Wednesday, March 31, 2004

DO-GOODERS COME UNSTUCK

Attack on fried chicken "racist": "The Tennessee Department of Health pulled a radio public-service announcement yesterday after some people complained that it played to racial stereotypes about African-Americans. The PSA encouraged listeners to 'try baking your chicken, eating a fresh tossed salad on the side and scrumptious watermelon for dessert.' 'I don't believe it was intended to have any racial overtones,' said Diane Denton, spokeswoman for the department. 'We wouldn't want to offend anyone. We want to be culturally sensitive.' Denton said the PSA started running statewide Monday on 10 radio stations, some of which had a high number of minority listeners. It was part of a targeted 21-ad campaign aimed at heart disease and diabetes statewide, especially among racial groups dying at a much faster rate."

DISHONEST TEXTBOOKS

"Social studies textbooks used in elementary and secondary schools are mostly a disgrace that, in the name of political correctness and multiculturalism, fail to give students an honest account of American history, say academic historians and education advocates. 'Secondary and college students, and indeed most of the rest of us, have only a feeble grasp of politics and a vague awareness of history, especially the political history of the United States and the world,' says Paul Gagnon, emeritus professor of history at the University of Massachusetts."

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

THE GESTAPO LIVES -- AT AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF COURSE

Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU), a public institution bound by the First Amendment, is investigating the faculty advisor and student editor of its campus newspaper, The Standard, for publishing an editorial cartoon that a Native American group found "offensive." SMSU has refused to rule out a formal hearing on the matter, has requested that Standard faculty advisor Professor Wanda Brandon and editor-in-chief Mandy Phillips attend "mediation" to discuss the issue, and, according to Philips, has contacted The Standard to "advise" it that even reporting on the administration's intervention in this case could violate university policy.

"SMSU's attack on free speech, freedom of the press, and due process must end immediately," said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for FIRE. He added, "If publishing an innocuous satirical cartoon is sufficient to set off secret investigations and proceedings, then truly no speech is safe on America's college campuses."

More here

(Note: "Gestapo" is an abbreviation of the German name "Geheime Staatspolizei" or "secret police" and was set up to serve Hitler's National SOCIALISM -- so the parallels are closer than one might at first think)

A REVIEW OF The Dark Side of the Left: Illiberal Egalitarianism in America by Richard J. Ellis

Why do people who identify themselves as liberal or egalitarian sometimes embrace intolerance or even preach violence? Illiberalism has come to be expected of the right in this country; its occurrence on the left is more paradoxical but no less real. Although equality lies at the heart of the liberal tradition, the earnest pursuit of egalitarian goals has often come at the expense of other liberal ideals.

In this provocative book, Richard J. Ellis examines the illiberal tendencies that have characterized egalitarian movements throughout American history, from the radical abolitionists of the 1830s to the New Left activists of the 1960s. He also takes on contemporary radical feminists like Catherine MacKinnon and radical environmental groups like Earth First! to show that, even today, many of the American left's sacred cows have cloven hooves.

Ellis identifies the organizational and ideological dilemmas that caused Students for a Democratic Society to transform itself from a democratic to an elitist organization, or that allow radicals to justify illegal acts as long as they are free of self-interest. He explains how orthodoxy arises within a group from the need to maintain distance from a society it views as hopelessly corrupt, and how individuals committed to egalitarian causes are particularly susceptible to illiberalism--even poets like Walt Whitman, who celebrated the common people but often expressed contempt for their mundane lives. Political correctness, idealizing the oppressed, and an affinity for authoritarian and charismatic leaders are all parts of what Ellis calls "the dark side of the left."

Building on the groundwork laid by Richard Hofstadter in his pioneering book, The Age of Reform, Ellis exposes the shortcomings of today's left and provides a badly needed historical perspective on the contemporary debate over "political correctness." The Dark Side of the Left is a gutsy book that is essential reading for anyone who occasionally feels dark forebodings about seemingly noble causes.

Monday, March 29, 2004

IT'S THE SCHOOLS THAT ARE INCORRECT

Excerpts from an article by Dale Spender

School is one of the few places where boys don't do well. They don't do well at reading and writing; they don't stay on at school in the same numbers as girls - and they make up only about 43 per cent of university students.....

Which makes the question we should be asking not what is wrong with the boys, but what is wrong with the school?

Most of the people in the workforce are now being called upon to manage vast amounts of information. And it's not the old print form; it's digital. It's all about computers. And this is where the boys come into their own. Boys today are members of the Net generation. They have grown up wired, and whenever they can get their hands on the equipment, most of them excel at anything to do with computers. They can handle massive amounts of information and massage complex systems as they download files, swap music and hack and chat their way through the day. They are immensely digitally literate. They can deconstruct images almost instantly; they can read screens. What's more, these are the very skills they will need for future employment. Their digital literacy is very different from the print literacy of earlier generations - and different from the print literacy on which most of them are still being tested in school.

The Net kids don't sit still, they aren't quiet, and they aren't ordered and disciplined. Their computer behaviour is seen by many teachers as a discipline problem, and their noise and activity as a lack of concentration. For these young people are not only "taking in" information, they are constantly sending it out. The key difference between print and digital is that the computer is interactive. The Net generation has not been taught these skills by parents or teachers. They are the hands-on generation. They have worked it out for themselves. They arrive at the school door with a range of sophisticated computer skills, and there are plenty of teachers of five-year-olds who readily acknowledge that the kids know much more about computers than they do.

But what does the Net generation think of the culture of the school? The answer is generally "not much". It's because most classrooms are not well equipped. For the first time in history, the chances are that the home is better resourced than the school. But this isn't the only limitation the wired kids confront; it's the fact that the school often doesn't value their digital literacy.

Adolescent boys who are recognised as whizzes by IT experts are almost never given credit for their advanced performance. Instead, teachers who are familiar with books, but for whom computers remain something of a mystery, are more likely to regard the speed, dexterity and flashing eye movements of the boys as the product of too many video games - and as something to be kept out of the classroom. Here you have the real problem: The boys have not fallen behind; rather they are ahead of the school.

But can they use their sophisticated information management and knowledge-making skills that the school has not taught them? Rarely. The reality of the classroom is a mob of boys who can hardly wait to get away from the place so they can get back to the real thing - doing the digital. Boys are not underperforming; it's the school. The minute the boys (and some girls) leave the classroom behind, and can be boisterous and adventurous in their use of the digital - and not get into trouble for it - they will be the winners once more.

The minute they can get credit for what they do so well, rather than being penalised for not being able to do what their teachers were taught in another age, boys probably will be ahead of the girls - even in the classroom.

A GOOD MISSION STATEMENT:

As a conservative, I am concerned with the true, not the new. Novelty as such is of no value. Nor is change as such. `Progressives' take note. Thus I will be saying some highly unoriginal things. But they need to be said and emphasized in an age in which the forces of stupefaction threaten to bury the obvious under a crapload of political correctness.

A good rant from the same source:

I understand that a bill to prevent `obesity suits' against restaurants has passed. Good news, no doubt. But what ought to disturb people is that any such law is needed in the first place. What kind of moral defective blames a restaurant for his voluntary overindulgence? What sort of venal lawyer brings a suit like this? What manner of boneheaded judge allows it to be heard? The liberal assault on common sense and individual responsibility must be stopped.

From The Independent Philosopher

Sunday, March 28, 2004

CHRIS BRAND'S LATEST

Chris Brand scours the world for examples of political IN-correctness. His most recent headings are as under (Note that you have to go to the BOTTOM of his page to find the latest).

