan Times had this to say last week: "The sad fact is that Muslims in the UK have turned their face from the obligation to integrate with British society at large." The penny is dropping, worldwide.
Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, warned last year that it was time to end multiculturalism, as the segregation it breeds had simply entrenched inequality. It is time to "assert a core of Britishness". But how?
Since France's 1995 terrorist attacks, it has started the agonising process of retrospective assimilation. It has banned Muslim headscarves (and Christian crucifixes) from schools, and given police powers to lock up troublemakers.
Britain now faces these tough decisions. Assimilation of immigrants is a bullet that Britain has never bitten - after all, it wasn't so long ago that entire streets in Glasgow spoke Gaelic or Italian. So, the argument goes, isn't it just a matter of time until incomers blend in? As of July 7, we no longer have the luxury of time. After a second or third wave of bombs goes off, race relations could rapidly worsen. The threat is that the multicultural divisions of old become battle lines. The answer lies in the second- and third-generation British Asians who represent the future of British Islam - often in ways their parents deplore. The problem Blair now faces is to amplify the voices of such people.
Ministers also want Muslims themselves to take responsibility for expelling the radical clerics - and confronting those who hand out jihadist leaflets at mosques after prayers. British Islam, Blair argues, should put its own house in order. Fine words, but - as Salman Rushdie found - challenging fundamentalist Islam is not without its dangers. There will be no clamour for the task of weeding such people out of British society.
Lack of social cohesion has been the curse of Blair's premiership. Britain has grown richer, but the underclass has remained down - as Labour tested the materialist theory that welfare and the tax system buy social cohesion. This idea has never looked more naïve than it does now. After locking up the jihadists, ministers have little choice but to find ways of piecing society back together in northern English cities. And this will be the hardest task of all.
18 July 2005
Rochester's Highland Hospital faces a lawsuit for allegedly discriminating against Hispanic employees who claim they were prohibited from speaking Spanish at work. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the suit in federal court Wednesday on behalf of at least five Highland Hospital employees. Each of the employees still works in the hospital's housekeeping department. Housekeeping supervisor Janette Nunez claims her boss told her she could no longer speak Spanish at work after she asked to translate for one of her co-workers. "He went like this on his desk and said no. You speak English in my office. You are in America," Nunez said.
Nunez says her performance reviews have gone from superior to poor since she took issue with the policy. "I was very, very hurt because of this. I was feeling that I was treated so unfair," she said. "That's not an indication that the hospital is concerned about patient care. It's not concerned about its business. It's concerned about bullying and harassing people who are Hispanic," said attorney J. Nelson Thomas.
Highland Hospital calls this lawsuit unfair and says it's based on one big misunderstanding. The hospital says it asked its housekeeping staff to restrict Spanish use only when around non-Spanish speaking employees. "Our intent was not to restrict anyone from speaking Spanish," said COO Cindy Becker. "It was to assure all of our employees understood and felt they were part of a team." Becker says management received complaints that some Spanish-speaking employees would deliberately switch from English to Spanish and create an atmosphere of mistrust and misunderstanding.
The employees who are going ahead with the lawsuit dispute those claims. They want the policy changed and want money for their pain and suffering. Janette Nunez says what she wants most is justice. "We're looking for people to understand this is America. This is a free country."
Multiculturism - Dishonest and Deadly
Post lifted from Bear to the Right
Bruce Thornton writes an excellent must-read article about multiculturism, "Dishonest and Deadly - Why does the West entertain such a wrongheaded notion as multiculturalism?"
"The news that the London terrorist attacks were carried out by second-generation Muslim immigrants should not surprise us. For years now we in the West have indulged a whole set of destructive ideas whose bitter fruit we will all continue to harvest, as more and more unassimilated and disaffected immigrant children turn against the countries that welcomed their parents and provided them with a prosperity and freedom unknown in their countries of origin.
This baneful idea goes by the name of multiculturalism. Don't be fooled by marketing: multiculturalism is not simply a call to respect cultures different from one's own. In reality multiculturalism is a therapeutic melodrama of Western crimes against peaceful peoples “of color” who were subjected to racism, sexism, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and environmental degradation. Given its record of evil, the West owes reparations to all those victims, especially those who emigrate to the West. There these victims will be given public assistance and soothed with repeated public assertions and recognitions of their culture's superiority, coupled with ritualistic confessions of Western guilt and dysfunction.
Some consider this “cultural relativism,” but it isn't really. A genuine cultural relativism would hold that there are no universal standards by which to judge any culture. But most of the time, those who claim that cultures can be judged only in their own terms have no compunction in judging and condemning the West. Nor will they accept that Nazi Germany or the antebellum South or apartheid South Africa were just “different” and so beyond our judgment. And of course, if you pin them down on the standards and values and principles on which they base their condemnations, these will all turn out to be ideals like freedom or human rights or equality that have their origins and most complete development in the West."
He concludes with:
"To demand that immigrants assimilate and pledge allegiance to their new homes is not xenophobia or racism; it is rather to demand that those who choose to come to the West and enjoy its political and economic goods respect, honor, and embrace the ideals and principles that created those goods in the first place. And it is to recognize that yes, a price must be paid: the discarding of those old ways and ideals that contradict or compromise the new values. After all, by coming to the West the immigrant has already voted with his feet for the Western way. If he now finds that he made the wrong choice and that he believes the culture he left is in fact superior, then he is free to go back."
Before multiculturism became popular in the 1960's, the objective of schools was to cause everyone to assimilate into the American culture. Children pledged allegiance to the Flag, sang America the Beautiful and the Star Spangled Banner, learned that the Founders of our country were ordinary men with extraordinary ideas, and were taught that America provides freedom and opportunity that isn't available elsewhere. Children were taught what it was to be an American and to be glad that they were part of this great country. It was considered important to make sure that children, regardless of where they came from, or what race they were, became assimilated so that they were able to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.
Since "Multiculturism" became fashionable, schools, rather than assimilating children into the American mainstream, have been causing children to celebrate their differences. Celebrating differences has the opposite effect. Children feel alienated from the main culture, and feel more of an attachment to their ethnic or racial group. Rather than assimilating children into the American culture, multiculturism has caused them to feel apart from the American culture. That is particularly true among the Muslim community, but extends to the Latino and African-American communities as well.
Celebrating ethnic differences should be reserved to the home and the ethnic community. American schools should abandon the failed multiculturism system and go back to making children become American, teach them to be proud of their country and to feel that they are a part of the American culture.
17 July 2005
JOURNALISTS PENALIZED FOR WANTING TO MENTION BLACKNESS
An e-mail exchange about the use of racial descriptions in newspaper crime stories led to the suspension of two Eagle-Tribune staffers and a mini-brouhaha about political correctness run amok at the Lawrence newspaper. The incident began late last month when an Eagle-Tribune production editor sent a company-wide e-mail to reporters and editors announcing a new edict. ``Refrain from using race to describe or identify people in crime stories, for example, `a black man in a green jacket and baseball cap.' '' The message said that ``unless the rest of the description is detailed enough to be meaningful and distinguishes that person from other members of his or her race, such sketchy descriptions are meaningless, may apply to large numbers of innocent people and tend to stereotype ethnic groups.''
Ken Johnson, the newspaper's editorial page editor, fired back in his own e-mail. ``This strikes me as just so much wrongheaded PC nonsense,'' wrote Johnson, in a copy of the exchange obtained by the Herald. ``Are we to write that `Three men from east Texas were convicted of dragging James Byrd behind a pickup truck until he was decapitated' without mentioning that the thugs were white and the victim black?'' asked Johnson, referring to the infamous 1998 racial killing in Jasper, Texas.
A staffer, Bryan McGonigle, then chipped in with his own anti-edict sarcasm. ``Actually, the victim would technically be black and blue and maybe red all over,'' he wrote. ``And he'd be called a `cerebrally-challenged American with dramatic skull deficiency.' ''
That prompted an assistant editor at the Salem News, a sister newspaper of the Eagle-Tribune, to complain that McGonigle's e-mail was ``disgusting and offensive.'' The exchange ended abruptly when a top Eagle-Tribune editor, Karen Andreas, e-mailed everyone: ``Please stop this e-mail trail immediately.'' The episode might have died down soon after - except both Johnson and McGonigle were later suspended for three days each, according to sources, who said the two have already served their suspensions.
Some newsroom sources said they can somewhat understand McGonigle's suspension for his brutal sense of humor. But the suspension of Johnson, who is widely respected at the paper, shocked many staff members who believed he was simply challenging a guideline on well-articulated principles.
APARTHEID IN HAWAII
Post lifted from Michelle Malkin
Lawrence Downes of the New York Times writes in support of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, S.147, which would give Native Hawaiians the rights of self-government as indigenous people that American Indians now enjoy.
Downes suggests the bill precludes "radical outcomes." Don't believe it. As Tim Chapman notes, the bill would create a race-based extra-constitutional government in Hawaii. This new race-based government, Chapman says, "would be allowed to deny its constituents the protections afforded by the 1st, 5th and 14th Constitutional Amendments because they would not apply to the new 'tribal government.'"
Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein had this to say about an earlier incarnation of the bill, S. 344, last fall:
The Native Hawaiian government would be unbothered by the "irritants" of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, it might choose theocracy over secularism; summary justice over due process; indoctrination over freedom of speech; property confiscations over property rights; subjugation over equality; or, group quotas over individual merit. The Native Hawaiian citizens of the Native Hawaiian government would also be exempt from swearing or affirming allegiance to the United States of America or the U.S. Constitution.
The race-based sovereignty created by S.344 is first cousin to a revolution against the United States. As the Declaration of Independence elaborates, revolutions may be justified by repression or deafness to pronounced grievances. Thomas Jefferson's indictment of King George III is compelling on that score. But S. 344 does not and could not find Native Hawaiians are oppressed or maltreated in any way. They are first-class American citizens crowned with a host of special privileges. Indeed, the proposed legislation acknowledges that, "Native Hawaiians... give expression to their rights as native peoples to self-determination and self-governance through the provision of governmental services to Native Hawaiians, including the provision of health care services, educational programs, employment and training programs, children's services, conservation programs, fish and wildlife protection, agricultural programs, native language immersion programs and native language immersion schools from kindergarten through high school...."
Not a crumb of legitimate grievance justifies the odious race-based government championed by S. 344. To borrow from Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Adarand Construction vs. Pena (1995), in the eyes of the law and the creed of the United States, there is only one race in the nation. It is American. And to be an American is to embrace the values of freedom, individual liberty and equality acclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Gettysburg Address. S.344 would create a distinct race of Native Hawaiians subject to a race-based Native Hawaiian government with the purpose of creating and preserving non- American values: namely, "Native Hawaiian political and cultural identity in accordance with their traditions, beliefs, customs and practices, language, and social and political institutions."
Native Hawaiians hold no more right to a race-based government than countless other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. They are no more entitled to secede from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution than were the Confederate States of America. Enacting S. 344 would surrender the intellectual and moral underpinnings of the United States.
The U.S. Senate is likely to vote on the bill within the next two weeks.
16 July 2005
A GLIMMER OF CORRECTNESS FOR MCDONALDS?
It's helping a fatty get slim!
There are many reasons Merab Morgan decided in April to eat nothing but McDonald's fast food for 90 days. There's her weakness for the Filet-O-Fish, slathered with tartar sauce and cheese. And there was that documentary, "Super Size Me," which she thought insulted the intelligence of fat people by implying that they couldn't resist the offer of a gargantuan portion for a few cents extra. But mainly, the 35-year-old Henderson, N. C., woman concocted this unorthodox diet for herself -- she's memorized the calories in almost every menu item, and limits herself to 1,400 calories a day -- because it fits her life.
At a cost of $9 to $11 for three meals, the single mother of two can afford it. She travels throughout the Raleigh area working construction jobs, and she has never failed to find a McDonald's somewhere. The whole process of ordering and eating a meal takes maybe 5 minutes, and she mostly eats in her car. Sometimes she hits the drive-through only once, ordering enough food to last the whole day. "It's kind of like the poor man's diet," said Morgan, who has tried Weight Watchers and Atkins but failed because of the time and money those plans required. She logged onto www.eDiets.com but lied to the computer about her weight, then gave up when a chicken recipe called for ingredients she didn't have at home.
Since April 22, when Morgan launched her diet with a Sausage Burrito and a medium Diet Coke, she's lost 33 pounds, putting her at about 195 pounds. At 5 feet, 9 inches tall, she's dropped from a size 22 or 24 to a size 15. The size 2X and 3X T-shirts she used to wear look like dresses on her. And despite her friends' fears about skyrocketing cholesterol, she feels great.
Barry Popkin, director of the Interdisciplinary Obesity Center at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a professor of nutrition and public health, has studied the relationship between large fast-food portions and the obesity epidemic. Eating only at McDonald's isn't healthy, he said. He worries that Morgan will need more vitamins, minerals, fiber and dairy. But on the plus side, she's doing a good job of limiting her calories and, consequently, she's losing weight. "She's created, for her lifestyle, a very smart diet," Popkin said. "The moral of the story for every person is, you've got to work out a plan that fits your lifestyle. ... I really admire her restraint. The problem is, it's a lifetime issue."
Morgan dreams of becoming the McDonald's Corp.'s Jared Fogle, the Subway weight-loss poster boy. She figures she might as well find a way to make some money from the experience. So she's been faithfully documenting her diet, stapling receipts in a spiral-bound notebook and propping up her Sony Handycam on the dash, filming herself at each meal. She's been courting the attention of local newspapers and TV stations, inviting reporters to her home and to the McDonald's/Citgo gas station in Henderson, where she picks up many of her meals.
Still, she knows about McDonald's Unsolicited Idea Policy. "We love you, my public. But unless you're a franchise owner, we appreciate all your good ideas, but keep them to yourself," Morgan paraphrased. Morgan's goal is to lose 40 to 60 pounds. By Day 67, she had lost 33. Nothing at the restaurant is off limits, although she's only eaten french fries twice -- you're better off eating two cheeseburgers, she said. It hasn't been easy. She'd been consuming about 3,500 calories a day, and cutting that down to a third left her feeling hungry for the first few weeks. Morgan doesn't have a recommendation for others who might want to try the diet. "I think other people should do what works for them," she said.
SOUTHERN MEMORIES NOT QUITE ERASED
The words Confederate Memorial Hall — words that evoke images of slavery for some people and fallen heroes for others — will remain inscribed in stone on a Vanderbilt University building after a three-year legal battle. Vanderbilt decided not to appeal a state court ruling ordering that the Nashville school either keep the inscription on the building or pay damages that could have topped $1 million to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, university spokes-man Michael Schoenfeld said yesterday. The UDC's Tennessee division raised $50,000 during the Great Depression to help pay for the building, which was part of the former George Peabody College for Teachers at the time, and vigorously challenged Vanderbilt's plans to remove the name in 2002. Peabody merged with Vanderbilt in 1979.
