Sunday, September 30, 2012
A very emotional philosopher
You would think that a philosopher would think first and emote later. Philosophers are supposed to be good at thinking. But Leftists are so preoccupied with their own emotions that even a Leftist philosopher can't mount a logical argument, it would seem. NYT philospher ANDREW F. MARCH below
Most of us think that it is wrong for white people to use the “n-word.” (Use it? I can’t even bring myself to mention it.) Personally, I would feel a shiver of guilt and shame if that word crossed my mind as a thought about another person. And it’s not hard to account for that feeling. It is a word that is intimately associated with a chain of some of humanity’s greatest historical evils — the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the practice of chattel slavery and countless legal, social and psychological practices aiming at the effective dehumanization of persons of black African origin. To perpetuate it publicly is to harm other persons [How? Any examples? "Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me"], and this matters objectively even if I don’t personally, subjectively care about the persons in question. But my feelings about this word are even deeper than this: I don’t even want to participate in the history that produced it and its meanings by letting it grow roots in my own mind.
Victoria's Secret Geisha Lingerie Sparks Controversy
Women must not look Japanese?
It takes hundreds of employees, thousands of hours and millions of dollars to launch a mass market lingerie line. And one blogger to take it all down.
"I never thought they would pull the Geisha outfit off the market," Nina Jacinto tells Shine. "I imagine there were a number of factors that went into that decision."
Two weeks ago, Jacinto, a 26-year-old Bay Area blogger and non-profit development manager, most likely became one of those factors.
"I saw a link to [Victoria's Secret's Go East] line on the blog, Angry Asian Man," she says. "Hooray for exotic orientalist bull----," wrote the blogger who included a link to the "Asian-inspired" lingerie line's centerpiece: "The Sexy Little Geisha," a mesh teddy that comes with an obi belt, chopsticks and a fan.
Immediately Jacinto sat down to write an insightful post on why she found the outfit, and the line in general, offensive. "It's the kind of overt racism masked behind claims of inspired fashion and exploring sexual fantasy that makes my skin crawl," she wrote
[It doesn't take much to make her skin crawl. Maybe she has some disease]
Friday, September 28, 2012
Must not report the Gypsy tradition?
The Canadian writer below seems to have poor reality contact. He calls Ezra Levant a "so-called" broadcaster. I have news for him: Levant is an ACTUAL broadcaster.
It has been common for many years in many countries for Gypsies to support themselves by petty crime. They are (for instance) notorious pickpockets and a real nuisance in cities such as Paris. I cannot remember seeing a single report of one supporting himself/herself by a 9 to 5 job, though there may be some. So as generalizations go, what Levant said appears to have been reasonable.
Mr. Emotional below seems to think that a generalization has to apply to ALL members of a group before you can use it. But that is not how people actually talk. Let me give an example "Dogs bark". Is that a good generaliztuion? I think most people would say so. But some dogs do not bark -- Australian dingoes, for example. Let's have another example: "cats are furry". But there are some breeds of cats that have no fur.
So you may disagree with what Levant says about Gypsies but facts and figures would be more impressive than abuse and spurious logic. See here for the sort of news report Levant was referring to. An excerpt from what Levant said here. As the name might suggest, Levant is Jewish. He has a phenomenal record of putting a bomb under complacent Canadian liberalism -- JR
Which brings us to the recent case of so-called broadcaster Ezra Levant of Sun TV and his hateful and vicious smear of the entire Roma people -- all 8 to 12 million of them (and all of their ancestors!)
Was that rant merely legitimate free speech, not the business of meddlesome human "bureaucrats"? Or was it hate speech, as Paul Storseth describes that criminal act. Was Levant's rant, in fact, an effort, as the Conservative MP put it, to "perpetuate violence or hurt somebody else"?
Sun TV must think there is something wrong with what Levant did. Exceptionally, it took the offending rant off its web site only a few days after it was posted. Normally Levant's stuff is up there for months.
As well, after a few days, the Sun folks removed all of the supportive, hateful comments in response to Levant some viewers had posted (a few suggesting using guns against the Roma). It is also reliably reported that a few days ago someone from Sun went on the air to apologize for what Levant said.
"Anti-Extremist" Commentator Proves She Is Every Bit The Islamist Bin Laden Was
An Egyptian-born U.S. columnist was arrested Tuesday for spray-painting an advertisement equating Muslim radicals with savages at a New York City subway station.
Mona Eltahawy, 45, of New York, was arrested on charges including criminal mischief and making graffiti, police said. Her arrest was captured on video by a New York Post camera crew and posted online.
Eltahawy is a women's rights defender and lecturer on the role of social media in the Arab world. She calls herself a liberal Muslim who has spoken publicly against violent Islamic groups. She's seen in the video spraying pink paint on the ad while another woman tries to block her.
Non-violent? Sort of -- if you ignore the part where she threatened to assault someone who objected to her covering up the message she disliked. And silencing messages you don't like is unAmerican.
By the way, here's the ad that Eltahawy found so offensive that she had to prevent its message from getting out.
Frankly, not only do I not find the ad offensive, I believe it to be common sense.
It would seem that even "moderate" Muslims are still Fascistic.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Blinkered liberal Jew
Rachel Kahn-Troster (below) claims to be a rabbi, which shows how little regard she has for her own sacred scriptures. Leviticus 6:14 says the priesthood shall consist of Aaron and his SONS. But what's in that silly old Bible thingy doesn't matter to her, obviously.
So it is no wonder that she calls it "hate" when anybody draws attention to the constant violence and aggression in the Muslim world. Closed eyes are clearly her specialty. She says not a word about America's recently slaughtered Ambassador in Libya, for instance. She has no integrity at all.
My daily trek to work is the last place I would expect to encounter a hateful message. But anti-Islam blogger Pamela Geller is determined to make that happen to me and my fellow commuters.
This week, at 10 subway stations around New York, commuters will encounter ads from the virulently anti-Islam group headed by Geller, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Geller has been cited both by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center for her anti-Muslim activity. [It's A badge of honor to be cited by such far-Left outfits]
The subway ads say, "In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man." Below that are the words: "Support Israel. Defeat Jihad," with a Star of David on either side of the phrases. The coded message makes clear who the savages are: those who support jihad, which in Geller's mind includes all Muslims. She has called Islam "an extreme ideology, the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the Earth."
At first, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rejected the ads, but a district judge ruled the ads were protected under the First Amendment. The ads follow similar ads in San Francisco as well as posters at New York's Metro North train stations
The Metro North ads denied their bigotry by stating, "It's not Islamophobia. It's Islamorealism," claiming the actions of a few represented the "reality" of Islam. But when did it become acceptable to spread bigotry against any American religious, racial or ethnic group in the name of "realism"?
I gather that Rachel Can't Trust Her has some small theological background so at the risk of re-plowing an already very furrowed field I will mention an objection that she and her ilk might have to the modern-day applicability of Leviticus Chapter 6. It is a chapter primarily concerned with burnt offerings and such things. And NOBODY does burnt offerings these days, though some barbecue cooks might be suspected of it.
The point is however that the Jerusalem temple later became the sole locus of such offerings and the destruction of the temple by the Romans FORCED the abandonment of burnt offerings. But there is nothing to force the abandonment of a solely male religious leadership.
I suppose I am making an argument about Halakha above -- which is pretty mad for a non-Jew -- but I think I can read my Bible as well as anyone. I guess my Protestant background is showing.
Mocking Muhammad is legitimate commentary, not hate speech
By Daniel Pipes
To stop Islamist violence over perceived insults to Muhammad, I argued in a FoxNews.com op-ed Friday, editors and producers daily should display cartoons of Muhammad “until the Islamists get used to the fact that we turn sacred cows into hamburger.”
This appeal prompted a solemn reply from Sheila Musaji of The American Muslim website, who deemed it “irresponsible and beyond the pale.” Why so? Because, as she puts it, “The solution to escalating violence and hate speech is not more hate speech.”
