Monday, September 22, 2008

Incorrect goggles in the British nanny State

For thousands of years people have swum with NO goggles. How shockingly unsafe!

A swimmer has been banned from his local pool because of his unusual goggles. Roland Grimm, in his late 60s, said: "I'm very upset because it seems mad. I've used these goggles in more than 100 pools and no one else has ever complained. After you've been swimming for 40 years all over the world you know what works best for you and what's safe."

Gary Dark, manager of the leisure centre in Swiss Cottage, northwest London, said the goggles were a health and safety risk because the glass was not shatter-proof and the nosepiece could cause breathing difficulties.


Pope defends wartime predecessor of antisemitism charge

The Pope has for the first time publicly defended the wartime record of Pope Pius XII, who for decades has been accused of failing to speak out against the Holocaust. With anti-Catholic feeling emanating from Protestants, Leftists and Jews, it was inevitable that Pius would be unfairly maligned

Pope Benedict XVI said new research showed that the former Pontiff "spared no effort" in trying to save Jews from extermination by Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. Pope Pius XII has been condemned by some scholars and many Jewish groups for not speaking out more stridently against Nazism and the Final Solution. His alleged ambivalence to the deportation and murder of Jews has been the subject of several books, including the 1999 Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pope Pius XII, by John Cornwell.

He is edging towards sainthood - a move strongly supported by the last Pope, John Paul II - despite accusations that he kept silent about the Holocaust, was anti-Semitic and was sympathetic to Nazi Germany because of his horror of communism. "(Pius XII) spared no effort, wherever it was possible, to intervene (for Jews) directly or through instructions given to individuals or institutions in the Catholic Church," Benedict XVI told a conference which presented new work on Pius ahead of the 50th anniversary of his death on October 9.

Pius XII, who was Pontiff from 1939 to 1958, had to work "secretly and silently" to "avert the worst and save the highest number of Jews possible," Benedict XVI said, repeating assertions made by Vatican experts in the past. The Pope also said Pius XII was thanked by Jewish groups during and after the war for saving the lives of thousands of Jews. He cited a meeting the leader of the Roman Catholic Church had in the Vatican in November 1945 with 80 death camp survivors who "thanked him personally for his generosity". ]

Further investigation would reinforce "the historical truth, overcoming all remaining prejudice", the Pontiff said in a speech to representatives from the US-based Pave the Way Foundation during their visit to his summer residence, Castel Gandolfo. The Pope thanked the foundation for compiling information that shows the "organised assistance" Pius XII gave to the Jewish people. Pave the Way claims Pius XII was the victim of a sinister "myth". "You have also drawn attention to his many interventions, made secretly and silently, precisely because, given the concrete situation of that difficult historical moment, only in this way was it possible to avoid the worst and save the greatest number of Jews," the Benedict XVI told his guests.

The foundation is asking Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, to withdraw from its permanent exhibition a text which describes Pius XII's attitude towards the deportation and murder of Jews as "neutral". Pius XII was "controversial for his failure to publicly condemn the extermination of Europe's Jews," the memorial states on its website, claiming that he ignored requests to intervene on behalf of Jews in Spain and Lithuania.

Pope Pius XII's supporters say he was cautious about publicly denouncing Hitler and the Holocaust because he believed criticism would have made the Nazi regime intensify its persecution of Jews and could have endangered rescue efforts. Supporters have also pointed out that, under the Pope's orders, monasteries, convents and other Catholic institutions gave sanctuary to Jews, hiding them from deportation. Many were also given protection in the Vatican.

Pius XII took a crucial step on the way to sainthood last year when a panel of senior Catholic prelates voted in favour of recognising his "heroic virtues" - the key requirement for beatification and the penultimate stage before sainthood.


Good luck is ours. But bad luck is everyone else's

Why do other people expect us to bail them out when things go wrong?

By Stephen Pollard, writing from Britain:

A while ago, I had a puncture. I was on my way home and suddenly I was stranded. For some reason it never occurred to me that I could hail a taxi to take me home and expect you to pay for it.

According to reports at the weekend, taxpayers - you and me, in other words - will be stiffed to the tune of o20 million to pay for the flights home of some people caught out by the collapse of XL. The Civil Aviation Authority runs a compensation scheme to take care of stranded holidaymakers and to refund forthcoming holidays that won't take place. But the scheme is already 21 million pounds in deficit. So guess who is going to pick up the tab? You and me.

There's a warm glow inside me knowing that, as I type this, a portion of the fee will be taken from me by the Inland Revenue to pay for someone else's holiday. Actually it's not a warm glow so much as a red hot rage. I've yet to see a sensible explanation of why the rest of us should be forced to put our hands in our pockets to pay for someone else's bad luck on holiday.

It's sad. It's tough. It's annoying. And it should be - unfortunately - expensive. If I was a victim of XL, I'd be mighty angry that I am not going to get home as planned. But I would not expect the rest of the country to pay for my journey. Just as good luck is not something we can expect as of right, so bad luck happens and we sometimes must suffer the consequences - especially when, as in this case, we are either too stupid or too cheapskate to take out holiday insurance to cover such an eventuality. But the idea that good luck is ours to enjoy and bad luck is everyone else's problem is now endemic.

