Sunday, March 01, 2009

9-0 and no more! PC rule could blow the whistle on crushing defeats in British children's football

For generations of young footballers, being soundly thrashed by a rival team has been a tough, if character-building, rite of passage. But the days of double-digit goal tallies may be numbered. Some officials want the Football Association to introduce a so-called 'mercy rule' in youth soccer. An import from the United States, the rule means that if one team achieves a certain goal advantage over another the match is declared over, thus sparing the losers further humiliation.

Supporters claim such a move would prevent youngsters from becoming prematurely disillusioned with the beautiful game. But critics insist it will also deprive them of a vital life skill: Dealing with utter defeat.

The Mid Lincolnshire League is calling on the FA to bring in rules which would mean that if a nine-goal gap opened up between teams, then the game would stop. Ron Westerman, chairman of the Mid Lincs Youth League, in which more than 6,000 children aged up to 13 play in 400 teams, said: 'We'd not be taking away victory or defeat, merely lessening its severity. Scorelines of 25-0 don't do anyone any favours, especially at age eight to ten. 'We've asked the FA to consider bringing this in nationwide, but at the moment it's just one of many things up for consultation.' The rule already operates unofficially in Devon's Pioneer youth league. Now both counties want the FA to adopt the idea more widely, saying it will encourage more youngsters to enjoy the game.

But sceptics believe such measures merely provide a politically correct comfort blanket for children against the realities of the wider world. Robert Whelan, deputy director of think-tank Civitas, said: 'We're being over-protective with youngsters but doing them no favours. It's a symptom of a society that wants to protect the young from anything unpleasant at all costs. 'But the fact is that life can sometimes be unpleasant and you don't always win - and sometimes you lose by a big margin. 'Life throws down challenges to you, and sometimes it lays you flat on your back, but you have to learn to pick yourself up again, and you won't develop that spirit if no one ever allows you to lose.'

Tory MP Julian Brazier described the idea as 'terribly sad', adding: 'How can you really appreciate a fantastic win, if you've never experienced a crushing defeat?' But Devon FA chief executive Paul Morrison said: 'People talk about defeats being character building, but children are more vulnerable these days and we don't want to put them off playing the game because they are thrashed. 'A women's team I know lost 42-0 one Saturday, and within three weeks they'd disbanded. These days it should be about enjoyment and player development, rather than winning at all costs.'

An FA spokesman said: 'So far the reaction seems about 50/50, so it's not been introduced nationally yet, but it's something that could be considered in the future.'


Clint Eastwood goes gunning for PC killjoys by saying we should laugh at race-based jokes

Clint Eastwood believes the rise of political correctness is no laughing matter. He says the world would be a better place if we could still laugh at inoffensive jokes about different races. The Hollywood actor and director, 78, said we live in constant fear of being labelled racist for simply laughing about national stereotypes.

'People have lost their sense of humour,' he told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine. 'In former times we constantly made jokes about different races. 'You can only tell them today with one hand over your mouth otherwise you will be insulted as a racist. 'I find that ridiculous. In those earlier days every friendly clique had a "Sam the Jew" or "Jose the Mexican" - but we didn't think anything of it or have a racist thought. 'It was normal that we made jokes based on our nationality or ethnicity. That was never a problem. ''I don't want to be politically correct. We're all spending too much time and energy trying to be politically correct about everything.'

His comments come in a week in which BT suspended 30 call centre staff after they had circulated an Irish joke by email. BT, however, insists other serious matters were involved and that a joke was not the sole reason for the suspensions.


A Radical Presidency

When Barack Obama delivered his 44-minute acceptance speech in August among the majestic columns of Denver, it was apparent his would be an expansive presidency. Some wondered whether his solutions for a very long list of problems was too ambitious. On Tuesday, before Congress, he made clear across 52 minutes that the economic downturn would not deflect him from his Denver vision.

Instead, the economic crisis, as it did for Franklin D. Roosevelt, will serve as a stepping stone to a radical shift in the relationship between the people and their government. It will bind Americans to their government in ways not experienced since the New Deal. This tectonic shift, if successful, will be equal to the forces of public authority set in motion by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. The Obama presidency is going to be a radical presidency.

