The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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31 March, 2005


In its mandatory "diversity training" classes, a school district has instructed students who believe homosexual behavior is wrong to keep their opinions to themselves, prompting a federal lawsuit. The Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund filed a motion for preliminary injunction [PDF file] yesterday to immediately prohibit the Boyd County, Kentucky, Board of Education from restricting the free-speech rights of its students. "We are filing this motion because students are being forbidden from expressing their own viewpoint on this matter," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Kevin Theriot. "That's unconstitutional, and it must stop." The motion was filed in a Feb. 15 lawsuit brought by Timothy Allen Morrison and other students and their parents against the education board.

The training itself began as a result of the settlement of another lawsuit filed against the board by the Boyd County High School Gay-Straight Alliance, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union. "The school district is attempting to change the beliefs of students without their parents' consent," Theriot said. "The provisions of any settlement arrangement must respect the constitutional rights of students."

All middle and high school students in Boyd County schools are required to attend the special training. School policies and practice do not permit parents to opt their children out of the training, even if it violates their personal beliefs and morality, ADF said.



Colorado's highest court has quashed the sentence of a man who was given the death penalty after jurors consulted their Bibles in reaching a verdict. The court said Bible passages, including the verse that commands "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", could lead jurors to vote for death. The Bible, the court said, constituted an improper outside influence and a reliance on what the court called a "higher authority". "The judicial system works very hard to emphasise the rarefied, solemn and sequestered nature of jury deliberations," the majority panel of the Colorado Supreme Court said in a 3-2 decision. "Jurors must deliberate in that atmosphere without the aid or distraction of extraneous texts."

The ruling involved the conviction of Robert Harlan, who was found guilty in 1995 of raping and murdering a cocktail waitress, Rhonda Maloney, near Denver. After she was kidnapped and raped by Harlan, Ms Maloney managed to escape and flag down a motorist, Jaquie Creazzo. Harlan caught up with the two women, shot Ms Creazzo, leaving her paralysed for life, then beat and killed Ms Maloney.

After Harlan's conviction, the judge - as Colorado law requires - sent the jury to deliberate about the death penalty with an instruction to think beyond the narrow confines of the law. Each juror, the judge said, must make an "individual moral assessment", in deciding whether Harlan should live or die. The jurors voted unanimously for death.

The state Supreme Court's decision changes that sentence to life in jail without parole. The dissenting judges said the jurors consulted their Bibles not to look for facts or alternative legal interpretations but for wisdom. "The biblical passages the jurors discussed constituted either a part of the jurors' moral and religious precepts or their general knowledge, and thus were relevant to their court-sanctioned moral assessment," the minority wrote.

Harlan's lawyers challenged the sentence after discovering five jurors had looked up Bible verses, copied some of them down and then talked about them behind closed doors. Prosecutors said jurors should be allowed to refer to the Bible or other religious texts during deliberations.


30 March, 2005


Shea Riecke, a freshman at McKay High School in Salem, Ore., "tried to take a snapshot of her brother, Cpl. Bill Riecke, a Marine currently stationed in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., to her social studies class," reports Carol McAlice Currie in a column for the Salem Statesman Journal:

She wanted to display the picture with those of other McKay grads' career choices. Riecke's teacher, Rick Costa, encourages the exhibits. But Riecke's photo created a little controversy. Actually, it kicked up a sandstorm of grief for the family and school-district officials because of the photo's content. It pictures the Marine hefting a big gun while decked in military desert camies (camouflage). It was taken while he was stationed in Iraq; he will be redeployed there this summer. . . . School officials denied the photo on the grounds the guns in the picture violated district policy. Riecke's mother, Connie Riecke, appealed to district officials including Superintendent Kay Baker. Connie Riecke said she has not heard back from the district but was told that it probably could be displayed if she consented to having the weapons removed, via computer, from the photograph. Riecke said her son insists that it run as it is or not at all. She agrees with him.

(From Taranto)


A state lawmaker has suggested Hawaii's public schoolteachers be forced to weigh in as part of the fight against obesity in students, KITV in Honolulu reported. State Rep. Rida Cabanilla introduced a resolution in the house requesting that the Board of Education establish an obesity database among public schoolteachers. "You cannot keep a kid to a certain standard that you yourself is not willing to keep," Cabanilla said.

It's been documented that more than 20 percent of Hawaii's children are at risk, or are already overweight, according to the station. There are no statistics on teachers.

The resolution calls for all public schoolteachers to weigh in every six months. The measure calls for the education and health departments to formulate an obesity standard and appropriate measures for teachers who cannot meet the standard. "As a matter of fact, we should start at home, but since the legislature has no way to regulate homes, we can at least start in school," Cabanilla said. "And teachers have a lot of impact to these students."

The teachers union said it agrees that teachers are at the front line when it comes to the education and health of children, but it says the resolution is misguided. "I think at this point and time, the focus really needs to be on putting highly-qualified teachers in the classroom," Hawaii State Teachers Association President Roger Takabayashi said. The union defended its members as low users of the health fund system. "I think it's quite offensive. I don't think it will lead us anywhere. It's not going to benefit the children necessarily," Takabayashi said.


29 March, 2005


Feminism and controversy surged throughout campus on March 10. Black and white flyers depicted a drawing of a woman grasping onto a hammer with "FEMINISM" on the handle. In the middle of the female symbol fists were clenched and space above the woman read: "If I had a hammer...I'd SMASH Patriarchy." A bubble by her face said, "I FOUND IT!"

UNH students found it, too.

Approximately 40 people attended the Patriarchy Slam organized by the Feminist Action League (FAL). A handful of others watched timidly outside the MUB entertainment center door, fleeing as soon as a glance from inside penetrated their direction.

The event, featuring poetry readings, skits, monologues and an open microphone, was designed to give women a space to share their experiences of oppression in a comfortable setting, Megan Smith, a member of the FAL, said.

"[The event was designed to] encourage women to confront the perpetrators who are men," Smith said. "Ninety-nine percent of sexual perpetrators are men. They are the root cause of the rape and oppression against women."

The FAL's hatred of the patriarchy, a male-ruled society, was decoratively affirmed with 10 hanging balloons, each displaying a letter of the word "patriarchy." Each was dramatically popped throughout the event, symbolizing the eradication of the patriarchy. "This is a place where women can feel empowered," Smith said. "There aren't many places in the world where women can speak out against those who have oppressed us, beat us and raped us." The name of the event mimics the aggression that men exert, Smith said. "'Slam' is an aggressive word, but slamming is the classic way men respond," she said. "They feel threatened and shape it as hate. It's an aggressive word, but it shouldn't get in the way of our message."

Their provocative and controversial message reflected the notorious and often criticized views of TNH columnist and FAL member Whitney Williams. Both audience members and some members of the FAL wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. This past September's death threat to Williams has forced the group and its supporters to take safety precautions, such as remaining unidentified

More here


People's increasing insistence on "standing up for their rights" seems to be undermining public support for the very idea of rights, a YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph suggests.

Michael Howard appears to have struck a chord when he maintained that the rights of gipsies should not be allowed to override the legitimate interests of landowners and householders. The poll's findings reveal widespread support for repealing the Human Rights Act and even wider support for tackling illegal traveller encampments.

Without mentioning the Tories, YouGov reminded respondents that the 1998 Human Rights Act "incorporates the European convention on human rights into British domestic law" and that some argue that the workings of the Act are proving damaging. Should it be repealed? Nearly half of those asked, 46 per cent, accept the view that "the Act is turning out to do more harm than good and should be repealed", while only 25 per cent say "the Act is valuable in protecting human rights and should be retained".

The large proportion of "Don't knows" attests to a relative ignorance of the Act but also to many people torn between a belief in rights and a belief that rights should not be abused. A substantial majority, 65 per cent, backs the idea that camping on other people's land without permission should be a criminal offence. Support comes from across the political spectrum.

YouGov elicited the opinions of 1,903 adults across the country online between March 21 and 24.


28 March, 2005


The Gypsy problem -- "Travellers" in PC-speak

There was a time when the only outsiders that Village of the Year candidates had to worry about were the judges, armed with clipboards and a discerning eye, who would pass judgment on the community's endeavours. Trimmed hedges, lovingly tended blooms and spruced-up village halls were all key criteria for the arbiters of achievement.

But in 2005 outsiders of a different kind are influencing the decision-making process. The latest Village of the Year competition - the first in which the Government has been involved - asks communities to outline the welcome they extend to travellers and "single and isolated mothers".

As entry forms drop through letter boxes, parishes around Britain have reacted with anger and indignation after discovering that the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has added its own set of questions. In the opening category entitled Building Community Life, sponsored by Defra, parish councils are questioned on a range of issues including their provision for single mothers, ethnic minorities and overseas workers, and the provision of hearing loops at parish meetings. But councils said they would boycott the competition because the questions bore no relation to the realities of village life.

Many said the questions showed just how out of touch central government was with countryside issues at a time when there is widespread concern over how village life is disrupted by travellers' lawlessness. They branded the competition as "smacking of political correctness", and one chairman said the questions were "agenda-ridden rubbish from the liberal Left in north London".

"This shows that the Government has not the faintest idea how the countryside works," said Peter Singleton, the chairman of Witley parish council in rural west Surrey. Other councils said they could never hope to win the competition if they gave a welcome to travellers because they created mess and flouted planning laws.

The competition has been sponsored by Calor since 1997. Andrew Ford, Calor's corporate affairs manager, said the Government had wanted to run its own competition about rural community life, and after consultation, Calor agreed that Defra could add its questions to the entry form.

After inquiries by The Daily Telegraph, he admitted that the question relating to travellers should not have been included and promised that villages would not be marked down if they stated they would not be made welcome. He said: "We are well aware of the problems some communities face from the unwelcome intrusion of travellers and it was never our intention to alienate villages from taking part."

A letter would be sent out to county organisers instructing them to tell participants to "disregard" the question. Defra, which is offering a prize of 250 pounds to the overall winner, said the question making a specific reference to travellers had been a "clerical error". A spokesman said: "We agree that 'political correctness gone mad' should have no place in judging the success of a rural community in a competition like this. The questions are intended to allow flexibility for applicants to give examples of their own experience in their own circumstances. One or two questions have been framed in a way that does not give that flexibility and we have asked that this be addressed."

John Berry, the chairman of Ashington parish council in Sussex, the 2003 winner, said the competition should be about "what we do for the community, for young people, older people, how we look after the environment, how community helps business, how we use information technology. It should not be about gathering statistics on minority and ethnic groups".

Members of Hambledon parish council in Surrey considered the entry form at its meeting last week and decided not to enter. John Anderson, its chairman, said: "It is a shame, because as a village we have reopened our shop and post office as a community venture, reopened the village school as a nursery, supported the cricket club in providing a new pavilion, all on very limited funding but with a great deal of hard work. We would be happy to be judged on that, but not on what our attitude would be to travellers. Whoever was responsible for these questions had little idea about village life."

Sally Arnold, the chairman of Ashurst and Colbury parish council, New Forest, Hants, said travellers had recently arrived in the village and left mess in their wake. "It is very hard to be nice and welcoming to these people when they are causing such a nuisance to village life." Julia Hebden, chairman of Barton Stacey parish council, Hants, said: "If villagers were to welcome travellers into their community then they would probably not win Village of the Year. "They often have a detrimental impact on village life - and your chances of winning this competition."


Arrogant teachers confiscate what they regard as junk food

What's said to be bad for you today will be found to be good for you tomorrow (and vice versa) but these fools just KNOW! How do they know? If people like it it must be bad!

Pre-school teachers are acting as lunchbox police to help prevent childhood obesity. The contents of some Queensland children's lunchboxes are confiscated as pre-schools introduce tough new "no junk food" policies, an investigation by The Sunday Mail found. Early childhood teachers believed the inspections were the only way to stop children eating junk food, regularly packed for them by their parents.

But a leading nutritionist has slammed the idea, saying it would have no effect on children's dietary habits. "That is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard," Griffith University senior lecturer of public health, Shawn Somerset, said. Ormiston College, on Brisbane's bayside, has strict rules on junk food. Banned foods included lollies, fruit juice, chocolate, chips and any highly processed foods. "The children will not eat anything that has been packed for them that is inappropriate," pre-school teacher Debbie Stange said. "When they have morning tea, I'll walk around and check what's in their lunchboxes. "If someone has something that is not appropriate they actually dob each other in."

Ms Stange said "offending parents" were spoken to at mid-term interviews. "We really have to do it (confiscate food) only a few times and they all step in line," she said. The school's head teacher Glenda Seawright said since the regime was introduced, the children's concentration had improved. "This year we are trialing a fruit-only morning tea," she said. "It is an education for the parents because they see packaged food as convenient. We would never humiliate or embarrass the child."

Melissa Mathews, whose son Layton, 5, attends Ormiston College Pre-school, supports the strict approach to junk food. "We were told ahead of time that if it's in there they have it taken away and then at the end of the day they'll have it given back," she said. "They're just trying to promote good eating habits . . . you see too many kids who are overweight."

But Mr Somerset dismissed the no junk food ban as a band-aid solution. "It sounds well meaning at the surface, but it's not instituting any change at home or on weekends," he said. "The first assumption is that the child-care centre actually knows what is an appropriate lunchbox and what isn't and that's not always the case."

An Education Queensland spokesman said state pre-schools encouraged healthy food choices, but food should not be taken from students. "Teachers supervise pre-school children while they eat the food they have brought from home," he said. "Food provided by parents should not be confiscated." The State Government this month commissioned the first of three Safe and Healthy vans to travel around schools to promote the benefit of good nutrition and physical activity.


27 March, 2005


By Doug Hagin

There has always been bigotry, and sadly there always will be bigotry. Call it the ugly side of human nature, or the worst angels of our race, but some of us will always be consumed with hatred and intolerance for those who are different. Bigotry is a mental disorder if you ask me, a form of delusion where one person can not accept that someone else looks, talks, dresses, or prays differently than they do. It is truly pathetic to watch or listen to a bigot spewing their rank stupidity and generally making a public nuisances of themselves.

Perhaps the most disturbing bigotry on display in today's world is coming form a rather odd place. It is very strange indeed to see and hear the bigotry spewed by the political correctors of the world. These people have long cloaked themselves in the garb of social justice and equality, yet it is they who have become the bigots and the haters of today's society. Their hatred comes not so much from gender or race, but from ideological differences. Anyone is very welcome to look different from the politically correct, but watch out if anyone dares think of having a different opinion.

Consider please some recent examples of how obsessed the politically correct are to eradicate anyone who thinks differently than they do. Make no mistake, the goal of this group of bigots is not to debate or disagree honorably. Instead their goal is to stamp out anyone who thinks it OK to have a diverse ideology.

At a mall in South Florida the upcoming Easter holiday is being erased by the politically bigoted. No store can mention the word Easter. Oh there is a bunny there to take pictures with the kids, and an egg hunt, but the word Easter is forbidden. So much for respecting diversity of religion. The only religion the politically correct want to hear is their beloved secular humanism.

In Norway, the Prime Minister is angry at IKEA, a furniture manufacturer, because their instruction manuals show only men assembling furniture. The manuals are sexist and discriminatory according to Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. Ah but there is a kink in the armor of the politically correct here my friends. Seems IKEA has opted not to show women in their manuals lest they offend Muslims. Quite the quandary these mental midgets have isn't it? Whom shall they dare to offend?

In Arkansas managers of a charity-run senior citizens center have been forced to ban any of these folks from saying grace before meals. It seems some narrow-minded busy-body threatened to sue if the prayers were allowed to continue. Once more only secular humanism is acceptable to these bigots. So much for their claim of loving religious freedom.

In Texas advocates of breast feeding are asking the state legislature to forbid baby formula manufacturers from giving out free samples to new mothers. So I suppose they are now to be the sole voice in how parents should feed their babies? How self-consumed these people are, and they are only too happy to enact laws dictating how others should raise their children.

At Bowdoin College in Maine the politically correct bigots are in high gear. They are outraged that a Black Conservative was invited to speak recently. The speaker Vernon Robinson, is not really a Black guy according to the small minded critics. He is instead an Uncle Tom who has no right to speak on campus.

Now this might seem the most insidious case of mental dysfunction but wait there is another punch line. The critics of Robinson are also accusing the student Republicans who invited Robinson of displaying a lack of openness by asking him to speak. Well sure, they forgot to check with the Bowdoin bigots before asking Robinson to speak. How dare they think for themselves!

At Harvard actress Jada Pinkett Smith recently ran afoul of the politically correct while giving a speech during the Cultural Rhythms show. What was the actress's sin? Why she talked about her marriage to actor Will Smith and apparently did not talk about Gay or lesbian relations. How dare this insensitive actress be heterosexual? And even worse she talked about it in public!

Students at Middle Tennessee State have decided that the word "lady" is sexist and derogatory to the universities women's athletic teams. "When we use the word 'lady,' today at least, we recognize it as sort of a sexist remark," said Ryan Husak, a member of Solidarity. "It is used to sort of suggest secondary status." Really? I just thought it was good manners. How nice of these know-it-alls to educate our heathen minds.

In Brooksville, Florida a City-Councilman has deemed the city logo offensive and racist because there are, hold your breath now, two Confederate soldiers carrying a Confederate flag on it. Once more history is to be erased and Southerners are to be ashamed of their ancestors and Southern heritage is to sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.

So understand this if you talk differently, think differently, dare to worship any religion but secular humanism, vote Republican, own a gun, are Southern, a White male, a Conservative Black or woman, call women ladies, mention that you are attracted to the opposite sex, drive an SUV, eat meat, smoke, do not worship the United Nations, or support America defending herself, you are now targeted.

There is no place here for you. You are not to be tolerated or included and your sensitivities matter not. Don't like it? Tough you should have thought more carefully before deciding to think for yourself.


Another revolution is stirring at the influential University of California system. A faculty committee there concluded this week that National Merit Scholarships - the academic plums that high school strivers dream of winning - should be abandoned. Based on recent history, the suggestion may stir up a storm.

Four years ago, the University of California president declared he would dump the SAT college admissions tests unless changes were made. The College Board, which administers those tests, scrambled. As a result, last weekend thousands of students took a new, longer SAT that included a writing sample.

Now the merit scholarships, based on different tests taken by 11th-graders, are under fire out west. The California professors complained that too few minorities and poor students win the awards, which range from $500 to $10,000 and are financed by corporations and colleges.

This raises interesting questions. Are the tests a fair way to measure merit? And, more broadly, how much aid for college students should be based on financial need and how much strictly on academic merit?

National Merit Scholarships are only a small part of that issue. In recent years, the trend has been toward merit. In 1999, 44% of the grants colleges and universities gave students were based on measures of merit such as high test scores and class rankings. By 2003, that had risen to 54%, led by second-tier colleges looking to move up in college rankings.


26 March, 2005


Many things that were strengths are now incorrect

America in year 2000 has emerged as the sole superpower of the world.... But beneath America's complacent veneer are raw realities: out-of-control non-white immigration, rising racial friction, rampant black and Latino gang crime, violent and dumbed-down schools, unwed welfare mothers, widespread social dysfunctions and an ever-mushrooming national debt. Much of this is studiously kept unreported in the major media. For example, a rare attack by a deranged "white supremacist" is dramatized for many hours on TV (reinforcing white "racist" shame); but unreported are Justice Department statistics proving black-on-white violence 50 times more frequent than white-on-black. Unwed mothers, living in promiscuity and on Government welfare, are portrayed as "disadvantaged" rather than a moral scandal. Our bankrupting national debt of $5 trillion pays for social disorders such as gun violence in schools and illegitimacy that didn't even exist a few decades ago. Skillfully indoctrinated by ceaseless media slant, the public is deluged with and absorbs massive misinformation.

All major American cities were white in the 1950s. Today most are mainly non-white. Eastern and central cities such as Baltimore, Detroit and Washington are predominantly black, run by black mayors and officials. The Washington, D.C. area, mainly black, includes also 600,000 Hispanics and Asians along with 300,000 Islamic Muslims - and has the look-and-feel of a foreign capital. A white, in line at a bank or store, hears mainly foreign languages spoken among clerks and customers; he, not they, feels like the foreigner. Entire regions of the southwest, especially California, are mainly Hispanic. So also is Spanish-speaking Miami. Many cities are forced into bilingual, Babel-like and often error-prone communications.

Despite Government mandating of racial integration and school bussing of exhausted children to enforce it, white flight from non-white areas keeps on accelerating. Most whites yearn to live with their own kind and culture in white neighborhoods and schools. They dare not say so openly for fear of being branded "racist," thus jeopardizing careers in a punishing regulatory web where even renting only to tenants of one's choice violates anti-discrimination "fair housing" laws. So do all questions about the racial makeup of a neighborhood when house-hunting (mere mention of such is taboo, so many whites just do "drive by" surveying secretively, and often, before buying). Thus whites quietly abandon the cities and the uncomfortable maze of third- world languages, customs, rap music, alien cultures and the anxiety of kaleidoscopic multiculturalism. Increasingly even the suburbs of many cities are now non-white (such as Prince Georges county adjacent to Washington D.C.). As whites are driven away into ever more remote suburbs, racial friction in cities like Los Angeles is now mainly non-white, a four-way conflict, often of bloody violence, among blacks, Hispanics, Asians and non-white immigrants (especially new illegals).