That sounds sensible enough. But does mocking Muhammad, burning a Koran, or calling Islam a cult constitute hate speech? And what about the respectful representations of Muhammad in the buildings of the U.S. Supreme Court or the New York State Supreme Court? Even they caused upset and rioting.
Hate speech, legal authorities agree, involves words directed against a category of persons. Attacking the sanctities of a religion, I submit, is quite unlike targeting the faithful of that religion. The former is protected speech, part of the give and take of the market place of ideas, not all of which are pretty.
Freedom of speech means the freedom to insult and be obnoxious. So long as it does not include incitement or information that urges criminal action, nastiness is an essential part of our heritage.
On a personal note, I have had to learn to live with torrents of vulgar venom, in speech and in pictures alike, from those who disagree with me; you don’t hear me whining about it. More broadly, Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and other faith communities in the West have learned since the Enlightenment to endure vicious lacerations on their symbols and doctrines.
If proof be needed, recall Monty Python’s "Life of Brian," Terrence McNally’s "Corpus Christi," Andres Serrano’s "Piss Christ," and Chris Ofili’s "The Holy Virgin Mary." Or the avalanche of antisemitic cartoons spewing from Muslims.
I asked for the cartoons to be published again and again to establish that Islamists must not chip away at the freedom to mock and insult by hiding behind bogus claims of incitement. Name an instance, Ms Musaji, when biting remarks about Muhammad, the Koran, or Islam have led to riots and murders by non-Muslims against Muslims? I can think of not a single one.
To make matters worse, Islamists tell us Be Careful with Muhammad! and threaten those with the temerity to discuss, draw, or even pretend to draw the prophet of Islam, even as they freely disparage and insult other religions.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
A racist chair
A metal folding chair with an American flag, tied with a rope and hanging from a tree in a Northwest Austin neighborhood has ignited a 24-hour controversy which has spread city-wide.
"I would suppose it's something political, but I don't know what it means," said one passerby.
Actor Clint Eastwood used an empty chair to stage a hypothetical conversation with President Barack Obama at the Republican National Convention in August. Since then, the empty chair has been used by many to refer symbolically to the president.
"To me, it's racist," said Robert Stephenson, an activist living nearby who stopped by to take pictures of the chair.
"It reminds me of when somebody's hanging something from a tree, and it reminds me of a noose hanging with a chair and I think it's very scary," said neighbor Grace Shemain.
She's easily scared -- JR
Don't act 'too gay' if you want to become a doctor, senior British GP tells trainees... and if you're Asian, try to sound Welsh or Scottish
I knew a doctor once who took over a busy practice but who proclaimed his homosexuality. His practice soon dwindled to nothing -- so the advice below is good advice for all its "incorrectness"
A senior GP is under investigation for telling gay junior doctors to avoid acting effeminately around patients.
Dr Una Coales said if they deepened their voices and changed the way they walked they would stand a better chance of impressing their examiners.
In a guidebook written for medics sitting clinical skills tests, she advised doctors from Africa and Asia to try speaking in ‘lyrical’ Scottish or Welsh accents if they wanted jobs in those countries.
And she told women doctors not to wear overly-feminine, flowery dresses – in case patients mistake them for nurses. Bizarrely, she even advised overweight medical students to project an ‘image of Santa Claus’ by interlocking their fingers over their bellies.
Dr Coales is a senior member of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Council and earlier this year narrowly missed out on being elected its president.
She made her comments in a guidebook for junior doctors sitting their ‘Clinical Skills Assessments’, which are exams taken in their final year. In one passage, she wrote: ‘One candidate was facing a third sitting and yet no one had told him that his mannerisms, gait and speech were too overtly gay.
‘So I advised him to lower and deepen his high-pitched voice and neutralise his body movements.
‘He went back to his surgery, practised his speech until his voice went hoarse and modified his body language. Not only did he pass his exam, but he informed me he noticed a huge difference in the way patients interacted with him.’
She also told women not to wear flowery dresses because ‘if you dress like a nurse they [patients] have difficulty believing they are seeing “the doctor”.’
The Royal College of GPs has now launched an inquiry into her comments, which have provoked outrage on the social networking site Twitter. Dr Coales, who trained in America before becoming a GP in South London, could now be ordered to leave the College.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
On Bourbon Street you can show everything (but your faith)
On October 26, 2011, the city of New Orleans criminalized religious expression on Bourbon Street.
Subsequently, in May of this year, a preacher from Vieux Carre Assembly of God Church was told by police that he could not continue discussing religion on Bourbon Street, even though he had been preaching there for the past 30 years every Tuesday and Friday evening.
The new rules were quietly put in place when Mayor Mitch Landrieu approved a ban on loitering or congregating “for the purpose of disseminating any social, political, or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.” Individuals convicted of violating this ban can be imprisoned for up to six months.
Six months in prison, for speech?
This is not simply a Mayor suspending constitutional rights but also punishing anyone who tries to live out those rights. In other words, in a city where you can show everything, the new rule is you can show everything but your faith.
Moreover, it’s not up to the government to decide which topics we can and cannot discuss. The First amendment protects an individual’s freedom of speech. Jurisprudence supports this, tradition supports it, and the history of New Orleans supports it.
Just think about these things as you look at the landscape in and around the Big Easy. It’s a city that is literally full of chapels, cathedrals, religious statues and ornaments, and even an NFL team named the Saints.
Moreover, New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are so rich with religious overtones that the city sits in a parish rather than a county. (New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish.)
Yet, since the ban went into effect, several people have been arrested or threatened with arrest for communicating a religious message on Bourbon Street. Fearing arrest, the pastor has stopped going to Bourbon Street to discuss his faith.
When you consider that the ban on sharing a “religious message” covers the hours between sunset and sunrise, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the darkness is being protected. And it really is a shame for the Mayor to go to all this trouble, to pass bans on speech and rabidly enforce them, all to be sure the darkness is dark indeed.
The freedom to show everything on Bourbon Street ought to apply to preachers who want to show light as well.
SCOTUS would knock it on the head but getting before SCOTUS is hugely expensive
Must not say that homosexuals tend to be promiscuous and AIDS-infested
Even though they do tend to be
Paris Hilton has been recorded making derogatory remarks about gay men, most of whom she said "probably have AIDS", during a conversation about all-male networking app Grindr.
The story has prompted an online backlash in the US, with bloggers rushing to condemn the socialite.
According to audio of the conversation, recorded by the cab driver and published by the gossip site, the male friend described how Grindr works. "Gay guys are the horniest people in the world," Hilton is heard to say. "They're disgusting. Dude, most of them probably have AIDS."
She goes on to say: "I would be so scared if I were a gay guy. You'll, like, die of AIDS."
A statement from Hilton's representative said the heiress was a "huge supporter of the gay community" and would never purposely make negative remarks about anyone's sexuality.
"Paris Hilton's comments were to express that it is dangerous for anyone to have unprotected sex that could lead to a life-threatening disease," the statement said.
"The conversation became heated, after a close gay friend told her in a cab ride, a story about a gay man who has AIDS and is knowingly having unprotected sex.
"He also discussed a website that encourages random sex by gay men with strangers. As she was being shown the website her comments were in reference to those people promoting themselves on the site.
Monday, September 24, 2012
The usual Democrat hypocrisy
Religious groups are blasting President Obama for not condemning am anti-Christian art display set to appear in New York City and one Republican lawmaker said he is “fed up with the administration’s double standard and religious hypocrisy.
“Piss Christ,” once branded as a “deplorable, despicable display of vulgarity,” will be displayed at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery in Manhattan on Thursday. The artwork features a “photograph of the crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine.”
The artwork debuted in 1989 and was funded through prize money provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The art gallery hosting the retrospective salute to Andres Serrano is privately owned.