I picked some tomatoes yesterday. I'd been looking forward to eating them for weeks. Lovely, juicy Marmande. But they were rotting, ruined by too much rain. It never occurred to me that I should be compensated. But then I'm not a farmer. Last year was record-breaking for grain farmers, with prices at 180 pounds a tonne. The recent rain, however, has flattened this year's crop. Some farmers say that they will lose a third of their expected earnings. So the Government's Rural Advocate is asking the Prime Minister to bring forward payment of subsidies due in December under the Common Agricultural Policy.

Farmers embody the worst of all worlds - subsidised to the hilt to distort the market, and then screaming for compensation when things do not go as planned for them. It's the same story. Good luck is a private boon; bad luck is the taxpayer's cost.



By Jeff Jacoby

In politics, cheap shots and invective are occupational hazards. But when have we seen anything to match the frenzy of rage and contempt set off by the nomination of Sarah Palin? Virtually from the moment John McCain selected her, Palin has been under assault. There has been legitimate criticism, of course. But there has also been a gusher of slander, much of it -- like the slur that she isn't the real mother of her infant son, Trig -- despicable.

For someone who has been in the national spotlight for only three weeks, Palin has been the victim of an astonishing array of falsehoods. Voters have been told that she slashed funding in Alaska for special-needs children. That she tried to ban books from Wasilla's public library. That she’s a supporter of Jews for Jesus. That she was a member of the secessionist Alaskan Independence Party. That she links Saddam Hussein to the attacks of 9/11. That she backed Pat Buchanan for president. That she doesn't want students taught about contraception. That she called the war in Iraq "a task from God." All untrue.

Hillary Clinton's supporters complain that coverage of her campaign was tainted by sexism, such as the Washington Post story that focused on her cleavage, or Mike Barnicle's description of her on MSNBC as "looking like everyone's first wife standing outside a probate court." Obama too has suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous comment -- the Fox News segment that captioned a picture of his wife "Obama's Baby Mama," for example, and the infamous New Yorker cover showing the Obamas as terrorists in the Oval Office.

But the left's onslaught against Palin has been of a different order of magnitude altogether. "Ideologically, she is their hardcore pornographic centerfold spread," columnist Cintra Wilson wrote in Salon. “Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She's such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it's easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism."

On the website of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, commentator Heather Mallick was even cruder. Palin appeals to "the white trash vote" with her "toned-down version of the porn actress look," Mallick wrote. "Husband Todd looks like a roughneck…. What normal father would want Levi 'I'm a [bleeping] redneck' Johnson prodding his daughter?"

From radio talk-show host Randi Rhodes came the smutty suggestion that the governor of Alaska has an unhealthy interest in teenage boys: "She's friends with all the teenage boys," Rhodes told her audience last week. "You have to say no when your kids say, 'Can we sleep over at the Palins?' No! No!"

Eve Ensler, the playwright best known for “The Vagina Monologues,” described her “Sarah Palin nightmares” for the Huffington Post. She recalled how Republican delegates chanted “Drill, drill, drill!” when Palin called for more oil exploration in her speech at the St. Paul convention. “I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. . . . I think of pain.”

The smears and sneers have been without end. One liberal congressman likened Obama to Jesus -- and Palin to Pontius Pilate. A Democratic state chairman declared scornfully that Palin's "primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion." A University of Chicago professor seethed: "Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman."

The national media, meanwhile, have only further eroded what remained of their reputation for objectivity. For months they refused to mention the infidelity of John Edwards, a Democratic presidential candidate, yet they leaped with relish onto Bristol Palin's pregnancy. Ravenous for any negative morsel on the GOP running mate, they deployed legions of reporters to Alaska, who have produced such journalism as the 3,220-word expose in Sunday's New York Times that upon winning office, Palin -- gasp! -- fired opponents and hired people she trusted. The same can be said of virtually every governor in the union. What cannot be said of most governors is that they enjoy an 80 percent approval rating. Palin does -- but the Times relegated that information to the 67th paragraph of its story.

And yet the more she has been attacked, the more her support has solidified. In the latest Fox News/Opinion dynamics poll, Palin's favorable/unfavorable ratio is a strong 54-27. She is named by 33 percent of respondents as the candidate who "best understands the problems of everyday life," more than those naming Obama (32 percent), McCain (17), or Joe Biden (10). Among independent voters, Palin's lead over Obama on this measure widens to 13 points (35 percent to 22 percent). In a recent Rasmussen poll, 51 percent of voters said the press is trying to hurt Palin through its coverage, versus just 5 percent who thought it was trying to help -- a 10-1 disparity.

A new Suffolk University poll of voters in Ohio -- a crucial swing state -- echoes those results. Asked which of the four candidates is “most like you,” 31 percent named Palin, followed by Obama (22 percent), McCain (21 percent), and Biden (13 percent). Among Ohio independents, only 6 percent think Palin has been treated fairly.

Millions of Americans, not all of them conservative, instinctively identify with Palin. That is why the left's scorching assault, so ugly and unhinged, is backfiring. The longer it goes on, the more it undermines the Democratic ticket -- and the more support it builds for McCain, and his refreshingly normal running mate.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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