The Euro-white tradition of values, customs and culture that built America (the "dead white men") is routinely denounced and "deconstructed" in public schools and universities. This is textbook cultural Marxism: first revolution, to smash traditional ideology; then replace it with egalitarian (socialist) statism. History is revised to shame the "white oppressor." Designedly ignored is the historical reality that all races have sinned equally as oppressors in distant history but whites were the first to abolish slavery. Ironically, while any hint of "hate speech" against minorities is prosecuted vigorously, the book-length Hating Whitey documents widespread anti-white speech by professors in class openly smearing whites as "the scourge of mankind." All "racism" is evil — unless it's anti-white....

Over the past thirty years, immigration (mainly non-white) sky-rocketed into unprecedented numbers and rates. Since 1990, levels of immigration are quadruple pre-1970 rates. Compared to traditional rates of 200,000 per year (mainly Euro-white and rapidly assimilated into American culture), today's immigration into the U.S. averages over 1 million every year, 35 million since 1970. Mainly non-white and contemptuous of assimilation, many new immigrants expand their own alien cultures, languages and religions throughout America while exploiting its full range of welfare housing, Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits. Their attitude is clearly not to adopt American culture or language but instead that America assimilate to theirs.

More here


If you want to see how the diversity movement is eroding the critical thinking skills of college students, just pick up a copy of your local college newspaper. Recently, I picked up a copy of the UNCW Seahawk. I’m still recovering. In the Seahawk “To the Editor” section, I read a letter entitled “Get over it – diversity is good for you.” The testy (not to mention condescending) author of the letter was responding to another letter writer who opposed lower admission standards as a means of increasing black enrollment. The response said, in part, “You assume we would have to lower UNCW's standards of academic excellence to allow a higher entry of minority students - insinuating that there aren't a large amount of minority students that meet the standard set at UNCW.”

Re-read that statement and think about it for a moment. A student defending our diversity program, which already uses lower admissions standards for minorities, is saying; 1) we don’t have to lower academic standards to allow more minority students, and 2) there are already large numbers of minority students that meet university standards. This kind of logic often appears when white liberals try to help minorities. They know that every time the “help” takes the form of lowering standards, they are contributing to negative stereotypes of the group they claim to assist. That makes them feel bad, so they remind us that their ideas are not really necessary. They are just “good for us all.”

The author of this particular letter, a social work student (that’s a shocker!), says it this way: “Your mom used to make you eat your vegetables. No, you didn't like it, and it wasn't comfortable. She did it because she knows vegetables are good for you. So, UNCW is forcing you to expose yourself to new cultures. No, it's not comfortable at first, but in the long run: It's good for you!”

In case you don’t understand diversity-speak, here’s the English translation: “I believe in equality of people and equality of cultures and I know the best way to promote it because I am smarter than you. In fact, I am your mommy. If you don’t agree with me (and eat your diversity vegetables) you will be sent to your room without any supper. Now shut up and go to your room! And celebrate diversity, damn you!”

Whenever I read such letters, I wonder how they make it into the campus paper. But then I read articles by the Seahawk staff and I remember that severe intellectual hernia and fanatical intolerance (in the name of tolerance) are actually prerequisites for publication in our student paper. According to the last Seahawk staff editorial, intolerance (the greatest of all evils) has “reared its ugly head once again.” The alleged intolerants are a UNC-Chapel Hill Christian fraternity that just won a federal injunction against their university for de-recognizing them. Their crime was keeping non-Christians from being voting members and officers in their Christian club.

Even though the university engages in racial discrimination in both admissions and hiring, the Seahawk claims that there are “no exceptions in discrimination.” That is to say, campus groups can never, under any circumstances, discriminate on the basis of anything. Not even beliefs. So, according to the Seahawk staff, students who believe that rape and pedophilia are good must be allowed to join, vote, and hold office in a Christian fraternity. Remember: There are “no exceptions in discrimination!” Translation: In our effort to promote tolerance, we will not tolerate any exceptions to our rules. And our rules indicate that, when it comes to beliefs, there can be no fixed rules.

The Seahawk also says that “Acceptance is supposed to represent the central ideal of Christianity.” In other words, the greatest of all commandments (forget what Jesus said) is the commandment to adhere to moral relativism. Of course, some Christians don’t accept that idea. But their lack of acceptance is simply unacceptable. Unless you share the belief that all beliefs are acceptable, you cannot be a recognized student club. Moral relativism is acceptable. Moral absolutism is not. This is an absolute rule.

The Seahawk also scoffs at the idea that the Christian Fraternity “claims its right to the first amendment protects the organization’s stance on gay marriage and abstinence, among other sensitive issues.” The Seahawk, which urges tolerance of beliefs, just can’t tolerate these particular stances. I guess it all depends on what the definition of “stance” is. If a stance is a stance and not a belief, maybe it doesn’t have to be accepted. I don’t know where I stand on this one. My head is still spinning.

The Seahawk also insists that “Ethnocentrism has no place in a democratic nation, especially one as diverse and complex as the United States.” In other words, ethnocentrism is so bad, we cannot even consider it. That’s because everyone agrees that ethnocentrism is bad. It is an absolute. It is a truism. But do these students actually accept all of this nonsense about the equality of all cultures, beliefs, and ideas? Would the students refrain from imposing their own anti-genocidal cultural values on Nazi Germany? Maybe saving Jews from mass genocide doesn’t feel as good as being tolerant and accepting of Nazi cultural traditions.

The Seahawk concludes its editorial with two interesting assertions. First, they say that “Extremists are able to push their beliefs at an increasing number of venues previously closed to religious fanaticism.” They provide no example because their only purpose is to classify the Christian fraternity members as religious fanatics. Second, they say that “There is a time and place for personal beliefs ­- just not in legislation and university policy.” These students almost seem sincere in their belief that diversity proponents are keeping their personal beliefs out of university policy. And they seem to believe that they really don’t believe in anything. I don’t know which of these two beliefs is more pathetic. Maybe they’re equal.


25 March, 2005


Prof. David Flint speaks:

Every so often someone lets the cat out of the bag. One recent example was the president of an English teachers' association - and former chairman of a government curriculum committee - who editorialised that the nation's English teachers had failed. This was not because of any prevalence of bad grammar or inadequate knowledge of Shakespeare. This was because their former students had just re-elected the Howard Government.

Last September, the Sydney Morning Herald journalist and former ABC Media Watch presenter David Marr insisted that the "natural culture of journalism is kind of vaguely soft-Left inquiry sceptical of authority". More ominously, he decreed that journalism should be a left-wing closed shop. "If they don't come out of that world, they really can't be reporters." Anyone else, he said, can just find another job.

But the golden rule of journalism is not to see the world through some ideological prism. Rather it is that while comment is free, facts are sacred. A clear distinction must always be made between opinion and the news, the publication of the results of the objective search for the truth on matters of current relevance. With the exception of the taxpayer-funded public broadcasters - where opinion must be balanced - the media remain free to express their views, however robust and partisan.

While the media demand that all institutions be accountable, it is a supreme irony that under their very own standards, much of Australia's elite media, and particularly its public broadcasters, are constantly found to be wanting.

The solution is not, as Media Watch argues, in imposing increasingly draconian regulation on the ABC's own competitors. When it was suggested the program operate under precisely the same disclosure rule it insists applies to commercial radio, Marr predictably dismissed this as nonsense.

But Media Watch would go further - it wants the gagging of some commercial radio presenters as well as big de facto fines on the stations. It once even called for a government-appointed media tribunal over the press - something hardly consistent with democracy. As noted American media watcher Stephen Brill famously told one of Marr's predecessors, Media Watch is not the solution: it's part of the problem. It ignores fundamental ethical requirements the most humble newspaper regularly observes - for example, that if you make a serious allegation subsequently found to be without foundation, you report this prominently.

When I was recently a guest on the ABC's Lateline program, I pointed out the obvious need for balance on the ABC. Marr theatrically declared this "nonsensical". It was, he argued, unbelievable that "this man, in this day and age should have such a kindergarten view of balance".

But in its very own code, the ABC requires that every reasonable effort be made to ensure programs are "balanced and impartial". It says that editorial staff are to present a wide range of perspectives, "not unduly favouring one over the others". Really?

We regularly hear the views of both government and opposition on ABC television news, which is perfectly proper. But then the opposing view will often be repeated not only by the Democrats, but also by one of two Green senators. And the news itself is too often selected through a "soft leftie" filter. Worse, in each week, ABC TV engages no conservative presenter and only one conservative commentator - and that for less than 10 minutes, on a Sunday morning and during church hours.

Not in anybody's wildest imagination could this be called "balance".... When Marr dismissed the code requirement for balance as "nonsensical", I pointed to the one and only program on ABC TV that is clearly balanced, Insiders on Sunday mornings. Even then, the conservative voice is always in a minority. But at least this ensures that any opinion, Left or Right, can be balanced. And not just "as soon as possible", as the code prescribes, but instantly.

Rather than continuing to be yet another left-wing taxpayer-funded opinion program, Media Watch should consist of a balanced panel exchanging no doubt robust opinions about the media. (Marr is strenuously opposed to this.) The chairman should have the skills of a Barrie Cassidy - and his courage, too.

Recall Cassidy's brave remarks on commercial TV about the ABC's almost deranged attempt to impose an extraordinary dose of political correctness after 9-11: "At the ABC, a memo went out about a week ago to all radio commentators that they were not to say anything derogatory about the Taliban … So here I am on Channel 10, I can say that the Taliban execute women for adultery. They've been known to throw acid in the face of young girls who don't wear veils and so on. I can get it off my chest on Channel 10 but I can't say it on the ABC."

More here


Even the British government now recognizes it .... but they have nothing to replace it with

Given that the underlying philosophy of today's political establishment is the equality of man idea, concomitant of which is the notion of cultural equivalence, local authorities see it as their duty to give expression to the minority cultures in our midst. And as diversity has replaced homogeneity, local governments ensure that public space is no longer allowed to reflect exclusively the indigenous culture. From an organisation that once concentrated all its energies on local matters, the local authority has become an arbiter of conflicting world views.

Whether it's in the form of the political indoctrination of schoolchildren, the favour of ethnic minorities and asylum seekers over the indigenous population, or the simplest notice in a public library; the local authority always puts an internationalist slant on its actions. The international communist flavour of their corporate logos says it all; "Working towards equality for all."

Our towns and cities have become dominated by a forest of street signs giving pointless directions and officious instructions whose subliminal message is a reminder of town hall control, and all that that means. Our town centres are cluttered with cheap and nasty pastiche street furniture, a pathetic attempt to recreate the individuality and vernacular of times past, but of course within the context of our wonderful multicultural utopia. Traditional British festivals and their public celebration have been sanitised into meaninglessness so as to ensure their compatibility with the myriad cultures that now inhabit the country. Christmas has been corrupted into a festival of spending, Easter has been elbowed out of the way for the Third World-focused "Red Nose Day", and Whitsuntide has been left in the gutter.

In a vain effort to compensate for this marginalisation of British cultural festivals, the establishment organises its own multicultural events. Their aim is to bring together Britain's disparate cultures under the umbrella of multiculturalism and within the parameters of political correctness. They don't work. Real cultural celebrations are an expression of the community, whereas those that are imposed from above are essentially meaningless - hence the paucity of support and attendance for local authority-inspired politically correct events; they are dull and lacking in spontaneity.

Is there any wonder our urban life is so soulless? It's been eliminated in the cause of multiculturalism.

Not being satisfied with alienating the British people from our own towns, cities, and public parks, the establishment is busy trying to infect the countryside with its multicultural makeover. It's too British you see. The simple pleasure of a country walk is seen as too much of a White pursuit and as such it is perceived as a threat to multiculturalism. And of course this is all the fault of the indigenous people who in some way are responsible for Muslims and inner city Blacks not setting out on the Pennine Way.

"Empowering the community."

Vandalism is an expression of the alienation from public space. For instance, fifty years or so ago the public park was used both for private and public leisure activities. It was an expression of civic pride, a community facility which people visited both to enjoy the countryside in the town and to enjoy with like minded people a sense of belonging, of being part of a community.

Nowadays the park is no longer ours. It's theirs and they use it like everything else that they've taken from us, it is used to reinforce their anti-British egalitarian agenda. In most towns and cities the public park is a place to avoid. It's where people are attacked, it's where the bandstands and pavilions have been burned down, where the benches are smashed and obscene graffiti adorns the derelict cafeteria walls.

Throughout history the ritual destruction of the monuments of power has been a symbol of opposition. And inarticulate though those acts of vandalism may be, what else is the smashing of bus shelters and phone booths but an expression of opposition to what is. This isn't an attempt to excuse such behaviour; it merely puts it in context.

Vandalism is generally aimed at that which falls (however inaccurately) within the description `public property', and on the surface it appears to be nihilistic destruction for destruction's sake. But it is more than that. The problem is that public property and public space are no longer extensions of the White British self. They have become another tentacle of the alien multiculturalism which is why they're under attack.

Somewhat belatedly the establishment has woken up to the connection between community and public space and is now trying desperately to do something about it. They were so convinced of their own egalitarian dogma that they expected everyone else to jump aboard their multicultural bandwagon. But instead of getting involved people have left it up to them; public space is now seen as a town hall thing. If there's a problem in the public sphere, let them deal with it. And of course they can't.

So now we see the beginnings of an establishment-inspired reinvention of the community. Having all but destroyed it in the cause of multiculturalism, politicians are now going on about the "empowerment of communities." They want to give back what they've taken and allow communities to say what goes. They don't like what they've unleashed and their hope is that by "empowering communities" they can reintroduce order and commitment to public space.

But there's a problem. At the moment when anyone mentions the word `community' one immediately thinks of ethnic minority communities. For they're the only communities that are recognised as existing in Britain; White communities on the other hand are an anathema to the establishment and indeed it has spent the past fifty odd years trying to destroy them. So clearly any community that the establishment wishes to `empower' must be a community that conforms to liberal-left ideology; preferably a multicultural/multiracial community, or failing that a minority community will do. But they can't possibly "empower" a White community because their whole philosophy is founded on the idea that such thing doesn't exists.

Establishment efforts to inculcate this other idea of community betray an ignorance of human development and they are doomed to failure. Rod Liddle writing in the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago made the same mistake. In order to encourage a feeling of national identity, he said, we should, "inculcate a core of Britishness in our schools."

What came first, the Britishness or the inculcation?

Community and national identity develop from bottom up; the development is organic not prescriptive! Our naturally occurring communities have been undermined and out of necessity the powers that be are hurriedly drawing up replacements according to their own plans. It puts one in mind of the committee that in designing a horse came up with a camel.

Beautiful irony

Certainly community will not, can not, develop according to the liberal's plan. And it is inevitable that the centrifugal forces of politics will cause coalescence along cultural and racial lines, whatever anyone does to prevent it.

My guess is that prior to the imposition of multiculturalism most British people were hardly aware of their Britishness, particularly those who'd not travelled abroad. Culture is a term of opposition. And without other cultures against which to compare one's own, most people will be largely unaware of their own culture - they see it as just the way things are done.

And it wasn't until foreign cultures began to form in our own land and appear in our public space that we began to ask questions about our own culture and identity. We'd no need to do this before except in an academic sense. Now we've got angst-ridden liberals like Liddle et al wringing their hands and talking about Britishness and attempting to define it in terms of tolerance, forgiveness, and understanding. Well they would, wouldn't they?

But isn't it amazing how chickens always come home to roost, and usually in such an ironic fashion!

Multiculturalism is an attempt to minimise the importance of culture, and the theft of public space was a necessary part of this effort. But instead of marginalising culture, as was intended, multiculturalism is actually focusing attention on it. The effect is diametrically opposed to that which was intended. And whereas Britishness was never an issue before the multicultural idea took shape, now it's becoming the issue.

This is why the liberals are so anxious to be the ones to define what Britishness means. They've got to come up with something that both satisfies the growing disquiet with the state of the nation and complies with their multiculturalisation of it - which is the cause of the disquiet in the first place. It's a tall order, especially since one is the antithesis of the other.

More here

24 March, 2005


The Law Society of South Africa has objected to a Young Designers Emporium campaign in which a woman is seen being "spanked and bruised". The campaign, Brand Spanking New Fashion, is being run at YDE's stores and on their website. The society's gender and equality committee said the advert is in bad taste and cannot be tolerated in a country where the legislature and other concerned stakeholders are making efforts to root out all forms of women and child abuse, said spokesperson Nonto Umlaw. Society chairperson Thoba Poyo said: "Advertising is a very powerful medium and the messages emanating from advertisers are meant to change perceptions".

YDE creative director Sam Coleman said this was not an advert but a campaign on their shop windows and on their website and is directed at customers. "It wasn't the intention that the campaign be taken seriously, we don't take our advertising too seriously," he said. He said there are no bruises in the pictures, just a slight redness. He said that instead of referring to "new season clothing", they used "Brand Spanking New Fashion" in which they show males and females being spanked. "We show a man and woman being spanked. It is quite surprising that no one said anything about the man being spanked," he said. Coleman emphasised that they were not depicting a violent act. The campaign started a few weeks ago and "isolated complaints" were received. It was even discussed on a Cape Town-based radio station. "If we receive an absolute barrage of complaints we will stop the campaign," he said. "Our largest target group is women. Why would we want to offend our customers?" asked Coleman.

Source. Photos of the advertisements concerned here


Q: What is P.C.? PC stands for Politically Correct. We of the Politically Correct philosophy believe in increasing the tolerance for a DIVERSITY of cultures, race, gender, ideology and alternate lifestyles. Political Correctness is the only socially- and morally-acceptable outlook. Anyone who disagrees with this philosophy is bigoted, biased, sexist, and closed-minded.

Q: Why should I be PC? Being PC is fun. PCism is not just an attitude, it is a way of life! PC offers the satisfaction of knowing that you are right, and that you are undoing the social evils of centuries of oppression.

Q: I am a white male--can I still be PC? Sure. You just have to feel very guilty.

Q: Why? If you are a white male, your ancestors were responsible for practically every injustice in the world--slavery, war, genocide and plaid sport coats. That means that YOU are partially responsible for these atrocities. Now it is time to balance the scales of justice for the descendants of those individuals whose ancestors your ancestors oppressed.

Q: How? It's simple. You've got to be careful what you say, what you think, and what you do. You just don't want to offend anyone.

Q: You mean I should guard against offending ANYONE? That's right. Being offensive is destructive, and will not make the world a harmonious utopia, like in John Lennon's IMAGINE.

Q: How else can I be PC? Oh, there are lots of ways. For example, why buy regular ice cream when you can buy "Rain Forest Crunch?" Segrega..whoops..separate all of your garbage into different containers: glass, metal, white paper, blue paper, plastic, etc. Make sure that none of your make-up has been tested on animals. Try to find at least sixty ways to use your water; when you take a shower, brush your teeth at the same time. Then don't let the water go down the drain, use it to irrigate your lawn. Or better yet, replace your lawn with a vegetable garden. Don't use aerosol. And by all means, don't burn or deface our flag. Remember, as a citizen of America, you're living in God's country. If you are fortunate enough to know your ethnic heritage, dress the part! Don't do drugs. You should listen to at least one of the following PC musicians: U2, REM, Sinead O'Connor, Sting, or KD Lang. Harass people who wear fur coats. Remind them that an innocent baby seal was mercilessly clubbed. Or just yell, "FUR!" They hate that. And don't EVER eat meat.

Q: Don't eat meat? Why not?! Cows are animals, just like humans are animals. That means that they have rights. When you eat meat, you're oppressing animals!

Q: So ALL killing is bad? No, not always. Sometimes killing can be justified, like in the Persian Gulf. You have to be able to tell when an animal has rights, and when it doesn't.

Q: How do I know when an animal has rights? The general rule is as follows: IF AN ANIMAL IS RARE, PRETTY, BIG, CUTE, FURRY, HUGGABLE, OR LOVABLE, THEN IT HAS RIGHTS. Examine the following chart: RIGHTS NO RIGHTS cows cockroaches cute bunnies flies dolphins in tuna nets tuna in tuna nets whales sharks red squirrels gray squirrels owls loggers trees corn harbor seals barnacles

Q: Wow. What else can I do to be PC? Hug a tree. Rejoice each day in our cultural differences, for they are what gives flavour to our great country. Get in touch with your sexual identity. Check your refrigerator for freon leaks. Subscribe to National Geographic. Search it for neat non- Western cultural traditions and costumes. After you read it, use the paper as an alternate fuel source.

Q: I'm not sure about all of this. If you are feeling unsure about your motivation, just remember: PC is right. YOU ARE RIGHT. It's that simple. You are right.