RACISM MAKES FOR ALTRUISM
BLACK-WHITE IQ DIFFERENCE NOT DUE TO CLASS, HEALTH
IMMIGRATION ‘CONTROL’ BLASTED -- in the UK
MULTICULTI MADNESS -- in Kosovo
CUPIDINOUS COP CLEARED
IRAQI ACADEMICS SAY THANKS
LUNIVERSITIES BLASTED "Devastating public criticism came forward of Britain’s useless universities"
RACE- and SEX-REALIST ACADEMIC EMPLOYED BY U.K. HOME OFFICE
PAEDOHYSTERIA REACHES OUT -- Against Benjamin Britten
IQ COME-BACK -- in UK -- owing to low meaningfulness of secondary school qualifications
SEX REALISM -- Australian footballers charged with rape
CENSORSHIP ‘SURVEYED’ -- A list of once censored books with some omissions
EMPLOYING ILLEGALS COULD GET COSTLIER -- UK to fine employers more
BLECKS vs WYMMIN South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki sexist
IQ and THE WEALTH OF NATIONS REVIEWED -- in The Nature-stable journal Heredity

THE ERASURE OF AN INCORRECT FEMINIST

Excerpt from an article by David Horowitz

"An ideological omerta is the Left's response to its vindicated critics, especially those who emerged from its own ranks. It is an intellectual version of Stalin's efforts to transform his political opponents into "unpersons," in order to obliterate their influence and ideas. The historian Aileen Kraditor, once a star in the firmament of the academic Left, is a less prominent intellectual figure than Von Mises and Hayek, but no less illustrative of the method by which the Left deals with its critics. The books Kraditor wrote -- The Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, Means and Ends in American Abolitionism, and The Radical Persuasion were once routinely cited by Sixties progressives as models of the scholarship radicals produced. But then Kraditor had second thoughts and departed the radical ranks. As a pioneer in feminist scholarship, Aileen Kraditor would have been a prime candidate for high honors in todays academy. But she had the bad judgment to become an anti-Communist and to write a book puncturing the radical illusion. As a result, it is as though she had never existed, and never written.

Based on her own experience as a member of the Party during the height of the Cold War, Kraditor's last book set out to describe the intellectual world-view of American Communists. Jimmy Higgins: The Mental World of the American Rank and File Communist, 1930-1958 is the definitive study of its subject. Yet, despite an explosion of academic interest in the history of American Communism, Kraditor's work is almost never referred to and almost never cited, its insights never engaged by the academic community. Instead, Communist sympathizers like Princeton's Ellen Schrecker and NYUs Robin D.G. Kelley, have become pre-eminent academic authorities on the historiography of American Communism, while Aileen Kraditor has been made an unperson in the intellectual culture.

This politically motivated censorship and self-enforced ignorance insulates the Left from uncomfortable encounters with former comrades and necessary truths. Defectors from the radical ranks quickly discover that their ideas are ignored and their realities erased. It is the way a bankrupt intellectual tradition enforces its academic rule. The unwritten law of the radical intellect is this: Once the revolutionary idea has been called into question, the questioner must cease to exist. In a democracy, this extinction may be accomplished by personal smear or ideological exclusion. But it is required in order to preserve the faith. To the religious mind, the thought of God's death is unthinkable".

(omerta is the "code of silence" of the Sicilian Mafia)

Saturday, March 27, 2004

CRITICISM OF WOMEN INCORRECT

Katie Hnida, a former place-kicker for the University of Colorado, recently announced that she had been sexually harassed by the team and even raped by one of her teammates. These charges came about after she had been cut by the coach, Gary Barnett. Barnett declared, no doubt truthfully, "It was obvious Katie was not very good. She was awful. You know what guys do? They respect your ability. You can be 90 years old, but if you can go out and play, they'll respect you. Katie was not only a girl, she was terrible." Harsh words, but unfortunately the truth is often quite harsh. For saying this, however, the university president immediately put Barnett on paid leave pending an investigation. The New York Times was not satisfied. They wanted more than just Barnett's firing. Somebody had to "clean up the university's mess of a football program," shrieked an editorial. The "separate jock world" had to be eliminated once and for all. A Times sports reporter called for "something drastic ... like shutting down the program to investigate the root causes of the dreadful events that have been alleged." These priests of intolerance didn't even bother to pretend that a woman's accusation against a man is not the last word on the matter. What I'd like to know yet again is, what was a woman doing on a male football team? And since when is a coach fired for saying someone is a dreadful player? If the charges are proved, throw the book at the perpetrators, but not until.

From Taki

NO FREEDOM OF RELIGION AT UNIVERSITY

Unless you are Muslim, of course

University sued for discrimination against Christian group: "Attorneys for the Center for Law and Religious Freedom recently filed suit in federal court on behalf of an Ohio State University Christian student club that has been threatened with being stripped of its status as a recognized student organization. The Christian Legal Society has refused to accept non-Christians and practicing homosexuals as club members and officers. Although all students are welcome at meetings of the student Christian Legal Society club at Ohio State's Michael E. Moritz College of Law, the club's constitution and bylaws require its members and officers to profess faith in Jesus Christ and its leaders to exhibit exemplary moral conduct in accordance with orthodox Christian doctrine, including a prohibition on practicing homosexuality."

UNIVERSITY INTOLERANCE

Fighting Leftist discrimination: Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say they have had enough with being made to feel their views -- decidedly not liberal -- are illegitimate. Campus conservatives say they are fighting back after a student who expressed his opposition to homosexuality during a classroom discussion was publicly ostracized by his professor. Dean Bresciani, the vice chancellor of students at the school, admits that the professor was out of bounds. ... But students want more than recognition that the professor was wrong. They have formed a group called Students for Academic Freedom and are demanding the right to express their ideas without ridicule and retaliation. They also are seeking oversight of professors to make sure they keep their biases out of the classroom."

Friday, March 26, 2004

CHURCHES INCORRECT

Local dictators: "Churches looking to grow might find themselves at odds with [Boynton, FL] city planners. That's an issue the Rev. Glenn Lyons stumbled over Tuesday night, when members of his congregation asked the city commission to approve plans for a new church. Currently, members of Deliverance by Faith Church meet in what used to be a laundromat on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just east of Seacrest Boulevard. Four years ago, the church bought a small property 300 hundred feet down the road, hoping to put a new meeting place there. City planners, though, say a new church doesn't fit the commission-approved vision for the area. The proposed church lot and several others in the immediate area should be reserved for a commercial building that mixes stores and offices, said the city's development director, Quintus Greene."

A VICTORY FOR FREE SPEECH

"A Christian high school student in Virginia has been given permission to wear a pro-life sweatshirt after a Michigan law center threatened to sue the school on his behalf last month for banning the garment. Daniel Goergen, a high school student at Denbigh High School in Newport News, VA, wore a black hooded sweatshirt to school on February 18. However, Assistant Principal Marylin Sinclair-White immediately forced Goergen to either remove it or turn it inside-out to conceal the pro-life message. The words on the front of the sweatshirt read 'Abortion is homocide' while the back of it states 'You will not silence my message. You will not mock my God. You will stop killing my generation. Rock For Life.'"

More here

THE BRITISH MADHOUSE

"A man who stabbed to death an armed intruder at his home was jailed for eight years today.

Carl Lindsay, 25, answered a knock at his door in Salford, Greater Manchester, to find four men armed with a gun. When the gang tried to rob him he grabbed a samurai sword and stabbed one of them, 37-year-old Stephen Swindells, four times. Mr Swindells, of Salford, was later found collapsed in an alley and died in hospital.

Lindsay, of Walkden, was found guilty of manslaughter following a three-week trial at Manchester Crown Court."

More here

Thursday, March 25, 2004

MEN AUTOMATICALLY INCORRECT

"On campuses across North America, the merest whiff of an abuse accusation still ruins careers.

Daphne Patai is one of the few feminists to demonstrate compassion for such wrongfully accused men. In her book "Heterophobia," Patai describes the savagery of sexual misconduct policies by which the accused has no due process or presumption of innocence but must prove his non-guilt to committees with the power to ruin his life.

One of the examples Patai cites is of an over-weight professor who was both well-liked and competent. One day, in the middle of a lecture, a female student called out a comment about the extreme size of his chest. He observed that she had no similar problem and, then, continued lecturing.

The student filed sexual harassment charges against him, based solely on the classroom incident. The ensuing witch-hunt was so extreme that the professor committed suicide. Thereafter, the university administration released a statement expressing its main concern: the professor's death should not discourage other similarly "abused" women from "speaking out."

Patai also highlights Professor Ramdas Lamb, a professor of religion at the University of Hawaii. As part of a course on contemporary social issues, Lamb assigned an article from a textbook that dealt with rape. A discussion ensued in class among the students about false rape allegations.

During the back-and-forth, several female students insisted that "women never lie" and became distressed when Lamb encouraged a hearing for all sides. A complaint was filed against him. A three-and-a-half year nightmare followed with an accusation of rape being raised. The accusation was proven untrue when some of the dates cited did not mesh with Lamb's whereabouts.

Lamb later stated, "I used to love to teach. Not any more. I used to love to interact with students ... Not any more. I used to believe that university campuses promoted free speech and the truth. Not any more. I used to believe students when they would tell me things. Not any more.".....

