Friday, September 30, 2005

Here is a Difficult Case

In Scotland recently, some guy with what sounds like an Iranian name showed a Scottish lass a video clip on his mobile phone. The clip was the horrific scene of an Iraqi hostage being beheaded. It upset the woman terribly and a Scottish court sent the guy to jail for 60 days for a "breach of the peace". The story is here.

Now I have great respect for Scottish law. It generally seems to me more down-to-earth and realistic than English law. But the libertarian in me also asks are we not looking at something akin to a freedom of speech issue here? After all, even sexy nightclub acts have in the past been held to be protected "speech" by some U.S. judges.

And lawyers are asking if a precedent has now been set whereby you could be prosecuted for sending upsetting emails to someone, even if the email was meant as a joke or was in any case not meant maliciously?

I think I come down on the side of the Scottish judge. The law is about drawing lines and I think a line was crossed there. But I agree that future judges might not draw the line so wisely. As I said, it's a difficult one and in an age when making someone feel "uncomfortable" is often treated as an offence on U.S. college campuses, I think there is a real risk of all this going too far. I am afraid that we are all going to have to be more careful about our emails in future.


British libertarian lawyer Sean Gabb disagrees with me on this one. Do read his comments.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Is this the Ultimate Crybaby Story?

I've got to put this one up. It's such a laugh. The beginning of the story is crazy but the end of it is the best.

Some black extremist group in Florida claimed it is "unfair" that somebody can win a primary and then be defeated when the whole population gets to vote. It's hard to know where to start commenting on such a profound incomprehension of democracy so I won't even try. But the whole nonsense arose out of an assumption that a black guy would win the Democrat primary and then lose when the whole community got to vote. Guess what happened? A white woman won the primary! What a laugh! The whole story is here. And would you believe? The extremist group is going to court over such an "unfair" procedure!

Incorrect to be without Children?

Another "Only in New York" story

Apparently if you go any where near children without being accompanied by children of your own, you are a suspected child molester in NYC. Maybe that even makes sense in NYC. It's a strange place. But you can be fined even for being one of those SUSPECTED child-molesters. You don't have to do any actual molesting. Don't believe me? Well here is a news excerpt:

A woman was given a ticket for sitting on a park bench because she doesn't have children. The Rivington Playground on Manhattan's East Side has a small sign at the entrance that says adults are prohibited unless they are accompanied by a child. Forty-seven-year-old Sandra Catena says she didn't see the sign when she sat down to wait for an arts festival to start. Two New York City police officers asked her if she was with a child. When she said no, they gave her a ticket that could bring a one thousand dollar fine and 90 days in jail.


I guess it's a story about thick NYC cops as much as anything but they didn't make the law.

Shootout with a Terrorist "Insensitive"?

According to the "New York Times" it can be

What utter rubbish this is. Filiberto Ojeda Rios was a violent terrorist leading an "independence" movement for Puerto Rico. He was on the run from the law, he had been convicted of a $7 million robbery and had founded a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for a series of bombings. As it says here (Excerpt):

"Mr. Ojeda Rios had been in hiding since 1990, when he jumped bail while awaiting trial for the armed robbery of a Wells Fargo depot in West Hartford, Conn., one of the largest robberies in United States history. He was convicted in absentia in 1992 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. Mr. Ojeda R­os founded Los Macheteros, or the Machete Wielders, a small wing of the Puerto Rican independence movement that was behind rocket attacks on federal buildings on the island, an ambush of a Navy bus that killed two sailors and other crimes".

(From the New York Times)

The FBI finally caught up with him on Sept. 23 so did he surrender? No way. He tried to shoot his way out and got himself killed by the FBI agents after badly wounding one of them. And guess what? It is the FBI that is in the wrong! They were "insensitive" in what they did. Why? Because Sept 23 is the anniversary of an unsuccessful Puerto Rican rebellion against Spanish rule.

So there are only certain dates on which you can shoot back at terrorists, apparently. The message to terrorists is obviously to have a whole heap of "insensitive" dates ringed in your diary so you can go out then and commit murder and mayhem without any risk to yourself.

Incorrect to say you can't speak Vietnamese?

Seems it is in California. Two Garden Grove "councilpersons" got into an argument at a council meeting. And the Caucasian guy was apparently "insensitive" (You knew it would be a Caucasian guy didn't you? They're the only ones who are ever "insensitive"). Here's a news excerpt:

"Asian-American groups demanded that Krebs publicly apologize or step down after a Sept. 13 comment to Councilwoman Janet Nguyen as the two argued about a possible redevelopment project. After some more questioning from Nguyen, Krebs responded, "I've already expressed it simply - I can't do it in Vietnamese."


I can't speak Vietnamese either. How will I ever now be able to let any Vietnamese person know that? Or am I not even supposed to MENTION that anyone is Vietnamese? I guess I am going to have to be very careful next time I go to my favorite Viet restaurant.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Cooing at New-born Babies Banned

Political correctness in Britain is something else again. But would you believe that cooing at new-born babies breaches the babies' human rights? You can't make this stuff up but here it is straight from the BBC (Excerpt):

"Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the hospital's special care baby unit, said: "Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me""


How these politically correct types must hate normal people!

Incorrect for Conservatives to Protest

This is a lulu. A local conservative politician in Britain wanted to join in with local unionists to protest about a factory closure. The unionists wouldn't have him! Another case where comments about the Leftist mentality seem appropriate. Were they protesting to get something done or just protesting to make themselves feel good? I know what I think. A press excerpt:

"A Tory Assembly Member [in Wales] said last night he was "hurt and offended" after being barred from a workers' protest bus going to the Labour conference in Brighton. Alun Cairns, who came within 1,800 votes of winning Vale of Glamorgan from Labour's John Smith in May's general election, said he had originally been invited to join workers from the threatened Dara aircraft maintenance works at St Athan to join them on the lobbying trip today. But he claimed an official of the Amicus union later withdrew the invitation".


And aren't Leftists always telling us how incredibly careful we have to be about hurting people's feelings? Or don't the feelings of conservatives count? It seems not.

More on SUVs

I have got a lot of good emails about my post on SUVs so I can't put them all up but I couldn't resist posting this one. You might want to say in the Comments section what you think it tells us about the Green/Left mind:

"I currently live in a tiny mountain town in C****** called B*****, population about 4,000 and of those (me not included) at least 7/8ths are hippies, Greenpeace nuts or tree huggers of one odious ilk or another. All of us however drive large 4x4 vehicles, mostly because at 9000 ft. between October and May that is what will get you around. My neighbor, a grubby peacenik of the worst sort, actually had an enlightened/humorous explanation for his seeming automotive hypocrisy. I asked him after one of his particularly tiresome tirades on logging how he could spout his tree-hugging propaganda now and then drive home in a 450 horsepower, dual rear-wheel, 4x4 truck that gets 6 miles per gallon. With perfect aplomb the greasy hipster says, "What are you talking about? By driving that truck I'm using up all those damned fossil fuels as fast as I can. The quicker that sh** is gone, the quicker we'll all be driving hydrogen or electric cars and trucks." He was serious too. I hate it that I actually like that answer"

My correspondent gave me the full name of where he lived but I have given the first letters only to spare him any possible aggression.


