Sunday, January 13, 2013
Feminist rejects 'misogynist' tag for Australian conservative leader
I never thought I would agree with Eva but the distinction she makes below is perfectly proper. Just because conservatives believe (with excellent scientific evidence) that some sex differences are genetically encoded, that does not make them "misogynist"
A PROMINENT feminist has knocked the idea that Tony Abbott is a misogynist and says some of Prime Minister Julia Gillard's policies are sexist.
Author and academic Eva Cox says the opposition leader, who last year was accused in a high-profile speech by Ms Gillard of holding sexist and misogynistic views, is "not feminism's worst enemy".
"He is a somewhat inconsistent, confused conservative with the attached sexist views on gender roles, which he seems to be trying hard to minimise," Ms Cox wrote on website The Conversation.
"He is not in my terms a misogynist."
Ms Cox said she was sticking to "the useful distinction" between a view of gender as the basis for entrenched discriminatory differences, and those who have a pathological deep dislike of womenkind and an antipathy to what they may stand for.
"Abbott fits the first, but not the second category."
Ms Cox said the prime minister may be Australia's first female national leader, but "she has real flaws in her feminist credentials".
The academic noted that at the time of Ms Gillard's verbal attack on Mr Abbott, her Labor government was cutting the incomes of almost 100,000 single parents.
She said she was concerned that issues of the leaders' personal traits and mudslinging could weaken debate over "good social policies".
"This is the area where real gender issues arise and neither party is focusing on addressing income inequality, and inadequate welfare and community services," Ms Cox said.
Huge legal splurge by British animal charity under scrutiny
Funds spent on top lawyers, not cats and dogs
Senior figures at the RSPCA have been summoned to see the charity watchdog to defend their decision to spend £326,000 on prosecuting David Cameron’s local hunt
The RSPCA was reported to the Charity Commission by MPs and peers last month for controversially funding the successful prosecution against the Heythrop Hunt. Mr Cameron is a local MP in the area where the Heythrop hunts.
Now it has emerged that the charity's senior executives have been called in by William Shawcross, the Commission's chairman, for "an early meeting" to discuss its "prosecutions in general and the case in particular".
The hunt and its members were fined £6,800 after admitting four charges of unlawfully hunting a wild fox with dogs last month.
But District Judge Tim Pattinson drew attention to the fact that the cost of the private prosecution was nearly ten times more than the defence costs of £35,000.
The group, which included Lord Heseltine and Tory MP Simon Hart, reported the RSPCA’s 18 trustees to the Commission for breaching a “duty of prudence” which governs the actions of all charity trustees under charity legislation.
They told the watchdog that they had “concerns about the motivation for bringing this prosecution” and questioned why the RSPCA engaged three barristers as well as firm of specialist insurance solicitors when it had its own in-house legal team.
In a reply to the letter sent on Tuesday this week, Mr Shawcross said: “Given the concerns raised by the judge, by yourselves and by others, we are seeking an early meeting with the RSPCA to discuss their approach to prosecutions in general and to this case in particular.”
He continued: “The RSPCA is an independent charity and has a long history of bringing prosecutions in furtherance of its purposes. This is permitted under the charity’s governing document.
“In carrying out their duties, all charity trustees must act reasonably, in the best interests of their charity and in accordance with its aims and purposes.
“When considering prosecutions, trustees must always consider whether bringing a prosecution is a reasonable and effective use of the charity’s resources, what are the prospects of success and whether the public interest is served.
“The exercise of the duty of prudence, to which you refer in your letter, embodies all the responsibilities of trustees. “So long as trustees act in accordance with these requirements, their decisions would not normally be a matter of regulatory intervention by the Commission.”
The “duty of prudence” is a duty to conserve the property of the trust. It is not a duty set out in the Charities Act 2006 or any other statute, but reflects principles defined through cases dealt within the courts.
Last night Mr Hart, who is a former chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said: “I am pleased the Charity Commission is treating this with the seriousness that it deserves.
No Oxygen, Please, for This Show
Some black morality
Television is getting a little unreal. First, the idea that Al Gore would sell out to Al-Jazeera sounded like an April Fools' joke. Then the Oxygen network -- that supposedly uplifting women's channel founded in 2000 by Oprah Winfrey -- announced it was producing a reality show called "All My Baby's Mamas" starring an Atlanta rapper and former drug dealer named "Shawty Lo," alongside his 11 children and their 10 different mothers.
This story didn't originate on a satire site like The Onion. Oxygen promoted this videotaped puddle of stupidity with a YouTube highlight reel featuring the rapper (real name: Carlos Walker) unsuccessfully attempting to name his 11 kids as quiz-show music plays. Rush Limbaugh suggested this sounded like New York Jets football star Antonio Cromartie, who had trouble naming his nine kids by seven women on HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary series in 2010.
This plot was so objectionable and senseless that the entire political spectrum has united against it. Leftist Boyce Watkins called it "a platform for ignorance." Liberal Clarence Page asked "Lincoln freed us for this?" Upset with the black stereotyping, citizen activist Sabrina Lord posted a petition on Change.org demanding "Shawty-Lo Must Go," and the Parents Television Council and their grass-roots army joined in that effort.
Conservatives smell the decline and fall of Western civilization in this kind of "reality TV" sensationalism.
As the criticism and petition signatures piled up, Oxygen locked down. They sidestepped the show at the winter press tour with TV writers in favor of touting their other new programs, like one called "Fat Girl Revenge." They lamely claimed their YouTube video was "hacked" instead of official, and claimed it was very early in the development process, although it was expected to air this spring. They insisted it was a special, not a series.