It is now time to start talking about the ignored victims, about the wrongfully accused men. It is not enough to dismiss false accusers; restitution should be provided to those they have harmed.

What form of restitution? The possibilities range from an official apology to reinstatement and libel charges against the false accuser. Only then will the witch hunts stop."

More here

REALISM BREAKS OUT IN NEW ZEALAND

I noted on 12th on Dissecting Leftism that the leader of New Zealand's major conservative party has attacked affirmative action and that he was getting a lot of support for it. It also seems, however, that opposing affirmative action can be dangerous: "Police have investigated threats against National Party leader Don Brash following his landmark Orewa speech on race relations." All in the name of "tolerance" of course. Some background on New Zealand's racial stresses here. Brash has replied to his critics here. A short excerpt:
"I argued that the Treaty process is out of control, that race-based political correctness is infecting the institutions of our society, and that we are headed towards a racially divided nation, with two sets of laws and two standards of citizenship. The Treaty is not remotely a blueprint for building a modern, prosperous, New Zealand.

The Treaty did not create a partnership: fundamentally, it was the launching pad for the creation of one sovereign nation.

I concluded that there can be no basis for government funding based on race, no basis for separate Maori electorates, no basis for introducing Maori wards in local authority elections, and no obligation for local government to consult Maori in preference to other New Zealanders.

I have stood back for the past five weeks and let the critics have their say, letting them give it their best shot.

And what ineffectual shots they were....

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

DAWNING EDUCATIONAL SANITY?

Below are three articles on forthcoming educational reform in my home State of Queensland, Australia. Queensland is however not greatly different from other places in the English-speaking world so it seems reasonable to expect that the changes in Queensland might be the harbinger of much more widespread changes.

Fast-tracking for teachers

(Credentialism bites the dust at last)

A REVIEW of Queensland teacher registration could result in scientists and tradesmen being fast-tracked into schools. State Education Minister Anna Bligh yesterday announced a major overhaul of Queensland's teaching watchdog, the Board of Teacher Registration. Ms Bligh said the review of the board's powers and function would include an examination of ways to expand the teaching talent pool to include other professionals such as engineers and scientists. "Currently the entry path into teaching is very restricted," Ms Bligh said. "The review will examine ways to fast-track people with other qualifications and life experience, including trades, technical and other professions, into teaching, with more flexible registration options." Teachers are currently required to have a four-year education degree.

A teaching degree is notoriously the one with the lowest standards of any degree so any able person should see it as an almost criminal waste of the years spent on it. It has, in other words, been a reasonably good filter for keeping the ablest people out of teaching. At the moment, even a person with a Ph.D. would not be allowed to teach in a Queensland school unless they also had that tokenistic teaching degree!

The above is a news item that appeared in "The Courier Mail" (Brisbane, Australia) on March 23, 2004 but which does not appear to be otherwise online


Gifted students to get a fast-track education

(Are the schools finally giving up on the Leftist "all kids are equal" myth?)

By Rosemary Odgers

QUEENSLAND'S 48,500 gifted students will be able to fast-track their education under a new State government strategy to help ensure they reach their full potential. Under the plan, state schoolteachers and principals will be required to identify gifted students and offer them extra learning opportunities. This could include allowing them to skip a grade, study subjects one or two years earlier than their peers or excuse them from classes where they already know the work so they can study something new.

Education Minister Anna Bligh will release the strategy today, two years after a committee was established to review Education Queensland's policies on exceptionally talented children amid concerns they were being forgotten. "At least 10 per cent of all students are gifted and need help to achieve their best or risk disengaging from learning and becoming withdrawn or disruptive through boredom," Ms Bligh said. "Without recognition and specific support, they can face unique difficulties in education which are just as debilitating as for other students with special needs.

Gifted students are identified as having extraordinary intellectual abilities and capabilities well above other children their age.

Some state schools already have accelerated learning programs in place which have allowed teenagers to take university subjects while at school or to learn subjects from two different year levels at the one time.

The above is an excerpt from an article that appeared in the Brisbane (Queensland, Australia) "Courier Mail" on Saturday March 20th, 2004, p. 16 but which does not appear to be online elsewhere

Poor male enrolment in higher education

(This article would seem to reduce to absurdity the idea that the group identities of the people in any given activity must be exactly proportionate to the numbers in the same groups in the community at large)

By Tess Livingstone

MEN have become so under-represented in higher education that a Government report has raised the idea of classifying them as an "equity" group along with other groups. Equity groups are normally defined as those groups less likely to enrol in university courses, often because they face significant barriers of finance and distance. They include indigenous students, students from low socio-economic backgrounds, rural students and those from isolated areas, students from non-English speaking backgrounds and women in non-traditional areas of study such as engineering.

However, An Analysis of Equity Groups in Higher Education 1991-2002 has raised the possibility of adding men as a group to the list. "The participation rate for male students overall has now fallen to an all-time low of 43 per cent," the report noted. With males representing 49 per cent of the population, "this does seem to represent a position of significant disadvantage".

QUT Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake said there was no doubt that young women were outperforming young men at school, but the main reason for the discrepancy was the under-representation of men in teaching and nursing courses.

Any male who goes into teaching these days has to be a great optimist. Too often have male teachers had their lives and careers ruined by false allegations of sexual abuse.

The above is an excerpt from an article that appeared on p. 3 of "The Courier Mail" (Brisbane, Australia) on March 23, 2004 but which does not appear to be otherwise online


Guards in Canada's maximum security prisons have been banned from wearing stab-proof vests.
"If you have that kind of presence symbolized by (a stab-proof vest), you're sending a signal to the prisoner that you consider him to be a dangerous person," said Tim Krause.
What an enormous relief it will be to prison guards who are stabbed that they didn't give their assailants the impression they were dangerous.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

School Promotes Homosexuality to 1st-Graders

From Interested Participant

"(Wilmington, NC) According to this story in the Wilmington Star (reg. req'd.), Barbara Hawley, the librarian and media coordinator for Freeman Elementary School, ordered a library book for 1st-grade students that celebrates male homosexuality and marriage. After parents objected, the program to indoctrinate children on male homosexuality was defended.

"We have a lot of diversity in our schools," said Elizabeth Miars, Freeman's principal. "What might be inappropriate for one family, in another family is a totally acceptable thing."

Miars then compared parents' objections to homosexuality to complaints about religious books. For any action to be considered, parents must file a written complaint with the New Hanover County School System.

My take is simple. The situation at Freeman Elementary School is wrong and it should not have occurred. For public elementary schools to have an agenda to teach homosexuality while prohibiting the Ten Commandments is bizarre. I don't know how the school authorities get any sleep at night."

POLITICALLY CORRECT RAPE

"Back in July, we noted an article in which Bruce Bawer quoted a Norwegian professor, commenting on the statistic that 65% of rapes in Norway were committed by "non-Western" immigrants, mostly Muslims, as remarking that the victims had it coming. "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes," the professors said, because Muslims found their manner of dress provocative and "believe that it is women who are responsible for rape."

This is a new height in multicultural insanity, and now this type of thinking seems to be influencing Norwegian law. An appeals court "acquitted a man for sexually assaulting a mentally handicapped woman on the grounds that he had only lived 12 years in Norway and so had difficulty understanding the victim's condition," Aftenposten reports. The victim suffers from Williams syndrome, a Downs syndrome-like disorder, one symptom of which is "overly friendly and polite behavior and a desire to contact strangers." (PBS has more on the syndrome.)

The accused, a 22-year-old cab driver "originally from the Middle East," testified "that he found nothing odd about the woman's appearance or behavior" and "cab drivers often talked about easy sex offers from female passengers." The appeals court overturned his prison term of 60 days (!), but it did order him "to pay the woman NOK 25,000 [$3,600] in damages and to replace her ruined coat."

From "Opinion Journal"

Monday, March 22, 2004

POLITICALLY CORRECT SIGN LANGUAGE

I am a bit ambivalent about this announcement. Stereotyping Jews as having hooked noses is certainly offensive, wrong, unnecessary and has appalling precedents. But the rest seems over-zealous and disruptive to people who already labour under considerable difficulties

"Political correctness has caught up with sign language for deaf people. Gestures used to depict ethnic and religious minorities and homosexuals are being dropped because they are now deemed offensive.

