Wednesday, August 31, 2005

"Grandma" and "Grandpa"

I thought readers might like to know that I have had heaps of emails from people who are PROUD to be called "Grandma" and "Grandpa"!

I any case, how people address one-another within the family is surely a personal matter that busybodies should keep their noses out of.

If people want their family to address them in some particular way, I am sure they would be capable of letting that be known. But getting your family to do what you want them to do is another matter entirely of course!

"Site Down" Problems

This site has been down (unavailable) for a lot of the last 24 hours so I am putting up on Political Correctness Watch the posts that you would normally read here if the site were available. Apparently the site that hosts Tongue Tied also hosts a lot of other conservative blogs so often comes under attack from Leftist hackers who manage to shut it down from time to time. So bookmark Political Correctness Watch as an alternative site for when that happens.

"Mullah" and "Sheik" Now Incorrect?

It seems so. A bank went into a frenzy when one of their senior experts used those terms. Excerpt:

"Mr. Rubin is chief economist for the World Markets division of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Every month he issues a research report on world trends that is aimed at the bank's sophisticated investing clients. Monthly Indicators, as it's called, is distributed to a few thousand select readers, and is posted on the bank's website.... The offending passage appeared last April 5, in a report predicting that oil prices would keep rising: "The first two oil shocks were transitory, as political events encouraged oil producers to seize full sovereignty over their resources and temporarily restrict supply," Mr. Rubin wrote. "This time around there won't be any tap that some appeased mullah or sheik can suddenly turn back on."

A few days later, the bank received a letter from CAIR-CAN. The organization keeps a close watch on the media, as well as on government agencies, businesses, universities and other institutions, for signs of bias against Muslims. It says it received several calls complaining about the passage in Monthly Indicators. "We are gravely concerned that Mr. Rubin is promoting stereotyp-ing of Muslims and Arabs in a CIBC publication," executive director Riad Saloojee wrote in a letter to the bank. "We request that Mr. Rubin and CIBC World Markets issue a letter of apology and undergo sensitization training regarding Muslims and Arabs."


I guess the correct phrase would have been something like: "some rightfully offended Muslim gentleman" instead of "some appeased mullah or sheik". A pity that a lot of rulers over that way do seem to be mullahs or sheiks, though. And if everybody is not bending over backwards to appease them, then I for one don't have a clue what appeasement would look like. And the bank concerned seems to be a prime example of such appeasement. Anybody with guts would have defended their employee as telling the plain truth.

Confederate Memories Expose Sham Tolerance

Leftists never cease to preach the wonders of tolerance and diversity. But it is all a sham. They want uniformity, not diversity. Just listen to how much tolerance was extended to the diversity shown in the household described below:

""Mizzerable", in Texas, invited two African-Americans over for a dinner party. "On a tour of my home, I thought nothing of taking them to my study/library upstairs. Along with many other things, I have displayed on my wall three flags - the U.S. flag, the Texas flag and the Confederate flag. My medic friend gasped and asked why I had a rebel flag. I replied that it was a part of my heritage and I was proud of that. The pained look on her face reminded me of someone who had been fatally wounded. To her credit, she let me explain that I had two Confederate officers (in my family) who had died fighting for what they believed in. "I don't believe that the reason for the Civil War was primarily slavery. I have researched my genealogy and can find no evidence they had slaves of any race. Never mind all that - my friend was offended and said she guessed she didn't really know me at all. I was deeply wounded, but did my best to understand. They left in a huff"


I am not criticizing the particular blacks above who got offended. They were just reacting the way their liberal mentors have encouraged them to react -- seeing "racism" under every bush (or Bush!). But if their liberal mentors had REALLY been teaching tolerance, such a huge historical issue as the North/South war would have been the first issue they would have turned to as an area in which to preach that tolerance, understanding and forgiveness should be practiced and old antagonisms buried or forgiven.

And forgive an ignorant Australian if I have got it all wrong but when I read the original documents (e.g. here), it seems to me that while slavery was an undoubted element in the North/South dispute, Lincoln always stressed that the war was fought to save "the Union". And slaves are not mentioned once in the Gettysburg address. Whether we think half a million dead Americans were a worthwhile price to pay for preserving and extending the power of the U.S. Federal government is an issue for Americans, not for me. I would however think that the view that the price was too high might at least be treated with respect, rather than intolerance.

In thinking about that price it may be worth reflecting that Australia managed to free its slaves (convicts) and create a lasting Federation without a drop of blood being shed. Two of my ancestors were among the convicts concerned. So my ancestors came to my country chained up in the holds of sailing ships. Hey! Where are my reparations?