Q: How do I know if an action is non-PC? Good question. It's important to know when someone is saying something insensitive so that you can have that person removed from society. The guideline is as follows: Is the confrontation between two white people? Yes -> The liberal is right. No -> The white person is oppressing the ethnic person. Remember, many seemingly obvious issues--such as the railroading of Mayor Marion Barry, the Clarence Thomas issue, and the Saint Mary's University Caribbean Society shut-down--are really race issues. Here's a fun practice drill for you: See how many newspaper articles you can make into race-bias stories. It's fun! Some PCers are so good they can make the weather report look like a KKK pamphlet!

Q: What should I do if I see someone doing something non-PC? It all depends on the situation. If you are not in a position of authority, by all means report this activity immediately to whomever is in charge. If your school leader, employer, or superior is hip to the trend of the 90s, they (not "he"; see upcoming question regarding PC-correct usage) will take the necessary steps to have the insensitive offender disciplined.

Q: But isn't that censorship? The Constitution never meant for racism, sexism or insensitivity to be espoused by anyone. That's not what free speech is about. Some call it censorship. PCers call it "selective" speech. Saying something negative about a particular race or gender is just as damaging as, say, punching them in the face. We just can't allow that kind of verbal assault.

Q: I've heard a lot about PC words to replace "Black," "Indian," etc. Yes. That's part of the PC movement. You see, part of the way we think about people comes directly from the words we use to describe them. Take "black" for instance. Why should a person be judged by the color of their skin?

Q: You mean that they should rather be judged by the content of their character? No, I mean they should be judged by where their ancestors are from. If your great grandparents are from Africa, or Asia, or wherever, then you should be identified by that fact. You can even apply for special scholarships!

Q: I'm a mixture of French, German, English and Russian. Can I get one? No, there are none offered to white males--however, if you are a woman ...oops... womyn (see PC LEXICON at end of handbook), there should be plenty.

Q Hey, wouldn't a white person from Libya or Egypt technically be an African-American? Technically, yes. But that's not the kind of African-American we mean. That is, we're REALLY talking about skin color, but we're pretending that we aren't. Another example: a white South- African immigrant is not an African-American (or either).

Q: How can I learn to make my language more Politically Correct? You must un-learn everything you learned in elementary-school English classes. Like using "he" when you're not referring to anyone in particular, which is offensive to womyn. Some people substitute "he or she," or--better yet--"she or he," but that still admits to gender differences, which is offensive to anyone who is truly Politically Correct. The PC-preferred term is "they." Thus, the sentence "everyone must pick up his check" becomes "everyone must pick up their check." It sounds awkward, but you'll get used to it. For more help, see the PC LEXICON at the end of the handbook.

Q: I'd like my child to be PC. What can I do? Well, for one thing, we should forcibly encourage students to volunteer their time with philanthropies. Also, we should re- emphasize non-Western perspectives on history. Finally, we should re-structure tests and quizzes to reflect cultural biases.

Q: I don't get it. Well, the way the system works now, "select" under-represented minorities who tend to do worse on entrance tests have lower standards of admission at school and work, and receive preferential treatment. This is unfair and wrong.

Q: It is? Yes. The truly PC way to do it is to have different grading scales for different groups, which gives or subtracts points from the final score, depending on who is taking the test. If you are white, then you have been benefited by society during your life. That means that you lose ten to fifteen points to make the test fair to everyone else.

Q: I guess that sounds right. It IS right. YOU are right. That's the beauty of PC.

Q: What else do I have to be careful of? Humor. We take every comment VERY seriously. We will not accept any comment, joke, remark, or anything that sounds like it could be a gender or racial slur.

Q: Give me an example. "What's black and white and red all over?" has been staple humor for decades. Not PC--it can be taken the wrong way. In every day speech, try to use phrases like, "Isn't that the pot calling the kettle African-American?" Any racial jokes--or jokes even mentioning culture or gender--should be omitted. True, this mostly limits comedy to the level of sitcoms, but that's the price you pay for social equality, justice, and that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from knowing that you are undoing centuries of oppression.

Q: Is that all there is to it? Yes. The Politically Correct belief is essentially a recognition that people are diversely equal. We rejoice in this equality by treating people differently based on their equal individualities. Hop aboard the bandwagon... Be PC. Or else you're an intolerant, racist, sexist, insensitive pig.

More here

23 March, 2005


It's just pandering to vocal special-interest groups, of course. But note that they are already talking about banning the food that parents provide. That the kids don't like fashionable food doesn't matter, of course

Tony Blair is to bow to the increasing clamour from parents for better school meals for their children and announce a series of plans to swap junk food for 'organic and local' fresh meals. In a response to the plea from TV chef Jamie Oliver for a 'school dinner revolution', the Prime Minister will say that school kitchens will be rebuilt and equipped so dishes can be cooked from scratch, while dinner ladies are given 'culinary skills' to help them create appetising menus. Writing in today's Observer , Blair acknowledges for the first time the strength of parental anger about the fatty, sugary processed diet on offer in many schools. He pledges an independent food trust to build on and expand the work begun by Oliver in his Channel 4 series, Jamie's School Dinners .

The moves will form part of a mini 'children's manifesto' to be published tomorrow outlining Labour's pitch to parents on issues from diet to paedophiles targeting children through the internet. It will argue that far from fearing a 'nanny state', fami lies want the government to intervene to protect children's health and safety. The crux, however, will be its response to the uproar over the quality of school dinners triggered by Oliver's programme, which followed the chef and father of two as he tried to change menus for pupils in Greenwich, south-east London.

The Prime Minister said a new independent School Food Trust, to be set up by the government shortly, would 'draw on the remarkable work of Jamie Oliver in schools, of the Soil Association in encouraging the use of organic and local produce in school meals'. Promising that kitchens and dining areas would be improved as part of the £9.4 billion primary school building programme announced in last week's Budget, he added: 'It may take a little time to change children's tastes but it will be worth the effort if we can get them enjoying healthy and good quality food at school.'

Oliver told The Observer he was 'really pleased' the government was taking his campaign seriously but would scrutinise the detail. 'I think the government should use the knowledge from the people who have already worked on a grass- roots level: the dinner ladies deserve all the support they can get to make change,' he said. 'If changes are made it will only be a matter of months before British health, education and farming could be affected for the better. It could be one of the biggest food revolutions that England has ever seen.'

Education ministers are also considering moves to teach parents in deprived areas about nutrition and cookery. Greenwich families were initially suspicious of Oliver's emphasis on fresh food and vegetables, bringing in burgers for their children. Some headteachers in the borough are now moving on to vet lunchboxes provided by parents, asking them to meet Oliver's standards if their children opt out of school meals.

Sally Castle, headteacher of Ealdham Primary School in Eltham, which appeared on the final episode of Jamie's School Dinners , said twice as many pupils had begun bringing packed lunches since the new regime began and she was 'shocked and appalled' at some of the contents. 'Last week, there was a child with three bars of chocolate and two packets of crisps in its lunchbox. We are now finding that the children who tend to cause problems in the afternoons seem to be the ones who are bringing in packed lunches.' She is writing to parents with instructions on foods not to include, although she said it would be a 'radical idea' for some to adapt to providing a sandwich, fruit and non-fizzy drink. 'We can work on children in schools to understand the importance of healthy eating but if we're not getting to the parents as well, it will continue to be a struggle.'

Blair will shortly meet Oliver to receive the petition triggered by his Feed Me Better campaign, now signed by more than 100,000 people, calling for low-fat, healthy, fresh school food. Downing Street is expected to offer him an advisory role overseeing progress with school meals, although it is not clear whether he would accept. Blair has also been impressed by meetings with Peter Melchett of the Soil Association, which runs a programme in Gloucestershire showing how children can be fed on locally grown and organic menus.

The children's manifesto, to be unveiled tomorrow by election co-ordinator Alan Milburn, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly and Children's Minister Margaret Hodge, will also promise to curb junk food advertising on TV.



In the worst case of scientific fakery to come to light in two decades, a top obesity researcher who long worked at the University of Vermont admitted yesterday that he fabricated data in 17 applications for federal grants to make his work seem more promising, helping him win nearly $3 million in government funding. Eric T. Poehlman, a leading specialist on metabolic changes during aging, acknowledged that he altered and made up research results from 1992 to 2002, including findings published in medical journals that overstated the effect of menopause on women's health. Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Poehlman, 49, will be barred for life from receiving federal funding, pay back $180,000, and plead guilty to a criminal charge of fraud that could bring jail time. He agreed to ask scientific journals to retract and correct 10 articles they published by him.

''Dr. Poehlman fraudulently diverted millions of dollars," said David V. Kirby, the US attorney for Vermont. ''This in turn siphoned millions of dollars from the pool of resources available for valid scientific research proposals. As this prosecution proves, such conduct will not be tolerated." The fraud charge carries up to five years in prison, but lawyers involved in the case said Poehlman would ask for leniency and would probably get a lesser sentence or possibly no prison time at all.

Poehlman's misconduct was detected and exposed by a former University of Vermont lab technician, Walter F. DeNino, who once viewed Poehlman as his mentor. Poehlman was a star among obesity researchers. For years at the Universities of Vermont and Maryland and, since 2001, at the Université de Montréal, he won millions in grant dollars, copious prizes, and accolades from the students he mentored. Over two decades in which he published more than 200 journal articles, he built a reputation as a leading authority on the metabolic changes that come with aging, particularly during menopause. He also studied the genetics of obesity and the impact of exercise, often following human subjects over time to document how their physiology changed. Now that stellar career has unraveled. Poehlman resigned from the Université de Montréal in January. He did not respond to requests left at his Montreal home and with his attorney to be interviewed.

Some colleagues speculated that Poehlman buckled to an exaggerated perception of the pressure to publish papers and win grants to keep his laboratory going. Or perhaps he was so sure he knew the right answers that he cut corners to get to them, they said. DeNino, the lab technician, said in an interview that he does not know what Poehlman was thinking, but the benefits were clear: The fabricated data made his grant proposals more appealing and his papers more publishable, helping Poehlman become one of the better-funded researchers at the University of Vermont

More here

22 March, 2005


They do all they can to wipe out real diversity. They are no more loyal to real diversity than they are to the man in the moon. It is only when "diversity" = "black" that it suits them

"Civil liberties group Liberty and Law has reported a senior Leeds councillor to the Standards Board for England over a campaign to dismiss a BNP care worker from her job because of her party affiliation......

The case involves care worker, Mrs Julie Day who works for a company providing community care to Leeds City Council. Mrs Day is a BNP activist who is standing for election in the Leeds West constituency.

As a result of complaints about her employment with Allied Healthcare, the parent company of Yorkshire Careline, which provides services for Leeds City Council, a special audit of her work was carried out. Leeds Council's executive board member for social services Cllr Peter Harrand told the Yorkshire Post Today: "As we requested, Allied Healthcare sent out questionnaires to all the service users and they are content with the service they are receiving. There have been no complaints - everybody is satisfied with the service they have received from this lady. Until there is anything to the contrary, things will continue as they are. On that basis, we will not be taking any further action." There appears to have been no justification whatsoever for the extraordinary audit of Mrs Day's work other than her association with the British National Party. Mrs Day claims to have been doing this work and similar work for sixteen years.

However, even after the audit found a positive response to the work of this woman Councillor Keith Wakefield the leader of the Labour Party opposition group is quoted in Yorkshire Post Today [electronic version 18 March] stating, "I am very disappointed, indeed angry that the ruling administration does not appear to have taken this issue very seriously. As I have said before, I have grave concerns that someone with such extreme political views is working with some of the most vulnerable members of society. Surely, if the individual concerned is not in the direct employment of the council, discussions could have been held with the agency to find her a less frontline role. I will be raising this matter with the leader of the council as a matter of urgency."....

In an earlier report 10 May Yorkshire Post Today [electronic version] Cllr Wakefield is reported as "shocked that Mrs Day was working on a Leeds City Council contract and demanded every pressure was put on the company to end her employment." He is quoted in the article as saying, "I have very strong reservations about this. If she's working in the care area with her political views I would want council officers to look at the contract to see if there is something we can do to make sure people like this are not employed. I find it staggering she's working in care with her political views. I want every pressure to be put on this company as it is totally inappropriate that someone responsible for care in the community should employ someone who has those kind of views towards different races and ethnic groups."

Liberty and Law believes Cllr Wakefield's continued intervention in her employment with the publicity that has resulted puts Mrs Day's continued employment and her personal safety at risk and that his action may constitute unlawful harassment of this woman".

More here


Britain's chief driving examiner has risked the wrath of the country's women motorists by declaring that men are better drivers. Robin Cummins, who oversees the driving tests of 1.5m learners each year as the chief instructor for the Driving Standards Agency, claims men display more natural ability. Not only are they better at control and manoeuvring, they also need less tuition. Women need as much as 14 hours more tuition on average to pass their driving test and have a test pass rate of just 40%, six per cent behind men's at 46%.

While women take an average of 2.12 tests to pass, men need 1.87. "I'm not saying anything that isn't in the figures," says Cummins. "Of course there are plenty of women who are excellent drivers and plenty of men who are terrible, but overall it does seem to be that men can pick up the basic skills more quickly. With young men there seems to be more natural ability. Some females - though not all - take a lot more teaching." For both sexes the pass rate is highest for 17-year-olds (56% for women and 60% for men) and lowest for those 50 and over (29% for both men and women). Reversing is the most common problem for women failing the test.

The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected complaints that a poster claiming women were better drivers than men was untrue after an insurance company presented evidence to back the statement. It accepted women in general had fewer accidents and had made fewer claims. But a study by another insurance firm showed a woman was, on average, more likely to have an accident and her claims would be higher.


21 March, 2005


Facing reporters after Brian Nichols’s homicidal rampage and escape from the Fulton County Courthouse, Howard was asked about the wisdom in having a lone female deputy sheriff escorting a large man accused of a violent sex crime. A sensible question, certainly, what with three people freshly murdered (a fourth soon would follow) and a madman now running loose on the streets of Atlanta. The gathered reporters and anyone watching on television might have anticipated a reasoned, thoughtful response, perhaps to include a call for the reevaluation of the relevant courthouse policies. Alas, no such response was forthcoming.

“I think that women are capable of doing anything that men are capable of doing,” Howard said. “And I don’t think it’s the weight, I think it’s the heart, the training, and the ability. I don’t think the weight has a whole lot to do with it.” In other words, if it were up to Mr. Howard, men accused of violent crimes would continue to be escorted through the courthouse hallways by female deputies half their size and twice their age. This is what passes for enlightened thinking in downtown Atlanta, where results, no matter how disastrous, count for less than one’s lofty intentions. Let the gutters run with blood, but we dare not show a lack of faith in our diminutive female police officers.

Let us now depart from the utopian fantasies of Paul Howard and turn our attention to the real world, where the typical man is stronger than the typical woman, and where no 100-pound woman, no matter how big her heart, how advanced her training, or how superior her ability, can go to Fist City with a 200-pound man and come out on top. Yes, it was a colossal blunder to leave Nichols under the supervision of a single female deputy, but it would be foolish to attribute Nichols’s escape simply to his escort’s sex and stature. It was complacency, that unseen killer of cops, that allowed Nichols to do what he did. He may well have pulled off the same feat had he been guarded by a man his own size or even larger, for Nichols had a plan, one he surely had worked out well in advance of putting it into action. The people guarding him, meanwhile, were merely going through the motions of their daily routine, moving the prisoners — the “bodies,” as they’re known in the argot of the courthouse — from the jail to the courtrooms and back again like so many widgets on an assembly line. Nothing bad happened yesterday, nothing bad will happen today.

But something bad had happened the day before, and it’s unconscionable that nothing was done about it. On March 10, the day before he escaped, Nichols was found in possession of two crudely fashioned knives, known to cops and cons alike as “shanks.” Prisoners can and do make shanks out of toothbrushes, plastic deodorant containers, pieces of their bunks, and just about anything else that can be melted or honed to a sharpened edge or point. It’s bad enough when a prisoner is found with a shank in his cell or in one of the jail’s common areas, but when he is found to be armed while in the “court line,” as was the case with Nichols, that can only signal an attempt to escape or to harm someone in the courtroom, either of which would justify such added security measures as shackles and extra bailiffs. Despite the recovery of these weapons from Nichols, nothing was done to ensure the safety of the courtroom staff the following day. Apparently, not even the female deputy whom Nichols attacked and overpowered was told of the potential threat. When you give a criminal an opportunity, don’t be surprised when he takes it.

Sadly, Paul Howard’s was not the only inane commentary on the Nichols matter. The cable-news channels were chockablock with talking-head attorneys who briefly turned their attentions from the momentous events of the Michael Jackson trial. Such is the demand for high-decibel discourse on these programs that the lawyers were paired off, prosecutors vs. defense attorneys, to all but scream at each other about Nichols’s case. “He should have been shacked,” the prosecutor says. “Rubbish,” answers the defense attorney, “he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence, and a defendant’s appearance in shackles is prejudicial.”

True, the Supreme Court has held that a defendant’s rights are violated if the jurors in his case see him bound in shackles or even dressed in his jailhouse garb. (Nichols was changing into his court clothes when he overpowered the deputy.) The solution to this is simple, and is practiced here in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Simply bring the shackled defendants into court while the jurors wait in the jury room. Once seated, the defendants can be secured with devices that immobilize them without being visible to jurors. When the jury enters, all they see is a meek and mild man holding a Bible and wearing in ill-fitting suit, not the snarling beast who has to be chained up to keep him from eating anyone who gets too close.

More here

Canada Clears Up What Is And What Just Ain't Hate Speech

Post lifted from Moonbat Central

From the National Post, we learn that calling for Jewish civilians to be murdered is protected academic speech in Canada, while reading the Bible is a hate crime.

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, a University of Waterloo professor and president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, drew widespread public condemnation last October for telling a television panel discussion that all Israelis over the age of 18 should be targets for attacks by Palestinians because they are all members of the country's army. The Egyptian-born professor has said his comments were misunderstood. As you can see, there is a lot of ambiguity in the statement. He also came under investigation by the University of Waterloo, where he is a professor of computer engineering. Elmasry himself in the past led a campaign to indict evangelist Jerry Falwell for hate speech, and has campaigned to have Islamic religious law enforced in Canada. He claims Moslems inside Canada are living "under siege."

Police have decided not to charge a controversial Muslim leader under Canada's hate-crime laws for suggesting on a television talk show last fall that all adult Israelis are "legitimate targets" for Palestinian terrorists. Last November, the university's dean of science decided the professor's statements were "entirely unacceptable," but decided against formal disciplinary action. The local Islamofascists and jihadniks are pleased, while a true Moslem moderate condemned the "Doctor."

So if this is not hate speech in Canada, what is? Come now, grasshopper, don't you know? The Bible has been declared hate speech in Canada. Really! It says things about homosexuality that some PC profs may not like and it says the lands of Israel belong to the Jews.

That bill, passed 59-11 by the Senate, adds sexual orientation as a protected category in Canada's genocide and hate-crimes legislation, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. The House of Commons passed the bill in September, 141-110.

20 March, 2005


Post lifted from Chris Brand:

‘LIBERTY vs HUMAN RIGHTS’ -- EXCLUSIVE -- Such was the title of a fine leader in the Sunday Times (13 iii) complaining that Britain’s subscription to the European Human Rights Act (or our judges’ interpretation of that subscription) was putting the courts in control of matters that should be decided by Members of Parliament or just personal choice. In the past year, ‘human rights’ have protected the privacy of celebrities Naomi Campbell (wanting to hide her drug addiction) and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (who had struck a lucrative deal that the only photos of their wedding would be by OK magazine); they have given British prisoners a princely £162 million for having to use chamber pots at night; they have given gypsies common land without payment; they gave a Preston tax-evader £10,000 because he had not been prosecuted in quite the right way; they overturned the decision of a Muslim headmistress that she didn’t want her schoolgirls’ bodies fully covered by the hilbab; they gave Army volunteers a right to “care” from regimental sergeant majors – warned not to taunt or tease teenage soldiers tired of doing press-ups; and they prevented several foreign Muslim males from being detained on serious warnings from the intelligence services. Correctly, the Sunday Times concluded that “the Human Rights Act has become the refuge for those with barely deserving and sometimes undeserving cases.”