The abandoned signs include "Jewish", in which a hand mimes a hooked nose; the sign for "gay", a flick of a limp wrist; and "Chinese", in which the index fingertips pull the eyes into a slant. Another dropped sign is that for "Indian", which is a finger pointing to an imaginary spot in the middle of a forehead".

OK FOR SOME TO BE HOMOPHOBES

The PC brigade obviously think that you can't expect any better from a dumb "person of colour"

Take the thug rapper known as "50 Cent," whose music glorifies sex, drugs and getting shot, which he knows something about, having survived a nine-bullet fusillade in 2000 in his previous career as a crack and heroin dealer.....

The rapper also uses words like "faggot" in his songs, including the big hit "In Da Club." But since he's seen as uber-cool (or maybe because he typically disdains gay males but not gay females), the usually hypersensitive Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) could only muster a milquetoast response.

In a press statement, GLAAD expressed "concern" since it "believes that it can be dangerous to use words like 'faggot' and 'homo' when talking about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community." That will clearly make the thug-rapper think twice, huh?

In true P.C. fashion, GLAAD trotted out their "People of Color Media Manager," a lady named C. Riley Snorton, to offer an olive branch to the thug: "We applaud his honesty in talking about the murder of his bisexual mother and appreciate his acknowledgment that he is not comfortable with gay people," said Ms. Snorton. "We know that confronting homophobia can indeed be uncomfortable. But honesty is always the first step in overcoming the desire to judge those who are different than us and in overcoming prejudice."

Snorton even strangely invited the rapper to party with her at GLAAD's annual media awards, so he can "get to know the LGBT community, and we are fully confident that in doing so he will find that he has more in common with us than he thinks."

Just as NOW couldn't get really outraged at charges that Bill Clinton may have raped a woman, so, too, can GLAAD not get its "homophobia" outrage going when the offender is not some uptight religious conservative.

Reporter Susan Jones of CNSNews.com noticed that GLAAD didn't exactly offer equally tender treatment for talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who didn't pepper her talk shows with words like "faggot." (The "hateful" words she used were "deviant" and "disorder.") But Dr. Laura was not a hero to aspiring gangsters and MTV addicts, so GLAAD waged war on her for years, even claiming victory for destroying her attempt at a TV talk show. When it flopped, they declared, "GLAAD hopes the cancellation of 'Dr. Laura' will make media corporations think twice about giving a platform to someone who promotes derision and exclusion. Such decisions will never go unchallenged."

But if the "defamation" police aim to ruin any media corporation who "promotes derision and exclusion," why go soft on 50 Cent and Interscope Records?

More here

Sunday, March 21, 2004

POLITICALLY CORRECT INSANITY

"As if asylum in the United States isn’t already a generous enough racket for illegal aliens, the Treason Lobby is salivating at the possibility that Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Secretario Ridge will open the door even wider by making “gender persecution” and domestic violence grounds for asylum.

If the Attorney General caves in on this issue, any foreign national who has ever been hit or abused by their spouse in their home country could show up at any United States port of entry and apply for political asylum. And they just might get it!

And once the lucky aliens use their newly-won refugee status in order to adjust to lawful permanent resident status—getting a brand new green card on a silver platter – guess who’s the first person they could legally file another immigrant petition for?

You guessed it—their spouse! (Plus, of course, the usual chain migration of relatives.)

With this new open borders dream within reach, a motley crew of usual suspects including something called the “The Center for Gender and Refugee Studies” [contact them] have lined up to press the issue. As if on cue, the Treason Lobby has jumped on the bandwagon for the case of one particular Guatemalan illegal alien woman, and also lobbying for an unprecedented expansion of refugee and asylum law."

More here.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

CHRIS BRAND'S LATEST

Chris Brand scours the world for examples of political IN-correctness. His most recent headings are as under (Note that you have to go to the BOTTOM of his page to find the latest).

RE-STOCKING vs IMMIGRANT LABOUR (About incentives to have children)
MULTICULTURALISM NEEDS SCRUTINY, SAYS U.K. HOME SECRETARY (Blind Blunkett sees better than many others)
SCOTLAND LIKELY TO BACK C.R.A.C.K. (Paying drug addicted mothers to contracept)
NO TO BLACK IMMIGRATION! (In Libya)
JUDGE OUTS HIMSELF ON RACE (Says he is a racialist but not a racist)
SEX DIFFERENCE IN g ADMITTED (Very few women have top IQs)
IMPORTANCE OF IQ RE-ASSERTED (It even makes you healthier)
20 million pound PRIZES FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS EXPOSED (illegal immigrants get full U.K. welfare payments)

Friday, March 19, 2004

THE OBESITY WAR:

"When you receive a knock on the door and the visitors in black suits and ties and white shirts pull out their federal badges and ask to sit down with you for an informal chat about your eating habits, whatever you do, don't lie about your weight! Because if you do, you'll soon find that lying to a federal bureaucrat is even more hazardous to your health than obesity. Just ask Martha Stewart!"


There is an amusing article in Forbes saying that for all the "war on obesity" the smart money is still backing fat: "Krispy Kreme Doughnuts increased fiscal fourth-quarter sales by 36% over last year". Leftists will like their suggestion that obesity is a conspiracy to kill people early and thus save the social security system from going bankrupt.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

POLITICAL HATE-SPEECH TO BE PROSECUTED?

The chairman of the British Labour party recently used an antisemitic slur against a prominent member of the British Conservative party -- noted here on March 11th. The bigot has now been reported to the police for prosecution under British "hate-speech" laws. See here for details. Fat chance of anything happening, of course. As has often been noted on this blog, Leftist antisemitism is apparently OK.

DOGS TRUMP PEOPLE

Illegal smells -- Student suspended after police dog smells drugs: Police say their drug dog smelled marijuana and cocaine on his backpack. It all started with a routine drug check at Jenkins High School yesterday morning. It ended with student Renard Powers getting suspended, based only on a smell. ... When police searched Renard's bag, they found some books and papers, all the normal stuff a kid who goes to school would have. They did not find any drugs but suspended Renard and charged him with passive participation. The school calls it part of its zero-tolerance policy."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

THE PC FOOD JUNGLE

"There's a new way to save the world: grocery shopping. In the next couple of weeks, pineapples, mangos and grapes bearing "Fair Trade Certified" stickers will start hitting scores of supermarkets nationwide, part of a broader movement to make shoppers feel good about themselves and the food they are buying. The labels mean that workers in poor countries received higher-than-usual wages and other benefits.

Along with other new buzzwords such as "certified sustainable" and "responsibly traded," Fair Trade Certified food products are being embraced with surprising speed by some of the nation's biggest food marketers -- and not just the alternative natural food stores.....

For years, the word "organic" summed up everything politically correct in food. It became a catch phrase for all kinds of alternative cuisine -- everything from carrots grown in a commune to healthy granola. But now that the term organic is strictly defined and regulated by the government, alternative food producers are looking for new ways to express the difference in their products.

It's all part of a move to cater to the growing niche of shoppers willing to spend more money for products that let them feel they are acting in a socially responsible manner. There's even a name for these people, "LOHAS" consumers, which stands for "lifestyles of health and sustainability," a term coined to describe the popularity of products tied to interests such as yoga, organic food and products that espouse social consciousness....

But while the plethora of socially oriented labels gives companies a chance to look like concerned corporate citizens, all the competing logos and certifications can be baffling to consumers. Unlike the terms "organic" or "low fat," which are regulated by the USDA and FDA, respectively, there is no central authority setting definitions for the new claims. Consumers Union, a consumer advocacy group based in White Plains, N.Y., said it tracks at least 113 different designations, intended to indicate everything from friendliness to birds, to respect for indigenous populations....

Fair trade is probably the most influential initiative. The term first appeared in Europe in the late 1980s on coffee, to indicate that the producers in poor countries received above-market prices.....

Other products, however, may be labeled "fairly traded." Sometimes this simply means that the company that produced them thinks they were fair in their business dealings.....

Then there's the word "local," which has become standard language on restaurant menus to describe everything from tomatoes to beef cheeks. Now it's starting to migrate into specialty food stores.

But one person's local is another person's road trip. Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., for example, a restaurant that pioneered the notion of buying locally, "has stitched together a patchwork of over sixty nearby suppliers," according to its Web site. One farm a couple of hours away supplies most ingredients. Another is near San Diego -- and the other end of the state about 500 miles away."

