Sunday, July 29, 2007

British police tell mother: Don't scold daughter 'because of Maddy'

A mother who scolded her tantrum-throwing daughter in a shop was outraged to be visited at home by police who told her it was inappropriate to reprimand the girl in the light of Madeleine McCann's disappearance. Ruth Ball was at home when police officers knocked at her door and and ticked her off about the way she had chastised four-year-old Leigha. The 24-year-old was told that the method she had used to reprimand Leigha was "inappropriate" in the light of Madeleine's disappearance from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal.

Ms Ball was at a newsagent in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, when Leigha started screaming after being refused sweets. She swept her daughter out of the shop and put her in the car to calm down, standing a couple of feet away with her three-year-old son Jack. A few minutes later she got into the car and drove the family home, thinking no more of it.

The following day a policeman visited her at her home in Luton to tell her off. The officer said it was inadvisable to shout at her daughter and shut her in the car after what happened to missing Madeleine. Ms Ball, who works as a care assistant, said: "I'm deeply sorry for what has happened to Madeleine, but why should I let my daughter get away with things because she was abducted? "I am trying to raise two decent human beings, even though I have been advised by the police to let them run riot, turn into thugs and help keep the prison population going when they're older. "Kids learn young. If they learn now that kicking, hitting and screaming gets what they want, what are they going to do when they're adults?"

Ms Ball added that she was shocked that somebody had taken down her numberplate and called police - but even more shocked that officers had visited her at home. Ms Ball said: "Even the police officer said he didn't see the point in him being here. He had to come and show his face and tell me not to tell her off."

The force has been involved in various scandals and gaffes, including three in the space of a fortnight in May last year. First, an elderly farmer was seized by armed police and thrown in a cell after - quite legally - firing a warning shot at a dog that was threatening his lambs. Then it emerged four police officers had resigned after giving remand prisoners special favours - including sexual liaisons with girlfriends - in exchange for false confessions. Days later, the force was criticised when a private school headmaster was found dead shortly after officers sent letters to parents asking if they had any 'concerns' about him. No arrest had been made at the time. In 2004, a dangerous driving case collapsed at crown court because the arresting officer was teaching golf in Spain on a five-year career break.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said: "We received a call from a member of the public concerned for the safety of a young girl she had seen being put into a car. "We attended the address of the owner and it transpired that the child, who was happy with no injuries, had been put in the car after having a tantrum. "If Ms Ball is concerned with what happened or what was said, she is very welcome to contact us."


Illegal sex discrimination on TV?

Post lifted from Ian Ayres. See the original for links

The announcement of Drew Carey as the new host of the "Price is Right" has a slight connection to civil rights. A few weeks ago, when retiring icon Bob Barker was asked at the Daytime Emmy about who might replace him, he mentioned Rosie O'Donnell:

"I believe they're going to have a meeting with Rosie. She knows the show. There's no doubt in my mind she could do the show."

But in a moment of candor, he went on and said:

"Now, whether they want a lady host, I don't know. I've never heard that discussed. As far as I know, they've only auditioned men."

The possibility that the producers of the show don't "want a lady host" is the possibility of a Title VII violation. Title VII prohibits sex discrimination in employment unless the employer can establish what's called a BFOQ or "Bona Fide Occupational Qualification." The EEOC Guidelines do allow intentional sex discrimination in hiring an actor or actress where the sex-specific roles are necessary for the "purpose of authenticity or genuineness," see 29 C.F.R.  1604.2(a)(2). But there is no way that the producers could establish that sex was a BFOQ for being host of "The Price is Right."

The same conclusion probably holds true for hosting "The View." The thought that only women could host a talk show would be difficult to square with existing case law. Probably a dozen different hosts have been employed by The View. They have all been female. There is little doubt that the producers of that show discriminate on the basis of sex in hiring.

Indeed, even John Travolta's portrayal of Edna in the movie Hairspray raises a non-trivial BFOQ question. Travolta, like all of his predecessors, is male. But it's hard to say that casting a man for the part is necessary for "authenticity or genuineness" -- especially when the whole point of his portrayal is that Travolta (unlike Divine) is playing it straight.

Pathological denial in Britain

Some in Britain have come up with an ingenuous way of countering the threat of jihad: They pretend it does not exist

One would think this would be rather difficult in the wake of the recent terrorist attempts in London and Glasgow, but the jihad-deniers use these very incidents to make their case. The failure of the bombs to go off, they argue, is proof that the would-be terrorists were an assortment of bungling fools. What's more, they extend this characterization to all those who swear by the cause. On this view, the whole concept of jihad is merely a silly concoction of some misguided dolts.

An article titled Evil plotters? More like sad and crackpot which ran recently in the UK Times offers a startling example of this line of thinking. This is what its author, the well-known British commentator Matthew Parris, writes:

Something is changing in the public mood, and I think it's this: terrorism is beginning to look a bit stupid. Those pictures of that idiotic and slightly overweight fellow with his clothes burnt off looked pathetic, undignified. It has occurred to even the meanest of intellects that concrete doesn't burn. And it isn't just the technical competence of alleged British terrorists that people are beginning to doubt: it's the whole jihadist idea. What world are they aiming for? Most British Muslims, just like most British everyone-else, think it's all pie in the sky: all rather silly. Yes, silly. Not "evil" as the red tops would have it. [...] We're not talking anything as clever as Evil here: we're talking Weird, we're talking Crackpot, we're talking Sad. The idea of using a Jeep to make a terminal explode was, in the latest lingo, a bit gay.