Tough Image for Sporting Team Now Incorrect

Once upon a time it was considered manly to be tough and not the sort of guy anybody would dare to push around. Such male virtues are now condemned, however, as we see in the excerpt below:

"A poster intended to promote a suburban high school football team has landed the "Battlin' Bulldogs" in the doghouse.Players posed with knives, sledge-hammers and axes. It was meant to intimidate opponents but angered some parents instead. Although the poster may have been laughed at decades ago, recent incidents of school violence have forced the team to punt the poster.In Batavia, there are high school traditions, such as the annual corn boil and the football team's rough and tumble calendar photo.In the past, the Bulldogs have been pictured with a tank and "a big snow plow - plowing the competition," said Quarterback Ben Braunsky.This year's poster features the Bulldogs' offensive and defensive lines wielding a sledgehammer, a crow bar and a couple of knives. Some say this poster - the team's 21st - has crossed the line".


If they had been holding bunches of pansies, however, that would have been fine. Feminine good. Masculine bad.

Megafauna Extinctions: Clarification

In my recent post under the heading: "Another "insensitive" book about American Indians", I referred in passing to the American Indians (Yes. I know they were really East Asians, not Indians, but I am NOT going to use the current politically correct term) and the usual view that it was Indian hunting which caused America's prehistoric large animals ("megafauna") to become extinct. I was NOT of course referring to the Bison, which survived the arrival of the Indians but went close to extinction because of white hunters, not Indians.

What exactly happened during prehistory will of course always be a matter of some dispute. If Fox News was not there to record it, how can we be sure what went on! But the latest scientific paper I know of on the subject is in The Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. I reproduce below the summary from it:

" After centuries of debate, paleontologists are converging towards the conclusion that human overkill caused the massive extinction of large mammals in the late Pleistocene. This paper revisits the question of megafauna extinction by incorporating economic behavior into the debate. We allow for endogenous human population growth, and labor allocation decisions involving activities such as wildlife harvesting and (proto) agriculture. We find that the role of agriculture in deciding the fate of megafauna was small. In contrast, the presence of ordinary small animals that have been overlooked in previous non-economic extinction models is likely to have been much more important.

There are however other theories such as this one

No more comments on this particular issue please (I have had heaps already) as it would take us too far off the track of what this blog is about


There is a fuller extract from the scientific paper summarized above on my Greenie Watch site.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Don't Use the "G"-Word"!

The "G"-Word"? What in the world might that be? This excerpt sets you straight:

"Don't call me Grandma! That is the advice from new-age grandparents keen to break with tradition. The latest generation of first-time grandparents have declared titles like Granny, Gramps and Poppy too old-fashioned. Leading the naming revolution are baby-boomers demanding the children of their sons and daughters call them something more "youthful". Mima, LaLa, Ducky, Honey, Bubba and Guapo are names gaining popularity. Hollywood actor Goldie Hawn prefers grandson Ryder to call her Lola. Older People Speak Out president Val French, of Brisbane, said families were keen to avoid the stigma accompanying grandparenthood, and the grandparent-grandchild relationship was far less formal than it used to be. Grandma and grandpa really belong to a generation that's gone," she said."


I kid you not.

Another "insensitive" book about American Indians

Hoosier author, James Alexander Thom, is nationally known for his Indian-related historical novels. But his novel "Follow the River" is now coming under fire from a few American Indians. Excerpt:

"The novel is also well-credentialed -- a heavily researched, fictional account of the true story of Mary Ingles' capture by Shawnee Indians in 1755 in Virginia and her survival and eventual escape, told from the white woman's perspective..... Thom's account misrepresents and even maligns Indians, said Debra Haza. She is a Columbus resident who serves on the city's cultural diversity committee and is a member of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians. "We are portrayed as savages and squaws. An Indian man is described as having a snakelike appearance. He (Thom) has all these misconceptions going through her (Mary Ingles') head," she said.... Denning's objections include Thom's liberal use of the word squaw -- as offensive as any racial slur, she said"


Gasp! Fancy referring to an Indian woman in pioneer days as a "squaw". No doubt everybody in those days referred to her as "Madam". And we no longer say "savages" for savage pre-civilization people, of course. They are "people in harmony with nature". The fact that they killed off most species of the original large animals of North America and the fact that they kept murdering one-another in inter-tribal wars is just a patriarchal hegemonist myth (or something), of course.

I have got absolutely nothing against American Indians, as such, but the nonsense perpetrated in their name by (mainly) whites is another matter.

America's Most Unmentionable Four-letter Word: Race

Vincent Sarich, a molecular anthropologist who has been at the centre of many of the most newsworthy DNA discoveries of recent decades including the molecular clock hypothesis, the "mitochrondrial eve" hypothesis and the discovery of the genetic closeness of humans and chimps has now published a book rubbishing the claim that "Race Does not Exist". Speaking about humans and chimps, recently it has been found that the gap is wider than first reported a decade or so ago

Monday, August 29, 2005

An Interesting Email "fro" a Reader:

A reader noted something interesting in the middle of my excerpt about the NAACP dislike of the word "city". He comments:

"When the typo "fro" was used instead of "for" right in the middle of the NAACP's name, I busted up! I feel as though I have to give the NAACP some credit for helping minorities but usually when I read about their current campaign or cause it only furthers what they fight against. Namely they want whites to see them as equals (which I do) but everything they do or champion makes me see them as a different group of people. "African-Americans," affirmative action, BET, etc; It all gives me the idea that this group of people are different than me. We're all equal folks! I'm not better than you and you're not better than me, so let's move on!"