Barack Obama is proposing that the U.S. alter the relationship between the national government and private sector that was put in place by Ronald Reagan and largely continued by the presidencies of Bill Clinton and the Bushes. Then, the private sector led the economy. Now Washington will chart its course.

Mr. Obama was clear about his intention. "Our economy did not fall into this decline overnight," he said. Instead, an "era" has "failed" to think about the nation's long-term future. With the urgency of a prophet, he says the "day of reckoning has arrived." The president said his purpose is not to "only revive this economy."

In fact, people would probably coronate Mr. Obama if he merely revived the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The Dow's fall since the Sept. 14 collapse of Lehman Brothers and sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America has eviscerated the net wealth of Americans across all incomes. Many are in the most dispirited state in their lifetimes.

Yesterday, the post-Obama Dow lost another percentage point. No matter. In his worldview, "short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity." His speech did include a plan to address the market crisis. It consists of a program to support consumer and small-business loans; a mortgage refinancing mechanism; and the "full force of the government" to restart bank lending. Mr. Obama delivered that last element with a rather crude pistol-whipping of the nation's bankers and CEOs, thousands of whom have been operating their companies in a responsible, productive way.

This was just the prelude. Notwithstanding the daily nightmares of the economic crisis, now is the time to "boldly" rebuild the nation's "foundation." The U.S. budget he released today isn't just a budget. "I see it as a vision for America -- as a blueprint for our future." With it, Mr. Obama becomes the economy's Architect-in-Chief.

This blueprint will reshape energy and health. With energy, it proposes a gradual tear-down of the existing energy sector and its replacement with renewables. This vision has foundered before on the price disadvantage of noncarbon energy. Mr. Obama says he will "make" renewable energy profitable. He'll do this with a cap-and-trade system for carbon. The goal here is to "make" renewables economic by driving up the price of carbon.

The once-private auto industry, now run by federal "car czar" Steve Rattner, a reformed investment banker, is about to be ordered to produce "more efficient cars and trucks." Americans, like it or not, will buy these government-designed vehicles with government-supported car loans.

Mr. Obama believes health-care costs cause a bankruptcy "every 30 seconds" and will drive 1.5 million Americans from their homes this year. Therefore, the budget's vision on health is "historic" and a "downpayment" toward comprehensive health insurance. This "will not wait another year," he said.

He announced "tax-free universal savings accounts" as a solution to Social Security's crisis. This is a savings plan supported by federal matching contributions automatically deposited in individual accounts.

Mr. Obama acknowledged that this spending -- which in the public sector's new vocabulary is always "investment" -- will be costly. His read-my-lips moment was that no family with an income under $250,000 will pay a "single dime" in new taxes to support the construction of this new federal skyscraper. If that's still true in 2015, Mr. Obama will be walking back and forth across the Potomac River.

He told Congress he does not believe in bigger government. I don't believe that. It's becoming clear that the private sector is going to be demoted into a secondary role in the U.S. system. This isn't socialism, but it is not the system we've had since the early 1980s. It would be a reordered economic system, its direction chosen and guided by Mr. Obama and his inner circle.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's postspeech reply did not come close to recognizing the gauntlet Mr. Obama has thrown down to the opposition. Unless the GOP can discover a radical message of its own to distinguish it from the president's, it should prepare to live under Mr. Obama's radicalism for at least a generation.


More Contributions To The Racial Conversation From Non-Cowards

Most of the criticism of Attorney General Holder's recent speech lamenting that "Black History Month" was separate and unequal has concentrated on his accusation that we (or at least those of us who are pigment-impaired) are a "nation of cowards."

Now a second wave of criticism has begun to appear, and it is even more devastating than the first. A good example of this second wave is Abigail Thernstrom, who writes in National Review Online: "`A nation of cowards'" - those attention-grabbing words have been much remarked upon. In fact, the rest of the speech is even more disturbing than that mud-slinging phrase."

Thernstrom begins with Holder's charge that "outside the workplace" there is so little racial interaction that "[o]n Saturdays and Sundays" America today "does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some 50 years ago." Really?
A little fact-checking is in order. Saturdays and Sundays looked quite different even less than 50 years ago. In 1964 only 18 percent of whites said they had black friends; the figure today is 87 percent. Raise the bar to "a fairly close personal friend" and the proportion jumps from a mere 9 percent in 1975 to 75 percent in 2005. The share of blacks with close white friends has soared from 21 percent to 82 percent over that same period.

