POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH: ARCHIVE
The creeping dictatorship of the Left...
The Blogspot version of "PC Watch" is HERE and "Dissecting Leftism" is HERE. The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other sites viewable in China: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism and Recipes. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here for the archives of this site.
31 May, 2005
Now politically correct censors have decided that it's wrong to be horrible to a Dalek. What has become of the battle between good and evil? asks MICHAEL HANLON
Global domination was just for starters. The most evil beings in Creation had far bigger fish to fry. Entire star systems, the galaxy and the majesty of the universe itself was their ultimate goal. All were to be enslaved under a tyranny which would make the jackbooted hegemony of Nazi Germany look like a week at a holiday camp.
The tyrants in question were, of course, the Daleks - faintly ridiculous with their pepperpot exteriors, dodgy, easily avoidable weaponry and all that bother with the stairs, but deeply sinister and scary nonetheless. The Daleks are not nice. They do not have "unresolved issues". They have no feminine side or psychological angst. That is the whole point of them. The Daleks are the fascists of Doctor Who's universe, a creation of pure evil implanted in an impregnable, emotionless machine carcass. They are psychopaths, beings whose raison d etre is to kill, or be killed. They do not hesitate to inflict as much pain and misery as is necessary to get the job done and to make the extermination balance-sheet add up.
Which is why it is so gibberingly silly that Britain's children have been told they cannot watch a Dalek getting a taste of its own medicine. That's right. Politically correct censors of the British Board of Film Classification has decided, in its infinite witlessness, to give the current series of Doctor Who a not recommended for under-12s classification when it is released on DVD.
The reason? Scenes of depraved and exploitative sex? No. The good Doctor doesn't really "do" sex, we are told, and quite right, too - with that nice Billie Piper as his assistant Rose, he could get into all sorts of trouble. Drug-taking? Nope. The new Doctor Who might have been brought right up to date with its depictions of an edgy, urban, 21st-century Britain, but the real world of dope and crack, foul language, promiscuity and racial tension is absent.
No, the reason is that the series depicts the "use of violence to resolve problems". Britain's "nannycensors" have taken against one particular episode in which an American boffin has somehow got hold of a Dalek (the "last of its race" - Ha! Not likely), kept it in chains and tortured the metal beast with drills.
The Doctor, a rather amoral and nihilistic alien incarnation as played by Christopher Eccleston, is also shown taunting and tormenting the Dalek - not unreasonably, since the Daleks not only wiped out the Doctor's family but also his race and planet.
This won't do at all, says the BBFC. "However cross one might be with a Dalek", a spokesman for the board said. "being cruel is not the way to deal with the issue. "Some children might take it into the playground ... a good role model should not use torture to satisfy his desire for revenge. It is not an acceptable way to deal with problems of power."
This statement is ridiculous in so many ways that it is hard to know where to start. But to make just one point: how likely is it that, faced with a scene in which a fictional Doctor Who torments another fictional Dalek for the crime of destroying an equally fictional planet, schoolchildren will start torturing each other in the playground?
Of course, we should not condone torture. Most people would agree that deliberately inflicting pain, be it to acquire information or to terrorise, is beyond the moral pale. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, nor that it shouldn't be discussed or shown in a popular fiction aimed at children.
Doctor Who, like most fantasy fiction, involves a struggle between good and evil. But if it were simply left at that, it would be dull and unwatchable. Good fiction also involves dollops of grey between the moral absolutes of black and white. The Doctor is not a comicbook hero - like all of us, he has shades of darkness in his character and that is what makes him so compelling. We cannot sanitise our children from "the dark side" - particularly if we want to fire their imagination. And besides, if we are going to stop the under-12s from watching Doctor Who, we are going to have to stop them watching (and reading) a whole lot else. Most fairy stories contain deeply disturbing imagery and plenty of violence. Think of Little Red Riding Hood, for example, or Cinderella - a story in which (in the original version) the Ugly Sisters are tortured by the King for their deceit over the glass slipper by being forced to dance to their death wearing red-hot iron shoes.
Pretty well all World War II films would be off the children's menu, too. For what was the struggle against the Nazis if not the "use of violence to solve problems"? Do we want our children to be unaware of the horrors of 1939-45? Sometimes evil will triumph if good men stand by and do nothing. The moral dilemma is that doing something sometimes, and regrettably, involves the necessary use of force. The key to Doctor Who's success is surely, at least in part, its clever scripting (it was never the special effects, which were always amateur, although much better in the new series ).
Yes, the plots are unbelievable, yes, the aliens are ridiculous creations and the dialogue is sometimes execrable. But when on form, the Doctor's writers are capable of devising plots that explore some of the deepest moral dilemmas known to man - and furthermore in a way that is grippingly accessible to the under-12s.
The greatest Doctor Who story to date was The Genesis Of The Daleks, a late 1970s six-part story in which we were told how the Doctor (then played by Tom Baker) had his chance to exterminate the Daleks at their point of creation by the evil genius Davros. It was all silly in some ways, yet there was a strangely deep moral dilemma exposed here. The Doctor had his chance, but chose to let the Daleks live. He realised that without absolute evil in the universe, it would be hard for good to exist as well.
This highlighted a vexatious moral issue, probably lost on most of the prepubescent audience.
Children are deeply moral beings. When shown a Dalek being "tortured", there is every chance that this might spark a debate in young minds as to whether it can ever be right to inflict pain on even the most evil being. All the best children's fiction contains profound, often disturbing moral imagery, full of murder, torture, betrayal and pain. Presumably the starched nannies of the film classifications board would ban the Brothers Grimm, C.S. Lewis and Aesop as well. If so, perhaps we should invite any surviving Daleks to deal with them in the time-honoured fashion.
The above article appeared in the Brisbane (Australia) SUNDAY MAIL on May 29, 2005
PERSECUTION OF EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS BEING SET UP
The liberal Interfaith Alliance is backing a hate-crimes bill that adds "sexual orientation" to its list of protected list. The legislation, reintroduced by two Democrats and two Republicans in Congress, would expand federal jurisdiction to cover violent hate crimes committed "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability" of the victim. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005 is sponsored by Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Barney Frank, D-Mass., Lleana Ros-Lehiten, R-Fla., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
As WorldNetDaily reported, Conyers, responding to the Middle East riots allegedly sparked by the retracted Newsweek Quran-in-toilet story, also has proposed a congressional resolution that condemns defamation of Islam's book.
Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said, "Legislation alone cannot remove hatred from the hearts and minds of individuals, but legislation can help to create a society where hate-motivated violence is deemed intolerable." Gaddy said "sacred scriptures of many different faith traditions speak with one voice on the subject of intolerance. If we aspire to be true to the core of our religious traditions, we cannot condemn hate and then sit idly by while it destroys our communities," Gaddy said. "We believe that religious and civil rights groups, law enforcement, and government must work to ensure that all people are safe as well as free." Gaddy complained that "a few religious voices, wrongly claiming to represent the view of all religious people," continue to attempt to defeat the hate-crimes legislation.
Current law permits federal prosecution of a hate crime only if the crime was motivated by bias based on race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity, and the assailant intended to prevent the victim from exercising a "federally protected right."
30 May, 2005
PC IN BRAZIL
A plump woman strolling through a Mexican market might be showered with affectionate cries of gordita (fatty). In Argentina, feo (ugly) can be a term of endearment. Even here in Brazil, a black woman might be flattered to be called neguinha (little black girl). Throughout Latin America, a person is as likely to be described by his skin color or girth as someone elsewhere might be called tall or smart or gregarious. A word that in the US could provoke a fistfight or a court case is often just a personal identifier here.
Now Brazil is making its first forays into changing this. Last year the government quietly issued an 87-page document entitled "Political Correctness and Human Rights," which listed 96 words and phrases it hopes will eventually become unacceptable. The challenge is formidable: introducing P.C. terms bucks years of tradition and cultural norms. And the government may have undercut its own efforts, prompting ridicule earlier this month when word spread that the list included words such as "clown" and "drunk" that it said could offend comedians or tipplers....
In the US, minorities have waged lengthy battles to take control of the language used to describe them. Indigenous groups have rejected the term "Indians." "African-American" has replaced negro and colored. Even some disabled people find the term "handicapped" offensive. But the black lobby in Brazil, where 45 percent of Brazilians call themselves black or dark-skinned, does not have the political clout to dictate what words are unacceptable. Even if it did, the vagaries of the Portuguese language (and Spanish in Hispanic America) complicate the process. The impact of sensitive words can be reduced by using the diminutive forms of nouns. By adding "-inho" for the masculine or "-inha" for feminine softens a word and gives it an affectionate, less-threatening feel. "The word neguinha, for example. There's nothing more racist, even if it is used in a supposedly affectionate way," says Mr. Stephens. "You can use euphemisms, but it means the same thing."
The government document contains many such euphemisms, along with warnings that some people may find them offensive. At least 17 of the 96 terms refer to race, ethnicity, or creed. However, those serious warnings were missed in the firestorm over the inclusion of many other seemingly innocuous words. Drunks should not be called drunks because even alcoholics deserve respect, the document says. Old people should be called elderly because being called old has negative connotations. And the document even counseled people to take care when using the word clown in case professional funnymen get offended.
Bestselling author João Ubaldo Ribieiro ignited the situation earlier this month when he criticized the text as an "authoritarian, delirious and stupid" example of political correctness. Perly Cipriano, the government official who oversaw the document's publication, says the intention was not to prohibit words or phrases, and that there would be no condemnation and no penalty. However, the outcry was so loud that officials quickly halted distribution of the document. The human rights secretary said the government would convene a seminar on the subject next month at which experts and representatives of minority groups will discuss how to address the issue in the future.
"Modern Tribalist" on Hispanic Illegals
I liked the post below lifted from Modern Tribalist:
According to defenders of open borders, we must all agree that illegal immigrants are only reclaiming their land, or that they all come here to work, or that they deserve no scrutiny regarding requirements that even citizens have to abide by.
To think otherwise makes us racist and insensitive. But to many taxpaying American citizens, the illegal immigrant multitudes seem to be getting commensurately more rights than American citizens, and that's making people angry.
Illegal immigration is a serious problem that neither side of the political spectrum seems to want resolved.
Marshaled by militant Chicano separatists and sundry other activists and sympathy peddlers - like the nefarious ACLU, which sees illegal immigrants as weak and defenseless players unfairly placed on an uneven field - the left doesn't really care for the sovereignty of our nation.
Such a flippant attitude regarding our nation's laws is becoming less and less supportable for the American people.
The American taxpayer is beginning to resent so much money being spent on this issue.
We live in a nation of immigrants, yes, but an important point that gets lost in the shuffle is that legal and illegal immigration are two different things.
On the one hand, we want to help the immigrant; on the other, we see the illegal immigrant as a person who has little consideration for our laws or the expense - at least $10 billion a year spent on schooling, hospitals and medical care for more than 8 million illegal immigrants, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
And what's with the sanctuary cities, where no one is allowed to give up illegal immigrants? Cops can't; citizens can't. They have free citizenship rights, thanks to sensitive groups interested in political correctness.
29 May, 2005
POLICE BRUTALITY? IT DEPENDS ON THE COLOUR OF THE POLICEMAN
A suspect is assaulted by a police officer after a car chase in Philadelphia on April 28, 2005. A local TV news helicopter crew videotaped the incident. Normally this is the type of thing becomes a mainstream media frenzy. Normally this is the lead report on every network national and local telecast. Rodney King was. So were the incidents in Inglewood and Cincinnati. This also proved true nearly five years ago, when a similar incident occurred just before the Republican convention in Philadelphia. This time there is no saturation coverage in the national media.
Charles Baum, who is white and a resident of the Kensington section of Philadelphia, had been paroled last August. He served four months less than the four- to eight-year sentence he received after being convicted of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and conspiracy in December 2000. The video showed Officer Michael Collins, who is black, striking Baum eight times during the arrest - even after he had handcuffed his white charge. As is the standard procedure Collins was transferred to desk duty pending an investigation.
Police brutality stories are red meat to the mainstream media; this would seem to be perfect for them. If this were a white cop using excessive force to arrest a black suspect, it would be on television round-the-clock. That is always national news - especially if it is on videotape -and especially if the video is taken by the NBC network affiliate of a major city like Philadelphia. Yet the silence from the mainstream media has been deafening. Only the local Philadelphia media reported this in depth. The Washington Post gave the incident all of 177 words in their May 2 online edition. Why was there no ad nauseum reporting by the national news network broadcast or front page New York Times, L.A. Times articles? Why no righteous indignation and outrage by columnists and editorials? Because this incident did not involve a white cop and a black suspect. This time the cop was black and the suspect white - and that does not fit the template of the liberal mainstream media, just as the shootings of black suspects by black cops do not fit their "police brutality" mold.
A September 2, 2002, article, I wrote for Front Page magazine detailed the differences of reporting by the media regarding incidents where police shot a black person. One example I used was that of LaTanya Haggerty. Haggerty, who was a black woman, was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Serena Daniels, a black woman. The shooting took place after the police pursued a car in which Haggerty was a passenger. Daniels ordered Haggerty to stop talking on her cell phone and exit the vehicle. She was shot after refusing the command. Daniels said she saw Haggerty grab a silver object. Thinking it was a gun, the officer fired. A subsequent investigation could not locate a gun; instead, officers found a silver padlock. This incident occurred in 1999. Yet, it is doubtful that one-in-ten people ever heard of this incident. Contrast this to the Amadou Diallo shooting, which also occurred in 1999 and was a staple of the mainsteam media for months.
There were no cartoons about the Haggerty shooting, though there were countless cartoons about the Diallo case. The Diallo cartoons contained illustrations such as one which said, "NYPD weapons training: Sawed off hankie, 38mm house key, semi-automatic lipstick, 45 caliber wallet." The reason for this disparity is the fact that any journalists believe their purpose is not to communicate information about events to people but to right society's wrongs. The more righteous indignation they can provoke, the greater audience they can attract for their advertizers - which is their real purpose. It is an added benefit that they get to indulge their left-wing ideologies in the process. Naturally, this contrasts sharply with their self-portrayal as hard-working go-getters looking out for the public interest.
OPPOSITION TO HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE IN CANADA?
Judging by a rally at the Ontario legislature Monday, the religious community is starting to get organized in its opposition to same-sex marriage. Even though the number may appear small — 3,000 turned up for the event — it may be just the beginning of a larger, national campaign that may turn heads in Ottawa. One merely has to look south to the U.S. presidential election that saw the religious right become a political force that helped elect a president who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.
There seems to be a resurgence in the religious community and a willingness to work together on this debate. If Toronto’s rally is an indication, opposition forces will continue to grow. Canada, or least the perception exists, is a moderate country with citizens generally understanding the separation of church and state. But that doesn’t prevent people who are vehemently opposed to changing the definition of marriage to create a political lobby. With polls tight across the country and plenty of political ammunition being fired, this alliance could prove to be a force to be reckoned with during the next election. Rallies at political campaign stops will keep the debate at the forefront of the campaign trail, along with the sponsorship scandal.
Same-sex marriage legislation could prove to be a tough one to fight when ministers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders give the message to members of their congregations across the country. The religious right has enjoyed major growth in the U.S. and is regularly courted by Republicans. It has become a powerful lobby that pretty much re-elected George W. Bush — and he knows it.
Monday’s rally may be the beginning of a similar movement in Canada — something Ottawa politicians will watch closely. Until now, there has been little organization among religious groups who oppose Bill C-38. Representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths spoke at the rally Monday.
The federal Liberals drafted the legislation after it was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin supports the law and calls it a “human rights” issue. However, religious groups and others have challenged it as changing the definition of traditional marriage, and prefer legal unions for gays and lesbians instead. Martin, with a minority government teetering because of the sponsorship scandal, will have to defend the new law while at the same time distancing his government from the Gomery Inquiry in an election expected to be called for the fall. All major parties will watch closely to see if the rallies and the outcry continues to get louder and better organized.
28 May, 2005
ART AND CULTURE TO BECOME EVEN MORE BORING IN RACIST BRITAIN:
Along with sports, culture has long offered ethnic minorities a path into the white-dominated societies of the West. Indeed, whether in theater, movies or popular music, leading artists of, say, African, Asian, Hispanic or Arab extraction have often become social trailblazers, demonstrating to their peers and to national audiences alike that integration is possible. But this is also a process that can take years, even decades.
Now the Arts Council England, the government-financed body that subsidizes the performing arts in England, has decided to speed things up by introducing affirmative action to culture. Specifically, it wants the 1,100 cultural organizations that receive its help to employ minorities, to present black, Asian and other ethnic art, and to reach out to minorities unaccustomed to attending cultural events. Further, it has given the initiative teeth by linking its continuing financial support to adoption and execution of what it calls racial equality action plans. "We will closely monitor the development of your action plan and your progress in meeting your race equality objectives," the council noted in a 110-page instruction manual, "and future funding may include considerations on your ability to meet race equality targets." In other words, go multiethnic or risk bankruptcy.
More than a few cultural administrators have been taken by surprise. Until now, while the council's beneficiaries have included ethnic minorities engaged in artistic activities, most of its annual budget of £412 million, or $753 million, has gone to mainstream theater, dance, opera and classical music (major museums are supported directly by the government). Never before has the council tried to dictate quite so specifically how this money should be spent.
So does this action represent political correctness gone wild, as some critics have protested, or it is merely a coherent way of using taxpayers' money to benefit society as a whole? Certainly, no other European country has tried to link culture and race so openly. But the council's new policy also reflects the distinctive way that Britain has handled the immigrants who have settled here since World War II, first blacks from the Caribbean, then Asians from the Indian Subcontinent and most recently Eastern Europeans, Arabs and Africans from countries with no historical ties to Britain.
While France, Europe's other major former colonial power, has always tried to absorb immigrants through assimilation, Britain has adopted what is known as a communitarian approach, one that admits different cultural practices and languages and, like the United States, recognizes hyphenated nationals, such as Asian-Britons and Afro-Britons. And this wide embrace has extended to artistic expression of all kinds.
One result is that, as in the United States, minorities are relatively present in culture and show business here, notably on television and on stage, whether as actors, comedians or singers. The BBC, for instance, is anything but an all-white network today: It even has radio stations specifically targeting Asians. The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theater also routinely give black actors key roles, even as English kings.
Yet, as evidenced by this month's general election, not all is well with race relations in Britain. As the central plank of its campaign platform, the opposition Conservative Party pledged to limit the number of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers entering Britain. And while the Tories were again defeated, their drum-beating - amplified by the widely read and oft-xenophobic Daily Mail - led Tony Blair's Labour Party to promise tighter controls on immigration.
In fact, concern about erosion of the national identity has led to growing nationalism here, some of it political, more of it expressed culturally through the popularity of polls to choose the "greatest" Briton or Britain's favorite book or painting. Yet 1 in 10 of Britain's inhabitants comes from an ethnic minority background. And, just as Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are settled here, London has become Europe's most cosmopolitan city.
This poses an issue common to much of Western Europe: how to harmonize distaste for the social impact of, say, large-scale Muslim immigration with the reality that societies are changing irreversibly. The evidence suggests that, while antidiscrimination legislation can fight overt racism, culture can serve as a positive vehicle for ethnic integration. And for this reason, many European governments do in practice subsidize minority artists.
The difference is that, while France, Denmark, Spain, Italy and others help them first as artists and only secondly as minorities, the Arts Council England has chosen to address the racial question head on.
AN ITALIAN WITH GUTS
Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci will face trial for insulting Islam in her latest work, a court in northern Italy ruled Tuesday, May 24. The court turned down a request by prosecutors to have the case, filed by the president of the Muslim Union of Italy, Adel Smith, thrown out, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). The magistrates now have until Thursday, May 26, to formally charge the controversial writer, infamous for her provocative style of writing. Smith said Fallaci's last book "La forza della ragione," which translates as The Force of Reason, contains "words that are without doubt offensive toward Islam."
The 74-year-old writer, who lives in New York, wrote that Europe is turning into "an Islamic province, an Islamic colony" and that "to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason." The lawyer for the Muslim Union, Ugo Fanuzzi, said she would have to answer first to the charge of insulting a faith, but he did not exclude that she could face charges of inciting hatred of religions.
AND A PASTOR WITH GUTS
North Carolina: Church sign sparks debate Rutherford Daily Courier "A sign in front of a Baptist church on one of the most traveled highways in the county stirred controversy over religious tolerance and first-amendment rights this weekend. A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south reads 'The Koran needs to be flushed,' and the Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display. 'I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong,' said Lovelace."
27 May, 2005
OPPOSITION TO HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE IS "HATE"
May 17 was a milestone: the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The media marked the occasion by spotlighting some of the 6,000 gay and lesbian couples who got married here during the past 12 months, and if there was a common theme that ran through all the interviews and profiles, it was the joy of the newlyweds. Hundreds of same-sex couples converged on Boston Common to celebrate the anniversary on Tuesday, and in the large group photo that appeared in The Boston Globe the next morning, virtually every face is wreathed in smiles. If I were a supporter of same-sex marriage, I would congratulate the delighted couples on their anniversary and wish them continued happiness.
But I am an opponent of same-sex marriage. That being the case, my message to the couples is: Congratulations on your anniversary, and may you enjoy continued happiness. I mention my sincere good wishes only because so many supporters of same-sex marriage think that anyone who disagrees with them must be an ignorant bigot. Time and again, I have been told that my views on marriage are morally equivalent to the views of a segregationist on race, or a Nazi on Jews. It is remarkable: Express the conviction that marriage should mean what it has always meant -- the union of male and female -- and you are likely to be told that you are peddling hate.
Of all the motifs that get played and replayed in the marriage debate, this one is the worst. For two reasons: First, because it is untrue. Marriage was not created to hurt homosexuals or enshrine bigotry in law. It did not become a universal human institution as an expression of animus. The core of marriage has always and everywhere been the pairing of a man and a woman because no other arrangement can do what marriage does: produce the next generation, bind men to the women who bear their children, and give boys and girls the mothers and fathers they need.
The second reason that the ''only-a-hater-could-oppose-gay-marriage" meme is so objectionable is its destructiveness. It breeds resentment between parties who should be seeking common ground. It causes pain to gays and lesbians by encouraging them to believe that they are hated by most of their fellow citizens. And it promotes the poisonous idea that those who defend the traditional definition of marriage are moral cripples.