A New No-no Word: "Inner City"

I sort of understand the problem here. "Inner city" can be a bad place from the point of view of crime etc. But does it help to deny that a place is "inner city" when it is? Some people seem to be in denial over it anyway. Excerpt:

"People living on Green Bay's east side are sticking up for themselves after parents from Bellevue criticized the neighborhoods around East High School, labelling them "inner city." The controversy started Wednesday night at a meeting over school boundaries. Parents from Bellevue had this to say about a proposal that would send their kids to Washington Middle School and East High School: "If I wanted my child to go to an inner city school, I would have moved to the inner city. I don't need to be worried about that. If we wanted to live near East High, we would have paid a lot less for our house. I, like the other people here, spent the money to get out of the inner city and send my child to a better school." Some east-side residents were offended. Others were mad".


And Just the Word "City" is Pretty Bad these Days too

I always thought that a city outlook or mentality would be more sophisticated and smart than what you find among those rubes living in the country but I grew up in a rural area so that shows what a rube I am -- or does it? Excerpt from the latest sophisticated commentary on urban/rural differences:

"The Gary branch of the NAACP wants an apology from Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Joel Silverman for "offensive and disrespectful" comments he made during a recent public hearing. Silverman referred to members of a mostly black audience Aug. 17 as having a "city mentality," which many took as a racial remark. "When you mention the term 'city mentality' to an audience consisting mainly of African-Americans, they're not thinking city mentality means 'regional.' They're thinking you mean the N-word mentality. That was a perception problem," said Tammi Davis, president of the National Association fro the Advancement of Colored People. Davis has sent a letter to Gov. Mitch Daniels requesting a formal apology and suggesting that Silverman attend sensitivity training.


To equate "city" with "dumb black" sure shows up how inadequate those dictionary-makers are I guess.

The Latest Feminist Gospel

My blood boils when I read the sort of arrogance and ignorance below. Excerpt:

"Salzman, an executive vice-president at the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, has serious points to make about where men go from here. Society has changed for ever, she says, so males must adapt if they are to reassert themselves in a world increasingly defined and dominated by femininity. It is not just men who are fed up with male-bashing. Research shows that women, too, want men to assert themselves as confident, vital, masculine partners. They want "real" men back. But because we will never return to 1950s patriarchy - the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, thank God - men must redefine masculinity to accommodate who they are today. They must find, says Salzman, their own personal version of manliness.... M-ness (also known as my-ness) is defined thus: a masculinity that defines the best of traditional manliness (strength, honour, character) with positive traits traditionally associated with females (nurturance, communicativeness, co-operation)."


The female writer above has at last realized that most women prefer real men to pansies and has graciously decided that men can be men again. They don't have to ape women any more. But men still need to have SOME feminine characteristics. And what are they? "Nurturance, communicativeness, co-operation", we are told. So men can't communicate, can't co-operate and can't nurture. What gross and stupid insults! If any man had said anything comparable about women there would be uproar. The whole article shows how shut-off from the real world female writers can become. If men cannot communicate and co-operate, how the hell does the stupid b**** think they succeed in business? I suppose it is possible that the moron does not realize how important co-operation and communication is in business but, if so, she should retire from writing for good -- or take up fiction instead -- because she knows zilch about the real world.

And as for men not being nurturant, have you ever known an instance of "Daddy's girl"? It is one of the most beautiful human relationships you will see -- where a little girl and her father absolutely adore one-another. But Leftists and feminists never do care about reality. I myself had a particularly close relationship with one of my stepdaughters when she was little. She is now a beautiful young woman about to be married so we say very little to one-another these days. We don't need to. A quick smile between us tells both of us that all the old affection is still there. But I guess a lot of feminists have never experienced that sort of relationship so they really know nothing about men at all.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Weekend Reading

The usual blogger here -- Scott -- does not usually put anything up over the weekend. But while I am standing in for him during his vacation, I could not resist putting up the couple of items below. On my regular blog, however, I put stuff up 7 days a week, so if you ever want weekend reading akin to what you find here, bookmark Political Correctness Watch

Free Speech Being Silenced in New Zealand Too

From all the attention they give it, you would have to think that Leftists love homosexuals. Maybe some do. But the attention given to the matter is out of all proportion. In most Western countries, laws that criminalize homosexuality are now but a memory. Yet there seems to be a never-ending spate of legislation to restrict more and more what you can say about homosexuality. Even in such a faraway place as New Zealand it is still going on. As this excerpt says:

"No one dares use derogatory terminology of the gay rights movement today, being accused of homophobia has become worse that being accused of racism, but our politicians and media call Christian criticism of the gay rights movement, "fundamentalist extremism," "intolerant," "bigoted" without any thought for the hypocrisy or any consideration that disagreement and criticism are a valid and important part of a free society.