I have just remembered whom the hippy in the story above reminds me of: One of the great Fascist slogans of prewar Italy was "Mussolini ha sempre ragione" ("Mussolini is always right"). And if you think Fascism was Rightist, there is a whole heap of history here and here and here that will knock your socks off.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Incorrectness of SUVs

There is no doubt that SUVs are politically incorrect. Extreme environmentalists even set fire to them in car dealerships at times. To me, however, they are like red wine. You like it or you don't. It may be good for you or it may not. Either way it's a matter of individual choice. And the same "war" over the correctness of SUVs goes on in Australia and the UK as well as in the USA. From the following Australian news report, however, the anti-SUV forces seem to have gained a propaganda advantage at the moment. Excerpt:

"The apparent victory of the giant four-wheel-drive in the urban jungle has prompted much road outrage, but now a profile of city off-roader owners confirms many prejudices, revealing them as aggressive, obese people who dislike gays and Aborigines [blacks]. And that's just the men.

The Australia Institute study found women who own luxury 4WDs were markedly different from the 40-to-50-year-old blokes: They're younger, wealthier and, while they worry about weight (their own), they couldn't care less about conspicuous consumption. "People say, what about the environment?" declared Mosman mother of three, Chris Rooney, who drove a Range Rover for years but has swapped to a BMW X5. "For me, my children's safety is more important."

The study investigated demographic and attitudinal characteristics of 4WD owners using data Roy Morgan Research collected from more than 24,000 people between October 2003 and September 2004. It found 66 per cent of men who owned large 4WDs were obese, compared with 57 per cent of the population overall."


We report, you decide! For the record, I drive a tiny Japanese car.

The Left has its Saints too

The best-known Leftist saint is of course the murderous Che Guevara. You can read in detail what a great guy he was here. And then there is Mahatma Gandhi. There was a great debunking piece about him published in Commentary some decades ago. See "The Gandhi nobody knows".

So among the 'secular' and allegedly rationalist Left, there seems to be a strange superstitious desire to canonise various leaders, especially of reformist movements (including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela) as the equivalent of saints. And DON'T click either of those links unless you want a mite of disillusionment.

At least the Catholic Church has the decency to insist that any saint-to-be is dead five years before they are canonised . Somehow today the old saw about "the saint and the sinner living in the one man" is overlooked (as is Oscar Wilde's quip on the same subject: "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future")

It's interesting that when you criticise these saints, the true believers get very upset and often quite emotional. The assumption is that because you don't genuflect before King or Mandela or Gandhi you must be a segregationist or racist or a war-monger!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Jared Diamond Slanders Whites Too

In my post "Cladistic Lies" I mentioned how "Science" writer Dr Henry Gee passed on the "evil white man" slander about the British settlement of Tasmania. But Gee is fairly mild compared to what that notorious twister of the truth, Jared Diamond has to say. Here is the unspeakable garbage that Diamond has written on the subject:

"Settlers regarded Tasmanians as little more than animals and treated them accordingly. Tactics for hunting down Tasmanians included riding out on horseback to shoot them, setting out steel traps to catch them, and putting out poison flour where they might find and eat it. Shepherds cut off the penis and testicles of aboriginal men, to watch the men run a few yards before dying. At a hill christened Mount Victory, settlers slaughtered 30 Tasmanians and threw their bodies over a cliff. One party of police killed 70 Tasmanians and dashed out the children's brains".


I am so upset by these awful lies that I will simply refer readers to what Jonathan Sturm has to say about them. And if you want the fully documented evidence about what REALLY happened, it is all in Keith Windschuttle's book: The Fabrication of Aboriginal History.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Update on the Australian Racial Censorship Case

I wrote about this previously on Sept 15th. and 21st. See here and here. Readers might remember that publication of an academic journal article by a law professor (Andrew Fraser) was censored because it was "racist". Subsequently, Chris Brand has exposed what would seem to be the absolutely phony legal grounds for the ban. And the Head of the Law School where Prof. Fraser works has written a scathing condemnation of the ban on publication.

Prof. Fraser has two main contentions, one of which is that the influx of refugees from Africa that Australia is presently allowing into the country is asking for trouble. To anybody who knows anything about the black crime rate in both the USA and U.K. that is mere commonsense. "White flight" doesn't happen for nothing. And in supposedly gun-free Britain you have some black kids taking machine pistols with them to school!

Sadly, Prof Fraser's warnings to Australians are already being justified. Note the following news excerpt:

"A teenage Sudanese refugee arrived in Australia just days before going on one of the most vicious rape sprees in Victoria's history, police allege. Hakeem Hakeem, now 20, is accused of raping four women and forcing a teenager to rape his former partner in the space of just a week. Mr Hakeem's alleged victims ranged in age from 16 to 63 and appear to have been chosen randomly. The rapes increased in brutality as the offender progressed, with one woman's throat slashed during an attack in her home"


I don't suppose many Americans would be surprised to hear that story but it is very bad news for Australia.

Cladistic Lies

"Cladistic"? What the devil is that? (Hey! Am I still allowed to refer to the Devil? I'd better phone the ACLU to find out!)

Cladistics is the name for a skeptical approach to the study of fossils. It says that you should not assume stuff you cannot prove -- which is a pretty reasonable idea as far as I am concerned. One of the advocates of cladistics is Henry Gee, who is Senior Editor for biological sciences at the prestigious scientific magazine Nature. He has written a book called In Search of Deep Time that tells you all about cladistics.

But how does this great skeptic and authority on science go when political correctness raises its head? He crumbles utterly, of course. Science and skepticism go straight out the window. According to this review of his book, he refers to relations between the early British settlers of the Australian State of Tasmania and the native blacks of Tasmania as follows: "When white settlers arrived in Tasmania they regarded the Stone Age inhabitants as animals and hunted them down to extinction".

Another "evil white man" story, of course. One hardly knows where to begin in blowing up such a pack of lies. Such an account is indeed the story put out by the current generation of politically correct Australian Leftist historians but to accept it as true is neither skeptical nor scientific. And it has been known as a pack of lies for years by anyone prepared to delve into the matter -- as this 1982 article by Cobern illustrates. And Keith Windschuttle -- himself a reformed Leftist historian -- has been dynamiting the whole lying story for years.

And, as Jonathan Sturm -- a long-time resident of Tasmania -- asks: If the Tasmanian aborigines were hunted to extinction, how come he knows so many of them in his own neighbourhood?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

It Took a Bungle to Tell the Truth

Alcohol abuse is a conspicuous problem among native Australian blacks (Aborigines) but you are not supposed to mention it of course. But seeing blacks lying around half drunk in public parks is a common sight in much of Australia. So the following news item was amusing (excerpt):

"Australian police working in Aboriginal communities have withdrawn new uniforms after they appeared to poke fun at many Aborigines' problems with alcohol. New South Wales police ordered 50 green vests for Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers - known as ACLOs. But the vests arrived bearing a much more insulting acronym - ALCO, used all over Australia as slang for alcoholic. The error was missed until it was almost too late, prompting embarrassed apologies from senior police chiefs."