{Subsequently, Conservative leader Mr Michael Howard seriously courted popularity by promising to scrap Britain’s Human Rights Act if it could not be sensibly amended. He called the HRA a “charter for chancers.” – His move came in response to UK local authorities saying they would give up the task of moving on gypsies because of the latter’s many Euro-decreed ‘rights.’}

{The Sun, the UK’s top-circulation tabloid which deserted the Tories in 1997, quickly came out against puffed-up ‘human rights’ for gypsies (18 iii); and, no sooner had I sent a message of support, the Sun was being discussed on BBC radio as likely to switch its support at the widely expected UK General Election to the Conservatives. Apparently, just as Mr Howard had found his stronger opposition in recent weeks to immigration and crime resonating with voters, the Sun had noticed higher-than-expected popular support for its anti-gypsy-‘rights’ campaign. Perhaps reciprocating the Sun’s coming support, Mr Howard, speaking in Scotland, backed the paper’s anti-‘human-rights’ position. He said the 1998 Human Rights Act was “a charter for chancers [that] makes a mockery of justice” by encouraging a tide of “politically correct” litigation.}


Agitation for the sake of agitation

Cosmetics and fragrances have long been mixed with politics. Because most users are women, Marxists and some extreme feminists have declared them tools of female oppression. Conversely, dictatorships like Nazi Germany and the Taliban have banned cosmetics out of sheer misogyny. (Never mind the redundancy of forbidding mascara behind a burqa.)

Unsurprisingly, then, it's activism and not science that's behind the latest push to restrict access to cosmetics, with the activists targeting something called phthalates. (Pronounced "thal-lates.") Many of these ingredients are used in cosmetics. They can make perfume scents last longer, make nail polish more flexible, and keep hairspray from stiffening.

Activist groups seem to have joined the anti-phthalate campaign just to have something to agitate against. An umbrella group seeking to ban the chemicals, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, includes extremist environmentalist outfits like Friends of the Earth, the Environmental Working Group, and the Breast Cancer Fund. The last argues that as many as half of all breast cancers are chemically induced.

The current anti-cosmetics crusade is trying to force U.S. companies to comply with a European Union ban on some cosmetic phthalates. The activists say they will publish a "report card" this month to show which companies appeared to yield the most. Supposedly the EU knows something we don't. Yet a 2003 EU scientific report on one of the banned chemicals concluded that for consumers, "There is at present no need for further information or testing or risk reduction beyond those which are applied already." Why was such a clear finding utterly ignored? In part, it's because the EU recently adopted something called "the precautionary principle," whereby synthetic chemicals are presumed harmful until "proven" safe. Since it's impossible to prove anything safe, merely that there's no evidence of harm, this allows EU regulators to willy-nilly ban any man-made chemical they wish.

Whether a government bans something is often merely a reflection of the power and geographic location of activist groups. That's why the agricultural chemical Alar was banned over a decade ago in the United States but not in the EU. In Europe, the anti-cosmetic activists are much more powerful.

Yet the research stubbornly refuses to support them or their campaign. Every few years a group called the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel evaluates new data on cosmetic ingredients and issues updated reports. It's a massive undertaking precisely because cosmetic ingredients are so heavily researched. The conclusion of the panel's latest re-evaluation, from 2003, is unequivocal. All three of the EU-banned chemicals are "safe for use in cosmetic products in the present practices of use and concentrations, and therefore, the safety assessment of these compounds was not reopened."

While harmful phthalate effects have been found in massive doses in animal studies, CIR Director F. Alan Anderson told me, "Actual exposures are so low there could be no adverse effects from cosmetics." More specifically, "The exposure you get from cosmetics is 5,000 times lower than that shown to produce any kind of observable effect" in test animals and an "observable effect" may not even be harmful. Warning: Do not apply perfume more than 5,000 times in one evening.

The U.S. government has also weighed in. The "FDA believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed at the use of cosmetics containing phthalates."

More here

19 March, 2005


An excerpt from their website:

"As a woman, I do not understand how you can form a website based on such a disgraceful idea. Everyone is obviously entitled to their own opinion, but your opinion lacks intelligence and is solely based on ignorance. Feminism is not about shunning the idea of being a housewife, etc. In fact it has nothing to do with that. It is simply a choice. For whoever wrote the article I was reading, how can you say that feminists basically look down on women who are housewives? I have never in my research, schooling, etc. heard such a ridiculous comment and criticism of feminism. I suggest that your website educate itself more on what feminism is all about before you contain ignorant articles on your website".

The quote above comes from one of many "Scorching Rhetoric" notes we've received here at LAF. One complaint we often hear is that we know nothing about feminism and that what we claim feminism stands for (or has stood for in the past) is not true. As will be obvious to anyone who takes the time to carefully read this site (particularly our Theme Articles), we do not seek to lump all those who call themselves feminists into the same category. Even feminists disagree about what feminism means (see "What Is Feminism?"). You can no more stereotype feminists than you can stereotype all women. Just as there is no consensus within the Church about what constitutes a homemaker (sadly enough), there is no consensus within the feminist movement about what constitutes a true feminist. This can make it extremely difficult to nail down just what feminism is about and where the movement desires to take women and society in the future. But we can learn about the various objectives it has promoted and claimed as its own down through the decades.

Those who read widely and who have studied the feminist movement from its earliest roots to the present know that some of the most prominent women (and men) involved in the movement have been rabidly anti-homemaker. In fact, the more radical feminists of the 19th and 20th centuries wholeheartedly embraced Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, which called for women to be pushed out of the home and into factories, since the labor of men and women must be made "equal" while capitalism and private property were abolished. Engels wrote, "The overthrow of mother right was the world historical defeat of the female sex. The man took command in the home also; the woman was degraded and reduced to servitude; she became the slave of his lust and a mere instrument for the production of children" (The Origin of the Family, 1884). This view of the woman at home as some poor slave "reduced to servitude" and "a mere instrument for the production of children" is echoed over and over again in the writings of feminists who are now enshrined as patron saints of the women's movement. Let's allow them to speak for themselves:

"[The] housewife is a nobody, and [housework] is a dead-end job. It may actually have a deteriorating effect on her mind...rendering her incapable of prolonged concentration on any single task. [She] comes to seem dumb as well as dull. [B]eing a housewife makes women sick." ~ Sociologist Jessie Bernard in The Future of Marriage, 1982.

"Housewives [are] an endless array of 'horse-leech's' daughters, crying Give! Give! -- [a] parasite mate devouring even when she should most feed [and who has] the aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig." ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relations Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution, 1898.

"A parasite sucking out the living strength of another organism...the [housewife's] labor does not even tend toward the creation of anything durable.... [W]oman's work within the home [is] not directly useful to society, produces nothing. [The housewife] is subordinate, secondary, parasitic. It is for their common welfare that the situation must be altered by prohibiting marriage as a 'career' for woman." ~ Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex, 1949.

"[Housewives] are mindless and thing-hungry...not people. [Housework] is peculiarly suited to the capacities of feeble-minded girls. [It] arrests their development at an infantile level, short of personal identity with an inevitably weak core of self.... [Housewives] are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps. [The] conditions which destroyed the human identity of so many prisoners were not the torture and brutality, but conditions similar to those which destroy the identity of the American housewife." ~ Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963.

"[Housewives] are dependent creatures who are still children...parasites." ~ Gloria Steinem, "What It Would Be Like If Women Win," Time, August 31, 1970.

"[The husband's work] provides for greater challenges and opportunities for growth than are available to his wife, [whose] horizons are inevitably limited by her relegation to domestic duties. [This] programs her for mediocrity and dulls her brain.... [Motherhood] can only be a temporary detour." ~ Nena O'Neill and George O'Neill, Open Marriage: A New Lifestyle for Couples, 1972.

"Women owe Frieden an incalculable debt for The Feminine Mystique.... Domesticity was not a satisfactory story of an intelligent woman's life." ~ Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life, 1996.

"Being a housewife is an illegitimate profession... The choice to serve and be protected and plan towards being a family-maker is a choice that shouldn't be. The heart of radical feminism is to change that." ~ Vivian Gornick, University of Illinois, "The Daily Illini," April 25, 1981.

"[As long as the woman] is the primary caretaker of childhood, she is prevented from being a free human being." ~ Kate Millett, Sexual Politics, 1969.

"[A]s long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed.... No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be totally different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. It is a way of forcing women in a certain direction." ~ Simone de Beauvoir, "Sex, Society, and the Female Dilemma," Saturday Review, June 14, 1975.

"Feminism was profoundly opposed to traditional conceptions of how families should be organized, [since] the very existence of full-time homemakers was incompatible with the women's movement.... [I]f even 10 percent of American women remain full-time homemakers, this will reinforce traditional views of what women ought to do and encourage other women to become full-time homemakers at least while their children are very young.... If women disproportionately take time off from their careers to have children, or if they work less hard than men at their careers while their children are young, this will put them at a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis men, particularly men whose wives do all the homemaking and child care.... This means that no matter how any individual feminist might feel about child care and housework, the movement as a whole had reasons to discourage full-time homemaking." ~ Jane J. Mansbridge, Why We Lost the ERA, 1986.

All of this would be bad enough by itself, but the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s did not stop at verbal attacks against wives, homemakers, and mothers. They pushed relentlessly to change laws which both protected wives and mothers and which encouraged men to provide for their own families. They did not rest until they had triumphed through the elimination of the "family wage," the reduction of tax benefits for single-earner households, and the passage of "no-fault" divorce laws. Sociologist Jessie Bernard (quoted above), remarked that the "very deprivation of assured support as long as they live may be one of the best things that could happen to women" (The Future of Marriage, 1982). In other words, if men can walk away from marriage easily, leaving women with no support, women will be forced to take up careers whether or not they desire to do so. Carolyn Graglia explains this in her book, Domestic Tranquility: A Brief Against Feminism (Spence Publishing, 1998):

"A primary factor contributing to the feminization of poverty has been the change to a system of no-fault divorce under which divorce is easily obtained, even when opposed by one of the parties, and men are often able to terminate marriages without providing adequate alimony or child support. The feminist quest for female fungibility with males has led the women's movement to support the invalidation of laws benefiting and protecting women. This was the thrust, for example, of litigation directed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was director of the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and, often using male plaintiffs, secured invalidation of laws that favored women. The theory was that obliteration of all legal sex distinctions would ultimately be in the best interests of working women; those women, including homemakers, who wished to retain the benefits of protective legislation were never the women with whose rights the Project was concerned" (p. 295).

So, in the name of "all women," the feminist movement cavalierly did away with the very rights that guaranteed the wife peace of mind in her choice to remain at home and bring up her own children. Mary Ann Glendon, writing in Abortion and Divorce in Western Law (1987) states, "Divorce law in practice seems to be saying to parents, especially to mothers, that it is not safe to devote oneself primarily or exclusively to raising children." We don't need to recite long lists of statistics here, I trust, though they are readily available from the Census Bureau and other government entities, but in the past thirty years, divorce and abandonment have skyrocketed, leaving women the victims of poverty in far greater numbers than men. Instead of admitting culpability, feminists have moved on to push for taxpayer-funded daycare and greater welfare benefits for those mothers left in the lurch. Again, Carolyn Graglia:

"[F]eminists nevertheless often try to disclaim responsibility for no-fault's results. Liberationists of the 1970s blathered mindlessly about the oppressiveness of the family, exhorting women to break the chains of their confinement, to cease being parasites in their suburban havens, to cease holding husbands in marriages the men no longer wanted, and to set out on the road to true fulfillment and equality by finding some rewarding career. Yet, having been taken seriously by every state legislature in the country and with the divorce revolution accomplished, feminists seek to absolve themselves of blame, as if society should have known better than to listen to them. No longer concentrating on the oppressiveness of the home and family for women, feminists argue instead that, unfortunately, married mothers must remain in the work force to protect themselves from the very likely possibility of becoming single parents by divorce. This is a likelihood, they choose not to remember, their movement was highly instrumental in creating" (Domestic Tranquility, p. 296).

Now we live in a culture where the term "trophy wife" isn't just a joke and where men can abandon their wives and children as easily as they shuck off their dress shoes at the end of the day. Instead of deploring this development, women have been urged to become just as promiscuous and irresponsible as the men. Somehow, if we all descend to the lowest common denominator, we'll find happiness in the mess we've created. "There isn't a venerable history of women celebrating promiscuity;" writes columnist Frederica Mathewes-Green. "[I]f anything, women's wisdom over the ages taught that emotional security was the precondition for sex being fun, and a wedding ring was the best aphrodisiac. But again, what did stupid old housewives know? Men called them prudish, so that's what they were. Thirty years later women are still going morosely out into the night in dutiful pursuit of fun. And if it's not fun, she presumes, it must be because something is wrong with her." So now those of us who reject the doctrines of the sexual revolution (which had their roots in the "free love" movement of Marxism in the 1840s and in Margaret Sanger's writings in the early 20th century) are expected to just go along with the "brave new world" the radical feminists created in the name of all women. We are not supposed to protest when tax laws are changed to favor double-income households that use state-funded daycare or when laws protecting widows and orphans are obliterated in the name of "gender equality" and "fairness."

Group challenges CDC obesity claims: "Several well-established, incontrovertible, scientific studies conclude that the United States has the fattest people on Earth, with two-thirds of the population overweight or obese. Those same studies argue that obesity itself is a disease, a position so accepted that even Medicare pays for weight control plans. But one group, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom argues those studies are not up to snuff. 'America is now suffering from an epidemic of obesity myths much more than an epidemic of obesity,' said CCF senior analyst Dan Mindus. Mindus authored a report that attempts to shatter 'obesity myths' and takes direct aim at what Mindus says is the principal culprit for obesity hysteria in America -- the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

18 March, 2005


Back in 2003, a few days after the highest court in Massachusetts unveiled a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, I ventured a prediction.

''Sooner than you think, it will become improper to speak of unique sex roles in family life," I wrote. ''The meanings and status associated with words like 'husband' and 'wife' will be erased from the law; most likely, the words themselves will be replaced in statutes with the unisex 'spouse,' just as 'father' and 'mother' will give way to 'parent.' "

The changes soon began. Massachusetts rolled out a new marriage license shorn of any reference to bride and groom. Couples getting married were now to be officially identified as ''Party A" and ''Party B." The department of public health proposed a similar rewrite of the state's birth certificate, replacing ''mother" and ''father" with ''Parent A" and ''Parent B." To that, Governor Mitt Romney objected, though it is probably only a matter of time until a court orders him to make the change.

Meanwhile, others have gone far beyond Massachusetts in embracing the brave new world of unisex marriage. Last month, lawmakers in Ontario enacted Bill 171, stripping the statute books of all references to gender in connection with marriage. No longer do Ontario's laws use words and phrases like ''husband," ''wife," ''widow," ''widower," or ''persons of the opposite sex." And it is not just family and marriage laws that have been de-sexed. Bill 171 eliminates the traditional language of matrimony from more than 70 provincial statutes, including the Gasoline Tax Act and the Public Libraries Act.

What is underway here is not simply a tweaking of legal terminology. The crusade for same-sex marriage has never been aimed merely at adjusting the familiar boundaries of married life to make it more inclusive. The real target is the significance of marriage itself -- the idea, fundamental to human happiness and all successful societies, that the purpose of marriage is to bring men and women together for their mutual welfare and for the protection and well-being of any children they create or adopt. It is that deeply ingrained belief that the marriage radicals are determined to do away with. One purpose of the official marriage Newspeak is to make such thoughts increasingly unthinkable.

Already it is becoming hazardous to speak of marriage as an opposite-sex institution or to suggest that one of its core functions is to provide children with fathers and mothers. Just ask actress Jada Pinkett Smith or Governor Romney.

When Pinkett Smith received an award at Harvard two weeks ago, she used her acceptance remarks to splash cold water on the idea that family obligations can make it difficult for married women to reach the top of the career ladder -- a hypothesis recently voiced by the university's president, Lawrence Summers.

''Women," Pinkett Smith told the audience, ''you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career. They say you gotta choose. Nah, nah, nah. We are a new generation of women. We got to set a new standard of rules around here. You can do whatever it is you want."

That harmless bit of you-go-girl boosterism was all it took to arouse the wrath of Harvard's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance. It denounced Will Smith's wife for her ''extremely heteronormative" comments, which ''made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable." The group demanded -- and received -- an apology. And those who brought Pinkett Smith to campus will now undergo reeducation: The Harvard Crimson reports that the Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations is working with the BGLTSA ''to increase sensitivity toward issues of sexuality." Translation: There will be no more talk of loving men or devoted husbands at Harvard. At least not from married women.

Romney's offense against the new marital correctness was considerably more serious. In a couple of speeches to Republican groups out of state, he condemned same-sex marriage on the grounds that ''every child has the right to have a mother and a father."

The words were hardly out of his mouth before protesters were at his State House office, blasting him as ''mean-spirited." Editorial writers launched an attack on his ''ignorance" and charged him with ''stooping to pander to the rigid right." In the Berkshire Eagle, one columnist slammed his statement of the obvious -- that every child deserves a mom and a dad -- as ''really disturbing" and the brainless ''fuzzy stuff of 1940s movies." He was accused elsewhere of succumbing to the kind of thinking that once barred blacks from white lunch counters.

Be forewarned: This is just the start. The assault is not going to let up until the heteronormative deviants among us have all been silenced. You think the marriage radicals have gone too far? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

From Jeff Jacoby


Fort Wayne Community Schools officials violated an Elmhurst High School student's free-speech rights when they suspended him for wearing a T-shirt bearing the likeness of an M-16 rifle and the text of the Marine Corps creed, a federal court ruled Friday. The district suspended Nelson Griggs in March 2003 for violating a provision of the school dress code that prohibits students from wearing clothing depicting "symbols of violence." Griggs, now a 17-year-old junior at Elmhurst, and his father, David, sued the school system in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne in February 2004, arguing the dress code was overly broad.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Roger B. Cosbey agreed in his 30-page ruling Friday. "Schools are under undeniable pressure to prevent student violence," and the anti-violence section of the dress code is "a reasonable, constitutional tool toward that end," Cosbey wrote. But in the case of Griggs' Marine creed shirt, officials went too far, the ruling said. "Griggs' shirt has no relation to the (school) board's legitimate concerns about school violence, nor is it likely to disrupt the educational process," wrote Cosbey.

Nelson Griggs wore the T-shirt to Elmhurst High School on March 17, 2003, and was told by an official he would be disciplined if he wore it again. But he believed the shirt was protected under the First Amendment and wore it again the next day, court documents said. Then, Elmhurst Principal Laura Taliaferro ordered the teen to serve an in-school suspension and told him he would be given an out-of-school suspension if he wore the shirt again, the documents said.

School officials objected in particular to a part of the text on the shirt that read, " I must shoot him before he shoots me," the document said. The creed is also known as "My Rifle." "We haven't seen the ruling yet," FWCS spokeswoman Debbie Morgan said. "When we get the ruling, we'll review it. But we'll certainly comply with the ruling."


17 March, 2005


Yes. Fiona Mactaggart really is the Fascist-sounding "Minister for race equality and community cohesion". Hmmmm... "Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuehrer?"

"We've heard a lot from the Lords recently about protecting our country's traditions of justice and fairness. Today, as the Lords debate the government's proposals on incitement to religious hatred, I want to challenge them to deliver justice and fairness to members of minority faiths.....

The offence we propose will not prevent people from debating or ridiculing religions and beliefs as robustly as happens today. Evangelical Christians will still be free to preach the gospel and warn of the evils they perceive in other religions. We are not banning critical and offensive remarks or extending the law of blasphemy. The bill focuses on something very specific, namely the conduct of those who try to propagate hatred of people and communities because of their religion or belief. Surely we can all accept that this is not what we want to happen in our society....

Today is a crucial test of the society we want to create. By supporting the government's proposals, the Lords would send a clear message to stop people who are currently beyond reach of the law from promoting hatred of others because of their faith. This behaviour has no place in modern Britain, and there can be no more excuses for not taking action."

Now let me see if I have got this straight: "debating or ridiculing religions and beliefs" will be legal but "to propagate hatred of people and communities because of their religion or belief" will be illegal. But if I ridicule Islam is that not likely to promote hatred of those who adhere to it? It would certainly be open for public prosecutors and learned judges to conclude so. Fiona seems to be proposing a distinction without a difference. And given the capricious way judges interpret law, I doubt that any critic of Islam would be safe from this law. A pastor making criticisms of Islam in his own church was convicted of an offence under a similar law in the Australian State of Victoria.

More of Fiona's article here


Maybe Britsish feminists are less hysterical

I often feel as if I'm in a Bateman cartoon: "The Feminist Who Said She Was a Darwinian". Gasps of horror and disbelief. After all, it's well known that Darwinism spells reductionism, essentialism and genetic determinism (whatever they mean) and is an agent of the male conspiracy to chain women to kitchen sinks.

This caricature has been much on my mind since the president of Harvard, Larry Summers, dared to get biological about women in the natural sciences, engineering and maths. Talking at a closed conference about why so few women occupy top academic jobs in these disciplines, he attempted to probe beyond such familiar issues as childcare, role models, confidence (lack of) and prejudice (lots of). Summers made the modest claim that evolved sex differences, though not the sole reason for this male predominance, are among the reasons that should be considered. Outrage ensued. Not least, would-be feminists got the vapours, exacted apologies, mooted no-confidence motions, demanded resignation, and told the world of their hurt and humiliation.

But, as evolutionary science shows, Summers was right - for three reasons.

First, men, on average, have an advantage in certain quantitative and spatial abilities - particularly intuitive mechanics and "3-D thinking" (mental rotation of three-dimensional objects) - that are key for engineering and maths.