The fostering of New Zealand's culture of religious intolerance has not come about by accident. It has been deliberately created as you can see by Labour's record on passing social engineering legislation, proposed hate speech laws and [Prime Minister] Helen Clark's comments on Christian opposition to the Civil Unions Bill in Express last year:

"It is a very small minority point of view and I think, through continuing to set the tone of tolerance, acceptance and diversity, you just have to further marginalise such people. Hopefully one day nobody will think that way."


So I think that it is clear that all this attention to homosexuality is only incidentally about helping homosexuals -- who seem to need little or no help these days anyway. The real agenda is to use the issue to attack ordinary people -- and Christians in particular. Lots of ordinary people -- perhaps most -- have an instinctive revulsion against the idea of homosexuality. In evolutionary terms, it would be surprising if they did not. So all this Leftist "hate" legislation is indeed about hate -- not hatred of homosexuals but hatred of ordinary people and their responses.

More on Female IQ

My post on female IQ got me a heap of emails so, although the subject is a bit off the regular track for "Tongue-Tied", I feel I should comment on the concerns that readers have expressed. In a way, the topic is VERY appropriate for "Tongue-Tied" because it is the unmentionable nature of IQ research that has enabled so many misunderstandings about the subject to flourish. So I think I should spend a bit of time in telling you what nobody else is likely to. Let me start with one well-expressed email that I received:

"As a woman, I don't have a problem with the IQ findings. I tend to believe it, as my personal experience has shown that men tend to be more analytical than women. My issue is with the way IQ is measured. My opinion is that IQ tests place a lot of emphasis on analytical abilities, but not much on "other types" of intelligence, such as creativity, multi-tasking, musical genius or whatever. For example, women tend to be a lot more perceptive than men, especially when it comes to relationships. They also can have more agility of mind; that is, they can do more than one thing at the same time, and do it well (better known as multi-tasking). Everyone has his or her own strengths, which leads me to believe that IQ tests are mostly useless. Instead, instructors/employers should be trained to identify individuals' strengths and how to capitalize on them.

Most of what the lady says is right. There are ways in which women tend to do better than men -- and multi-tasking is certainly one of those ways. What the lady does not know is that the abilities measured in IQ tests are NOT just some arbitrary selection of puzzles. The whole notion of IQ arose from an OBSERVATION: the observation that people who tend to be good at solving one sort of puzzle also tend to be good at solving lots of other seemingly unrelated puzzles. In other words, what Binet discovered in the 19th century was that problem-solving is GENERAL. There is such a thing as general problem-solving ability (often abbreviated as 'g'). So over a hundred years have gone by since Binet's discovery and most people still don't know of it! If that is not a truth that has been thoroughly tongue-tied, I don't know what one would be (actually, I can think of a couple of others but I will save them for another day). So IQ tests are simply collections of different puzzles that do in fact go together. Success on one does tend to predict success on all the rest.

And what that means is that IQ tests are VERY useful. For instance, if you are hiring for a job that requires a lot of problem-solving, you can use an IQ test to predict which applicant will be best at that job -- no matter what the problems may be in the job you are hiring for. And IQ tests are also very predictive of educational success. If you have a high IQ it is much more worthwhile to spend up big on a university education than if you have a low IQ.

As an example of how ability generalizes, take mechanical aptitude: I am very good at all sorts of academic things so lots of people would think I must be hopeless at practical things like mechanics. And it is true that any time my car needs fixing I hand the job over to an expert. But I like fixing locks. I am an amateur locksmith. Locks are just another puzzle to me. So one day, I was at a small gathering where some ladies were having trouble with the deadlock on their front door. So they took it off and opened it up. And immediately, bits and pieces went "SPROING" everywhere. They were of course completely stumped by that and did not for a moment think to ask a hopeless academic like me to help. So I said: "Maybe I can help". They looked at me with great skepticism. But in ten minutes I had it back together and all working properly. I hope they learnt something about 'g' from that episode.

Now I have just used an example above to illustrate what I am saying. But the example is NOT the proof. The proof is the gazillion times researchers have found that problem-solving generalizes. One of my other readers of my post yesterday made that mistake. She said that men got all the Nobel prizes because good education has become available to women only fairly recently. But that was not the point at all. The researchers who wrote the article in The British Journal of Psychology that I referred to yesterday relied for their conclusions on hundreds of studies with IQ tests. The bit about Nobel prize-winners was only an illustration, much like my locksmithing illustration above. Examples prove nothing by themselves. They just help you to understand how generalizations work out in practice.

Incidentally, creativity is NOT like IQ. It does not generalize much. People who are highly creative in one field are usually pretty uncreative in other fields. For instance, I am extremely good at writing articles for scientific journals. And that is a highly creative field. In that field you are creating new knowledge and understanding about something. And I have had hundreds of such articles published. But I could not write a novel for nuts! So even in the single field of writing, there can be different types of totally unrelated creativity!

Friday, August 26, 2005

Ghetto Fries: Yummy!