Schoenfeld said the university, which had hoped to create what it considered a more welcoming environment by taking down a word some find offensive, is dropping the matter and leaving the full name on the 70-year-old residence hall. "We believed the best option for Vanderbilt at this time was to move on," he said. "Taking on this issue was something important for the university to do, and taking it any further was reaching a point of diminishing returns."
UDC representatives said they were thrilled by the decision, which followed a May 3 ruling by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. "Slavery was terrible, and the Civil War was terrible in terms of the blood shed," said Doug Jones, a Nashville-based attorney for the organization. "But we don't need to forget it."
Vanderbilt said that simply bringing attention to the issue was a victory, and that the building's new name in all other official references, Memorial Hall, was taking hold on campus. The legal fight concerned only the Confederate Memorial Hall inscription on the building's stone pediment. The Court of Appeals ruled that the inscription must stay up as long as the building does.....
But Jones and Deanna Bryant, president of the UDC's Tennessee division, said most of the soldiers honored by Confederate Memorial Hall were not slave owners. They were simply men "trying to defend their homes," said Jones, who is a former president of the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society. "It's a victory for the entire South," Bryant, who lives in Franklin, said of the decision to keep the inscription on the building. "Regardless, the War Between the States happened. Just because somebody doesn't like something, you can't erase it from the history books."
15 July 2005
DAWNING SANITY ABOUT MUSLIM FANATICS IN BRITAIN
Tony Blair has promised to hold urgent talks with Opposition leaders within two weeks to speed up legislation aimed at cracking down on people who encourage terrorist acts. The laws will target people who "glorify or endorse" acts of terrorism, or who instigate or prepare such actions. Those convicted could face exclusion or even deportation.
The Government originally planned to begin preliminary discussions about an anti- terrorism Bill in the autumn but yesterday's initiative suggests it is preparing to move much more swiftly. The issue of what would constitute the offence of "glorifying" or "endorsing" terrorism is bound to prove tricky and human rights campaigners have already expressed their intention to challenge any ambiguous language in the Bill.
On Monday, Mr Blair told the Commons that the Government would look carefully at action against those "who incite such hatred in our community . . . this is one of the things we should look at in the next few months". In the meantime, the Prime Minister has called a summit of Islamic and political leaders to work with the Muslim community to help it to drive out extremism. He called for worldwide action to uproot the "evil ideology" and "twisted teachings" that lay behind the terrorists' actions after Britain's four Muslim MPs said that their community could no longer live in denial and must tackle the extremism within it. The summit will be attended by Mr Blair, Michael Howard, Charles Kennedy and leaders of all sections of the Muslim community.
The Home Office is preparing two new offences to tackle those on the edges of terrorist activity and others who encourage or glorify it. An offence of acts preparatory to terrorism is aimed at people helping terrorists, including those providing safe houses and financial backing, and a new crime of "glorifying or condoning" terrorist activity is aimed at extremist clerics. Ministers are also preparing measures to make sure that imams coming to Britain have a better command of English and understanding of the British way of life....
For the Muslim Association of Britain, Harris Bokhari said that all communities, including Muslims, must co-operate with the police to prevent further attacks: "We cannot rule out the possibility of a conspiracy to carry out more attacks in the future, whether near or distant. An urgent measure would be to lend the police a helping hand in their investigations and their efforts to stem the threat altogether," Mr Bokhari said.
CAR SEAT CORRECTNESS FOR KIDS IS BUNK
But one question about car seats is rarely even asked: How well do they actually work? They certainly have the hallmarks of an effective piece of safety equipment: big and bulky, federally regulated, hard to install and expensive. (You can easily spend $200 on a car seat.) And NHTSA data seem to show that car seats are indeed a remarkable lifesaver. Although motor-vehicle crashes are still the top killer among children from 2 to 14, fatality rates have fallen steadily in recent decades -- a drop that coincides with the rise of car-seat use. Perhaps the single most compelling statistic about car seats in the NHTSA manual was this one: ''They are 54 percent effective in reducing deaths for children ages 1 to 4 in passenger cars.'' But 54 percent effective compared with what? The answer, it turns out, is this: Compared with a child's riding completely unrestrained. There is another mode of restraint, meanwhile, that doesn't cost $200 or require a four-day course to master: seat belts.
For children younger than roughly 24 months, seat belts plainly won't do. For them, a car seat represents the best practical way to ride securely, and it is certainly an improvement over the days of riding shotgun on mom's lap. But what about older children? Is it possible that seat belts might afford them the same protection as car seats?
The answer can be found in a trove of government data called the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), which compiles police reports on all fatal crashes in the U.S. since 1975. These data include every imaginable variable in a crash, including whether the occupants were restrained and how. Even a quick look at the FARS data reveals a striking result: among children 2 and older, the death rate is no lower for those traveling in any kind of car seat than for those wearing seat belts. There are many reasons, of course, that this raw data might be misleading. Perhaps kids in car seats are, on average, in worse wrecks. Or maybe their parents drive smaller cars, which might provide less protection.
But no matter what you control for in the FARS data, the results don't change. In recent crashes and old ones, in big vehicles and small, in one-car crashes and multiple-vehicle crashes, there is no evidence that car seats do a better job than seat belts in saving the lives of children older than 2. (In certain kinds of crashes -- rear-enders, for instance -- car seats actually perform worse.) The real answer to why child auto fatalities have been falling seems to be that more and more children are restrained in some way. Many of them happen to be restrained in car seats, since that is what the government mandates, but if the government instead mandated proper seat-belt use for children, they would likely do just as well / without the layers of expense, regulation and anxiety associated with car seats.
NHTSA, however, has been pushing the car-seat movement ever further. The agency now advocates that all older children (usually starting at about age 4) ride in booster seats, which boost a child to a height where the adult lap-and-shoulder belts fit properly. Could this be a step in the wrong direction? In 2001, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety sent NHTSA a memo warning that its booster-seat recommendations were ''getting ahead of science and regulations'' and that certain booster seats ''did not improve belt fit, and some actually worsened the fit.''
14 July 2005
Religious Hate Law Aimed At Protecting Muslims Passes UK Vote
In a victory for British Muslim campaigners, the House of Commons Monday passed a bill aimed at curbing religious hatred, despite critics' warnings that it could worsen relations between religious communities. The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill passed its third reading by a 301-229 vote, just hours after Prime Minister Tony Blair's press secretary declined to rule out using the measure, if it becomes law, against Muslim figures who may incite violence against Christians and Jews. Spokesman Tom Kelly told a Downing Street press conference he would not get into hypothetical speculation about individuals, but the law would be there and it would be applied correctly.
Last Thursday's terrorist bombings in London have focused renewed attention on controversial Muslim figures based in the capital who have long advocated jihad against the West. Islamic organizations have lobbied hardest for the legislation, saying their community needed protection, given an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment after 9/11. They argued that while Jews and Sikhs were already protected by race-hate laws -- because they are seen as ethnic groups as well as religious ones -- Muslims were not covered in this way, hence the need for a specific religious hatred law.
Two previous attempts by the Labor government to get the law passed since 2002 failed, the first running into strong opposition in the upper House of Lords, and the second running out of time earlier this year when parliament was dissolved ahead of elections. After Monday's Commons vote, the bill now goes to the House of Lords where it is again expected to face tough objections. If passed, the legislation will create a new offense, applying to written material and public verbal comments "that are threatening, abusive or insulting [and] likely to stir up racial or religious hatred." Anyone convicted under the law could be jailed for up to seven years.
Opposition parties -- and some Labor MPs -- oppose the bill for various reasons, including concerns that it could stifle free speech or infringe the right of the adherents of one faith to question the claims of another. Opposition lawmakers proposed an amendment that would outlaw religious hatred in specific cases where it is used as a pretext for stirring up hatred against an ethnic group. But the proposal was defeated Monday by 291 votes to 233.
Senior Conservative lawmaker Dominic Grieve said in the Commons that the bill was "catastrophically flawed" and would not improve race relations. "If the government really wants to tackle this issue, it is going to have to get away from the promises made to various people of some equal playing field, accept that religion and race are different, start to look at the real nature of the problem and try to come up with some constructive solutions," he said.
In an earlier Commons debate, a Conservative MP raised the possibility that the law, if passed, could outlaw the reading of passages of the Koran that called for harsh treatment against Christians and Jews. Following those assertions, a delegation of prominent Muslims held talks last week with the government minister responsible for the bill, Paul Goggins, to check whether the legislation could affect reading and quoting from the Koran and other Islamic texts such as the Hadith -- the traditional sayings of Mohammed and other early Muslim figures. There were concerns in the Muslim community "that dawah [proselytizing] and propagatory practices may be curtailed under the new legislation," the Muslim Weekly reported. The delegation suggested that it may be preferable to "totally exempt" Islamic texts from the bill. "The minister assured the Muslim community that there was nothing in the bill that would prevent scholars from delivering their sermons or from reciting from the Koran," the Muslim publication said.
Also lobbying in parliament was Australian evangelical pastor Danny Nalliah, who together with a colleague has been found guilty of vilifying Islam under a similar law in the Australian state of Victoria. The two pastors face the possibility of going to prison if they defy -- as they intend to do -- a judge's order to apologize publicly.
Some critics have accused the British government of pushing the bill as a sop to Muslims who traditionally support Labor but were angered by the government's policies on Iraq. "In essence Labor aims to reward the MCB with a piece of legislation in return for the Muslim vote during the election," says Sunny Hundal, editor of Asians in Media, a media industry magazine. In an article published last week, Hundal criticized the bill, saying that while "Islamophobia is a serious issue that needs to be dealt with" the legislation would likely affect voices within the Asian community that go against "politically correct stances."
Stop Being Politically Correct about Radical Islam
According to Arutz-7, British Prime Minister Tony Blair attributed the recent bombings in London "to the Arab-Israeli dispute and the lack of democracy in the Middle East."
The NY Daily News reported that British Member of Parliament George Galloway said it was due to "the daily destruction of Palestinian homes."
Now it's my turn to place the blame. The reason for the terror has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with being politically correct. Thousands around the world have been killed and this trend will unfortunately continue as George beats around the bush and Tony blares out lies.
If these world leaders would be honest, they would give the exact reason for the bloodshed. They would put political correctness on the side and tell it like it is; Radical Islam has declared war against the Christian and Jewish world and will stop at nothing until all infidels (non-Moslems) have been destroyed.
It has nothing to do with the Palestinians.
It has nothing to do with democracy.
It even has nothing to do with the Middle East.
These beasts are not interested in the plight of their "brothers" in Gaza. If they did, they would have taken their oil billions and helped them long ago. They do not want land since this is a holy war (jihad) that has nothing to do with land. They want blood. Jewish blood (terror in Israel), American blood (World Trade Center), Spanish blood (Madrid) and now British blood.
Still, nobody dares say the truth. No world leader or even acknowledged journalist tells it like it is. They skirt the issue, blame the terror on "extremists" and invent enemies halfway across the world who might not even exist.
Until the truth is told, the terror will continue. All of Bush's horses and all of Blair's men will never put safety in our lives back again. Soldiers can -- and will -- patrol the LIRR, Metro North, Amtrak and London Tube but they will not succeed.
Here is what must be done: While talking about global warming and African poverty is nice and helpful, the leaders of the G-8 must stand firm and declare an all-out war on Radical Islam. Not Taliban cavemen, Al-Qaeda freedom fighters or Iraqi insurgents but radical Moslems worldwide. Mosques where violence is encouraged and Islamic schools where hatred is taught must be immediately closed down. Moslem leaders -- and their followers -- who applaud murder and suicide bombers must be evicted from our countries and returned to their own lands. These people are potential dangers to our free world and we cannot live by their side. They follow a religion of hate and bloodshed. If you don't believe me, spend five minutes listening to them and how they interpret the Koran, and then tell me if you want them as your neighbors.
This, of course, will never be done since it sounds horrible and unfair. The fact that it will solve the problem is not important. In today's world, things must not only be good... they must also look good and declaring an international war against radical Islam does not foot that bill.
So, get used to the terror. Get used to riding the busses and trains in fear. Get used to gory headlines and blood filled news reports and hope and pray it doesn't include anybody you know. The only way to solve this problem is to remove the word "politically" from "politically correct". Only then will we finally win the war on terror.
13 July 2005
BBC: NO TERRORISTS IN LONDON!
The BBC has re-edited some of its coverage of the London Underground and bus bombings to avoid labelling the perpetrators as "terrorists", it was disclosed yesterday. Early reporting of the attacks on the BBC's website spoke of terrorists but the same coverage was changed to describe the attackers simply as "bombers". The BBC's guidelines state that its credibility is undermined by the "careless use of words which carry emotional or value judgments". Consequently, "the word 'terrorist' itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding" and its use should be "avoided", the guidelines say. Rod Liddle, a former editor of the Today programme, has accused the BBC of "institutionalised political correctness" in its coverage of British Muslims. A BBC spokesman said last night: "The word terrorist is not banned from the BBC."
THE LATEST OBESITY SCARE
They don't even know how common this "new" form of diabetes is but that does not stop them from blaming obesity. Apparently they have never even heard of epidemiology. And the fact that the condition is found mostly in African-American children could not be relevant, of course. Blame anything rather than peer into that one!
The obesity epidemic appears to be fueling a hybrid type of diabetes that afflicts adults and children and, some believe, may increase the devastating complications of the disease. Dubbed "double diabetes" by some and "diabetes one-and-a-half" by others, the combination of types 1 and 2 diabetes symptoms confounds doctors attempting to accurately diagnose patients and find the best medicines to treat them. "We don't really know how prevalent this is," said Dr. Francine Kaufman, head of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "We are just at the vista of realizing it's out there and trying to determine how do we get an understanding of it."
Even Kaufman, former president of the American Diabetes Association and author of the book "Diabesity" - about the obesity epidemic and related rise in type 2 diabetes - does not always recognize the double diabetes cases. Her patient, Cameron Stark, had classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Then 14, she experienced unquenchable thirst. She was losing weight rapidly, because her body wasn't absorbing nutrients. She was vomiting. She felt tired all the time, one day falling asleep on the marble floor of her home. At just a little under 5 feet tall and about 200 pounds and with a family history of the disease, Stark appeared to be a prime candidate for the diagnosis.
A blood sugar test confirmed it. She was given insulin to control the high sugar levels in her blood, and the Sherman Oaks teen joined the growing cadre of children diagnosed with what used to be called adult onset and now known as type 2 diabetes. One month later, another test on Stark revealed signs of the rarer variation of the disease known as juvenile diabetes and commonly called type 1 diabetes.
"It was a whole different ballgame from that day forward," said Cameron's mother, Shelley Stark. Now 15, Stark's daughter appears to be part of an emerging population with a complex set of symptoms that may require multiple medications as well as strict adherence to a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Obesity long has been associated with type 2 diabetes, a condition in which the body doesn't use insulin efficiently. Increasingly, people with type 1 diabetes - in which the body does not produce sufficient insulin - are becoming obese and showing signs of type 2. "I think sadly we are going to see more of this," predicted Dr. Trevor Orchard, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh and a leading researcher of the double diabetes phenomenon......