Second, there are, on average, sex differences in dispositions, interests, values. Men are far more competitive, ambitious, status-conscious and single-minded; and they'd rather work with abstract ideas or objects than with humans. Women are more focused on family and other relationships; they have wider interests and prefer not to work in people-free zones. When women leave high-powered jobs to "spend more time with the family", it's truth, not euphemism. In the US, even in the top 1% of mathematical ability, only one woman to eight men makes a career in maths, engineering or science; the other seven choose medicine, biology, law or even the humanities - typically, to work with, and help, people.

Third, sex differences exhibit greater male than female variance. Females are much of a muchness, clustering round the mean. But among males, the difference between the most and the least, the best and the worst, can be vast. So, when it comes to science, more men than women will be dunces but more will be geniuses - although the means are close. The maths averages of American teenage boys and girls are not dramatically different; but among the most mathematically gifted there are 13 boys for every girl. Sex differences are crucially about variance as well as means.

Now combine these three factors. Isn't it unlikely that the distribution of men and women working in science will be identical? And the higher the echelon, the greater will be the preponderance of men - with obvious outcomes for elite institutions such as Harvard.

These differences are not recent or artificial or arbitrary. They have deep evolutionary reasons, which are well understood. Sexual reproduction as we know it began with one sex specialising slightly more in competing for mates and the other slightly more in caring for offspring. This divergence became self-reinforcing, widening over evolutionary time, with natural selection proliferating and amplifying variations on the differences, down the generations, in every sexually reproducing species that has ever existed. Thus, from this slight but fundamental initial asymmetry, flow all the characteristic differences between males and females throughout the living world. Now, 800 million years later, in our species as in all others, these differences pervade what constitutes being male or female, from brains to bodies to behaviour.

A wealth of evidence backs up this view of our evolutionary endowment, ranging from newborns (even at one day old, girls prefer a human face, boys a mechanical mobile) to pathology (females exposed to "male" hormones in the womb are typically "tomboyish" and surpass the female average in spatial skills - and vice versa for males) and children's play (boys' games are competitive, big on rules and establishing a winner, girls' are more cooperative and end in consensus). These and other predictable sex differences are robust across cultures, and throughout history.

So much for Darwinism. What about feminism? Well, how could one be a feminist and not a Darwinian? If feminists want to change the world, they need first to understand it. And, when it comes to sex differences, Darwinian science provides the authoritative understanding.

Indeed, Darwinian insights open up promising avenues for policy. Consider the assumption that women academics are under-represented in science and maths - and the conclusion that prejudice must be to blame. Given what we know from evolutionary biology, that can't be the whole story. Shouldn't that knowledge influence feminist demands? If, for instance, fairness can no longer be identified with 50:50 representation, why the mission to equalise numbers - and what sex ratios should we aim for? And if the main evidence for discrimination was an imbalance, what should now be considered as evidence? Indeed, should discrimination occupy so much of the feminist agenda?

Or consider the cognitive differences that disadvantage girls in maths. Shouldn't we be drawing more - not less - attention to them? How else will interventions be devised that don't treat girls as default males? Bear in mind that mathematical ability itself is not an evolved ability; maths is far too recent for that. Rather, mathematical talent borrows eclectically from abilities evolved for other purposes. Much of the mathematical advantage of boys lies in spatial abilities for navigation - an area in which females are notoriously weaker; in particular, boys are better than girls at using these innate capacities to turn quantitative relations into diagrams. So why not help girls improve their skills? When males and females (both adults and children) are helped with translating word problems into diagrams, the performance of females improves more than that of males - thus closing some of the gap between the sexes. By contrast, self-confidence in maths, which also favours boys, makes some impact; but it is relatively small. So forget classes in "self-esteem" or "empowerment". Go for evolutionarily informed teaching in maths classes. Admittedly, more female-friendly maths won't guarantee more female Nobel prize-winners. But it should enable more girls to realise their potential. And isn't that what fairness is about?

So it is not Darwinian feminists but the anti-Darwinians that should feature in the Bateman cartoon. I nominate those Harvard protesters. It is scandalous that educated women should be so profoundly ignorant of scientific and statistical thinking; even more scandalous that, rather than learn, they slam the door and sneak to the media; and more scandalous still that they do this in the name of feminism. It is not sex differences but sexism that is iniquitous. And it is not science but injustice that should be opposed. For how can we forge a fairer world if we lack a proper understanding of how the sexes differ?


16 March, 2005


The Guilford County Schools invited the public to attend an anti-racism workshop held for teachers, parents and community leaders last week, but refused to allow a reporter to stay in the room once he was identified as such. In fact, Crossroads Ministry, who held the seminar, has such clout that the second day, a reporter was thrown out after Guilford County School Superintendent Terry Grier had given permission for him to attend. Considering what they were teaching at this seminar, which teachers from Southwest, Andrews and High Point Central high schools were required to attend, it is no wonder they didn’t want a reporter present.

The participant manual used by Crossroads Ministry is not only outdated, talking about understanding racism in the 1990s, but it also contains some pretty strong statements regarding racism and white people, such as, “Racism is the collective actions of a dominant racial group,” and “Every system and every institution in the US was created originally and structured legally and intentionally to serve white people exclusively.” Crossroads Ministry also identifies ways in which racism “misuses power,” some of which are “Racism’s power over People of Color,” and “Racism’s power to preserve and maintain power and privilege for white society.” According to Crossroads, white people are the only ones capable of being racist, which sounds pretty racist in its own right.

At one point during the workshop on Friday, the participants were placed in different rooms according to skin color – all the white people in one room and all the non-whites in another. Rev. Charles Ruehle, executive co-director of Crossroads Ministry, who is white, met with the white participants and introduced them to “internalized racial superiority,” defined as a “process that teaches White people to believe, accept and/or live out superior societal definitions of self and to fit into and live out superior societal roles.” The ultimate outcome of this is, according to Ruehle, “white supremacy.”

Ruehle made a comment during the segregated discussion that blacks have more to fear from whites that don’t recognize their inherent racism than from neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Anne Stewart, a trainer for Crossroads Ministry, who is black, met with the black participants and discussed what Crossroads calls “internalized racial oppression,” which is defined in the participant manual as a “process that teaches People of Color to believe, accept and/or live out negative, societal definitions of self to fit into and live out inferior societal roles.” During the discussion, Stewart stated that many black families encourage their children to marry light-skinned mates to lighten their complexion, and she also blamed black-on-black crimes on white society instilling a sense of worthlessness in blacks......

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A system that discriminates against ability and in favour of cheats

"Finding a fair way of rationing scarce resources is always hard. When the resource is education and the prize is a place in medical school, the rationing process needs to be far more plausible and transparent than it generally is in Australian universities.

This column is primarily about the University of Adelaide, where the admissions process has been a long-running scandal. It may perhaps be the most egregious example, but it is by no means the only one. The undergraduate medicine and health sciences admissions test, UMAT, and screening interviews are nationwide phenomena. Once upon a time, admission to med school was a fairly straightforward matter, decided on matriculation scores. Students with a negligible grasp of English or with psychiatric problems - two salient non-academic criteria for exclusion - could mostly be informally discouraged.

It was in 1996 - the era when a place in med school came to be seen as an entitlement - that other tests supplanted matriculation scores. Adelaide University strenuously denies it, but many say the original impetus was to prevent the intake from being inundated with industrious Chinese and Vietnamese students. Once other factors could override academic results, overt and covert forms of discrimination became part of an increasingly opaque process. It was a variation on Shakespeare's lines about disrupting hierarchical order: "Take but degree away, untune that string,/And, hark! what discord follows." The equal opportunity brigade made the usual ambit claims for women and students from rural schools, claims that in the politically correct 1990s seemed unchallengeable.

Other grounds for covert discrimination have been canvassed. As the South Australian president of the Australian Medical Association, William Heddle, said: "It is interesting to note children of doctors and private school students seem to have great difficulty getting into the medical school despite excellent academic scores and personal qualities. We have great concern it may be happening for ideological reasons."

In 2004, Judith Sloan, a labour-market economist, complained to local media. Her daughter Lucinda, rejected despite a tertiary entrance rank score of 99.9, was forced to study medicine at the University of Melbourne. "We are speaking out for other families who will be facing this situation in the future. The people we are losing interstate are not just academically gifted; they are well rounded. People have been trying to get some accountability about the entry system. Entry systems vary but only Adelaide puts such reliance on UMAT and interviews - it is an absolute joke."

Peter Cameron, an Adelaide general practitioner, is also a vocal critic. His son Alexander is another GPS student with a TER score of 99.9 who was forced to go to Melbourne University's med school. Cameron is up in arms at the way the interview system and its levelling effects discriminate against privately educated students, particularly those with spirit and leadership ability, in favour of more passive, malleable types. He says: "I fail to see how a test of dubious significance followed by a 20-minute interview of a nervous adolescent can better predict the quality of a doctor after 10 more years of training than a TER score which reflects years of hard work. At least half a dozen of the state's brightest students are forced to go elsewhere every year to do medicine because in Adelaide mere merit is not enough."

Aaron Russell, another candidate with a TER score in the high 90s who's vice-president of the Adelaide University Union, was weeded out by the UMAT tests and didn't even get to the interview stage. He did well enough on the IQ tests but failed in the hypothetical section on "interaction skills". He says: "I didn't choose warm, fuzzy answers or assume that the patient is always right."

The university, painfully aware of its public relations problems, likes to wheel out the big guns in its defence. For example, Bruce Dowton, dean of medicine at the University of NSW, is often cited for commending Adelaide's process as "an objective, reliable and equitable way of selecting medical students". Dowton probably believes what he's saying, but it's nonetheless plain that no evaluative interview of candidates can, of its very nature, be objective. It's not an impersonal process; nor is it value-neutral. Because the criteria for selecting some students and rejecting others aren't explicit and the medical faculty is so secretive about these interviews, they are widely regarded as tainted and inequitable. Dowton is also mistaken if he imagines that the process is reliable. It can no longer be depended on even to produce any of the various social engineering outcomes it was apparently designed to further. A cottage industry has emerged, offering very expensive courses to help would-be medical students become familiar with UMAT and to outsmart the interviewers.

If your children need strategies to disguise their background and postcode, or coaching in how to wear a baseball cap back to front convincingly, why not search Google for medical-entrance. com.au? The Icarus College can help. (As an aside, it's an unfortunate choice of name. These days I suppose not many young people know about poor Icarus, the figure in classical mythology who flew on waxen wings that melted when he got too close to the sun. But I digress.) If your hapless offspring haven't yet learned to affect ever-so-progressive social values whenever they're expected, or perhaps just a hint of fashionable sexual ambivalence, you may need to enrol them in a more personalised, intensive course.

This farcical, market-driven development has not gone unnoticed in Adelaide's med school. We can be confident about that because in January Tony Davis, a senior lecturer in clinical psychiatry, wrote a letter about it to the dean of medicine, Derek Frewin. "I have discovered that the majority of 'successful' entrants to medical schools in Australia have completed a UMAT preparation course. In 2004, approximately 500 of the 900 first-year students completed a course offered by Dallas Medical Entrance, one of the most popular courses on offer. There are several other courses available in each state. Dallas Gibson states that 50 per cent of his course participants have been 'successful' in recent years, compared with 10-15 per cent of national applicants," Davis wrote. "It is clear that students are being trained to answer the UMAT questions and to respond to the interview in a well-rehearsed fashion. Dallas also states that students are cautioned about disclosure of certain personal details, [for example], being from a medical family, being a school leader, being from a private school. He is keen to begin the 'education process' with students in Year 10, to ensure they are 'well and truly prepared' for the selection procedures at the end of Year 12."

Davis noted in passing that "for several years many colleagues have expressed concerns about the lack of validation of the UMAT and lack of reliability of the interview". He concluded by saying: "I understand that the medical faculty in Adelaide is still telling students (and their families) that you cannot prepare for the UMAT and interview, and continue to discourage participation in such courses. I consider this is bad advice and that if this selection process continues, all interested students should be encouraged to enrol in a preparatory course in Year 11 at least. This is the only way to try to 'level the playing field', in what I believe is a very inequitable and ill-conceived process of selection."

When reforming the system becomes inevitable, the authorities should have a look at "A Levels and Intelligence as Predictors of Medical Careers in UK Doctors: 20 Year Prospective Study" (I.C. McManus and others, British Medical Journal, July 2003), which found matriculation scores far better predictors of success in studying medicine than IQ tests".


15 March, 2005


Isn't it odd that really successful women -- Margaret Thatcher comes to mind -- are NOT acclaimed by feminists if they are conservative? It shows that the real agenda of feminists is only incidentally pro-women. It is really just another flavour of Leftism. It uses women. It does not champion them.

The pistol-packing grandma about to be inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame is the most controversial appointment since its inception 22 years ago. Why? Because Marion Hammer, a squat senior citizen with a soft Southern twang, was the first — and only — female president of the National Rifle Association.

Gun control advocates and women's rights groups are outraged at the selection of Hammer, one of three women Gov. Jeb Bush tapped this year to join writer Zora Neale Hurston, tennis star Chris Evert, former state Education Commissioner Betty Castor and Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings among others "who have made significant improvement of life for women and for all citizens of Florida," according to the Hall of Fame's Web site.

Hammer, who said she never tells anyone how many guns she owns because "it's nobody's business," remains nonplussed. "Isn't that a hoot?" she chuckled when told that the National Organization for Women and others plan to protest her nomination on Monday, the day before the induction ceremony takes place in the Capitol. "Women who are out there trying to promote advancement for women, protesting the recognition of a woman who has broken many glass ceilings," Hammer said. "That's just a hoot."

But women's rights proponents aren't laughing, and neither are gun control activists who call her a "threat to public safety." "Marion Hammer has been a strident advocate for weapons that kill and maim, even assault weapons," said Linda Miklowitz, the outgoing president of the Florida chapter of NOW. "She's an embarrassment to the Women's Hall of Fame." Breaking glass ceilings isn't enough, Miklowitz said, "if it's for negative reasons."

Hammer is a Tallahassee lobbyist who works for the NRA and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida. She also lobbies pro bono for children with learning disabilities, the result of her experiences with her grandson who has severe dyslexia, and she was appointed by former Senate President John McKay to sit on a task force for scholarships for disabled children task....

Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is expected to run for governor in 2006, nominated Hammer and said he doesn't see what all the fuss is all about. "She might be controversial to some people, but not to me," Crist said, adding she is a "freedom fighter who has expanded the freedoms" of Floridians by her advocacy for the Second Amendment. The women who selected Hammer and nine others out of about 80 nominations said Hammer's political philosophy did not enter into their decision.....

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The Easter Bunny is a vanishing breed. Not that there's a shortage of 6-foot white rabbits carrying baskets of colored eggs. It's just that Mr. Shopping Mall Bunny is becoming more politically correct. The bunny at The Gardens mall Easter egg hunt last weekend — oops, make that just plain "egg hunt" — was called Garden Bunny. "The name just complemented The Gardens of the Palm Beaches," mall Marketing Director Jeannie Roberts said.

Saturday, Baxter the Bunny is available for photos at the Mall at Wellington Green. At Town Center in Boca Raton, Peter Rabbit will hand out goodies and pose for pictures. "Because we're such a multicultural community, it's good just to remain neutral," mall General Manager Sam Hosen said.

Some stick with tradition. The Easter Bunny still appears at the Boynton Beach Mall and at Treasure Coast Square in Jensen Beach. The Palm Beach Mall has no bunny at all. "I suppose the name Easter Bunny is fairly unusual. We have Easter eggs too," Boynton Beach Mall Manager Andrea Horne said. "I know it's probably not the popular thing to call it."

The rabbit's name seems to have little effect on shopping habits. "I'm not really sure how religious the bunny is," The Gardens' Roberts said. She's right. The origin of the Easter Bunny dates to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Oestre or Eastre, whose mythical companion was the ultimate symbol of fertility, the hare. Over the centuries the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus became entwined with the pagan celebration of the annual rebirth of life each spring. German immigrants brought the Easter rabbit across the Atlantic in the late 1800s, and he's become the secular symbol of the Easter season.


14 March, 2005


Tomorrow, March 10, 2005, marks the 125th anniversary of the Salvation Army’s foray into work in the United States. Given the Army’s key historical role in relieving poverty and suffering, current litigation against the Army’s New York post raises questions about the nature of 21st century American charity.

Founded by William Booth in London in 1865 and exported by Commissioner George Scott Railton and his seven “Hallelujah Lassies” to the U.S. this week in 1880, The Salvation Army has been called “the most effective charity in the United States.” In the opinion of famed management guru Peter Drucker, “No one even comes close to it with the respect to clarity of mission, ability to innovate, measurable results, dedication and putting money to maximum use.” A recent Army press release reports that under the command of Captains Billy and Annalise Francis, today’s New York Temple Corps is a thriving center of religious and social service and part of The Salvation Army’s Great New York Division.

Despite such accolades, the Army’s significant business relationship with public agencies and their ability to do social service independent of religious foundation is the challenge of a current New York religious rights lawsuit. Brought by veteran Army social workers whose personal faith—or lack thereof—has been a non-issue for twenty -odd years, the complaint focuses on new Army policies requiring compatible religious beliefs among its employees. Although the religious hiring rights issue is an important one, it will be ably addressed by conservative legal experts, accustomed to battling in the justice system on such counts.

However, for the millions of Salvation Army “kettle contributors,” there is a more important debate. Has a stalwart American symbol of compassionate care for the poor become merely another social service vendor? Have the millions in public contracts so distorted the founding mission of “soup, soap, and salvation” that even the 84% flow through to services is more a statement about good management practices than a manifestation of passion to see peoples’ lives changed?

There is no disputing the value of services that meet people’s physical needs. But recognition of the dignity of the person requires that moral and spiritual needs also be addressed. In fact, long-term solutions to material deprivation will most effectively be found through approaches that recognize and foster non-material qualities such as responsibility and creativity. A religious organization such as the Salvation Army can serve a dimension of human need that other organizations cannot. It would be a shame if such an integral part of its historical mission were neglected.....

The Salvation Army’s anniversary celebration should reinforce its founding ideals. It should be about 125 years of needy people seen as created in the image of God, deserving of both immediate care and the holistic charity that characterized William Booth’s vision. Booth branded his charity work The Salvation Army because that was what made his charity work.

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Apparently women need special help to achieve their goals.

The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative - an effort to let voters decide whether race and gender preferences should be used in education and hiring - was launched because of a race debate and the Supreme Court's ruling in the University of Michigan's admissions case. But now some are arguing that the initiative could do more damage to women than many realize. The initiative seeks to ban race and gender preferences in Michigan for hiring, college admissions and educational programs, and even though a vote is months away, a push is on to inform the public about its implications for women.

A report, "The Gender Impact of the Proposed Michigan Civil Rights Initiative," will be released Friday at the Michigan Women's Summit. In it, Susan Kaufmann, who authored the report, compared the initiative to California's Proposition 209, passed in 1996. Like the initiative that will be on Michigan's ballot in November 2006, she said, Prop. 209 challenged educational programs for female and minority students, hindered opportunities for women in the work force and threatened women's health programs and domestic-violence shelters.

She said that after the California proposal passed, the state stopped collecting information about race, gender and ethnicity in employment and contracting, though collection has resumed. And for a while, the hiring of female faculty dropped on several campuses in the University of California system, which continued to collect data. "People think it's about race and about college admission, but it addresses gender equally and it addresses all functions of government at all levels of government, including K-12 education and all public services," said Kaufmann, the associate director of the Center for the Education of Women at the University of Michigan. "I hope people will educate themselves about the potentially broad and negative impact on women and girls."

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13 March, 2005


The precautionary principle has been on the rise since its very first appearance in the 1980s in Germany, where a committee of experts were asked to study the means to ensure the environmental protection of the North sea. Since then, the Kyoto Protocol has been ratified and the principle even has been included in the European Constitution project. But its success is scary if you understand the nature of this principle. It in no way removes risk, but rather increases the level of risk to individual prosperity.

What is the true nature of this principle? The precautionary principle is nothing but a modern tool for social engineering aimed at reducing certain types of risks through state intervention. It can be explained in two different ways. On the one hand, it means that -- in its name -- it is necessary to prove that an activity does not imply any risk for the environment in order to be allowed. On the other hand, it requires no demonstration (i.e. scientific proof) that an activity implies a risk for individuals or for the environment in order to ban it. This is what Hubert Reeves underlines in a recent article in Le Monde. As he puts it, "waiting for the scientific certainty stage to be reached in order to change the evolution of things could be suicidal."

The precautionary principle reverses the burden of proof. From now on, any activity will be guilty of damaging the environment and subject to prohibition unless it has been proven that it is of no danger.

This is dangerous because the principle forgets that risks and uncertainties are inherent features in human action, always have been and always will be. We are fortunate that throughout history individuals did not wait for approval from social engineers before they confronted risks. The progression of knowledge and achievement has allowed us to go ahead cautiously in the development of human activities, without forbidding this or that activity.