Religious groups and some lawmakers have already started sounding off – and making comparisons to the controversy over a recent anti-Muslim film. The low budget movie “Innocence of Muslims” sparked violent and deadly clashes across the globe.
It also brought strong rebukes, condemnations and apologies from President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a host of administration officials.
The administration tried to have the film removed from YouTube – but Google rebuffed their request. The State Dept. spent $70,000 on a Pakistani television advertisement rebuking the film. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff personally telephoned a Christian minister in Florida to ask him to withdraw his support of the film.
Rep. Michael Grimm (R, C-NY) wants to know why President Obama hasn’t denounced the exhibit and said he’s fed up with what he called the administration’s “religious hypocrisy.”
“The Obama administration’s hypocrisy and utter lack of respect for the religious beliefs of Americans has reached an all-time high,” Grimm told Fox News. “I call on President Obama to stand up for America’s values and beliefs and denounce the ‘Piss Christ’ that has offended Christians at home and abroad.”
So will the Obama Administration condemn the anti-Christian art display? Will they air a television ad denouncing the exhibit? Will the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ask the gallery to cancel the exhibit?
The White House did not return calls seeking comment. Neither did the Pentagon.
Muslims, Mormons and Liberals
Why is it OK to mock one religion but not another?
'Hasa Diga Eebowai" is the hit number in Broadway's hit musical "The Book of Mormon," which won nine Tony awards last year. What does the phrase mean? I can't tell you, because it's unprintable in a family newspaper.
On the other hand, if you can afford to shell out several hundred bucks for a seat, then you can watch a Mormon missionary get his holy book stuffed—well, I can't tell you about that, either. Let's just say it has New York City audiences roaring with laughter.
The "Book of Mormon"—a performance of which Hillary Clinton attended last year, without registering a complaint—comes to mind as the administration falls over itself denouncing "Innocence of Muslims." This is a film that may or may not exist; whose makers are likely not who they say they are; whose actors claim to have known neither the plot nor purpose of the film; and which has never been seen by any member of the public except as a video clip on the Internet.
No matter. The film, the administration says, is "hateful and offensive" (Susan Rice), "reprehensible and disgusting" (Jay Carney) and, in a twist, "disgusting and reprehensible" (Hillary Clinton). Mr. Carney, the White House spokesman, also lays sole blame on the film for inciting the riots that have swept the Muslim world and claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three of his staff in Libya.
So let's get this straight: In the consensus view of modern American liberalism, it is hilarious to mock Mormons and Mormonism but outrageous to mock Muslims and Islam. Why? Maybe it's because nobody has ever been harmed, much less killed, making fun of Mormons.
Here's what else we learned this week about the emerging liberal consensus: That it's okay to denounce a movie you haven't seen, which is like trashing a book you haven't read. That it's okay to give perp-walk treatment to the alleged—and no doubt terrified—maker of the film on legally flimsy and politically motivated grounds of parole violation. That it's okay for the federal government publicly to call on Google to pull the video clip from YouTube in an attempt to mollify rampaging Islamists. That it's okay to concede the fundamentalist premise that religious belief ought to be entitled to the highest possible degree of social deference—except when Mormons and sundry Christian rubes are concerned.
And, finally, this: That the most "progressive" administration in recent U.S. history will make no principled defense of free speech to a Muslim world that could stand hearing such a defense. After the debut of "The Book of Mormon" musical, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded with this statement: "The production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change people's lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ."
That was it. The People's Front for the Liberation of Provo will not be gunning for a theater near you. Is it asking too much of religious and political leaders in Muslim communities to adopt a similar attitude?
Sunday, September 23, 2012
France bans protests over Prophet Mohammad cartoons
This is undoubtedly an infringement of free speech but since Muslims do their best to deny free speech to others, there is a certain justice in it
France confirmed on Friday it would allow no street protests against cartoons denigrating Islam's Prophet Mohammad that were published by a French magazine this week.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls said prefects throughout the country had orders to prohibit any protest over the issue and crack down if the ban was challenged.
"There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up," he said.
British backflip: OK (sometimes) to diss homosexuals on Twitter
Internet trolls who post one-off offensive messages may escape criminal charges, the country’s chief prosecutor announced yesterday.
Keir Starmer said court action would be taken only where there was a ‘sustained campaign of harassment’ or a direct threat, as he stressed the need to protect free speech.
The Director of Public Prosecutions made his comments as he announced that a semi-professional footballer who posted a homophobic tweet about Olympic diver Tom Daley would not face criminal charges. He said the comments were not so ‘grossly offensive’ that they should lead to a prosecution.
Daniel Thomas sent the message about Daley, 18, and diving partner Peter Waterfield, 31, after the pair missed out on a medal on July 30.
Thomas, who plays for Welsh side Port Talbot Town, was arrested after the tweet spread around the internet. It falsely suggested that Daley and Waterfield were in a gay relationship and drew a link between homosexuality and HIV.
Under the 2003 Communications Act, it is an offence to send messages online that are grossly offensive.
Mr Starmer accepted Thomas’s tweet was ‘homophobic’ but said it had been a misguided attempt at humour.
The message was also not intended to go beyond his Twitter followers, who were mainly friends and family. And he said the message was quickly taken down and the footballer had apologised.
Chief Constable Andy Trotter, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the new guidance would help police to focus on the most serious online abuse.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Islamic states to reopen quest for global blasphemy law
A leading Islamic organization signaled on Wednesday that it will revive long-standing attempts to make insults against religions an international criminal offence.
The bid follows uproar across the Muslim world over a crude Internet video clip filmed in the United States and cartoons in a French satirical magazine that lampoon the Prophet Mohammad.
But it appears unlikely to win acceptance from Western countries determined to resist restrictions on freedom of speech and already concerned about the repressive effect of blasphemy laws in Muslim countries such as Pakistan.
As if to underline the point, a conference in Geneva of the World Council of Churches (WCC), which groups the world's major Protestant, Orthodox and Evangelical churches, urged Pakistan to abolish its blasphemy law, which carries a possible death penalty.
Cripes! Even the WCC is against the Muslim demands. The WCC could most accurately be renamed: "The World Council of Wishy-washy Mainstream Churches"
Atheists Rebuke Hobby Lobby in ‘Constitution Day’ Newspaper Ad: ‘Trusting in Any God Is Very Risky’
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist non-profit, very frequently takes to billboards and newspaper advertisements to tout the value of a “free-thinking” society.
This week, the group decided to take out a full-page, anti-theist ad in The Albuquerque Journal. It’s purpose? To commemorate “Constitution Day,“ while letting New Mexico residents know that ”trusting in any god is very risky.”
The ad, which was overtly intended to offend the faithful, served as the FFRF’s Albuquerque, New Mexico, chapter’s public method of commemorating the anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s ratification on Sept. 17, 1787. But in addition to celebrating this event of historical significance, the atheist group was also taking the opportunity to directly respond to craft store chain Hobby Lobby’s July 4 ad in the same newspaper.
The ad Herman references was intended to encourage newspaper readers to embrace their faith. It included quotes from past presidents, Congress and the Founding Fathers — statements that reaffirm America’s standing as a nation that was founded upon faith-based sentiment.
The FFRF decided to respond to this message, using “Constitution Day” as a springboard for doing so. Rather that touting faith, the non-believers came up with an ad focused upon “godless” ideals.
“Freethinkers can all celebrate the fact that the founders of our nation were first among nations to adopt a godless and entirely secular Constitution, whose only references to religion are exclusionary,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor commented in a statement posted on the group’s web site.