A restaurant has a popular dish which they call "Ghetto Fries". Some people say that the name is insulting to blacks. I say it is insulting to blacks to assume that they all live in ghettoes! After all, the word "ghetto" originates from a place in Italy where all the Jews lived -- and we all know that Jews tend to be smart cookies. So who is insulting whom here? And how? An excerpt from the story:

"Max's Italian Beef serves a dish called "Ghetto Fries", which are French fries covered in cheddar cheese, barbeque sauce, giardiniera, gravy and raw onions. It is the restaurant's most popular dish, NBC5's Jennifer Mitchell reported. A recent marketing blitz has prompted the questions about the name -- and the negative connotations critics said go with it. "Even if we live in the nicest neighborhoods, it is always blacks who live in the ghetto," said one customer. "So, I don't approve at all." The name and recipe comes from a former white employee, who was nicknamed "Ghetto Girl," Mitchell reported. Larry Estes, the restaurant's owner, said he does get questions about the fries, but said the name is not intended to offend anyone. "It applies to any ethnic neighborhood, or any group of the same people living there," Estes said. "It has nothing to do with racial intonations or anything like that".


O Vast Incorrectness!

Should this have been tongue-tied?

"The Times" of London is a highly recommendable paper for its straight-down-the middle accounts of most things (unlike a certain New York publication). The fact that it is a Rupert Murdoch publication (think Fox News) probably has something to do with that. But I think even "The Times" was a bit courageous to print the following story (excerpt):

"A study claims that the cleverest people are much more likely to be men than women. Men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, making them better suited for "tasks of high complexity", according to the authors of a paper due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology. Genetic differences in intelligence between the sexes helped to explain why many more men than women won Nobel Prizes or became chess grandmasters, the study by Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn concluded. They showed that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rise. There were twice as many with IQ scores of 125, a level typical for people with first-class degrees. When scores rose to 155, a level associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every woman. Dr Irwing, a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University, said that he was uncomfortable with the findings. But he added that the evidence was clear despite the insistence of many academics that there were "no meaningful sex differences" in levels of intelligence".


Before all my female readers delete their bookmarks to this site, let me explain. I am a psychometrician by trade so I do know a little about this. First, let me point out that British Journal of Psychology is Britain's top academic psychology journal. So it needs to be reckoned with. What it reports, however, has in fact been known to psychometricians for about 100 years. And that is that men and women have the same intelligence ON AVERAGE but the scatter of intelligence differs between the sexes. Female intelligence clusters much more closely around the average -- so there are fewer very dumb women and fewer very bright women. And that, I am afraid, is how the cookie crumbles. The geniuses tend to be men but so do the dummos. And I am sure most women have met plenty of the latter.


For those who want to look at the male/female ability question more closely, there is an exhaustive (and exhausting) coverage of the question here -- and that's just covering the mathematical ability component of IQ.

A New Forbidden Word: "Boyo"!

Apparently "Boyo" is a common way of addressing people from Wales. But a Scottish Labour Party councillor has just been convicted and fined for racism because he used it to a Welshman. The councillor also told the Welshman to "f*** off" but that was apparently OK. It was the "Boyo" that earned him the fine. Excerpt:

"Danny Meikle, 57, a Labour councillor in Lanarkshire, was convicted by Lanark Sheriff Court of acting in a racially aggravated manner by repeatedly addressing Tecwyn Thomas, a recent immigrant to southern Scotland, as "Boyo".... Relating his meeting with Meikle, Mr Thomas told the court: "I asked him about some letters he hadn't replied to. His response was a torrent of foul language. He said, `I wouldn't answer any of your f***ing letters, boyo.' He emphasised the `boyo'."... Stephen McBride, representing Meikle, drew a comparison with John Hartson, Celtic's Welsh striker, who is widely known to fans as "Bhoyo". The lawyer held up a newspaper sports page article with the headline "Home Bhoyo" and challenged Mr Thomas to find it racist.... "No, it's not the word itself; it's the way it's used," Mr Thomas told the court. Meikle said in evidence that he used the word "boyo" all the time and denied that it was racist".


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Divest from Presbyterian Companies!

Now here's an idea! Following is an email I received from a reader in reponse to my note about the anti-Israel stance of the PCUSA:

"Perhaps it is time to start a campaign to disinvest in all companies run by or employing Presbyterians. Obviously the Presbyterian Church has forsaken such Christians notions as judge not lest ye be judged, do unto others . . ., etc"

I guess some of my Jewish readers really might want to boycott companies headed by Presbyterians in the circumstances. As the proverb says: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander"

Incorrect to Talk about Islamists

CBS/Infinity Radio recently refused to run a paid advertisement because it was too controversial. So it was about abortion, right? There is no issue more controversial than that. Partly because it is clear that there are two sides to the abortion question. But this advertisement was not about abortion. It was simply to announce a conference, "The Radical Islamist Threat to World Peace and National Security". Does anybody think that there is NOT a radical Islamist threat to world peace and national security? Apparently CBS thinks there is not! Maybe CBS was afraid that somebody might actually quote from the Koran -- as one of the conference participants notes:

"Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers. If any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah; except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them" (Qur'an 3:28). In other words, don't make friends with unbelievers except to "guard yourselves from them": pretend to be their friends so that you can strengthen yourself against them. The distinguished Qur'anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains that this verse teaches that if "believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers," they may "show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly." The Qur'an also warns Muslims that those who forsake Islam will be consigned to Hell - except those forced to do so, but who remain true Muslims inwardly (Qur'an 16:106).

