Saturday, May 23, 2009

Do you own a copy of "Lolita" by Nabokov? Then you're a pedophile!

That seems to be the implication of the Australian court judgment below

A MAN found guilty of possessing child porn in the form of a fictional story about an adult male and pre-pubescent girl, has had his conviction thrown out. Last September, a District Court jury in Brisbane found Don Gordon Campbell guilty of knowingly possessing child exploitation material and he was sentenced to a 12 month intensive correction order. But today the Court of Appeal said the Crown had not proved Campbell ''knowingly possessed'' the material which was found on his computer.

In a unanimous judgment the court quashed the conviction and entered a verdict of not guilty. Justice Peter Dutney said the prosecution had failed to link Campbell to ownership of the files and there was not sufficient evidence to sustain a guilty verdict.

The court heard that police went to Campbell's home after a tip off and found five computers on which there were two copies of the story. A computer expert said one version of the story had been downloaded from the internet and the second version had been copied across from that file.

The case was the latest in which there was confusion about the definition of "child exploitation material" and "possession" in child porn offences. Before the original trial there was legal argument about whether a fictional story constituted child exploitation material. The judge ruled it was not necessary for the offending material to depict a real person as long as that person was a child under the age of 16.

The Court of Appeal found the judge was correct in finding the story was child pornography but said the Crown had not proved its case on the "knowingly possessing" component.



Good comment from a reader:

There is another book where the main character Mohammed has a 7 year old wife called Aisha, and admits to abusing her when she is 9.

The Koran should therefore be made illegal.

Bridget Jones author says women cannot have it all

SHE has been credited with helping spawn a generation of thirty-something singletons. Now Bridget Jones author Helen Fielding has criticised women who aspire to "have it all".

Miss Fielding, whose novels ridicule some women's obsession with lifestyle magazines and self-help books, has also claimed that endless self-improvement has become a "modern disease", reports The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK.

The English mother-of-two has made more than $40million from her four Bridget Jones books, two of which have been made into films starring Renee Zellweger. They focus on a 32-year-old who keeps a diary about her repeated attempts to find love and take control of her life and career.

However, 50-year- old Miss Fielding now claims that many young women today struggle with the expectation that they should have successful careers as well as raising a family, leaving them "confused". The author was speaking at the Oxford Union - she studied at Oxford University in the 1970s.

Talking about the huge popularity of the Bridget Jones series, she said it was simply down to readers empathising with an ambitious woman struggling to live up to an idealistic society. "There are so many advertisements now telling people they need to look a certain way and have this perfect life." she said. "They feel they should be getting up at six in the morning and going to the gym, then doing a full day's work and coming back late and have to feed 12 people for dinner. It's a modern disease. "It's happened to me where I've gone for photoshoots and looked at myself on the cover of magazines where I have been completely changed and thought, "I wish I looked like that". That's why Bridget struck such a chord with women, because she is human and she has these flaws which most of us have. "Even though I have spent a lot of time denying that Bridget was me, she was."

During the talk, Miss Fielding also suggested that women who grew up in wartime were " less confused" than women today who are expected to carve out successful careers as well as raising a family. She used the example of Bridget Jones's mother in the books, who is confident and pushy. "Bridget's mother is really confident because she grew up in the time of the war with no air-brushing and stupid advertisements," Miss Fielding said. "She knows who she is, what she stands for and what her values are. "She is not affected by the idea that one minute she should be a woman, the next she should be a career woman and the next she should be a mother. She is not confused.

"Look at how many self-help books are sold, especially in America where they are often the top- selling books. They have become a religion."

In 2001, Miss Fielding left her home in London and moved to Los Angeles, where she lives in a £3 million home with her longterm boyfriend Kevin Curran, a writer for The Simpsons. They have a five-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.


Why bosses are right to distrust women who don't want children... by a VERY outspoken mother (and ex-boss)

Much as I like to trumpet the importance of a woman's right to choose all things at all times, there's one choice I simply cannot understand: the choice of an otherwise sane and healthy woman not to have children. If a would-be mother is a singleton of 40 who decides to have a baby without a partner, I might wish she'd thought of it sooner and prepared for it better - but I understand.