Ms Gaylor seems not to have read the 1st Amendment -- JR
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The half-life of euphemisms
David Friedman below makes a point I have often made. In Australia in the 50s, officialdom promoted the idea that European immigrants (all immigrants were British or European then) should be called "New Australians" instead of "wop", wog", "dago" etc. Soon, however, "New Australian" too came to be said with a sneer by many
As Europeans assimilated to Australian ways, however, negative views of them evaporated
For no particular reason, I was recently thinking about the futility of the euphemism strategy—replacing a word that has negative connotations in the hope that the change will get rid of the connotations. The problem is that if, as is usually the case, the connotations are based on what the word means not how it sounds, they will rapidly transfer to the substitute. The record for sequence length may be held by what we now usually refer to as a toilet. I do not know what the earliest term was, but the string includes "privy," "guarderobe," "WC," "lavatory," "bathroom," "toilet," and probably more that I have missed.
A different example that I noticed a few years ago was "gay." It was introduced as a substitute for "homosexual" on the theory that the latter was an insulting term. The problem, as usual, was that what made it insulting was that many people regarded what it described as immoral, disgusting, or both—and although such feelings may weaken over time, they are not eliminated by a change in label.
Not only did the negative connotations spread to the new word, the effect was not limited to its euphemistic use—a fact I discovered listening to casual chatter on World of Warcraft. Posters routinely used "gay" as a general purpose negative term, often with no connection to homosexuality. "That's gay" meant, more or less, "isn't that terrible."
Must not diss the nominal leader of Europe
The European union has a very authoritarian structure. Despite propaganda to the contrary, the bureaucracy makes all the decisions and the parliament is mostly just a talking shop. They are not even allowed to initiate legislation. So the President of it is just a figurehead. Nigel Farage summed him up pretty accurately but frank speech is risky anywhere in Europe these days
The European Parliament has upheld a £2,400 fine against UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage.
The MEP was docked the money in 2010 for tearing into Herman Van Rompuy, who had just been appointed EU president. Addressing the former Belgian premier in parliament, Mr Farage said he had ‘the charisma of a damp rag’ and the ‘appearance of a low-grade bank clerk’.
As Mr Van Rompuy listened, Mr Farage added that the Belgian came from 'pretty much a non-country.'
Jerzy Buzek, the then parliamentary chief, ordered Mr Farage to apologise. He refused and the authorities cut €3,000 from his pay.
He appealed to the European Court of Justice but it ruled that he filed his appeal too late and would also have to pay parliament's legal expenses.
Mr Farage was unrepentant last night, saying: ‘They have made themselves a laughing stock over this. It is a simple question of free speech.’
Although MEPs have protection from prosecution when discussing political issues or constituency matters this legal privilege does not extend to personal comments.
Shortly after the incident, Mr Buzek met with Mr Farage and made a statement explaining that the matter was not one of free speech but simply common courtesy. 'I defend absolutely Mr Farage's right to disagree about the policy or institutions of the Union, but not to personally insult our guests in the European Parliament or the country from which they may come,' he said in a statement at the time.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Britain is as bad as Egypt for penalizing "offensive" speech
Google took the unprecedented step of banning one single YouTube video in three countries (Egypt, Libya and India) in order to protect the sensibilities of the peoples who populate those lands.
Steve Henn, writing for National Public Radio, points out that in the present context, Google's censorship is "an example of the challenges of balancing U.S. free speech concerns and of something known as the 'heckler's veto'" -- the problem faced when one person or a group of people resort to extreme means (e.g. threats of violence) in order to silence public discourse.
But before we congratulate ourselves for our tolerance and humanity, we should take a hard look in the mirror. Last week, in Leeds, on 14 September (3 days after the attacks which destroyed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi), Azhar Ahmed, a 19-year-old from West Yorkshire, was convicted of making "derogatory, disrespectful and inflammatory" remarks under the Malicious Communications Act. His crime? Writing a Facebook post which stated, shortly after the funeral of a number of British soldiers from the area, that "all soldiers should go to hell".
In the United Kingdom, such a communication falls foul of a provision of the Act which states that "a person who sends to another person a(n)... electronic communication... of any description which conveys a message which is indecent or grossly offensive... is guilty of an offence if his purpose [or one of them] in sending it is that it should... cause distress or anxiety to the recipient". He made the post; distress was intended and caused; judicial sanction followed.
And this is far from the only case of its kind - there are dozens of reported cases showing that all manner of political speech, religious speech, and even the casual F-word can, under the right circumstances, fall foul of the legislation. The man on the Clapham omnibus has as much of a heckler's veto as the Salafist on a Cairo street; furthermore, the man on the Clapham omnibus is state-backed.
David Cameron described the attacks on the Libyan embassy as "senseless". I totally agree. In a free society the expression of a controversial opinion by an individual should not, under any circumstances, justify the threat or application of violence by other men in order to silence that opinion.
But Azhar Ahmed has been so silenced. Until we end the criminalisation of those opinions which offend us, we cannot justifiably claim that we are any different from the mob.
Atheists Continue to Push for 9/11 Cross Ban, Claiming It Has Caused Them ‘Physical and Emotional’ Pain
Atheist activists have a knack for picking riveting, infuriating and seemingly never-ending battles. During the Christmas season, they aim for nativities on public property and at the end of every school year, their targets set on commencement prayers.
While these battles have become all-too-familiar, there’s one showdown brewing that distinguishes itself from the rest — atheists’ demands that a cross found in the rubble following the September 11, 2001 attacks not be included in a museum that is being planned to commemorate the lives lost during the tragedy.
American Atheists (AA), a group working to advance the secular cause, has been leading the charge against the Ground Zero cross since July 2011, when the organization first filed suit against it.
“The atheists’ suit claims that by including the cross in a museum on public property, the government is unconstitutionally endorsing a religion,” Jessup writes. “It also asserts that the mere presence of the cross would result in emotional — and possibly even physical — injuries among atheists who will feel anxious and excluded.” [What pathetic little pussies!]
Interestingly, even if these protections do apply, the museum contents that “there is no legal authority for the proposition that a museum is prohibited from displaying an item with historical, cultural or artistic significance merely because that item also has religious significance.”
The World Trade Center cross was not a symbol constructed by men using debris found at Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Instead, the “cross” itself is a piece of debris found at the site — a group of steel beams which resembles the proportions of a Christian cross.
So why the outrage? The cross symbol only holds significance for those who believe in what it stands for. In other words, to an atheist, the steel “cross” wreckage should represent nothing but the tragedy of 9/11.
CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin calls the atheists’ case “absurd” and says that the odds that the cross will be removed “are literally zero.” Still, Silverman’s group forges on in its non-theistic crusade to strip faith out of the 9/11 Museum.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
'Offensive' comment about Gypsies prompts equalities training for British councillor
"Equalities training"! How Orwellian can you get? People often make sweeping statements in private but privacy is under a lot of attack these days.
A councillor, who said a minefield should be planted around a travellers’ site, has been told to attend equalities training, it was reported.
Mervyn Loynes, a member of South Cambridgeshire District Council, was investigated after he made the “silly remark in private”, according to the Conservative council leader Ray Manning.
The investigation found he had breached the council’s code of conduct over “respect, equalities and disrepute”.
Twitter turns over Occupy tweets to court
Do you have freedom to hide your speech? It appears not so far but what SCOTUS might decide could well be different
An interesting question that flows from this episode is what happens when you "delete" an online comment? Why is it not in fact deleted? Why is it retained on the servers of the hosting company? There have been efforts in Congress to force such retention but none have succeeded. Is it another Obama decree?
Earlier today, Twitter gave in to a New York court subpoena requiring it to turn over more than three month’s worth of tweets posted by user Malcolm Harris, 23, who was arrested last September during an Occupy Wall Street Protest. The surrender of the tweets, which Harris deleted from his public profile, follows a months-long battled by Twitter to keep the information from landing in the hands of prosecutors.
The surrender of the tweets was the result of presiding New York State Supreme Court Judge Matthew Sciarrino’s threat to hold the company in contempt and impose a fine on Twitter if the tweets were not handed over by today.