Note that the news item is from the BBC. The bungle was so shocking that a little local affair got reported on the other side of the world! And if even the BBC admits that Australian blacks have an alcohol problem, you can guess what a problem it is! But I wonder just how "accidental" the bungle really was. I suspect a typical Australian (irreverent) sense of humor somewhere along the line there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Bowl Games Now Under Political Correctness Orders

Note the following news excerpt:

"The NCAA is requiring bowl games to ban the "hostile" or "abusive" use of American Indian nicknames, mascots and logos beginning next year. On Tuesday, the NCAA announced it's extending its prohibition to include bowl games. The decision was made after Bowl Championship Series officials sought a ruling after determining it could not impose the prohibition, NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said. Only one Division I-A school, the University of Illinois, will be affected".


Indian names are "hostile"? I thought they were names that expressed admiration. I thought they paid tribute to the strength and heroism of the Indians in defending their native lands. On what authority do the NCAA say that such names are hostile? Or is it really a matter of the NCAA being hostile to strength and heroism? No doubt "The powder-puffs" would be a team name that would win NCAA approval.

Hey! Hang on a minute, though. "Powder Puffs" might be "hostile to women"! You can never really win with the PC warriors. They will always dream up something to criticize.

Help Defeat Censorship

The Australian State of Victoria has laws that drastically restrict free speech. Two Christian Pastors were recently penalized there because they criticized Islam, for instance. The latest victim of the oppressive legal environment there is a law professor, Andrew Fraser, who wrote an article which called for a reduction in the number of black and Asian immigrants that Australia is allowing into the country. The article was accepted for publication by the academic law journal hosted at Deakin university in Victoria but legal pressures were brought to bear on the university not to publish it and they caved in. So I have now put the "suppressed" article online here. Prof. Fraser has asked that the article be circulated to anyone "who might be interested in defending the editorial integrity of a university law review". I have put it online not because I wholly agree with it. I don't. I am not at all bothered by Australia's intake of Asians, for instance. But, as a libertarian, I will always do my utmost to defeat censorship. So let anybody know about it who might be interested. If it gets re-posted all over the place, that will really defeat the censors.

I should stress that the article concerned is not some rave by a Right-wing nut but a fully accredited (peer-reviewed) academic journal article by a Professor of Law at a major Australian university.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Place-name Correctness -- in Scotland

Readers of recent posts here will have noted how confusing the correctness of American Indian names is. Apparently it is incorrect to name sporting teams with Indian names but highly correct to replace "white" names for towns, rivers etc. with Indian names (but "Squaw Mountain" is a no-no, however).

Well, if it's any consolation, there are similar sensitivities in Britain. Would you believe that it's sometimes incorrect to refer to Scotland's largest city by name? To explain why, I have to give you a quick bit of history. Glasgow was in the 19th and early 20th century Scotland's great industrial city and, as such, it got a reputation as a grimy, ugly place full of poor factory workers. And things got worse after the second world war when Glasgow lost most of its industries (shipbuilding etc) to competition from Asia and elsewhere. So you now have generations of Glaswegians who have lived on welfare payments only. All of which it is now incorrect to mention.

So how did a recent article in the "The Times" about the high level of crime (particularly knife-crimes) in Glasgow refer to it? Here's what they said (excerpt):

"The attacks have been fuelled by a "booze and blades" culture in the west of Scotland which has claimed more than 160 lives over the past five years. Since January there have been 13 murders, 145 attempted murders and 1,100 serious assaults involving knives in the west of Scotland. The problem is made worse by sectarian violence, with hospitals reporting higher admissions following Old Firm [football] matches".


So the whole of the "West of Scotland" got the blame for the misdeeds of the Glaswegians!

Note: I am not dissing the Glaswegians or the Scots generally in what I say above. I speak as someone who has a great affection for Scotland and some background in studying the Scots.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Anglos and Teachers

Because I invite email comments in my postings here, I do get lots of interesting emails. I reproduce two below that I think I should mention. The first concerns the fact that in some of my posts I use the word "Anglo":

"We're a little concerned about your use of "Anglo kids" to describe the non-Latinos in the school about which you wrote, Dixie Downs Elementary. The label "Anglo" is specifically designed to degrade most kids of European descent by smothering their diversity. The "Anglo kids" you mention are Celtic, Germanic, Italic, Slavic, and so on. They are by no means all of Anglo-Saxon descent. In addition, we don't like "Anglo" used for non-Anglo-Saxons on the ground that "Anglo" is a name slapped on these kids by Latinos. If we go out of our way to avoid naming Latino kids with names they don't want, isn't a little reciprocity required here?

That is a fair point I think. I myself was using "Anglo" as shorthand for "Anglophone" (meaning someone whose native language is English) and I think I am not alone in that practice but maybe I should spell out the whole word in future.

The second email concerns how I characterize teachers:

"As a teacher, I take offense with your implication that all teachers are Left Leaning. I am what you would call a Mexican American, but I prefer to be called a Tejano. My ancestors bled at the Alamo and were at San Jacinto when we vanquished Santa Anna. I am part of a large group of teachers who do not believe in dual immersion and we do not teach in Spanish. We are citizens of Texas and the United States. We owe nothing to Mexico and we owe much to Texas and the United States. It is the Yankee liberals, who talk out of their asses that give the rest of us a bad name. So, I ask you sir, to please measure your words and support conservative and moderate teachers who do not follow or lean to the left"

I am of course delighted to hear from such a patriotic teacher and am pleased that I have the opportunity of passing on his message. But he underestimates how carefully I measure my words. I said that as a GROUP teachers are Left-leaning, not that all teachers are Left-leaning. And anybody who knows anything about the NEA will be aware of where they stand politically. Interestingly, the article by Phyllis Schlafly that I linked to pointed out that about a third of NEA members were GOP-leaning not so long ago but most of them have in recent times resigned from the NEA because of its extreme Leftism.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The British Attack on "Extremism"

At first glance the news excerpt below seems reasonable:

"Extremist organisations are operating on university campuses across the country and pose a serious threat to national security, according to a new report. Yesterday the education secretary, Ruth Kelly, ordered vice-chancellors to clamp down on student extremists in the wake of the July terror attacks in London. But a report due to be published next week by Anthony Glees, the director of Brunel University's centre for intelligence and security studies, lists more than 30 institutions - including some of the most high-profile universities in the country - where "extremist and/or terror groups" have been detected. "This is a serious threat," Professor Glees told the Guardian. "We have discovered a number of universities where subversive activities are taking place, often without the knowledge of the university authorities." ... Among the universities named are Cambridge, where the BNP were detected; Oxford, where the report said animal rights extremists had been active; and the London School of Economics and Manchester University, which both had active Islamist extremist groups".


But in fact there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with extremism. I am an extreme advocate of rationality and individual liberty and make absolutely no apology for that. It is advocacy of violence that should be monitored, not "extremism". Slipping in attacks on all "extremists" under the cover of preventing violence seems a very serious attack on civil liberties. And who is to define "extremism"? Will Brits soon all have to have the conformity of ants? In America, the New York Times regularly describes as "out of the mainstream" anybody they disagree with. It's not hard to envisage the ruling British Leftists doing much the same.

"Dual Immersion" Madness

American Leftists constantly express their anti-Americanism. Note for example this quote from the much-acclaimed Michael Moore about his fellow-Americans: "They are possibly the dumbest people on the planet... in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks" . And there are few more reliably Left-leaning groups than America's teachers and educators (as we see here).