Although they don't agree on how the process works or which name to use to describe it, clinicians and researchers now are finding evidence of both diseases simultaneously in the same patients. The rise in obesity is seen as a leading culprit. In one study, for example, researchers at the University of Washington found that a majority of children with type 2 diabetes also had signs of type 1 diabetes in the form of antibodies and T cells, immune system markers that respond to cell damage. "There is some indication that obesity, by putting more stress on the beta cells, may in fact make the cells more susceptible to immune attack," said Dr. Jerry P. Palmer, who is head of endocrinology and metabolism at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Washington. Palmer uses the term "diabetes one-and-a-half" to describe these patients.
In another study, researchers examined children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and found evidence of type 2, particularly in African American children. Dr. Dorothy Becker, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, hypothesized that the excess weight associated with type 2 diabetes accelerated the onset of type 1. "They would have gotten type 1 later if they had not been overweight," she said. She calls this condition "double diabetes."
VP Day labelled too politically correct: "The Tasmanian branch of the RSL [Australian veterans' association] has slammed use of the name Victory in the Pacific Day for the anniversary of the end of World War II. RSL state president Ian Kennett says 'VP day' is a politically correct name invented by the Government to protect trade links with Japan. He says VJ Day should still apply. "The veterans I think are let down, they fought the Japanese and that's who they fought, not the Pacific," he said. "The Japanese capitulated after the two atomic bombs were detonated over Japan and most veterans are of the belief it should remain VJ day. "It's just one of those things, I think political correctness has come on board and they're [Japan] probably one of our biggest trade partners and I think people in some government areas have decided to make it VP day and not VJ day."
12 July 2005
POLITICALLY CORRECT NITS?
The head lice policy in Queensland schools has left parents, teachers and doctors scratching their heads. They say discrimination laws are standing in the way of proper nit control. Under the State Government regulations, described as "political correctness gone mad", teachers no longer can separate an infected child from other students in the classroom. They can't even write to a parent to let them know their child is riddled with the annoying bugs.
The Department of Education guidelines state a student can be physically checked for head lice only if a parent agrees, the child does not object and "student privacy" is assured. But letters cannot be sent to the parents of individual nit sufferers - only a general warning letter sent home to all families.
"It is political correctness gone mad ... this interpretation of privacy laws is absolutely ridiculous," said Australian Medical Association Queensland president Steve Hambleton. "It's appalling. This is supposed to be for the benefit of little kids. Hiding behind the genuine letter of the law is wrong."
The nit policy has led to entire classes in some Queensland schools being infected throughout each school term. Some children are returning home with up to 20 adult nits in their hair.
Ipswich father Ian Connolly believes it is a case of allowing the minority to make life miserable for the majority of caring families. Mr Connolly said his daughter, Olivia, 6, who attended a western Brisbane school, was traumatised after constant infections of head lice during the past two years. "If the Government wants political correctness, then this is discrimination at its best," Mr Connolly said. "It's not the principals or the teachers who are at fault. All the principal of a school can do is send a (general) letter home to all parents. "It's World War III to try and treat the kids. They are so sick and tired of having their hair combed"
Queensland Teachers Union president Steve Ryan said teachers were frustrated by the outbreaks of head lice in schools. Mr Ryan said the policy gave strict guidelines on the role of teachers. "It can be frustrating when there is a lot of it (head lice) occurring in a particular time," he said.
Queensland Parents and Citizens Association spokesman Greg Donaldson said greater co-operation between parents and schools could solve continous outbreaks of head lice. "It's a fact of life. Unless there's good co-operation between the school administration, teachers and parents, it's not going to go away," he said.
An Education Queensland spokesman confirmed schools were not permitted to isolate or segregate students who might be affected by head lice. The spokesman said the most effective treatment for head lice was also one of the easiest for parents - the use of hair conditioner and a fine-toothed comb.
(The above article appeared in the Brisbane (Australia) "Sunday Mail" on July 10, 2005)
MORE LIES ABOUT "OBESITY"
There's a new blog up that targets Morgan Spurlock, the anti-McDonalds huckster of "Supersize Me" fame. Using the spurious Spurlock as it's launchpad it makes some fascinating points against the Obesity police.
"Spurlock quotes someone from the "Vanerbilt University Online Wellness Center," who writes: "According to studies conducted by the American Cancer Society . . .more than 20 percent of all cancer deaths in women and 14 percent in men ar linked directly to being overweight. Another 33 percent of cancer deaths are linked to poor diet and physical inactivity . . . that's a lot of people dying needlessly." (p. 15) "
...If he had looked at the actual data , he'd have found some pretty striking contradictions. For example, the study found that among people the government classifies as of "healthy weight," there were 4.5 cancer deaths per 1,000 people. But get this: Among people the government classifies as "overweight," there were only 4.4! If you're worried about cancer, it's actually healthier to be overweight than of "healthy" weight. The difference may not be statistically significant but it is certainly in the "wrong" direction as far as the obesity warriors are concerned.
Paul Campos and others have also pointed out that the study's data shows that women who are extremely obese actually have a lower risk of cancer than men who are underweight. As the Center for Consumer Freedom has put it, if risk from fat is our barometer, Roseanne Barr is at lower risk of cancer than David Spade. The study also concedes that being overweight actually helps prevent brain cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, and melanoma."
11 July, 2005
Scapegoating soft drinks
A little-noticed news item got my attention a few months ago. According to the Andover Townsman, scores from an annual national physical fitness test showed an ''appalling" decline among elementary school students. More than 100 additional Andover youngsters scored below the national average this year than when the test was last administered during the 2002-03 school year. More ominously, the number of students who fell into the 25th percentile -- the borderline obese category -- had tripled in the last two years.
My guess is that school systems throughout the Commonwealth would report similar results, and the first -- admittedly self-interested -- thing I wanted to know was whether carbonated soft drinks are available in those schools. Knowing that several bills are now pending in the Legislature that I feel unfairly blame my industry for the rising obesity rates among adolescents, I contacted the Andover schools and asked about soda in vending machines.
Guess what? There are no vending machines in the Andover elementary schools, as best as I could tell, except for a few in the teachers' lounges. So what happened in Andover to cause those plunging fitness scores? It turns out that the 2002-03 school year was the last one in which at least 90 minutes of physical education per week was required.
The reduction in Andover's phys-ed programs was the result of financial cutbacks. Yet even in the face of evidence like the Andover experience, you don't hear many political leaders and editorialists championing new funding for physical education programs. Instead, they talk about banning soda from school vending machines -- somehow believing that the one can of soda per week the average high school student consumes is a bigger contributor to obesity rates than no phys-ed classes.
The beverage industry has become the latest scapegoat in the hunt for someone to blame for America's weight problem, and it's wrongheaded. Prohibiting the sale of soda in schools will do no good and will also remove much-needed revenue that some schools use to augment the sports, music, and phys-ed programs that have been cut.
Just consider a few facts about schools and soft drinks, which many people don't realize is already a restricted product. For example: Federally funded school lunch programs prohibit the sale of carbonated soft drinks in food service areas during lunch times. Schools, not the beverage companies, determine the product mix in vending machines. The choice and control resides at the local level, as it should. Massachusetts beverage companies do not sell carbonated soft drinks to elementary schools.
I won't take issue here with studies from scientific sources that conclude there is a correlation between soft drink consumption and obesity, so long as you don't quibble with the studies indicating that juice, milk, sports drinks, and TV are the real culprits. The point is, science and the study of diet and nutrition is an evolving process. A study this year that said obesity kills nearly a half-million people a year was later corrected when it was found the figure was off by nearly 95 percent, and it added that slightly overweight people live longer than those of normal weight. What are we to make of all the conflicting data? Could it be we're being fed science with an agenda?
There's only one thing certain at the moment: Obesity is the result of many factors, including genetics, physical activity, lifestyle, and diet. Simply, it is a case of calories in versus calories expended. Targeting one food, one beverage, or one industry as the cause for what ails us makes no sense.
THE ANTI-CATHOLIC AND PRO-ABORTION U.N.
The Organization of the United Nations turned 60 years old at the end of June. But the administration of George W. Bush celebrated this in its own way: for the fourth year in a row, it denied payment of the 34 million dollars previously given to the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The reason: the anti-life policies that the UNFPA finances in China, supporting male and female sterilization and forced abortion for handicapped and excess children. With the 34 million dollars that it has saved, the Bush administration will finance medical assistance programs for poor women and children, and contribute to the fight against sexual trafficking in Asia.
During those same days, the UN gathered before the general assembly a meeting of representatives from the 13,000 non-governmental organizations connected to it. But not one of the 200 NGO's selected was pro-life or pro-family. Instead, there were the groups most active in opposing procreation, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO). The latter of these circulated a motion against the "cultural and religious forms of fundamentalism" that impede "reproductive rights."
Also during those same days, on the other side of the Atlantic, the parliament of the European Union approved - with a vote of 360 in favor, 272 opposed, and 20 abstentions - a "Resolution on the protection of minorities and on policies against discrimination." In it, religious liberty is indicated as a potential threat against the "free circulation of married or legally recognized homosexual couples within the European Union." One of the votes in favor of the resolution came from deputy Vittorio Prodi, brother of Romano Prodi, a progressivist Catholic and head of the Italian government from 1996 to 1998, as well as president of the European Commission from 1999 to 2004.
In 2002, when Prodi was president, the European Commission had to confront Bush's decision to withdraw U.S. financing from the UNFPA, devolving an almost equal sum, 32 million euros, to both the UNFPA and the IPPF.
The Holy See has its own representatives at both the EU and the UN. It enjoys the status of permanent observer at the Glass Palace, which was confirmed and reinforced by a resolution on July 1, 2004. But it does not enjoy an easy life in either of these two great international organizations.
On the contrary, the Catholic Church is frequently treated as enemy number one. This is because it is a monotheistic religion, and so is held to be a source of intolerance. And it is so above all because it is an antagonist - together with the current American administration - of the philosophy of "reproductive rights" that is the unquestionable position of the UN and the EU in matters of family and procreation.
A book has been published in Italy that brings to light for the first time in a direct and detailed way this anti-Catholic aversion of the UN and the EU. The title is explicit: "Contro il cristianesimo. L'ONU e l'Unione Europea come nuova ideologia [Against Christianity: The UN and the European Union as a New Ideology]." The authors are Eugenia Roccella and Lucetta Scaraffia. The first of these, who is not a Catholic, was a prominent advocate of the feminist movement. The second teaches contemporary history at the La Sapienza university in Rome. Assuntina Morresi produced the appendix of documentation, with a chapter dedicated to the history of the IPPF and another on its founder, Margaret Sanger (1879-1966).
In the introduction to the volume, Roccella and Scaraffia identify the root of the new ideology as the "separation between sexuality and procreation." They see the outcome of this "beyond the boundaries of abortion, in the insidious return of eugenics." And they conclude: "More than a different model of sexual behavior, but conceptually analogous to those that have preceded it in history, this is a question of a real and true utopia, because it is based upon the idea that human beings can find happiness in the realization of their sexual desires, without the moral, biological, social, and relational limitations linked to procreation. This utopia has its roots in the sexual revolution in the West during the 1960's, and it has not yet been disputed, even though it seems not to have kept its promises. It is a utopia that echoes another, one that brings painful memories: that the selection of new human beings can create a better, more healthy, more beautiful humanity.
"The imposition of this utopia upon the countries of the Third World seems to be the principal goal of the activities of many international organizations, and it influences their financial aid and diplomatic relations. This is accompanied - even more, it is its logical complement - by the pacifist utopia of those who believe that only the abolition of religion - especially the monotheistic religions - can put an end to conflicts for humanity. This way of thinking is so widespread and so deeply rooted that it cannot be disputed easily, especially in international settings. And those who dare to do so, like the Catholic Church, are criticized, punished, and accused of having impeded a radiant future of harmony." ....
More -- much more -- here
10 July, 2005
SKIRTS NOW INCORRECT!
What's the betting that the Headmistress concerned is lesbian?
A UK middle high school has introduced a ban on skirts for girls, bringing in so-called gender-neutral dress that requires all pupils to wear pants, beginning this fall.
Marilyn Warden, headteacher at Broadstone Middle School, argues that forcing girls out of skirts and into pants will eliminate discrimination based on gender. Parents are understandably baffled – and infuriated – by Ms. Warden’s reasoning. She also claims the measure is to maintain modesty; a code is already in existence, however, that mandates proper skirt lengths. “This move is meant to enhance all of our pupils overall educational experience,” Warden said, as reported by thisisdorset.net.
One mother of a girl in her fifth year at the school charges that the move is discriminatory. “My daughter doesn't like wearing trousers,” she said. “She wears skirts all year long even on the coldest of days. She likes to be a girl not dress like a boy. We haven't been told why the uniform has to change but understand it is something to do with the girls' modesty. What a lot of rubbish! We weren't consulted and I don't think the parents will go along with it.”
Concerned parents of pupils attending Broadstone Middle have asked Gregory Carlin, director of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition to help them maintain the option of conventional female dress. Carlin, a human rights lawyer, plans to host a meeting for parents Thursday. “The sexes are different and the ‘gender free’ policy authorized by the Board of Governors of Broadstone Middle School is clearly unlawful,” Carlin emphasized in comments made to LifeSiteNews.com Wednesday. “Girls have an absolute right to dress as girls. When setting a uniform policy, school governing bodies must behave reasonably, considering the impact of their policies on parents and pupils and that has clearly not happened at this school in Dorset, England. It is my view that a ‘gender free’ regime is inherently unlawful and discriminatory and such un-thinking political correctness has to be resisted in the same manner Catholics oppose inappropriate sex education in schools,” Carlin added. “Parents have rights, they deserved to be empowered rather than excluded.”
SOME MOVING THOUGHTS FROM A BLACK LADY
A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away.” --Barry Goldwater
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help’.” --Ronald Reagan
As a young black conservative, I am happy to see more black people taking an interest in or switching to the Republican Party. It’s a party of inclusion for people of all races. If you like to work hard to achieve your dreams and you are conservative in your views, you will find a place in the Republican Party.
For years, the Democrat Party has been taking the black population for granted. The Democrat Party is today the party of socialist programs and handouts. It’s a “get by free” card. It’s true that sometimes people need a little help from time to time, but that’s where we come in as a community. The government shouldn’t be the one to take care of you. We are to help our neighbors. Big government is never the answer.
The Democrat Party (or a Democrat candidate) promises you that it will take care of those who are needy in exchange for their vote. Sorry, but I don’t need anyone to take care of me. Republicans like to stand on their own and achieve their dreams on merit and strength, not because of help from someone else. Black people are starting to realize that the Democrat Party only wants them to stay dependent on them, and not to branch out and be strong themselves.