And I myself would have picked some Koranic quotes that are a lot more pungent than that. Telling the truth about Islam is getting to be almost impossible in most of the mainstream media. See here for more on this episode.

A Small Victory for Plain Speech

New York Republican governor George Pataki has vetoed the latest legislation from the political correctness warriors of New York. The bill was about the "correct" way to refer to people with disabilities in government documents. Bureaucratese is often almost impossible to understand already and the proposed law would have made government language even more ponderous.

As it says here: "The bill would have required the use of terminology that puts the person before the disability. For example, those termed disabled would instead be called "people with disabilities." The mentally ill would instead be called "people with mental illness.""

Pataki's comments on the matter were admirably sensible. He said that:

"he couldn't approve the measure because it establishes standards that are "vague and subjective." He said that language deemed acceptable today could in the future be considered offensive and that even people with the same disability can disagree over which term to use. "Respect, sensitivity and courtesy must be the product of our ongoing efforts, not a code of politically correct terminology,""

The Contagious Incorrectness of Israel

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) has decided to target American companies doing business with Israel -- in particular Caterpillar, Motorola, United Technologies Corp, and ITT. The idea apparently is to get people to "disinvest" in such companies. On one level the policy is pretty hilarious. If a lot of people DO sell off their shares in such companies, that will tend to reduce the price of the shares and thus land the sellers with an unnecessary loss of money. And somebody else will buy the shares anyway so it won't affect the firms concerned one iota.

But it is the antisemitic attitude (OK: I know it goes under the flag of "Anti-Zionism" today) that is the concern. Will someone please tell me how many American companies dealing with the old Soviet Union that the PCUSA boycotted? Or was the USSR a beacon of light compared with Israel -- which is simply doing the best it can to defend itself against murderous attacks from terrorists? And how many American companies dealing with China -- which still has a lot of human rights abuses (including attacks on Christians) -- will the PCUSA be boycotting?

And whether you call it antisemitism or anti-Zionism the end result of attacks on Israel is still going to be dead Jews. Hitler would be pleased.

I was brought up a Presbyterian and I suggest that the PCUSA stick to prayer and leave "Caesar's things to Caesar" (Mark 12:17). But the Gospel of a lot of the old mainline churches these days seems to have a lot more in common with Karl Marx than with the New Testament.

The ADL comments on the divestment issue here

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Thought Control Comes to G*ogle

G*ogle of course publish all the Blogspot blogs via "". Have you noticed the "Flag" button that now is placed at the top right of most blogspot blogs? It is there to enable readers to "flag" a blog as "objectionable". It looks like the thin end of the wedge of censorship to me but say otherwise, of course. I think it will provoke an exodus to other hosting services.

I am going to stick with blogspot, however, in the hope that I will one day get one of these: "When the community has voted and hate speech is identified on Blog*Spot, Google may exercise its right to place a Content Warning page in front of the blog and set it to "unlisted."".

That WOULD be amusing. I am sure that any Leftist visiting my blog would flag it as "objectionable". It is however a good reason for readers to keep a note of my mirror-site.

Here's a thought: What if readers got into the habit of "flagging" every blogspot blog they visited? That would make the whole scheme collapse like the idiocy it is.

Incorrect to Question Immigration Status?

We all now have been told that there is no longer any such thing as an "illegal immigrant". They are now supposed to be referred to as "undocumented workers", despite the fact that many of them don't work and despite the fact that it is more than documents that they lack. The episode reported below seems to be pushing matters one step further, however. Now it seems that it is incorrect to refer to documents at all! Excerpt:

"Riverside Community College, recently cited for poorly handling student-discrimination complaints, was named in a federal lawsuit Friday by a woman who says her civil rights were violated when a teacher asked whether she had a green card. The suit on behalf of Marisol Henriquez, 43, of Riverside, says the incident took place in front of 14 other students in December 2004. It alleges that speech instructor Dan Tuckerman asked the woman whether she was using a fake name, was in the country legally and had a green card, the document issued to foreigners who are legal U.S. residents. College spokesman Jim Parsons said the school is doing all it can to address Henriquez's complaints. The lawsuit says Henriquez, a native of Santiago, Chile, has a permanent resident alien card.


According to the complainant, the enquiry was made in a particularly aggressive and demeaning way but you would say that if you were mounting a lawsuit, wouldn't you?

