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)