If the price of opposing unisex marriage is to be labeled a homophobe, many opponents will keep their opinions to themselves. The New York Times reported a few years ago on three scholars -- ''respected Protestant theologians well known for their work on religion and ethics" -- who had been asked to take part in a TV program on same-sex unions and the church. These were not hardliners -- one of the scholars, for instance, endorsed civil unions -- but they shared the belief that Christian clergy should not bless homosexual marriage. All three refused to go on the air, afraid of being ''pegged as antigay and anti-compassion." They wouldn't let the Times identify them by name; one worried openly about his family, which he said had ''felt the heat" for his previous statements.
Yes -- if your goal is to silence an opponent, playing the hate card can be an effective tactic. But it is illiberal and crude, unworthy of people who style themselves ''progressive."
MORE OF THOSE NAUGHTY SEX DIFFERENCES
The gender of your children may depend on your choice of job, say researchers. While those who opt for caring careers such as nursing or teaching are more likely to have girls, people who go into a profession such as accountancy or engineering stand a far greater chance of having boys. The theory, outlined in a report by the London School of Economics, may help couples predict whether they are fated to have only girls - or boys. The study may also reinforce some stereotypes of the sexual division of jobs. The researchers came up with their conclusions after studying the careers and families of 3,000 people from various professions.
The report, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, links maleness to "systemising" jobs such as engineering which require precise and detached judgment. Femininity, by contrast, is more linked in the study to work that requires "empathising" and human understanding. Satoshi Kanazawa, the LSE academic who led the research, explained last week that in the general population, roughly 105 boys are produced for every 100 girls. But according to his calculations, among engineers and other "systemisers", the ratio is 140 boys for every 100 girls, and nurses have 135 daughters for every 100 sons.
Kanazawa said that a physicist and a mathematician would be the most likely pairing to produce a boy, while it would be worth betting that a therapist and a chat-show host would have a girl. The study lists insurance executives, architects and management consultants as being among systemising occupations, while empathising jobs include dieticians, careers advisers and those who work with children. Kanazawa, along with other experts, is unsure exactly why the effect should occur.
John Manning, a specialist in evolutionary psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, said the findings could be due to the effect of testosterone in the womb. Manning said: "High testosterone levels before conception cause a slight excess of sons, but we don't know why." There was evidence that children of systemiser parents encountered more testosterone in the womb than the children of empathiser parents, and were thus more likely to be male. A study published in 2002 by the University of Auckland, found that assertive women had a higher chance of having a son because of their testosterone levels - indicated by long ring fingers. Meanwhile, Copenhagen researchers have found that smokers are more likely to have girls than boys. ....
Among the famous who appear to fit the thesis as empathisers are Bob Geldof, the Live Aid organiser, who has three girls and no sons, and Bruce Willis, the actor, who also has three daughters.
26 May, 2005
CELEBRATING TRAFALGAR: HOW LOW CAN PC GO?
Will Hitler soon be unmentionable for fear of upsetting the Germans? Post lifted from Canadian Econoview
Britain is celebrating the bicentennial of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar over a combined French and Spanish fleet in June, kind of. It appears that the objective is to hold the festivities while trying to avoid mentioning what is being commemorated.
According to this piece from the Sunday Times organizers of the commemoration have decided that the re-enactment they're planning isn't really a re-enactment:Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces. Otherwise they fear visiting dignitaries, particularly the French, would be embarrassed at seeing their side routed.As for what it is they're not actually commemorating for fear of offending someone,Even the official literature has been toned down. It describes the re-enactment not as the battle of Trafalgar but simply as “an early 19th-century sea battle”.It should be quite a spectacle, whatever it is.The aim is to create a spectacular “son et lumière” re-enactment with pyrotechnics, lights and effects from barges in the Solent. Tall ships will create the illusion of a real battle.Along with the illusion that they're actually marking what was a fairly significant event in the history of both Britain and Europe. The BBC adds a bit hereOrganisers have confirmed there will be no "sides" at the Trafalgar 200 event on 28 June, which is taking place off Southsea, near Portsmouth, it added. The Ministry of Defence said: "This is not a historical re-enactment. It is a piece of theatre, and not supposed to be historically accurate." The spectacle will involve tall ships in a mock battle alongside fireworks, lights and music.The organizers haven't completely overlooked the actual participants in the actual battle. A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said of the event:
"This is an illustration and theatre on water. "Nelson is featured, but we are not billing it as Britain versus France. This will not be a French-bashing opportunity."Nice of them to feature Nelson, although, to be fair, if you browse the novels of Dudley Pope, Alexander Kent and even Bernard Cornwell you could come away with the feeling that Nelson was a pretty minor player in the whole business. Still, the "let's not offend anyone" approach isn't likely to help the kids mentioned in this article from the "Daily Telegraph" answer the question.
Who's that on Nelson's Column?(Americans, think of "Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb")According to the authors of the Telegraph piece, Chris Hastings and Nina Goswami,Schoolchildren think it's Mandela
And according to Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, British schools are producing"a generation of children who know so little about the past that they are incapable of appreciating a walk through Trafalgar Square or a visit to the National Gallery".Mr. Thurley blames the lacuna on schools' obsession with teaching about the Second World War. Which still means that British school kids probably know more history than Canadian kids do.A Sunday Telegraph survey of children visiting Trafalgar Square appeared to support Mr Thurley's claims. Only one of the 12 children, aged between nine and 15, was able to name Admiral Lord Nelson as the figure on the central column. Others thought it was Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa.One at least had the right war"Alice Beardman, 13, from north London, knew the figure was an admiral but thought it was "the man who invented Wellington boots"."
This "let's not offend anybody" attitude applied to Trafalgar is just a continuation of the whole process of reducing the world to a bland, homogeneous pap. We're starting to see it being applied to the World Wars, and considering how much of human history involved battles which one side or the other lost, it's a process which can go on for a long time.
Consider the Euro, the European common currency. When the Euro notes were being designed, the decision was made that their design should include illustrations representative of the architecture of different periods in European history, but that no actual monuments from the various periods should be illustrated, for fear of offending someone. So you've got a continent loaded with imposing structures, none of which can appear on its banknotes.
If this is going to be European policy, though, shouldn't it be applied generally? Consider. In Paris, at the end of the Champs Elysées, sits a large, man-made object called l'Arc de Triomphe, whose inscriptions commemorate great French victories. Over peoples who are now their fellow Europeans. Shouldn't l'Arc at least be sandblasted into non-offensiveness? (Although some unkind types might suggest that, after June 28, Trafalgar could be inscribed on it.)
Presumably the re-enactment of “an early 19th-century sea battle” between the Red and Blue fleets (bitter rivals at the time - look it up) will not be followed by a performance of Henry V by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
MUSLIM CORRECTNESS IN THE USA AND ISRAEL
Arlene Peck speaks her mind
What is frightening is how they have learned to use our courts and legal systems, and, especially that wonderful ACLU, to subvert our freedoms. Recently, Dell computer, and later General Motors, caved into threatened lawsuits by this Muslim "charity", giving a large group of Muslim workers their claims of back pay, and undisclosed monetary settlements. Why? Because the companies didn't offer prayer sessions during work hours for these employees, some of whom may have been illegal aliens.
I remember not so long ago when I sat in on a town meeting at a local mosque. For two hours we listened while the U. S. representatives who were sent there, two with Arab names informed us of their "rights" via our government. They were told how the next move should be to have their children major in journalism at university and train to enter our political system. Honest! I sat there while the audience was just about given a road map on how to manipulate our system to achieve their gains.
The only cheerful spot in the scenario that I watch each evening on the news is that the terrorists, because of the protective shield, the so-called Security Fence around Gaza and the West Bank can no longer cause the carnage in the nightly "suicide" (aka homicide) bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Nor, do they seem to be attacking the U.S. soldiers with the same tenacity because of the forceful response they receive.
So, who are they going after now? Their own compatriots. Brother Muslims! Would you think I was a terrible person if I smile and hope they kill each other and the hell with their "democracy"? And, while we're there, we should take some of the oil to compensate our economy for the damage they've done to us fighting for their freedom.
I have no doubts that we'll continue to stay ignorant, as will officials in our government and the biased press, to the full depth of danger we're facing from the Islamic threat within our country. It is tedious to read but the Koran is a manual of destruction and war for the world. It even gives specific directions how to train for jihad in the most barbaric and violent ways. Need directions for mutilations of women, honor killings or how best to be-head? Go to your local mosque and you, too, can be enlightened if you get in and know Arabic.
I wish the leaders in Israel could take a few classes in "reality". Somehow, they continue to believe American leaders who are incapable of having the Jewish state's best interests at heart despite the supposed heart-felt religious beliefs they so often talk about. Now that we are paying over three dollars a gallon for gas, that old expression, "money talks", comes to mind. Bush and company listen to "our good friends" in Saudi Arabia but not to our only REAL ally in that region.
Our President is quite cavalier about giving back "occupied land" and signing over the State of Israel. However, I'm not hearing too much from Crawford, Texas about signing over Texas to Mexico. Apparently, what is good for the goose (Israel) is not good for the gander (the US). But, hey, I can also bury my head in the sand with the best of them. So can we all if I'm right.
America is caught fast in the quicksand of politically correct rhetoric, realpolitik, and multicultural Arab/Muslim appeasement. And in the meantime, the "insurgents," "militants," and "rebels" are killing us and our allies left and right in the name of their God.
25 May, 2005
AMAZING: BLACKS CAN COMMIT HATE-CRIMES
I guess the fact that the TV cameras were rolling had something to do with it
Darnell Colquitt thought the TV reporters didn’t belong in the Tillicum ’hood and told them so. People tote heat around here, he warned. He started to pedal away on a bicycle, then stopped, turned, and told the reporters what would happen if they were still there when he came back. “You’re dead where you stand,” he said.
That, and a hail of racial slurs, earned him a trip to jail Thursday, along with a rare charge from Pierce County prosecutors: a black-on-white hate crime. Reporter Kevin McCarty and cameraman Terry Griffin of KIRO-TV were surprised to see things go that far. Normally, they would have ignored Colquitt. But they worried about the woman they were visiting, the subject of that day’s story. Someone had thrown homemade firebombs at her house. When the reporters left, would Colquitt come back and vent some misplaced rage? “He’s gonna remember her,” McCarty said. “That was my concern.”
They called the sheriff’s deputies and showed them the tape of Colquitt’s threats. Griffin’s camera had been rolling the whole time. The tape was good enough for a charge, said deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen. Prosecutors don’t file many hate-crime cases – one or two a month, Sorensen said. The formal charge is malicious harassment, and usually, the racial roles are reversed. Sorensen couldn’t think of another black-on-white example. “I’m not aware that we’ve ever done it before,” he said. “But it wasn’t charged because it was a reverse deal. It was charged because he was telling these guys to get out of the neighborhood because of the color of their skin.”
Friday, Colquitt, 21, appeared in court for his arraignment. Bail was set at $20,000. Sorensen said the amount was low because Colquitt didn’t have a history of violence.
PROTESTS AGAINST PC OPPRESSION IN U.S. UNIVERSITIES
Have America's college campuses been overrun by an addiction to political correctness? Some students charge they are being treated as second-class citizens if they don't fit the political correctness mold. The most prominent victims these days: conservatives and Jews. They have seen their beliefs bashed by professors and fellow students. Some young Republicans say they have found their grades lowered because of their politics. Jewish and conservative students have been shouted down in classes. Many have learned to just keep their mouths shut and their heads down.
But there are some people who are no longer willing to keep silent. They are starting to spread the word through grassroots media that there is an outright political harassment growing on today's campuses. Take, for instance, 'Columbia Unbecoming.'" In this videotaped cry for help, 14 Jewish students at New York City's Columbia University tell their tales of academic abuse at the hands of professors whose Middle East Studies department is headquartered in this building. Daniella Kahane from the class of 2005 said, "Students who want an honest discussion of the Middle East on campus are being silenced. And it's a problem that starts with professors."
Rachel Fish heads up the New York office of The David Project, which worked with the students to put "Columbia Unbecoming" together. Fish said, "Those students who offer a pro-Israel voice are often intellectually intimidated, and in some cases even harassed and abused by faculty members. Tomy (Tommy) Schoenfeld, class of 2004, says he had a wild encounter in class when Assistant Professor Joseph Massad found out Schoenfeld had been an Israeli soldier. According to Schoenfeld, the professor said: "...It's relevant, and I demand you to answer: how many Palestinians have you killed?" And Schoenfeld said, "I'm not going to answer, but I'm going to ask you a question. How many members of your family celebrated on September 11th if we're starting with stereotypes?"
We asked Massad to give us his side of the story. He never responded to our requests. Also, critics say that not all the abuses involve professors. Student Ariel Beery said, “In the language lab here, anti-Semitic literature was put up on the walls showing Jews as the the classical, money-grubbing, greedy user of Gentiles." Columbia, so long popular with New York's huge Jewish population, twice set up committees to deal with this crisis. But in the end, they only dealt seriously with the complaint of one student out of the 60 who came forth with grievances.
New Yorker Evan Coyne Maloney is a self-made documentarian, whose own film, "Brainwashing 101," has made a stunning impression at film festivals and campus showings even before its actual release. Maloney said, "What must be great about running a university is you get to investigate yourself. And if you investigate yourself, nine times out of 10 you're going to declare yourself innocent, right?" One reviewer of the Maloney film said it was "one of the most horrifying and hysterical documentaries I have ever seen." In it, Maloney details several cases where conservatives have been harassed on their college campuses. Like when a Cal Poly student in the Multi-Cultural Center confronted Steve Hinkle, of the Cal Poly College Republicans as he was hanging a flyer. The flyer simply invited people to come hear Mason Weaver, author of "It's OK to Leave the Plantation." Laura Freberg, the College Republicans faculty advisor, said, "She confronted Steve and basically told him to take his flyer and go, and if he refused to do so, she would call the police." Steve Hinkle said she stated, "You can't post that flyer in here because that flyer's offensive and we have a right not to be offended." She mentioned the flyer as being an example of 'hate speech.'
Maloney commented, "They actually called the police on the student who was hanging the flyer, and he was brought up on ‘hate speech’ charges, he was subjected to a seven-and-a-half hour hearing, and told, under threat of expulsion, that he had to write letters of apology." Another feature in Maloney's documentary: speech codes infused with political correctness. Maloney said, "I think the one from Brown says that you can't say anything that makes anyone feel 'angry, impotent or disenfranchised. One of my favorites maybe, is the one from University of Connecticut that bans 'inappropriate laughter.'"
Maloney told us of another college where it was a blanket policy that every single course had to discuss race, class and gender. He commented, "The physics professor and the botany professor were racking their brain trying to figure out how they were going to introduce this into the course. How do you talk about plants -- are there some plants that are racist?"
Maloney is one of the newest wave of new-wave filmmakers, a former computer geek who uses the new tiny technology to put real films together right inside his cramped Manhattan apartment, and then promotes them on his own blog and websites. He describes himself as a libertarian-conservative with neo-conservative overtones, radicalized by seeing 9-11 up close and personal. "Being a New Yorker and watching the towers fall from the rooftop of my office building,” stated Maloney, “really has a way of grabbing you by the collar, slapping you in the face and waking you up about what kind of threats exist in the world."
After 9-11, he became fascinated with far left protestors who appear to side with Islamic and Palestinian radicals against their own country. He began documenting how their love affair with the Palestinian cause has led them to a virulent hatred of Israel, a hatred he says is starting to spill over into a hatred of the Jews. A clip from Maloney's video 'Peace, Love and Anti-Semitism?' shows pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protestors. Amid these comments ...
"On the other side of my sign I wanted today to say 'First dump Bush then dump our Zionist Congress."
"I really felt unsafe, there was so much Jew hatred."
"I believe that they should be phased out and I think they could be relocated. I've heard Madagascar mentioned several times."
Then a portion of the film points out that the Nazis kept suggesting sending Jews to Madagascar.
None of this surprises the Jewish students in "Columbia Unbecoming." Noah Liben once watched Professor Massad blow up at a student who questioned the alleged Israeli massacre of Palestinians at Jenin in 2002. Liben said, "He quickly yelled and her, and demanded 'I will not have anyone sit through this class and deny Israeli atrocities, or else you can leave my classroom immediately.'"
Ariel Daube had angry students turn on him after a pro-Palestinian panel discussion. "...and point to me and say things like 'Just remember who's the oppressed and who's the oppressor. You are the occupier...," said Daube. Fish commented, "The question is 'Does Israel have a right to exist?' and the answer is 'No.' And it's all under the mantle of Palestinianism." Daube said "I started to get scared. I'd heard of stories in other universities of Jewish students being attacked, and in my mind there was no reason that it couldn't happen here." Some folks are amazed all this is happening at Columbia, the so-called 'Jewish Ivy.' But it's a warning sign. A whole new wave of anti-Semitism may be starting to infect a radical Left totally smitten with the Palestinian cause."
Next church-state dispute: "In God We Trust": "The words appear on every dollar bill and US coin. They are displayed at the entrance to the US Senate and above the Speaker's chair in the House. But when local officials in North Carolina placed 'In God We Trust' on the front of the Davidson County Government Center, they soon found themselves in federal court facing a complaint that they were violating the separation of church and state. The display was mounted in 18-inch letters that passing motorists could see on nearby Interstate 85. 'If you are going to get sued, you may as well get sued for big letters,' says Larry Potts, vice chairman of the Davidson County Commission."
24 May, 2005
DEADLY COSMETICS IN CALIFORNIA TOO
If California truly is the bellwether for the rest of the country, get ready for more government intrusiveness in your life. The legislative Sages of Sacramento are emulating European-style over-regulation: They plan to ban the traditional production of foie gras, and now a state senator and an assemblyman, both Democrats, have crafted two Europe-inspired bills to protect us from the trumped-up dangers of cosmetics. From a health and safety perspective, the relative risks posed by chemicals in cosmetics are so incredibly minute and theoretical they hardly warrant our attention. The FDA regulates cosmetics and their ingredients in a manner similar to foods. A cosmetic is adulterated and cannot under penalty of law be sold if "it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling." Manufacturers who market an adulterated cosmetic product could face both civil and criminal penalties.
In a state that has real problems with energy prices, automobile congestion, unaffordable housing and huge fiscal deficits, why the preoccupation with an issue that poses, at most, de minimis risks to consumers? As with most crimes of passion, this one begins with a motive. In 1989, environmental activists discovered—via the completely bogus Alar-and-apples scare—that if they can't eliminate chemicals through solid scientific evidence, they can bully them off the market by pressuring companies and by issuing the-sky-is-falling warnings to consumers. Having worked their way through the food, toy and medical device sectors (to name a few), the activists have turned their attention to cosmetics as the latest consumer segment ripe for fear-mongering.
As they have previously, activists are attacking a category of chemicals called phthalates, which are sometimes found in products such as fragrances, hair spray and nail polish, wrongly alleging that their presence at any level is sufficient grounds to incite panic and cause regulators to yank products. And, now, by aligning themselves with highly motivated breast-cancer groups suspicious about the health impacts of any "environmental toxins"—in spite of the fact that not one has been shown to cause breast cancer—they have deftly converted a scientific question into an issue of the exploitation of women.
While the political appeal of "standing up for breast-cancer victims" is undeniable, ridding the world of nonexistent health threats by banning safe chemicals or requiring excessive (and often inaccurate) product labeling requirements, as these bills would do, will not make women safer and healthier. And it is a bad public policy precedent, in the tradition of California's idiotic Prop 65 (which requires the warnings in virtually every business establishment that carcinogens or toxins are present).
But the real concern here is not the fate of a few unfairly maligned chemicals, or even whether cosmetics makers will escape the clutches of Sacramento's nanny-state legislators. It is whether our elected officials will come to their senses and realize that California isn't just a version of Europe with better weather and more earthquakes. (Could they possibly have become confused by the governor's accent?) Although we may wish to defer to Europe on matters relating to existentialist philosophy and anachronistic pomp and ceremony, it is the last place on earth we should look for regulatory guidance. The highly risk-averse regulators of the European Union have raised to a high art form the obstruction of innovation and the free market.
MORE ON "NITTY GRITTY"
As I noted on 22nd., the speech warriors say that "nitty gritty" is an allusion to slavery. A reader has drawn my attention to the following from here
[Q] From Helen Norris: “Any ideas on the origins of the expression nitty-gritty? I heard today a rather horrible suggestion that it referred to the debris left in the bottom of slave ships after their voyages, once the slaves remaining alive had been removed.”
[A] This may belong in the same line of folklore which holds that a picnic was a slave lynching party. There is a slight link, in that nitty-gritty was indeed originally a Black American English expression, and some people guess that nitty-gritty is a euphemism for shitty, which also suggests a relevance. However, it’s recorded in print only from the 1950s, and never directly with this sense.
Dr Jonathan Lighter, in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, records the first example from 1956: “You’ll find nobody comes down to the nitty-gritty when it calls for namin’ things for what they are”. As it is here fully formed, and has the now customary sense of the fundamental issues, the heart of the matter, or the most important aspects of some situation, it had by then probably already been in use for some while (I know of two people who claim to have come across it in the 1920s). But it is inconceivable that it should have been around since slave-ship days without somebody writing it down.
Its origins are elusive. One explanation is that it is a reduplication—using the same mechanism that has given us namby-pamby and itsy-bitsy—of the standard English word gritty. This has the literal sense of containing or being covered with grit, but figuratively means showing courage and resolve, so the link is plausible, and if it is not the direct origin may have influenced it. It has also been suggested (in a 1974 issue of American Speech, the journal of the American Dialect Society) that nits refers to head lice and grits to the corn cereal. None of these are supported by any firm evidence.
23 May, 2005
BREAD AND CHEESE IS BAD FOR YOU? IT IS IN CALIFORNIA
If it's popular it must be bad
Is it time to kill the cheese zombie? That's the recommendation of well-meaning lawmakers in California. Concerned about the epidemic of obesity among school children, they have backed legislation to boot junk food off school campuses. The "zombie," a cheese-filled bread snack that has been popular at some East Bay schools for years, might be considered for extinction. Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? And it is, except for one problem. It doesn't work. At least so far.
