Monday, November 29, 2010
Proposal to deport "black sheep" from Switzerland
The posters show white sheep kicking black sheep off the Swiss flag. They were widely condemned as racist when the Swiss People’s Party launched them three years ago. Now, as the nationalist party’s demand to automatically deport foreigners convicted of serious crimes goes before a Sunday referendum, the posters have been cropping up again in stations and squares.
Polls show the message is getting through. A survey published last week by polling group gfs.bern showed 54 percent of voters approved the measure, which also proposes to kick out foreigners found guilty of benefit fraud. In the poll of 771 voters conducted Nov. 8-13, 43 percent opposed the plan and 3 percent were undecided.
Under Switzerland’s unique political system, any group wanting to change the law can collect 100,000 signatures to force a referendum. Last year the country drew international condemnation after voters defied a government recommendation and approved a law to ban the construction of minarets.
Critics of the deportation proposal include legal experts, who say the law could clash with international treaties that Switzerland has signed up to.
“For the same crime some people will suffer one punishment, other people suffer two punishments,” said Marcelo Kohen, a professor of international law at the Graduate Institute in Geneva.
Kohen said foreigners who have lived all their life in Switzerland, married Swiss citizens and had children, would be unusually hard hit by expulsion. Likewise, under international law refugees cannot be sent back to their country of origin if they face persecution there.
“You have to analyze the concrete situation, and this is the main problem with the initiative,” Kohen told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday. Other countries that have deportation laws allow judges to exercise discretion in deportation cases.
The federal government has put forward an alternative proposal that would require each deportation case to be individually examined by a judge. Voters will be able to choose between the two or reject both.
Georg Kreis, the president of the Federal Commission against Racism, said automatic expulsion, if approved, would lead to discrimination, but denied that the campaign indicated there was greater xenophobia in Switzerland than in neighboring countries.
“Direct democracy makes prejudice against minorities more visible,” he told the AP by e-mail.
The black sheep posters were heavily criticized by anti-racism campaigners when they first appeared in 2007, for their not-so-subtle depiction of blacks as criminals. The U.N.’s racism expert at the time, Doudou Diene, noted that previous poster campaigns by the party had drawn on similarly stereotypical images to paint foreigners as felons and benefit cheats.
A senior People’s Party official denied the black sheep posters were racist.
“In all four languages spoken in Switzerland, everybody understands when you‘re talking about black sheep you’re talking about people who don’t stick to the rules,” Silvia Baer, who is deputy general secretary of the party, told the AP. “It’s a figure of speech, so there is no problem with the posters.”
Alexander Segert, head of the Swiss advertising agency that devised the campaign, said it was one of his company’s most successful ever.
“It works incredibly well because everybody who sees it immediately understands it,” said Segert. “It’s not about skin color.”
SOURCE. Note: On preliminary figures, the referendum has succeeded
Race row erupts over The Hobbit after Pakistani rejected as too dark for casting
PETER Jackson's troubled Hobbit project has become embroiled in a race row after a would-be extra was told she was too dark to play one of the pint-sized Tolkien creatures, reports said. Briton Naz Humphreys, who has Pakistani heritage, attended a casting session in the New Zealand city of Hamilton last week, queueing for three hours only to be told her skin tone was not suitable, the Waikato Times reported.
"It's 2010 and I still can't believe I'm being discriminated against because I have brown skin," Humphreys told the newspaper. "The casting manager basically said they weren't having anybody who wasn't pale-skinned."
The newspaper said video footage showed the casting manager telling people at the audition: "We are looking for light-skinned people. I'm not trying to be - whatever. It's just the brief. You've got to look like a hobbit."
Humphreys said she was a huge fan of Jackson's Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy and, with a height of 1.5 metres, had hoped for a bit part in The Hobbit, a two-part prequel to the original movies. "I would love to be an extra," she said. "But it just seemed like a shame because obviously hobbits are not brown or black or any other colour. "They all look kind of homogenised beige and all derived from the Caucasian gene pool."
Humphreys has started a Facebook group called Hire hobbits of all colours! Say no to hobbit racism!
A spokesman for Jackson told the newspaper that the director was unaware of the casting restriction and described it as "an incredibly unfortunate error". "It is not something the producers or the director of The Hobbit were aware of," he said. "They would never issue instructions of this kind to the casting crew. All people meeting the age and height requirements are welcome to audition."
The production has been dogged by problems, including a union dispute that saw studios threaten to move it from New Zealand, which was settled last month when the government offered generous tax breaks and changed industrial laws.
Previously, The Hobbit had been stalled for years by wrangling over distribution rights, reported budget blowouts and financial woes at the MGM studio, prompting director Guillermo del Toro to quit earlier this year.
It is scheduled to begin filming in 3D next February with Jackson back in the director's chair and Martin Freeman from The Office starring in the lead role of Bilbo Baggins.