If she's half of a lesbian couple who 'borrows' the wherewithal, I might cross my fingers that the child is not teased at school - but I understand. Even if she's a 66-year- old pregnant pensioner, threatening to turn motherhood into a freak show, I might (indeed, I do) think she's monstrously selfish and dangerously wrong - but again, more or less, I understand.

Yet if she says she hasn't a shred of maternal feeling in her, moreover, if she says she would prefer to concentrate on her career and that a child would only get in the way of it, then my head might acknowledge her right to do so. But my heart whispers: 'Lady, you're weird.'

It was welcome news, therefore, to discover this week that I am not alone. Research conducted over six years shows that far from bosses and colleagues always being suspicious of a working mother, the opposite is becoming true: it is the childless woman who is regarded as cold and odd. As a result, it is these single-track careerists who are increasingly likely to be vilified, refused jobs and denied promotion because many employers believe them to lack what the study calls 'an essential humanity'. And I know exactly what they mean.

In the little hothouse of my own trade as a hack, I play a game with myself. Reading all the other female scribblers, sometimes with grudging admiration and sometimes none at all, I try to guess from their expression of their world view whether or not they are mothers. I haven't - yet - been wrong. Now, with MPs so much in the headlines, I've extended the game and started to guess about the women among them, too. As far as I can tell, my score is also pretty high there - even though it's just a feeling. On both sides of the political divide, as with the writers, it's not what MPs say or do, so much as how they go about it.

And if that touch of 'essential humanity' - or its absence - colours such notably tough professions, it's hardly surprising that employers are starting to notice that the same applies across the spectrum of workplaces.

Of course, we need not be silly about it. Nobody wishes to see a female soldier in combat with a six-week-old infant in one arm and a rifle in the other. Or a high-flier working 20-hour days while still breast-feeding. Or the mother of a small brood taking on any job of such erratic hours that she cannot promise them when or even if she'll be home. But most jobs aren't like that - and most children don't stay babies for long.

Besides which, in my experiences both as a colleague and an employer, I have found that mothers almost always bring something extra to the job, to the benefit of all. It's not the mothers, for a start, who are going to turn up late and hungover after a night on the razz; they'll have been up, dressed and alert for hours, having cooked a family breakfast and delivered their children to school. On time.

It's not the mothers, usually, who run the office bitch-fest. They're not there to compete for the attentions of the male executives; they're there to get out of the house; they're there because they genuinely enjoy some adult company; and they're there because they have mouths to feed other than their own and shoes to buy for someone else's feet. Two-thirds of working mothers, a recent survey found, could not provide for the children they love in the manner they would wish if they lost their jobs. So there's incentive for you.

They will, it is true, snatch time off for poorly children and Christmas carol services. And it's true they will insist that, in return for arriving on the dot of 9am, they must also leave on the dot of 5pm.

But rarely have I encountered a mother who did not offer to make up time lost, often in lunch hours. As for leaving on time, put enough mothers together in one workplace and you'll get rid of the ghastly ethos of 'presenteeism', whereby people vie for plaudits based solely on how late - albeit often uselessly - they hang around the office.

The prioritising that may baffle other people is a cinch for a woman who has spent years juggling a household. Negotiating skills? A request for 10 per cent off an overdue invoice is nothing to a woman who has had to broker a deal on Britain's Got Talent versus bedtime.

When it comes to emergencies, if you have run all the way to a clinic with a terrified toddler vomiting down your neck then, trust me, a package delayed in transit is a piece of cake. And if those are the tangibles, the intangibles - the 'essential humanity' - are more important still. You cannot be a mother without knowing something about selflessness, compassion, generosity, commitment, fierce loyalty and plain hard work. You cannot - surely - be a boss and not value assets such as those in your staff.

Nor is it the boss who pays the price for the extras a mother brings with her; she's the one who pays for that. Enough reams have been written about the long hours of slog it takes to run a home and hold down a job at the same time. Yet still we keep doing it because we want our work, our independence and our money. But, more than all the things we want, we actually need our children; they complete us as women, they are our light and our love and our legacy.