The dirty little secret of school lunches is that all that awful stuff -- the cookies, burgers, potato chips, pizza and soda pop -- is paying the freight for those healthy school lunches we all say we want. Kathleen Corrigan, who has been food services director for the sprawling Mount Diablo School District in Contra Costa County for 20 years, knows that students in her cafeterias are making a lunch of a Coke, a slice of pizza and two cookies. "Yeah, and I hate it," she says. "In an ideal world, I would sell lunches only. But it is becoming harder and harder to make our budget. The fact is, the snacks are what keep our full meals reasonable."
Her district isn't the only one affected by the trend. In 2000, the Public Health Institute conducted a school-lunch survey of 345 California high schools and found that a la carte items such as pizza, hamburgers, submarine sandwiches, French fries, chips, cookies, yogurt, bagels, ice cream and sodas accounted for 70 percent of all food sales at 71 percent of school districts surveyed. Amanda Purcell, who conducted the survey, said last week that she doubted there would be much difference today. "In high schools, a la carte is the bulk of the sales," Purcell says. "I don't think we have seen a significant change in how food service does business. They feel they need to sell those high-fat, junky things to keep the meals afloat." Mount Diablo's Corrigan is trying to find solutions to the problem, but Purcell says others are just looking at the bottom line. "Quite frankly, there are a lot of people who would continue to do business as usual," she says. "It is not hard to sell candy to children."
Not that there aren't some hopeful signs. A survey released last month by the UC Berkeley Center of Weight and Health said kids tended to switch to better food sources when junk food was eliminated -- to the point that food service revenues actually increased. That's great. But others point out that students at many high schools can leave campus for lunch or have many more options for what they can bring from home. Also, the majority of the 16 California schools in the Cal survey had large numbers of students who qualified for higher reimbursement rates for lunches. Without a closed campus, or extra reimbursement, the task is very difficult. Consider, in the last two years, Corrigan has made some healthy revisions in the snack menu. She changed to low-fat potato chips and "eliminated some ice cream items we just couldn't justify." The result? "Our income for a la carte items dropped $140,000," Corrigan says.
WE know what's good for you
Lawmakers want to make sure Connecticut students aren't part of the Pepsi Generation. Connecticut is on the verge of adopting the most far-reaching ban in the country on soda and junk food in public schools, in an effort to curb rising rates of childhood obesity. Similar but weaker proposals have been introduced in at least 17 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Policies are on the books in a few states, such as Arkansas and California.
Advocates say Connecticut's ban would be the strongest because it is so broad, applying to all grades and all school sites where food is sold. "Connecticut would be the first state to apply those standards to high schools," said Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Most of the recently passed policies are limited in that they only apply to elementary and middle schools."
Last week, lawmakers in the House voted 88-55 after an eight-hour debate to pass a law banning soda and junk food in cafeterias, vending machines and school stores. It also requires 20 minutes of physical activity outside of gym for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The bill heads to the Senate next week where leaders expect it to pass. "By no stretch of the imagination does it solve all the problems, but it's very important that we provide the right models in our schools," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. The topic was one of the most contested issues of the session. The lengthy debate outlasted discussions about the death penalty and a bill that allowed Connecticut to grant same-sex civil unions. Lawmakers confessed their personal weight problems and many lawmakers openly drank soda during the debate.
Soft drink companies lobbied fiercely against the bill, and many high schools worried they would lose money if sodas disappeared. In the end, weary legislators allowed a compromise that permits high school sales of diet soda and sports drinks on a limited basis. "Diet sodas, while not particularly good for children, have zero sugar content and therefore do not contribute to the weight problem that we're trying to address," said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford.
Opponents argue that the legislation crossed a line, implementing a "Big Brother"-style mandate better handled by local school districts. Rep. Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said the legislation wouldn't affect the obesity crisis when school menus offer selections such as cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets and nachos. "How many of you will stand there and say, 'If you have your share of sloppy joes and quesadillas, you're not going to put on a few pounds?'" Cafero said.
Many state schools have already taken steps on their own. Last year, New Haven Public Schools decided to make Nathan Hale Elementary School junk-free, taking soda out of vending machines and serving baked versions of french fries and tater tots. The initiative expanded this year.
Some are unconvinced the initiative is the right way to approach the obesity problem. Rep. Konstantinos Diamantis, D-Bristol, said he weighed 240 pounds as an eighth-grader and couldn't play sports because of weight limits. He lost the weight through willpower. "There's a host of things that go into it," he said. "Banning a particular food isn't going to teach a child a proper form of nutrition."
22 May, 2005
ACADEMIC MERIT TAKES A BACK SEAT TO FEMINISM (ETC.) AT HARVARD
The dumbing down of American universities continues apace. Group membership is trumping academic qualifications
Lawrence H. Summers, the embattled president of Harvard University, announced yesterday that the university would spend at least $50 million over the next decade to recruit, support and promote women and members of underrepresented minority groups on its faculty. Dr. Summers said the money would be spent on a range of initiatives, including the creation of a new senior vice provost post to focus on diversity issues, improved recruitment, subsidies for salaries, mentoring of junior faculty members and extending the clock on tenure for professors who go on maternity or parental leave.
Dr. Summers has been under siege since making remarks in January suggesting that "intrinsic aptitude" might be a factor behind the low number of women in science and engineering. With his presidency threatened, he issued repeated apologies and appointed two committees to make recommendations on how to increase the presence of women on Harvard's faculty, particularly in science and engineering. In making his proposals, Dr. Summers adopted the recommendations of reports released yesterday by those committees. The reports made clear that Harvard, arguably the most prestigious university in the nation, lagged behind the most aggressive universities in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty. Last year, only 4 of 32 professors offered tenure in the faculty of arts and science were women.
Many of the proposals in the new reports were inspired by programs already in place at universities around the country. "In spite of more than three decades of concern, Harvard has made only limited progress in its efforts to create a genuinely diverse faculty," the committee members said. "Women and minorities remain significantly underrepresented in relation not just to their proportions in the broader population," the committees said, "but in comparison to their presence in the student body of Harvard's ten schools."
Dr. Summers said in a telephone news conference yesterday that Harvard's hiring record last year had been unacceptable. "We have to do better," he said. He called the $50 million an "initial commitment" and said he expected that the university would ultimately devote more resources to attract and retain a more diverse faculty. "Certainly our aspiration is that Harvard be the leader in this sphere and does what is necessary to be the leader," Dr. Summers said.....
Among the initiatives cited with approval by professors were recommendations for helping female and minority faculty members with their professional and personal lives, including giving financial aid for research and day care and helping the spouses of professors being recruited by Harvard to find jobs.
SLUR ON BRISTOL RESENTED
Phrases like “ship shape and Bristol fashion” and “nitty gritty” have been banned at a West Midlands council – after politically correct training consultants branded them racist. The consultants, taken on to talk to members and officers at Wyre Forest Council, brought with them a list of words they said should be outlawed. They claimed both phrases have reference to the slave trade and were therefore taboo.
But the ruling, by Walsall-based Aldridge Training Solutions, has outraged people in the city of Bristol who have branded it a slur on their reputation. The city’s Lord Mayor Peter Abraham today was shocked to hear of the ban. He said he had always understood the term referred to the standard of sailors and ships in the city and pre-dated links with slavery. Mr Abraham said: “I have used the phrase for 60 years and my family has and there is no way it can be regarded as politically incorrect.” Bristol historian Gerry Brooke said: “These councillors have certainly got the wrong end of the stick. Bristol was a very difficult port to work in before its floating harbour was built. “The term comes because vessels built and loaded in the city were always first class in that they were constructed well and their cargoes would not shift about.”
But the 15 council members who attended the council’s equality and diversity meeting were today instructed to stand by the ruling. Wyre Forest councillor Ken Stokes said the terms were now taboo and even apologised for repeating the phrase ‘nitty gritty’ over the phone, apparently a reference to slaves in the lowest reaches of slave ships. He said: “I shouldn’t be saying that anymore after our equality meeting last week. We were told that ship shape and Bristol fashion was meant to refer to black people being ready for sale as slaves. It was a fascinating meeting to attend.”
But Councillor June Salter said: “The political correctness is getting pathetic. “I am not racist and I don’t need to be told how not to be a racist, which is why I didn’t attend.”
21 May, 2005
HOMOSEXUALS ARE GETTING EVER MORE INTRUSIVE AND COERCIVE
They want to be left in peace but are unwilling to leave others in peace
An anti-gay marriage activist group claims a graphic safe-sex guide for adult gay men was distributed to students at Brookline High School last month. Sean Haley of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which sponsored the April 30 event, denied the claim. ``The allegations are simply lies,'' he said. ``We assign monitors to every workshop and event to assure that all policies are strictly enforced. No such material from AAC (Aids Action Committee, which produced the booklet) or anyone else were ever present.''
The booklet, ``Little Black Book: V 2. Queer in the 21st Century,'' which includes graphic instructions on how to safely perform gay sex acts, was described as ``vile and disgusting'' by Brian Camenker of the anti-gay marriage Article 8 Alliance, which claims it was given to students. Sally Turner, a retired Carlisle mother, said she picked up the booklet at a table at Brookline High School set up by Fenway Community Health. ``I was quite horrified they were promoting homosexuality all the way down to the youngest grades,'' she said. Fenway Community Health officials could not be reached.
Brookline Superintendent William H. Lupini said GLSEN rented the high school for the event. ``We're going to investigate it,'' said Lupini, who said he has been assured the claim is false. ``If it happened, it's going to mean a lot of things for us. . . . We'll have to take appropriate steps in terms of safeguarding our facility.''
The booklet thanks the state Department of Public Health as a supporter. But Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday the state did not fund the booklet, and denounced ``graphic pornographic material on the gay lifestyle'' in schools. Meanwhile, AAC director Rebecca Haag said, ``This is a very targeted publication for gay men over 18 and it should not be misused. However, it is a very effective public health tool for preventing HIV and AIDS. . . . We never use sexually explicit materials (in the schools.)''
THE TRUTH CAN GET YOU JAILED IN CANADA
A Saskatchewan man has been charged and ordered to pay $17,500 in damages to several homosexuals as a result of a flyer he distributed in Regina, containing warnings against the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle that a human rights tribunal ruled was “hate speech.” On May 2, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ordered William Whatcott to pay homosexual Guy Taylor $2,500 and $5,000 each to homosexuals Brenden Wallace, James Komar and Kathy Hamre for damages. The four had sued Whatcott for a flyer he had distributed in mailboxes between September 2001 and April 2002 for what they considered “hate speech.”
“I believe homosexuality activity is a sin,” Whatcott said, according to a CP report. “To give me a $17,500 fine and say I can't say that is quite frankly garbage and is not something I am going to abide by. If I have to sit in jail for the rest of my life, I am not going to be quiet.” Quotes found to convict him included, “Our children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse…if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong,” and “Sodomites are 430 times more likely to acquire AIDS and 3 times more likely to sexually abuse children!”
Whatcott added bible verses referring to homosexuality such as the following: “The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” and “Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”
Whatcott argued in his own defence that “he had himself engaged in homosexual acts and that the Lord had set him free,” according to court testimony. He added that “only 2% of homosexuals were monogamous or semi-monogamous, while 43% of male homosexuals estimate having had sex with 500 or more different partners, and 28% of male homosexuals estimate having sex with 1,000 or more different partners.”
20 May, 2005
THE ISLAMIC MESS IN SWEDEN
If American Muslims get a bit pesky at times, it is NOTHING on what happens in super-"liberal" Sweden
A top Muslim scholar said the Muslim minority in Sweden would abide by Swedish law in confronting a Christian preacher who insulted Prophet Muhammad, urging his fellow Swedish Muslims not to take the law into their own hands or commit any violent acts to avenge the remarks of the Christian cleric. Norwegian celebrity evangelist preacher Runar Søgaard, in a sermon at Filadelfia church in Stockholm on March 20, repeated claims that Muhammad was "a confused pedophile" since his wives included a girl aged nine years old. Søgaard is under protection by Swedish police after receiving death threats. The sermon has triggered fears of a religious war in Sweden. It is essential according to Islamic teachings to respond to those who defame Muhammad. Muslim extremists in Sweden have urged Al-Qaida's al-Zarqawi to take action in the matter, and radicals of the Salafyist variety have posted a very explicit threat to launch a wave of terrorist attacks against Sweden because of the "insult". The threats were posted on a number of known Islamist forums and were accompanied by rather lurid graphics.
However, Fjordman has documented that Swedish Muslims called for terror attacks against Sweden even before this incident happened. This text was posted on a large Swedish Muslim forum in February 2005: "Wallahi I pray that Allah will severely punish all those who are involved in this war against Islam. And that Sweden will feel the punishment of the Mujahdiin that the USA and Spain and other countries have done for their involvement in Iraq. May Allah punish this hypocrite government, Ameen. Please give me evidence that kuffar (infidels) should NOT be allowed to kill. Why should you not be allowed to call Sweden Darul Harb (the House of War)? Ulama have stated many times that every state that does not judge according to sharia, and does not have a pact with the Muslims or is paying the Jiziya is a part of Dar ul-Harb, which is allowed to attack and their wealth permitted for all Muslims. Why not follow the example of what our Mujahid brother in Holland did with that pig Theo van Gogh? That brother's action really made a difference in the world, and because of it the Muslims now enjoy some respect and eminence among the kuffar. Sure, Muslims enjoy "protection" in Sweden as citizens. So what? There are Muslims in the USA and Israel, too, getting "protection". What difference does it make? Allah made Jihad compulsory. A Muslim has to enter fully into Islam, not just ignore issues as he feels like. This is Islam, not a lunch buffet."
Muslims have been spreading extremism and hate in Sweden for some time. Journalist Salam Karam had on several occasions visited the large mosque on Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm. The aim was to compare the Imam's speeches in Arabic with the interpreters Swedish translations. His report showed that the violent attacks against USA and the West were never translated. The largest mosque in Stockholm was spreading double messages. What the Imam said in his speech in Arabic didn't match how the text was interpreted in Swedish. “America rapes Islam,” the Imam roared in Arabic from the platform. The interpreter translated to Swedish: “We condemn USA's torture of Iraqi prisoners.” Adding to sermons such as these, Radio Islam, based in Sweden, keeps Nazi hate literature such as Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" online in several languages, including English. Should a terror attack occur in Sweden, the country may be unprepared for it. An examination of Sweden's preparedness for a terrorist attack by the Swedish Defense Research Agency, FOI, has found the country’s state agencies lacking.
The threats against Sweden should serve as a lesson to those who still claim that Islamic terrorism is caused by "Israeli aggression" or "American foreign policy". Sweden, a retirement home for foreign war criminals and reputedly where Iraqi ex-dictator Saddam Hussein wants to spend his last years, doesn't have a colonial past. Yet it is probably the most pathetic dhimmi nation in the Western world, even if facing some stiff competition for the title. It subsidizes Palestinian terror conferences at a time when anti-Jewish harassment by Muslims is so bad that Swedish Jews sign up for service in the IDF to escape. IKEA, one of its largest companies, censors its own manuals in order not to offend Muslims. A Swedish court recently judged according to sharia. I have earlier read suggestions by a columnist in Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, that Sweden should change its national anthem into "something multicultural". Two Swedish girls were also sent home from school for wearing sweaters showing a tiny Swedish flag. The headmaster was concerned that this might be deemed offensive by some immigrants. Sweden crawls to Muslims in every way imaginable, and it still isn't enough. There are still Muslim radicals who want to attack it. How are leftists going to spin it when the terror attacks come? Since Islamic terror is caused by occupation and oppression, which illegal settlements are Swedes going to withdraw from to please the Muslims? Stockholm?
Just an excerpt from Fjordman
MORE CLASHES OF CORRECTNESSES
On April 30, American journalist Chris Crain became the victim of a hate crime in Amsterdam. While walking in the street holding hands with his partner, he was savagely beaten by seven men shouting antigay slurs. A few days later, Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at the Human Rights Watch, expressed some sympathy for the gay-bashers. Crain's attackers were reportedly Moroccan immigrants. "There's still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society," Long opined to the gay news service PlanetOut. "Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer."
Welcome to Politically Correct World, where acts that would merit unequivocal condemnation if committed by white males are viewed in a very different light when the offenders belong to an "oppressed group." The irony, of course, is that one of the principal reasons for the recent anti-immigrant backlash in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands is the fear that the influx of immigrants from deeply conservative Muslim cultures will threaten the country's liberal attitudes on social issues, particularly the rights of women and gays. (Pim Fortuyn, the maverick anti-immigrant Dutch politician assassinated in 2002, was openly gay.) This fear is shared by some immigrants—notably, the Somali-born politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
The tension between two pillars of the modern left—multiculturalism and progressive views on gender—is not new. It has been particularly thorny in many European countries where, in lieu of an American-style "melting pot" approach, immigrants have been traditionally encouraged to maintain their distinct values and ways. Recently, however, these tensions have started to come out into the open. According to a March article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist last November after he had made a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women "galvanized the Netherlands and sent shock waves across Europe."
In Germany, these shock waves have generated a long-overdue interest in the sometimes deadly violence toward Muslim women, mostly in the country's 2.5-million-strong Turkish immigrant community. A German-Turkish women's group has documented 40 "honor killings" since 1996—murders of women and girls by family members as punishment for besmirching the "family honor." In February, 23-year-old Hatin Surucu was shot to death in Berlin, allegedly by her three brothers. The young woman had divorced the cousin she had been forced to marry at 16; she had also started dating German men, given up her head scarf, and enrolled in a training course to become an electrician. What made headlines, Der Spiegel reports, was not the murder itself but a letter from a school principal reporting that some Turkish boys at his school had mocked Surucu as a "whore" who "got what she deserved."
"Honor killings" may be relatively rare; but a recent study by the German government found that half of the country's Turkish women are pressured into arranged marriages—often to men they have never seen before the wedding—and more than one in six say they were forced to marry. Serap Cileli, a Turkish-German author and filmmaker who escaped an arranged marriage, told Der Spiegel that until recently, the German media refused to publish her accounts of her and other Turkish women's experiences for fear of appearing "racist."
Even feminists often balk at breaking the multicultural faith. A 2001 article in Labyrinth, a feminist philosophy journal, lamented that concerns about the oppression of women in the Third World could perpetuate "the stereotype that 'brown' men abuse 'brown' women more than white men" and cause "Third World" people to be perceived as "more barbaric" than Westerners.
19 May, 2005
FASCISM NOW POLITICALLY CORRECT IN BRITAIN
(As long as it is Islamic)
There is more than a whiff of racism in Britain today, and this smell emerged in the British elections. Racism in Britain means that politicians must cater to their constituents, even if these constituents demand a differing political and cultural program from mainstream Britain. It is legitimate for any section of any country to actively promote a change in political thought and philosophy, and the massive influx of Arab and Muslim migrants into Britain is certainly having an effect on the political landscape there.
Nowhere was this highlighted more than in the constituency of Bethnal Green. Over forty percent of the voters are Muslim. Here Oona King, the incumbent Labour M.P. who is both black and Jewish, was challenged by an opportunist radical, George Galloway, on an anti-Iraq war platform. The campaign was tinged by racist remarks made both by Galloway and his supporters against Miss King. George Galloway, prior to the Iraq war, went to Baghdad to stand alongside Saddam Hussein and pledge his loyalty to this tyrant. His visit was the subject of much publicity in Britain. Oona King was swept away, courtesy of Galloway's tactics and the Muslim vote.
Is Bethnal Green an early warning of what is to come? Or was it an aberration? In his victory speech, Galloway accused Tony Blair of the murder of hundreds of U.S. and British servicemen. He, Galloway, by demonstrating active support for Saddam Hussein's regime can be accused of aiding and abetting in the mass murder of thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam and his henchmen. Yet in Britain, the evil crimes of the Saddam regime are dismissed as irrelevant and the internal affairs of a foreign country. No moral outcry here. Today's political correctness in Britain demands of their leaders to leave tyrants and dictators alone and let them get on with their crimes and butchery.
On Iraq, politically incorrect Blair was right and just in his decision and action to go to war against an evil dictator. Politically correct Galloway is wrong. Indeed, by standing alongside Saddam Hussein and using the British parliament and media to keep him in power, Galloway can be accused of being criminally wrong. Yet the Muslim voters of Bethnal Green have swept him into Parliament as their newly elected representative.
The prominent Mayor of London, radical Ken Livingstone, makes personal political capital by pandering to the rising Muslim and anarchist population of London. He invites, then re-invites, a radical Islamic cleric to be his guest and to spread his worldview and philosophy in Britain. This cleric has praised Palestinian suicide bombers and terrorists who have killed over a thousand Israelis. But this viewpoint is considered worthy of sympathetic hearing as Israel is portrayed in Britain as a fascist country beneath contempt. Ken Livingstone sarcastically insulted a Jewish journalist, comparing him to a concentration camp kappo. Jewish groups that protest his rude behavior are dismissed as stooges for the Zionists led by a war criminal. All this is political grist to the ears and hearts of his supporters.
This politically acceptable worldview is not restricted to the British Labour Party. Last year, Jenny Tonge's sympathy and public statements about Palestinian suicide bombers forced her off the front benches and out of a prominent role in the Liberal Democrat party. This rare act of common sense and decency did not last too long. Now Jenny Tonge is being promoted to the lofty House of Lords where she will be free to air her views.
Promotion and honors for Brits who express anti-Israel views is becoming commonplace. The pro-Palestinian lobby is so strong in Britain that all sorts of lies can be thrown at Israel and the perpetrator, as in the case of BBC's Orla Guerin, can be feted and included in the Queens Birthday Honors List and an invitation to Buckingham Palace to receive her Honor.
How does this seep down to the ordinary man in the street? Many Israelis are shocked when, in conversation with people in Britain, they are faced with the most outrageous and incorrect accusations. Obviously, opinion makers in Britain, both in politics and in the media, are guilty of fostering a false picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This position, however, reflects the agenda of a rising and strong minority. When Kenneth Bigley was cruelly and inhumanely beheaded in Iraq by Palestinian terrorist Zarqawi, his brother did not demand that Tony Blair pursue this killer and bring him to justice. Instead, he raged against Israel, a country not involved in events in Iraq.