Take Affirmative Action, for instance. It is now said that Affirmative Action does more harm than good. Of course it does! Not only are specific ethnic groups getting a slight advantage over everyone else who are working hard, but those people who don’t “meet the requirements” of Affirmative Action are jaded and upset because it is unfair that someone less qualified than them is getting ahead and they should have been the ones to succeed. There is no level playing field. In a sense, it is another form of discrimination and racism. I don’t know about you, but I want to make it on my own merit, intelligence, and hard work. I do not want to succeed because I am a specific skin color. Democrats and the liberal (PC) way of thinking support using Affirmative Action to achieve “diversity” in colleges. Diversity is fine, just as long as the people have worked just as hard as others to get in. We should be colorblind.
One thing that binds us in America is our conservative values. Most Americans are fairly conservative. The Democrat Party has not been shy about the issues it supports. The party is just a front for Far Left liberal groups who wish to do their work through the Democrat Party, and the Democrat Party is happy to oblige. For instance, most black people are against homosexual marriage, or anything of the sort. Many blacks switched and voted for President Bush over this big issue last year during the presidential election. That and the issue of abortion. Those seem to be the two biggest topics that have dominated the Democratic platform in the past few years. Black people want to keep our traditional values. So we turn to the Republican Party.
Over the years, the Political Correctness has run amuck. Democrats have favored this tactic in order to, in their opinion, make all ethnic groups happy, and not to offend anyone. Well, I find Political Correctness to be offensive. I believe these terms originated in the 1990s. Black people are now called “African-Americans.” This totally annoys me. I prefer to be called a black lady. No problem. It’s worked before. But we have to be PC now. People are “______-Americans,” not just American. Can’t we just say “Oh, he’s Chinese, or she’s a Hispanic lady, etc.”? We all know that if you are a citizen of this country, you are American. We don’t need the hyphenated term. This only separates people into groups. The “Chinese-Americans” over here, the “African-Americans” over there (by the way, I was born in America, not Africa). We don’t need to be divided like this. We are supposed to be a family.
You see where I’m coming from? So that nonsense needs to stop. WE ARE ALL AMERICANS! Proud Americans! We are an inclusive society. We should not have to worry about offending someone because we didn’t use a Politically Correct approach. The Democrat Party has been happy to allow liberalism in this form to sweep across America. It has been dragging our society into a pit.
For the People
The Republican Party is truly for the working people. There is a misconception about the Republican Party that it is only for the rich. And the Democrat Party is for middle class, or poor people. If that were the case, then shouldn’t the Democrat Party give people incentives to strive harder to reach their goals? Not to give handouts and promote unnecessary social programs? To encourage people to make a better living for themselves? To get on one’s own two feet? That’s what the Republican Party does. I am reminded of this quote:
“Give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you will feed him for a lifetime.”
The Democrat Party can’t keep giving people handouts and expect them to be weaned off of that and grow and become independent to do something on their own. We must teach them, show them how to become successful and to encourage and enlighten. More and more black people have decided that they will not be dependent; they are going to do it for themselves. The Republican Party wants all to succeed. Hard work, drive, positive attitude, our values, all are important in helping us reach our goals.
Conservative Blacks Emerging
President Bush has been the only president in history to ever select so many people of different racial backgrounds to his cabinet. The more notable ones are Colin Powell and Dr. Condoleezza Rice. She is the first black lady elected as Secretary of State. She is an inspiration to me. She’s a hard worker, very intelligent, and she is TOUGH! President Bush saw something in her, she had the qualifications (stellar qualifications might I add) and is doing quite wonderfully now. President Bush sees no color, only accomplishments. I am glad to see more conservative journalists, and people in the media emerging. Funny how we conservative black people who support the Republican Party get labeled as “Uncle Toms, Aunt Jemimas sell outs, etc.” Anything racist like that. What is wrong with thinking for yourself and making a decision about what party to support? Everyone assumes that blacks will automatically vote Democrat. Well, not anymore.
Final Thoughts...the Republican Party
The next time you go to a gathering of Republicans, look around. These are people who are bonded together by their love of family, conservative values and traditions, love of God, etc. It shows mightily. I have seen many people of different backgrounds at Republican gatherings. There is such an atmosphere of love when I attend. It’s not at all like what you hear. I have experienced no racism whatsoever. Only good friendships and a welcoming spirit.
The Republican Party has come a long way, but it still has a way to go in getting out its message to blacks and other ethnic groups. It is definitely a party of inclusion. But blacks are noticing a difference between the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. The Republican Party wants all to succeed, and work hard. The Democrat Party is increasingly falling to the Far Left liberals who want people to be dependent on them and their socialist way of living. Not happening for me or other blacks—who are wise to their tactics.
So if you are curious about the Republican Party, do some investigating yourself. Do not believe rumors; try the party and see how you like it. If the party lines up with what you believe, then maybe the Republican Party is for you. Check out what the Democrat Party stands for, and what causes they support. That will give you an indication about whether or not you want to align with them. Whatever party you support, make sure you are true to yourself, that you aren’t voting a certain way or supporting a certain party because you’ve always done it that way, or because it’s a family tradition. Both parties have changed over the years. Keep up to date about what they stand for.
Remember, the Republican Party believes that we are all the same underneath, and should be given the same opportunities to rise to greatness. The Republican Party believes everyone is on equal footing. No preferential treatment. We are ALL AMERICANS. One Nation Under God!
9 July, 2005
The following report is from the Australian State of Queensland and appeared in the "Courier Mail" newspaper on Friday, 8th July, 2005. Immediately below the report is another similar report from Britain from last year
Taking birthday cake to school to share with classmates could become a thing of the past under the State Government's sweeping new food and drink strategy for schools. Education Minister Anna Bligh said yesterday her department "would have to look at the nutritional calue of the cakes".
Whether a cake fell in the new amber "select carefully" or red "only two days a term" category of school food might tip the scales in the new food system designed to fight childhood obesity. It could prove a case of "carrot cake in but mud cake out". The healthy food and drink strategy, based on a green, amber and red traffic system, requires all state school tuckshops to have healthy menus in place by July next year.
The policy encourages fruit, vegetables, rice, pasta, noodles, milk, yoghurt, cheese, lean meat, fish, nuts and legumes. After a six-month phase-in period, tuckshops which do not follow guidelines will not be allowed to operate. Guidelines also will apply to any areas where food and drink is supplied in state schools, including fundraising ventures and sports days.
A school has banned pupils from bringing in cake and sweets on their birthday because they say munching on too many sugary treats is unhealthy. Aqueduct County Primary in Telford has sent letters home to parents asking them not to let their children take the goodies into lessons. Head teacher Beryl Mound said the school was hoping to get an award for being healthy. But parents say it's not fair on pupils who want to share their special day. One parent, Kevin Davies, told the Daily Mail newspaper that taking birthday cakes into school had been "a lovely tradition which encouraged sharing and giving". But Ms Mound said the ban was part of the plan to teach children how to eat healthily: "We have requested parents to refrain from sending their children to school with sweets and cakes on celebratory occasions and we know many parents are supportive of this."
Start by making robbery history
A comment from Scotland about the political correctness of THAT concert and its sponsors. The Gordon Brown referred to is the Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, Britain's "Chancellor of the Exchequer" (i.e. Finance minister, Treasurer, holder of the British government's pursestrings)
Even Gordon Brown ducked out of using the "c" words. The Iron Chancellor opted for the softest of the "t" words . . transparency. Interviewed for Channel 4 News by Jon Snow, who was broadcasting from what looked like a Ugandan wasteland but was in fact a marketplace, the Chancellor agreed that cash on its own was not the answer to African poverty. But he didn't identify tyranny or theft as root causes of the worsening poverty in many African countries.
Nor did Big Broon [The Scottish pronunciation of "Brown"] tell it like it is by naming as corrupt crooks the people most responsible for the growing impoverishment amongst millions of Africans. Political correctness blunted the message, even from a man whose entire prejudice against his fellow men involves people who don't share his devotion to Raith Rovers [a football team], and whose understanding of what must happen in African economies isn't bettered by anyone.
But Gordon Brown hasn't been the only one to step back from naming and shaming, for example, the Nigerians whose looting of their country's resources, including aid money, has resulted in an estimated £80 billion of "private" money being held in UK bank accounts.
Bob Geldof is said to have warned off his troubador troops from overt criticism of Bush/Blair policies . . . but he didn't bell the African fatcats either. He and his supporting cast urge us to make our voices heard by the eight powerful men who'll get down to business tomorrow in Gleneagles Hotel . . . but he didn't show photographs of the eight greediest dictators in Africa.
The producer/driver/inventor of Live Aid and Live 8, for all his seeming fearlessness in facing down everyone in the world whom he holds responsible for the deaths of 30,000 children a day, says much less than Moeletsi Mbeki said this week about the endemic corruption in many African governments. The South African president's brother likened the tyranny of Robert Mugabe to that of apartheid, and identified the need for help and support to end his destructiveness as the immediate priority in the war against poverty in Zimbabwe. The well-meaning stars who urged us all to make poverty history missed a beat at the Hyde Park concert.
Let's hope the performers at tonight's concert who choose to make political statements hit the right notes in identifying the differences amongst African countries, the culpability of some of their governments, for waste and misappropriation of aid, whether they are dictatorships or ersatz democracies. And let's hope also that these unlikely pied pipers of public opinion inform the 60,000 inside Murrayfield and the millions elsewhere who'll tune into their message of the need for Africa's peoples to help themselves, in their own way....
Thanks to last week's strong statements from Bianca Jagger, Moeletsi Mbeke, the Institute for African Studies and a few others, more people are beginning to appreciate the complexity of the problems and challenges facing most parts of Africa. Even now, fear of causing offence prevents Bob Geldof and Gordon Brown from admitting openly that, even if debts are cancelled, aid doubled and EU and United States import tariffs slashed, without good, clean governments and honourable civil services, Africans will be no further forward than they were after Live Aid, 20 years ago....
As well as cancelling debt repayments and ending the protectionism practised by the EU and US, the G8 should let the countries worst affected by regime corruption know that nothing good will come their way until they clean up their act. African governments must know that G8 countries will keep their activities under close scrutiny and that thieving aid money won't be tolerated....
NIT-PICKING ABOUT MANILA
On 6th., I noted that the Welsh Development Agency had banned its staff from using the words "Manila" and "nit-picking" because of their alleged connection to slavery. A reader comments:
"There is no evidence that "nit picking" has anything to do with slaves: the word "nit" dates back to the year 800 at least, and the phrase in it's current meaning is first recorded in the 1950s. See here.
And whilst manillas (from the Portuguese manilha) were indeed a form of currency used in West Africa for lots of things, including slaves, (see here), the "manila" of manila envelopes is from a quite different origin. It comes from Manila (capital of Philippines) hemp from which the brown paper is made. The ancient African currency word is so archaic that it is not listed in any standard dictionary, so it is quite disingenuous to suggest that the word manila in its current usage is offensive."
8 July, 2005
Fascism, corruption and my 'Democratic' Party
By Bob Just
Ten years ago, Newsweek magazine shocked mainstream America with a cover story headlined "Thought Police," a lengthy report on a new social /political movement developed on college campuses since the 1960s. Ironically, one year after the Berlin wall came down and one year before the fall of the Soviet Empire, Americans were being seriously warned that liberal academia had adopted a hybrid "Marxist" philosophy often called "PC." This new "Politically Correct" creed was being espoused, according to Newsweek, at hundreds of colleges and universities as a result of the growing influence of "a generation of campus radicals."
If they no longer talk of taking to the streets, it is because they now are gaining access to the conventional weapons of campus politics: social pressure, academic perks (including tenure) and -- when they have the administration on their side -- outright coercion ... where the PC reigns, one defies it at one's peril. (Newsweek, Dec. 24, 1990)
After that, PC attitudes were heavily criticized, and even mocked, by mainstream thinkers all around the country, liberal and conservative. And yet, in 1992 America elected into power an administration that in many ways adhered to the PC worldview, thus beginning a process of "change" unforeseen not only by most Americans, but by most Democrats as well. I have known for a long time that there were serious problems in my party, but I didn't fully grasp the political nature of those problems. Sometimes it takes a simple, symbolic moment to cause an epiphany -- to bring clarity. That happened to me this past May.
When I read about people spitting on the Honor Guard at the New York State Democratic Convention May 16, I started to understand what has happened to my party over the last few years. I still can't get over the fact that Democrats attending a formal convention would so insult the American flag, but it happened. As an Honor Guard of Albany police officers entered the convention hall - with band playing and lights shining - they were spit on and called "Nazis" by a number of people on the delegate floor. On top of that, no Democrat nearby stopped the "spitters," or even reported them. And the Democratic leadership expressed no public outrage.
I was so outraged at my party's lack of outrage that I started a reward fund to find the "spitters." But I soon realized that I needed to address the larger issue of what I had come to understand. I direct this commentary to the mainstream elected officials of my party - the "adults" as the media often calls them. Whether you are still in office or retired, you can have a profound effect in waking up the party and the public. I see clearly now that the path the party is taking will eventually lead to its destruction and to the destruction of liberty in America. It is practically mathematical. And it won't take very long in years if nothing is done to stop it.
I have been a Democrat all my life. I grew up in New York City in a staunchly Democratic middle class family. Although private-school educated (I had financial assistance thanks to Trinity School), my father was a union man, a musician with the Metropolitan Opera. My parents and stepparents were all "Roosevelt Democrats." As a young English teacher in Montclair, New Jersey, during the Richard Nixon Watergate scandal, I drove around with a bumper sticker saying, "Don't Blame Me I Voted for McGovern." I was proud to be on the side of "right" as I saw it. I was proud to stand against corruption and the abuse of power.
Now, 25 years later, I am ashamed to be a Democrat. More than that, I have come to fear my own party. Hatred and corruption - the roots of fascism - are on the march in America as they have never been before, and leading this march is the Democratic Party. Increasingly, mainstream Democrats are uncomfortable with what we see in our party. We may not have a real name for it, but we know it is dangerous.
The totalitarian choice in Alabama
On Sunday, June 18, the headline of the Washington Post read, "Political Dirty Tricks Alleged in Alabama Trial," but the story revealed something far more serious than "dirty tricks." A Democrat lawyer and a private investigator are now being tried for attempting to defeat a Republican candidate in 1998 by bribing a prostitute to accuse the Republican of raping her. The prostitute recanted and turned witness against the two "Democrats." The Republican, Lt. Gov. Steve Windom, was elected when the prostitute confessed, but let's consider what his "political opponents" were willing to do to him. This wasn't political rumor mongering -- which is bad enough. These two men allegedly took direct action to destroy Windom's reputation in the community, shame him before his family, and basically ruin his life.
We all know from history that when totalitarian forces, driven by their dysfunctional fury, seek to uproot the political establishment, they will use any means necessary. Bribery and character assassination are easy choices for them, even murder, because civilized limits are meaningless to the Stalins, Hitlers and Maos of the world. Their goal is to grab power, and "The Party" -- whether Communist or Nazi -- is the highest good. Loyalty to the party is everything because the party is the country. These two "Democrats" were apparently willing to destroy everything precious to a Republican man because he stood between their party and political power. It is the totalitarian choice. The question is, how deep does it go into the party and what motivates it?