Love and Murder in Iraq

I would like every one of my readers to read this story of murdered American journalist Steven Vincent. It is a story of great love, great courage and completely discredits an arrogant Leftist academic by the name of Juan Cole. The "expert" Cole even claimed that Iraq is a Mediterranean country! If you've got an old school atlas that you don't want any more, mail it to him!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Beauty Incorrect -- Even for a Good Cause

Conservation of wildlife is something most people broadly agree with -- though not to the extent that it is pushed by the Greenies. And turtles do seem to be under considerable threat because of their habit of laying eggs on beaches where they can be easily found. And while it is easy to prohibit the taking of turtle eggs, obtaining compliance with the law is another thing -- particularly in poor countries. Recently, therefore, environmentalists very sensibly turned to education as a way of stopping Mexicans taking the eggs. And they used the techniques of modern advertising to make sure their message was as effective as possible. But that is when the trouble started (Excerpt):

"A campaign aimed at halting the illegal consumption of endangered turtles' eggs has run into trouble before it is officially hatched, with a women's rights group asking government officials to block public announcements featuring a scantily clad model. "My man does not need turtle eggs because he knows that they don't make him more potent," Argentine model Dorismar purrs from a poster, clad in a skimpy bathing suit. The message is aimed at Mexican men who for years have eaten the eggs believing they are aphrodisiacs.


So the beauty of the female form is so obnoxious to the politically correct crowd that it cannot even be used to save an endangered species. What hate-filled shrivelled souls these forbidding harpies must be!

Incorrect Garden Equipment

There have always been restrictions on filling up the yard around your house with rubbish but now we have the evil of the backyard swingset. As one Palm Beach, Florida couple recently found out:

"Are they a toddler's toy or neighbor's nightmare? Are they collapsible play things or permanent structures flouting village code? "We didn't do this to offend anyone. We did it for our children," said Karen Barry, recently cited for the enormous swing set that sits about 5 feet in from her property line. Although Barry was not fined, village code says all permanent structures have to be set back at least 10 feet. She and her husband are now seeking a variance so they can keep the swing set".


So the municipality is leaping onto a technicality which says that a permanent structure has to be set back 10 feet from the property boundary and the swingset concerned is only about 5 feet away. So the lawyers will have fun arguing that something dismantleable is "permanent" but the real issue is how much right busybodies have to criticize people when they are using their own property in a way that harms nobody.

Incorrect for Doctors to Tell the Truth?

A lot of people would think it was a doctor's duty to warn patients of when their weight problem was becoming a health hazard. And nobody expects that message to be happily received and everybody knows that the lecture will almost certainly go in one ear and out the other. So note this (excerpt):

"But now a New Hampshire doctor is under a regulatory cloud for very bluntly telling a female patient she is obese and needed to lose weight. Dr. Terry Bennett, who practices in Rochester, said he has "an obesity lecture for women" that is a stark litany designed to get the attention of obese female patients. He said he tells obese women they most likely will outlive an obese spouse and will have a difficult time establishing a new relationship because studies show most males are completely negative to obese women. Bennett said he tells them their obesity will lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux and stroke.

One patient who Bennett had seen five or six times took offense at the lecture and filed a complaint against Bennett about a year ago with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine.... The complaint was initially investigated and reviewed by the board of medicine's Medical Review Subcommittee, which recommended to the board that Bennett be sent a confidential letter of concern. But the board rejected the suggestion at its Dec. 2, 2004, meeting. Instead, the board asked the Attorney General's Administrative Prosecution Unit to investigate and seek a resolution to the complaint. A settlement agreement was proposed that would have had Bennett attend a medical education course and acknowledge he made a mistake. He rejected the proposal. "I've made many errors in my lifetime. Telling someone the truth is not one of them," Bennett said. A public hearing is likely to be scheduled by the board."


People who are moderately overweight in fact live slightly longer than slim people but really obese people have the shortest lifespan of all so there is no doubt that the doctor was telling the truth and that he would be negligent not to warn his patient. And doctors all over the world have been giving similar warnings for years. The amazing thing is that the Medical Board did not support the doctor. Whose side are they on? Have they been secretly infiltrated by representatives of KFC and McDonalds?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Jewish Affluence Unmentionable?

There is no more unwavering supporter of Israel than I am and, from everything I have seen, Jews worldwide fully deserve their economic success and I congratulate them on it. But is their economic success a dirty secret that we must not mention? It seems to me that those who think we should not mention it must think that it is NOT deserved. Some silly Leftist lady did however mention it. Excerpt:

"Cindi Laws, a Seattle Monorail Project board member who runs a progressive research group committed to finding solutions to problems facing Washingtonians, said yesterday she plans to go through sensitivity training in light of recent remarks she made about Jews. After a sleepless night and waking up to newspaper accounts detailing her comments to labor leaders that Jewish property owners donated much of the anti-monorail money in last year's unsuccessful monorail-recall campaign, Laws called Rob Jacobs, regional director of the local Anti-Defamation League. Her call roused him from sleep. They talked about setting up some sort of anti-bias training for her and her campaign staff....