So what of the political future of Britain? It is clear the Islamic vote will become increasingly crucial in painting the political picture in Britain. Between elections, Muslim activists will continue to successfully promote their platforms and political philosophies. Bethnal Green was only one place where Labour was defeated due to the Muslim voice. Other Labour defeats, attributable to a shift among Muslim voters included Rochdale, home to 17,000 Muslims, Hornesey and Wood Green, Manchester Withington.
In Britain there are now forty constituencies where Muslims comprise at least ten percent of the population and rising. In some, they number between forty and fifty percent of the voters. There are a number of Muslim M.P.s in the new Parliament.
There is a climate of political intolerance in Britain. Frictions will increase as rank and file Brits feel increasingly uncomfortable with what is transpiring there. For all the talk about changing the immigration laws, many feel this is akin to closing the stable door once the horse has bolted. The problem in already within Britain. The problem is growing. And the problem looks increasingly unsolvable. The face of Britain is changing, and not to the pleasure of the majority.
Even the main union of teachers in Britain has voted to boycott Israeli universities. Israel, it seems, is the singular country in the world deserving of such censure. Democratic Israeli universities, where students of all religious and ethnic background are free to discuss and air even the most extreme viewpoints, are accused of being racist by politically correct but ignorant, or malevolent, British academics who reach positions of influence from where they impose their biased worldviews.
Already the decreasing Jewish population is feeling isolated and threatened as anti-Jewish incidents rise sharply in Britain. British Jewry has contributed to the richness of British political and cultural life but now they are feeling exposed and not represented. British Jews have joined their French co-religionists in looking to Israel for support and succor. Many are buying homes in Israel as security against a day when they feel that they can no longer tolerate living in Britain. For those who remember Britain for all its past glory, decency, and tolerance, it is sad to see how political correctness has reduced this country to insanity, bias and racism.
LEFTISTS NEED LIES
Christians have succeeded in stopping the preaching of homosexuality in one school system (in Montgomery County) but rather than argue any of the issues concerned, the Left simply engage in totally dishonest descriptions of their opponents. When truth is inconvenient they take to lies like a duck to water
On its Web log on April 6, teachthefacts.org posted an entry titled, "Theocrats making their move in our country." It showed a picture of two women covered head-to-toe in Muslim burkas. "So here's the plan. Conservative Christians are going to 'take back' America. They will eradicate evil and make sure that all Americans live according to the Gospel," wrote Jim Kennedy, a federal worker with two children in high school. "You will dress modestly, abstain from liquor, cigarettes, dancing. Your daughters will learn about sex from their husbands when they marry ... You will obey the scriptural laws of the country and will attend services, of course," he wrote.
Mr. Kennedy's Web log entry was aimed at critiquing a letter that the Center for Reclaiming America had sent to the county school board to complain about the sex-ed course. In an April 12 entry, Mr. Kennedy wrote that efforts to stop the sex-ed course were "part of a larger attack on American values" seeking to replace "reasoned thinking" with "superstition." [Sounds like Mr Kennedy want to replace reasoned thinking with mere abuse]
Erik Stanley, chief counsel for Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based Christian group representing the groups that filed a federal lawsuit against teaching the course, called talk of creating a theocratic society "ridiculous." "This is not some kind of nationwide plot to establish a theocracy," said Mr. Stanley, whose group has ties to Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell. "It's actually the opposite. We are trying to stop the implementation of radical indoctrination in the school system. "If one side has been given an unfair advantage in this case, it's not the Christian conservative side," Mr. Stanley said. "And we're not seeking for any particular side to have an advantage."
Michelle Turner is president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC), an ad hoc group that filed the lawsuit against the sex-ed course. She said, "It is loony" to think that theocracy is her group's goal. "That's just so absurd that they would say that, and I would think that the Montgomery County community would find that very insulting," said Mrs. Turner, who has four children in public schools. "We are not requiring girls to wear head scarves, and, I'm sorry, the schools opened up the 'religion store,' and if they opened it up, they're going to talk about all of it, not just certain pieces," she said.....
On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr. ruled that Montgomery County's course did teach about religious points of view on homosexuality and discriminate against others. "The revised curriculum presents only one view on the subject -- that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle -- to the exclusion of other perspectives," Judge Williams, who was appointed in 1994 by President Clinton, wrote in his 22-page opinion.....
A CRC member tried to introduce health statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into the citizens committee that approved the sex-ed materials. But they were rejected on the grounds that similar data were included elsewhere in the health curriculum.
Mrs. Turner said CRC filed its lawsuit because the board refused to meet with them after they presented 3,500 signatures on a petition opposing the sex-ed course last month.
Last week, Newsweek magazine ranked five Montgomery County high schools in the top 100 schools nationally -- more than any other county in the country. Judge Williams recognized that what happens with the county's sex education will have national impact. Montgomery County Public Schools "have to be the pacesetter. This is a very important issue," he said during a May 5 hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.
18 May, 2005
ONLY WHITES CAN COMMIT HATE CRIMES
Invoking the name "Martin Luther King" and screaming "Black Power!" a gang of up to 30 black teens attacked four white girls in Marine Park in what police are saying is not a bias crime. The March 30 attack was a hot topic at state Senator Marty Golden's recent public safety forum. According to witnesses and parents of the victims, four young girls from St. Edmund's had the day off from school due to Easter recess. They were playing basketball during dismissal from nearby Marine Park Junior High School, when several Marine Park students demanded to use the court.
After adults intervened and asked them to wait their turn, the teens left - but returned in a pack of up to 30, both boys and girls, and stormed into the park. Witnesses say the attackers were all black and called their victims "white crackers" during the bloody melee, which raged for almost 20 minutes.
"This is not being looked at as a bias crime," NYPD Deputy Inspector Kevin McGinn said at the meeting.
"When I pulled my car up to the park, I witnessed a pandemonium I've never seen in my life," said Debbie, a mother of one victim who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons. Her daughter ran to the car, screaming, "They're going to kill us," Debbie recalled. My daughter was so scared and kids were running around like crazy. Pursued by dozens of teens, some of the girls were "literally running into traffic to save their lives," she said.
One girl made it as far as a nearby house, but was dragged by her hair back into the playground by a "wolf pack of children," Debbie said. The St. Edmund girls were bleeding and beaten to the point where they had cuts, scrapes, footprints and dirt all over them - and the attackers surrounded her car and started pounding on the windows as Debbie tried to herd the terrified children into her vehicle.
Two girls were hospitalized - one with a broken nose and one with a head injury, according to Edith, the mother of another girl. According to Lt. Mark Molinari, from the 63rd Precinct, five of the assailants, who attend Marine Park Junior High School, were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. But since the attackers are all under the age of 16, they are facing charges in Family Court, and were arraigned last Friday.
"I always felt safe in the area and after hearing about such an incident, you start thinking what else could happen. These situations should not be happening, not in Marine Park, or anywhere else, and the safety of our kids should be of most importance," said Denise Williams, a parent from Gerritsen Beach. "It's getting progressively worse in the community - these types of gangs are not only taking away our parks, they're ruining our neighborhoods," said parent Cathy Miller. "Nobody expects their child to go to a park and get beaten, with footprints on her head and arm, everyone just wants their child to be safe," said Edith. "Everyone should have the right to be safe from teens, to small kids, to seniors, to mothers with strollers, no one should fear of being beaten while enjoying a day in the park."
MEXICO LESS POLITICALLY CORRECT
President Vicente Fox refused to apologize Monday for saying Mexicans in the United States do the work that blacks won't a comment widely viewed as acceptable in a country where blackface comedy is still considered funny and nicknames often reflect skin color. Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said Mexican and foreign news media have misinterpreted the remark as a racial slur. He said the president was speaking in defense of Mexican migrants as they come under attack by the new U.S. immigration measures that include a wall along the U.S.-California border.
Stung by the U.S. crackdown on illegal immigrants, many Mexicans including Mexico City's archbishop said Fox was just stating a fact. "The president was just telling the truth," said Celedonio Gonzalez, a 35-year-old carpenter who worked illegally in Dallas for six months in 2001. "Mexicans go to the United States because they have to. Blacks want to earn better wages, and the Mexican because he is illegal takes what they pay him."
But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Fox should apologize. "His statement had the impact of being inciting and divisive," Jackson said Monday, noting that in many U.S. cities tensions are already high between blacks and Latinos because they compete for scarce jobs and often have children crowded into underfunded schools. Another American civil rights activist, the Rev. Al Sharpton, said the comment was especially disturbing because Fox was educated in the United States and "he is not unaware of the racial sensitivities here."
Fox made the comment Friday during a public appearance in Puerto Vallarta, saying: "There's no doubt that Mexican men and women full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States." Responding to the criticism during his daily news conference Monday, Aguilar read a statement expressing Fox's "enormous respect for minorities, whatever their racial, ethnic or religious origin."
GERMANY LESS POLITICALLY CORRECT
Until recently, German nationality was based on the principle of descent, rather than place of birth, meaning that a person could be born in Germany and not qualify as a German citizen. A child born in Russia to descendents of German emigrants had more right to German citizenship than the offspring of Turkish parents living in Germany. Although the law was recently changed to make children born in Germany to foreign parents eligible for German citizenship, the general population still consider family to be more important than place of birth in defining nationality. Germans of Turkish descent are routinely referred to as 'Turks' or even 'Ausl,nder' (foreigners) and are seldom regarded as full German citizens.
Similarly, expats of colour are frequently asked where they are 'really' from when they give their nationality, or are subjected to crass speculation about their country of origin. Comments such as "I thought you were Spanish with your dark skin" are not uncommon.
Advertising is another area where insensitivity to questions of ethnicity can be seen. This often takes the form of crass attempts at humour. An advertisement by the Berlin public transport authority, the BVG, showed a black woman beneath the slogan 'Schwarzfahrer' (literally 'black passenger' but also meaning fare-dodger). In a similar vein, a recent cinema ad for the TV licence authority GEZ featured a black actor and a white actor, with a slogan that punned on 'schwarz' (black) and 'weiss' (white).
One company who should really have known better is McDonald's, whose German ad for its 'Chicken McFu' hamburgers played on stereotypes of Asians with slogans such as 'Plima!' and "Liesig!' "These ads are jolly and funny," commented a McDonald's Germany spokesman in response to complaints by Chinese-German groups, showing the kind of insensitivity typical of those who have never been on the receiving end of such stereotyping.
Juergen Ruettgers, the CDU's candidate for the key 22 May state election in North Rhine-Westfalia, is one mainstream politician who has repeatedly made racist comments. In 2000, he infamously called for "Kinder statt Inder" ("Children instead of Indians"), proposing that Germany fill its IT skills gap through procreation rather than employing foreign specialists. Then in a recent television interview, R_ttgers said that as a Catholic he believed the Christian worldview was the correct one, and not comparable with worldviews of other cultures
17 May, 2005
THE HILARIOUS STORY OF RAHILA KHAN
"Her oeuvre is very slender: a single paperback volume of 100 pages, entitled Down the Road, Worlds Away. It was published in 1987 by the Virago Press, a feminist publishing house founded in the 1970s that is now owned by TimeWarnerBooks, and it appeared in a series called Virago Upstarts-that is to say, parvenu termagants. You are never too young to resent.
"Virago Upstarts is a new series of books for girls and young women. . This new series will show the funny, difficult, and exciting real lives and times of teenage girls in the 1980s." No prizes for guessing the reality of the real lives, of course: and Rahila Khan gives us "twelve haunting stories about Asian girls and white boys . about the tangle of violence and tenderness . in all their lives," written "with hard-eyed realism and poignant simplicity."
As for Rahila herself, she was born in Coventry in 1950, lived successively in Birmingham, Derby, Oxford, London, and Peterborough, married in 1971, and now lived in Brighton with her two daughters. She began writing only in 1986 (presumably when her daughters demanded less of her time), and in the same year six of her stories were broadcast by the BBC. Virago accepted her book, an acceptance that, in the words of Professor Dympna Callaghan, Professor of English at Syracuse University and author of a Marxist analysis of the exclusion of women from the Renaissance stage, "seemed to fulfill one of Virago's laudable objectives, that of publishing the work of a diverse group of contemporary feminist authors."
A literary agent contacted Rahila Khan by post and asked to represent her. Until then, Miss Khan had refused to meet in person anyone with whom she dealt, or even to send a photograph of herself: but she agreed to meet the agent who wanted to represent her. The agent was surprised to discover that Miss Khan was actually the Reverend Toby Forward, a Church of England vicar. (He has recently been installed as canon residentiary and preceptor of Liverpool Cathedral, and his latest publication-he is now an established children's writer under his own name-is entitled Shakespeare's Globe: An Interactive Pop-Up Theatre.)
Needless to say, the revelation of Rahila Khan's true identity caused both hilarity and anger. The publisher, Virago, felt that it had been made a fool of and was the victim of a distasteful hoax, pulped the book soon after its publication and turned it into an expensive bibliographical rarity (my own copy is in excellent condition but for the yellowing pages that emit an acrid, throat-catching smell which so many British books, printed on the cheapest and nastiest of paper, nowadays emit after a few months of existence). Virago asked Reverend Forward to return the advance he had been paid and to pay for the cost of the printing. He did not accede to the request.
Virago felt it necessary to stand by its purely literary judgment, namely that the stories were written "with hard-eyed realism and poignant simplicity"-it had to do so, or it would justly have been accused of applying double standards to work by Asian women and white men, which would have revealed a frankly racist condescension. But Virago decided that politics in this instance was the better part of literature, and was more important, indeed, than whether the book had anything worthwhile or important to say. It therefore refused to sell any more copies of the offending work. This, as we shall see, was ironic, because the author was drawing attention, not before time, to the truly oppressed condition of certain women, a condition in which one might have supposed that feminists would be interested".
More -- much more -- here
RELATIVISM FOR THEE BUT NOT FOR ME
When Christians try to evangelize someone, offer an opinion on public policy, or engage in an act of persuasion, the cultural left tries to silence them by invoking the doctrine of relativism. What we think of as true is really only a personal or a cultural construction, so the argument goes. This is true of religion, and it is certainly true for morality, which varies according to different people's choices and values. To impose one ideology on everyone is an act of power and a violation of people's rights and freedom. We must instead practice tolerance by accepting people's different beliefs and values.
These now-commonplace notions are exploded in a new book, The Truth About Tolerance by Brad Stetson and Joseph Conti (InterVarsity Press, 2005, paperback). In a scholarly but lucid analysis that traces the virtue of tolerance all the way back to the Bible, the authors show that tolerance requires disagreement. Otherwise, there is nothing to tolerate. And toleration depends on objective truth.
While exposing the intolerance that passes for the virtue today, the authors make an illuminating point: "Relativism is bankrupt as a moral philosophy, and no one is actually a real relativist, including the contemporary secular liberal. Secularists today make a whole host of moral judgments, and they do so unhesitatingly," they write. "The relativism of the secular liberalism . . . is only relativist when it is resisting traditional Judeo-Christian morality."
Actually, say Mr. Stetson and Mr. Conti, secularists engage in selective relativism. They invoke relativism when arguing against Christians and other cultural conservatives. But they treat their own beliefs and moral principles as objective, absolute, and universal truths.
16 May, 2005
HUMAN PROTANDRY (GIRLS WHO TURN INTO BOYS) REVISITED
I have posted a couple of articles on human protandry and interested readers should probably read the earlier stuff first. The phenomenon is a marvellous natural experiment proving that "gender" is NOT a "social construct" -- as the academic feminists would have it. The academic feminists themselves are not interested in evidence, of course, but those who have to cope with them may be. I must say I was amused, though, to see that a lesbian site had one account of the phenomenon posted. Apparently, the idea of girls turning into boys sounds pretty reasonable from a lesbian perspective!
Anyway, below is an excerpt from a medical source which explains how human protandry happens:
"De Vaal (1955) reported 3 brothers who were thought for a time to be girls. The parents and grandparents on one side were first cousins, and the great-grandparents were also related. Simpson et al. (1971) described a family with 3 affected brothers whose parents were double first cousins. Each of the affected sibs had an XY karyotype and ambiguous genitalia, leading to rearing as females. No breast development or menstruation occurred at puberty, and instead typical masculinization was observed.
PPSH can be difficult to distinguish from the incomplete testicular feminization syndrome (ITFS; 300068), especially in the young child. The distinction is obviously important since PPSH is a male-limited autosomal recessive with a recurrence risk of 1 in 8, whereas ITFS is probably X-linked recessive (or autosomal dominant male-limited) as is the complete syndrome. Wilson et al. (1974) chose to refer to PPSH as type 2 familial incomplete male pseudohermaphroditism, type 1 being the Reifenstein syndrome (312300). PPSH resembles the most severe form of type I incomplete male pseudohermaphroditism, but differs from it by the lack of breasts and by its autosomal inheritance. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) formation is defective in this condition. Testosterone and estrogen levels are normal, hence the lack of gynecomastia. Other evidence as well suggests that DHT is important to external virilization.
In a village in the Dominican Republic, Imperato-McGinley et al. (1974) studied 12 families with 22 male pseudohermaphrodites. The affected males were born with ambiguous genitalia and masculinized at puberty without breast development. The testes were normal histologically. The patients had no mullerian structures, complete wolffian differentiation, small phallus, bifid scrotum, urogenital sinus with perineal hypospadias and blind vaginal pouch. At puberty, they showed male habitus with excellent muscular development, voice change, enlargement of phallus and production of semen, but small prostate and scanty beard. Plasma testosterone was normal; plasma 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone was low. An abnormally small amount of radioactive testosterone was converted to dihydrotestosterone. One woman studied showed the same biochemical defect.
The disorder has been found in blacks, whites, American Indians, and Latin Americans, as well as in families from Malta, Jordan, and Pakistan. Imperato-McGinley et al. (1991) described a cluster of male pseudohermaphrodites in the Simbari Anga linguistic group in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Their studies revealed a phenotypic and biochemical profile similar to that in patients studied in the Dominican Republic, except for a greater abundance of facial and body hair. DHT is responsible for masculinization of the external genitalia of the fetus and for masculinization at puberty. The virilization at puberty in PPSH may be related to the facts that the reductase is not completely absent and that low levels of DHT are found in plasma".
Price et al. (1984) presented evidence that high dose androgen therapy may improve virilization, self-image, and sexual performance in patients with alpha-reductase deficiency who have male-gender behavior and in those patients with Reifenstein syndrome (312100) who have normal amounts of a qualitatively abnormal androgen receptor.
A number of male pseudohermaphrodites have married and expressed a desire to father a child. However, a deficiency in dihydrotestosterone production not only impairs differentiation of male external genitalia but also affects the development and secretory function of the prostate and seminal vesicles. Consequently, affected adults have a rudimentary prostate and underdeveloped seminal vesicles, resulting in a highly viscous semen and an extremely low volume of ejaculate, although sperm counts may be normal. Katz et al. (1997) described the use of intrauterine insemination with sperm from a man with this disorder and a history of infertility. The first pregnancy gave rise to a normal son; the second pregnancy produced fraternal twins. All 3 children were heterozygous for the father's C-to-T mutation in exon 5 of the SRD5A2 gene".
There is a more general discussion of the hormonal phenomena involved here
THE FEMINIST ANSWER TO THE POOR EDUCATIONAL PERFORMANCE OF BOYS
A few excerpts from a submission (PDF) to an official Australian government report on behalf of "The association of women educators". The hormonal messes concerned think that the only problem is that boys are not de-masculinized enough. The submission just drips hatred of males and masculinity generally.
While school performance can be measured and influences such as social class can be factored into the results, it is undisputed that some boys dominate the statistics in issues such as: High incidence of punishment in school; Dangerous and destructive behaviour; Abuse and assault of females and other males; Homophobia; Drug Abuse; Suicide; Road deaths; Dominance of teachers' time; Dominance of linguistic and physical space in the classroom and playground; Dominance in the use of sports facilities and resources; Dominance in the use of computers and technology; and School suspension and expulsion. These examples reflect the worst aspects of hegemonic or dominant masculinity and provide the reason that schools need to take action in order to provide alternatives to the currently held narrow view of what it is to be masculine and the restrictions associated with that view in terms of educational opportunities, life chances and quality of life.
As well as creating many problems for some boys, dominant masculinities powerfully impacts on the school experiences of girls and perpetuates imbalances of cultural and economic power between the sexes, resulting in the abuse of women. Schools and teachers need to provide both boys and girls with a positive, flexible and equitable sense of being male or female to which they can aspire. Teachers have a key role to assist young people to examine alternative constructions of masculinity and femininities and to affirm a range of identities. All teachers have a responsibility in making schools supportive learning environments for all students and especially those practising marginalised masculinities and femininities. [All students except normal males, apparently]
AWE notes with concern the failure of the present "what about the boys" debate to address ssues related to boys' sexual behaviour and sexual responsibility. In addition to the well-documented dominance of young men in crimes of sexual violence, and the alarming prevalence among them of attitudes which pre-dispose young men to violence against women and girls, recent research both in Australia and Great Britain reveals that many young men fail to accept responsibility for their sexual behaviour. Evidence strongly suggests low levels of responsibility in regard to using contraception and practicing safe sexual behaviour, and to supporting children they may father. Meanwhile, young mothers are left not only to raise a child/children single-handed, but also to suffer the continuing social stigma attached to teenage pregnancy and parenthood.
The AWE believes that the curriculum promotes narrow portrayals of masculinities and that narrow subject selection by boys is not effectively addressed by secondary schools. While much of the curriculum continues to be dominated by stories of masculine achievement, many boys are observers only and some boys, most notably indigenous boys, boys from non-English speaking background, working-class and homosexual boys see little representation of their experiences in the curriculum. Dominant images of masculinity and a narrow focus on employment opportunities predispose many boys to chose maths and science whether they have an interest or aptitude in these areas or not. Many boys whose talents lie in the arts, literature or humanities can lose out by choosing subjects from a limited range. Changing employment patterns, such as the rise in the service and financial sectors, mean that career options may be better served by other subject choices.