More here

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

INCORRECT REPUBLICANS IN UNIVERSITIES

"Why do so many professors loathe Republicans?

The simplest explanation may be that it's easiest to hate your enemies when you don't know them. After all, assistant professors like Mr. Torres have very little opportunity to mingle with card-carrying members of the Party of Lincoln, or with non-card-carrying conservatives, in their faculty lounges. Call it a crisis of diversity--not of the racial or ethnic sort but of the intellectual variety.

Eighteen months ago, American Enterprise magazine studied voter-registration rolls and published a survey of professors and their political preferences. At Stanford University, 151 professors were aligned with parties of the left (e.g., Democrats, Greens) and 17 were affiliated with parties of the right (Republicans, Libertarians). Similar disparities were recorded everywhere researchers looked: Brown, Cornell, Harvard, Penn State, UCLA, etc. A separate review of Ivy League academics found that 84% of them voted for Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election, compared with 9% for George W. Bush and 6% for Ralph Nader.....

To borrow a lit-crit term applied to the alleged victims of white-male hegemony, campus conservatives are "The Other"--a barely human subpopulation whose presumed inferiorities justify the dominance of an enlightened professoriate.

The ivory-tower crowd generally defends itself from charges of bias in one of two ways. There is the Torres approach: "Despite my grievances with the right, I work hard to treat people equally in my work as a matter of principle and a commitment to social justice." In other words, a deep-seated antipathy for College Republicans and other fascists doesn't influence how these students are taught. ("Not true," says Ms. Wardell. "My friends and I often pretend to be more liberal because we know it leads to better grades.")

Then there is the suggestion that politics are irrelevant: e.g., that an admiration for Dennis Kucinich has nothing to do with teaching calculus or Chaucer.

Both theories sound plausible. But haven't liberals been telling us for years that the personal is political and ideology is everywhere? My own experience suggests that the liberals may have a point--and that their prejudices can't be checked at the schoolhouse door. To take a single example: About 15 years ago I endured a psychology course at the University of Michigan. One of the lectures focused on racism. My professor announced that it takes several forms, starting with the KKK variety. She said another strain is called "symbolic racism," which involves opposition to government programs meant to improve the status of blacks and Hispanics. So if you think racial-preference policies aren't a great idea, you're a "symbolic racist."

Today this is basically the official position of the American Psychological Association. Students who question it can't win, because speaking up is an admission of guilt. Call me a stupid conservative--or worse--for suspecting that the whole thing has more to do with politics than pedagogy.

So what might be done, apart from packing professors into sensitivity seminars? Conservative gadfly David Horowitz has written an Academic Bill of Rights that promotes intellectual diversity and protects students from political harassment. In his energetic way, he is urging legislative bodies from student assemblies to Congress to adopt it.

The American Association of University Professors has already announced its opposition to Mr. Horowitz's proposal. No surprise there. The last thing it wants is a new generation of students informed of the fact that they can't believe everything their professors say."

More here.

Monday, March 15, 2004

SCHOOLING THAT WORKS

Individual responsibility and frequent testing:: How incorrect! Even that hopelessly old-fasioned PHONICS!

"Although many children are already performing well below grade when they arrive at kindergarten, the district has achieved dramatic improvement in elementary school test scores. Romer thinks this is because an elementary school ``is a small learning community.'' More elementary school teachers than high school teachers want to be what they are, because elementary school teachers have the satisfaction of what Romer calls ``ownership'' of the child. Secondary school teachers are more oriented to the subject matter, and if a child fails math or science, well, the child did not have the suitable background, which is someone else's fault.

The school district's dramatic improvement in elementary school scores is the result of a rigorous curriculum featuring instruction in phonics. Plus what Romer calls ``really trained teachers -- trained after they leave school,'' trained especially in how to teach reading. Plus teaching coaches in classrooms. Plus -- Romer calls this ``the real culture-changer'' -- diagnostic measurement every 10 weeks that returns results in 24 hours, revealing what homework is needed, and shaping classroom instruction for each child during the subsequent 10 weeks.

To those who criticize ``teaching to the test,'' Romer responds: That is what flight schools do. Because we take flying seriously.'

More here.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

RELIGION INCORRECT IN EUROPE

By Mark Steyn -- writing in the March 13th edition of "The Spectator". Some excerpts:

As Max Hastings wrote in the Guardian, `It is hard not to hate George Bush. His ignorance and conceit, his professed special relationship with God, invite revulsion.' Just for the record, he does not claim a `special relationship' with God, just a relationship. But to secular Europe, where fewer and fewer profess any sort of relationship with the Big Guy, even that modest claim is enough for them to lump him in the same category as his near neighbours in Texas, the incinerated cultists of Waco. Malcolm Fraser, the former Australian prime minister and like Sir Max a nominal conservative, calls the Bush administration `fundamentalist'. If one had to distil into one sentence the contempt that Britain's great thinkers have for Tony Blair, it would be from Jeremy Paxman's interrogation about the Prime Minister's relationship with the President: `Do you pray together?' The studio audience sniggered.

America is the last religious nation in the Western world, the last in which a majority of the population are practising believers and regular attenders of church (or synagogue, or mosque). So Bush praying is only a joke to foreigners like Pax'n'Max. No Democratic candidates have been suicidal enough to mock him on those grounds, and even in the party's more decadent precincts it's understood that the hard math of electoral politics requires campaigners at least not to appear ungodly. God-wise, to the American people, Bush is normal, not weird. Going to church is normal. Going to Bible study is normal. Buying albums of sacred songs by country singers is normal.

Anti-Americanism makes strange bedfellows. The Arab Islamists despise America because it's all lap-dancing and gay-phone sex; Europe's radical secularists despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion. They're both right. The free market enables Hustler to thrive. And the free market in churches enables religion to thrive. In Europe, the established church, whether formal (the Church of England) or informal (as in Catholic Ireland, Italy and Spain), killed religion as surely as state ownership killed the British car industry. When the Episcopal Church degenerates into a bunch of wimpsville self-doubters, Americans go elsewhere. When the Church of England undergoes similar institutional decline, Britons give up on religion entirely.

`When men cease to believe in God,' said Chesterton, `they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!' The anything most of the Western world's non-believers believe in is government: instead of a state church, Europe believes in the state as church - the purveyor of cradle-to-grave welfare will provide daycare for your babies and take your aged parents off your hands. The people are happy to have cast off the supposed stultifying oppressiveness of religion for a world in which the state regulates every aspect of life. The French government's recent headscarf ban - which, in the interests of an ecumenical fig-leaf, is also a ban on yarmulkes and `large' crucifixes - seems the way of the future, an attempt to push all religion to the fringes of life. A couple of years back, a Canadian `human rights commission', in its ruling that a Christian printer had illegally discriminated against a gay group by turning down a printing job for pro-gay literature, said he had the right to his religious beliefs in his own home but he had to check them at the door when he left for work in the morning. Who's in the closet now?

Last year, I had a long talk with a `senior EU official' and I was amazed at the way, quite unprompted, he used the phrase `Europe's post-Christian future', presuming that I would agree with him that this was a condition to aspire to. Europe's quite post-Christian enough, and most of the horrors of our time came about through the most prominent expressions of its post-Christian state, Nazism and Communism. And yet faith in secularism is indestructible.

Note: The above is a relatively brief excerpt of a large article on religion in the USA and Europe. Links to "The Spectator" are rather pesky to pursue these days, however. You can only see the Table of Contents without logging in and your "Back" button will not work to get you out of there. To log in you need to register, which is also difficult. Registering defeated me so I log in as info@rationalreview.com with the password "rationalreview". They obviously do not really want online readers.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

THE CONTRADICTIONS IN POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

"PC ideology does not work, it was never proven to work and never did work. It is the product of confused Leftists. Political Correctness strives for equality, but never achieves it. Equality can never be achieved when there is a double standard. White Eruopeans would be very much racist if they had their own television channel, beauty contest, or school scholarships. While people of other creeds are encouraged to promote and express their own cultures, and religion. This does not only relate to racial conflicts, If Toronto's heterosexuals would decide to have a 'straight parade' across the city it would be put down as a hate parade. We would be called bigots and rednecks. Yet is is fine for Gays and Lesbians to express their homosexuality all over the city. This is clearly assurd, the double standard that exists is a product of the PC disease....