To assess the amount of the fine, Sciarrino demanded that Twitter disclose its earnings statements from the past two quarters — financial data that Twitter, as a privately-held company, does not want to be made public by the court.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Indian cartoonist's arrest exposes 'world's largest democracy'
The guy on the handle is wearing the sort of dress that Indian politicians wear.
CARTOONISTS are a powerful bunch. They can bring down governments, in particular large, functional and blameless democracies, and therefore they must be stopped.
This, at least, must have been the reasoning behind this week's arrest by the Indian police of young cartoonist Aseem Trivedi. The government must have been very afraid of him. He has depicted (some months ago, as it happens) such subversive images as the national Parliament as a toilet, gang rape of "mother India" by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats (nothing too graphic there - just her being held and the blokes in suits being encouraged by the monster, corruption. Even another of his drawings, of "politics" and "corruption" in flagrante "69" is rather tastefully rendered as those little artists' articulated wooden figures for drawing).
For a wicked cartoonist intent on bringing down his government, he hasn't been very sneaky. Going under the banner of Cartoons Against Corruption, he's clearly up to no good, but easy to find.
A lawyer has brought these offensive and dangerous cartoons to the attention of the authorities, who are taking appropriate action. He has been charged with sedition - understandably! - and now been released on bail but is fighting to have charges dropped. What is surprising is that those cartoons can have been out there for so long without having actually brought down the Indian government!
My own view is that, if a government, even a corrupt, flawed one, wants to give the impression of being a democracy (especially the "world's largest democracy"), it should be able to risk the damage wrought by cartoonists. The chances are, if the cartoonist is wrong, he or she won't get much of a following. And if the cartoons have a tiny basis in truth, better not to draw such attention by trying to suppress them. This gives quite moderate political cartoons far more reach than they might have had, and draws sympathy for the cartoonist's right to expression.
An Algerian cartoonist friend told me of how he was regularly brought before the court for offending his country's government. He had the odd week in the slammer but was mostly let off with a warning. Now, Algeria isn't the greatest democracy, but its powerful know well enough that suppressing a cartoonist makes the populace far more suspicious about what's being hidden, than the reassuring sight of a cartoon poking fun at a world they might otherwise find intolerable.
I don't usually report on events in India but its British traditions give it some relevance to the rest of the Anglosphere. As in Britain itself these days, speech in India can be pretty restricted but the report above suggests some hope -- JR
Must not tell blacks they need to work harder
Judging by their generally low levels of economic and educational achievement they do need to but you must not tell them that, apparently
Pupil, 11, told to work harder by school worker 'because as a black person he would struggle in life for not being white'
The mother of an 11-year-old boy has received an apology after a school official told her son he would have to 'work harder in life' - because he is black.
Rosamaria Failla, 34, discovered that a truancy officer had told her child Sonny that he would struggle in life because he is not a 'white British boy'.
Sonny, who suffers from ADHD, had been struggling with teachers at Bowmansgreen School, Hertfordhire, when his attendance started slipping.
In a bid to make her British-born son feel better about education his mother arranged for council truancy officers to visit him at home in July.
But Mrs Failla was upset when the officer gave Sonny a brutal evaluation of his life prospects, warning him he would 'have to work harder in life to gain people’s respect' because of his colour.
She complained to police and the council about the comment, which she says was: 'Because you are not a white British boy, you are going to have to work harder in life to gain people’s respect and achieve high things,' which she claims is racist.
Hertfordshire County Council has now launched a full investigation into the claims while the officer has written a letter of apology to the family.
This is probably advice that the kid needed but there is not much chance of him heeding it now.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Utah city's "free-speech zones" challenged as unconstitutional
The American Civil Liberties Union has sued a Utah city in federal court over a "free-speech zone" ordinance, saying the Orwellian-named measure unconstitutionally requires a permit for almost any form of public expression.
The lawsuit was filed against Brigham City on Tuesday on behalf of the Main Street Church, a non-denominational faith barred under the municipal statute from distributing pamphlets on some sidewalks near a new Mormon temple in town.
Brigham City, a predominantly Mormon town of about 18,000 people, is about 60 miles north of Salt Lake City, the state capital.
The ordinance in question requires any individual or group wishing to stage a demonstration, hand out literature or engage in other forms of public expression to seek a municipal permit establishing an approved "free-speech" zone for that activity.
The permit, if granted, can include limits on the time, place and number of participants. Violations are punishable by civil fines of up to $750 or a misdemeanor criminal prosecution that carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail.
"The overbreadth of Brigham City's 'Free Speech Zone' Ordinance is breathtaking," John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah, said in a written statement. "Under this ordinance, you would arguably have to apply for a permit to engage in nearly any speech in the city," he said. "The ordinance could be used to silence anyone, from two friends debating politics on the sidewalk to a missionary handing out fliers."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, asks a federal judge to declare the ordinance unconstitutional and seeks an injunction barring its enforcement.
The city said in a statement later in the day that the measure was not intended for "restricting freedom of speech, but for public and protester safety" and was based on other state and local laws believed to have been upheld by the courts.
On August 18, Main Street Church Pastor Jim Catlin sought a permit to publicly distribute religious-themed literature on the sidewalks surrounding a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple during a month-long open house for the new building, according to the lawsuit.
Brigham City officials issued a permit limiting access for Catlin's group between August 21 and September 15 to three areas on lesser-trafficked sidewalks and capped the number of permitted pamphleteers at four, the lawsuit said.
Atheists Convince TN University to Ban Prayer Before Football Games
Prayer at public school football games has been a frequent target of atheist activist groups, particularly when it comes to high schools and colleges in Tennessee. Last September, high school football coaches in Westmoreland found themselves in hot water for bowing their heads during student-led prayers. And now, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has taken the extraordinary step of banning prayers before games.
The prayer complaint sent to school officials in Chattanooga came from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. The organization says a local person complained in May about prayer at games.
The school’s chancellor, Roger Brown, announced this week that the university will now issue a moment of silence rather than a spoken prayer before each game. The decision comes after the FFRF complaint and after the university’s Secular Student Alliance (SSA), an atheist student group, protested the previous prayer practices.
From an atheist viewpoint, prayer is talking to yourself. So why is that offensive? This is just anti-Christian Leftist activism, nothing more.
And what has become of the guaranteed "free exercise" of religion?
Friday, September 14, 2012
Here's The Video That Sparked Muslim Mayhem And Murder in Libya and in Egypt
Agree or disagree with the content of this video, it is still a legitimate exercise of a fundamental human right -- a right that is antithetical to Islam.
The acting, dialogue, and production are awful -- but there is nothing there that justifies riots and murders. Nor is there anything there that our political leaders should not have unambiguously defended as fully in keeping with the true values of America contained in the Bill of Rights.
More background here A trailer of the video dubbed into Arabic has apparently been much viewed in Arab lands and led fairly rapidly to the riots. The producer of the movie is understandably lying low.
British plumber posted hundreds of 'health warning' flyers in campaign of harassment against curry house he accused of poisoning him
He's got a strong conviction that his curry was "off" but the family more likely had a virus. He sounds like a rather obsessed personality. What he said was clearly defamatory and could have led to a civil prosecution.
A father who claims he and his family suffered food poisoning after eating at a curry house is facing jail after campaigning to stop other diners going there.
Nick Diver-Legge, 48, became ill after a chicken tikka and salad meal at the B26 restaurant in Birmingham.
He spent the following weeks determined to spread his views about the restaurant – writing a scathing online review and posting flyers warning that 'the B26 should be avoided at all costs if you value your health'.
His campaign was so successful the restaurant suffered a 30 per cent fall in trade, leading the owner to contact police, who charged Diver-Legge with harassment.
At Birmingham Magistrates' Court, district judge Robert Zara said the father, of Hall Green, Birmingham, had gone beyond what was 'justified'.
He faces up to six months in prison when he is sentenced later this month. However, he plans to appeal against his conviction.