There has been, in recent times, an increasing awareness that it is the construction of gender in society and in schools which disadvantages girls and also creates problems for boys. While the curriculum in schools often presents a world view seen through the eyes of males, such a views also frequently constructs a masculinity which can be dysfunctional for many boys and young men. Dr Cherry Collins' research on harassment and bullying published by ACER in 1996 also highlighted the gendered nature of schooling and problems created by narrow definitions of masculinity for both boys and girls in the classroom and in the playground.
The notion that "its is now the boy's turn" is totally rejected. Instead policies and strategies arising out of this inquiry should be underpinned by a commitment to social justice and educational equity. A broad brush approach which aims at solving the problems experienced by some boys is not the answer. Likewise not all girls have succeeded as a result of policies and practice of the 1970's and 80's...
One popular theory suggests that it is the feminisation of the teaching profession which is to blame for the poor performance of some boys in schools. AWE totally rejects this notion. Although over 70% of teachers are women the vast majority of administration position in schools and systems are held by males. It is at this policy making level that decisions are made in relation to curriculum content and structures in schools. A simplistic approach which deducts [I guess the harpies mean "deduces" here. Some educators they are!] that male teachers produce high achieving motivated boys must be rejected outright. Both male and female teachers must be made aware during pre-service and later in-service courses of the vital role they play in providing a classroom environment in which a variety of teaching and learning styles are evident and that their styles need to extend into a general acceptance of ways gender is constructed. [It's a mere assertion, and a demonstrably untrue one, that "gender" is "constructed" rather than inborn but these bigots see no need to support their assertions with any attempt at evidence]
15 May, 2005
ILLEGAL RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON
When senior Stephanie Ramey tried to sign up online for Math 243 Calculus for Business and Social Science for spring term she was denied access and informed she would have to contact the class professor. The professor asked her to contact the Office of Multicultural Academic Support about enrolling in his class. A staff member at the office said she couldn't register for the class because she doesn't identify as a minority, Ramey said.
Ramey, who tried to get into the section because it was the only one available, was told that if she wanted to be in the class, she'd have to show up at 7:45 a.m. Monday, the first day of classes, and meet with an adviser before she could enroll, she said. "I guess I was just really surprised and irritated because I thought I had a right to get into the class too. ... I guess I felt a little bit discriminated against," Ramey said. "For a sophomore math class, I shouldn't have to wait just because I'm white."
Ramey attempted to enroll in one of six University classes this term that reserve the first 10 slots in an 18-student class for minority students, while requiring others who want to get into the class to arrive on the morning of the first day of class and meet with an adviser before being allowed to register for the remaining eight slots. The OMAS pays for and controls three lower-division math and three lower-division English classes that allow fewer enrolled students and provide more individualized instructor attention. While other sections of Math 242 and Math 243 this term have an average of 115 students for lectures, 29 students for discussions and 35 students for integrated classes, the OMAS classes had a maximum of 18 students. The general Writing 121 and Writing 122 sections had an average of 25 students per class, and the OMAS sections were again restricted to 18 students.
Linda Liu, advising coordinator and academic adviser for OMAS, said the classes are meant to offer a safe haven for minority students and give struggling students a chance to work more closely with professors.
But Edward Blum -- senior fellow at the conservative Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity, which monitors education policy and has filed complaints with the federal government about race-exclusive programs at universities across the nation -- said the policy is illegal. "I can say it 10 different ways, but it's illegal, and the Department of Education will shut this down if it's brought to their attention," Blum said. Blum said the policy amounts to a "very fast, hard quota system that will never stand up in court" and is similar to the University of Michigan undergraduate racial quota system struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
Students must identify as being African-American, Asian-American/Pacific Islander, Chicano/Latino, Native American or multiracial to enroll in the first 10 slots. The OMAS confirms all students' racial identifications with the Office of the Registrar, Liu said......
Roger Clegg, general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, said in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke decision, the Supreme Court "made it clear setting aside slots on the basis of race is illegal." "The legality aside, it's just wrong," Clegg said. "It's divisive to tell students you're not going to be considered because of your skin color ... I hope that the University will look at the law and will reconsider the policy."
More here, And Marc Miyake is not surprised by the above story.
MEN BANNED FROM PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL IN BRITAIN
A seething Sledmere swimmer has been left high and dry after she was told her friends would be banned from their regular Friday lunchtime trip to the baths. Pensioner Florence Corbett has been going to Dudley Leisure Centre at the same time every week for years. But last month she was notified her favourite 12pm to 1pm slot would be restricted to women-only swimming.
The 77-year-old claimed the move was to allow for Islamic laws which forbids men and women from swimming together. Florence said the religious regulations meant her pals - many of whom attend with their husbands - would be forced to look elsewhere for their weekly workout. She said: "I have lived in the Black Country for 50 years and have been swimming regularly. "We always go to Dudley on a Friday and play badminton from 10am to 12pm, then go in the swimming pool until 1pm. "We found out about this three weeks ago and first of all we were told it would be for Muslim women only. "But we kicked up a bit of a fuss and now it seems they are going to let us women in too. "Nevertheless we are still very angry and annoyed about it."
Florence said blinds had been put up which can be drawn across to block the view of the pool from a coffee room, while female assistants would supervise the women-only sessions. She added: "They drew the blinds today but there were no Asian women in anyway. "No man can go in and I think its disgusting. "When people talk about integration I feel that just means pushing us out."
Council spokesman Phil Parker said: "We have responded to a demand from the community and decided what we needed to encourage females to take up swimming. "One session a week between 12pm and 1pm has been set aside for women-only while the rest of the week the pool is open to all."
PETTY RAGE IN S.F.
Speakers at San Francisco public meetings can be angry, passionate, even disagreeable in their remarks -- but they can't utter discriminatory comments, the Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday. The 11-member board unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by President Aaron Peskin that stemmed from an April 4 Building Inspection Commission hearing in which some members of an influential builders group said a female city employee was not fit to run a department because she is pregnant. The employee, Amy Lee, has since been appointed acting director of the Department of Building Inspection. "The intent of this resolution is to make a clear statement that discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, religion, color, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, weight, height or place of birth will not be tolerated in San Francisco city government," said Peskin, who himself has endured unkind comments about his short stature.
One such comment has been lobbed by no other than Joe O'Donoghue, the head of the Residential Builders Association, who is mentioned by name along with his group in Peskin's resolution. "It's the angry dwarf, that's all this is," O'Donoghue said, using one of his derogatory monikers for Peskin. He added that he had another name for the supervisors' president: Heinrich Peskin -- as in Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler's top aide. "Essentially, this is a smear campaign," O'Donoghue said. "What a waste of government time to engage in such extraordinary action regarding free speech." Peskin, however, emphasized that his resolution was not an attempt to attack free speech, of which, he pointed out, San Francisco has traditionally been a champion. "We must make every possible effort to maintain basic decorum and integrity in our public forum," he said. "Failure to do so has the same chilling effect as stifling free speech."
Also addressed by the resolution was a poem written by O'Donoghue and published on his group's Web site that called into question Mayor Gavin Newsom's heterosexuality. "The clear intent of this poem was to ridicule the mayor by questioning his sexual orientation in the same fashion a schoolyard bully might tease a peer," Peskin said. O'Donoghue, undaunted, said he was in the middle of crafting another ode.
14 May, 2005
VERMONT: ANYTHING TO THWART EXPRESSIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
A Vermont man is fighting the state government over its refusal to allow him to have a license plate with a reference to a Bible verse. After receiving a rejection from the state to his request for custom plates bearing "JOHN316," Rutlant, Vt., resident Shawn Byrne appealed to an administrative law judge. When the appeal was rejected Byrne, with the help of religious-liberties law firm Alliance Defense Fund, sued in federal court earlier this year.
According to the Rutland Herald, Byrne's attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, last week filed a response in U.S. District Court to the state's motion that the suit be dismissed. "To be sure, title to these thin tin plates may rest in the state, but the message on a vanity plate is that of the registered owner, not the state," Tedesco wrote in his filing, saying the rejection of the plates was a violation of Byrne's First Amendment rights.
The state last month argued in court records that the case should be dismissed because license plates are state property and a religious message placed on them could be viewed as a government endorsement of religion, the local paper reported. "The 'reasonable observer' in our case is not a motorist with an 'eggshell psyche,' which (state agencies) unflatteringly seem to think fill Vermont roadways, but a reasonable, mature person who would know that the message that appears on vanity plates is selected by the individual who purchased the plate," Tedesco wrote. "Indeed, common sense tells the reasonable observer that the message on the plate is associated with the driver behind the wheel, not the state that issued the plate." Tedesco included examples of other Vermont plates that appear to reference religious themes, including "HIREPWR," "PSALM" and "RI-CHUS."
The suit states Byrne applied for vanity plates for his Ford pickup, submitting these three possibilities: "JOHN316," "JN316" and "JN36TN." The state rejected his request because it "refers to deity."
MORE OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOUR FROM AN ANTI-CHRISTIAN PUBLIC SCHOOL
A principal at Karns Elementary School is on shaky constitutional ground after telling a group of young students that they cannot bring their Bibles to school or study them during recess, according to a letter written to Knox County School District officials by an ADF-allied attorney. "The Constitution does not prohibit Bibles during recess; it prohibits the wholesale banning of Bibles during recess," said Charles Pope, the ADF-allied attorney who wrote the letter to the district. "A school official cannot tell a student that he can't bring his Bible to school or study it with friends during non-classroom time."
Ten-year-old student Luke Whitson used his regularly scheduled recess time to read the Bible with a few friends on his school's playground. After receiving a complaint from a parent, the school's principal reportedly ordered the students to stop their activity, put their Bibles away, and cease from bringing their Bibles to school. "There are no `age discrimination' allowances in the First Amendment of the Constitution. The law protects these students the same as it protects all students," said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco. "Children have rights of speech and association during their non-instructional time, and the school may not curtail those rights because of their age."
The students and some of their parents were upset by the principal's actions. After complaining to the school, Whitson's parents sought legal assistance from Pope, of the Athens legal organization JMF Counsel. "The law as it pertains to this situation is well settled. Students may have religious discussions and Bible study during non-instructional time," Pope explained in his letter. "The school district should immediately issue a statement addressing the unconstitutional actions and policy and alerting all personnel to permit Luke and other similarly situated students to exercise their constitutional rights."
Obesity hysteria survives despite official debunking
"Obesity hysteria recently collapsed under its own weight. But the public health establishment, media and politicians are doing their best to revive it. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study in the April 20 Journal of the American Medical Association that estimated the net death toll attributable to obesity to be 25,814 people per year. This, of course, was quite a downward revision from CDC's March 2004 claim that obesity caused about 400,000 deaths per year, approaching the toll estimated for smoking.
But don't expect the 93.5 percent reduction in the size of the scare to have any measurable impact on the obesity industry's momentum. When the new study was published, CDC chief Dr. Julia Gerberding told the Associated Press that the agency won't scale back its anti-obesity campaign which, by the way, won't mention the new reduced death toll estimate. "There's absolutely no question that obesity is a major public health concern of this country," Gerberding insisted. The translation, of course, is that CDC receives plenty of taxpayer funding to promote the obesity scare and it's not giving it back....
Former President Clinton joined the obesity fray this week announcing a joint campaign with the American Heart Association to encourage children to have healthy diets and to be physically active-both worthy goals. But President Clinton stepped into the realm of obesity hype when he stated, "The truth is that children born today could become part of the first generation in American history to live shorter lives than their parents because so many are eating too much of the wrong things and not exercising enough." The reality of the matter is actually quite different. First, there is little evidence to support the notion that otherwise healthy adults have shorter lifespans simply because they may be overweight. In fact, the new CDC study reported that adults who are merely "overweight" actually live longer on average than adults who are of "normal weight." Next, there is absolutely no evidence to support the notion that, for otherwise healthy children, childhood weight determines or impacts longevity...."
13 May, 2005
THE LEFT MAKES WHITE SUPREMACISTS LOOK GOOD
An Arkansas-based white supremacist group plans to protest a Holocaust remembrance event Sunday at Faneuil Hall and appear in nearby communities, prompting security preparations by officials in Lexington and Somerville, as well as in Boston, authorities confirmed yesterday. `'This white supremacist group has no business being in Boston,' said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. `'They should go home and let us have a service to commemorate the individuals who gave their life in the Holocaust. They have no place in Boston or anywhere in this world.' (Boston Globe, May 6, 2005)
Now while what Mumbles Menino said may be true, I find it ironic that the same liberals who champion free speech are so thin-skinned that they will stop at nothing to deny someone else theirs. We may be talking about Arkansas Nazis here, but until that is an offense that can result in loss of citizenship, they must be given the same American rights of protest as Act Up or any of the anti-war groups who carried signs through the streets calling our president a Nazi, war criminal, terrorist, Hitler, Bushsh*t, and the like. How many times has the left produced people like University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill who wrote after 9/11 that the people in the World Trade Center who, in some cases, incinerated or crushed to death in the imploding buildings, were "little Eichmanns" that had it coming. Nazi bureaucrat Adolf Eichmann, was a chief facilitator of "Hitler's Final Solution" leading to the execution of millions of Jews in concentration camps.
White Revolution's chairman, Billy Roper, said in a telephone interview last night that he and another group member from Arkansas plan to connect with supporters from New England this weekend. He said he hopes to draw about 100 people to protest near the Holocaust memorial for two to three hours Sunday afternoon despite not having a permit as the city requires for protests. 'One doesn't need a permit to practice the First Amendment,' Roper said. (Boston Globe, May 6, 2005)
Roper was hoping for a hundred; fifteen showed up. Oops.
As I previously said in one of my radio rants, while Churchill does have the right, within reason, to say whatever he wants, his paper should meet the modern definition of "hate speech." I mean, c'mon, if someone said that doctors burning to death in an abortion clinic had it coming, the proverbial waste-matter would hit the fan. But since he's an ultra-liberal tenured college professor bashing Jews, his words must never be silenced as political correctness only targets offenders as defined by liberals. Since college campii are supposedly places where all ideas are embraced (college conservatives and guest lecturers would disagree), speech no matter how controversial must be allowed. That is unless your name is Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, Larry Summers, Michelle Malkin, or any number of people whose views differ with the "progressive" mindset of professors and those with whom they indoctrinate through the power of their positions of authority. Those speakers are encouraged to be heckled and even potential assault is revered.
We also have college professors, many American and from the Middle East who are openly pro-Palestinian (thus anti-Israel), who consistently make anti-Semitic statements on campus and their speech is proudly protected. With that, I find it extremely ironic that a protest of, what turned out to be, 15 skinheads would bring out a hundred or more protesters and hundreds of Boston Police tasked with keeping them off of Arkansas' finest.
Ten to 15 members of the Arkansas-based White Revolution arrived in downtown Boston about an hour after the start of the event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps and the 10th anniversary of the New England Holocaust Memorial in Boston. The group was escorted by hundreds of police officers on foot, motorcycle and horseback, to a holding area across from the event. The officers, many in riot gear, formed a barricade between the protesters and about 100 people who angrily shouted at them to leave Boston.
`Today of all days, to have white supremacists come here from Arkansas, is most disappointing, disgusting, and I wish they'd go back home where the came from and bury themselves under the rocks that they crawled out from,' said Gov. Mitt Romney, who attended the Faneuil Hall event. (Boston Globe, May 8, 2005)
Now while Mitt Romney should watch to whom he tells to bury themselves under the rocks that they crawled out from, from all television reports that I saw, the ceremony within Faneuil Hall went on completely undisturbed by the events outside. No one shouted down any of the speakers inside, no one ran onto the stage and threw pies at the speakers. The event within the hall was given the respect it deserved. Funny, these same free speech liberals show none of that kind of respect to those they disagree with, yet they DEMAND their opinions be heard undisturbed.
At one point, the crowd opposing the white supremacists surged forward, causing police to use their batons to keep them at bay. These very same people who constantly preach non-violence were the ones who prompted the police into action. While brave male liberals will storm a stage and hurl pies at an Ann Coulter who must weigh all of 95 pounds, it took hundreds to make fifteen "White Revolution" idiots look like victims who needed to be gently escorted away.
They behaved and staged a peaceful protest. The left looked like the rabid animals they call everyone they disagree with. Free speech in liberal America is a myth. What else is new..?
COURT DISALLOWS RACIAL PREFERENCES
Washington state cannot favor minority-owned firms in awarding road-building contracts because it hasn't proved minority contractors have faced discrimination, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. Western States Paving of Vancouver, Wash., sued the state Department of Transportation, Clark County and the city of Vancouver after losing several road-paving contracts to minority-owned firms with higher bids. The company argued that federal law allowing states to give preference to minority firms was unconstitutional, and that the state did not properly follow federal guidelines.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled against Western States Paving, but the three-judge appellate panel disagreed in part. The federal guidelines -- part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century -- were affirmed, but the panel disputed the way the state enforces them. The appellate panel sent the case back to U.S. District Court for a ruling on damages for Western States Paving.
The law allows use of race- and sex-based preferences in federally funded transportation contracts, but only if a state has proved there has been bias against minority contractors. The three-judge panel said the Department of Transportation did not provide enough evidence that minorities suffer or have ever suffered discrimination in transportation contracting. "We have previously expressed similar concerns about the haphazard inclusion of minority groups in affirmative-action programs ostensibly designed to remedy the effects of discrimination," the opinion said.
Gary Lofland, a Yakima attorney representing Western States Paving, said the company was pleased with the decision and believes the court followed existing law, calling for evidence of past discrimination before approving race-based preferences. "Throughout the proceeding, the state has acknowledged it never had that evidence," Lofland said. He said the lower-court discussion of damages would include the contracts cited in the lawsuit, plus any previous or subsequent instances in which Western States lost a bid. State officials declined to comment yesterday, saying they had not yet read the 9th Circuit opinion.
12 May, 2005
PC DESTROYING CHILDHOOD AND CHILDHOOD'S VITAL LESSONS
Right across Europe, the multiple fixations with "inclusion", with paedophilia, and with child-rights are robbing childhood of the uncertainties and the perils from which maturity and self-confidence result. In Britain, there is the further issue of litigation: a child merely has to fall in the playground, and the lawyers circling overhead are flapping downwards, confident in the carrion awaiting them in the farce that is now common law.
So that one way or another, the childhood of my childhood in the Leicestershire of the 1950s - of playing all day unsupervised, of making my solitary way to school over several miles, and of getting onto the bus, alone, at the age of five to go to the hairdresser (to whom I would then solemnly give a tip of tuppence) - could belong to the Stone Age for all the meaning it has to the children of today.
Liz Lightfoot's report in The Daily Telegraph last weekend about the children in Hampshire who can quote which articles of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child were being violated in the story of Cinderella read like an enjoyable satire, except it was not: it was a grisly and terrifying insight into the corruption of childhood by reason, law and rights. Childhood should not be about logic and rationality, but of acquiring wisdom through experience to prepare for a horribly imperfect adult world in which reason, law and rights are often entirely absent. This is the very purpose of children's fairy tales. They are fables of injustice and random cruelty that tell us far more about the reality of life than any UN Convention.
One of Sir Digby's concerns is the removal of competition from schools, in exams and sports days. No one fails: all succeed. Now if Britain inhabited a planet called Hampshire, where children non-competitively studied the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, and could list the numerous violations in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, that would probably be fine. As it happens, however, Britain inhabits a planet called Earth, which it shares with - among others - 2.5 billion hungry Indians and Chinese, whose offspring probably made the Lego kit that the Hampshire children used to build their model of what they think a human right looks like.
At one level, the problems schools face today has been the victory of the ideology of rights over the traditional concepts of right-and-wrong; but another is the growth of parent-power. The school should be the empire of the teacher, whose rules govern all. Since the invention of formal education by the Ancient Greeks, a core principle is the absence of the mother. Once mothers are allowed to assert their authority in schools, as they increasingly have been in recent years, then maternal indulgence will inevitably prevail. The result is no longer an educational establishment, but the back seat of a family car on a very long journey.
The problem being faced by British state-run schools is part of a general, Europe-wide loss of vision about the future, not just for today's generation of children, but for the survival of democratic, tolerant society over the coming decades. That will require toughness, endurance, willpower and competitiveness, qualities that saved our civilisation 60 years ago, but which today are probably regarded as human rights violations in the schools of Hampshire. And history tells us that a society that elevates "rights" over the sterner values of life, is a society that will sooner or later simply have no rights worth defending
WHAT REALLY HAPPENS WITH "AFFIRMATIVE ACTION"
Affirmative action produces no concrete benefits for minority students and actually has several harmful effects, according to a new report by the Cato Institute. "Recent research shows that college admissions preferences do not offer even the practical benefits claimed by their supporters," writes Marie Gryphon, a lawyer and policy analyst with the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom. Affirmative action does not significantly affect college access because most four-year schools are not selective, and will accept any student with a high school education. Preferences for minority students come into play only at the 20 to 30 percent of colleges where admissions are competitive, according to Gryphon.
But preferences at these selective schools have not increased college access for minorities because most minorities leave high school without the minimum credentials necessary to attend any four-year school. Political scientist Jay Green found that only 20 percent of African-American students and 16 percent of Hispanics leave high school with the minimum credentials. "Minority underrepresentation in college is caused by public schools' failure to prepare minority students," writes Gryphon. "It is a failure that affirmative action does not remedy."
Preferences also do not increase the earning power of students who attend more selective schools as a result of affirmative action. Recent research shows that when equally prepared students are compared, those attending less selective schools make as much money as those from more selective schools. Affirmative action in fact results in harm to the minority community, Gryphon found, due to the "ratchet effect:" Preferences at a handful of top schools, including state flagship universities, can worsen racial disparities in academic preparation at other schools by luring away qualified minority students who might otherwise attend those schools. "This effect results in painfully large gaps in academic preparation between minority students and others on campuses around the country," according to Gryphon.
Affirmative action also hurts campus race relationships. Thomas Sowell, author of "Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study," writes: "Even in the absence of overt hostility, black students at M.I.T. complained that other students there did not regard them as being desirable partners on group projects or as people to study with for tough exams." And the policy harms minority student performance "by activating fears of confirming negative group stereotypes, lowering grades, and reducing college completion rates among preferred students," Gryphon found. That is, minority students who are "bumped up" into selective schools for which they're ill-prepared show poorer academic performance and graduation rates than if they had attended a less selective institution. "Policymakers should end the harmful practice of racial preferences in college admissions," Gryphon concludes. "Instead, they should work to close the critical skills gap by implementing school choice reforms and setting higher academic expectations for students of all backgrounds."