A forced backdown. I think
A real New Yorker
It obviously peeved officials that she was more popular than the Arab lady but expecting a Muslim to be popular in NYC was a big ask. You can censor what people are allowed to hear but you can't censor their thoughts
MISS New York Davina Reeves didn't want to be just another face in the crowd at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade -- she wanted to be the star. So the 27-year-old beauty queen, ever the New Yorker, muscled her way, uninvited, onto the float of Miss USA Rima Fakih, of Michigan, the New York Post reported.
Reeves, who gives up her tiara Sunday night when a new Miss New York is crowned in Albany, admitted she wanted one last moment in the spotlight. "It's the biggest parade in the world, and my sister and I were like, 'Hey, this is my last weekend as Miss New York -- let's go out with a bang,'" the mischievous miss said.
On Thursday morning, she donned her official sash and crown and hit the parade route with her sister, Ashley. Looking the part of Miss Congeniality, she signed autographs and flashed a winning smile while her sister asked a parade official which float Miss New York was supposed to ride. A man with a clipboard pointed them to Float No. 9, where Miss USA was ruling the roost atop the "Pep Rally" float. "There was no lying, because that's bad karma," Reeves said.
"At first, it was just fantastic!" said Reeves, who swanned onto the float as if she belonged there. She said Fakih was "surprised but happy" to see her. But with the hometown crowd cheering the local beauty a bit too loudly, Reeves wore out her welcome with Fakih's handlers. "Someone asked me to take off my crown, because Miss USA wasn't wearing her crown," said Reeves, who willingly stuffed her tiara into a backpack.
But she didn't pack away her chutzpah. Still hamming it up, she was kicked to the back of the float five blocks later. "They told me I needed to move, so I just nonchalantly moved to the back, like it was no big deal," Reeves recalled.
By the time the float hit 72nd Street, parade officials had lost their patience. "This woman from Macy's with headphones on was talking on her walkie-talkie and running next to the float and told me I needed to get off the float completely," Reeves said.
Reeves made sure police escorted her away, to make it look as if she were rushing to a photo-op.
The beauty queen, said she has no regrets. "It was the most daredevil thing I ever did," she said. "We had a blast. This title is about growing, about being courageous and fearless ... This was fun, and that's what life's about."
A New frontier on the battleground of men's and women's athletics is upon us: When is a female jock really female, and a male really a guy?
Kye Allums, a shooting guard on the George Washington University women's basketball team, has decided that she is a he. She is believed to be the first Division I college basketball player to go public about being a "transgender" person. The obvious question is whether Allums would still be able to compete. You can't have men playing in a women's basketball program, and it's more than awkward to have a man showering with the women in the locker room.
Spurred by a track-and-field controversy four years ago, NCAA rules prohibit sexual reassignment surgery or hormone treatments for athletes to retain their eligibility. Allums, a junior, has pledged to forego those steps while she retains her eligibility for college basketball.
But in the meantime, in the midst of a culture that doesn't dare utter a discouraging word about gender denial and genital self-mutilation, Allums is listed on the GWU Web site as a male member of the women's basketball team. All the press reports swoon about how "he" -- who remains a woman in every biological way -- is handling this so bravely as a role model: "I'm trying to be an example for other people to not be afraid of who they are."
Allums boasts, "My teammates have embraced me as the big brother of the team." Transgender activists insist that everyone accept their favored pronouns, despite their obvious inaccuracy. Our sports media can't seem to locate anyone in their good-for-you coverage that would even whisper that this is . . . weird. That's apparently hate speech.
So "he" plays in a girls' league, and we should all accept that.
This isn't just a school issue. The Ladies Professional Golf Association is being sued by a golfer named Lana Lawless, who says her civil rights are being violated. She says she had a 1 handicap as a man, but now as a woman, she wants to join the LPGA tour even though their bylaws state that you have to be "born a female." But California being California, the state now prohibits discrimination against transgender athletes.
Lawless went on KGO-TV in San Francisco with "her" deep, froggy voice, insisting, "I don't have an advantage anymore. All the testosterone has basically been removed from my body."
"She" is a 57-year-old former police officer who looks like a middle linebacker and underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2005. She is also suing the Long Drivers Association, which changed their rules after Lawless drove a golf ball 254 yards -- as a "woman."
Despite the physical evidence, LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan was already backtracking under KGO's pressure. "I think, to be honest with you, [as] I think through this, I'm going to have to educate myself as well in terms of what qualifies as being female. So you know, maybe this lawsuit will make us look at it as well." What a coward.
The gender-bending activists on this issue want their preferred standards of "non-discrimination" imposed nationally, all at once, in high schools and colleges, and in professional sports, to teach allegedly ignorant Americans to respect "gender identity and expression."
If it takes such "courage" for Kye Allums to become honored as a public example, why does it seem that no one has the courage (or fairness in the media) to oppose or even question this war on reality?
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.