A logical corollary of being an America-hater is a hatred of America's language -- which is English. So the fact that there are now a lot of Spanish-speakers in America who need to learn English is used as an excuse to teach Spanish instead! And "dual immersion" is the fiercest form of that -- where not only Spanish kids but also Anglo kids are taught in Spanish! And it's happening. They're even trying to introduce it in Utah. Note the following report (excerpts):

"As the Washington County School District continues to explore the possibility of teaching both English and Spanish at a local elementary school, Principal Dale Porter met with Spanish-speaking parents Thursday evening at Dixie Downs Elementary to discuss the program. Called "dual immersion," the program would teach classes of evenly balanced English- and Spanish-speakers. Both language groups would learn the other language just as English is now taught in district elementary schools.... Those who live in Dixie Downs' boundaries will not be required to participate and may choose another school in the district to attend.... Porter explained how all students in the program learn a foreign language - either English or Spanish - and how both language populations benefit from each other. The languages are taught simultaneously by bilingual teachers."


That report is from a few months back so here's an update from one of my readers:

"Dixie Downs elementary school has not yet been selected to be the "dual immersion" elementary school in town, because the district has not yet decided if it will try the experiment. But it began the school year with many new teachers. 100% of the teachers now speak both Spanish and English. Any teachers which did not have moved to a different school. 100% of teachers for some grades are teaching their own class for the first time. The principal has declared that he only hired the best teachers who applied (all the best teachers were bi-lingual?)

Imagine the school board's surprise recently when several parents, who don't want dual immersion, spoke at the school board meeting and asked why a common phrase, with a familiar rhythm and accompanying actions did not sound familiar when they visited the classrooms. If one listens to the rhythm and not the words one can almost hear..... "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America"...... However the children all recite it in SPANISH! Even the ones that can't trace any Spanish ancestry.

So the principal of the school is moving ahead as if the idea were already approved, which it probably will be unless some parents get very active. But it is a "poor" school (intellectuals would much rather experiment on other people's kids than on their own) -- 42% of the students are eligible for a free lunch (See here) -- so I guess the education authorities are banking on parental activism not happening. And, being poor, not many parents may be able to excercise the option of transferring to another school.

My prediction? Lots of kids subjected to such treatment will end up even more illiterate than they do now. If the schools cannot teach the "3Rs" in English properly, how the heck are they going to do it in Spanish?

But anyone who opposes the whole idea is "racist", of course.

Racist Dollar Bills

Note this press report (excerpt):

"A complaint brought about on Saturday by a collaboration of minority rights groups claimed United States currency does not reflect the true diversity of the American people. The joint statement issued by this collaborative group effort demanded seeing currency printed with "prominent historical figures from the African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic-American community."


You may be relieved to know that the whole "report" above is a spoof dreamt up by a conservative blogger having a bit of fun. But don't get too complacent. Truth can be stranger than fiction. Australia always used to feature the monarch on the front of its currency notes. Her Majesty now survives on the $5 bill only. We have some woman on the $10 note, a white guy on the $20 and a black guy on the $50. Get used to it, Americans! Politically-correct currency will come your way eventually too! But you'll never catch up with Canada. I am sure they will have Mohammed on one of their bills soon.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Book-Burning Getting Underway in Britain Again

They're not actually burning them but they might as well. Note this news report about British government plans (excerpts):

"Mr Clarke has published full details of proposed new anti-terror laws against indirect incitement and "glorification" of terrorism and preparing attacks.... Now they have published the draft legislation for those three new offences... But the proposals also include a separate offence of "glorification" of terrorism. Mr Clarke wants new powers to ban organisations which glorify terrorism and to prosecute "extremist" bookshops which sell terrorist propaganda or handbooks".


So soon the police will be prosecuting people for selling political books in Britain. I presume the Communist Manifesto will be banned. (Now what makes me think that it will not be?).

And who defines "extremist"? You can bet the the British government will deem a lot of Right-leaning groups and people as extremist and as "inciting to violence". Their recent illegal attack on the British National Party tells us that. "Terrorist propaganda" could be almost anything -- including the Koran. Will we have Koran burnings? I think not. All very disturbing. And all very futile. There is far worse on the net than there is in bookshops, anyway. I guess internet censorship comes next. Samizdata has more on the story.

Figure This One

In universities and colleges, speech seems to be getting "correcter" by the day. It's no longer good enough to refer to shorties as "height challenged" or fatties as "width challenged" (or whatever) so we now have one term that seems to confer correct speech generally. The real buzz term now is "differently abled". Here is the Fort Valley State University announcing their correctness:

"The Differently Abled Services Center (DASC) is administratively a part of the Department of Student Affairs. The mission of the Differently Abled Services Center is to increase retention for students with learning disorders by ensuring equal treatment, opportunity, and access for persons with impairments and/or disorders. The center provides support services which assist students with learning disorders in the attainment of their academic as well as personal potential".


First problem: Aren't we ALL "differently abled"? Don't we all have a different set of abilities? I am hopeless at catching balls. Does that make ME differently abled? If ever I am out Fort Valley way I am going to enjoy all those "services" they offer, I guess.

But here's the kicker: The page I got the above quote from was headed in large letters "Building the Fence". Isn't building fences what they are supposed NOT to be doing? Go figure.


How come fatties are getting such a bum rap these days? They are not "differently abled" or whatever. They are "obese". Just another target of Leftist "tolerance", I guess (as distinct from real tolerance)

Correct Wine Names

French wine producers have for years been mounting lawsuits and otherwise attacking foreign wine producers who use French names for their products -- such as "Champagne". It hasn't done them much good. Australian vintners make some very good Champagne-type wines so, even though they are not allowed to call it Champagne they just put it in a Champagne-type bottle and people keep buying it. But the EU has just agreed to allow existing California producers of "Champagne" not only to continue to do so but actually to export the stuff to the EU. How come?

It seems that even the language police respond to muscle. The EU exports a lot more wine to the USA than the USA does to Europe. So any more attempts to ban the American product could have led to an American ban on the French product. And the French would be the big losers in that. So the French basically gave in. All they got was an agreement that new brands of American Champagne (etc) would not be allowed. I have highlighted the key sentence in the news excerpt below:

"California vintners applauded a deal with the European Union that was expected to smooth passage of New World wines to Europe.... Under the agreement, the European Union agreed to ease shipments by accepting U.S. winemaking practices, such as adding malic acid to correct deficient acidity, common in warm growing regions such as California. The EU will also recognize U.S. wine place names, or appellations, such as the Napa Valley designation. Meanwhile, the U.S. agreed not to allow any new brands to use semi-generic names that derive from European regions including Champagne and the Oporto region of Portugal... In a compromise, the agreement grandfathers in existing brands, something that some European producers weren't happy about.... According to the Institute, an export association representing more than 800 California wineries and associated businesses, the United States exported $736 million worth of wine in 2004, with nearly $500 million of that going to the European Community. European wine producers exported $2.3 billion worth of wine to the United States.... "Both governments have made an agreement that there's not going to be a trade war and trade actions on either side," he said, "and this is good for both sides."


Yet Another Thought on the Pledge

Maybe I am being mean about this but what about: "One nation under Allah"?

I'll bet that would get a big tick of approval from the courts -- as being "tolerant", "multicultural" etc. etc.