11 May, 2005
JUDGE PUTS A STOP TO HOMOSEXUAL ADVOCACY
Leftists weasel on about this being an attack on sex education. It is not. It is an attack on only one sort of sex "education" -- preaching how good homosexuality is
A judge's order on Thursday evening to halt a new public school sex-education curriculum in the affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., could have significant ramifications throughout the rest of the country.
A group of parents took their opposition to the sex-ed courses to court last week, arguing that they depicted homosexuality as a natural and morally correct lifestyle and did not offer any contrary opinion. "This has national significance because Montgomery County is a wealthy, influential school district and the lid has been ripped off an agenda that has crept into schools nationwide," said Robert Knight, director of the Culture & Family Institute, an affiliate of the conservative organization Concerned Women for America. "This shows that parents, even in a very liberal area, can fight back and win," Knight added, noting that he knew of no other case in the country where a sex-ed program has been restrained by a federal judge.
But others say U.S District Judge Alexander Williams Jr.'s decision to grant a temporary restraining order against the Montgomery County Public Schools' pilot sex-ed program for 8th- and 10th-graders is a blow to efforts to give students access to a broad, fact-based health curriculum.
This local case highlights an ongoing national debate over modern sex-ed programs that has become more pronounced in recent years as the lines between competing liberal and conservative forces have seemingly become more polarized and have demanded equal time in the nation's schools. The issues typically revolve around funding and teaching about homosexuality, condom use, abstinence and pre-marital sex.
The Montgomery County lawsuit was brought by two groups: Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, a parent-based organization that was formed in direct response to the new curriculum, and Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX), a national group that believes that homosexuality is a "decision," not an innate characteristic of some individuals.
Judge Williams said in his 23-page memorandum that based on the evidence presented to him, the curriculum, developed by a citizens' advisory committee last year, posed a potential "chipping away at plaintiff's First Amendment freedoms." His arguments centered on resource material for teachers that discusses the moral debate over homosexuality, defining gay-friendly and anti-gay churches and discerning between myth and fact about the homosexual lifestyle based on differing belief systems. "The revised curriculum presents only one view on the subject — that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle — to the exclusion of other perspectives," said Williams, a Clinton administration appointee.
He added that he did not know why the school system felt it necessary to "bound into the crossroads of controversy where religion, morality, and homosexuality converge." He was also disturbed about one of the resource materials that implied that the Baptist Church's views against homosexuality are theologically flawed, and that the church once expressed the same intolerance toward African-Americans during the era of slavery.
Jerry D. Weast, superintendent of Montgomery County Schools, called a halt to the pilot program, which was to commence on Monday, until further review. He also said that a new videotape slated for the sex-ed classes, "Protect Yourself," which parents' groups said included a misleading and gratuitous condom-use instruction on a cucumber, will also be suspended.
CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS DEFY FEMINISM
Girls who wrestled for several Puget Sound-area middle schools this year easily won their matches against boys from two private schools. The girls stepped onto the mat. Their opponents from Tacoma Baptist and Cascade Christian stayed in their seats. The referee then raised the girls' hands to signal they'd won by forfeit. But the easy victories didn't sit well with the girls, including Meaghan Connors, a seventh-grader at McMurray Middle School on Vashon Island. Her father, Jerry, is prepared to go to court over what he considers a clear case of sex discrimination.
For years, schools in the Rainier Valley League, including McMurray, have honored the ability of the two private schools to forfeit matches rather than have a boy wrestle one of the handful of girls on the public-school teams. League President Dan Petersen said it was the same as honoring desires of other religious schools not to compete on certain days. He noted that wrestling rules allow a forfeit for any reason. "I don't care if it's a religious school or not," he said. "If a person chooses not to wrestle, they don't have to wrestle."
Tacoma Baptist's superintendent did not return phone calls about the policy and the reasons for it. At Cascade Christian in Puyallup, Superintendent Don Johnson said the school "does not want to put our young men in a situation where they would be inappropriately touching a young lady."
Connors, however, believes the forfeit rule shouldn't be used to discriminate against girls, including his daughter, one of a half-dozen girls on teams in the league, drawn from schools in King, Pierce and Mason counties..... He's filed a complaint alleging the Vashon Island School District is violating Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in schools, by allowing the policies to exist. If the policies aren't changed, he says, he'll make a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education and, if necessary, file a lawsuit.
What's happening now in the Rainier Valley League, however, is not as clear cut, Lees said. Wrestling rules allow for forfeits. Girls get the points for the win. Private schools don't have to adhere to Title IX. "I'm struggling with whether we would have any kind of authority," she said.
10 May, 2005
What's So Great About Diversity?
The excellent post below was lifted from Norm Weatherby
I can't help but feel nauseated every time I hear a tearful liberal or media wonk advocating "Diversity" as somehow the cure all for mankind's social ailments. What's the big deal about diversity and just why are the facts being ignored about it's apparent horrendous consequences?
Consider the diversity in the Sudan where the Moslems are engaged in genocide against the Christians. Then there's the diversity of the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq. They have been cutting each others throats over their "diversity" for the last thee or four thousand years. See any sign it's going to stop? How about the diversity and carnage in Chechnia , Northern Ireland and Boznia. Anyone seen any advantage to diversity in those places?
What with the Muslims surging into the Netherlands, Germany, France, etc. See any advantages there? The Muslims are already openly predicting the law of Sharia and elimination of Christians and their culture when they gain political and military control of those countries. Diversity again. Real benefit huh?
How did "diversity" work in the broad scale integration of US schools? The result of the black thuggery, violence, drugs and vast cultural differences sent middle class white America into shock and out of the government schools. Dallas public school system as an example only has 6% white students.This shows Diversity works right? Diversity killed off the public school system in the US and no amount of money thrown at it since has produced any noticeable good.
Now that Mexicans, etc are flooding the US "diversity" has simply meant millions of non-English speakers overload all social services to the breaking point and jam our jails. All this to have someone cut your yard or sweep up in a restaurant? Figures are showing the very presence of this Mexican/Hispanic/illegal diversity in the US is costing taxpayers some 60-80 billion a year and growing. This is after any economic benefit is figured in. Just what good is being achieved here? I don't see any.
It is unity that makes a country strong not diversity. Having millions of non-English speaking illegals sitting on the curbs, standing on street corners, sitting in the hospital waiting rooms and stealing everything they can get their hands on while declaring that the gringos somehow owe them a living is asinine.
Our politicians have simply ignored the overwhelming opinion of their constituents to stop this invasion in favor of currying Latino votes. Our system is broken and the Minutemen on the border is just one symptom of the public's desperate attempt to protect themselves when their government won't.
HOW PC DESTROYED POLICING IN LOS ANGELES
The LAPD was once known as "the world's greatest police department," due largely to its stringent character screening. Back in the era of Sergeant Joe Friday, LAPD candidates were checked out as thoroughly as homicide suspects. Even a casual relationship with any known criminal excluded a candidate from being considered as a police officer. All that is now history. In a bid to appease racial activists and meet federal decrees, strict screening and testing measures were dismantled. New black and Hispanic officer candidates were hustled into the ranks at any cost. What former deputy chief Steve Downing called "a quagmire of quota systems" was set up, and "standards were lowered and merit took a back seat to the new political imperatives."
It was back in 1981 that the LAPD first entered into a federal consent decree that instituted quotas for female and minority hiring. To meet these demands, the standards for physical capability, intellectual capacity, and personal character were lowered. The result was that many incapable or mediocre recruits--even significant numbers with criminal links or gang associations--were accepted into the department.
L.A. is not the only city that damaged its police force in a headlong rush for "diversity." During the 1990s, Washington, D.C. had to fire or indict 250 cops after a similar lowering of standards, and New Orleans indicted more than 100 crooked or inept cops who had been hired--it was later found--due to "political pressures." Miami had a similar scandal after scores of cops hastily recruited in response to race riots and an immigration surge got involved in robbing cocaine dealers and reselling their drugs. "We didn't get the quality of officers we should have," acknowledged department spokesman Dave Magnusson.
A scholarly study published in April 2000 in the professional journal Economic Inquiry found that aggressive "affirmative action" hiring raised crime rates in many parts of the U.S. In careful statistical analysis of 1987-1993 U.S. Department of Justice data from hundreds of cities, economist John Lott (then of the Yale School of Law, now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute) found that quotas requiring more black and minority police officers clearly increase crime rates. When affirmative action rules take over, he reports, the standards on physical strength tests, mental aptitude tests, and other forms of screening are lowered. The result is a reduced quality of officers--both minority and non-minority recruits end up being less impressive.
Politicians refuse to admit that dropping standards can create problems, but other L.A. authorities are blunt about it. Los Angeles's police academy, training experts say, can no longer reliably be used as "a de-selector" (to use the P.C.-speak). "I had mediocre trainees, some just plain incompetent. They were giving us trash. I finally transferred out because I didn't want to go out in the field with these kids anymore," explained retired LAPD training officer Jim Peasha. When he got a bad minority recruit, Peasha couldn't drum him or her out, no matter what. "I had some fantastic minority recruits. One black kid was the best I ever had. But I also had one guy who I knew was on drugs and I couldn't get him out. He wound up getting caught working as a guard at a rock [cocaine] house. An off-duty cop!"
On March 16, 1997, black off-duty LAPD officer Kevin Gaines was shot and killed in a "road rage" dispute. Gaines, angry and out of control, had pulled a gun on motorist Frank Lyga and threatened to "cap his ass." Lyga, it turned out, was an undercover LAPD narcotics detective. He drew his 9 mm pistol and shot Gaines through the heart. Only later did he learn that Gaines was also LAPD. The incident made international headlines: "Cop Kills Cop."
Russell Poole, who had a reputation as one of the LAPD's best homicide detectives, was assigned to investigate the shooting. He discovered that Kevin Gaines drove an expensive Mercedes Benz, wore $5,000 suits, $1,000 Versace shirts, and lived his off-duty life in the fast lane of L.A. and Las Vegas nightclubs, a lifestyle he obviously didn't maintain on his $55,000-per-year policeman's salary. Gaines had many credit cards with expenses like the $952 he had dropped just the month before for lunch at Monty's Steakhouse in Westwood, a favorite hangout for black gangster rappers. And at the time of his death, Gaines was living with the ex-wife of gangster rap music mogul Suge Knight--whose own criminal history included eight felony convictions.
It turned out that Gaines, like a significant number of other LAPD officers, was working on the side to provide "security" for Death Row Records, Knight's notorious hoodlum rap music business that was deeply enmeshed in drugs and gang violence. The FBI had been following Gaines, who they suspected was moving drugs and money around L.A. for Death Row. Gaines was shameless. The vanity plates on his Mercedes read "ITS OK IA"--a brash taunt to the department's Internal Affairs department.....
The discovery of these dirty cops became known as the Rampart Scandal, the worst in LAPD history. Perez's confession exposed a group of police officers who engaged in theft, drug dealing, perjury, improper shootings, evidence tampering, false arrests, witness intimidation, and beatings. They cribbed up in bachelor pad apartments for sex parties with hookers. These men were as out of control as the gangs they were supposed to police--in too many cases they were from the gangs they were supposed to police.
More than 30 officers were suspended or fired in the Rampart probe. Hundreds of criminal convictions tainted by links to Rampart cops were overturned. Although it did not receive much attention in the mainstream media, an embarrassing truth was exposed: Many L.A. cops had been corrupted by black gangsters (just as many New York cops were corrupted in another era by the Italian mob). "Rampart wasn't about cops who became gangsters," explained former LAPD deputy chief Downing. "It was about gangsters who became cops."
How did city officials react to this painful lesson? By paying $70 million in settlements. By doing nothing about the P.C. race rules that opened the floodgates. And by agreeing to a consent decree that turned control of the LAPD over to the Feds. The consent decree drained crucial resources from crime fighting--nearly 350 department supervisors were permanently assigned to reporting on the decree, and tens of thousands of hours were spent by other officers on its mandates.
This was salt in the wounds of a department already hogtied by paperwork. After the Rodney King riots, the Christopher Commission (chaired by Bill Clinton's future Secretary of State) demanded that the LAPD investigate every single civilian complaint against any officer, no matter how frivolous. This required three or four supervisors at each division to spend full time on complaint duty. Department investigators often ended up devoting more days to interviewing witnesses about bogus complaints, and meeting P.C. mandates on domestic violence cases, than to investigating crimes. Motivated by the media-fueled presumption that brutality and racism were "endemic" in the LAPD, Bill Clinton's Justice Department also demanded detailed racial data to see if cops were "racially profiling." Not surprisingly, serious felonies rose dramatically during this period in Los Angeles......
For the past 25 years, Los Angeles has been like Russia under Krushchev: Everybody knows the truth, but nobody dares to speak it. Much as Pravda ignored Moscow meat and bread shortages, the Los Angeles Times has adamantly refused to report on the damage caused by racial demogoguery and quotas. No one dares challenge the party line lest he be punished. "Don't ask me to go there," a city official once told me. "I have a family, a mortgage, a car, and a dog, and I have to work in this city." .....
Los Angeles County averages 1,000 murders every year, two thirds of them carried out by gangs. Most of the victims never make the papers (though every charge of "racial profiling" by an ACLU attorney gets headlines). After the Rampart scandal, L.A.'s anti-gang units were disbanded, leaving the gang-directed narcotics trade virtually unpoliced. During the year that followed, crime increased 10 percent, and the murder rate rose 25 percent, while arrests dropped 25 percent. The best cops fled to jobs at more supportive departments and communities......
This coincided with the arrival of Bill Bratton as L.A.'s new police chief in 2002. The renowned former Boston and New York City chief knew he had to take emergency measures to stanch the bleeding at the department, and he has. By most accounts, Bratton has pulled the department back from the precipice with a combination of good leadership, smart personnel choices, a return to reasonable discretion in the complaint process (reformers be damned), along with some tireless hand-holding with the black community.
The result has been an 18 percent decline in violent crime from the recent peaks. ... Despite Bratton's admirable improvements, the LAPD remains on a knife's edge, one politicized incident away from disaster. How will the media and local citizens react to the next "racial incident"? Has anyone learned anything from the disaster of the last decades?
9 May, 2005
REVISED SEAL IN TEXAS: THE DELETED PART IS IN THE FORM OF A CROSS, FUNNILY ENOUGH
Texas Tech may face a fight from cotton farming alumni after the school announced Wednesday it would pluck the symbolic tufts of the West Texas crop from the school seal. The changes are part of a broader marketing campaign to be launched early next year that Tech officials hope will improve the university's national reputation. Chancellor David Smith refuted rumors Wednesday that the school was abandoning its past for the marketing effort. "It is not undoing tradition, it is not undoing pride," Smith said of the changes. "We need a platform to celebrate what Texas Tech is accomplishing as a system."
But Eddie Smith, chairman of the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association and a Tech alumnus who was honored as an outstanding agriculturist last year by the university, said the omission ignored the major contributions cotton made to Tech. "There's a lot of us that are tied to this university that are not going to let it slide by," Smith said. School and system officials announced the changes Wednesday in an effort to counter an anonymous e-mail and message board campaign rallying opposition to the revisions.
The Internet campaign sparked rumors of school officials abandoning the Double T trademark while retooling school marketing materials. In a hastily organized news conference held in response to e-mails and phone calls from concerned alumni, school officials stressed that the beloved Double T logo stitched onto merchandise, emblazoned on the sides of buildings and printed in the letterhead of the press releases distributed Wednesday would not be retired. "The Double T has an indefinite contract," said Craig Wells, senior associate athletics director. "It's going to be around forever and ever and ever." But it will no longer represent the academic side of the university. A new seal was designed by an Austin firm as part of a broader marketing campaign that has a $450,000 budget this year. The seal will be featured on academic communications, Chancellor Smith said.
Cotton bolls that form a cross in the middle of the school shield and represent the 10 cotton-producing counties around Tech were removed from the new design. Instead, a more general "vine-like" image will represent all of agriculture.
FAT TAX IN DETROIT
Would you like fries with that? Either way, the Detroit city treasury would like a bite. Faced with a $300 million budget hole, and with traditional revenue-raising options largely exhausted, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is hoping people won't mind forking over a few extra cents for their Big Macs and Whoppers.
Kilpatrick is preparing to ask Detroit voters to approve a 2 percent fast-food tax — on top of the 6 percent state sales tax already applied to restaurant meals. The mayor says consumers will barely notice the slight increase at the cash register, but critics say the tax would unfairly burden the poor and hamper economic development in the city.
Other cities and states have special taxes on prepared food, and some have tried "snack taxes" on foods such as cookies and chips. In New York, Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has proposed a 1 percent tax on junk food, video games and TV commercials to fund anti-obesity programs. But the Detroit assessment would be the country's first tax specifically targeting fast-food establishments if approved, the National Restaurant Association said.
Opponents of the Detroit idea have been quick to call it a "fat tax" — a penalty on unhealthy foods. Men's Health Magazine dubbed Detroit the nation's fattest city in 2004, though it slid to No. 3 in the 2005 rankings. However, the tax would apply not only to fat-laden burgers, fries and desserts, but to anything sold at a fast-food establishment, even salads.....
Young people and senior citizens are big consumers of fast food and would bear an unfair share of the tax's burden, some critics contend. "It's really going to fall upon poor people harder," said Robert Wassmer, a professor of public policy and economics at California State University, Sacramento. Not only would the tax be regressive, but a lack of transportation could make it harder for some low-income residents to cross city boundaries to escape the tax, he said.
The restaurant industry says the idea is also unfair to businesses. "We think it's extremely counterproductive to say to those people who have provided jobs, who have provided growth, `We're going to levy on you a special tax that we don't levy on anyone else,'" said Andy Deloney, public affairs director of the Michigan Restaurant Association.
Cops and Gender P.C. -- an often fatal combination
Take the Rodney King arrest. When an intoxicated King zoomed past California Highway Patrol officer Melanie Singer, she started a high-speed pursuit. By the time he stopped, several LAPD cops had joined the chase and watched as Singer, not a physically prepossessing woman, approached the large, bizarrely acting King with her gun drawn. This dangerous tack was too much for the LAPD cops, who pulled rank, told Singer to "stand back," and took over the arrest. The most experienced officers on the scene became upset when Singer approached King with her gun drawn. They envisioned bad consequences--either an unarmed suspect needlessly shot (as would apparently happen a few months later in a Washington, D.C. case) or (as we just saw in Atlanta) a large criminal taking a small female cop's gun and inflicting mayhem. Or, one other LAPD cop worried, the criminal may lunge at the woman and cause the less experienced officers at the scene to shoot them both in a desperate attempt to save her.
The Rodney King arrest involves many other issues besides female cops, but in Official Negligence, his definitive history of the case, Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon makes clear that the LAPD veterans were legitimately disturbed at Melanie Singer's actions. King's reaction to the fact that it was a female cop barking orders at him was part of the problem. He was disrespectful and sexual: "He grabbed his butt with both hands and began to shake and gyrate his fanny in a sexually suggestive fashion," Stacey Koon of the LAPD stated. The chain of events that followed led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots that raged for six days, leaving 34 people dead, 1,032 injured, and millions of dollars of property stolen and destroyed.
A smaller but also traumatic incident that occurred in Washington, D.C. a couple of months after King's arrest was perhaps a more representative example of the same problem. In the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, whose population includes many poor Latino immigrants, two Hispanic men were drunk and disorderly, according to the initial police report. As they were being arrested by two female police officers, Girsel Del Valle and her rookie partner Angela Jewell, a third man, Daniel Enrique Gomez, became disorderly. As the officers tried to subdue Gomez, a fourth man began to assault the cops, who by now numbered three women and one man. Gomez was not fully handcuffed; he pulled out a knife and thrust it at Jewell. Drawing her revolver while backing away, she ordered him to drop the knife. He lunged at her, and she shot him.
That is not, however, the way other Latinos who were watching the arrest saw things, and they became angry because they thought the shooting unjustified. Some said that they saw no knife and that the man who was shot had both hands behind his back, although they admitted he was walking toward Jewell and using foul language. Within hours, riots broke out in Mount Pleasant and adjoining neighborhoods and continued through the next two nights, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to cars and businesses.
At trial, the police dropped any claim that Gomez had lunged at Jewell with the knife, and the "fourth man" disappeared from the story. Given these discrepancies and the fierce anger of nearby observers, one may suspect that Gomez, who was drunk and probably using foul language, while approaching Jewell, managed both to offend and frighten her, which led to her shooting him, perhaps unnecessarily.
A veteran detective, who asked to remain anonymous, reports having seen similar problems again and again. He points out that very few men measuring five to five-and-a-half feet tall, 100 to 130 pounds, are hired, yet most female officers fit that description and are in danger of being overpowered by big thugs. (A few years ago, the LAPD, in reaction to pressure from feminist groups, even dropped its requirement that officers be at least five feet tall.) "Most bad guys fall into two categories," reports the detective. "Either they show no respect to female cops because they know they can take them, or they fear female cops because they know the women know they can be taken and will shoot quickly."
He also observes that typical men who become cops "have already been exposed to the fist fights, pushing matches, and other physical contact of the job. They also read other men better--the physical stances, clenching of fists, rolling up on the balls of the feet to get ready to fight." Most male cops, but few female ones, have also played contact sports and had some exposure to firearms. They've bloodied and been bloodied by others. He says male cops, in his experience, are also more likely to enjoy gun practice and physical exercise, and more likely to be experienced and competent at the aggressive high-speed driving sometimes required of officers. Conversely, most of the women couldn't carry a wounded officer to safety, though he adds, "Some would try. It isn't a case of bravery or sacrifice. It's a matter of strength."
Policing is fundamentally a helping profession, and the non-violent parts of the job involve talking with people and human relations--things that women are generally better at than men. For some crimes, like domestic violence, women are better at dealing with it in almost all cases. Women also do a better job building cases based on detailed evidence, like solving car break-ins. Male cops are perpetrators in 95 percent of police bribery cases. They're not as good at report writing (the key to getting bad guys locked up). Good departments, therefore, need both male and female officers.