The plumber, who claims he lost thousands of pounds while off work ill, said the court's decision was a breach of his freedom of speech, adding: 'I am the innocent party.'
He said he and his 18-month-old son were sick for a week and his wife Jennifer for two weeks. [Doesn't sound like food poisoning]
B26 owner Mitt Balli described the campaign as 'very upsetting' and said he had had to lay off staff as a result of the fall in takings.
Diver-Legg was convicted of harassment in court but said he would appeal. He said outside court: ‘Basically (the judge) has said you don’t have the right to public protest or freedom of speech. It has been really stressful.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Late backdown: British Liberal leader concedes that opponents of homosexual marriage are not "bigots"
Was the Bible written by bigots?
Nick Clegg attracted ridicule after hastily attempting to withdraw a press release in which he referred to opponents of gay marriage as 'bigots'.
The clumsy attempt at news management by the Deputy Prime Minister's senior press officer brought immediate comparisons to The Thick of It, the spoof BBC Television show about bungling politicians and civil servants.
Mr Clegg's office had sent out a press release via email at 3pm informing journalists about a reception he is hosting tonight for "celebrity campaigners, religious figures, activists, charities and politicians" to "celebrate the Government’s historic consultation on equal marriage."
In a hard-hitting speech at the reception, the press release announced, the Liberal Democrat leader would describe opponents of gay marriage as "bigots". The full quote read: “Continued trouble in the economy gives the bigots a stick to beat us with, as they demand we 'postpone' the equalities agenda in order to deal with 'the things people really care about'. As if pursuing greater equality and fixing the economy simply cannot happen at once."
As news of the Deputy Prime Minister's remarks began circulating in Westminister, Mr Clegg's team clearly had second thoughts about his frank use of words.
Australia: Graffiti vandal loses freedom of expression appeal
He sounds like a Leftist nut
A serial graffiti artist has lost his court fight for the right to paint over public advertising as an act of free expression.
Kyle Magee, a university student from Collingwood, told police he painted over an advertisement on a tram shelter as part of his personal protest against the global advertising industry.
He was convicted and fined $500 for damaging property.
Magee appealed against his punishment, arguing the Victorian Human Rights Charter gave him the right to deface advertising under freedom of expression.
The Supreme Court judge ruled the graffiti did not constitute a protected form of expression and he was ordered to pay the court costs.
Magee has previously spent weeks in custody for painting over city advertising.
Outside court, he refused to speak to reporters, taking issue with what he called a "corporate media presence".
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Honesty not encouraged among British jurors
A juror told a court his homophobic and racist views meant he could not give a defendant a fair trial.
In a letter written to the judge after he was selected from a shortlist to serve in a case, the man claimed his extreme views 'against homosexuals and black/foreign people' made it impossible for him to be impartial.
Last night an investigation was under way after the judge reluctantly agreed to dismiss him from the jury and referred the case to the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve.
The letter was made public after he was selected to serve on an assault and dangerous driving trial at Southampton Crown Court. Presiding Judge Gary Burrell QC read his note out in open court.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has since been taken off the jury and threatened with prosecution for contempt of court.
This is because Judge Burrell said he could not be sure if he had written the letter just to get out of it.
The man, who was escorted from the court, was warned he now faced prosecution under the Contempt of Court act for failing to serve on a jury.
British policewomen fired over private conversation
Two female police officers have been sacked after a colleague recorded them having a conversation in which one likened black people to gorillas and monkeys.
Special Constable Rosanna Garofalo and WPC Joanna Sugda were in the changing room at Islington Police Station in March when a colleague left an iPhone on record in her locker at work.
When the recording was played back, Garofalo was heard saying that black people 'all look the f*****g same. They all look like monkeys.'
A disciplinary hearing heard how the officer said she could never sleep with a black man and that her boyfriend wouldn't be interested in black women as they 'look like gorillas'.
Describing another officer, she added that she had 'a face like a gorilla', that she was 'f*****g ugly'.
Sugda, 32, is believed to be heard laughing in the background after exclaiming: 'you cant say that.'
The recording, which happened on March 9, was handed over to senior staff and both officers were sacked for gross misconduct at a disciplinary hearing on August 29. Garofalo has launched a claim for unfair dismissal.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Britain: 'Racist' remark about red hair?
Red hair is found throughout Northern Europe so I wonder what "race" is involved? As a result of past invasions by lively Northern Europeans, you can also find red hair among Italians. I knew a red-haired Northern Italian once.
My father was a redhead (known as "Bluey") and my son has a red beard. If anyone suggested that it was a burden to have a "Bluebeard" as a son I would simply reply that it is in fact something I am most pleased about
But uptight England is a place where red hair tends to be looked down upon -- probably because red hair is rather common among the Scots and the Irish, whom the English have fought many wars with
A bank has been forced to apologise and pay compensation to a customer who was insulted by a member of staff - for being ginger.
Redhead Laura Payton, 32, was stunned when a worker at her local Halifax branch quipped: 'I bet your daughter is glad she isn't ginger like you.'
After leaving the bank, furious Laura called to make a complaint describing what had been said as 'completely unacceptable' and a 'form of racism.'
Since the incident on July 4, the angry mother-of-two says she has repeatedly called Halifax's complaints department to chase up the grievance. She eventually received £150 and a letter of apology - after being offered just £25 by the branch manager.
NV: Littering as free speech?
I see the dilemma. It's the people who throw the handbills away that should be fined for littering but taking a handbill is just a form of politeness for many people
"Some tourists try to dissuade them by directing icy glares their way. ...
But some tourists accept the pamphlets and glossy cards that advertise all-but-nude exotic dancers. Then, more often than not, they toss the material in the trash. Or if a trash can isn't nearby, onto the sidewalk -- creating an endless X-rated litter problem that Las Vegas officials are now trying to clean up.
A new ordinance requires handbillers to pick up litter within a 25-foot radius on the sidewalk. But there's a hitch: The law might run afoul of the First Amendment."
Las Vegas tried directly to prohibit handbilling in 1997. The ACLU intervened in court and won. Subsequent court rulings have established that sidewalks along the Strip are public thoroughfares where the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, Lichtenstein said.
To Lichtenstein, how police will enforce a law that requires handbillers to clean up their area no less than every 15 minutes is an obvious problem. "I'm not sure the police even understand what they're supposed to be enforcing," he said. "Depending on what happens, we may be back in court again."
Monday, September 10, 2012
"Jew" is incorrect?
How about a bit of affirmative action? Why not call it "Black Pond". Or am I missing something?
A federal board has approved a New Hampshire town's request to change the name of a fishing spot that's been called Jew Pond since the 1920s.
The Telegraph of Nashua reports the U.S. Board of Geographic Names recently approved the decision by Mont Vernon residents to rename the pond Carleton Pond, after one of the town's founding families.
In supporting the change, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte had said "pejorative place names" reflecting religious "prejudice" aren't consistent with New Hampshire values of "community and mutual respect."
So the word "Jew" is "pejorative" etc.? I wonder what Jews should call themselves? Hebrews?
Christian groups' fury at T-shirt which mixes sex and the Bible
Hmmmm ... I would have thought it a positive thing to have the Bible message included. In Britain today, they might not see it anywhere else
Fashion chain Next has been slammed by Christian groups over a graphic ‘Sinners’ T-shirt which depicts women as sex objects and uses Bible references.
A Twitter storm has erupted over the shirt with one blogger even claiming the shirt, image and message effectively condones rape.
The T-shirt carries the headline ‘Sinners – The Night Before’ above the seductive image of a woman in black underwear lying on a bed. The image is surrounded by a series of slogans which read: ‘Live for the Day – Seize the Night and all it may hold’
Finally, there is a long smallprint passage which carries a number of definitions of sin including one from the Bible from epistle to the Romans, chapter seven.
Gareth Davies, of Christian Action Research and Education, contacted Next via its official Facebook page to complain about the T-shirt. He asked: ‘Why are you marketing graphic T-Shirts with misogynistic poses of women in underwear and promoting such images using The Bible?’