Seriously, though, the pledge doesn't specify what your concept of God has to be. Some women have been known to describe some men as having a certain part of their anatomy as their only God. And isn't the almighty dollar suppoosed to be a well-known God? I can certainly imagine Scrooge McDuck saying the pledge with dollar signs flashing up in his eyes! So what you mean when you say "under God" might not even be religious. In legalese I think there is a missing "burden of proof" there.

(By the way, the name "Allah" is pinched from (OK: "cognate with", for the pundits) "Eloah", the Hebrew word for God. So, if you go by the name, "Allah" is the same being as the one that Christians and Jews worship)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Glorifying Islamic Terrorists OK?

In the weird world view of the Left, mentioning God or Christmas can be "offensive" but glorifying muderous terrorists is just fine. Here is the latest example (excerpts):

"Barrister Julian Burnside, QC, yesterday urged Australia's performing arts centres to fight censorship after revelations that Melbourne City Council had banned an artwork featuring Islamic terrorist groups. A council member of the Victorian College of the Arts, as well as Musica Viva and the Chunky Move dance company, Mr Burnside raised the case of a VCA graduate, Azlan McLennan, whose work "Canberra's 18" is a portrait series of leaders of proscribed terrorist groups - including the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden - overlaid with text of official US explanations of their origins..... The same artist last year had a work critical of Israel removed from public exhibition after a barrage of complaints.... Mr Burnside said that, with dissent rarely aired in the media and opposition political parties "missing in action", arts venues were crucial gatekeepers of public forums for community groups. "Be receptive," he told them.


More on the Pledge

OK, I'm not a GOP mouthpiece (I'm not even an American) but I thought the following statement issued by the U.S. House Education & the Workforce Committee Chairman John Boehner (R-OH) was pretty apt.

"Today's ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance is a disgrace to all Americans who recite these words as an oath to our great nation and the principles of freedom upon which it was founded.

"The United States Supreme Court begins its sessions with the words 'God save the United States and this honorable court' and the Ten Commandments are displayed in the Court's solemn chamber. Each day, my colleagues in the House and I begin our legislative work with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. And every person in America - including the federal judge who issued today's misguided decision - is paid with and spends currency on which the phrase 'In God We Trust' is prominently displayed.

"As Chairman of the Education Committee, I am concerned about the implications of this decision for the nation's schools. As a proud American citizen, I am concerned about what this decision says about our nation as a whole."

Note that there is a good coverage of the issue from a legal point of view here

"Giants" incorrect?

On Monday night, the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team wore uniforms bearing the name "Gigantes". Funnily enough I doubt that some Latin American soccer team will be changing the name on their uniforms from "Gatos" to "Cats" any time soon.

Being a tolerant Anglo type myself I don't see any great harm in the name change if that is what the San Francisco team really wants to do but I think it is pretty sad if it means Anglo people are becoming ashamed or embarrassed about their own heritage. A brief media excerpt below:

"The party didn't end at the gates. Tambores de Colombia, a band that performed outside, performed behind home plate before the game. The Giants team got into the act, too, by wearing jerseys that replace the word "Giants" across the chest with the name "Gigantes."


Apparently the team does have at least some Latino players and the name-change is apparently not intended to be permanent so maybe it is just courtesy and not political correctness. But in San Francisco, one always expects the latter, of course.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pledge of Allegiance Now Forbidden

This matter was recently tested in the Supreme Court and the case thrown out. But that has not stopped a California judge. News excerpt:

"A federal judge in California Wednesday ruled that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional. The case was brought by two families represented by Michael Newdow, an atheist whose case before the U.S. Supreme Court was thrown out because it was brought on his daughter's behalf and he did not have custody of her. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton said the words "under God" violate the right of school children to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God." According to the Associated Press, Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in favor of Newdow in 2002.


I've looked up my copy of the U.S. Constitution as amended but there must be something wrong with it. Nowhere do I find where it says that Americans are to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God". But I guess I'm not from California. No doubt the ruling will now go to the Supreme Court.

Both Free Speech and Academic Freedom Under Legal threat

Voltaire once said: "I disagree with you but I will defend to the death your right to say it". There are not many Voltaires around these days. An Australian university professor has recently come under fire for opposing the intake of refugees from Sudan into Australia. He made his comments initially in a newspaper but he has elaborated his views in a sufficiently sound way for them to be accepted for publication in an Australian academic law journal. Read on (excerpt):

"A lawyer for Australia's Sudanese community has threatened a Victorian university with legal action if it publishes an article by a controversial Sydney-based law professor. Called `Rethinking the White Australia Policy?, the 6,800-word article was written by Associate Professor Andrew Fraser, who's been banned from teaching at Sydney's Macquarie University after making racist remarks. The Canadian-born academic wrote a letter to his local suburban newspaper in July, claiming Australia was becoming a Third World colony by allowing non-white immigration.... Lawyer George Newhouse today warned Deakin University to scrap plans to publish Prof Fraser's contentious views in its next law journal. ``I am shocked that a university would even want to publish something along these lines,'' he said. ``I put the university on notice that if they repeat the racial vilification, a claim for compensation may be made against the university and the editors that publish or republish this poison.'' Mr Newhouse said he had already commenced proceedings on behalf of the Sudanese Darfurian community in the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission."


The university that publishes the journal does not seem to be caving in to the threat so far but the whole thing is a good example of how only those things that accord with the official "line" can safely be said today. Stalin would approve.

Australia has a conservative government and its Minister for Multicultural Affairs is one John Cobb. Note the report below of some recent remarks by the good Minister (excerpt):

"The debate about Muslim headscarves did a 180-degree turn in Canberra yesterday, with Multicultural Affairs Minister John Cobb suggesting that all women should adopt a headscarf as a fashion item. In response to questions at the National Press Club, Mr Cobb said women in headscarves looked "fantastic", and he could see the item becoming a new trend. He was responding to questions about his rumoured attack on fellow federal Coalition MP Sophie Panopoulos for her outspoken criticism of Muslim women wearing headscarves in Australia.

The report does not seem to be online anywhere yet but it appeared in the Thursday, September 15, 2005 issue of the Brisbane Courier Mail (p. 7). Talk about pandering to Muslims! Since many Australians were massacred by Muslim fanatics in Bali not long after the 9/11 attacks on America, I think Mr Cobb's remarks really are "insensitive" -- but perhaps the minister was simply what journalists politely call "tired and emotional"

Just a Bit of Fun

A lot of readers emailed me to join in the fun of figuring out what the British police might mean by their description of someone as having "dual heritage". One reader wrote in to say they could have been talking about him since he was part American Indian and part Scot. Another reader has just dug up a picture of a guy in combined Indian and Scottish dress. I don't know whether it's the same guy but it is fun anyway. See here

(You can find my original post of Sept. 7th about halfway down here)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Book Burning Again Soon?

Britain's Leftist government seems to be doing a modern version of book-burning. The anti-immigration and anti-Muslim British National Party is too extreme for me but surely an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim voice has a right to be heard. It's having big trouble being heard in Britain. Note the following news report:

"The entire print run of this month's edition of the British National Party newspaper was seized by police yesterday. Sixty thousand copies of The Voice of Freedom were confiscated at Dover. Police said: "They have been seized so we can see if any criminal offences have been committed." The papers were being carried by lorry from a printworks in Slovakia. The BNP later decided to publish the edition on its website. The 16-page issue leads with the headline "What about showing some solidarity with the British people?", under the words "Britain gets bombed but it's Islam that gets the sympathy" Spokesman Dr Phill Edwards said it was "a serious attack by the state on freedom of speech"."