The key, then, is for police forces to respect the reality that male and female officers are not interchangeable. The real-world results of pretending are ugly. They can be seen on the Atlanta videotape showing Brian Nichols smashing a grandmother's head on the courthouse floor, sending her to the hospital in critical condition before he sends four more victims to the morgue.
8 May, 2005
BOYS AT SCHOOL ARE HOPELESSLY INCORRECT
So much for all the brainwashing. Leftist teachers have not succeeded in repealing the laws of nature yet
Ever since the "crisis" in boys' education became apparent, experts have suggested dozens of ways to improve the situation. From more male teachers to more hands-on learning, from more structured programs to more physical activity for burning off male energy, there has been no shortage of ideas. But rarely do politicians, educators or parents come to grips with what ails so many boys - the terror of being called a nerd, a geek or, worst of all, gay. What the NSW Education Department had in mind when it produced 10,000 booklets to address the boys' education crisis, we may never know. The Herald reported this week that the Making a Difference booklets, produced in 2002 and designed to promote a "boys can do anything" agenda, have never been released after the department got cold feet.
Many say there is no crisis for boys, and that, far from being the "new disadvantaged", boys are as likely as ever to end up running the world. After two decades of girls' success at school, men still dominate the higher echelons of business, the professions and politics. In the long run, it doesn't seem to matter that slightly more boys than girls fail to attain literacy benchmarks in years 3 and 5. It doesn't seem to disadvantage boys that their retention rate to year 12 is 11 per cent lower than girls'. Girls might achieve higher average marks in most year 12 subjects, but boys still outperform them when they leave school. Seven years after year 12, boys are more likely to be in full-time jobs or training programs, according to a study by the Australian Council for Educational Research. And girls who leave school before year 12 are more likely to be unemployed than boys who drop out.
For these reasons, many say the focus on boys' disadvantage is all wrong - the real concern should be the waste of female talent once girls leave education. And they have a point. But we cannot ignore the plight of many boys who are failing. There is a crisis in boys' schooling that needs to be addressed - but it is not the crisis usually talked about. This crisis becomes apparent only when you ask boys about their experiences at school, which is what researchers Wayne Martino and Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli have done. They also asked girls, many of whom are having a hard time, too. But the boys' accounts are the most illuminating and shocking. In all, 900 students aged 14-16 from six schools - including Catholic co-educational, elite single-sex, and rural comprehensive schools - wrote anonymously for the authors. Excerpts have been gathered in a new book, Being Normal is the Only Way (UNSW Press).
Boys write of the relentless, cruel pressure to conform to a male stereotype and to belong to an "in" group. Unless boys are cool, macho, or sporty, their lives can be hell. "What issues do boys have to face?" writes a 16-year-old from a Catholic school. "Not looking like a fairy . not being too dumb . not being too smart . every pressure available . fitting in the right groups." A 15-year-old writes: "At school, guys can be like dogs and sniff you out fast." Says another: "If you're fat and a spastic you're doomed to eternal rejection." Another writes: "If you don't act macho you get given crap." On and on it goes. Smart boys can be popular provided they are not "four-eyed nerds" and that they compensate through sporting success.
Homophobia is rife. A boy is called "gay" because of his involvement in singing. A boy in the ascendant group writes: "The only problem we have to deal with is wondering if there are any gay people in the school." And another: "Being a guy means you have to watch out for homosexuals." Some male teachers are complicit in the homophobia, ingratiating themselves with the "cool" boys. In some schools, boys who show enthusiasm for learning are tagged geeks, nerds, wusses and fags, says Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli.
ILLEGAL PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANITY -- IN CALIFORNIA, OF COURSE
A dance teacher working for a public school district was terminated from her job after a complaint that she used religious music in her instruction. The complaint came from a school district staff member who alleged that the music referenced Jesus several times. In addition to secular music on the day in question, the instructor used a rendition of Dona Nobis Pachem and O Si Funi Mungu. Dona Nobis Pachem is a classical piece by J.S. Bach and is sung in Latin. O Si Funi Mungu, which is translated as "Praise God," is sung in Swahili, though it has some English interspersed.
Although the instructor uses a wide variety of music in her teaching, she is careful to use music that is family friendly. Moreover, the teacher offered to further expand her already diverse repertoire. Despite these reasonable steps, school officials refused to provide a resolution and terminated her contract. "It is clearly constitutional and legal for a teacher to use both religious and secular music as a part of instruction," commented Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute.
California law allows instructors to use references to religion while teaching and specifically includes dance instruction. "Although the lyrics in this case are in foreign languages and apparently do not use the name Jesus, it is not unlawful to make such a reference," stated Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel for the Pacific Justice Institute. "It would be inconceivable to have an outright ban on the utterance of the name Jesus in the public schools when such a reference is necessary in history, literature and the arts," Snider explained.
Pacific Justice Institute has taken this teacher's case and is representing her in the dispute with the school district. PJI is willing to provide legal assistance at no cost to any public school teacher who uses a religious reference in the many subjects in which such references are appropriate.
7 May, 2005
NORWEGIANS FEEL THE HEAT
Their reward for bending over backward to please Muslims:
A book being distributed secretively on the streets of Oslo which describes white people as the work of the devil has sparked anger in Norway and an anti-racist group said on Tuesday it had filed a police report. "The claims in this book are totally disqualified by their foolish nature, but in a multicultural society where we try to live in harmony it's important to act against this kind of manifestation," Nadeem Butt, the head of Antirasistisk Senter which filed the complaint, said. This is the first time the group has defended native Norwegians in an anti-racism case, he said.
Police must now determine whether the book, entitled Son of Satan , falls under anti-racism laws. The book is written by an unidentified author in Urdu, a language spoken in Pakistan and India. It is sold by individuals on the streets who quietly approach potential customers. Excerpts published in the daily Verdens Gang read: "This barbarian, this venomous snake, has poisoned humanity. The white man has set off a diabolical spiral on the entire planet to torment people." "My brothers: The white man is worse than all the other animals with his savagery. His job is to torment people." "Can these people call themselves humans? The white man has also shaped another people, the drunks and alcoholics. They destroy shops, throw stones at people's heads and the white man's government protects them with special laws," the excerpts read.
According to Butt, Son of Satan does not call directly for attacks on whites but does call for them to be punished. The final line in the book reads: "These bastards without scruples, liars and pork eaters should be punished such that the next generation will remember".
EVOLUTION AND THE MALE/FEMALE DIFFERENCE
Post lifted from Steve Sailer. Steve applies logic to the simplistic thinking of a Leftist wriggler:
Is Sharon Begley as Dim As She Sounds? Or does feminist ideology just get in the way? From La Begley's Science Journal column: "Evolutionary Psych May Not Help Explain Our Behavior After All" in the April 29 Wall Street Journal (online only for subscribers)
"But as Prof. Buller, a professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University, dug deeper, he concluded that the claims of evo psych are "wrong in almost every detail" because the data underlying them are deeply flawed. His book "Adapting Minds," from MIT Press, is the most persuasive critique of evo psych I have encountered...
On a lighter note, evolutionary psychology claims that men prefer fertile, nubile young women because men wired for this preference came out ahead in the contest for survival of the fittest. The key study here asked 10,047 people in 33 countries what age mate they would prefer. The men's answer: a 25-year-old.
But the men were, on average, in their late 20s. One of the most robust findings about human behavior is that people prefer a mate who matches them in education, class and religious background, ethnicity -- and age. The rule that "likes attract" is enough to explain why young men prefer young women. Besides, if you scrutinize the data, you find that 50-ish men prefer 40-something women, not 25-year-olds, undermining a core claim of evo psych".
So that's why 45 year old strippers make so much more money than 25 year old strippers! No, Sharon, if you scrutinize the data, or just read People magazine, you'll find that rich older men are much more likely to marry much younger women than rich older women are likely to marry much younger men.
"The argument that Stone Age women preferred good providers, and that today's women are therefore wired to see a big bankroll as the ultimate aphrodisiac, is also shaky. Among some hunter-gatherers today, young mothers receive more food from their mothers than from their husbands. That makes even the theoretical basis for the claim -- that women who sought good providers had an evolutionary edge -- problematic."
No, but the more food they receive from their husbands, the more ahead of the game they are. Anyway, grandmother-provisioning only can take the place of husband-provisioning where women can gather food year round (e.g., in the wet tropics), but not in cold climates where plant food disappears under the snow every winter or in an extremely seasonal desert like the Kalahari. In more difficult climates, men must hunt part of the year or everybody starves.
The big problem with evolutionary psychology is something that has never occurred to the Sharon Begleys: it is terrified of admitting the existence of human biodiversity.
"The empirical basis is no better. On average, 25-year-old women say they prefer 28-year-old men, even though 50-year-old men have much more of the high status and resources that evo psych says they are wired to lust after. Again, likes attract more than "good providers" do".
They are also wired to lust after muscles that can protect them and their children from other men and catch game for them. Anyway, raise status and resources of the 50-year-old man high enough and see how he does with young women compared to a 50 year old woman with equal status and resources.
Begley's fundamental problems with thinking are starkest in her conclusion:
"Evolutionary psychology has a more fundamental problem than the shakiness of its data and the fact that the data can be interpreted in more than one way. Why, if child abuse by stepfathers is such a great evolutionary strategy, do many more stepdads love and care for their stepchildren than abuse them? And why, if rape is "such an advantageous reproductive strategy, [is it that] there are so many more men who do not rape than who do," asks primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University, Atlanta".
No, it's saying that life is very complicated, but that evolutionary psychologists have identified one set of influences that account for some limited but positive fraction of all behavior.
This kind of thinking is like saying that because the majority of males under 30 don't commit rape, that it isn't true to say that being male and under 30 makes one more likely to commit rape than being female or over 30. Or that because the majority of big league hitters aren't left-handers that being left handed couldn't give you an advantage at hitting a baseball (which it does).
I see the same kind of Begleyesque thinking all the time in people announcing that race can't possibly have any influence on human behavior because, according to Richard Lewontin, 85% of the human genetic variety is within racial groups and 15% between them.
No, that's like saying that human population genetics is like a casino where the roulette croupiers are either black or Native American, and 85% of the spins of the roulette wheel are random, but the other 15% of the time the ball winds up in the black when there is a black croupier and in the red when there is an Indian croupier. Kind of useful info, no?
6 May, 2005
PREACHERS OF HOMOSEXUALITY CHALLENGED
Forcing this stuff on kids has gone on far too long already
A parents group yesterday filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Montgomery County public school system from teaching a sex-education course that the group says advocates homosexuality and dismisses religious viewpoints. "It's not a curriculum to give kids knowledge. This curriculum is an indoctrination program," said Rockville lawyer John Garza, vice president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC). "It's setting forth a viewpoint on sex and homosexuality that goes beyond impartation of knowledge."
CRC filed suit in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt seeking a temporary injunction to block a pilot program in three middle schools and three high schools. The pilot program was to have begun tomorrow, but a schools spokesman yesterday said it will begin Monday. "We believe this curriculum takes a reasonable approach to the issue and that everyone's viewpoints were carefully considered when creating it," schools spokesman Brian Edwards said.
A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled for tomorrow before Judge Alexander Williams Jr. The lawsuit says the curriculum violates students' free speech rights and the First Amendment protection against the establishment of religion. "Part of free speech is the right to remain silent," Mr. Garza said, adding that students who opt out of the course will be assumed to have religious objections or be "ex-gay" by their peers. "It's unconstitutional to force people to declare their religious beliefs or their sexual orientation," he said. "If you're a Catholic, if you're a fundamentalist Christian, if you're a Muslim or a Jew, you gotta go down the hall."
A GLIMMER OF SANITY IN BRITAIN
VICTIM of crime released from jail
A teacher jailed for firing a pellet gun in a confrontation with “yobs” was freed yesterday by the Court of Appeal. Linda Walker, 48, who teaches at a special school for children with behavioural difficulties, was sent to prison for six months for a self-confessed moment of madness when she pursued youths she blamed for vandalism at her home. Her family and friends organised a 10,000-signature petition, set up a Free Linda website and her name was exploited sympathetically by political leaders during the election.
Three judges in the Court of Appeal set aside her jail sentence and granted a conditional discharge, but they refused her permission to challenge her convictions for affray and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Mrs Walker, who started a hunger strike at Styal prison, Cheshire, during her five weeks in jail, walked out of the cells and into the arms of her partner John Cavanagh, 56, a college lecturer, and two of her three children, Donna, 20 and Craig, 18. Last night, Mrs Walker returned to her family home in Urmston, Greater Manchester. Earlier, friends had pinned welcome home banners and balloons to her front door. She said: “I just want to thank everybody who has helped our family through this ordeal. I’m just very happy to be home.”
The teacher was jailed at Manchester Crown Court on March 29 for pursuing a group of teenagers she blamed for a campaign of abuse directed at her home and family. She logged a series of complaints, from abusive telephone calls to vandalism. The final straw came when she noticed that a five-litre plastic container of washing liquid had been moved from the back door and emptied over her son’s car. During the subsequent midnight confrontation near her home, she fired up to six rounds from a gas-powered air pistol close to the feet of her antagonist. Later, she confessed to police that she had acted like a “mad woman possessed”, but claimed to have been at breaking point.
Giving his ruling, Lord Justice Rose said that Mrs Walker’s actions in firing the airgun at least twice, having earlier test-fired it in her home, should “on the face of it” have attracted a custodial sentence of considerable length. But he said that the courts were sometimes called upon to conduct a “delicate exercise of an often difficult discretion”. He said that Mrs Walker had no previous convictions and, as a teacher for 25 years, she had made an important contribution to the community. She and her family had suffered months of attacks on their home perpetrated by what Mrs Walker believed were youths intent on harassment.....
It is understood that Mrs Walker aims to continue the fight to clear her name. She will face a disciplinary hearing as head of food technology at New Park High School, Salford.
FAITH-BASED INITIATIVE ATTACKED IN BRITAIN
A Christian refuge for homeless young people has been told it stands to lose crucial county council funding because grace is said before meals. The Barnabas House refuge - set up more than a decade ago by King's Lynn Baptist Church - has been told by Norfolk county council that prayers, Bibles placed in rooms and advertising for Christian events are all "inappropriate". It has also been told that it must relax the strict ban on any alcohol or drugs.
Trustees of Barnabas House, which runs three refuges in King's Lynn for people between 16 and 30, fear they may have no option but to dump the guiding Christian ethic at the homes because the charity relies on £150,000 of annual county council grant to keep going. "It is absurd and it discriminates against us," a trustee told The Lynn News. "They want us to run a secular project and it is not a secular project. There is no one we push into Christianity."
The organisation offers places to about 20 homeless people "to get themselves together and find some sort of direction". Everyone at Barnie's, as it is known, is expected to help with shopping, gardening and housework, supervised by 13 staff. Funding comes from the Government's Supporting People programme and is distributed by the council, which does not have the happiest record where religion is concerned. Last month, an uproar forced the education authority to delay guidelines that would have banished mention of the Holy Ghost from classrooms in case children found it "spooky". Suggesting that Communion bread and wine represented the body and blood of Christ was also due to go because it gave the impression that Christians were cannibals.
Henry Bellingham, who is seeking re-election as Tory MP for North West Norfolk, said the attack on Christianity was appalling: "The people who are considering these ridiculous plans should be made to think again. I do have some sympathy with the county council because it seems their hands are tied by the Government guidelines."
5 May, 2005
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST "REDNECKS" IS OK AND THEY MUST NOT PROTEST ABOUT IT
Officials at a school in Michigan are scrambling to contain the damage done by a student who distributed what were described as "racially innappropriate" fliers to fellow students, according to WJRT-TV. The 17-year-old says he had been harassed for months by students who referred to him with such hateful and offensive terms as "hick" and "redneck," but school officials refused to intervene or insist on sensitivity training for the entire student body.
So the student handed out a flier inviting his fellow students to attend a meeting at a local park to "take back the Creek" (sort of like Take Back the Night? – ed) and "keep outsiders away from our town and support our way of life."
The flier was described as an act of racial intimidation that carried an "inherent threat" of violence. A subsequent search of his pickup truck turned up a hunting knife and a box cutter the kid used at work, so he was permanently suspended and will not be allowed to graduate with his classmates.
School official now tell the Flint Journal that race had nothing to do with it, but the expulsion stands. "It was a poor choice of words, and on the surface, it sounded racist. It's easy to understand why it was interpreted that way," said superintendent Roy Pearson. "But after spending a very long time talking to this boy and listening to what he had to say in his own defense, we no longer believe this had anything to do with race."
FEMINISM VERSUS BIOLOGY
That men and women are different is an accepted tenet of popular culture- indeed, the success of everything from reality television shows to self-help books relies on the notion that la difference is a fact that yields happy, challenging, and occasionally comic results in the course of everyday life. The acknowledgment of difference has also provided fuel for many a political fire. One of the phrases often chanted during the previous century's battle for women's suffrage was, "For the safety of the Nation to the Women Give the Vote / For the Hand that Rocks the Cradle Will Never Rock the Boat."
Yet amble any great distance along the path of sex differences, and you will soon find yourself with Harvard President Larry Summers, tripping painfully on the gnarled and dangerous roots buried there. Summers's provocative comments about sex differences at an academic conference prompted Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Nancy Hopkins to walk out of the room in protest. Hopkins, who now moonlights as the Ivy League's self-appointed, publicity-seeking gender warden, several years ago spawned a similar media tempest by claiming, on paltry evidence, that women at MIT were the victims of institution-wide discrimination. Posturing provosts nationwide reacted with predictable alacrity, setting up panels and convening commissions at their own universities to root out this new but amorphous enemy: "unintentional" discrimination against women. Summers's crime, in this context, was to have the temerity to state what science has long known about men and women, and to do so without worrying about offending the missish sensibilities of some female academics.
It is, in this clime, a great relief to discover Steven E. Rhoads's Taking Sex Differences Seriously, an intrepid book that does much to advance the debate about why men and women are the way they are. A professor of public policy at the University of Virginia who has written previous books about economics and comparable worth legislation, Rhoads brings common sense and astute critical judgment to the difficult task of explaining sex differences. He begins with the word "sex" itself, noting, "When discussing the lives of men and women, we now use the term gender far more often than sex." This, he argues, "reflects the assumption that any distinctions between the sexes' traits, values, interests, skills and behaviors arise from societies' rigid gender roles, which channel people's thoughts and actions in stereotypical directions."
But this assumption is incorrect. Drawing on extensive scholarly research in history, biology, sociology, child development, psychology, and economics, Rhoads examines a range of evidence about the biological basis of sex differences and in an appropriately dispassionate tone notes the intractability of certain facts: Men's and women's brains are structured differently, for example, and even from the earliest moments of a child's life, the effects of these differences are impossible to ignore. "One-week-old baby girls can distinguish an infant's cry from other noise; boys usually cannot," Rhoads writes. "Three-day- old girls maintain eye contact with a silent adult for twice as long as boys," and boys "are more interested than girls in three-dimensional geometric forms and in blinking lights" at five months of age. Children understand these differences intuitively, as anyone who has glanced at a kindergarten playground, where young boys and girls self-segregate by sex, can attest.
But sex differences have an impact on far more than our individual impulses. If you're wondering what is at the heart of our so-called culture wars, Rhoads offers an intriguing answer: cherchez la femme. The culture wars, so called, are really about women and their choices, and he adds an intriguing twist to the question of why: there are actually two kinds of women, he argues, "a majority who are traditionally feminine and others who are more like men than their sisters are." The latter include women who have been exposed to higher levels of testosterone in utero, and throughout life exhibit more male qualities than other females. These "high-testosterone women are more assertive, more career-oriented, and more likely to have high-status and traditionally male-dominated careers," he writes.
Although Rhoads does not posit a direct link between high levels of testosterone and a feminist worldview, he suggests that it might be one source of the tension between feminist and traditional women. Indeed, Rhoads's book poses significant challenges to mainstream feminism, whose devotees continue to impart a feverish urgency to the denial of sex differences. So tendentious is mention of sex differences among feminists that even stating an indisputable scientific fact can get you into trouble. A few years ago, he recounts, when the American Society for Reproductive Medicine planned an educational ad campaign with messages such as "Advancing Age Decreases Your Ability to Have Children," the National Organization for Women denounced the group's "scare tactics" and "negative message" and pressured them to withdraw the advertisements. That feminists are loath to admit even this stark biological fact speaks to their determination to deny sex differences. But as Rhoads's evidence suggests, and as critics of feminism have often noted, Mother Nature is not a feminist.
4 May, 2005
WHAT? NO ARRESTS?
From past form, we know that there would have been if Christians had done this outside a homosexual organization or meeting
Nearly 1,000 gays, lesbians and their supporters gathered in freezing temperatures and spitting snow at Focus on the Family headquarters Sunday to declare it a "toxic religion zone" and its director James Dobson "a danger to himself and the country." "The poison that comes out of that place leads to suffering and death," said the Rev. Mel White, director of Soulforce, a national gay rights advocacy group that organized the three-hour protest. "We're the ones who have to bury the gay teenagers who kill themselves because their parents have been quoting Jim Dobson to them," White said. White's fiery speech kicked off the rally, which drew hundreds from across the country and Colorado to Dobson's sprawling hilltop campus. The rally came as Dobson's national profile is rising, a week after he appeared on the nationwide evangelical Christian broadcast, Justice Sunday, condemning U.S. Senate Democrats for opposing seven Bush nominees to federal courts.
Police closed off the street in front of Focus headquarters to accommodate the crowd. Long streams of balloons and creative costumes brought the only swatches of color to the leaden cold day, but weather did not chill demonstrators' spirits or their message. "Focus on the Family does not focus on families. They teach from a theology that is morally bankrupt," said Jacob Reitan, Soulforce's youth director, who stood between his mother and father. "It teaches mothers and fathers to reject their gay sons and their lesbian daughters, and it has to end. We cannot go on any longer dividing our families."
Other parents came. Carol and Dean Reyman drove from South Dakota. They said friends and relatives deserted them when their 34-year- old daughter announced she was a lesbian seven years ago. "We felt alone for the longest time. It shouldn't make a difference. She's the same person; yet they look at her differently," Carol Reyman said.