Laws made her comments about money from Jewish property owners during an Aug. 9 endorsement interview with the King County Labor Council after being asked to assess her election opponents. Laws' leading challenger for the board seat, Beth Goldberg, a county budget analyst and a monorail opponent, is Jewish. Laws said a Jewish candidate could "get that money more easily," according to notes taken by one of the union officials at the interview."


Blaming the Jews for everything is of course an old and brainless tradition but the lady was not doing that. As far as I can see, she was just saying that Jews can raise money more easily because of their connections with a generally affluent community. That is probably true. So what is wrong with mentioning it? Treating Jews as unmentionable is what seems obnoxious to me.

Old-fashioned Expression Gets a Blast

Old-fashioned plain speech gets a drubbing in New York. Excerpt follows:

"Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer said today that Jeanine Pirro does not have a "Chinaman's chance" of getting the Conservative Party's nomination for U.S. Senate, sparking criticism from Asian-American groups that consider the term offensive. "That level of racial insensitivity says something about our elected officials," said Glenn Magpantay, staff attorney for the New York City-based Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund....

When a caller to the program later questioned Spencer about his use of the phrase, the former mayor insisted it was not derogatory and referred to the experience of Chinese immigrants in building the nation's railroads. "It's an often-used cliche by talking heads all over the media," Spencer afterword in a telephone interview with The Journal News. "It is not derogatory at all and anyone who says it is is being a little bit political, I guess."


I think the main objection really was to the term: "Chinaman". If he had bowed to current fashion and said "An Asian-American's chance" he might well have been praised for reminding people of discrimination against Asians! How pathetic.

Graffiti Cause Obesity?

Here's the latest bit of obesity-warrior logic. It's got a lot of publicity so let's look at it. Excerpt follows:

"City dwellers living in areas with little greenery and high levels of graffiti and litter are more likely to be obese than those living in pleasant areas with lots of greenery, say researchers in a study published on today. Obesity levels are high and increasing worldwide, and studies have suggested that place of residence may be associated with levels of obesity and physical activity. Evidence also suggests that levels of incivilities, such as litter and graffiti, are linked to poorer health.

For respondents whose residential environment contained high levels of greenery, the likelihood of being more physically active was over three times as high, and the likelihood of being overweight and obese was about 40% less. In contrast, for respondents whose residential environment contained high levels of incivilities, the likelihood of being more physically active was about 50% less, and the likelihood of being overweight or obese was about 50% higher"


At least some commentators seem to conclude from the findings concerned that living in nasty surroundings makes you fatter -- by discouraging you from going out and excercising etc. So the obvious Leftist conclusion is that we need to clean up people's suburbs for them so they will eat better, exercise more and live longer. So, as usual, poverty is the "underlying cause" of all problems.

But wait a minute! That chain of causes is pure supposition. That poor people in modern societies are more likely to be overweight wherever they live seems to be "overlooked". Could it be that fat people live in trashy places because they are too poor to live anywhere else? That is at least a lot simpler cause/effect relationship. Not all fat people are poor but most are. The bourgeoisie take more care of their looks. In science there is an old saying that correlation does not prove causation. The above case is a good example of where that applies.

And as for the claim that eating "better" and exercising more will cause you to live longer, that's just bunk, sorry to say. There have now been lots of lifespan studies showing that lifestyle changes do NOT lengthen your life. A few of them are summarized here

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Incorrectness of "Mate"

Hi there! This is John Ray settling in to Scott's chair while he is away on vacation. I am sure we all wish him a fun and carefree time away so that he comes back refreshed and full of energy for the fray against the idiocies of the world. Scott suggested that I might offer a word of explanation about a big speech-correctness issue that has cropped up in Australia recently. Rather to the surprise of us Australians, it seems to have made the news worldwide. Here is part of the Yahoo News account of the matter.

"A ban by Australia's Parliament House on the term "mate," a popular colloquialism and symbol of egalitarianism, has been overturned following a barrage of protest. Security guards at Parliament House in Canberra had been directed Thursday to refer to people as sir and ma'am. The ban was imposed after the head of a government department complained about being called mate, local media reported. But a parliamentary circular issued Friday removed the directive warning staff not to use "mate" when dealing with the public or members of parliament, instead suggesting they use their judgment on when a more formal approach is required".

Outside Australia, however, very few people understood what this was all about. It goes back to the fact that the English-origin population of Australia almost all originated from regional England and the English working class. And in such circles -- particularly among working-class Londoners ("Cockneys") -- it is normal to address someone as "Mate" if you don't know his name. I remember when I was in London, if I bought a downmarket newspaper such as the "Sun" from the newspaper vendor, he would say "Ta, Mate" when I gave him the money. If however I bought a more upmarket newspaper such as the "Times", he would say "Ta, Guv" when I gave him the money. Australians these days are mostly bourgeois but working-class traditions long ago became national traditions. So a custom that is class-based in England is universally respected in Australia, though being still to a degree class-based here. So an attempt to impose more formal manners on anybody was bound to meet with widespread condemnation -- which it did. Our conservative Prime Minister is as bourgeois as you can get but even he thought the ban was ridiculous -- which is why it got smartly reversed.