This is, however, what the precautionary principle proposes to do. In order to remove the risk linked to an activity, the easiest way is to cancel the activity itself. Nevertheless, purely and simply forbidding an activity, a production, an enterprise, also puts an end to the trial-and-error process necessary for the development of our knowledge. It also means reducing the level of our savings as well as limiting the spontaneous development of social institutions able to manage the risk.

Precaution as a principle does not attempt to reduce the risk linked to an activity, but rather to remove it. This could well destroy the potential beneficial consequences of innovation as well as market mechanisms, which have allowed man to reduce the risks he inexorably faces.

Used by politicians, this authoritative and centralized means of managing risks, forces all the members of a society to take the risk associated with prohibiting a certain activity. We can only fear disastrous consequences.

There's also an inherent contradiction: as the precautionary principle cannot remove all risks, but only suppress some of them while forcing us into taking others, it should submit to its own test. Its proponents should have to prove that its implementation does not imply any irreversible or damaging risks for the population. This is impossible; so, just to be safe, the principle should be banned.

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A federal appellate judge is being accused of a conflict of interest in a ruling against an Indiana woman who lost her teaching job at a United Methodist university for passing out Christian magazines in her classroom. A three-judge panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals recently overturned a jury verdict in favor of DePauw University education program coordinator Janis Price. The panel rejected the jury's finding that DePauw officials discriminated against the university employee by creating a hostile work environment and violating her free-speech rights.

In January, the panel tossed out the jury verdict that awarded the Christian administrative officer more than $10,000 in lost wages. The university had cut Price's pay, stripped her of all her titles, suspended her teaching duties, and placed her on probation, all for passing out Christian literature in class -- material that a university official construed as "anti-gay literature" in violation of the school's anti-harassment policy.

A jury agreed with Price that the Indiana school officials had treated the plaintiff unfairly and violated her rights. But even before the three-judge panel announced it was setting aside the jury's decision, the reprimanded employee says the December 7 online edition of the DePauw newspaper was already reporting that her favorable verdict had been overturned. "The document that I received -- and that my lawyer received -- that was stamped by the court was dated December 14," Price points out. "So I think you don't have to be too intelligent to connect the dots and to see that there was communication between Judge Crone and the university a week before the document was actually stamped."

But that is only one of the improprieties the Christian administrator sees in the handling of her case. Price also notes that one of the panel members, Judge Terry Crone, is a DePauw alumnus, a fact she feels should have forced the jurist to recuse himself from the proceedings. And, she adds, "He also is well-acquainted with John Neighbors, who is the DePauw lawyer and a 1971 graduate of DePauw University." In light of the judge's influential role in the matter and in authoring the panel's ruling, Price feels his connections to the school and others involved with the case could be viewed as conflicts of interest. "The other two district judges merely concurred," she notes. "Their names are listed at the end that they concur; but the person who actually wrote the documentation, Terry Crone, is a '74 graduate of DePauw."

Price says the fact that there was apparent communication between Judge Crone and the DePauw University media before the ruling was announced is a strong indicator that the American judicial system is "in big trouble." She is filing an appeal with the Indiana Supreme Court.


12 March, 2005


Swedish home furnishings giant Ikea is guilty of sex discrimination by showing only men putting together furniture in its instruction manuals, Norway's Prime Minister says. Ikea, which has more than 200 stores in 32 nations, fears it might offend Muslims by depicting women assembling everything from cupboards to beds. Its manuals show only men or cartoon figures whose sex is unclear. Daily newspaper Verdens Gang quoted an Ikea spokeswoman as saying: "We have to take account of cultural factors. In Muslim countries it's problematic to use women in instruction manuals."

"This isn't good enough," Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik was quoted as telling Verdens Gang. "It's important to promote attitudes for sexual equality, not least in Muslim nations. "They should change this," he said. "There's no justification for it."

Ikea stores are visited by 365 million people a year around the world. Many products have to be assembled by the buyer - the "flat pack" concept saves the company huge amounts in transport, storage and sales space. Mr Bondevik said: "I myself have great problems with screwing together such furniture."



You are not even allowed to argue for it

Supporting corporal punishment is one thing; advocating it is another, as Mr. McConnell recently learned. Studying for a graduate teaching degree at Le Moyne College, he wrote in a paper last fall that "corporal punishment has a place in the classroom." His teacher gave the paper an A-minus and wrote, "Interesting ideas - I've shared these with Dr. Leogrande," referring to Cathy Leogrande, who oversaw the college's graduate program.

Unknown to Mr. McConnell, his view of discipline became a subject of discussion among Le Moyne officials. Five days before the spring semester began in January, Mr. McConnell learned that he had been dismissed from Le Moyne, a Jesuit college. "I have grave concerns regarding the mismatch between your personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals," Dr. Leogrande wrote in a letter, according to a copy provided by Mr. McConnell. "Your registration for spring 2005 courses has been withdrawn." Dr. Leogrande offered to meet with Mr. McConnell, and concluded, "Best wishes in your future endeavors."

If the letter stunned Mr. McConnell, the "best wishes" part turned him into a campaigner. A mild-mannered former private in the Army, Mr. McConnell has taken up a free-speech banner with a tireless intensity, casting himself as a transplant from a conservative state abused by political correctness in more liberal New York. He also said that because he is an evangelical Christian, his views about sparing the rod and spoiling the child flowed partly from the Bible, and that Le Moyne was "spitting on that."

He is working with First Amendment groups to try to pressure Le Moyne into apologizing and reinstating him, and is considering legal action as well as a formal appeal to the college. He says Le Moyne misconstrued his views: he believes children should not be paddled without their parents' permission. He said that even then, the principal, as the school's head disciplinarian, should deliver the punishment. "Judges live in the real world, and I think they would see that Scott got an A-minus on his paper and was expressing views on a campus that supports academic freedom," said David French, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a group based in Philadelphia that is supporting Mr. McConnell. "It's hard to see a court looking kindly on Scott's expulsion."

Dr. Leogrande did not respond to telephone messages. Le Moyne's provost, John Smarrelli, said the college had the right as a private institution to take action against Mr. McConnell because educators had grave concerns about his qualifications to teach under state law.....

Because it has an accredited school of education, moreover, Le Moyne officials said that the college was required to pledge that its graduates will be effective and law-abiding teachers who will foster a healthy classroom environment. "We have a responsibility to certify people who will be in accordance with New York State law and the rules of our accrediting agencies," Mr. Smarrelli said. In Mr. McConnell's case, he said, "We had evidence that led us to the contrary."...

Mr. Smarrelli said that the paper itself was "legitimate" and "reasonable," because the assignment sought Mr. McConnell's plan for managing a classroom. Yet Mr. McConnell's views were clearly not in the mainstream of most teachers' colleges. For example, many educators focus on nurturing students' self-esteem, but Mr. McConnell scoffed at that idea in his paper. He said he would not favor some students over others, regardless of any special needs some might have. "I will help the child understand that respect of authority figures is more important than their self-esteem," he wrote. Some professors and college officials were also concerned that Mr. McConnell wrote that he opposed multiculturalism, a teaching method that places emphasis on non-Western cultures.

In an interview, Mr. McConnell said he disliked "anti-American multiculturalism," and gave as an example a short story on the Sept. 11 attacks intended for classroom use. The story, published in a teachers' magazine in 2002 by the National Council for the Social Studies, was about young American boys teasing an Iraqi boy named Osama.

Mr. Smarrelli said Le Moyne had to ensure that its students had the judgment, aptitude, temperament and other skills to succeed in challenging their students. But Dr. Smarrelli acknowledged that Le Moyne had not warned students like Mr. McConnell that they could be removed for expressing controversial beliefs, nor had the college said that education students must oppose corporal punishment or support multiculturalism....

"Because I didn't talk and think the same way that Le Moyne did, because I didn't drink their Kool-Aid, I received the ultimate punishment," Mr. McConnell said. "Corporal punishment is nothing compared to this."

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11 March, 2005


The penny has finally dropped that Leftist dishonesty about so many issues just loses them votes

I want to talk about us, about how we promulgated and enforced a politically correct line on a series of key social-cultural issues that played into right-wing charges that we were out of touch and helped to consolidate our virtual isolation from America's lower-middle and working class.

Enforced! I can almost hear the astonishment as some readers ask derisively, "Who are the enforcers? Have progressives jailed anyone for being politically incorrect?" No, of course not. But if there were no pressure to remain silent, how do we explain the many times we sat at meetings wanting to dissent but didn't for fear of being politically incorrect? Or the times we wished for a fuller, more nuanced discussion of the subject at hand but stilled our thoughts because we knew they would be unacceptable, that our commitment to the cause would be questioned?

It's possible to dismiss the idea of coercion in voluntary associations only if we don't take seriously the human need to feel a part of a community, especially in difficult and contentious times. When we feel under siege, as we have increasingly in recent years, there's an impulse to pull together, to tighten our bonds, to take comfort and affirmation in the presence of others like ourselves. This is our community-colleagues, friends, comrades with whom we share a world that frames our lives. To speak out against the "party line" is to set ourselves up as outsiders and risk being excluded. Or, if not wholly excluded, sent to the periphery, someone who suddenly becomes the "other," not out perhaps, but not quite in.

Unfortunately, our silence creates emotional and intellectual conflicts that can be costly both personally and politically, as I found out a decade ago when I published Families on the Fault Line, a book about working-class families. Some readers of an early draft of that work criticized my use of the word black (the designation almost all the people I spoke with used to identify themselves) instead of African American, which was then the politically correct term. Others questioned the fact that I referred to illegals (the word used by every Latino I spoke with) instead of the newly minted undocumented workers. And still others told me I should "push the delete button" on my computer before going public with my doubts about the efficacy of bilingual programs, even though these were also the concerns voiced by many of the Latino and Asian families I interviewed.

I struggled with these criticisms, fought silently with my critics and myself, and finally decided to write about the intellectual and emotional dilemmas they posed. In the final version of the book, therefore, I recounted the criticism and mused aloud about the constraints of needing to be politically correct. What obligation, I asked, do I have to honor my respondents' definitions of self and their opinions on the red flag issues of the day? What responsibility do I have to the political subtleties of the time? To my own political convictions? How do I write what my research told me was a true picture of the lives I wanted to portray and not give aid and comfort to right-wing bigots?

I leave it to others to decide how successfully I answered those questions. What I know is that going public about the problems raised by the need to be politically correct didn't endear me to my critics and left wounds that didn't heal easily.

A caveat here: I understand the impulse to keep our differences to ourselves and to vet the work we put into the public arena for fear that our words will be distorted to serve the agenda of the right. But I also know that, no matter how carefully we say our piece, we cannot protect ourselves or control the way our ideas are used-or abused. I learned that lesson firsthand in 1996 when I published The Transcendent Child, a book that examines how and why, despite living in families where poverty, neglect, and abuse are commonplace, some children manage to become functional adults while others, often in the same family, do not. The theory I developed to answer the question sets forth a complex of psychological qualities and social conditions that make it possible for some people to transcend a problem-filled past and develop flourishing adult lives. Not a word to cast blame on those who don't, not a syllable to suggest that their plight is due to their own failing, or because they're stupid, lazy, or unwilling to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Yet within weeks of publication, I became the darling of right-wing radio talk shows, whose hosts insisted that this was my message, even shouting me down when I argued that it wasn't.

These real concerns notwithstanding, the consolidation of power by the political right in recent years has convinced me that by insisting on political correctness, we not only played a part in impoverishing the national discourse but, in doing so, we also marginalized ourselves politically and lost what should have been our natural constituency. Our belief that we had to hold the line lest it crumble completely, our fear that by granting any legitimacy at all to the pervasive cultural anxiety of the time we would give fuel to the enemy led us to take positions on many issues that damaged our credibility with a considerable portion of the American public.

Let's go back, for example, to the 1960s and 1970s, when the sexual, gender, and cultural revolutions were roiling American society. In each of these struggles, there was both hope and danger. The birth control pill and the sexual revolution that followed promised important breakthroughs in women's ability to express their sexuality more freely and openly. But as with all revolutions, there were excesses and unintended consequences, among them the shift downward to younger and younger ages, until some among us were defending the right of fourteen-year-olds to be sexually active-while most remained silent.

I'm not suggesting that we should have joined the right in arguing against sex education in the schools in favor of an "abstinence only" position. Even if I believed in it, common sense tells me it wouldn't have worked in the highly sexualized society in which our teenagers live. But surely we could have spoken up publicly and agreed with thoughtful and frightened parents that most fourteen-year-olds are too immature, too prone to give way to peer pressure, to make an informed decision about sex. Never mind the argument that fourteen-year-olds in Samoa or some other island paradise manage their sexuality quite well. American kids generally do not, as witness the number of unwanted pregnancies, as well as the many stories I've heard from teenage girls about the role of peer pressure in their "decision" to become sexually active (Erotic Wars: What Happened to the Sexual Revolution?).

Move up a couple of decades to the 1980s when "crime in the streets" was the biggest issue in American politics. While the right argued for more police, for tougher sentences, for trying juveniles as adults, we insisted that racism and overheated media coverage were at the core of the furor, that the perception of crime didn't match the reality, and with as much fanfare as we could muster, presented statistics to prove the point. It struck me even then that we were mistaken to try to reorder perceptions with facts, partly because we failed to take account of the psychological reality that experience overwhelms statistics no matter how compelling the numbers may be, but also because the perception of crime wasn't totally illusory.

Not that there wasn't truth in our side of the argument; it just wasn't the whole truth. I believe unequivocally that racist assumptions are built into the American psyche but, in this case, they were fueled by the fact that a disproportionate number of street crimes were committed by young African Americans. The media were often irresponsible and always sensationalist in reporting crime, but they didn't make it up. Crime was on the rise; the streets in urban communities had become more dangerous; and, while most people were never themselves mugged, it was enough to know someone who had been-whether a personal acquaintance or a victim encountered on the eleven o'clock news-to create the kind of fear that was so prominent during those years.

Back then there was a saying that "A conservative is a liberal who got mugged on his way to the subway." When I first heard it, I was outraged by those flip words; now it seems to me that they weren't entirely wrong. So today I wonder if a conservative isn't a working-class guy who heard the "liberal elite" (as the right has effectively labeled us) tell him he had nothing to fear when experience told him otherwise-not just on crime but on a whole slew of issues that have turned the country into a cultural and political battlefield.

Take the family values debate. While the events of these last decades left most Americans worried about their families and longing for a return to what felt like a less tumultuous past, feminist writers told them it was all nostalgia, that the families they remembered never existed. We weren't totally wrong, but anyone who lived through those earlier times, as I did, knows also that we weren't wholly right.

Yes, the image some now hold of the family of the fifties is part fantasy, but the fifties really were a time of relative quiet in family life. Yes, if the families the right now celebrates had been so perfect, they wouldn't have given birth to the revolutionaries of the sixties, who wanted to smash the family as they knew it. Nor would the divorce rate have soared as soon as women became more economically self-sufficient. Yes, in those allegedly halcyon days many women awakened every day with what Betty Friedan so aptly labeled the "problem that has no name." But those same women also found a certain amount of gratification and safety in their families. And even those who were actively discontented (and I was among them) didn't recognize their families as the oppressively hierarchical and patriarchal institution some feminist scholars were describing. Yes, there was much to celebrate as feminists led the way in opening the doors of the occupational world and women gratefully flooded through. But there were also legitimate questions about what happens to children when both parents work full time, which we preferred not to talk about. Yes, most Americans agreed that divorce was a reasonable option when it became too hard for wives and husbands to live together, no matter what the reasons, but that didn't mean they were ready to destroy the institution of marriage itself. I have no brief for those writers who bemoan divorce and warn us that our children will be damaged forever, but our refusal to acknowledge and discuss the pitfalls in divorce for everyone in the family, fathers included, was another of those politically correct blind spots that distanced us from people we wanted to reach.

Even on abortion, that most contentious issue of all in the culture wars,* we missed opportunities to build alliances. Not with the hard-core right-to-lifers, to be sure, but with the majority of women and men who might agree on a woman's right to choose, but not a child's. Our reasons for standing against legislation that required a parent to be notified before granting an abortion to a teenager (some parents would force a decision on an unwilling child, others would be abusive) weren't all wrong. But they weren't all right, either. It is, after all, in the nature of the parent-child relationship that parents impose decisions about things large and small on their sometimes unwilling children. True, the abortion decision is larger than most, and a girl forced to continue a pregnancy faces consequences that will affect not only the rest of her life but the life of the child she will bear. Nevertheless, our refusal to acknowledge the real dilemmas inherent in how and when to draw the line between parental authority and responsibility and an adolescent child's rights left us more isolated than we should have been on abortion, especially at a time when most Americans favored our side of the abortion debate.

Whether on welfare, race, or identity politics, we kept silent when we might have built bridges. We resisted talking about the role of Aid to Families with Dependent Children in the rising rate of illegitimacy in the African American community and called those who did racist. I don't say this as an advocate for the Clinton welfare reform program, which has its own serious deficiencies: not enough effective job-training; no adequate child care to allow a mother to work in peace even if she finds a job; and perhaps worst of all, no guarantee that she will keep the health care her family was entitled to under the Medicaid program once she has a job. My argument is simply that our opposition to the reform of AFDC, even after it became clear that its unintended consequences had created a whole new set of social problems, left us with little influence either with policy makers or the general public in the debate about how to change it.

On race, too, we failed to speak out at crucial moments and to face up to self-evident truths. For decades the left has argued that the antisocial behavior of significant numbers of African American youth (dropping out of school, getting pregnant, gang behavior, drugs) is a direct result of the painful realities under which they live and the hopelessness and helplessness their plight generates. Once again, we're not wrong, but we're not wholly right either.

No doubt the prospects of African American youth have been seriously affected by the massive neglect of our public schools, very high levels of unemployment, crushing poverty, police practices that criminalize behavior that's treated like a boyish prank in white suburbs, and a long history of prejudice and discrimination. But as William Julius Wilson, a Harvard scholar who can't by any stretch be called an apologist for the right, argues, there are also behavioral causes of black poverty-decisions and choices that are not the inevitable result of social constraints but of an amalgam of culture and personal behavior that is destructive to both the individual and the community. To believe otherwise is to strip an entire population of any agency and to treat them as if they were as helpless to influence the direction of their lives as leaves tossed about in a hurricane. Well meaning, perhaps, but ultimately condescending.

More here

10 March, 2005


From New Zealand:

Tariana Turia says hiring family members is not necessarily a bad thing. And she's not alone. Anthony Hubbard reports on the virtues of nepotism.

Nepotism used to be considered a vice, like theft or child abuse. Now the ancient practice has found new defenders. Maori Party leader Tariana Turia says that leaders of Maori organisations are justified in hiring family members. In the United States, Adam Bellow, son of the Nobel-prize winning novelist Saul Bellow, has published a much-discussed book called In Praise of Nepotism. So is nepotism so bad?

Maori don't even use the N-word, Turia told a newspaper. "We see it more as whanaungatanga (kinship)." Turia argued that because Maori organisations are in the spotlight, "you are going to put people into positions who you know that you can trust and who are going to be loyal". That means favouring relatives - although the relative, of course, has to be competent to do the job.

Professor Margaret Mutu of Auckland University's Maori Studies department agrees. In a Maori-oriented organisation, she says, if there are two equally qualified applicants, preference will be given to the one more closely related. "Their whole relationship, their whole whakapapa forces them to be loyal . . . It's not so much that the stranger is going to be disloyal, but the stranger will have no extra ties which will get them to stay when the going gets rough." A member of the whanau will also look out for the overall well-being of the people, because they are part of it.

Hiring relatives who were unable to do the job, however, or giving them special treatment would attract fierce criticism, she says. "Jealousy is a big driver in Maoridom. Anyone getting extra treatment, you can bet your bottom dollar Maoridom will jump on it.".....

Mutu says there are strong Maori sanctions against corruption. "There are all sorts of checks and balances in place that are actually far greater than in the Pakeha world." In her own work in her Kiwi organisation and as chairwoman of two marae, "I've got to account for every decision I make and every action I do."

Theft and corruption are unacceptable in Maori society, she says, and Maori often blow the whistle on those in their own organisations. "Oh hell, yes - that's why you see it splashed all over the newspapers. You rarely see it from the Pakeha world."

Pakeha commonly think Maori are a bit casual with money. In fact, "what you've got is that Maori are not very expert in how to handle the cash. They get caught out". Maori do not have hundreds of years of experience of a cash-centred culture, "so we have to learn to use it the best way we can, and I can tell you we often make mistakes with it".

More here. Commentary on Daily Bork


What should have been a minor incident at an Ocala, Fla., elementary school has attracted national attention because of the school's response. Two boys, aged 9 and 10, were charged with second-degree felonies and taken away in handcuffs by the police because they drew stick figures depicting violence against a third student. There was no act of violence, no weaponry. According to news reports, the arrested children had no prior history of threatening the student depicted in the drawing. The parents were not advised or consulted. The school's immediate response was to call the police and level charges "of making a written threat to kill or harm another person."