In a small tent on their property, a dozen Focus on the Family staffers watched, including Tom Minnery, the organization's vice president for government and public policy. Minnery said gay activism is actually causing Christians to defend their values more strongly. Citing state constitutional amendments supporting traditional marriage in 13 states last year, he said most Americans don't believe marriage should be expanded to include gays. To permit same-sex marriage, Minnery said, "you have to stand against all of civilization, which says that marriage is one man, one woman, and against the totality of social science that says a child does best with a mom and a dad."
It was not same-sex marriage that occupied the Soulforce speeches Sunday. It was Focus on the Family's condemnation of homosexuality itself, the damage its position has done to gay and lesbian youths suffering confusion and guilt, and the toll it has taken on their families, speakers said. White told of a gay man who became Christian and, facing the conflict between faith and sexuality, penned a suicide note to God: "I don't know how else to fix this." "It has to be fixed here, at Focus, which is saying we are beasts, that our agenda is to recruit and molest children, that we are the worst threat this country has ever seen. The polluting, toxic lies are taking lives," White said.....
Focus on the Family also announced it would be closed to the public Monday, when Soulforce had planned to deliver more than 1,000 letters from families of gays condemning its stance against homosexuality. "It will not be open to the public to ensure the safety of our staff," Focus spokeswoman Sonja Swiatkiewicz said.
TOTALLY UNHINGED REACTION TO A SMALL MISTAKE
A school Principal who is all blather and no heart. A small and unmalicious mistake likely to hurt a kid for life. The disgusting Principal concerned would even be feeling good about himself over all this:
On a Thursday morning several weeks ago, Tyler Huetter found a BB pistol on his way to school and put it in his backpack. He is now banished from every public school in the United States for the next 11 months. The 12-year-old former Hellgate Elementary School sixth-grader must also submit to regular urine testing and take anger management classes. His parents, Terry and Sheryl Huetter, say they lack both the education and time to home-school him, and don't have the money to send him to private school.
Sitting at his kitchen table with his parents on a Friday morning, Tyler doesn't appear to be a threat to public safety. He wears his baseball cap backwards, but takes it off after being reminded. In school, he liked history and playing the drums in sixth-grade band. Now he says he watches a lot of MTV and accompanies his dad in the evenings when Terry goes to a second job cleaning offices. "I try to practice my skateboard, but it's kind of boring when you're alone," Tyler said of his days. "I sleep a lot because I'm bored."
From the inside of Hellgate Elementary, Superintendent Doug Reisig sees one of the gravest threats his school can face. "The gun involved looked exactly like the Beretta pistol carried by the sheriff's department deputies," Reisig said. "If a child pulls that gun out on the playground, the officer's reaction would be to shoot immediately. And that endangers everyone in the school. "My No. 1 priority is to provide for the safety and security for the 1,200 children here," Reisig continued. "Any child in that situation (of finding a gun) makes a choice. Should a child have chosen that path (of bringing the gun to school), my responsibility remains with the children who follow the rules. "We have a social contract with parents to keep their children safe. I would always make the recommendation to remove the child for the full calendar year," he said.
No one involved disputes the basic facts of Tyler Huetter's case. On March 17, while walking to his bus stop in the morning, he found the BB pistol on the ground. He also discovered it contained a small drug pipe in the magazine. "I saw the gun - it was pretty cool - so I picked it up," Tyler recalled. "The pipe fell out. I was being stupid and I put it back in. I put it (the gun) in my backpack and went to school."
He put the backpack in his locker. During the day, he got nervous about what would happen if the gun were found. A fellow student offered to stash it in her locker. Tyler said he gave her his locker combination, and she moved his backpack to her locker. The gun was never displayed. But word got to a teacher that there was a gun in the school. Administrators locked down the middle school building and searched the sixth-grade lockers, according to the school incident report provided to the Huetters. After finding nothing, they searched the eighth-grade lockers and found the backpack with the gun and the pipe. Both Tyler and the other student were taken to the office and their parents were called.......
"It's been pretty drastic for Tyler," his father Terry Huetter said. "I agree - he should have been kicked out. But I don't have the education to teach him at home. And we don't have the $4,000 to $8,000 a year they want at Valley Christian (Elementary School) or St. Joseph's (Catholic Elementary School). And we can't get any books or lessons from the school." Terry Huetter said he asked Hellgate Elementary and Missoula County School superintendent officials for help with learning materials for Tyler but was turned down.
State law says that the weapons violation does not prevent a school district from "offering instructional activities sanctioned by the district to a student who has been expelled." But Reisig added he has a direct duty to provide for the hundreds of children still in school and no duty to offer special resources to a child no longer enrolled. The law makes exceptions for some students in special education programs but puts the responsibility for educating expelled "regular" students squarely on the parents.
Vielleux said she had no good answer for the dilemma of expulsion. Especially since the tragedies at Columbine and Red Lake, school districts have trumpeted the no-guns policy. Hellgate Elementary parents are required to sign their children's student handbooks to ensure they've read them. And the consequences are clearly laid out. At the same time, it's well-known that the chances of a child successfully continuing education after expulsion are slim. "At some point, we're going to say, 'We have to give up on that child in order to help other ones,' " Vielleux said. "But then we know: There they are, out in the community unsupervised, and you know how much trouble young kids can get into."
3 May, 2005
PARENTAL DISCIPLINE INCORRECT
More Massachusetts madness
A father who used a belt to spank his 12-year-old son over forgotten homework is facing a felony assault charge and an investigation by the state Department of Social Services. Charles S. Enloe, 42, of 4 Cortelli Court, Plymouth, hit his son on the buttocks three times with a belt after the boy forgot his homework assignment at school, police said. He was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Enloe said he was surprised at his arrest, but that he doesn't blame police for doing their job. ‘‘I never knew it would be considered assault with a deadly weapon,'' Enloe said. ‘‘And it shouldn't be. It shouldn't be a crime if it's discipline. I know there are parents out there that abuse their children, but I'm definitely not one of them. But police have to follow the letter of the law. My father was a police officer. I'm not angry at them, and I don't blame my son.'' Enloe said he hopes the courts will dismiss the charge after reviewing the facts. ‘‘I have no previous record,'' he said.
He said his son is still living with him despite the incident. He and the boy's mother are divorced, according to the police. The mother obtained a restraining order against Enloe on her son's behalf, but the order was temporary and has expired, he said. ‘‘The incident got blown out of proportion,'' Enloe said.
Police Capt. Michael Botieri said officers have more leeway about arresting a parent for domestic violence when an open hand is used for spanking. ‘‘When a parent uses an instrument to discipline, it makes it more difficult for us,'' Botieri said. ‘‘The belt pushed this over the edge.'' The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and left no marks or bruises, according to police.
The Department of Social Services is investigating the complaint after its Cape Cod area office received a report of suspected abuse on Friday. DSS spokeswoman Denise Monteiro said the allegation was made by a person or agency required by law to report any suspected incident of child abuse. She would not identify the person. Police, teachers, health care workers and clergy are all required to report cases of suspected abuse in Massachusetts. Monteiro said the case is not considered an emergency and said the DSS has up to 10 days to investigate the report. Monteiro said the department usually interviews family members, the child's pediatrician, school officials, neighbors and others. ‘‘The allegations have to be met with evidence,'' she said..... the DSS spokeswoman, said that under the Massachusetts corporal punishment law, it is not illegal for a guardian to strike a child physically or spank a child so long as the child isn't injured or ‘‘left with a bruise, bumps, cuts and you would also consider the frequency of the punishment.''
In 1997, the Rev. Donald Cobble of Woburn found himself thrust into the national spotlight when his then 9-year-old son, Judah, asked a teacher not to send a note home about his school behavior because he feared that Cobble would spank him with a belt, as he had done before. The teacher contacted social service workers, who found that this form of discipline posed a ‘‘substantial risk of injury.'' But two years and $62,000 in legal fees later, Cobble's name was removed from the state registry of child abusers after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court exonerated him, saying that Judah suffered only temporary marks as a result of the spanking. The case was closed.
Oh what silly politically correct webs we weave: "Do you, as I often do, talk to yourself as you watch TV news or read the daily paper? ... Here are some examples: ITEM: Did you hear about the guy studying in Syracuse, N.Y., for a graduate teaching degree who recently got kicked out of school because of a paper for which he got an A-minus, a pretty good grade in a course at that level? It was Scott McConnell's politically incorrect views that landed him in trouble: He wrote, simply, that 'corporal punishment has a place in the classroom.' He had been spanked once in elementary school, three whacks on the backside, and the only thing wounded was his pride. 'I never wanted that again,' he recalled, now 26. 'It was good for me.' 'Not so,' apparently thought the director of Le Moyne College's graduate program. In fact, McConnell's opinion about spanking raised 'grave concerns,' he was informed."
Arizona: At least cakes and cookies are still allowed so far: "Gov. Janet Napolitano signed into law Tuesday a ban on the sale of junk food in Arizona's elementary, middle and junior high schools. The measure, which takes effect in 2006, is aimed at candy, soft drinks and other sugary or fatty snacks. It would not affect sales of junk food before or after school hours, such as during athletic events. The bill was backed by health groups and the state school superintendent as a way to combat obesity and promote good nutrition. Critics called it an intrusion on school districts' authority. In a compromise, high schools were exempted from the ban." [Wait 'til they find out how calorific milk and fruit juice are!! Will ANYTHING then be allowed?]
2 May, 2005
Moms Make Lousy Dads
A rave from Burt Prelutsky
One of the more fatuous beliefs that has been foisted off by self-proclaimed feminists and other politically correct lamebrains is that children don't really need fathers. I used to say that American women, thanks to increased salaries and well-stocked sperm banks, had reached a point where they only needed men to open ketchup bottles and get stuff down from high shelves. Ladies, I was joking! I had no idea that so many women took the line to heart. Thanks to my good joke and Gloria Steinem's bad one -- that crack about fish needing bicycles -- women have become increasingly wacky. What is really surprising, considering that thirty years of feminist propaganda has promoted the natural superiority of females, is how masculine, in the worst sense of the word, women have become.
Surely I am not the only person who has noticed that these days young women are just as likely as men to smoke, to get bombed on booze and cuss in public, and perhaps even likelier to drive like maniacs and to flip you off for daring to share the road with them. In the business world, far too many women salivate at the thought of being regarded as cold and ruthless. They are every bit as likely to torment and humiliate their employees, and to promote an atmosphere of fear and anger, especially among their female underlings. Call these women cut-throat and they think you're trying to sweet talk them.
Perhaps it's simply a case of Stockholm syndrome gone amuck. As you probably know, that's a situation in which hostages come to identify, not with their rescuers, but with their captors. Women, in their own defense, might possibly claim that they'd been powerless for so long that it was inevitable that they'd take on the very characteristics they've despised. But that's a load of hooey. I say, if you're going to behave like an idiot and a bully, don't make excuses for your boorishness. God knows men don't!
Inasmuch as more and more women are eager to hand off their offspring to a nanny, a granny or a nursery school, you have to wonder why most of them even bother giving birth. All they seem to have to show for the experience are stretch marks.
In a society that is determined to accept the nutty notion that two gay men or a pair of lesbians are just as likely -- they really mean likelier -- to raise a normal, healthy child as a married man and woman, how could anybody dare suggest that a single woman isn't equally capable? Well, she isn't. This is especially true when the child is a boy. No matter how hard she tries, no matter how much she cares, no matter how many broken nails she's willing to sacrifice in order to play catch with the kid, the bottom line is she's a woman. And just because so many of the morons in Hollywood have turned single motherhood into just another fad, sort of like collagen lips and plastic bosoms, doesn't make it a good idea.
It simply makes sense that a boy needs a man in his life to act as a role model, to show him not only how to curb his temper and to temper his testosterone, but also how to avoid being feminized into something resembling a well-dressed eunuch. The point I am looking to make I saw made perfectly in a segment of a TV magazine show some years ago. It seems that in Africa, on a game preserve, the rangers were discovering the mutilated carcasses of several rhinos. They couldn't determine who was responsible for the carnage, and they couldn't imagine a motive.
After conducting an investigation, they found to their amazement that a band of teenage elephants was killing the rhinos for no other reason than that they felt like it. It was their version of drive-by shootings. Like our own urban gangs, the young rogues even had a leader.
The rangers thought long and hard about the problem. The first thing they realized was that the teenagers were free to make up their own evil rules of behavior because, like the blood-thirsty kids in Lord of the Flies, there were no adults in their world. All the bull elephants had been slaughtered by poachers for their ivory.
Then, because they didn't have to answer to politicians or social workers, the rangers did two essential things. First, having determined he was incorrigible, they killed the leader of the pack. Next, they flew in several bull elephants. In no time at all, order was restored. The big guys let it be known that if there was any more rhino-stomping, there would be hell to pay. Their message was short and sweet; namely that elephants don't behave that way.
So, for all their professional advances, there are still a few things that women simply can't do as well as men. Some of those things, such as throwing a football forty yards in a perfect spiral or crushing a beer can on their forehead, aren't all that essential. Important, I'll grant you, but not absolutely essential to society at large.
However, when it comes to rearing male children, we'd all probably be better off if the ladies simply dropped the kids off in the woods for wolves to raise.
Maine: Gun correctness overturned: "A Superior Court justice has overturned a Mount Blue High School senior's suspension, saying the student didn't break school rules when he unknowingly brought a gun to school in a borrowed pickup truck. Justice Joseph Jabar Tuesday reversed the decision by School Administrative District 9 school board to suspend Sheldon Allen for 20 days for having an unloaded pistol in a pickup truck he borrowed from his older brother. Allen, 18, served a 10-day suspension but appealed the school board decision to suspend him for another 20 days. Jabar said he understood the concerns about guns on school property, but said it was unfair to suspend Allen when he had no idea the gun was in the truck".
Another wacky food warrior: "[Bill] Maher's campaign against our freedom to super-size is at odds with his self-proclaimed libertarian politics. One might expect a man who believes in legalizing drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage to similarly support the right to eat at KFC. Though Maher is not a creature of consistency, hypocrisy is not a hanging offence. Still, inconsistency does not explain his efforts to force regime change on our eating habits; his one-man war against 'high-fructose corn syrup ... causing so much sickness in our country' is bizarre. (Although, relative to other causes Hollywood stars typically embrace, it almost seems reasonable.)"
1 May, 2005
WHAT A DISGUSTING BUSYBODY! A MASSACHUSETTS DEMOCRAT, OF COURSE
Since his surname is Armenian, I guess his ancestors didn't burn witches but the same judgmentalism is there
A proposed bill that would curtail cookie and cake sales in Massachusetts' elementary and high schools has few fans among hungry teens here. ``Kids don't want to buy carrots; they want to buy cake,'' Atayvia Sowers, a 17-year-old student at Amherst Regional High School, told the Daily Hampshire Gazette as she unwrapped a plate of brownies for an after-school bake sale sponsored by the student group People of Color United.
Supporters say the bill, proposed by state Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, D-Waltham, is aimed at curbing childhood obesity. It would prevent student groups from selling sweets on school grounds until at least 30 minutes after the end of classes. The measure also requires schools to reduce portion sizes and replace high-fat, high-sugar snacks in school vending machines and lunchrooms with lowfat milk, juice and fresh fruits and vegetables. Koutoujian did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.
High school Principal Mark Jackson said Amherst doesn't have the money to subsidize school clubs and bake sales would be effectively eliminated if they could not begin until 30 minutes after classes ended. ``Prime time is at the end of the day,'' Jackson said. ``I want to encourage kids to eat responsibly, (but) on the other hand, they should be able to enjoy cookies.''
MALE AND FEMALE BRAINS ARE VERY DIFFERENT -- AND IT MAKES BIG DIFFERENCES TO BEHAVIOUR
Sadly for the feminists! Research showing big and significant differences in male and female brains now goes back a long way. Below are a few excerpts from a recent survey of the state of our knowledge in that field
A generation of neuroscientists came to maturity believing that "sex differences in the brain" referred primarily to mating behaviors, sex hormones and the hypothalamus. That view, however, has now been knocked aside by a surge of findings that highlight the influence of sex on many areas of cognition and behavior, including memory, emotion, vision, hearing, the processing of faces and the brain's response to stress hormones. This progress has been accelerated in the past five to 10 years by the growing use of sophisticated noninvasive imaging techniques such as positron-emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which can peer into the brains of living subjects.
These imaging experiments reveal that anatomical variations occur in an assortment of regions throughout the brain. Jill M. Goldstein of Harvard Medical School and her colleagues, for example, used MRI to measure the sizes of many cortical and subcortical areas. Among other things, these investigators found that parts of the frontal cortex, the seat of many higher cognitive functions, are bulkier in women than in men, as are parts of the limbic cortex, which is involved in emotional responses. In men, on the other hand, parts of the parietal cortex, which is involved in space perception, are bigger than in women, as is the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure that responds to emotionally arousing information--to anything that gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing. These size differences, as well as others mentioned throughout the article, are relative: they refer to the overall volume of the structure relative to the overall volume of the brain.
Differences in the size of brain structures are generally thought to reflect their relative importance to the animal. For example, primates rely more on vision than olfaction; for rats, the opposite is true. As a result, primate brains maintain proportionately larger regions devoted to vision, and rats devote more space to olfaction. So the existence of widespread anatomical disparities between men and women suggests that sex does influence the way the brain works.
Other investigations are finding anatomical sex differences at the cellular level. For example, Sandra Witelson and her colleagues at McMaster University discovered that women possess a greater density of neurons in parts of the temporal lobe cortex associated with language processing and comprehension. On counting the neurons in postmortem samples, the researchers found that of the six layers present in the cortex, two show more neurons per unit volume in females than in males. Similar findings were subsequently reported for the frontal lobe. With such information in hand, neuroscientists can now explore whether sex differences in neuron number correlate with differences in cognitive abilities--examining, for example, whether the boost in density in the female auditory cortex relates to women's enhanced performance on tests of verbal fluency.
Such anatomical diversity may be caused in large part by the activity of the sex hormones that bathe the fetal brain. These steroids help to direct the organization and wiring of the brain during development and influence the structure and neuronal density of various regions. Interestingly, the brain areas that Goldstein found to differ between men and women are ones that in animals contain the highest number of sex hormone receptors during development. This correlation between brain region size in adults and sex steroid action in utero suggests that at least some sex differences in cognitive function do not result from cultural influences or the hormonal changes associated with puberty--they are there from birth.
Several intriguing behavioral studies add to the evidence that some sex differences in the brain arise before a baby draws its first breath. Through the years, many researchers have demonstrated that when selecting toys, young boys and girls part ways. Boys tend to gravitate toward balls or toy cars, whereas girls more typically reach for a doll. But no one could really say whether those preferences are dictated by culture or by innate brain biology. To address this question, Melissa Hines of City University London and Gerianne M. Alexander of Texas A&M University turned to monkeys, one of our closest animal cousins. The researchers presented a group of vervet monkeys with a selection of toys, including rag dolls, trucks and some gender-neutral items such as picture books. They found that male monkeys spent more time playing with the "masculine" toys than their female counterparts did, and female monkeys spent more time interacting with the playthings typically preferred by girls. Both sexes spent equal time monkeying with the picture books and other gender-neutral toys.
Because vervet monkeys are unlikely to be swayed by the social pressures of human culture, the results imply that toy preferences in children result at least in part from innate biological differences. This divergence, and indeed all the anatomical sex differences in the brain, presumably arose as a result of selective pressures during evolution. In the case of the toy study, males--both human and primate--prefer toys that can be propelled through space and that promote rough-and-tumble play. These qualities, it seems reasonable to speculate, might relate to the behaviors useful for hunting and for securing a mate. Similarly, one might also hypothesize that females, on the other hand, select toys that allow them to hone the skills they will one day need to nurture their young.
Simon Baron-Cohen and his associates at the University of Cambridge took a different but equally creative approach to addressing the influence of nature versus nurture regarding sex differences. Many researchers have described disparities in how "people-centered" male and female infants are. For example, Baron-Cohen and his student Svetlana Lutchmaya found that one-year-old girls spend more time looking at their mothers than boys of the same age do. And when these babies are presented with a choice of films to watch, the girls look longer at a film of a face, whereas boys lean toward a film featuring cars.....
Another brain region now known to diverge in the sexes anatomically and in its response to stress is the hippocampus, a structure crucial for memory storage and for spatial mapping of the physical environment. Imaging consistently demonstrates that the hippocampus is larger in women than in men. These anatomical differences might well relate somehow to differences in the way males and females navigate. Many studies suggest that men are more likely to navigate by estimating distance in space and orientation ("dead reckoning"), whereas women are more likely to navigate by monitoring landmarks. Interestingly, a similar sex difference exists in rats. Male rats are more likely to navigate mazes using directional and positional information, whereas female rats are more likely to navigate the same mazes using available landmarks. (Investigators have yet to demonstrate, however, that male rats are less likely to ask for directions.)
Even the neurons in the hippocampus behave differently in males and females, at least in how they react to learning experiences. For example, Janice M. Juraska and her associates at the University of Illinois have shown that placing rats in an "enriched environment"--cages filled with toys and with fellow rodents to promote social interactions--produced dissimilar effects on the structure of hippocampal neurons in male and female rats. In females, the experience enhanced the "bushiness" of the branches in the cells' dendritic trees--the many-armed structures that receive signals from other nerve cells. This change presumably reflects an increase in neuronal connections, which in turn is thought to be involved with the laying down of memories. In males, however, the complex environment either had no effect on the dendritic trees or pruned them slightly....
In a comprehensive 2001 report on sex differences in human health, the prestigious National Academy of Sciences asserted that "sex matters. Sex, that is, being male or female, is an important basic human variable that should be considered when designing and analyzing studies in all areas and at all levels of biomedical and health-related research."
Neuroscientists are still far from putting all the pieces together--identifying all the sex-related variations in the brain and pinpointing their influences on cognition and propensity for brain-related disorders. Nevertheless, the research conducted to date certainly demonstrates that differences extend far beyond the hypothalamus and mating behavior. Researchers and clinicians are not always clear on the best way to go forward in deciphering the full influences of sex on the brain, behavior and responses to medications. But growing numbers now agree that going back to assuming we can evaluate one sex and learn equally about both is no longer an option.