But when pressed hard enough, a network publicist didn't back down with Fox News. "Oxygen's one-hour special in development is not meant to be a stereotypical representation of everyday life for any one demographic or cross section of society ... It is a look at one unique family and their complicated, intertwined life. Oxygen Media's diverse team of creative executives will continue developing the show with this point of view."
Critics can't say this familial mess isn't reality in the sense that Walker actually created this twisted trail. The names of the mothers have been changed to make better television -- one is nicknamed "Jealous Baby Mama" and another "Shady Baby Mama." This is odd, because they're can't be anyone "shadier" than our aspiring TV star Shawty-Lo, sneaking around to the point that he dishonorably piled up ten "baby mamas."
Wouldn't you think that somewhere in this chain that Baby Mama Five or Six would have been warned away by the rest of the roster?
Since he has no shame, 36-year-old Shawty-Lo is now dating a 19-year-old. His oldest child is 21.
No one by now expects "reality TV" to offer us role models. Instead, these shows careen recklessly around the culture and celebrate dysfunction. Sadly, for women under age 30, more than half of their babies are born out of wedlock. Among blacks, the rate soars to more than 65 percent. Oxygen isn't making this show as a morality play, some kind of "Scared Straight" documentary. Like almost every other reality show, this network surely will just set a stage for outsized drama and squabbling and yelling and crying.
Early in the controversy, Oxygen Media senior vice president Cori Abraham hoped that the show would provide "over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about ... leaving the man of the house to split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order ... but sharing your man with several opinionated women is bound to create issues."
In short, they see this as a black edition of TLC's "Sister Wives," without the actual lobbying for polygamy. For this show and this format to fly, viewers will have to embrace the characters and root for them to succeed -- which means the stars will be celebrated for ruining their children publicly. There's nothing like national humiliation.
This ridiculous concept should be dumped by Oxygen, and Oxygen should be dumped by cable systems. But Oxygen is now owned by the cable giant Comcast, so a very large wave of public shame is the only hope we have that this show gets cancelled. The fact that people are having to write petitions about this train wreck only proves that the TV industry will always "think" its way to an idiotic-sounding new low.
EBT Abuse: The Cash-for-Drunkards Program
From New York to New Mexico and across the dependent plains, welfare recipients are getting sauced on the public dime. Drunk, besotted, bombed. But while politicians pay lip service to cutting government waste, fraud and abuse, they're doing very little in practice to stop the EBT party excesses. Where's the compassion for taxpayers?
You see the signs everywhere: "We accept EBT." Fast-food restaurants do. Clothing retailers do. Auto repair shops, liquor stores and even sushi joints are joining the club. "EBT" stands for the federal government's electronic benefits transfer card, which is intended to provide poor people with food stamps and cash assistance for basic necessities. The two separate programs were combined into one ATM-like card designed to reduce the "stigma" attached to Nanny State dependency, and -- voila! -- an entirely new method of mooching was born.
If the idea was to eliminate the embarrassment of life on the dole, the social justice crowd succeeded phenomenally. Last weekend, the New York Post blew the lid off scammers who brazenly swiped their EBT cards "inside Hank's Saloon in Brooklyn; the Blue Door Video porn shop in the East Village; The Anchor, a sleek SoHo lounge; the Patriot Saloon in TriBeCa; and Drinks Galore, a liquor distributor in The Bronx." Out: Cash for clunkers. In: Cash for drunkards!
My home state of Colorado has seen similar abuse. Last year, local TV station 9NEWS reported that more than $40,000 was withdrawn from ATMs in metro-area liquor stores despite prohibitions against such spending. Colorado EBT users also splurged at Denver's Elitch Gardens amusement part, Disneyland, Universal Studios in Los Angeles and on the Las Vegas strip.
In New Mexico, Jim Scarantino of Watchdog.org reported that in just a three-month period, EBT cards were used at multiple liquor stores, girly bars, smoke shops and casinos both inside and outside the state. Californians are notorious EBT fraud artists; some $70 million in EBT funds were withdrawn from outside the state's borders over the past several years, including nearly $12 million taken out in Las Vegas. Watchdog.org kept tabs on government workers in Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin nabbed in EBT fraud rings and schemes.
Several state legislatures have barred EBT spending on these vices, along with tattoo parlors, lottery tickets and cigarettes. Last February, President Obama signed GOP-backed welfare reform measures into law aimed at closing the so-called "strip club loophole" and preventing welfare recipients from blowing their cash benefits on booze, porn and gambling. But that law doesn't go into effect until next year. And many politicians are just shrugging their shoulders, muttering "Whaddya gonna do?"
Here's a radical idea: How about making taxpayer protection a priority for once and, yes, getting serious about strengthening the stigma on bottomless entitlement dependency and entitlement abuse?
According to the Department of Agriculture, illegal food stamp use costs the public upward of $750 million a year. A report by the Government Accountability Institute last fall revealed that "few security measures are in place to monitor EBT card fraud. ... Nationwide, the USDA has approximately 100 investigators policing over 200,000 authorized EBT retailers." In Florida, the report noted, 63 investigators carry the burden of policing more than three million EBT users.
Excuse-makers for the welfare-takers emphasize that both eligibility fraud and EBT card trafficking fraud are minuscule. But a bottle here, a case there, a pole dance here, a lap dance there, and soon it all starts to add up. With food stamp rolls exploding under both Republican and Democratic administrations while enforcement resources shrink nationwide, EBT has taken on a whole new meaning: Exploitation of Broke Taxpayers. Shame.
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.