We feel desperately sorry for those who yearn for children they cannot have; the unwilling barren, if you will. But when we meet a woman who chooses her childlessness in the belief that there is something out there worth more, we smile politely even while - once again - our guts whisper: 'Lady, you're weird.'

So three cheers for the employers who are catching on, the ones who don't want to people their workforces with the cold, the calculating, the sad and the mad. The only question is: what took you so long?


Euthanasia advice as a test of free speech

Comment by Michael Duffy from Australia

They held a debate last week at the Oxford Union on the subject of voluntary euthanasia. Dr Philip Nitschke, the advocate of legalisation, was invited to speak. He accepted but the invitation was cancelled by union president Corey Dixon. When I asked Dixon why he'd done this, he replied: "An administrative decision was made to ensure we had three speakers on each side of the debate, which was proving difficult due to Dr Nitschke's attendance. It is always in the interests of the Oxford Union to ensure a balanced debate with as wide-ranging views as possible represented." Thus was a blow to free speech transmogrified into a triumph.

Nitschke went to Britain anyway, on a speaking tour. When he arrived on May 2, he was detained by the authorities at Heathrow Airport and grilled for nine hours. He's got other problems closer to home. It looks like the Australian Government is going to ban the website containing the online version of his book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook. It's on the blacklist maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority that's being used in the current internet filtering pilot project.

According to a press release from the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, the sites being filtered predominantly comprise "images of the sexual abuse of children". Predominantly, but not entirely. A copy of the blacklist (leaked to shows the in undistinguished company, lying in the murky alphabetical territory between and

This is not an argument in favour of voluntary euthanasia, a subject on which I don't have a firm opinion. It's an argument in favour of freedom and free speech. As I've tried to find out more about voluntary euthanasia in recent months, attending several talks by Nitschke and speaking with lots of people, I've been struck by the number of laws that seek to prevent the flow of facts. They haven't been hugely effective to this point, but they're probably going to become more so soon. This is despite the fact that killing yourself in Australia is actually legal, and 70 per cent of respondents in opinion polls support voluntary euthanasia.

Nitschke says the Australian Government's fervour in attacking voluntary euthanasia is unique. In 1996, it over-rode the Northern Territory's law legalising the practice. In 2006, it banned the use of telephones, faxes, emails and the internet to disseminate or acquire information for the purpose of counselling or inciting suicide, or of learning how to do it. (Nitschke's website is now based overseas.) In 2007, it banned his book. (This followed a complaint from Right To Life, which in this case argued for not just a right but an obligation.) And soon, if the pilot project proceeds to implementation, as is expected, it could make access to his book online not just illegal but physically impossible.

Last week, I spoke with Nitschke about this latest move. He said: "If the website is banned we might be forced to leave Australia. Increasingly we've had to make use of the internet to survive and to co-ordinate our activities, and I'm not sure if this will be possible for much longer."

One reason Nitschke is so vulnerable to government bans is that he doesn't just advocate, he provides information on methods, which is illegal. The peaceful pill he advocates is the barbiturate Nembutal, which was advertised in the Women's Weekly in the 1950s but now, thanks to adverse events involving Marilyn Monroe and other deceased figures, is illegal (except for use on animals). Nembutal will knock you out in seconds and kill you in half an hour or so. Nitschke says at least 300 Australians have gone to Mexico and other countries to obtain it over the counter from veterinarians' suppliers, and have brought it back here. Others have purchased it from Mexico by mail order. Importing Nembutal (except for use on animals) is illegal, too.

The civil resistance to government represented by this importation, and by the people I've seen at Nitschke's meetings, and by the voluntary euthanasia movement more generally, are an interesting modern phenomenon. The seriousness with which those at the meetings discuss ways and means of ending life is slightly spooky, but their determination and anger with government is hot. Nearly all of them are over 60. Nitschke says he's noticed the same in Britain, where he recently finished giving a number of talks. "Many elderly people see it as an important issue," he observes, "but younger people can be very critical of what I'm saying."

It's a rare case where the old - or some of them - are more radical than the young. But as Nitschke tells his audiences, waiting until you're old and sick before you think about this subject might mean you've waited too long. Especially if the laws continue to close in.



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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