No longer a political party
What we are dealing with here has nothing to do with American politics. In fact, I worry that as the Democrats increasingly adopt fascist tactics they will cease being a genuine political party, focused on honest debate and decision by fair ballot. They could become one day something more related to the fascists of 1930s Germany. The SA "brown shirts" were not interested in debate and civil rule; they wanted power in order to force the democratic nation to accept their Nazi agenda. If I am right about the fanatical direction my party is taking, then America has never faced a danger like this, and real Democrats who stand by and watch will be as guilty before history as the actual leaders of this corruption movement.
When did the party start making its shift to this strange other form? Some Democrats would say the sexual revolution, abortion and other moral issues were the beginning. However, I am not talking here about party alignment over the social issues, although they have been a major contributing factor. There were many other issues in dispute among Democrats during the waning years of the Cold War, but, whether we agreed or not, all issues were seen as debatable opinions of the party's majority leadership. Reagan Democrats just voted Republican and hoped the liberal Democrats would come to their senses. There was still freedom of thought within the party, and in public debate. But something happened which changed all that.
Suddenly, the traditional restraint of civilized limits was gone. Gone was comity. Gone was loyal opposition. It was somewhere in the mid-nineties - perhaps around the time the Republicans seized control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The panic among Democrats and the panic within the Clinton administration may have been the turning point. Whenever it was that the dam cracked, it had exploded by the end of 1998.
The year of living dangerously
As mainstream Democrats watched the impeachment trials, we experienced a feeling of vast separation. It was like watching actors on a stage playing the famously recognizable roles from Watergate but saying the wrong lines. We heard that lying under oath and bold-faced lying to the American people didn't "rise to the level of an impeachable offense." Famous phrases from the past appeared twisted beyond recognition as we learned that the president of the United States is not "below the law. ..."
Where were the lines we knew so well from our youth? "Have you no shame, sir?" or later, "What did the President know and when did he know it?" Or how about the greater words that inspired a generation of Democrats? Words that put the very wind in our youthful sails: "Ask not what your country can do for you..." or "Judged not by the color of skin but by the content of character. ..." Where were the words of American tradition, duty, honor and country? These were never just Republican words.
During the Clinton impeachment trial, we listened to honored senators like Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York. They spoke high-sounding words of outrage, but, in the end, actions betrayed words. In the end, even these honorable men defended party over principle. They rationalized, and let the party fall. Everyone knows it. History will show it. They let one man's behavior compromise the integrity of the Democratic Party. In the process, they turned their backs on the traditions of our past symbolized by men like President Harry Truman.
We looked for truth during the impeachment and trial process and watched hopefully as the "wise men" of the party in the House and the Senate expressed "concern," then made excuses, and finally voted lock-step to defend party power. Sure they had their reasons. They also, I believe, did not grasp the significance of the vote - a symbolic alignment with the corrupt elements in the party, an act of submission that sent a message across America, from Hollywood to Wall Street and beyond. Anything goes.
The F-word fund-raiser and losing our souls
About a week after the spitting incident at the New York Democratic Party Convention, there was another incident that shocked me profoundly. I still cannot believe this one actually happened, but it is on videotape. At the MCI Center fund-raiser in Washington, Robin Williams performed before a crowd of corporate and Democrat dignitaries, people who would that very night raise the party over 26 million dollars.
The fund-raiser, including Williams's performance, was broadcast live on C-SPAN. However, that didn't stop Robin Williams from doing some kind of seedy nightclub act. He used the F-word and other obscenities several times (C-SPAN later cut this out when the event was rebroadcast). Imagine. A grand room full of powerful Democrats, representatives of America's oldest political party, and the F-word is being said, over and over again with cameras recording!
As in the case of the harassment of the Honor Guard at the Albany Democratic Convention, the specific violation was bad enough, but the most egregious violation was the passive, cowardly acceptance of the audience. The hardest thing to believe - for those of us who remember America before 1992 - was that the president, vice president and Mrs. Clinton were at this fund-raiser. Did none of them think to stand up and leave? Didn't anyone in the audience consider booing the smutty language spoken before the assembled dignitaries? No, there was only laughter.
Even when Robin Williams noticed a child present and joked about the "new words" he was learning that night - even then - no one objected. Not one Democrat dared step forward and condemn the moment. Peer pressure is a powerful and coercive thing, for adults as well as children - one breaks rank at one's peril. And I'm sure it wouldn't have been good for "business" for the party leadership to create embarrassment at such a high-level Hollywood/corporate function. So everyone laughed.
This is not about politics. This is about corruption. Stop and think about it. Somehow Robin Williams knew that no one would object if he used the F-word and the S-word continually - even on national TV! How did he know no one would walk out on him? Apparently, Williams knows something about the Democratic Party that most "little guy" Democrats like me don't know (not to mention the "little guy" Republicans who are still embarrassed by MTV, thank God). He knows the party has become corrupt.
Democrat leaders have lost their way. They find themselves at the head of a parade full of people Harry Truman or even Jack Kennedy wouldn't recognize - radicals of various kinds who think that Western civilization began in 1969. Strangely, without meaning to, mainstream Democrats find themselves representing this "corruption movement." However, for the "new fascists" in the party, there is nothing so strange about it. Fascists have always sought to leverage corruption for the sake of power.
In William Shirer's seminal book, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," listen to his famous description of Hitler: "He who was so monumentally intolerant by his very nature, was strangely tolerant of one human condition - a man's morals. No other party in Germany came near to attracting so many shady characters." Shady characters, I should add, who are useful because they will do "whatever it takes" to win.
Carried to its extreme, this corruption movement will destroy us all. It is compulsive in its lust for power. It is an anti-establishment lobby that is vast and very powerful. Right now the specific labels don't matter, and there are too many to name here, from corporate greed to union greed to organized crime to "special interest" causes. It is a long list. However, the core desire of this group, conscious or unconscious, is to tear down everything traditional and decent in this country. Full of personal anger and a desire for radical change at whatever cost, these people wish to "re-imagine" an America they have never understood.....
Understanding the fascist motive
People are essentially innocent and fair-minded. They look for reasons in debate. Power-grasping totalitarians know this, and, no matter what the country, they always supply some plausible response: They seek to "empower the people"; they seek to "reestablish national pride," or to correct "social injustice." Consider the irony that "racial injustice" has long been a popular cause with fascists. For the Nazis it was white power, but for other fascists it could be "black power." It doesn't matter what the reasons are. America's Corruption Movement may be politically empowered by "reasons," but it is not truly motivated by them. It is motivated by something far more basic.
On my radio show, I always like to demonstrate a key principle with a current news story. The principles of life are everywhere in the news. One need only look for them. Famous supermodel Naomi Campbell was recently accused of attacking two former employees in separate incidents. The story was covered June 23rd on ABC's "20/20." Ms. Campbell confessed that her violent temper is rooted in her childhood. In one of the attacks, Campbell's irrational, out-of-control temper led her to assault her former assistant Georgina Galanis with a blunt instrument. She pleaded guilty, but more than that, she was brave enough to reveal to the public exactly where her rage came from.
"There are a lot of issues that I have from childhood," Campbell told Barbara Walters. "For instance, not knowing your father, not seeing your mother. It manifests a lot of feelings. One of those feelings is anger." She went on to talk about her insecurity, lack of self-esteem and loneliness. Naomi Campbell is not the only person whose father abandoned her before she was born, and whose mother was a distant presence in her life. Our neighborhoods around the country, both minority and white, are increasingly full of such children. The June issue of the journal "Pediatrics" declares that nearly three times as many U.S. children have "emotional and behavioral" problems as did 20 years ago.
Rage is everywhere in our adult society too. Just listen to the words of "Gangsta" rap music, or the words spoken at some of the radical rallies in Washington, D.C. Rage is the raw material of the New Fascists. They know how to focus it - and give it a cause - and how to direct it at their enemies. This process has now become so obvious that it's time we face up to it, and identify it in our national political dialogue. In fact, facing up to it is the only way we can save ourselves, and save this "grand experiment" in political and religious freedom we call America.....
Holding on to truth
The key to successfully confronting the New Fascist movement is, first, to see it for what it is. Fascism inspires an emotionalized, cultic allegiance, and many of these people can't see what they are trapped in. If we rage back at them, it pushes them deeper into this alien loyalty. So the second key is to be forceful but remain calm - to understand that they need our help. I don't mean a weak, simpering, "can't we all get along" kind of help, but a focused, forceful desire to draw the line for their own sake as well as ours. They need us to resist them with strength, but they don't need our rage. They got that as children.
The principle here is something Mahatma Gandhi, the great liberator of India, called "force of righteousness," "love force," or "soul force." Gandhi was a great admirer of Judeo-Christian thinking and Americans will recognize the wisdom. He coined a new Indian word for it, Satyagraha. The root meaning is "holding on to truth," and "not hating back" is one of the keys to this truth.
Of course, fascists reject the idea of a truth higher than the party, and hate is their driving impulse. This puts them at odds with America's "under God" religious heritage, and as a result, America has suffered a great deal of pain and confusion in recent decades. The fascist corruption movement (which puts power, material wealth, personal pleasure and everything else above what's right) has all but destroyed the social fabric of our society, much to the horror of most Americans. In this respect, mainstream Americans also deal with an anger problem. Nevertheless, the hope for America's future lies in love. It may sound corny, but in the end, it is the only way to avoid civil conflict. Permissive weakness will drive these "children" crazy, but so will judgmental anger.
When the leaders of the corruption movement understand that "the game is up" - that we see them for what they are without hate - they may hate and fear us all the more. At that point, they must get the kind of love that good parents deliver: Tough love. Consider a mother who warns her son that he is getting too close to the street, but the child gets closer. Does the mother stop the child with a gentle voice? Of course not. An aggressive shout is what's needed to frighten the boy away from danger. Now let's take it a step further. Despite the mother's shout, the boy rebelliously runs toward the street where there are cars coming. At that moment, for the sake of the child, the mother rushes to use force and yanks the child out of danger.
We must be as determined in our love for these "unloved children" as they are absolutely determined to get revenge on the "establishment" they associate with the parents who abandoned them in one way or another. I confess I am talking about myself since in my angry youth I was once on their side.
Most of us are reachable. Former radical leftist David Horowitz is a classic example. Or consider Jane Fonda's recent desire to turn her life around, which has been reported in these pages, and which Fonda now talks about with Oprah Winfrey in the current issue of "O" magazine. Fonda's mother committed suicide when she was 12. That kind of shock is inconceivable to most of us. What a lonely, painful journey it must have been for that little girl, especially since her father Henry Fonda was aloof and incapable of giving her the love she needed. Many of us remember her angry youth in the 1970s. Now, we are coming to understand it. Courageously facing the mistakes of her past, Jane Fonda looks to the future with a renewed determination to change. I believe there are people like this in every political and social sphere within my party. People who are looking to do what is right - people who can change their angry ways....
When Newsweek reporters told Americans about the growing totalitarian ethic on our college campuses at the end of the Cold War, they revealed a core ingredient of the New Fascism, something impossible for most Americans to even imagine:
The failure of Marxist systems throughout the world has not noticeably dimmed the allure of left-wing politics for American academics. Even today, says David Littlejohn of Berkeley's Graduate School of Literature, "an overwhelming proportion of our courses are taught by people who really hate the system." (Newsweek, Dec. 24, 1990)
"Hate the system. ..." What if such people got complete control of one of our two major parties? I say they are very close to doing it. But more, let's say they succeed. What if these New Fascists go on to corrupt our military, our police, our courts, and even our Congress and our governmental agencies with this same anti-American ethic? If that happens, then by any analysis we will no longer have a "culture war" in America, but rather a "cold civil war," ready to heat up the moment government establishes laws that tyrannize the American conscience.
Right now we have two parties that are becoming like two different countries - which are increasingly acting like enemies. God forbid it, and please make us again one nation, a shining city on a hill for all the world to see, where love can reign and truth prevail, and where freedom can be enjoyed by all.
More -- much more -- here
What a lot of authoritarian s**t! Dogs love sticking their heads out car windows and I have yet to hear of one being injured whilst doing it
A state lawmaker is pushing for doggy seat belts on the advice of an 11-year-old constituent. Marc McCann of Green Tree came up with the idea as part of state Rep. Tom Stevenson's annual "There Ought to be a Law" contest. Stevenson, R-Pa., submitted a bill to the House Transportation Committee in June that would require drivers to keep their dogs' heads inside the vehicle at all times. Stevenson also wants to require drivers to restrain the animals, either with some kind of modified seat belt or in a crate or carrier box. "I never did like dogs sticking their heads out the window," said McCann, one of more than 500 students from his legislative district who proposed laws. "Maybe a sign might have been too close to the road and they'd get hit. Maybe they'd jump out the window on a highway." Stevenson said the bill will protect "not only human lives, but pet lives. I think it's going to be a great idea because it's going to cut down on driver distractions."
7 July, 2005
IMMIGRATION CORRECTNESS GETS PRETTY INSANE
In April, police in Fairfax County, Virginia pulled over a van making an illegal u-turn. The constables soon discovered the illegal u-turn was not the only statutory violation committed by those in the van for twelve inside were illegal aliens.
After being processed by Immigration and Custom Enforcement, all eleven passengers were released and instructed to show up for final review; they were let lose onto our streets for the sake of the children and all. Unless the mother was some kind of tramp and did not know which hombre was the father, can anyone justify why every last one of them should have been allowed to go?
Furthermore, if these parents cared so much for their progeny, wouldn’t they have applied to come to this country in the proper manner? Regular, real Americans have had their own children snatched over less serious infractions of the law.
Needless to say, none of those released with the promise to return did so. But one does not have to be a PhD to figure out that was going to happen. With the drivel filling the minds of the overeducated these days, it’s probably an insight available only to those whose minds have not been corrupted in this manner.
Unfortunately, the poison of such diseased thinking is not confined to the otherwise unemployable in the ranks of media, government, and academia. Many average Americans are more than eager in promoting the surrender of this great nation.
One deluded soul posting on the WJLA.com messageboard commenting on the story posted, “If you ‘processed’ all the ‘illegals’ out of the United States, we would have economic collapse....Who the heck picks your fruit and vegetables? Cleans up your building? Cleans restrooms? Cooks your fast food? Does the dirty work that no one else wants to do? Many Americans have grown too fat and entitled to do the physical and ‘menial’ wok. Selfish people...afraid you won’t be able to afford that big fat SUV and wide-screen television?”
Such comments were probably made by one of those selfish people who has never done any menial work in their life. Usually, those clamoring for unfettered borders are the ones that have “too much” ---- if we are now going to hurl invectives against the blessings of liberty --- and want to ensure that the good life remains the exclusive province of the elite by importing laborers for the purposes of driving down wages and increasing their own wealth and power.