We don't have much in the way of historical data on interracial dating because, not so long ago, the figure would have been too low for pollsters to bother tabulating. But we do know that in 1963 only 10 percent of whites approved of it. In 2006, however, a Washington Post/Kaiser poll found that 59 percent of black men and 41 percent of black women had dated someone who is white. And 41 percent of white women and 36 percent of white men had crossed the racial-dating divide. Today, the number of black-white marriages is up to almost half a million - still low, but a steep rise over the last 40 years. Presumably, these couples generally spend Saturdays and Sundays together.

Holder says that on the weekends blacks and whites lead separate lives. That's not so easy to do, given the racial composition of many American neighborhoods. Half a century ago, only 20 percent of whites reported having black neighbors; today the figure is above 60 percent. Blacks, on average, live in communities that are only half black. Do blacks and whites living in close proximity never chat about common concerns - the schools, the traffic, and the life of their kids in and out of school? Do the whites who voted for Barack Obama refuse to talk to the blacks who live on their street?
Another second-waver is Stuart Taylor, in the National Journal. Holder's speech, he writes, in the form of an open letter to the Attorney General, was "embarrassingly misinformed, hackneyed, and devoid of thoughtful contributions to racial dialogue." And that was just for starters.
The one point that you developed in a bit of detail in the February 18 speech was especially silly: "Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment.... Until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so-called `real' American history." Bosh. The reality is that our high schools and universities are quite clearly focusing disproportionate attention on black history.

The proof includes a poll published last year in which 2,000 high school juniors and seniors in all 50 states were asked to name the 10 most famous Americans, other than presidents and first ladies. The top three finishers were black: Martin Luther King Jr. (67 percent), Rosa Parks (60 percent), and Harriet Tubman (44 percent). So is the only living finisher, Oprah Winfrey (22 percent).

As for the universities, "the almost obsessive emphasis on race, class, and gender in the humanities and social sciences means that, if anything, black history is overrepresented in college history curricula," in the words of professor KC Johnson, a distinguished scholar of American history based at Brooklyn College....

It's true that college black-studies courses are often "separate." But the reason is hardly to slight black history. It is to satisfy demands for hiring more black professors, who tend to specialize in black studies. Some of them also use their platforms to spread the lie that America is still pervaded by white racism.
Moving on, Taylor argues:
Your unelaborated assertion that "this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past" is also way off base, Mr. Attorney General.

To the contrary, this nation has adopted numerous civil-rights laws. It has replaced the once-pervasive regime of discrimination against blacks with a benignly motivated but nonetheless wide-reaching regime of discrimination against whites, euphemistically known as "affirmative action." It sometimes seems more interested in teaching children about slavery and segregation than about math and science. It has elected a black president.
On affirmative action:
If you really want an honest conversation and if you don't share the opposition of the vast majority of Americans (including me) to large racial preferences, please clarify specifically why you disagree. Also, please come to grips with the fact that these preferences do very little for truly poor people; that a substantial percentage of them go to middle- and upper-class blacks at the expense of less affluent Asians and whites; and that preferences harm some of their intended beneficiaries.

On this last point, please address the social-science research showing that virtually every selective college and university in the country discriminates so heavily in admissions that most black students cluster toward the bottom of the class and the best black students see their accomplishments stigmatized -- and that alarming percentages drop out. And that more than half of entering black law students never pass the bar and never become lawyers. And that many blacks might do much better and get better educations at the less selective schools they would attend if the racial preferences were not so large. And please state whether you support the racial-preference lobby's efforts to deny researchers access to the empirical databases that would cast more light on the magnitude of these problems
If Holder really wanted an honest conversation, Taylor writes, he would state his views on the large and growing number of black babies born out of wedlock; on underperforming black students who avoid "acting white" and graduate from high school having "learned no more in school than the average white eighth-grader"; on the "dominant cause" of current problems, which is not continuing white racism but rather "the misguided welfare policies and cultural trends that did so much to destroy work incentives, foster irresponsible child-bearing and dependence on the dole, and break up poor families in the latter half of the 20th century."

Maybe in future comments Thernstrom and Taylor will say what they really think of Holder's speech.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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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