The trivialization and lightheartedness are hardly appropriate, especially since it was only due to sheer luck that the attacks did not translate into mass carnage. Explosives experts have repeatedly confirmed that had the London's terror plot gone as planned hundreds would have been engulfed by the blast and the accompanying fireball.

Neither are all would-be terrorists mere inept bunglers. Does Mr. Paris need to be reminded of that fatal morning of July 7, 2005? Does he recall the carnage that was unleashed then? Does he remember the destroyed double-decker and the twisted underground carriages splattered with blood? Did that look like the work of some blathering `crackpots' or like a horrific terrorist attack?

It is only a matter of good fortune that Britain has not been hit with more strikes like this. Last year Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, then the head of Britain's counterintelligence service MI5, revealed that her agency was monitoring at least 30 high-priority plots. At one point they were tracking more than 200 hundred cells with over 1500 aspiring jihadists among them.

Such is their determination that London Police Commission Sir Ian Blair warned that it was all but inevitable that some would succeed. How irresponsible, then, for editorial writers to trivialize the danger when those most familiar with its extent are almost certain that Britain will be hit again. Worse still, there is a very real possibility that the next strike will make July 7 look like a minor incident.

Various investigations and sting operations in the last couple of years have uncovered a number of plots of breath-taking audacity. A Muslim convert by the name of Dhiren Barot was, among other things, laying plans to detonate a dirty bomb and flood the London underground by breaching the river Thames. An Islamist cell was scheming to bring down a British Airways airliner with bare hands. The idea was to purchase thirty tickets on a British Airways flight and then batter their way into the cockpit. There were also plots to poison London's water supplies and to attack a shopping center with a giant fertilizer bomb.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more plots in the works some of which are no doubt even more destructive and which may well come to our attention only after they have exacted their terrible toll.

Although we cannot predict when and how they will strike next, what we do know is that many of those who plan these atrocities are intelligent and well-educated individuals, not at all drifting dimwits as some would have us believe. We would do well to remember that the ringleader of London's 2005 terror strike - Mohammad Sidique Khan - was a respected teacher. Those responsible for the most recent attempts in London and Glasgow are all highly educated professionals. One of them, Dr. Mohammed Asha, is a neurologist who earned his appointment at a prestigious university hospital on the strength of his distinguished academic record. Another, Kafeel Ahmed, who apparently drove the explosives-laden jeep into the Glasgow airport terminal, is an engineer who was working toward a PhD in computational fluid dynamics. His passenger, Dr. Bilal Abdullah, is a diabetes specialist. Sabeel Ahmed, another man held in connection with this attack, is also a doctor.

The combination of smarts and advanced education is, in fact, a trademark of international jihad. Mohammed Atta held a couple of degrees from universities in Cairo and Hamburg. Several among his band of hijackers also had at least some college education. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's second in command, is a cerebral surgeon. Bin Laden is a civil engineer himself. Sheik Khalid Sheik Mohamed holds a degree in mechanical engineering degree from an American university. Ramzi Yousef, one of the planners of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, excelled in math and science and holds an engineering degree from West Glamorgan Institute in Wales. In addition to his technical prowess, he is also fluent in English, Baluchi, Urdu and Arabic. We could go on and on. If truth be told, few other criminal enterprises can boast so many clever and university educated conspirators.

To make light of the threat posed by these determined fanatics - as some in Britain are now trying to do - is self-delusional at best and suicidal at worst. The mortal danger we face at their hands will not go away if we pretend it does not exist. It is like sticking one's head in the sand hoping that the jackal will not eat you. This, however, is a fatally misguided hope, since this enemy is too determined, too driven and too smart to let such an opportunity pass by.


Australia: Sexy army recruiter sniffed at

("Digger" is Australian slang for "soldier")

MOVE over Angelina Jolie, the army is using Australia's version of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, to encourage women to join the forces. Posters approved by the office of Chief of Army Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, depict the modern woman Digger as a buxom, full-lipped wonder woman with a sculpted body wearing a tight-fitting uniform. But the posters, on which the female soldier always appears to look like a million dollars - have caused some offence.

Included in the series are images of a uniformed brunette stirring a pot as a cook; wielding a large spanner as an engineer; singing up a storm with the army band and striding across the helicopter tarmac in a skin-tight flying suit. The cartoon heroine fairly bursts out of her white medical gear in the Dental Corps poster. "We want you" is the message scrawled across the posters in Indiana Jones script.

Unfortunately, many women in the military do not believe the "you" as depicted even exists. They believe the posters send inappropriate signals. One senior air force officer was appalled by the portrayal. "I think they are woeful and say a lot about how army males see the world," she said. "They surely couldn't work and we wouldn't necessarily want the type of women attracted by the posters. "I hope the RAAF doesn't go the same way."

The sexy Digger's male comrade is a chiselled-jawed man in skin-tight overalls. A Defence spokeswoman said the posters were not designed for outside recruiting but rather to encourage soldiers to consider a change in trade. "Army accepted that this campaign might not appeal to all personnel," she said. "Professional marketing advice indicated the use of cartoon caricatures would engage the intended targeted audience, predominantly young males in combat-related roles. "In its first week of testing, 450 soldiers indicated a preference to sign-up to a trade transfer, compared with 35 the week before."

According to well-placed sources, the offending posters are about to be recalled. Meanwhile, the TV navy drama Sea Patrol is expected to deliver a recruiting boon to the navy. A website linked with the program will soon be launched so prospective sailors can interact with the Sea Patrol crew. A Defence source said it was too early to judge the impact of the show, but he said its predecessor Patrol Boat had been a good recruiting tool.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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