DWEMs (Dead, White, European Males)-White guys are the PC movement's equivalent of Satan. The PC crowd especially likes to go after fellows like Aristotle, Plato and Jefferson, who supposedly have managed to somehow become indirectly responsible for supporting all the racism, sexism, and oppression in the known world. Unfortunately, not all "people of color" realize this. For instance, when thousands of Chinese students died at Tiananmen Square in 1989 demanding democracy and freedom, they were quoting Thomas Jefferson and parading a model of the Statue of Liberty. The PC crowd thinks they should have been busy studying the writings of Marx and Lenin. (Marx and Lenin were white guys, too, but that's beside the point.) ...

Jokes about blacks, Fat people, women, could soon be illegal deemed as 'Hate Propaganda'. PC supporters want us to live in one big happy world embracing peoples cultural, sexual and religious differences, by celebrating their distinctiveness while treating them uniquely different?! Is it possible to understand PC thought?....

To attempt to point out the odious nature of Political Correctness is to restate the crucial importance of plain speaking, freedom of choice and freedom of speech; these are the communities safe-guards against the imposition of tyranny, indeed their absence is tyranny ( see "On Liberty", Chapter II, by J.S. Mill). Which is why any such restrictions on expression such as those invoked by the laws of libel, slander and public decency, are grave matters to be decided by common law methodology; not by the dictates of the mob....

Political Correctness remains just what it was intended to be: a sophisticated and dangerous form of censorship and oppression, imposed upon the citizenry with the ultimate goal of manipulating, brainwashing and destroying our society."

More here.

POLITICALLY-CORRECT SCHOOLS BEING LEANED ON

In Australia

"SCHOOLS will secure a record $31 billion injection of federal funding if they agree to national student testing, offer uniform starting ages and deliver parents "plain language" report cards.

Under a new funding model announced by John Howard yesterday, both private and public schools will be forced to provide more student performance results, along with programs to tackle bullying and improve literacy and numeracy."

More here

Friday, March 12, 2004

FAT IS CORRECT

Lots of people are up in arms over the fact that an obese soprano has been denied a role in a leading English Opera. But opera is as much theatre as music and casting a role appropriately (so that the actor looks right in the part) is elementary in theatre. And if the patrons would rather look at a slim woman than a fat one there is nothing odd or unnatural about that.

{And what about the current "war on obesity"? Shouldn't the obesity warriors be applauding any move that discourages obesity? I think the strange silence from them shows that their war is really a war on food companies like McDonald's, not on obesity}.

As it says here
: "Deborah Voigt, who is thought to weigh some 220 pounds, has one of the most impressive dramatic soprano voices around. She was due to display it at the Royal Opera House this summer in a production of Richard Strauss's "Ariadne auf Naxos." Unfortunately, however, she would have had to display far more than just her voice: The production requires her to wear a slinky little black dress. In Ms. Voigt's case, the word "little" was something of a problem, and the director decided that the mise en scène could not survive such a sight.

Cue uproar! On and on it has gone, as the Royal Opera House has been subjected to a barrage of verbal assaults from the arbiters of operatic taste, who have condemned her dismissal as the ultimate triumph of style over substance. There is, we are told, only one thing which really matters: the quality of a singer's voice. The rest is superficial, a blight of the modern obsession with looks and image. As the New York Times' critic, Anthony Tommasini, put it yesterday, "The Royal Opera would seem to have forgotten the most basic truth of the genre. Yes, opera is a form of drama. But drama in opera has never been dependent on literal reality."

Indeed not. But when so many of its most passionate supporters live in an alternate universe, refusing to recognize how weird is their sense of aesthetics, then it's little wonder that opera is, if not a dead, then at the very least a dying art form".

MALE TEACHERS INCORRECT

The feminist nonsense about there being no difference between men and women seems alive and well in Australian politics

LABOR and the Australian Democrats will oppose Federal Government plans to change national sex discrimination laws to allow private schools to offer male-only scholarships.

Opposition education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin and the party's status of women spokeswoman Nicola Roxon said the proposal would do little to boost male teacher numbers in the private sector.

The Sydney Catholic Education Office wants to offer men-only scholarships in a bid to counter the low number of male teachers. The office is due to go before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal next month, seeking to overturn a Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission decision last year to reject a five-year exemption from sex discrimination laws.

The Government has signalled it will amend the Sex Discrimination Act to allow the proposal.

More here.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

LEFTIST ANTISEMITISM CORRECT

Just as a Jew (Disraeli) saved British conservatism in the late 19th century, so two Jews (Howard and Letwin) seem to be the only hope of the British Conservative party in the early 21st century. So in their usual unprincipled way, the British Left cannot resist Jew-baiting

"Sometimes the loudest sound of all is the sound of silence. The reaction - or rather, non-reaction - to the description last weekend by Ian McCartney of Oliver Letwin as "Fagin" speaks volumes about how the Left views anti-Semitism.

The Labour Party Chairman described the Shadow Chancellor as "No Oliver Twist, this man, more of a Fagin". Fagin, let me remind you, is not merely avaricious, deceitful, grubby and a thief. He is painted as those things specifically as a Jewish caricature. That anyone with even a modicum of sense would choose to compare a Jewish politician who hopes to take charge of the public finances with, of all possible fictional characters, Fagin, is so jaw-droppingly offensive that it almost defies belief....

What is of interest, however, is that he has suffered barely a whisper of criticism from the Left-wing media or political classes. It is, it seems, just fine to make anti-Semitic remarks. We have, of course, been here before. When, last May, the Labour MP Tam Dalyell remarked that Tony Blair is "being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers", his words prompted a similarly deafening silence of criticism.

Imagine, however, if Mr Letwin were a Muslim, and that Mr McCartney had accused him of behaving like Ali Baba, stealing from the 40 thieves. There would, be sure, have been the mother and father of all rows. Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, would doubtless have called for Mr McCartney's resignation. His fellow Lefties would have disowned him. The Guardian would have condemned him. He would be in disgrace. The penalty for describing a Jew as a thieving hook-nosed monster is, however, nothing.

If the political boot had been on the other foot, and a Conservative politician had described Peter Mandelson as Fagin, the Left would have reacted with fury. So it's not quite true to say that anti-Semitic jibes can be thrown around with impunity. The truth is that they can be thrown by the Left but not by the Right.....

The reaction to Mr McCartney's words betrayed the hidden truth: on the Left, attacking a Jew for being a Jew is perfectly fine. And attacking a Conservative Jew for being a Conservative Jew is merely doing one's duty to society."

More here

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

MORE PRO-MUSLIM "JUSTICE"

Excerpts from an article by Miranda Devine

Judges and other lawyers seem increasingly troubled by the advent in the past decade of victims' rights groups and associated community criticism of the justice system. They frequently castigate the media for "sensational" reporting and accuse it of whipping up contempt for the law. But what they seem not to understand is that community anger about inadequate sentences and a disregard for the rights of victims stems from a genuine sense of injustice.

What's more, the values of the lawyerly class from which judges and magistrates are drawn are more liberal than those of the community in general, and therefore it is no surprise that courts are increasingly out of touch with the feelings of the people they serve.

One example is the decision last week by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to order a retrial of Tayyab Sheikh in connection with the gang rape of a Ms T in 2002, because of media coverage of an earlier trial of Sheikh's four co-accused.

"The feelings of anger, revulsion and general hostility to young Lebanese men that emanated from the media coverage of the earlier trial would have lingered heavily in the atmosphere," wrote Justices James Wood and Keith Mason.

The decision, which was split 2-1, with Justice Brian Sully dissenting, indicates that Sheikh's jury did not obey the clear and repeated instructions of the trial judge, Michael Finnane, to ignore information they heard outside the courtroom. But you are either going to trust juries, the cornerstone of our criminal justice system, or you are not. In an era of 24/7 news, it stands to reason jurors will be exposed to information. If they are not to be trusted to obey their oath then every jury trial becomes a joke......

For 22-year-old Ms T, Sheikh's retrial will be the fourth time she has had to testify. She has agreed to do so and Cunneen will prosecute the case.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

BRITISH DOUBTS ABOUT MULTICULTURALISM

By Ferdinand Mount -- writing in the March 6th edition of "The Spectator". Some excerpts:

As of last Thursday, multiculturalism was officially declared dead in this country. The funeral took place in Brent Town Hall in the presence of the Prince of Wales and the Home Secretary and was accompanied by the National Anthem... we shall still hear people mouthing the old platitudes about Britain being a multicultural country, but that dogma will no longer be driving the debate.