The incident was not an aberration but one of three similar occurrences in the Florida school system during the same week. In another case, a 6-year-old was led away in handcuffs by police. And those three incidents are only the ones that managed to attract media attention. Another indication that the incident is not an aberration: The police have adamantly and repeatedly defended the slapping of cuffs and felony charges onto the 9 and 10-year-olds.

Arresting young children for a crayon drawing, not unlike the games of hangman we once all played, is the ultimate meaning and logic of Zero Tolerance. Zero tolerance involves the application of law in an extreme and uncompromising manner to any activity, violent or not, that is deemed to be anti-social. It applies to everyone, regardless of circumstances such as age, intent or prior history. Zero tolerance has spread through society largely due to the reasonable fear with which people have responded to the school shootings at Columbine and the still-stunning tragedy of Sept. 11. The fear is reasonable. But the ongoing response is not.

No one -- not the police, not the government, no school official -- has the right to brutalize a child for using crayons. And the people who reasonably supported zero tolerance as a way to make schools safer never envisioned a police state in which 6-year-olds are handcuffed. Parents are finally saying "NO!"

The battle against zero tolerance is being waged on the local and state level. One such local battlefield is in Katy, Texas. One such parent is Derek Hoggett. His 13-year-old daughter Gabrielle was suspended from school due to a butter knife packed in her lunch. Because of braces, Gabrielle needed the knife -- a legal item -- to cut an apple. No violence nor threat occurred. Hoggett explained, "She was given the harshest punishment for a first offense even though school officials admitted in a letter ... that she was a student with exemplary behavior and high academic standing." Gabrielle's school district has reportedly investigated "2,149 criminal incidents, issued 779 citations and made 108 arrests" in the past several months.

Because of the avalanche of investigations, Fred Hink -- a spokesman for the parents' rights organization Katy Zero Tolerance -- accuses the school official of having no "common sense." He claims "they do not appropriately address issues such as disability considerations, due process and the long-range effects of placing children in alternative education programs." (The alternative education programs to which children like Gabrielle are often transferred are widely criticized as substandard and stigmatizing to the child. Thus, the transfer damages their futures.).....

What are the parents demanding? There is no one set of requests, but some demands appear repeatedly. First and foremost, the parents want immediate involvement in severe forms of discipline. This means the parents of the aforementioned 9 and 10-year-olds would have been allowed to discipline their children before police were called to impose felony charges. Gabrielle's father could have explained to her that butter knives were inappropriate instead of the school suspending her.

Parents also want an appeals process. Moreover, the parents of Katy request "the establishment of a civilian oversight committee" to review police actions against school children. It is difficult to criticize parents who demand "due process" for children who are too young to speak for themselves. To me, those parents live up to the best definition of being a mother and father.

More here

9 March, 2005


Candy is bad but milk is fine. Guess which is more fattening?

A bill that would limit the availability of junk food and soft drinks sold at public schools narrowly cleared its first hurdle Wednesday. The House K-12 Education Committee voted 5-4 in favor of a bill that would ban candy, gum and soft drinks during the school day but watered it down with an amendment that would exempt high schools.....

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, introduced the bill over rising concerns about childhood obesity. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is backing the legislation, although he wants to see it changed back to include high schools. Horne also expressed concerns about the bill's future Wednesday, urging parents to contact their state legislators. "Right now, the field is dominated by people who sell candy and soda," he said.

Several states have introduced similar legislation and have faced tough battles getting bills passed into laws. Two states, Texas and West Virginia, have bans on junk food. In both states, high schools are exempt from the ban. Anderson amended the bill to exclude high schools because he feared it would never garner enough support to get committee approval otherwise. Limiting the ban to elementary and middle schools is better than nothing, he said.

Supporters of House Bill 2544 include the Arizona PTA, dairy farmers and directors of school food services. Opponents are the vending-machine and soft-drink industries and the Arizona School Boards Association. Critics say snack sales should be a local decision. "If parents don't like the products being offered, let them address it with their school boards," said John Moody, who represents the Arizona Beverage Association.

Lucy Ranus, Arizona PTA president, said the state must take up the cause because child health and nutrition is of state and national importance. The bill would apply only to snacks and drinks served "during the school day," so parent groups would be allowed to sell high-sugar, high-fat snacks and soft drinks after school. Arizona schools often sell snacks and soft drinks to raise money at school snack bars and in vending machines.

More here


The war on free speech continues in Congress. The crew that did its darndest to repeal the First Amendment back in 2002 -- Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold and Reps. Chris Shays and Marty Meehan - is back, and now its looking to clean up the mess left by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act. That mess: insidious "527" groups, like MoveOn.org's Media Fund and the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, of course.

The problem, it seems, is that there are still just too darn many independent groups allowed to go shooting their mouths off about any darn thing any darn time they want -- and they can accept pretty much any amount of money from pretty much anyone. There should be a law.

And there will be, since free-speech looks to have no defenders left in Congress. In 2002 some conservative stalwarts --people who believed that money and speech couldn't be distinguished, since it takes money to make speech heard -- tried to hold out against the McCain-Feingold mania to get money out of politics.

But this time there are far fewer brave souls. Last week, a bill was introduced in the Senate that would force 527s to register with the Federal Election Commission and restrict the groups' ability to raise and spend money. The bill enjoys the support of Trent Lott, who had been one of 41 senators to vote against McCain-Feingold. Now, however, he's decided that any money given by wealthy individuals is "sewer money."

And why is this money so dirty suddenly? "It was an unintended consequence of McCain-Feingold. Instead of going to the parties, rich people are putting money into these 527s in the dark of night," Lott told the Sun Herald in Biloxi, Miss. In other words, some of those rich people might be trying to throw out incumbents. McCain is even more blatant about the incumbent-protection angle. As The Washington Times reported last week, "McCain said lawmakers should support the bill out of self-interest, because it would prevent a rich activist from trying to defeat an incumbent by directing money into a political race through a 527 organization." "That should alarm every federally elected member of Congress," McCain said.

Indeed, it certainly does. In the House, Bob Ney, an Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Administration committee, who opposed campaign-finance reform in 2002, also seems ready to roll over.

The magic trick that reformers have managed to perform here is really something to behold. They've turned citizens into numbers. A 527 is nothing more than a group of Americans who have banded together -- 5 of them, 27 of them, 527 of them or 10,000 of them - to criticize their elected leaders, or candidates for office, and to share the costs of doing so. But by calling these people by a number, they can be made to sound shadowy and devious. The speech 527 groups engage in is fundamental to the First Amendment, yet it is exactly this speech -- not the influence behind it -- that is being targeted by Congress. So much for "Congress shall make no law…"

More here

8 March, 2005


Meat is a vital part of a child's diet, according to a two-year study of Kenyan schoolkids. Without it, children grow up smaller, less strong and less intelligent, the results suggest. So clear are the benefits, in fact, that denying children meat or dairy products in the first few years of life is unethical, argues Lindsay Allen of the University of California, Davis, who carried out the research.

The 544 children in the study, who had an average age of seven years, were given two spoonfuls (about 60 grams) of minced beef each day to supplement their ordinary diet. Other groups were given a cup of milk, an equivalent amount of energy as vegetable oil, or no supplement at all.

Over two years, kids given food supplements gained an average of 400 grams more than those without, Allen told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington DC on 20 February. Those given meat showed the biggest benefits. Children in the meat-supplemented group showed up to an 80% greater increase in upper-arm muscle compared with the non-supplemented children; for milk drinkers, this figure was 40%1. Kids who were fed meat also outperformed their peers in tests of intelligence, problem solving and arithmetic. "The group that received the meat supplements were more active in the playground, more talkative and playful, and showed more leadership skills," Allen said.

More here

Food for thought on childhood obesity

"Recently, the Institute of Medicine held hearings in Washington, DC, on the marketing of food to children. The hearings came on the heels of a media blitz by the reliably nanny-statist folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who want tough restrictions on the marketing of so-called 'low-nutrition' foods to children, including a complete ban on cross-promotional campaigns (think SpongeBob SquarePants Cereal).... Even conceding free speech concerns, ad bans make for bad public policy for a variety of reasons.

1. Ad bans have failed everywhere they've been tried. So far, the list includes Sweden, Quebec and Norway. None of these places have shown comparatively significant reductions in child obesity. In Sweden, the restrictions have been in place for a decade, yet the country's childhood obesity rates are in line with the rest of Europe's.

2. There's no correlation between ad exposure and childhood obesity. George Mason University's Todd Zywicki noted at a forum last summer that the average American child actually watches less TV than he did 15 years ago. What's more, children face less exposure to food ads now than they did then, for a variety of reasons. For one, the remote control has made ad watching optional over the last 20 years. And more recent technology like TiVo may make traditional commercials completely obsolete.

Broadcast television is also losing younger viewers to cable, where ads in general are 40 percent less prevalent, and where food ads comprise about half the percentage of overall ad time that they do in broadcast. Cable also offers more options for channel flipping during commercials, and the emerging popularity of premium cable stations like HBO often means there are no commercials at all.

All told, the average American child viewed 900 fewer food commercials in 2003 than he did in 1994. Since that same average child gained weight, it amounts to a pretty solid rebuttal to the theory that food marketing is a significant contributor to childhood obesity.

3. You'd need to ban ads in adult programming as well. The fact is, you simply can't limit a kid's exposure to food ads, unless you're prepared to ban all food advertising. Most children's television viewing isn't limited to children's television programming. They watch shows intended for adults, too. In fact, common sense suggests that the kids most prone to obesity — those with minimal parental supervision — are also those most likely to watch adult programming.

4. A ban would cripple children's television. The FCC already mandates that broadcasters devote a portion of the broadcast day to children's programming. Food ads make up a huge portion of the ad revenue for those programs. Cut off that ad revenue, and the broadcasters subject to FCC regulation lose any incentive to invest in high-quality children's TV. Why put money into a sure loser? Furthermore, television not subject to FCC scrutiny — cable, for example — would likely drastically cut back on the amount of television time it carves out for children, or just disregard children's programming entirely.

5. The evidence indicates the source of childhood obesity lies elsewhere. Several recent studies have suggested that the single best indicator of a child's health, diet, weight, and activity levels is the health, diet, weight, and activity levels of that child's parents".

More here

7 March, 2005

Still a few sane cops in Britain: "A Sussex Police chief has supported the right of householders to defend themselves against burglars. Chief Constable Ken Jones has thrown his weight behind new guidelines dictating what action people can take to protect their home from intruders. The guidelines make it clear that householders do not have to wait until they are attacked to use reasonable force to protect themselves. So long as the force they use is not excessive -- such as continuing to attack an unconscious person -- the actions will be seen as lawful and in self defence. Mr Jones said: 'Be in no doubt that we in Sussex are firmly on the side of householders' rights to defend themselves, their families and properties against burglars.'"

NYC hates Christianity: "Saying prayers during school hours is a violation of the separation of church and state. But some religious groups say a 2001 U.S. Supreme Court decision clears the way for singing praises in public schools on Sunday mornings. If the city of New York gets its way, however, such services won't continue. Next month the city will challenge the federal law, which has allowed more than two-dozen churches to obtain permits to hold their services in public-school buildings. The churches, including Christ's Tabernacle Church in Brooklyn, have been holding their Sunday morning services in schools' auditoriums and gymnasiums to accommodate their large congregations. School officials allege that the churches' services overstep the 2001 ruling."

6 March, 2005


Excerpt from an article by Janice Shaw Crouse. Noting the Orwellian use of "choice" to mean its opposite

The United States delegation is continuing to frustrate radical feminists by resisting the Far Left agenda that the United Nations has been aggressively promoting worldwide since the First World Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975. The United States has introduced a statement for the working draft of the Beijing +10 Declaration that is causing an uproar. The U.S. asks delegates to "reaffirm that [the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA)] do not create any new international human rights and that they do not include the right to abortion."

Why is this statement so controversial? Imagine 8,000 people crowding into the U.N.'s New York headquarters, and at least 7,000 of them are pro-abortion. Support is overwhelming for a statement coming out of the late Bella Abzug's organization, the Women's Economic Development Organization (WEDO): "Beijing's been betrayed!" Indeed, feelings about abortion run so strong that there are rumors that, once again, there's a risk of a CSW ending without consensus. (The first and only time a CSW ended without consensus was in 2003 when the conference could not agree with the U.S. position that prostitution is inherently harmful to women. President Bush appointed me as a U.S. delegate that year when we fought the radicals to a standstill.)

The Left has used the Beijing outcome documents -- which are technically "non-binding agreements" -- to promote abortion around the world. Radical feminists have blatantly distorted the intent and reality of the Beijing PFA to say that a woman's "right" to an abortion is a basic human right, as delineated in Beijing, the Cairo +5 conference and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). ....

Thus, even though nobody voted on the "law" and obfuscation surrounds the process of establishing the so-called "right" in individual nations, all member nations are expected to adhere to a policy that has become binding simply because some special interest group rammed language into some obscure treaty at the United Nations.

Those same special interest groups are also using the U.S.'s principled stands as a means of stirring up international anger against our country. The goal is to use opposition to the United States' pro-life position in order to legalize abortion around the world. Not only is this goal abhorrent, it is even more despicable (if possible) because it denies freedom of choice.

The International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC) has published a manual advocating the use of language in international U.N. documents to establish the right to an abortion - even though the cited documents do not explicitly assert it. It is ironic that these despots who seek to force nations to accept their agenda mask their intent under the mantra of "choice." .....

Sadly, while these privileged few scheme at the United Nations for so-called "women's rights," women around the world are left needing basic health care, safe water, decent housing, personal safety, educational and economic opportunity, political empowerment and freedom.

The Left's 'Divine Right' to tell others what to do

"While the media have been focusing on the flap at Harvard growing out of its president's statement about the reasons for the under-representation of women in the sciences, a much worse and more revealing scandal has unfolded at the University of Seattle, where a student mob prevented a military recruiter from meeting with those students who wanted to meet with him.

At first, the university president said that the student rioters should apologize. But the storm this created forced the typical academic administrator's back-down under pressure.

One of the student rioters explained that she didn't want anyone to be sent overseas to be killed. Apparently it never occurred to her that what she wanted was not automatically to be imposed on other people, with or without mob violence.

Back in the days of the divine rights of kings, it might be understandable why a given monarch might think that what he wanted was all that mattered. But, in an age of democracy, how can millions of people live together if each one asserts a divine right to impose his or her will on others?

Surely our educational system has failed if it has not taught something so basic in logic or morality. But too many of our schools and colleges have been so busy pushing particular forms of political correctness that they have not bothered to explain why other views by other people cannot be ignored intellectually or disregarded politically.....

The time is long overdue for our media and our educational institutions to start presenting both sides of issues -- and for our schools and colleges to start teaching students how to think, instead of telling them what to think".

More here

5 March, 2005


Normal expectations about males and females must not be mentioned

"After some students were offended by Jada Pinkett Smith's comments at Saturday's Cultural Rhythms show, the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) and the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations have begun working together to increase sensitivity toward issues of sexuality at Harvard.

Students said that some of Pinkett Smith's remarks concerning appropriate gender roles were specific to heterosexual relationships. In a press release circulated yesterday by the BGLTSA-and developed in coordination with the Foundation-the BGLTSA called for an apology from the Foundation and encouraged future discussion of the issue. According to the Foundation's Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Co-Chair Yannis M. Paulus '05, the two groups have already planned concrete ways to address the concerns that Pinkett Smith's speech rose.

The BGLTSA release acknowledged that the Foundation was not responsible for Pinkett Smith's comments. But the Foundation has pledged to "take responsibility to inform future speakers that they will be speaking to an audience diverse in race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender and class," according to the release. Pinkett Smith was honored as the Foundation's "Artist of the Year" at its 20th annual Cultural Rhythms show, which she also hosted.

BGLTSA Co-Chair Jordan B. Woods '06 said that, while many BGLTSA members thought Pinkett Smith's speech was "motivational," some were insulted because they thought she narrowly defined the roles of men and women in relationships. "Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable," he said. Calling the comments heteronormative, according to Woods, means they implied that standard sexual relationships are only between males and females. "Our position is that the comments weren't homophobic, but the content was specific to male-female relationships," Woods said.

Margaret C. D. Barusch '06, the other BGLTSA co-chair, said the comments might have seemed insensitive in effect, if not in intent. "I think the comments had a very strong focus for an extended period of time on how to effectively be in a relationship-a heterosexual relationship," Barusch said. "I don't think she meant to be offensive but I just don't think she was that thoughtful." In order to discuss these concerns and ensure that such a misunderstanding doesn't occur again, Paulus said the BGLTSA and the Foundation are planning a joint breakfast later this week as well as a general discussion forum for all of the SAC member groups.

Paulus added that the Foundation will issue a letter later this week apologizing for any offense the show might have caused and encouraging concerned students to attend the planned discussions. According to Paulus, the letter will acknowledge that "Pinkett Smith was just giving the story of her life. She just told things from her perspective, and her perspective was a heterosexual perspective. She wasn't trying to be offensive. But some felt she was taking a narrow view, and some people felt left out."

More here. See also Taranto for details of what the "offensive" speech was.

The WSJ has a nice picture of the attractive and dark-skinned Ms Pinkett-Smith plus the following comment on Harvard's wonderfully sensitive queers: "Ms. Pinkett Smith's stumble is a reminder of how hard it can be to be sensitive. Who at Harvard would have thought, until BGLTSA brought it to their attention, that bathrooms labeled "men" and "women" can create an atmosphere of hostility and fear for some people?"


The effects of the law against freedom of speech about religion

"Those who had forgotten how much damage religion can do, sunk in the comfortable torpor of the Church of England or the supermarket aisles, are getting some nasty reminders. Last week a group called Christian Voice threatened a Scottish cancer charity until it agreed to return the wages donated by the cast of Jerry Springer - The Opera. Flush with their easy success, these thugs are now planning to picket abortion clinics, apeing the evangelicals in America. We're talking threats and violence, all in the name of God. And you thought Abu Hamza al-Masri's sermons at Finsbury Park Mosque were extreme?

Now more than ever, we need to be free to criticise religions. But our MPs think otherwise. They have passed a law against incitement to religious hatred with barely an hour's debate, leaving it up to the Lords this month to have the courage to return the Bill to the dustheap whence it came.

Under this law, anyone who insults the beliefs of Christians, Muslims, Scientologists or any other group parading superstitions as truth will be liable to face trial on charges that carry a seven-year prison sentence. It will be a crime to utter "threatening, abusive or insulting" words about a religious group which are "likely" to "stir up" religious hatred, even if there is no intention to do so. Hence Rowan Atkinson's concern that comedians could become even less funny in future. Hence Salman Rushdie's fear that The Satanic Verses could be banned, or at least that enormous amounts of court time will be taken up with attempts to do so.

Ministers protest that only the Attorney-General can decide to prosecute, and that he or she will rarely do so. In other words, "give us the powers and trust us not to abuse them". This particular refrain is getting so popular with ministers it's surprising they have not formed a chorus line.

For a society that thought of itself as secular, there suddenly seem to be an awful lots of gods pressing for our attention. Catholics complained about the BBC cartoon Popetown until it was taken off the air. Sikh pressure has resulted in the play Behzti being banned even though it was written by a Sikh. Anglicans whinge that they are especially vulnerable to satire because they are the Established Church. Muslims seem to be developing a siege mentality that sees threats everywhere.

This resurgence of militant religion is already resulting in censorship. We do not need more. Even if few people go to jail under the new law, you and I will choose our words more carefully. Broadcasters will think twice before investigating strange cults. Politicians will no longer call for the Pope to abandon his bizarre stance on stem-cell research or for imams to condemn 9/11. (For doing just that, Muslim News has called for Margaret Thatcher to be prosecuted when the Bill becomes law.) The Director of Public Prosecutions has said that this law will "criminalise a state of mind".

Most dangerous of all are the enormous expectations that this law has raised in parts of the Muslim community. Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, seems to envision that any "insult" or "outrageous comment" about Islam or the Muslim community would become illegal. Since this is not the Government's stated intention, at least one minister has admitted that tensions will need to be defused after the election. This does not stop them rushing the law through, however. With the Muslim Council threatening the Liberal Democrats with the loss of 25 seats if they continue to oppose the Bill, the race for the Muslim vote is well under way.

But Muslims do not fit any more neatly into political strategists' "mosaic" definitions than the rest of us. The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain and the Islamic Human Rights Commission have come out against this law. Many Muslims are genuinely concerned about harassment and discrimination. They feel that they are a weak minority whose voice will never be heard without distortion, in a society where fear and ignorance of Islam abounds. But many also know that the solution is debate, not silence. So there may be fewer votes in this than the politicians anticipate. The downside, however, is enormous.