Instead of complaining about the laziness and girth of the average American (as if from appearances the average immigrant has missed too many meals), perhaps we should be asking how many toilets the likes of George Bush, John Kerry, or Ted Kennedy have scrubbed over the course of their lifetimes since the only thing they ever did to be entitled to their vast resources was spring from their parents loins. Hillary Clinton acted like it was revelation handed down from on high when she realized janitors are people too.
It’s not so much Americans have grown “too entitled” to do menial labor but rather don’t see why wages should be driven down for the work that they do. For the elites do not allow the invasion of the United States to proceed unabated to elevate the status of lamentable Third World peons but rather to drag down the living standards of all people to make it easy to rule over all of us as subjects of the New World Order.
Maybe if most forms of immigration were abolished and the proper steps taken to interdict transborder vagrancy, perhaps the elites would be forced to take the hit in their own pockets rather than the pockets of the average American. John Kerry and George Bush can afford to alter their lifestyles a lot more than can John Q. Public.....
The perils of PC history
Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon." True enough. Depicting history is, and always has been, a collective enterprise. But our modern, relativistic culture has made separating fact from fancy increasingly difficult, as political correctness often trumps truth. As a result, we are rewriting history. Nowhere is this more evident than in American classrooms, where our children's history lessons change with the political winds. Anti-bias guidelines and fears of offending special-interest groups permeate history textbooks, smudging out historical accuracy.
Our Founding Fathers are now referred to as androgynous "framers." According to a 2004 Washington Times report, words such as "man," "mankind," "aged" and "suffragette" are now banned from textbooks. In 2003, reviewers found 533 factual or interpretive errors in social studies texts submitted for adoption to the Texas State Board of Education. While publishers agreed to 351 revisions, they stated that the remaining errors were simply a "misunderstanding" of the textbook.
However, nothing changed to ensure that students would not fall victim to the misunderstandings. The result is that millions of American schoolchildren are misinformed about important historical events and documents. In 2002-2003, only 55 percent of North Carolina high school students were considered proficient in U.S. history. This is no surprise, given the widespread deficiencies in our history curriculum: The Fordham Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based education organization, gave North Carolina's Social Studies Curriculum an "F" in a 2002-03 evaluation of state history standards.
Our teachers are unschooled in the fundamentals of American history. Chester Finn, president of the Fordham Foundation, said that only 31 percent of middle school history teachers and 41 percent of high school history teachers actually majored in history as undergraduates. Just like the character in Sam Cooke's song, "Wonderful World," our teachers "don't know much about history." So, why does it matter whether students (and teachers) understand American history? For starters, the success of a representative government is predicated upon having informed citizens.
Past generations have understood this: One reason for beginning mandatory "common" schools in the early 1800s was to teach children the specifics of American democracy. Children learned answers to the questions, "Why does the government have three branches? What is the Electoral College? Why are federal judges appointed?" Without a foundation in political, economic and social history, our newest citizens enter adulthood ill-equipped to vote, serve on juries, lobby Congress or model civic values.
What can be done? First, we need to take a hard look at our history courses, and push back against the rising tide of political correctness. Alexis de Tocqueville's view of history was one of a "gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies." We need to ensure that our historical copies, or textbooks, closely resemble the originals. Students ought to study the original documents providing the infrastructure for our government, legal and judicial systems -- documents such as the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence.
Second, parents (and citizens) need to be willing to supplement school programs at home. For those fed up with "revisionist" history, the Bill of Rights Institute (www .BillofRightsinstitute.org) offers a reasoned, accurate alternative. This Virginia-based nonprofit organization, founded in 1999, offers programs that teach students about America's founding principles and their importance to a free society. Their program, The Bill of Rights for Real Life, a 10-unit teacher's guide and DVD set, provides valuable lessons about citizenship, the roots of our fundamental freedoms, and the role of civic values, the law and the courts in daily life.
We do a disservice to our children when we tamper with historical fact. America has a rich and colorful past, marked by victory and struggle on the road to freedom. If our children are to grow into citizens devoted to the protection of America's fundamental liberties and ideals, they must first understand what they are.
6 July, 2005
CHRISTIANS GET A SHOW TRIAL IN AUSTRALIA
I have commented on several occasions previously about the conviction of two Christian pastors in the Australian State of Victoria for the offence of inciting hatred of Islam. I have not however gone into details about the trial. Now that sentences have been handed down which the pastors are refusing to comply with, however, I think it is time to go into the matter a bit more. There is a powerful account here of the incompetence and ignorance of the judge concerned. Even basic judicial principles such as giving the defendant the benefit of the doubt seem to have been thrown overboard. The resemblance to a Stalinist show trial is compelling. Some excerpts:
In December of 2004, Judge Michael Higgins, presiding at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, found Pastors Daniel Scot and Danny Nalliah guilty of inciting religious hatred against Victorian Muslims. This was a historic case, the first finding of religious vilification under new Victorian legislation.
The case of the ICV vs Catch the Fire is a complex one. On the one side it is said to be about vilification of Muslims. On the other side it is said to be about freedom of speech, and in particular the freedom to publicly criticize a religious ideology. The case marks a significant translation of concepts of race into the realm of religious identity and belief. As such it deserves to be studied carefully.
One aspect of Judge Higgins' findings which seems especially likely to provoke controversy, is his approach to witnesses' credibility. Broadly speaking, His Honour found that all seven witnesses for the complainants could be relied upon, but in one way or another he rejected all the five witnesses for the respondents, and refused the respondents' requests to call two additional expert witnesses.
His Honour's treatment of Pastor Daniel Scot, one of the respondents in the case, deserves careful scrutiny. Daniel Scot had given a seminar about the Qur'an which became a principal focus of the complaint before the Tribunal. In considering whether Scot had vilified Muslims, the issue of his integrity proved to be critical. Judge Higgins found that Scot was not 'credible'. He stated concerning Scot "I have considerable doubt that what he told the seminar was his real beliefs about the Qur'an": in other words he seemed to be lying. His Honour also found Scot to be opportunistic and unbalanced in his method of teaching, that he selected material because it conveyed a bad impression of Muslims.
Judge Higgins considered that because of his lack of credibility Scot could not be considered to have acted 'reasonably and in good faith'. This meant that Scot had no protection from the religious exception in the Act, which protects conduct which is conducted for a 'genuine' religious purpose, 'reasonably and in good faith'.
Judge Higgins cited two examples of Scot's dishonesty. One was Scot's report that he had written three books, when in fact these were works in progress which he distributed at his seminars in photocopied form, under his birthname Sidiqqi rather than his assumed name of Daniel Scot. Scot would not be the first author to self-publish using photocopying, to consider his books works in progress, and to use a nom de plume. However of much greater interest is the second instance of Scot's allegedly dishonest behaviour. Mercy for amputees?
As a second example, Judge Higgins cites Scot's discussion of the penalty for theft. Under cross examination, Scot had said that only after a thief's hand is cut off (Sura 5: 38) is he to be shown mercy (Sura 5:39). His Honour describes Scot's discussion of this as 'astounding', and his reasoning 'illogical and unsustainable'. He comes to this view based on an assertion from the bar table, and without hearing any evidence that Scot's interpretations were wrong.
The matter arose because it had been put to Scot by counsel for the complainants that he could have drawn his audience's attention to Sura 5:39, to balance the interpretation of 5:38. In other words, his listeners could have been informed that the Qur'an could be read more sympathetically, that the mercy of 5:39 might reduce the penalty of 5:38.
As it happens, Scot's interpretation of this passage is traditional and quite accurate. Hadiths place these two verses together in a specific 'context of revelation' (asbab al-nuzul): they were 'revealed' during an incident involving the punishment of a female thief during Muhammad's lifetime. The hadiths which support this interpretation (see e.g. tafsir.com) make crystal clear that mercy is to be applied after amputation. Muhammad even declares that if his own daughter Fatimah had stolen something, he would have her hand cut off.
This is an example of a theological principle relating to Islamic hudud punishments, that the penalty atones for the crime. After punishment the person is considered purified and free of the offence, acceptable to Muhammad and to God, in this life and the next, and thus a worthy recipient of kind treatment. Indeed the Hadiths relating to these verses describe how Muhammad showed kindness to the female thief after her hand had been amputated. The correct interpretation of verse 39 is that Muslims should treat amputated thieves with kindness and mercy, as long as they have repented after punishment, and do not steal any more. Scot's teaching in the seminar, and his replies under cross-examination, hold up very well.
His Honour's apparent confusion over this matter is apparent when he further reports that: "Verse 40 then spells out punishment of a severe kind, e.g. losing a leg, for a further offence." In fact verse 40 says nothing of the sort, and the only reference to this verse during the hearing was that Scot had made a mark against it for some reason in his copy of the Qur'an! It is puzzling to say the least how His Honour could have come to this conclusion about verse 40.
One reading of His Honour's finding is that he is rejecting orthodox Islamic interpretations of the Qur'an as 'illogical, unsustainable' and 'astounding'. Many might find this a bold and courageous judgment.
However it is more likely that Judge Higgins' discussion of this matter merely demonstrates a poor grasp of Islamic jurisprudence. It is hardly surprising that an Australian judge is not qualified to rule on a matter of Islamic law. What is more troubling is that Judge Higgins had been presented with considerable amounts of evidence throughout the trial from both sides concerning the fact that the Qur'an is to be interpreted in context, and that this context would include the Hadiths. Yet he apparently overlooked all this in a crucial consideration of the question of Scot's credibility, a matter on which the whole outcome of the trial hinged. If Scot's answers seemed to His Honour to be incomprehensible and 'astounding', this was enough to prove his dishonesty.
Another troubling aspect of this particular matter is that Judge Higgins had found Scot was too 'literalistic' in his approach to the Qur'an, and that he did not attend to context. This lay at the heart of his objection to Scot's manner of interpreting the Qur'an. Yet in relying on his own ability to interpret the text, His Honour ignores context, and does the very thing he has criticized Scot for.
Now brainstorms are off the agenda
David Brent would never approve. 'Brainstorming', the buzzword used by executives to generate ideas among their staff, has been deemed politically incorrect by civil servants because it is thought to be offensive to people with brain disorders.
Instead staff at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) in Belfast will use the term 'thought-showers' when they get together to think creatively. A spokeswoman said: 'The DETI does not use the term brainstorming on its training courses on the grounds that it may be deemed pejorative.' Sources inside the department said there was concern that the term would cause offence to people with epilepsy as well those with brain tumours or brain injuries.
But the Campaign for Plain English complained that the decision had 'reached the point of real ridicule'. 'You do sometimes wonder if some people haven't got anything better to do with their time,' said spokesman John Wild. 'Do they just sit down and search out enough words until eventually they can say: "I can make that out to be politically incorrect"? 'Of course there are certain terms that should be deemed out of bounds, but then sometimes things go too far. I am certain that those who dreamt this up are not suffering from any brain disease or injury. They just want to find offence anywhere they can stumble across it'.
The move follows that of the Welsh Development Agency, set up to promote business in Wales, which ran a series of courses last year to teach staff to be more politically correct. 'Brainstorming' was on its list of banned words, as well as 'nit-picking' and 'manila', because of their origins in the slave trade.
5 July, 2005
The Myth of Cell-Phone Addiction
What’s interesting here are those who offer something like a Marxian-style critique of cell-phone use. We are alienated from society, we are told, and obviously tormented by loneliness, and thereby seek solidarity and community. But rather than seek out genuine connection to others, we reach for technology, the very thing that alienated us to begin with. We grow ever more dependent on our gizmos but they ultimately disappoint because they only cause addiction to machines and thereby increase alienation. Also, we the oppressed long for empowerment and the ego-boost generated by the sense of importance granted by the idea of receiving and sending cell-phone calls. We can’t stop using our cell-phones and yet they only further entangle us in an artificial world of machines created via the money matrix.
Oh just look at the cell-phone people everywhere! Surely this is the final stage of capitalism in which we ignore our brothers and sisters walking next to us but instead talk through electronic means to some distant party, and talk about what? About nothing: “It’s, like, so cool to be on the phone!”
You can make this sort of critique up about anything, pepper the essay with references to Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and, to stay in good with conservatives, the insufferable T.S. Eliot, finish it off with a hymn to primitivism—even a wish to return to the Garden of Eden without the taint of technological sin—and you have a winning piece of commentary.
It’s all nonsense. There is plenty wrong with this genre of criticism, as Tibor Machan points out (he found someone who regretted the invention of the mirror!). But let us address the cell phone in particular, because many people seem to have bought into the idea that it represents some sort of grave danger to the culture and an ominous sign of something or other.
Of course property owners are free to ban them or not. Burger King wouldn't, but a 5-star restaurant probably would. Whatever is profitable. Private property solves whatever "problems" arise but these are not any different from other problems of what dress, speech, and behavior is right for the time and place. Certainly there is no reason to ban cell phones on flights, as the FCC is considering; leave it up to enterprise itself to decide.
The critics, however, are not satisfied. They say cell phone addiction is a broader concern. To be sure, it's easy to defend the cell phone on grounds of its emergency services. With cell phones, people have never felt more safe and secure when driving or being out and about in potentially dangerous places. The critics will concede that. What drives them nuts is casual use, the whole middle-class casual culture of the cell phone, which seems to them wholly disgusting.
And yet it is the casual use of technology that makes its emergency use ever more economically viable. It is the demand for gab that has driven up the number of providers, driven down the prices, and made amazing technologies available to all, which then provides the spill-over benefit of making the emergency use of the same affordable and ubiquitous. A market of emergency-only cell service would not have become the mass phenomenon that it is today.
The appearance of addiction reflects a change in the use of public space made possibly by a new technology that was born into the marketplace only in 1994. Ten years ago, talking on the phone was a behavior that was tied to place, namely the home or the work station. Or there was the now-anachronistic phone booth.
In retrospect, it is obvious that a vast amount of productivity was being wasted by the requirement that we be strapped to a chair, or a room in our homes, or in a glass booth, in order to keep up with work duties, friends, and family. Suddenly and almost like magic that changed. The cell phone made it possible to speak to anyone anywhere from any place. Think of it: what a dramatic transformation. For the first time in the history of everything, anyone can have direct personal contact with anyone anytime. No more hiding out in the home, whiling away the hours with friends, or office, which used to be all about the phone but which is now all about email and instant messaging. Professional and personal uses of phone calls can take place anywhere. We can bluetooth our way through all informal life settings and get the most out of every minute.
Not only that: it seems obvious in retrospect that audio communications are an individual and not a community affair. When the telephone first came along, you had to walk to the post office or town market to use it. What a pain. Then there were lines shared by several homes. How tedious! Then there was one phone per household—owned and maintained by the government. Please!
The ability to completely privatize audible communication had been possessed by the private sector since at least 1947, but the government hogged too much of the radio spectrum to make it possible. It wasn’t until 1994 when the government deigned to provide private enterprise what it needed to create a revolution in communication.