Mr Davies said: ‘The image itself is very unhelpful. It gives a message about availability and vulnerability of women. They are then using the word sin and words from the Bible to suggest this is both naughty but nice.
‘The whole concept is wrong-headed and demeaning to women. Human dignity should be cherished and women should not be reduced to the level of an object.’
Sunday, September 09, 2012
More Leftist hate speech
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., just slandered Nuclear Regulatory Commission member Bill Magwood, an African-American, as “one of the most unethical, prevaricating, incompetent people I’ve dealt with.” Reid, furious with Magwood because of his support for the Yucca Mountain nuclear repository in Reid’s state, also called Magwood a “treacherous, miserable liar” and “a first-class rat,” among other names.
Reid has demonstrated that he is both vulgar and illiberal, but there are no calls for him to vacate his post. That exemption was not extended to an earlier counterpart, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss. Lott, in similarly illiberal and crass fashion, said at Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday party in 2002 that America would have avoided “all these problems over all these years” if Thurmond had been elected president in 1948. Lott was pressured by both the Republican Party and the media to step down, and he did so in shame.
Must not say that homosexuality is a health hazard
Even though it undoubtedly is. Almost all cases of AIDS in Australia are among the cheerful fraternity
PRIME Minister Julia Gillard will boycott the annual conference of a major Christian group because of its "heartless" attitude towards homosexuals.
Ms Gillard was to have given the keynote address to the Australian Christian Lobby next month but today cancelled her appearance.
She accused ACL managing director Jim Wallace of offensive comments Wednesday when he compared gay marriage with the health risks of smoking. Mr Wallace repeated his comments in a statement today.
The Prime Minister has said she opposes gay marriage but today took the significant step of defending those who are agitating for law changes to allow it. In political terms the Prime Minister was ensuring she did not lose the influential gay vote in inner city areas.
"There is a range of deeply held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make," the Prime Minister said today in a statement.
"I believe yesterday's comments by Jim Wallace were offensive. To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.
Mr Wallace, who is also a former head of the SAS, made his comments during a debate on gay marriage with Greens Leader Christine Milne in Hobart yesterday.
"I think we're going to owe smokers a big apology when the homosexual community's own statistics for its health - which it presents when it wants more money for health - are that is has higher rates of drug-taking, of suicide, it has the life of a male reduced by up to 20 years," Mr Wallace said. "The life of smokers is reduced by something like seven to 10 years and yet we tell all our kids at school they shouldn't smoke.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Democrats boo "God" and "Jerusalem"
Both might now be in the platform for the sake of political expediency but it is clear what Democrats actually think of them
Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.
The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that said "we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."
The language on Jerusalem states "it is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths."
Brussels, Belgium, wants everyone to be nice. And if not, it’s going to cost you
“Any form of insult is from now on [is] punishable, whether it be racist, homophobic or otherwise,” Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans’ spokesperson quoted him as saying, according to the Telegraph.
OK. Let me try an insult: Freddy Thielmans is a dick
Fines will range between 75 and 250 euros for using offensive language or sexually harassing someone in public, officials said.
Mayor Thielemans said the new fines encourage officers to take action over offensive public behavior that previously went ignored because it was never prosecuted. Thielemans said police officers “had little incentive to take any action over such incidents.”
Thursday, September 06, 2012
"God" that unmentionable word
How not to answer a question below
During Fox News’ special coverage of the Democratic National Convention Tuesday, host Bret Baier confronted Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) in Charlotte about the Democratic Party’s decision to remove all mentions of the word “God” from their official 2012 platform. Instead of providing a simple answer, Durbin instead unfairly accused Baier and Fox News of insinuating that all Democrats are “Godless” creatures.
“If the narrative that is being presented on your station and through your channel and your network, is that the Democrats are Godless people, they ought to know better. God is not a franchise of the Republican party,” Durbin said. “Those of us that believe in God and those of us who have dedicated our lives to helping others in the name of God don’t want to take a second seat to anyone who is suggesting that one word out of the platform means that the Democrats across America are Godless, come on Bret.”
“No, no, no,” Baier replied, “I don’t think that‘s what’s being said. We are reporting what’s in the platform.”
The host then tried to rephrase the question. Baier informed Durbin that in 2008, God was mentioned once. In 2004, God was mentioned seven times and four times in 2008. “The question is why take it out in this time?”
Again, Durbin went back to his initial conclusion. “If you trying to draw some kind of conclusion that the Democrats are Godless, present your evidence. Present your evidence.”
The Condensed Liberal Handbook of Racial Code Words
by MICHELLE MALKIN
Thumper the Rabbit's parents always taught him, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all." If the left's self-appointed Omniscient Diviners of True Meaning have their way, conservatives in the public square won't be left with anything at all to say. Ever.
It's a treacherous business exercising your freedom of speech in the age of Obama. As a public service, I present to you: "The 2012 Condensed Liberal Handbook of Racial Code Words." Decoder rings, activate!
--Angry. On the campaign trail this summer, President Obama has become -- in the words of the mainstream Associated Press -- more "aggressive." But don't you dare call him "angry." According to MSNBC host Toure, that's racist!
"You notice he said 'anger' twice," Toure fumed in response to a speech last week by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. "He's really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man."
Or maybe Romney is just accurately describing the singular temperament of the growling, finger-jabbing, failure-plagued demagogue-in-chief. It's about the past four years, not 400 years. Sheesh.
--Chicago. The Obamas and their core team of astroturfers, pay-for-play schemers and powerbrokers hail from the Windy City. This is a simple geographic fact. But in progressive of pallor Chris Matthews' world, it's an insidious dog whistle. The frothing cable TV host attacked Republicans this week who have the gall to remind voters of the ruthless Chicago way.
"(T)hey keep saying Chicago, by the way. Have you noticed?" Matthews sputtered. "That sends that message: This guy's helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods and screwing us in the 'burbs."
Actually, it's a pointed reminder that the radical redistribution politics of Chicago-on-the-Potomac have done little to alleviate the suffering of impoverished Americans in violence-plagued, job-hungry inner cities everywhere. Racist!
--Constitution. Fox News contributor Juan Williams, who proudly calls himself a "real reporter," has apparently added real telepathist to his curriculum vitae. Earlier this year, he read the minds of Republicans and conservatives whom he accuses of deep-seated bigotry when they show any public reverence for our founding principles, documents and leaders.
"The language of GOP racial politics is heavy on euphemisms that allow the speaker to deny any responsibility for the racial content of his message," Williams wrote. "References to a lack of respect for the 'Founding Fathers' and the 'Constitution' also make certain ears perk up by demonizing anyone supposedly threatening core 'old-fashioned American values.'"
So, if you ever find yourself wanting to hum the "Schoolhouse Rock" version of the Preamble, heed these three words: Stop the hate!
--Experienced. A significant population of American voters believes that qualifications actually matter when running for the highest office in the land. Chilling, isn't it? They might as well sport KKK hoods. In the judgment of one Basil Smikle of The Century Foundation, "experienced" is a dreaded "racial code word."
Intoned Smikle: "Experienced? Does it really mean the time that he spent in the Senate, or does it mean, 'Well, does that guy have the same kind of experience in life that I have?' ... What does inexperience really mean?"
Maybe it just means what critics meant it to mean: "Does this guy have experience beyond the measly 304 days he served when the U.S. Senate was in session before he announced his first presidential bid?" I know: Racist!
Much more here
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Saying the President Likes Golf is now Racist
Via the Washington Free Beacon, here’s Lawrence O’Donnell and Martin Bashir talking about the GOP’s coded racism:
MARTIN BASHIR: We have seen an early draft of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s forthcoming oration. Can I quote something from you? “For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation’s problems, he hasn’t been working to earn re-election. He has been working to earn a spot on the PGA Tour.” How about that?