Instead of ‘celebrating diversity’, the ceremony to welcome new British citizens celebrates in the most flagrant way imaginable the common culture of these islands. The new Briton takes an oath: ‘I swear by Almighty God (or do solemnly and truly declare and affirm) that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law.’ The oath in itself is not new but was previously sworn privately in front of a solicitor. Now it is to be taken at a public ceremony as in the US, Canada and Australia. To it is now added the pledge: ‘I will give my loyalty to the UK and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as a British citizen.’....

To see how startling this is, you have to look back to the furore which greeted Keith Joseph back in the 1980s when he suggested that the school curriculum should include lessons about our national heritage. The intelligentsia jumped to denounce any such initiative as a quasi-fascist conspiracy to impose outmoded jingoistic values and repress the cultures of ethnic minorities. It was, per contra, the duty of all public institutions in this country not only to respect but also to foster those minority cultures and to be extremely wary of indulging in anything which sounded too overtly British. Local authorities, state schools, libraries, the Arts Council, parts of the BBC felt themselves under unremitting pressure....

But there was more behind the multicultural movement than a desire not to give offence. If it had been only an admirable impulse to show courtesy to new arrivals, there would never have been such a fierce urgency about it.

Multiculturalism had and has other motives of a more negative kind. It is the loathing that dare not speak its name. For it is not the desire to respect minority cultures that has fuelled such a crusade to reform our traditional practices. It is the unuttered desire to blot out and where possible erase all visible traces of the majority culture. The multiculturalist’s interest in Chanukkah or Diwali seldom goes beyond the mild and patronising curiosity of the tourist; it is the hatred of Christmas that stirs his juices.

As the spirit went out of socialism in the ordinary sense, radical discontent groped for another means of expressing itself. If it was no longer possible to purify the nation by abolishing capitalism and seizing the commanding heights of the economy, then at least one could purify the atmosphere. The national culture could be bleached and leached, leaving a more or less blank space in which every citizen was able to express his or her own preferences.....

At the same time, even left-wing intellectuals have become dimly conscious that immigration in all its forms — economic, illegal, asylum-seeking — has had unnerving reverberations. To put it bluntly, working-class whites in run-down towns like Burnley have come to feel that everything is done for incomers who constitute, at most, 9 per cent of the population. The reappearance of the BNP is on a tiny scale compared with the massive inroads made by Le Pen or the heirs of Pim Fortuyn. Much more widespread is a sour disenchantment or alienation which so far expresses itself in political terms only by a refusal to vote at all. And we have seen too the long-term effects of a failure to entrench a single overarching national culture, in Palestine and Northern Ireland to name but two of the worst: intercommunal conflict, rule by ruthless vigilantes, peace walls.

David Goodhart in his essay in last month’s Prospect recognises that, contrary to the long-standing wishful thinking of the liberal Left, there may be limits to diversity. The squawks of protest he has provoked suggest that he has hit a nerve.....

Note: If the above excerpt does not suffice, links to "The Spectator" are rather pesky to pursue these days. You can only see the Table of Contents without logging in and your "Back" button will not work to get you out of there. To log in you need to register, which is also difficult. Registering defeated me so I log in as info@rationalreview.com with the password "rationalreview". They obviously do not really want online readers.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Irish boozing 'has gone too far'

My Kelly ancestors would not believe it

AFTER piloting through radical laws that will ban smoking in Irish pubs at the end of the month, Irish Health Minister Micheal Martin today pledged to bring in new controls on alcohol....

Addressing his Fianna Fail party's annual conference, Martin said he now planned to target the country's alcohol problem and to encourage "responsible" drinking, in particular targeting under-age offenders. "I believe we are getting to the stage where as a nation we are willing to confront the fact that we have a serious problem relating to alcohol abuse. "One terrible statistic shows that Ireland has had the highest increase in alcohol consumption of any European country in the last decade," he said...

"New legislation I will introduce will control the advertising, sponsorship and marketing of alcohol to reduce the exposure of children and teenagers to alcohol promotion."

More here.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

INFLATING HOMOSEXUALITY

A Sydney (Australia) reader writes:

The annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was held last night despite a day and night of heavy and sometime torrential rain. Yet again the organisers are claiming 355,000 spectators braved the weather to view the festivities. They were "disappointed" that the "usual number" of 600,000 to 700,000 spectators couldn't make it.

The promoters of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras regularly claim in excess of 700,000 plus spectators ... presumably lining the footpath along the Oxford Street parade route. Yet the Sydney City to Surf fun run regularly attracts about 60,000 officially counted runners. Anyone who has seen a "City to Surf" crowd knows that that number could not be contained on Oxford Street's sidewalks.

My guess, the Mardi Gras would get well under 40,000 spectators. Crowd researchers, after analysing photos, say that both police and organisers usually exaggerate crowd or demonstration sizes. Both groups have an incentive to do so.

As reported recently from the UK, following census figures that found the number of self reporting gay couples over 700 times less than figures asserted by gay activists, there is a political motivation at work to exaggerate the numbers of homosexuals in the community. As "Spiked's" Jennie Bristow points out, the number of gays in long term relationships has been massively inflated, presumably to give weight to the 'gay marriage' push.

What's interesting about this is not the exaggerated claims of the gay lobbyists (all lobbyists tell fibs) but the willingness of mainstream media and opinion makers to put up with this absurd arithmetic. This shows that there is a political agenda at work here that extends well beyond gays and in the end probably has little to do with that high profile minority. My guess is that this is another symptom of an issue highlighted by American political scientist Paul Gottfried. He argues that "multiculturalism" has very little to do with immigrants. But it has everything to do with the new class of "post-socialist" leftist bureaucrats, lawyers and academics: As the old socialist dream of economic control has evaporated, these "born again" interventionists seek new frontiers for their class power in regulating personal behaviour. For example, in Australia polls show only 3% of immigrants consider racism a problem. Yet when you listen to the views of our "post-socialist" left you would think racism and it's related isms are the major problems facing minority groups today, as distinct from "mainstream" issues like jobs, taxes, health care etc.

"THE PASSION" ANTISEMITIC?

Bruce Anderson, writing in the March 6th edition of "The Spectator", disagrees with the claim that Mel Gibson's film is antisemitic. He says it errs on the side of political correctness. Excerpts:

"One woman has already died of a heart attack while watching the film. No director since Leni Riefenstahl has been so reviled. There have been widespread calls for Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ to be banned, or at least boycotted. He has been accused of glorying in gore, of pandering to sadomasochism, of turning the Gospel story into an anti-Semitic snuff movie. All these criticisms lead to one conclusion: that the critics have not read the Gospels....

Crucifixion gave us the word excruciating. It was a long agony, designed to strike fear into the spectators by breaking the spirit as well as the body. Well before welcome oblivion ended the torture, the sufferer would have lost all human dignity. Mel Gibson did not invent any of that. Indeed, his portrayal could have been even more brutal. Christ would have been stripped naked for the scourging; he would also have been naked on the Cross. Mr Gibson may have judged that nudity would have been going too far. But he cannot be accused of sensationalising the crucifixion. That would be impossible.

Nor should he be accused of anti-Semitism. The anti-Semitism is in the Gospels, especially Matthew. ‘Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be upon us and on our children.’ If anything, Mr Gibson could be charged with political correctness. Although his Jewish mob shouts the words in Aramaic, they are not translated in the subtitles. In this film, the Roman soldiers beat and abuse Christ all along the route to Golgotha. That is not in the Gospels. One Roman soldier also sneers ‘Jew’ at Simon of Cyrene: another invention of Mr Gibson’s. It is as if he wishes to retreat from the message of the Gospels and spread the blame more evenly between the Jews and Romans....

History moves on. On any significant scale, Christian anti-Semitism is now at least as unthinkable as France and Germany going to war over Alsace-Lorraine. Jewish spokesmen are right to warn of the renewed danger of anti-Semitism in Europe, but it would be disingenuous of them to suggest that Christians were responsible. The source of contemporary European anti-Semitism is not Matthew, or Mel Gibson. It is Muslim discontent."

AND KIDS MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO SEE IT!

Even if (or perhaps because) it is the central episode of the Christian faith

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" has gotten one elementary school teacher suspended.