The BNP website also has had something strange happen to it. Whenever I try to log on it crashes my browser. And where is the legality in seizing something that MIGHT be illegal? Don't you have to have reasonable grounds for thinking a crime has been committed before you take police action? The British State does seem to be showing some worrying authoritarian tendencies.


The British police realized that they didn't have a legal leg to stand on and backed off eventually. News excerpt from the BNP website.

"At about 1800hrs today (12th) two BNP officials received telephone calls from Kent Police who admitted they made a mistake and that the print run of 60,000 copies of our monthly newspaper can be uplifted at the earliest opportunity from the HM Customs compound at Dover docks.... The news came as a response to a legal letter delivered by a barrister, acting on behalf of the BNP that we would press for "serious and maximum damages" against Kent Constabulary for the loss of earnings from our newspaper and a further expectation of taking the Force to the European Court of Human Rights.

It is a great relief to me personally that the threat of a Fascist Britain has receded.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

I Don't Believe it! Suntans are now Incorrect

This is one bit of PC that would NOT go down well in California

Another near-triumph of the European bureaucracy: They tried to ban exposure to the sun. Fortunately it has been voted down (for now) in the European parliament. Why the nonsense? Because exposure to the sun can sometimes give you skin cancer, of course! And all nice European do-gooders must do their best to prevent that, mustn't they? Excerpt:

"MEPs have voted against a measure that would have made employers responsible for workers' exposure to sunlight. Critics said the clause would oblige bosses to make builders wear shirts and tell barmaids to cover their cleavage. But supporters said it would help protect people who work outside from the danger of skin cancer. The EU law on radiation at work will now leave it to each member state to decide whether employers should protect staff from the sun. However, EU member states may yet attempt to overturn the parliament's decision".


Note that dermatology professor Sam Shuster says that suntans are actually beneficial.

White Crooks must Love Race-blindness!

I have mentioned a couple of times now how various police departments try to avoid mentioning the race of a wanted criminal -- with the British police describing a criminal somewhat enigmatically as being "of dual heritage". The following email from a reader in response to those posts got me thinking:

"Exactly. The same thing occurs here in Houston, TX. The news commentator can give a great description of the getaway car and even the license plate numbers and even the gender of the perp and what color clothes he was wearing, but RARELY do they say what he looked like. But then, most of the crime here really is perpetrated by non-whites so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to listen between the lines".

So what happens if the criminal is in fact white? He could get off Scot-free because nobody would suspect him. Everybody would be looking for a black! The authorities could of course mention it on those occasions when the criminal happens to be white but that would undermine the whole point of the exercise -- which is presumably to avoid drawing attention to the fact that most wanted criminals are black! "Oh what a tangled web we weave ....."

By the way, it occurs to me that I myself am of "dual heritage". I have only a little Scottish ancestry but that Scottish blood is powerful stuff and there were many allusions to things Scottish when I was growing up. And I was baptised into the Presbyterian Church and sent to Presbyterian Sunday School. And I do wear the kilt on special occasions. See here

Saturday, September 10, 2005

It's Now Incorrect to be Nice to Women

The sheer nuttiness of Leftists sometimes leaves me so breathless that I hardly know where to begin in pulling the nonsense apart. And here is one example of that. It is a "conference" (mutual backslapping session) to be held at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) later this month. The conference is on "Discrimination and prejudice in the 21st century". I have read the summaries of a lot of the talks to be given and, as you would expect from the title of the conference, a lot of them do seem to assume that prejudice is a fairly unitary entity. They think you can talk about "prejudice" as such. So if you dislike blacks, you will dislike homosexuals, Jews and women too. This is a very old fallacy in psychology going back at least as far as the 1950s. My own published academic research on the subject has shown that even attitudes to various racial groups are not strongly correlated. You can dislike blacks while being perfectly fine about Jews etc. So the whole conference is an exercise in group reinforcement rather than a serious attempt to grapple with what actually happens out there in the world.

Even one of the more sensible conferees, Jim Sidanius, relies on a theory (if you can call it that) called "Social Dominance Orientation" that is sheer rubbish. And if you think that description is a bit strong, read this (also to be found here).

But the prize for silliness has to go to a paper by one Peter Glick. I reproduce the summary in full below:

"Continued progress toward gender equality is hampered by beliefs that appear to "favor" women, but actually serve to legitimize inequality between the sexes. Although affectionate in tone, benevolently sexist beliefs are patronizing, characterize women as weak, and reinforce the notion that men must provide for and protect women. Thus, even though benevolently sexist beliefs correlate with evaluatively positive views of women (e.g., as pure and warm), they also correlate with hostile sexism toward women who challenge men's power (e.g., feminists) and, in cross-national comparisons, with societal indicators of gender inequality (e.g., few women in powerful roles in business and government). Although benevolent sexism is not (historically) a new development, it is particularly difficult to combat and may be the strongest remaining bastion of sexist belief. Whereas many overtly hostile sexist attitudes, such as the idea that women are inherently less intelligent than men, have been widely rejected in American culture, benevolent sexism persists, in part, because it many women find promise of male protection and provision attractive. Additionally, benevolent sexism is strongly related to cherished cultural ideals about heterosexual romance. Thus, benevolent sexism may be particularly effective at undermining women's resistance to inequality. Exposing the hidden costs of benevolent sexism is a first step toward challenging its pernicious effects."

Do you get it? Liking women and being nice and kind and chivalrous to them is all wrong! What a poor twisted soul the man must be. I think it's only the boiler-suited brigade of women who would agree with him. I guess he is just a relic of the 60s and 70s.

It's happened! Marriage to be Abolished

No. I am not writing for "The Onion". The headline above is not satire. But it's not about the USA -- yet.

When the campaign for homosexual (I refuse to misuse the word "gay") marriage took off, one of the biggest conservative concerns was that it would erode the significance and importance of normal marriage. It would get to the point where you could marry your dog or your daughter etc. And homosexual marriage is now a reality in some parts of the world. And even in the USA a halfbreed arrangement called a "civil union" is common.

It used to be said that there is no such thing as a happy farmer but it was only the weather that the farmers were complaining about. And we have since found that there is no such thing as a happy Greenie but it is only the whole modern world that Greenies want to abolish. We now see however that there is also no such thing as a happy political correctness warrior. And there is NOTHING that they will not agitate about. The old saying: "Give them an inch and they will take a mile" really applies to them. To them agitation is what it's all about. Stirring up trouble for the rest of us is how they get their kicks.

And they have leapt ahead even of what conservatives have warned about now. The taste of victory they have had over homosexual marriage has given them an idea that will REALLY upset ordinary people: Abolish marriage altogether! It's only on the drawing board in Sweden as yet but we all know how the Left worship the Swedish handout State (where a quarter of the workforce is on some sort of welfare) so it's: "Sweden today, America tomorrow". Excerpt follows:

"As Sweden's Feminist Initiative meets in Orebro on Friday for its annual general meeting, one of the group's more radical proposals has been revealed: the abolition of marriage. Instead the group, which is expected to become a fully-fledged political party following the meeting, wants a 'cohabitation law' which ignores gender - and allows for more than two people to be included. The proposal is one of the group's 'prioritised political demands' which the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet got hold of before the meeting. FI founder and board member, Tiina Rosenberg, told the paper that the group wants to create "a modern concept which does not favour and promote couples and heterosexual norms"".