We are about to unleash internecine warfare of medieval proportions. Evangelicals are plotting to bring cases against the al-Jazeera television channel, claiming that it broadcasts Islamist propaganda. The initial support of some Jews for this Bill has waned as they have seen the fervour with which some Islamists hope to turn it back on them. A church in the North East has already found itself investigated by the police for handing out leaflets seeking to convert Muslims. Under a similar law in Australia, pastor Daniel Scot was found guilty of incitement against Muslims for explaining why he had fled from his home in Pakistan. The director of the Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee, who originally supported the law, now says that its "political correctness represents one of the most serious threats to minorities".

Only one argument seems valid: that religions should have equal rights. Muslims can be forgiven for feeling left out when the racial hatred laws cover Jews and Sikhs, who are perceived to be clear racial groups, and the blasphemy laws cover only Christians. Rather than creating more laws, the answer is surely a bonfire of the old ones. Twelve BNP members were prosecuted last year under the Public Order Act for anti-Muslim activities. Surely that is protection enough?

A modern society should abolish all blasphemy laws. It should disestablish the Church. That would give Muslims the parity they seek; not enshrining a free-for-all persecution

From The Times

4 March, 2005


"A church minister who protested against the Iraqi war has sparked outrage by banning the Australian flag from a war veteran's funeral.

World War II veteran George "Dick" Vipond, 81, died of lung cancer last week. His family is outraged his church has thwarted the war veteran's last wishes - to have a coffin draped in the Australian flag and an RSL service. The Rev Wes Campbell, of Melbourne's St John's Uniting Church in Essendon, is standing by his decision to refuse the service at his church.

"I believe the rituals of the church belong within the church building and the RSL service (should be) another event," Dr Campbell said. Mr Vipond had attended St John's Uniting Church for 40 years.

Dr Campbell, a former social justice spokesman for the Uniting Church of Victoria and Tasmania, is a member of a small group known as Christians For Peace. He was heavily involved in a series of daily People For Peace vigils outside St Paul's Cathedral in early 2003 denouncing the Iraqi war. "I've come to a judgment that fundamentally the gospel calls us to be people of peace and that the church is always to seek reconciliation where possible between enemies," he said yesterday. Dr Campbell said the flag was a powerful symbol of the nation, but it did not belong in a church ceremony.

Mr Vipond's children, Michelle Finch and Mark Vipond, said Dr Campbell's decision was unbelievable. Ms Finch said: "I was absolutely flabbergasted, I couldn't believe it." She was married at St John's Church and had her three children baptised there. Mark Vipond said: "It's completely un-Australian." Their mother, Gwen, 80, is said to be devastated.

Mr Vipond left Australia at the age of 19 and served in Papua New Guinea from 1942 to 1946. Victorian RSL president David McLachlan said he was disappointed by the decision. "The Australian flag is our national symbol. What better place for it than in a church?"

Former Victorian RSL president Bruce Ruxton, a friend of Mr Vipond, said Dr Campbell should be ashamed of himself. "I often wonder what these reverend gentlemen would have done if the Japanese had landed here in 1942."

Premier Steve Bracks said he was disturbed the minister would impose the ban during such a difficult and sensitive time for the family. Federal Veterans Affairs Minister Deanne Kelly said it was a "sad day" when the last wishes of a Digger were ignored. "Veterans Affairs have been looking at alternative arrangements and with the blessing of Major-General Peter Cosgrove, we have been looking at one of the military's chapels."

Australian Funeral Directors Association spokesman Martin Tobin said a flag-draped coffin was not uncommon.

Mr Vipond, a motor mechanic, spent much of his 81 years standing up for veterans' rights. For the past 20 years, he did voluntary work with veterans and war widows at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital.

The funeral now will be at St Thomas Anglican Church in Essendon, today, with the Australian flag and RSL service. "We are very grateful to them . . . but that wasn't my father's church," Ms Finch said.

Dr Campbell said he was sad his decision caused pain to the family. Uniting Church of Victoria and Tasmania moderator the Rev Susan Gormann said she had a great respect for Dr Campbell. "He only made this decision out of full integrity for his understanding of what it is to be a Christian minister, and I believe I can comfortably sit with that as moderator of this church," she said."



In 10 years time they will probably decide that the stuff is bad for you -- that it gives you cancer, probably. That happens regularly to diet recommendations

Children should be fed postwar rations of cod-liver oil and orange juice at school to improve their diet and concentration, a government-funded research centre said yesterday. The call for the Government to provide food supplements came after a survey of 1,125 primary school children by the Dyscovery Centre revealed that 86 per cent had not eaten fish in the previous 24 hours. Of those who had, most had eaten fish and chips or fish fingers, which are not rich in nutrients. Only one of the eleven schools taking part served fish on the menu.

Amanda Kirby, founder of the centre, which specialises in supporting people with learning difficulties, said that the results highlighted a lack of vital omega-3 fatty acids in children’s diets, which may be a key factor in causing attention problems and learning difficulties in class. Dr Kirby said: “The lunchbox survey has shown that a number of children may well be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. If the nutrition in school and home is not adequately improved, they may need supplementation.”

The survey also found that almost a quarter of children did not sit with anyone in their family while they ate their supper and that 61 per cent ate it in front of the television. While 61 per cent had a cooked school lunch, about a quarter had eaten chips twice in the previous 24 hours. Nearly three quarters had eaten no fruit, two thirds had eaten no vegetables and 55 per cent had eaten neither in the previous day. The Government is spending £77 million on ensuring that two million children receive a piece of fruit or vegetable every day, but Dr Kirby said that the link between a diet of oily fish and children’s behaviour at school was being missed.

After the Second World War, British children and pregnant women were given free cod- liver oil and orange juice to boost their levels of vitamin A and D.

More here

3 March, 2005

'Darkie Day' filmed by officers

Police in Cornwall have confirmed they filmed an event in which locals black up their faces and dance through the streets of a Cornish town. Police shot video of the most recent "Darkie Days" in Padstow and have submitted a file to the CPS. Police said their action was connected to "allegations of disorder". But officers would not confirm reports that they had received complaints that the events amounted to incitement to racial hatred. The festivities in the pretty fishing town are thought to have gone on for more than a century but have caused controversy in recent years.

In 1998 the late Bernie Grant, who was Labour MP for Tottenham, condemned the tradition as "offensive to black people all over the place". Devon and Cornwall Police confirmed they had footage of the event on Boxing Day last year and New Year's Day. A force spokesman said: "The footage has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service for them to consider what, if any, offences have been committed. "As they still have this matter under consideration, it would be inappropriate for the police to comment further at this stage."

During the festivities, revellers raise money for charity by dancing around the town and singing songs traditionally associated with the plantations. Its origins are unknown but one theory, now widely discounted, is that it dates from an occasion when local people saw black people dancing and singing aboard a slave ship which had been forced to seek shelter in the harbour.

Local district councillor Sarah Townrow said on Thursday Padstow residents were "fed up with being pushed around". She warned Britain was becoming a "nanny state", adding: "Nobody has got any malice in them. "I am sure there is no more trouble goes on at Darkie Day than at any other celebration in any town in the country. "We just want to be left alone to enjoy it."



It was probably intended to -- Scouts were too "patriarchal" and patriotic. And who would want to send their kid on a camp in the company of every sexual deviant under the sun?

Big Canadian real estate is on the market. A rather sizable chunk of Lord Robert Baden-Powell's Empire is available for investors, homebuilders, fishing resort prospectors, or blacktop barons. Scouts Canada is pounding in "for sale" signs at the entrances of a number of Scout camps across the country, including at least twenty camps in Ontario. But don't worry. No Boy Scouts will mourn the loss of their summer camps, for the Boy Scouts of Canada no longer exist.

Thinking they could become more inclusive, the Boy Scouts of Canada Board of Governors decided in November 1998 to admit females, atheists, agnostics, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals into troops. Despite that established troops were not even allowed to remain all-male groups, Scouts Canada approved the establishment of the world's first all-homosexual troop in 1999. The troop marches in homosexual pride parades and loudly symbolizes what Scouts Canada calls its commitment to diversity.

Scouts Canada's new non-discrimination code reads: "Scouting is a worldwide, multicultural movement. We welcome people to membership regardless of gender, race, culture, religious belief, sexual orientation or economic circumstances. Youth members are strongly influenced by the behaviour of adults. We need to be sensitive to the traditions and beliefs of all people and to avoid words or actions which "put down" anybody." And so, in its attempt to include everybody and everything, Scouts Canada is effectively dead.

Budgets have run dry. Troop halls and old campsites sit vacant. Professional staff salaries are severed. Membership is mostly decimated. In the past, membership roles consistently exceeded 300,000. Around the peak in 1965, there were 320,000 Boy Scouts. Today, despite a one third population increase in Canada over four decades and a doubling of the demographic possibilities (with female members), Scouts Canada has dwindled to a puny 130,000 and it is rapidly declining.

Open to all, there is a certain liability that accompanies the mixture of sexes and sexual preferences at Scout Camp. It is no coincidence that Scouts Canada's costs for liability insurance against sexual molestation claims increased dramatically by 2002 when, lacking adequate finances, Scouts Canada canceled its sex abuse insurance, and with it many "high risk" activities. Without the insurance, a single pedophile could potentially annihilate Scouts Canada forever.

Esprit de corps has evaporated. Last year, wearing a uniform at official Scout events became optional. Scoutmasters were deprived of the authority to demand the wearing of uniforms. "It's time to stop bickering about the clothes we wear," said Ms. Bonita Brick, chair of the National Scouts Youth Committee that handed down the uniform decision. "Accept the reality of change." It seems that change is not so attractive to the traditional core of Scouts Canada. "It is disheartening. Everything seems to be going down and down," laments veteran Scouter Bill Stauttener who manages Union Marsh Scout Camp which is set to go on the chopping block.

Eastern Ontario's Camp Apple Hill is expected to sell for just $30,000, a bargain considering that it is 300 acres. "It's very heartbreaking and very distressing," says three-decade Scout leader Pat Tugwood.

It may be a sad affair for some who've been around Canadian Scouting for a while, but I say good riddance to Scouts Canada. They ceased to serve any useful purpose the day they became all-inclusive, all-sensitive, and all-tolerant. The Scout Oath and Scout Law are obliterated in the land of the red maple leaf north of Parallel 49.

It is doubtful that this organization can be resuscitated. Political correctness, having infected whole institutions, does not easily reverse. But we Americans might well consider this malady and contain it at the border. "In meeting the challenges of a multi-faith society which is increasingly gay-positive, the [Boy Scouts of America] might follow the lead of Scouts Canada," urges a writer at ReligiousTolerance.org. And thus the far Left attacks the Boy Scouts of America, relentlessly for the past two decades.

There are prices to be paid by the BSA for standing on traditional moral values, but none so severe as this eulogy of Scouts Canada. In America, United Way funding may be cut, cities and school districts may abandon the Scouts, courts may order the Scouts to leave public property. But so long as the Scout Oath and Law remain intact, the Boy Scouts of America can survive. Goodbye, Scouts Canada. Political correctness is sure grand, eh?


2 March, 2005


A plan to photograph teenagers branded as troublemakers by security guards at a popular shopping center in Antioch is alarming civil libertarians who say the plan stomps all over the youths' civil rights. The proposal, endorsed by many patrons and businesses at Deer Valley Plaza on Lone Tree Way, would see guards with Peace Keepers Security snapping pictures of youths who repeatedly intimidate shoppers or cause mischief.

Because many of the students likely to be singled out attend nearby Deer Valley High School, security could hand over the photos to school officials for them to identify, said school Principal Jo Ella Allen.

Youths who commit crimes could receive a citation, while those who repeatedly ignore warnings not to loiter at the plaza could be added to a police database, and possibly arrested the next time they're seen. "Thus, if an officer makes a subsequent contact with the individual and runs the individual's name through the (police) system, he or she will know the individual has been warned and will then affect an arrest for trespassing, " according to the plan.

Maya Harris, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union in San Francisco, denounced the proposal as excessive and intrusive, and said such problems are perhaps best left to the school to handle.....

Police would not take any of the photographs, Moczulski stressed. Security guards would snap pictures only of those youths suspected of wrongdoing and would not take wholesale generic shots of patrons, he said. ...

Gary Agopian, a member of the Antioch Unified School District board, said naysayers haven't visited the plaza to witness the problems firsthand. "I've actually been a recipient of this behavior," Agopian said. "All they're asking for is respectful behavior from the kids or anybody who uses the plaza." He noted that there are other elements of the plan, including assigning undercover officers to monitor the area, teaming up the police officer assigned to the school with campus staff and providing additional officers at the plaza after school lets out.

More here


It's only hard for the innocent

Confusion about the law on householders' right to self-defence remains rife among the police, despite the Government's claims to have clarified the situation, a Telegraph investigation has demonstrated.

A wealth of contradictory advice was last week given to a reporter posing as a member of the public, who contacted forces around the country to ask for information. The reporter asked if she would fall foul of the law for keeping a baseball bat by her bedside and using it in self-defence, if confronted by an aggressive intruder.

Of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, 31 said that such action could or would be acceptable. Ten said that it would not. The remaining two forces supplied a variety of verdicts.

Such findings, which create the impression of a "postcode lottery", suggest that the police are as bewildered as everyone else. "If you understand what `reasonable force' is, you must be the only one who does," said a police officer in Wiltshire. A Gloucestershire colleague confessed: "We are in the dark."

The Sunday Telegraph rang each force's central telephone number for non-emergency calls. Many calls were bounced between departments, and advice sought from senior officers when appropriate, before answers were provided. The reporter spoke to various representatives, including duty sergeants, "helpdesk" operators and crime prevention officers.

All of those who gave advice were patient, friendly and helpful. Less consistent, however, was what they said. Some stated that so long as the baseball bat was not wielded with wild and unrelenting abandon, it would make an appropriate weapon with which a lone female could fend off a violent intruder.

Others disagreed, explaining that the very possession of a bat by somebody who was evidently not a baseball player was proof of "pre-meditation" and "intent to harm". This, they warned, was enough to justify arrest and prosecution.

Bedfordshire Police provides two non-emergency contact numbers, for those living in the north and the south areas of the county. The officer in the north said: "A baseball bat by your bed for the sole purpose of whacking someone with it, if they come into your bedroom? That's dodgy."

His colleague in the south gave a different answer. "You're all right with your baseball bat. I mean, I've got an ice axe in my wardrobe."

More here

1 March, 2005


To much of the world, New York probably seems like a place of high technology and unfettered capitalism, yet its governor George Pataki is keen to impose unscientific new regulations - on cleaning products. Pataki's State of the State address last month deserves sceptical analysis.

Many Americans falsely believe we are suffering an unexplained upsurge in cancer rates - and that chemicals may be the culprit. Unfortunately, Pataki chose to reinforce that myth in his speech. He announced that by means of an Executive Order, he would require 'all state agencies and authorities to begin using non-toxic cleaning products that are free of harmful chemicals'. He added, 'And later this session, I will submit legislation that requires all schools in the state to do the same'.

Where in did the governor get the idea that routine use of standard cleaning materials posed a risk to health? Was he so advised by an array of prestigious New York-based physicians and scientists?

No. The governor cited as his source for the allegation that 'chemicals' pose a health hazard one Deirdre Imus, who he described as 'a great New Yorker [who has raised] awareness of the hazards of chemical cleaning products'. Deirdre Imus, the wife of the talk-show host Don Imus, founded the Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology, which according to its website has a mission 'to identify, control, and ultimately prevent environmental factors that cause...pediatric cancer'.

Albany, we've got a problem. First, there is no evidence whatsoever that adult or childhood exposure to the household or office cleaning products on the market today pose any risk to human health - unless of course you regularly ingest them. Second, sure, some of the chemicals in the cleaners can be rightfully termed 'potential toxins'. So is everyday table salt - if you consume an absurd quantity of it.

The dose makes the poison - but that toxicological truth is lost on both the governor and Ms Imus. (It is interesting that Ms Imus' Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology 'offers a full line of environmental friendly cleaning product for public facilities'. Will the state purchase 'green supplies' from the center? Talk about cleaning up.)

Governor Pataki was had. He did not seek scientific advice. Rather, he accepted the counsel of a radical environmental activist with no scientific credentials. The governor's error has been largely ignored, though commentator Larry Kudlow proclaimed on MSNBC the day after the speech that the Executive Order was based on pure 'junk science' - and he was subsequently berated on the air by Don Imus.

Science and technology have played a central role in the ongoing decline in the rate of cancer deaths - and all other ills. It is a mistake to scapegoat science and technology in the struggle to explain and combat cancer. The governor should admit his error and rescind the Executive Order.


PC's Marxist Root's Unearthed

(By William S. Lind, director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism of the Free Congress Foundation.)

Political Correctness is intellectual AIDS. Everything it touches it sickens and eventually kills. On America's college campuses it has diminished freedom of speech, warped curricula, politicized grading and replaced intellectual integrity with vapid sloganeering. In classroom after classroom, professors offer an ideological rant, which students are compelled to regurgitate to get a grade: the vomit returns to the dog. These places-and they are many-are no longer universities, but small, ivy-covered North Koreas.

Just what is Political Correctness? The "Politically Correct" people on your campus really, really don't want you to know the answer to that question. Why? Because Political Correctness is nothing less than Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms.

The parallels are obvious. First, both classical, economic Marxism and the Cultural Marxism that is Political Correctness are totalitarian ideologies. Both insist on "truths" that are contrary to human nature and experience. Contrary to economic Marxism, there is no such thing as a "classless society," and economic incentives matter. Contrary to Political Correctness, men and women are different, as are their natural roles in society; races and ethnic groups have specific characteristics; and homosexuality is abnormal. Since the only way people will accept the ideologues' "truths" is if they are forced to, they will be forced-by the full power of the state, if the Marxists of either stripe can control it.

The second parallel is that both classical Marxism and Cultural Marxism have single-factor explanations of history. Classical Marxism argues that all history was determined by ownership of the means of production. The Politically Correct Cultural Marxists say that history is explained by which groups-defined by sex, race, and sexual normality or abnormality-have power over which other groups.

The third parallel is that both varieties of Marxism declare certain groups virtuous and others evil a priori, without regard for the actual behavior of individuals. Thus economic Marxism defined workers and peasants as good and the middle class as evil, and Cultural Marxism defines blacks, Hispanics, Feminist women, homosexuals, and some other minorities as virtuous and white men as evil. Political Correctness does not recognize the existence of non-Feminist women and defines blacks who reject its ideology as whites.

The fourth parallel is in means: expropriation. Economic Marxists expropriated the property of the middle and upper classes and gave it to the state. Cultural Marxists, on campuses and in government, lay penalties on white men and give privileges to the groups they favor. Affirmative action is an example of this kind of expropriation.

Finally, both types of Marxism employ a method of analysis guaranteed to show the correctness of their ideology in every situation. For classical Marxists, the method is Marxist economics. For Cultural Marxists, the method is linguistic: deconstruction. Deconstruction first removes all meaning from "texts," then inserts new meaning: one way or another, the text illustrates the oppression of women, blacks, homosexuals, etc., by white men and Western culture. The intended meaning of the author is irrelevant.

These parallels are not coincidental. They exist because the Cultural Marxism of Political Correctness is in fact derived from classical, economic Marxism, largely through the work of the Frankfurt School.

Following World War I, European Marxists faced a difficult question: why did the proletariat throughout Europe not rise in revolution and establish a new, Marxist order, as their ideology said it would? Two prominent Marxist thinkers, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, came up with an answer: Western culture. Western culture so blinded the workers to their true "class" interests that they could not act on them. So before socialism could come to power, Western culture had to be destroyed. Lukacs in 1919 posed the question, "Who will save us from Western civilization?" As Deputy Commissar for Culture in the Bolshevik Bela Kun government in Hungary that same year, the first thing he did was introduce sex education into Hungarian schools. In 1923, Lukacs and a group of German Marxist intellectuals founded a "think tank" intended to translate Marxism from economic into cultural terms, the Institute for Social Research at Frankfurt University. The Institute quickly became known as the Frankfurt School. In 1933, when the National Socialists came to power in Germany, the Frankfurt School moved to New York City.

There, its key figures-Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich-developed critical theory," a crossing of Marx with Freud that labeled the key components of Western culture "prejudice," i.e., a psychological disease. The "critical theorists" argues that to eliminate "prejudice," Christianity, capitalism and the traditional "patriarchal" family all had to be destroyed.

The connection between the Frankfurt School and the student rebellion of the 1960s was made primarily by a key Frankfurt School member, Herbert Marcuse-the man who in the `60s coined the phrase, "Make love, not war." Marcuse's books Eros and Civilization argued that the tools with which to destroy Western culture were, in effect, sex, drugs and rock `n' roll. He popularized the Frankfurt School's ideas in ways the `60s student radicals could understand and absorb, and we now know his work as Political Correctness.

So that is Political Correctness' dirty little secret: it is Marxism, Marxism translated from economics into culture. We know what economic Marxism did to the old Soviet Union. Are we going to permit Cultural Marxism to do the same thing to the United States?