Ronald Anthony, a teacher at Malcolm X Elementary in Washington D.C., showed his pupils unauthorized excerpts from the controversial, R-rated movie, causing school officials to place him on paid leave, according to the AP.

After a parent complained about the incident to school officials, Anthony admitted that he showed his sixth-grade students part of the film on Tuesday, March 2.

More here

Saturday, March 06, 2004

TAXING "OBESITY"

In his post of Feb 11th, Snowball has an interesting suggestion about the "war on obesity". He sees it as a scheme to win public acceptance for a new tax -- a sales tax on food. Knowing how much the Left want to tax us more, that does rather add up:

It doesn't take a genius to work out what the current flurry of media activity is about when you see programs slagging off Atkins, obesity and suggesting legislating on school diet. No UK government could survive voluntarily putting taxes on food and I am sure that they will be true to their word in not "submitting" to EU dictates to force HMG to put VAT on food. However.... what would happen if the public demanded taxes on food eh?. Smell a "media rat" yet?


(For non-Brits, HMG is Her Majesty's Government and VAT is Value Added Tax)

WEAPON (?) CORRRECTNESS

A "compassionate" educational system: These sickos obviously hate kids

Officials at Indianapolis's Lincoln Middle School expelled 12-year-old Jacob Finklea for a year for bringing a "weapon" to school--a pair of fabric scissors, which he planned to use in a sewing class, WRTV reports:

"I put them on the desk because [the teacher] said, 'Get all your supplies ready to make the pillows,' and I put the scissors on the desk and she just freaked out," Jacob said.

Jacob's mother, Chrystal Finkela, "said she has contacted several schools to see if they'll teach her son" during the year he's banished from Lincoln, "but the word 'weapon' on his record has deterred many schools from even meeting with her."

From "Opinion Journal"

LANGUAGE CORRECTNESS

The era of forced multilingual ballots "hit a new low" when the town of Briny Breezes, Fla., was forced to print election notices in Spanish despite the fact everybody understands English. Furthermore, federal law required leaders of the tiny oceanfront retirement community to provide bilingual election information to residents - even though there was no election to hold. "This is the epitome of government multilingualism gone amok," says U.S. English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica, whose office is one block from the White House. "How many communities will have to throw away precious tax dollars to fund unnecessary multilingual services?"

More here

INTERNATIONALISM MEANS SOCIALISM?

Parents in Fairfax, Virginia, have succeeded in getting rid of one of the endless series of fad programs that distract American public schools from real education in real subjects. Like most fad programs, this one had a high-sounding name: The International Baccalaureate Curriculum. It also has a left-wing hidden agenda, as so many other fad programs do. One of the program's supporters gushed that it teaches students "how to think globally" and "how to make us part of the world." One of the parents critical of the program put it quite differently. She said it "promotes socialism, disarmament, radical environmentalism, and moral relativism, while attempting to undermine Christian religious values and national sovereignty." None of this is new. This kind of indoctrination has been going on for decades, and the kind of thinking behind it goes back a hundred years, when education guru John Dewey began promoting the idea that schools should be instruments of "social change." That the kinds of shallow, ill-educated and fad-ridden people who run our public schools should take it upon themselves to decide how the world needs changing is truly staggering.

More here

Thursday, March 04, 2004

UNIVERSITY TEACHES ANAL SEX; OPPOSES MORALS

The UNC-Greensboro (UNCG) College Republicans recently invited me to their campus to speak on the topic of political correctness. Like all of my other speeches, I arrived about an hour early and thus had a chance to explore the UNCG campus. In fact, I was so early I had enough time to read the last two editions of their student newspaper, The Carolinian.

The article that really caught my attention was about anal sex. It told how Tristan Taormino, author of "The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women," recently spoke at the university. Taormino is a porn star and director who refers to herself as "the poster girl for anal sex." Her speech was co-sponsored by the Office of Student Life and the UNCG Wellness Center. That means that the North Carolina taxpayers actually paid to promote pornography and anal sex all in the name of "wellness" and "diversity."

After browsing the student newspaper, I met the officers of the UNCG College Republicans (CRs). Before I spoke, they shared some of their frustrations in trying to get conservative speakers and programs funded on their campus. They sincerely wanted to present an alternative to the university's one-sided approach to diversity but they had not yet been successful.

While talking to the officers, I learned that UNCG is presenting its annual Gay Pride Week in March. Among the many highlights of this special week are a "drag queen day" and a "gay prom." The university directly funds some of these events. Others are funded by private sources after employees paid by the university have initiated them using various university resources. None are completely free from taxpayer expense.

In response, the CRs recently tried to organize a Morals Week to coincide with Gay Pride Week. When they tried to get equal funding and support, the university turned them down saying that they wouldn't fund anything having to do with "morals."

To make matters worse, they have also said that they will not fund "conservative" speakers. I learned after my speech that the CRs were stuck with paying the bill for my hotel room. A university that has no problem paying for porn stars promoting anal sex will not pay any expenses for conservative speakers because they are simply too offensive.

To add insult to injury, the CRs were removed from a room that they had reserved for my speech only minutes before the speech began. We were all ushered into a smaller room cluttered with tables that made it difficult for the audience to listen to my speech. This was the fourth consecutive week that the CRs were bumped out of a room they had specifically reserved.

More here.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

THE CORRECT WAY TO GET RID OF DICTATORS

Do you believe that some of the world's most despicable dictators could be made to "see the light" if they were offered sensitivity training at a prestigious American university?

The folks at Boston University, which announced last summer that it was creating a residency program to help various African dictators give up their jobs without setting off civil war, apparently do.

The first head of state to take part in the program was Kenneth Kaunda, who led Zambia to independence in 1964 and then ruled the southern African nation for 27 years. Like most dictators, Kaunda didn't have a lot of patience with people who were critical of his regime...

More here

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

SOME OLDER FOLLIES

"Stockport College in Manchester, England, has banned the use of more than forty "offensive" words and phrases, including "postman", "chairman" and even "history" (sexist), "mad", "manic", "crazy" (demeaning to mentally impaired), "the deaf", "the blind", "slaving over a hot stove" ("minimizes the horror and oppression of the slave trade"), "normal family", "ladies and gentlemen" (said to have "class implications"), The 15,000-student college says it "will make it a condition of service and admission that employees and students adhere to this policy". (Martin Bentham, "College guide bans 'lady' and 'history' as offensive words", Sunday Telegraph (London), June 11). And a public employment bureau in Staffordshire, England, recently told an employer that it could not place a recruitment advertisement that included the words "hardworking" and "enthusiastic", which it deemed discriminatory. The bureau's parent agency explained that in its opinion such terms, as well as terms like "reliable" and "smart", are overly subjective and could foster discrimination against the disabled. However, the education and employment minister in the Blair government, David Blunkett, who is himself blind, ordered the policy reversed and the words permitted; his office issued a statement declaring that he "regards it as an insult to him personally to suggest that a disabled person cannot be reliable, hardworking and enthusiastic." "

More here (From June 13, 2000)

Monday, March 01, 2004

INCORRECT CAKES

"THE traditional cake stall, a major fundraiser for churches and schools for decades, is facing the knife from health regulators.

The State Government and city councils are loath to publicise it, but tough new regulations make it illegal for charities to sell food not cooked in a registered kitchen. Proof of the crackdown could be found on state polling day when few schools or churches booked tables to fill with lamingtons and fairy cakes.

Father Sandy Marshall, in the most recent newsletter for St Peter's Parish at Wynnum in Brisbane, said: "The Brisbane City Council health regulations now make it mandatory that all cakes sold in public places must be prepared and cooked in a registered kitchen. "As this parish and many like us don't have such a facility, the day of the parish cake stall is finished."

Anglican Archdiocese general manager Peter Read said one interpretation of the regulation was that any food sold must be prepared in a commercial kitchen where there were facilities such as stainless steel benches for cleanliness. "If that applies to the cake stall, there will be no cake stalls," Mr Read said. "But I've not heard of any stall since I've been here where people have been poisoned by eating church cakes."

Country Women's Association state president Lyn Kelman said a ban on cake stalls would mean a massive loss of income for the volunteer group, adding that their landmark Gregory Tce headquarters in inner-Brisbane was "built on cake stalls". "It's hard to raise funds . . . and sometimes a cake stall is the only way to make money to help all those people we assist every year," Ms Kelman said."

More here