But back to the supposed addiction we all have. We are only making the best use of our time. What better time to talk on the phone than when other tasks are prohibited to us? You can turn driving into a multitasked operation. Same with walking to and from places. So too with shopping at the mall. These are the very times to pull out the cell phone, not as an addiction but as a means of making the most productive use of a period of time. It is a simple matter of economizing, that is, directing resources toward their highest valued use.
But because our eyes see something new, something we haven’t been socialized to expect, and because the market is expanding and democratizing so rapidly, it creates the illusion of something having gone oddly wrong. Instead of seeking to understand it, the temptation is to reach into pop culture’s bag of ideological bromides and decry it as some sort of pathology.
The oddity of public phone use first dawned on the academic class several years ago when they would walk through campus and see throngs of students yammering away on the phone. Cell-phone addiction! Can these kids unplug themselves even for a minute to enjoy the scenery or talk to real people? Why should they be so very interested in their pathetic little materialist existence even after all the assigned readings from Veblen, Marx, and Derrida?
We need to realize something: these kids are walking to and from classes in which they must sit and listen and take notes for an hour or two. They are headed to another class where they will do the same. Or they might be headed to a library study session. Or they might be headed to the pool to meet friends. In any of these cases, a phone call is not possible or desirable. But traveling from one spot to another? Shopping? Driving? It’s just the time to call, even if only to leave a message.
Now, you might respond that these kids are not actually saying anything useful. They are engaged in conversational junk, punctuated by grunts of nothing. Well, productivity is a subjective concept. Meeting social obligations, making another person feel connected, letting someone know you care—these are all productive activities as understood by the individual speaking. Who are we to say what constitutes valuable or valueless conversations?
The pundit class has a penchant for judging the culture of freedom harshly. If ten years ago, these same critics had walked up and down the block peering into people’s windows, they might have spied people on the phone in every home. They might have decried this as a phone addiction but nobody would have taken them seriously. In fact, the response would have been readily at hand: mind your own business, bud, and get a life.
Actually that’s not a bad response to most everything that comes out of the carping class of intellectuals who try to make us feel guilty and oppressed for using products that improve our lot in life. Modern technology has us all talking to each other again. That can’t be a bad thing.
HOW TO LOSE A WAR
If then was now, imagine how we might fight World War II. Encumbered by all the politically correct hucklety-buck, sensitivity training, and ACLU horse droppings, here's how some news synopses from yesteryear might read:
Guadalcanal, August 1942: Today, Adm. William F. (Bull) Halsey issued a retraction of his controversial statement, "Kill Japs, kill Japs, kill more Japs." Despite the fact that the Japanese have never signed onto the Geneva Convention; are routinely torturing, starving, and beheading American prisoners; and were involved in countless suicide attacks, Adm. Halsey said he was misquoted and that he would never be insensitive to the Japanese, who have such a rich and venerable culture. A spokesman for the admiral later said that someone had written down what the admiral said in shorthand and had gotten it wrong. What Adm. Halsey actually said was: "Gentlemen, we must do everything possible to expedite the mortality of our noble foes."
Monaco, French Riviera, July 15, 1944: A U.S. Army spokesman here at the European Command Detention Center vigorously denied that copies of "Mein Kampf" had been abused while interrogating members of the SS Death's Head Division. Maj. Solomon Rosenberg, a former German officer now serving the United States, said that he and his men made sure that every SS man had his own copy of "Mein Kampf," and that reports that U.S. personnel had blown their noses on the book were entirely unfounded. "Some of the Jewish soldiers here may have given the book a dirty look or two," the major said, "and we discourage that, but I assure you that all of our prisoners are served sauerkraut and beer every day and that we treat Mr. Hitler's book with all the respect due such a fine piece of literature."
Okinawa, April 19, 1945: The Greater East Asia Historical Foundation has called a halt to the American advance on the Shuri Line to limit damage to the historic Shuri Castle. The castle, which dates to the 1400s, has been fortified and occupied by the Japanese army, which has dug caves underneath the structure and is using it as a command center. Despite this, and a total number of American casualties that is rising rapidly toward 12,000 killed with no end in sight, Gen. Simon Buckner ordered his troops to avoid doing any further damage to Shuri Castle. "We have to respect this important local cultural icon, even if it means more casualties," said the general.
Bastogne, Belgium, April 20, 1963: Today, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara defended his doctrine of "limited warfare," stating that with just a few more weeks of "surgical" air strikes, German forces in northern Belgium "would be on the ropes." Despite a promise of increased Allied attacks to stem the latest Nazi advance toward Bastogne, McNamara ordered Americans to observe a truce in honor of Adolf Hitler's birthday. McNamara added that bombings would occur only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 2 to 4 p.m., so long as that was convenient for the Germans. The Defense secretary further said that we would respect German territorial integrity by not crossing the Rhine River, because that might bring Romania into the war. McNamara said that mines on the Danube River were going to be removed because they spoiled the scenery and threatened the habitat of the speckled snail biter, an endangered species.
4 July, 2005
THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT VERSUS THE CHURCHES
How much longer before the Bible is declared hate literature?
Why is it that whatever is "progressive" (i.e. whatever makes the Canadian government more powerful) always triumphs, regardless of how unpopular it is, and why always at the expense of traditional authorities, especially the family and the faiths? As when the Liberals legalized abortion in 1969, staunchly refusing to admit that they had opened the way to abortion on demand (and Paul Martin's father resigned from cabinet in protest), they have now legalized same-sex marriage without admitting it will suppress religion from public life. But as anyone knows who isn't comatose, by making homosexual marriage an "equality right" under the Charter, governments have put churches on notice that they are henceforth outside the Charter.
Human rights law is quite clear. You may believe and say anything you like in private, but not in public. Legally, churches are being treated as "private," at least for now. But this is completely arbitrary, illogical and changeable. In the "public" realm --which means in schools (including religious ones), community halls (including religious ones), commercial and professional businesses (including religious ones) and government programs --"Charter values" are already being relentlessly enforced, and dissent (i.e. "hate") is not tolerated.
Stickers are already being plastered on news boxes in Toronto to "Tax the churches!" A Saskatchewan judge has already ruled that publishing the mere citation of anti-sodomy passages from the Bible is "discriminatory." Pro-gay MPs such as Keith Martin have already de-nounced as "venom" and "hatred" parliamentary statements against homosexual marriage. It is already a serious criminal offence to publish undefined "hatred" of homosexuals. For a little longer, the fiction will be preserved that gay equality does not conflict with freedom of belief. But then, six years ago, Parliament was insisting gay marriage would never happen. Political fictions outlive their usefulness pretty fast these days.
So how much longer will it be before the Bible is formally condemned as hate literature, because it describes sodomy as worth hating? The great crusade will start with a demand to remove the Bible from commercial hotel rooms, and then from public libraries and schools, and then from courtrooms and finally from tax-deductible churches. How much longer before it is counted as abuse to tell your own children that anal sex is sinful? Can such rampant hate be tolerated in an inclusive society which promotes Charter values?
Pro-marriage conservatives now face the same unhappy dilemma pro-lifers did three decades ago. Do they fight on, striving to hold an increasingly reluctant Conservative party to its pro-marriage position? Or do they just shrug and let it go? The gay marriage bill shows that there is something fundamentally flawed in Canada's system of government. Here was a serious change to a fundamental social institution which most people did not want, do not support, and probably never will. Yet it passed because the federal executive -- the cabinets and senior bureaucrats of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin -- wanted it passed. They wanted it passed because they are power-crazed and have taken upon themselves the duty of reshaping Canadian society to their own image and values.
To this end, they manipulate the courts, by funding court challenges to Canadian laws and then deliberately losing, and by appointing judges who will do what they want. The single biggest problem facing this country is not gay marriage, nor the attack on traditional values. It is the unchecked power of the prime minister. If that didn't exist, neither would same-sex marriage.
RCMP puts political correctness before law enforcement
Apparently, stirring up racial hatred is OK in Canada if you are a "minority"
About three weeks ago, a 17-year-old Sikh high school student in Richmond, B.C. reported that he was attacked by five young white males. According to the student, they tore off his turban and cut his hair that, in accordance with his religion, had never been cut before. Initially the RCMP believed his report. He had wounds on his head that were consistent with his struggling against attackers. After two weeks, the youth confessed that he had made the whole thing up, cut his own hair and the wounds on his head were self-inflicted. The reason he did this was that he wanted to have shorter hair without incurring the wrath of his strictly religious parents.
The RCMP, that has to be the slowest police force in the west (not to mention the east, north and south) immediately announced that they had decided not to lay criminal charges against the teen. He could have been charged with the offence of public mischief for causing the police to enter into an investigation of an offence that did not happen. Although public mischief is not tantamount to murder or bank robbery, it is usually considered a serious offence against the administration of justice. The RCMP decided quickly to divert the youth into a restorative justice program that brings offenders together with the victims. As stated in the Richmond Review, it is hard to see exactly who the victims in this case are. Not to worry; the RCMP chose the Sikh community to be the victims of this particular offence.
The RCMP issued a statement that said, "The RCMP and our partners do not believe it is in the best interests of this young person or society in general to have this incident carry forth through criminal charges. This is a time that calls for calm understanding and not a time to be thinking about criminal charges… There are definitely some cultural identity issues and this young person is under an incredible amount of pressure."
What utter and complete nonsense! Assuming he did cut his own hair, he committed a criminal offence but yet apparently this is not the time to talk about criminal offences. The RCMP could not have made it any clearer — the youth got special treatment because he’s a member of a favoured ethnic group. The actions of the RCMP are really not surprising since this is not the first time that they have bent over backwards to please their political masters in Ottawa. It was just recently that the police force provided a uniformed honour guard at the wedding of the son of a former "Liberal" prime minister. Enforcing the law comes second to advancing the Liberal Party agenda.
The only people that seemed to be upset about the way this matter was handled were some members of the Sikh community. They saw the obvious problem that incidents such as this can only inflame racial intolerance. And when real incidents of racial attacks happen in the future, they will not be taken seriously. They wanted the youth to be punished by the criminal justice system.
The RCMP has shown that the force has one law for certain ethnic groups and one for the rest of Canadians. Along with Paul Martin, the RCMP is doing their part in Canada’s march towards banana republic status. RCMP Corporal Peter Theissen stated that the youth was under an "incredible amount of pressure". In other words, like Runaway Bride, Jennifer Wilbanks, he "had issues". The youth’s defense counsel, if he had ever needed to have one, couldn’t have put it any better.
The RCMP, as police forces are wont to do, complain that they simply do not have sufficient resources to do their work. They are not upset in the least that the precious resources they do have are wasted in hunting down a group of young thugs who don’t actually exist.
It is difficult to imagine a better illustration of how political correctness trumps policing; how offenders get off the hook because the police characterize them of victims because they happen to belong to certain ethnic groups. Like Jennifer Wilbanks, there was no necessity to lock him up. But he should have faced charges that would have acted not only as a deterrent to this type of conduct but would have expressed society’s condemnation at people who cause the police to enter into false investigations. So much for justice.
3 July, 2005
NAUGHTY MEXICAN STAMPS
The Mexican attitude seems a lot more mature than the American one to me
A set of new Mexican postage stamps featuring a black comic book figure with stereotypically thick lips and a flat nose has sparked off a fresh controversy with the United States where anti-racism activists want them banned. Coming on the heels of a tactless remark about blacks by Mexican President Vicente Fox, the images of the much-loved 1940s Mexican character Memin Pinguin have sparked fury in the United States.
But Mexico, which has few blacks and considers racism much less of an issue, is baffled at the U.S. reaction. It said the stamps were a harmless tribute to a popular Mexican cartoon. "I find it odd not to understand this celebration of popular Mexican culture and this tribute that the Mexican post office is making to Mexican cartoonists," presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar told reporters on Thursday.
Yet the White House said the stamps, which civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson wants pulled from circulation, had "no place in today's world." "It is an internal issue for Mexico," spokesman Scott McClellan said. "With that said ... racial stereotypes are offensive no matter what their origin. The Mexican government needs to take this into account."
The comments are bound to rile Mexico, which has already asked Washington to keep out of its affairs following frequent U.S. criticism in recent months of Mexico's failure to quash drugs gangs and organized crime along the border. Mexican-U.S. relations are typically jittery. Mexico is keen to be treated as an equal by its powerful neighbor and trade partner, but unable to bury lingering resentment over the U.S. seizure of chunks of northern Mexico in mid-19th century.
The latest controversy is mystifying ordinary Mexicans, however, who often affectionately call Caucasians "Whitey" in the street and nickname darker-skinned Mexicans "Negro" or "Moreno" without causing upset. "It's not offensive. He's a comic book character and it's about his personality not his color. It's no different to having a white character," said Irma, 33, a post office clerk in Mexico City who grew up reading Pinguin comics. "We aren't racist, if we call someone "Morenito" (Darky) it's a term of endearment. There is more racism in the United States which may be why they are on the defensive," she said
INCORRECTNESS IS AFFORDABLE IF YOU ARE 82
Norman Mailer yesterday undertook a cultural suicide mission, dive-bombing not only The New York Times but also a group of Asian-American journalists incensed over his strike on Times book critic Michiko Kakutani. The 82-year-old novelist - who in an interview with Rolling Stone called the Japanese-American critic "a one-woman kamikaze" and "a token" minority hire - received a spanking yesterday from Dallas Morning News reporter Esther Wu, president of the 2,000-member Asian American Journalists Association.
"Calling out Norman Mailer as a racist … would be easy," Wu wrote to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner. "But that's not why we're writing. We take greater offense at his reference to her as a 'two-fer' and a 'token' because she's 'Asiatic, feminist,' which essentially diminishes the accomplishments of all women and journalists … To Mr. Mailer, we'd simply like to say: Shame on you."
From his summer home on Cape Cod, Mailer dismissed Wu's letter as "an excellent example of high-octane political correctness."
Wu fired back: "Perhaps if Mr. Mailer were a little more politically correct, he would not be making such racist remarks."
In an exclusive statement to me, Mailer repeated his "token" charge and added that "authors do like to reviewed on publication day, not two weeks earlier with a heinously bad review … This is what Ms. Kakutani has been doing to my books for many years now, and that may not be politically correct, but it sure is foul."
Wu retorted: "But this has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with character assassination of two whole classes of people (women and minorities) by Mr. Mailer."
2 July, 2005
AMNESTY INT. DESTROYED BY POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
Amnesty International was once a respected human rights organization that organized letter-writing campaigns to free prisoners of conscience and stop torture around the world. So where did AI go wrong? Back in the early 1990s Amnesty began to embrace an agenda of "social justice." Events would show how that fluffy, feel-good concept would be used to justify the goofiest notions of the Politically Correct.