And you thought I was kidding!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Britain: Race Unmentionable Even to Catch Murderers

Lots of American newspapers are very cautious about mentioning race in a crime report. They generally get around it by putting up a color photo of the accused. But in Britain it has got worse than that. Apparently you cannot specify race even if it might help catch a vicious murderer. Note the excerpt below:

"Six months on from the murder of 18-year-old Kylee Dibble from Barton Hill, police have released a new description of a key witness they are looking to trace. A local woman came forward to speak to the police last week and has given a description of a man that she saw in the area at the time that Kylee was killed. The man was seen walking from Corbett House across the area of grass that leads to Longlands House just before 8.30am. He is described as in his 20s, of dual heritage, athletic build, with plaited shoulder-length hair, and a slim face with pointed features. He was wearing a black zip-up jacket with very dark blue jeans, which were flared at the bottom.


So one parent of the murderer was a Protestant and the other was a Catholic?
A Guy who REALLY has "Dual Heritage"

As I have already mentioned, my post on British coyness over mentioning the race of a wanted desperado was another post that got me a lot of mail. There were many proposals about what "dual heritage" might mean, including some that -- how can I put it politely? -- included mention of non-human ancestry. Anyway, I often find my mail is more interesting than what I read in the press so I thought this one was so much fun that I had to share it:

"It is truly an amazing world these days. The mention of race is so taboo. I am Apache/Scottish living in Arizona. I look simply white to most. Once people find out that I am half Apache, I see, on occasions, a change in approach to me. Last year I told a co-worker that if he didn’t stop tripping all over himself trying to be politically correct about Native American issues here in AZ, I would be forced to scalp him and hang his scalp above my front door. He mentioned this to our manager and I was called in and told that I should not use certain terms, especially referring to “hostile” actions, even in fun. I informed my manager that I had not scalped anyone for many years and that I was going to file a racial discrimination claim since he was trying to stop me from talking about by people’s culture and history. After he turned even whiter than he already was, I told him, “Dude, I am kidding, lighten up, you will live longer.”

Unreal, truly unreal. I do not believe in affirmative action or any kind of “special” treatment based upon anything except hard work. I have run across many racists ….. welcome to reality. Overcome it and keep swinging. An Apache and a Scotsman ….. but first and foremost, an American. You haven’t seen anything until you see me in full head dress wearing a kilt.

You Can't Win with Political Correctness

Most of us are still puzzling our heads over why it is wrong to name sporting teams in honor of American Indians but it seems that we now have to cope with the exact opposite as well. There are now some American Indians who want to replace "white" names with Indian names. And you know what? I am guessing that instead of the two lots of political correctness warriors coming to blows over this, they are going to support one-another! Their logic is not our logic. Anyway, here's the latest (excerpt):

"The president of the Northern Cheyenne Indian tribe is proposing renaming at least two communities on his southeast Montana reservation, replacing names assigned by whites with those that he said would foster ‘‘a stronger pride in our community.'' Eugene Little Coyote told The Associated Press on Wednesday some tribal members may consider his idea radical but he believes towns with Cheyenne names would have more cultural significance, especially for younger American Indians.... For example, he said Lame Deer, the seat of tribal government, is also known by many tribal members as Black Lodge, in reference to the staining of tepees from burning timber inside. Busby, in the western part of the reservation, was named for an early white storeowner and carries a ‘‘bad connotation,'' Little Coyote said. ‘‘Our own people make fun of it.'' ‘‘My way of thinking, as a Cheyenne, is that it should be named after a Cheyenne leader or something of our choosing,'' he said. Many on the reservation now know Busby as White River."


Thursday, September 08, 2005

More on "Mixed Heritage"

My post on British reticence to mention the race of a wanted criminal has got me a lot of mail. I thought this email from the Netherlands has an interesting twist on the practice:

"Sounds familiar enough. Here in the Netherlands the race of a criminal is generally only mentioned in news stories and elsewhere when the suspect is caucasian. If the suspect is Asian or North African they simply say "coloured skin", if the suspect is black they don't say anything. As a result everyone implicitly adds "black person" when no race is mentioned, which of course has the exact opposite result of what's intended: people are filling in the blanks and starting to consider blacks more prone to being criminals than others (which may be true, given the high percentage of them among the prison population, especially compared to the percentage of them in society).

Wonderbra Sales Sag

To feminists, push-up bras are of course anathema. They represent "pandering to the patriarchy" -- or whatever the politically correct phrase is. So feminists are no doubt rejoicing that sales of such items seem to have fallen off in recent times. One English female writer was however refreshingly frank in suggesting a non-feminist reason for the rise and fall of the pushup. Excerpt:

"Sales of push-up bras have plunged 10 per cent in the past year, and the reason, I suspect, is that women are fed up with the Wonderbra. And who could blame them? The torture is over; we are free at last, free from the slavery of the most uncomfortable contraption ever invented for the female form ..... Indeed, the older we get, the more we are in need of a quick lift. It is not surprising that the biggest market for the push-up bra is now women aged 45 to 54. They're not trying to defy the laws of nature. They are simply recognising that age and gravity are a girl's worst enemies..... Discomfort aside, there always came the awful moment when we undressed for the first time and our Monroe cleavage was exposed for what it was: more Watford Gap than Twin Peaks. With one tug of the clasp, the breasts of Wonderbra wearers are transformed from Susannah's melons to Trinny's poached eggs".


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Incorrect Language Gets a Pass in Australia

Broadcasters like Rush Limbaugh are not at all unknown in Australia. And the most popular of them all is John Laws. He is not as far to the Right as Rush but is still pretty down-to-earth. And there is no doubt in the world that Laws has rather "old-fashioned" views about homosexuals. He recently referred to one particular homosexual in language that I might be wise not to repeat here.

Naturally, he gets complaints. And the authorities who supervise broadcasting standards in Australia recently in effect put him on trial over his rather vivid language. They let him off the hook, however. And I rather like their reasons why:

"In its judgement, the AMCA found that while the comments were offensive and tasteless, the licensee of 2UE did not breach clause 1.3(e) of the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice. It said the comments were "unlikely to have incited or perpetuated hatred against or vilified any person or homosexual identifying people as a group, on the basis of their sexual preference". But the AMCA also found 2UE did breach the codes by not responding to the complaints within the 30 days stipulated in the codes.

"In arriving at its decision, AMCA acknowledged the sensitivity that the gay community may have to matters such as that broadcast," the judgement said. "However, ACMA also recognised that it was important for community views on such issues to be aired."


USA Better for Working Women than Sweden

Just as a follow-up to my previous post, I thought people might be interested in some findings in a 2004 book Key Issues in Women's Work by Catherine Hakim. Swedish women in the workplace who become pregnant must under Swedish law be given all sorts of benefits that few private businesses can afford -- so 75% of Swedish women work for the government. Nobody else wants them. And here's one result of that -- a result that should rile feminists no end:

"What is more, the glass ceiling problem is larger in family-friendly Sweden than it is in the hire-and-fire-at-will US, and it has also grown as family-friendly policies have expanded. In Sweden 1.5% of senior management are women, compared with 11% in the US."