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: Well, we know exactly what he’s trying to do there. He is trying to align to Tiger Woods and surely, the — lifestyle of Tiger Woods with Barack Obama. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. They find every way they possibly can to –
BASHIR: Lawrence — don’t you think — don’t you think that what he’s really trying to do is to suggest that the president is not paying attention to the central issues that come with the responsibility he has? Is he really – Mitch McConnell really making a connection with Tiger Woods who, of course, has become infamous for chasing various cocktail waitresses around Las Vegas and so on?
O’DONNELL: Martin, there are many, many, many rhetorical choices you can make at any point in any speech to make whatever point up want to make. If he wanted to make the point that you just suggested and I think he does want to make that point, they had a menu of a minimum of ten different kinds of images that they could have raised. And I promise you, the speech writers went through, rejecting three or four before they land order that one. That’s the one they want for a very deliberate reason. That — there’s – these people reach for every single possible racial double entendre they can find in every one of these speeches.
BASHIR: You really believe that about Mitch McConnell?
O’DONNELL: I know these people are insensitive. I know the speechwriters are insensitive. I know the way they work. They do not have the same sensitivity level that other speechwriters do. But when you get to the Tiger Woods reference, there were people in the speech writing room, I know this, without a shadow of a doubt, who said wait a minute, do we really want to go there? Do we really want to go to Tiger Woods and the vote in the room was yes, we do. Mitch McConnell agreed to do it.
BASHIR: Wow. Things are getting lower and lower by the day.
Racist taunts a plant?
Even the Leftist writer below suspects as much. There is of course a long history of fake hate crimes perpetrated by the Left
The day the GOP trotted out congressional candidate Mia Love, a gun-totin’, Mormon, African-American woman to show how cool they are with anyone, as long as they toe the line, a huge embarrassment occurred on the floor of the convention today.
Two convention-goers, apparently just as stupid as they are racist, reportedly threw peanuts at an African-American camerawoman. The motivation was clear, as the cretins apparently told the CNN employee, “This is how we feed animals.”
If these two really are Republicans (I am almost suspicious that this was some sort of plant because of the sheer stupidity), it could not provide worse PR for a party that has a huge gap to make up among women voters...
Kudos to the Republicans for tossing out these knuckle-dragging troglodytes, though. Real tough call. "Two attendees tonight exhibited deplorable behavior," the GOP said in a very brave statement. "Their conduct was inexcusable and unacceptable. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated."
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Naughty Bill Clinton
No coast to coast media furore over this:
Bill Clinton, in an effort to secure an endorsement for Hillary from Ted Kennedy, said to Kennedy, “A few years ago, this guy would have been carrying our bags.” Clinton’s role in the campaign rattled Obama. He told ABC News in an interview that Clinton “has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling.”
Aging feminist sow finds a new pretext to suppress criticism of Australia's Leftist Prime Minister
Just as all criticism of Obama is "racist", so all criticism of Australia's female Prime Minister is "sexist", apparently.
Leftists can't stand criticism. They know how fragile are the foundations of their arguments. Take away the anger and the hate and there is very little left
Politicans, including prime ministers, have always copped abuse. But Dr Anne Summers argues that the level of political persecution directed at Julia Gillard may breach federal laws designed to protect people’s rights at work.
Monday, September 03, 2012
I suppose you expect a "Chief Diversity Officer" to be a pain in the behind
Some fairly dubious claims from the U.S. State Dept. below
Watch your mouth -- everyday phrases like "hold down the fort" and "rule of thumb" are potentially offensive bombshells. At least according to the State Department.
Chief Diversity Officer John Robinson penned a column in the department's latest edition of "State Magazine" advising readers on some rather obscure Ps and Qs.
Robinson ticked off several common phrases and went on to explain why their roots are racially or culturally insensitive. The result was a list of no-nos that could easily result in some tongue-tied U.S. diplomats, particularly in an administration that swaps "war on terror" for "overseas contingency operation" and once shied away from using the word "terrorism."
For instance, Robinson warned, "hold down the fort" is a potentially insulting reference to American Indian stereotypes. "How many times have you or a colleague asked if someone could 'hold down the fort?'" he wrote. "You were likely asking someone to watch the office while you go and do something else, but the phrase's historical connotation to some is negative and racially offensive."
He explained: "To 'hold down the fort' originally meant to watch and protect against the vicious Native American intruders. In the territories of the West, Army soldiers or settlers saw the 'fort' as their refuge from their perceived 'enemy,' the stereotypical 'savage' Native American tribes." [I would have thought that forts were used rather a long time before the Indian wars]
He singled out another phrase, "Going Dutch," as a "negative stereotype portraying the Dutch as cheap."
And "rule of thumb," he wrote, can according to women's activists refer "to an antiquated law, whereby the width of a husband's thumb was the legal size of a switch or rod allowed to beat his wife."
Further, he explained, "If her bruises were not larger than the width of his thumb, the husband could not be brought to court to answer for his behavior because he had not violated the 'rule of thumb.'"
He went on to urge caution over the word "handicap," as some disability advocates "believe this term is rooted in a correlation between a disabled individual and a beggar, who had to beg with a cap in his or her hand because of the inability to maintain employment."
Strict limits on political opinions in Britain
Man wrote carefully and was not advocating violence but he was arrested nonetheless
A British dad has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after praising mass murderer Anders Breivik on Facebook, it emerged today. Philip Horn, 44, allegedly said on the social networking site that he 'takes his hat off' to the infamous gunman.
The Norwegian slaughtered 77 adults and teenagers when he bombed government buildings in Oslo and carried out a mass shooting on the island of Utoya in July last year.
Horn, a father-of-three, from Gillingham, was arrested by Kent Police on Thursday afternoon and is currently being held in custody.
Horn, who is reported to have links with the English Defence League, is also alleged to have publicly supported Breivik’s crusade to 'protect his country from Muslims'.
The unemployed builder from Gillingham, Kent, is said to have posted a message saying: 'Well done Anders Breivik. I take my hat off to you sir. 'You proved you were not insane and that you are just one of many like myself who wish their country to return to the way it was before it was invaded by the Muslim population. Respect to you.'
He was also filmed by a national newspaper saying: 'If someone came to my door in a uniform and said they were going to bang me up for six months then fine. I’m not going to retract any remarks I made.
'To a certain extent I do defend what he’s [Breivik] done. Go back 40-50 years ago to Norway, would you have seen people walking around in burkas and all that? 'I am a racist to a certain extent. Of course it’s wrong to kill children, but if he had to do it that way to get his point across, so be it.'
A Kent Police spokesman said: 'During the afternoon of Thursday, August 30 a 45-year-old man from Gillingham was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred. 'He is currently in police custody.'
He has since been released on bail. Interesting to see if the cops pursue the matter.
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Realism about disability incorrect
Former health minister Edwina Currie was forced to defend herself against accusations she patronised Italian Paralympians by describing them as "gorgeous even in wheelchairs".
Her comment, posted on Twitter, drew condemnation from other users of the website, but Currie insisted she was paying the entire Italian team a compliment.
In response to criticism of her post, she said: "Why shouldn't we pay people who look good the compliment of saying so? That's real equality, innit?"
One reply, from @mbisace. described the comment as "singularly the most offensive thing I have seen on Twitter".
Another, from @jfraseruk, who is disabled, said "even in wheelchairs? wow - talk about insensitive".
An offensive Muppet?
The Swedish chef character in the Muppets speaks mock-Swedish, not real Swedish
Swedes living outside of Sweden don’t always take kindly to comments about the chef however, with some people not understanding that the character is just speaking untranslatable nonsense.
“When Swedes go abroad, they become zealous protectors of the Swedish brand,” Michael Moynihan, an American married to a Swede told Slate.
“Something as insignificant as the Swedish Chef is like a slap in the face.”
The cookie monster is my favorite