Take Amnesty's coverage of human rights abuses in Afghanistan. For years the Taliban had the nasty habit of going into remote villages, dragging innocent menfolk out of their homes, and shooting them in cold blood. Life was not easy for women, but according to the Amnesty reports, it was usually men who lost life or limb during the protracted Afghani conflict. [http://web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/COUNTRIES/AFGHANISTAN?OpenView&expandall]
But one day someone noticed that women were "underrepresented" in the body counts. That's not good for feminist theory, which holds that women are always the victim in patriarchal societies. So Amnesty started its woes of women campaign. Here's an eye-witness story from its 1995 report, Women in Afghanistan: A Human Rights Catastrophe: "Fierce fighting broke out and we were all running away in the streets of Kabul...Suddenly, I noticed that my husband was not with us. I was crying hard calling out his name. A guard from one of the checkpoints came to me and told me to keep quiet. I told him that I had lost my husband."
The full account leaves the reader with the impression that the woman's grief deserves more sympathy than her husband's death. That's an abuse of the traditional notion that the taking of life is the greatest human rights violation of all.
Amnesty's 1999 report, Women in Afghanistan: Pawns in Men's Power Struggle, opens with this anti-male diatribe: "While the 'battles of death are played out by men, women have the responsibility for the battles of life.'" Try telling that to the Afghani men who were risking their all trying to protect the lives and honor of their women from the Taliban marauders. Soon, Amnesty reports would begin to downplay the tragedies that befell men. Here's a statement from the 2001 report, Afghanistan: Making Human Rights the Agenda: "During 2000, at least 15 people were executed in public, including one woman who was stoned to death." Why no mention of the sex or details of the 14 men who were executed in public?
It's hard to imagine a human rights organization, of all groups, pandering to a one-sided gender ideology. And it's difficult to believe that things could get any worse at AI. But they did. In 2001 Amnesty International hired a former UN bureaucrat named Irene Khan and anointed her with the tinpot title, Secretary General. Subsequent events would soon reveal Khan's true agenda: to turn AI into a base camp for the international radical feminist movement. Pay a visit to the Amnesty International website and you will learn that Ms. Khan has recently unveiled a campaign to stop violence. The campaign, Stop the Violence Against Women, aims to publicize the problem of domestic violence. [http://web.amnesty.org/actforwomen/index-eng]
So despite the fact that women are equally likely as men to commit domestic violence [http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID16.pdf], and even though men are twice as likely to die from violence-related causes [www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/en/], Amnesty International has opted to mortgage the credibility of its organization with the misleading message that women are more susceptible to violence.
Referring to Amnesty's wailing about Guantanamo, the Wall Street Journal lamented AI's "moral degradation" and concluded, "A 'human rights' group that can't distinguish between Stalin's death camps and detention centers for terrorists who kill civilians can't be taken seriously." [www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110006749]
One might add, a human rights organization that sanitizes its reports to downplay the human rights violations against men and tailors its agenda to cater to a radical gender ideology, is a group that has lost its moral compass.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS AND OPEN BORDERS
Memories of slavery and Jim Crow make a sane discussion of illegal immigration likely to fall victim to cries of "racism"
Recently, a remarkable op ed piece was written in my local paper about political correctness. The author was Andrew Oldenquist, professor emeritus in Philosophy for Ohio State University. Although I disagree with Dr. Oldenquist on many subjects, his comments on politically correctness were so wise and clear that they approached what rationalist philosopher Descartes called "intuitions of pure reason."
Oldenquist began by pointing out that Germans are the most politically correct people in the world. Traumatic memories about the Nazis have impelled the Germans to fashion a set of politically correct rules against any word or deed that is reminiscent of the something the Nazis said or did. German law allows unrestricted abortion on demand of babies that are healthy and normal. However, the abortion of a radically deformed baby is forbidden because the Nazis practiced euthanasia and disposed of deformed children. Germans are embarrassed by patriotism and nationalism because Hitler abused patriotism and nationalism.
We Americans are following suit. Just as Germans are frightened of doing anything the Nazis did, many Americans are frightened of doing anything that will open them to accusations of racism. Just as Germans are uneasy about their Nazi past, many American are uneasy about their racial segregationist past. Oldenquist described in several particulars how political correctness, impelled by a fear of charges of racism, has crippled efforts to think clearly about education and improve public schools in the inner city.
America still is haunted with bad dreams from the long racial nightmare in our past. "O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space were it not that I have bad dreams" (Shakespeare's Hamlet). There is still plenty of white guilt and black bitterness hovering in the ether to give us bad dreams and hinder conversations that impinge upon race. Meanwhile, the left has discovered that the accusation of racism can be a powerful substitute for reasoned argument.
Several years ago, I wrote an essay on the problems of open borders. Not a single point I made was challenged, but four black men, all personal friends or acquaintances, accused me of racism. My rejoinder was that gratuitous insults are cheap, but responding to serious debate points with reasoned arguments requires mental effort and integrity.
But it was to no avail, of course. The accusation of racism had scuttled the conversation. None of my accusers would explain if they were in favor of open borders, and if so, why. They conveyed to me that for some inexplicable reason, I had violated a taboo for broaching the subject of immigration and being critical of open borders. How this amounted to racism was never explained, of course.
I recall the dark irrationality of this incident as a bad dream. However it furnished me with a textbook case of how political correctness closes down conversation. Our political leaders hate to talk about our open borders because they fear the accusation of racism. They are nervous and timid because they have bad dreams about the racial past of America.
The race card is only one peel on the banana of political correctness. Other peels include feminism, the gay agenda, abortion, multi-culturalism, and hostility to the European cultural past. One might slip on any of these banana peels if he attempts to explore and communicate forbidden ideas. For example, Larry Summers, President of Harvard, slipped on the banana peel of feminism, and the columns of Harvard fell on him. He has broached the subject of gender in a manner that violated the taboos of political correctness, and the campus feminists went into an hysterical rampage.
When the subject comes to immigration and open borders, the race card is the show stopper. How can we get around this irrational barrier, so we can have an honest national discussion about immigration? It won't be easy. Bad dreams of black bitterness and white guilt are still so oppressive to the national psyche that we might have to wait for another generation to pass, so that no living human can remember the American system of apartheid that was quaintly called Jim Crow.....
The Jim Crow apartheid system petered out in the North during World War II and in the South during the 1960's. As the northern factories were running overtime during the war and the white factory workers were in the military, blacks moved north by the millions to take the premium factory jobs. It was not just Rosie the Riveter who kept the factories going. It was also black sweat and muscle in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Gary, Indiana. This economic revolution brought forth extensive working class communities for blacks in large cities.
Jim Crow was busted in the North. But it lingered longer in the South, where social traditions were harder to change. Political pressure and anti-segregation laws helped to push the changes through. The southern version of Jim Crow lasted until 1965. Jim Crow-style racism has been steadily fading during the last forty years. However, remnants of the old stereotyping still lingers in the dark nooks and crannies of the culture.
The welfare state bred a new soft racism of low expectations. Black youth were granted the right to fail by virtue of being black. After all, they are the victims of racism. They were granted a free pass for their misbehavior. To blame them would mean "blaming the victim." But demanding a free pass and clinging to victimhood leads quickly to self-destruction. These ideas are as destructive to black youth as asking them to act out the Jim Crow stereotype. Our long racial nightmare goes on and on. "O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space were it not that I have bad dreams."
The people who push politically-correct rules are the new racists. Their intimidation and manipulation of whites who are afraid of being accused of racism contains within it a stereotype of the white racist. It is important to understand all the virulent strains of historical white racism, so we can laugh at the silly postmodern caricatures of the racist.
The politically-correct commissars are prone to racism towards conservative blacks. Some of the leftist political cartoons about the scholarly Condoleeza Rice look like Jim Crow stereotypes. I have black liberal friends who regard conservative blacks as traitors to their race. I like to ask them, "Do you really believe in a cultural determinism that reduces blacks to cogs in a great machine, so that all blacks must believe the same thing? Black men are men, after all, and man has a nature that transcends culture. That nature includes reason and free will and the capacity to weigh and evaluate alternative political philosophies. To claim that blacks cannot be intellectual dissenters apart from personal corruption or weakness implies that blacks do not have reason and free will. This is racism by blacks against blacks, resulting from the confusion of identity politics." The black thinker who dissents with the popular political currents of the black community and defies political correctness evinces special courage and force of mind and will, not weakness or corruption.
The reverse racism of identity politics and political correctness has replaced reasonable debate with insults based upon foolish racial stereotypes. Politically correct mischief has prevented America from having an intelligent national dialog on immigration, education, and other vital issues. Hopefully, a fuller understanding of the complex kinds of racism that have haunted America's past will help expose the bogus reverse racism that underlies some of the politically-correct taboos of the left.
Then Americans will be able to discuss immigration and open borders without guilt, bitterness, emotional blackmail, or political intimidation.
More -- much more -- here
1 July, 2005
A VICTORY OVER BRITISH PC
Three white officers who sued the Metropolitan Police for race and sex discrimination have won their case. They faced disciplinary action after an Asian officer said they had made racist remarks at a training day in 1999. Later cleared on appeal, they said they were victims of political correctness following the Macpherson report into the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry. Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair had denied "hanging the men out to dry" to make an example of them.
Det Con Tom Hassell, 60, Det Sgt Colin Lockwood, 55, and Det Insp Paul Whatmore, 39, said the complaint would not have been treated the same way if it had come from a white officer. Det Sgt Shabnam Chaudhri complained after Mr Hassell referred to Muslim headwear as "tea cosies" and mispronounced "Shi'ites" during a presentation on Islam in 1999.
Although Mr Hassell apologised, Det Sgt Chaudhri said he had been racist and Mr Lockwood and Mr Whatmore had failed to intervene. A disciplinary hearing in 2001 found them partly guilty of misconduct but recommended no further action be taken. Sir Ian told the tribunal he had found this extraordinary, and asked if the decision could be challenged. The employment tribunal chairman said his intervention amounted to unfavourable treatment by prejudicing the case against the men.
Later they were cleared on appeal by Britain's most senior Asian police officer, who said it was incredible the case had ever been brought.
Mr Hassell, who had a police good conduct medal and an unblemished 26-year career, said the matter would not have got beyond an informal complaint, had it not been for Det Sgt Chaudhri's race, sex and religious background. It came months after the publication of the Macpherson report into the Lawrence murder investigation which found the Met was "institutionally racist". After winning the case, Mr Hassell told the Daily Mail: "We feel relieved and vindicated. This has gone on for six years and nearly destroyed our names, our careers and our family lives. "It's a sad day for the Met Police Service that officers have to go through this to clear their names."
Glen Smyth, chairman of the Met Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said Met managers should not be "behaving like a pack of rottweilers after a rabbit" at any hint of discrimination. In a statement, Scotland Yard said it was disappointed with the tribunal's ruling and felt it was right to defend the case, but would give "careful consideration" to the findings. It added: "We have and will continue to challenge instances of what we believe to be inappropriate or discriminatory behaviour. "The Met is policing probably the most diverse city in the world. We have a duty to help our staff understand diversity and to create a workforce that reflects London's make-up."
Earlier in June another white officer, Chief Inspector Julia Pendry, settled out-of-court after bringing a race and sex discrimination claim against the Met
A further report here tells that the victims of PC persecution got a substantial damages award
Three white officers who were "hung out to dry" as an example of how non-discriminatory the Metropolitan Police has become have won 90,000 pounds in compensation. The Met has agreed to pay 25,000 pounds to Detective Constable Tom Hassell, 60, and 32,500 pounds to acting Detective Inspector Paul Whatmore, 39, and Detective Sergeant Colin Lockwood, 55. The men had claimed that they were victims of a "witch-hunt" driven by political correctness in the wake of the Macpherson Report, which accused the police of institutionalised racism....
Giving its decision, an employment tribunal attacked Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, for "hanging out to dry" the three officers. The tribunal concluded that Sir Ian had "made an example" of the officers to prove to the public that racist and politically incorrect behaviour would not be tolerated.
All three were brought before a disciplinary panel in June 2001 and found guilty of inappropriate behaviour, but the board ruled that there should be no further action. The tribunal heard that Sir Ian found the panel's decision "extraordinary" and sought legal advice about having it overturned. They were later cleared on appeal by Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, the most senior Asian officer at the Yard.
Ian Pritchard-Witts, the tribunal chairman, ruled that the Yard was justified in suspending the officers during an investigation but concluded that Sir Ian's intervention was unlawful. "We take the view, using his own words, that white officers were to be hung out to dry. He prejudiced the matter," Mr Pritchard-Witts said."
Karl Rove's recent remarks on the demise of liberalism in the UnitedStates elicited the expected knee-jerk reactions from the usual suspects in the Democratic party, and many of their watch dogs from the mainstream media. While the rehearsed, hate-filled rhetoric pouring out of the mouths of congressional Democrats is to be expected, the assist from some in the mainstream media is to be pitied.
The liberal media's reaction to Rove's remarks illustrates, potentially, their greatest weakness. That being that their professed staunch belief in diversity is an unethical fraud. Why? Let's examine the typical "diverse" newsroom at one of the major daily newspapers in the United States such as the New York Times, or The Washington Post, or one of the major networks like NBC, ABC or CBS News.
What is the totally predictable breakdown of their "diverse" collection of reporters, editors, producers and executives? Among their number, you will find liberal African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Arab Americans, caucasians, Catholics, Jews, protestants, Muslims, Scientologists, Buddhists and every other conceivable ethnic and religious background known to the planet. What you won't find, however, on this very eclectic list, is the demographic that proves the premeditated prejudice of the mainstream newsroom. You won't find conservatives.
The mainstream media's "deep, moral, and principled" belief in diversity does not extend to conservatives. It's not even that the liberal media forces conservatives to use separate bathrooms or drink from their own water fountains. It's worse than that. They don't allow them on the premises, period. Strange, but I don't hear these newsrooms reporting on this form of discrimination. Rather, they celebrate this unconscionable transgression in the misguided belief that they, and only they, can interpret the news and the "truth" that shall be disseminated to the American people.
Ironically, it is the liberal newsroom that is most being hurt by this sanctioned bigotry. The very newspapers and networks that allow no conservatives into their restricted clubs are the ones who are now bleeding readers and viewers. The American people want, need, and in greater numbers are demanding some semblance of balance in their news coverage. With its bigotry against the conservative viewpoint, the mainstream media has basically told at least one half of the nation that, "Your interests are not our interests. Your beliefs are not our beliefs. Your morals are not our morals." These Americans have absorbed that rhetorical slap in the face, and by the hundreds of thousands per year, have turned their backs on much of the mainstream press in search of news outlets that will present more balance in their reporting. Be that cable channels, the Internet or blogs, they are abandoning the liberal press in record numbers.
Make no mistake. I am not advocating a conservative viewpoint in hard-news copy. I would argue against that just as strongly as I do against liberal viewpoint in news copy. Wrong is wrong. Those viewpoints should only be expressed in commentaries or on Op-Ed pages.
The point I am trying to make, however, is that if liberal newsrooms continue to exclude reporters, editors, producers or executives who might have a"conservative"background, then they are losing touch with many of the people they are trying to serve. They have no ability to cover what they don't understand. So, the liberal media can beat up Karl Rove all they want for doing nothing more than quoting other liberals. But each day, week, month and year they do, they will be ranting to a smaller and smaller audience.