Conservatives keep telling Leftists that things are not as simple as you think and that coercion doesn't work very well -- and Leftists continue not to listen to that. But conservatives generally have the last laugh -- because human beings and human society ARE complex.

Some Very "Incorrect" Findings about Women's Rights

A recent very sophisticated econometric study by Silvia Pezzini of a huge body of data from several European countries looked at the effect of women's rights legislation on women's happiness. The study found, predictably, that getting access to the contraceptive pill was a great load off women's minds. What was much more interesting however, was the effect of laws that made divorce easier and laws that give working women maternity benefits. It was found that easier divorce REDUCES women's happiness overall and that job protection laws for mothers only worked for women who continued to be employed. Particularly in countries like Sweden, the main effect of maternity benefits for working women was that private employers stopped hiring women. Following is an excerpt from the conclusions of the paper:

"The main finding is that following the introduction of birth control rights, women who could take advantage from the policy (that is, they were of childbearing age at the time the policy was introduced) consistently registered an increase in welfare. The magnitude of the welfare gain is equivalent to the return from achieving higher rather than middle education and a third of the size of the gain from being married or cohabiting. It is approximately one tenth of the effect of going up one level on a 12-category scale of income....

At the same time, other women's rights have been less beneficial. The analysis shows that mutual consent divorce laws have decreased women's welfare, while granting high maternity protection in the workplace did not have significant effects, possibly because of negative feedback effects on the `employability' of women.

Source (PDF)

No-one really knows why easier divorce has made the majority of women unhappier but easier divorce certainly reduces the security of marriage and women do tend to value security in relationships highly.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Auf Wiedersehen

Well, this is my last day here as a fill-in blogger. I might however still put something up occasionally here if I come across something particularly amusing or ridiculous. One idea I have been toying with is that I might become the weekend blogger here. Readership of all blogs is well-down over the weekend (apparently a lot of people do their blog-reading at work!) but there are still lots of people who DO read blogs over the weekend. So not this weekend but maybe next weekend you may log on and find me here. In the meantime, you can always find me on Political Correctness Watch and Dissecting Leftism. I tend to put longer postings on Political Correctness Watch and short, sharp postings on Dissecting Leftism.

Team names: It Gets Worse

As we all know by now, for reasons best known to themselves, the NCAA have forbidden college sporting teams from using American Indian names for themselves. "We cannot go on honouring those disgusting Indians can we?" is my guess about their real thinking. The NCAA have however cried "uncle" in at least one case, where the Seminole Indians made clear that they were happy to have a team named after them. But the assault on any name that sounds too rough, tough or masculine continues. We know that the Batavia "Bulldogs" have been told they were too rough and tough but now note this excerpt about "The Spurs":

"I wonder why no one has publicly objected to the name we have given to our wonderful NBA championship basketball team. The one and only purpose of spurs is to inflict pain on a horse to make the horse start quicker or run faster. Spurs are also used to inflict pain on rodeo animals to make the broncos and steers buck more violently. Also, the sharply pointed rowels, as depicted in the Spurs logo, are prohibited under the rules and regulations of both horse racing and professional rodeo".


I think the busybodies are not going to be happy until all teams are called things like "The Pansies", "The Gladioli", "The Hollyhocks", "The Daisies" etc. But "The Roses" would probably be too thorny, however. New Zealand have a famous sporting team named "The All Blacks". I wonder how long that will last? Perhaps they will have to be renamed "The Slightly Dark".

Airforce Forbidden to Mention Religion

The excerpt below tells the story. The attack on the faith that made America continues:

"The Air Force issued new religion guidelines to its commanders yesterday that caution against promoting any particular faith - or even "the idea of religion over nonreligion" - in official communications or functions like meetings, sports events and ceremonies. The guidelines discourage public prayers at official Air Force events or meetings other than worship services, one of the most contentious issues for many commanders. But they allow for "a brief nonsectarian prayer" at special ceremonies like those honoring promotions, or in "extraordinary circumstances" like "mass casualties, preparation for imminent combat and natural disasters."


When will Americans rise up and reject this intolerance of their historic culture?

The Utter Failure of Political Correctness

This survey from England must be causing weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth (Yes. I know it's "gnashing") in feminist and teaching circles. I suspect all the propaganda that kids get shoved down their throat these days has backfired. Excerpt:

"The survey of almost 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19, conducted by a mobile entertainment company, TheLab, found that many young women's favoured role models were men's magazine models, with C-list celebrities Abi Titmuss and Jordan ranking higher in the hero worship stakes than author J. K. Rowling, The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and feminist Germaine Greer. Almost half the respondents listed Titmuss as a role model, while 9 per cent chose Rowling and only 4 per cent Greer. Offered a selection of occupations, 63 per cent said they would rather be a men's magazine model than a doctor, teacher or nurse. The second most popular choice was "lap dancer", at 25 per cent, with teachers trailing at 3 per cent".


I love it!

Report Cards that no Longer Mean Anything

This report is from New Zealand but it could be from lots of places. Schools now often try not to tell parents how well their kids are doing at school because it will hurt the self-esteem of those who don't do well, or some such. So end of year report cards tell parents that every kid is "satisfactory" or some such. That lazy kids need their self-esteem hurt a bit is not admitted. It has got to the point where parents have no idea what a report card means any more. But the conservatives in New Zealand have had enough. They are pledging to bring back report cards that mean something. Excerpt:

"National Party Leader Don Brash today announced that National will introduce 'Plain English Reporting' in schools so that parents know how well their children are doing in the classroom and can get help if necessary. ''Parents have the right to know if their child is reading, writing and using numbers at the expected standard or if they are falling behind. But too often they are served up with politically correct reports that give them no clear idea of their child's progress," says Dr Brash.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Incorrect to Mention Allergies

In Britain, Barclay's is one of the biggest banks. But they still goofed by "offending" allergy sufferers in one of their TV advertisements. Here is the story (the Brits refer to TV as "the telly"):

"A Barclay's commercial showing a man suffering a bee sting reaction was banned by telly watchdogs yesterday. Nearly 300 people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the bank ad. It showed the victim fall into a lake then get arrested by cops. But the ASA ruled it was offensive to allergy sufferers. Barclays apologised, saying the ad was meant to be "light hearted".


The only defect I can see above is a defect in a lot of people's sense of humor

"Honky-Tonk" and "Lesbian" Incorrect

Sometimes it's not even people who censor us these days. It's a machine. And the machine can be even dumber than people. (Excerpt):

"City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher's e-mail account is overrun these days with offers for cheap Viagra and low-interest loans - and he couldn't be happier. Less than a month ago, a program used by the city of Colorado Springs was blocking those seemingly pointless e-mails. But it also stopped messages about honky-tonk music shows and the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado - because "honky" and "lesbian" came up as offensive words. Heimlicher complained in June about not being able to read constituent mail that might include such words. Councilwoman Margaret Radford also complained this month, and two weeks ago the information technology division dropped the filter on Heimlicher's mail.


Bizarre British Speech Code

A British school head thinks that swearing at teachers is OK -- as long as you don't do too much of it. And look at the fearsome penalty if they DO do too much of it (Excerpt):

"A secondary school is to allow pupils to swear at teachers - as long as they don't do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class goes over the limit, they will be 'spoken' to at the end of the lesson. The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour of pupils, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday. They warned it would backfire.