Thursday, July 04, 2013


In Britain, many couples these days have children even though they are not married.  It is perfectly accepted on the whole.  Part of the reason for that has to be an awareness of what a huge burden to men current divorce laws can be.  Men just balk at the thought of tying themselves up in that way.  So it would seem that onerous divorce laws are to a degree self-defeating -- in that people evade them by not marrying in the first place.  And the incidence of ex-nuptial births seems to be steadily increasing.

There is a reasonable case to be made that being born and bred within a marriage is beneficial for children.  In that case governments should be reversing the anti-marriage stance embodied in their divorce laws and become actively pro-marriage.  A marriage should at least not expose either of the participants to  major legal penalties if it breaks down.

In the interim, it would be a helpful development if some of the churches offered a full traditional marriage service that did not end with the signing of government paperwork.  The wedding would then be a solely religious service, not a service of the State.  That would be a reversion to how marriage was for many centuries.  The couple could perhaps sign some private paperwork of their own or the church's devising at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The availability of such an option should hasten the demise of state-registered marriage and perhaps encourage revision of penalties attached to it  -- JR

Guess the missing word below

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A massive fight in downtown Greensboro Saturday night has some city leaders taking a hard look at bringing back the teen curfew.  Nearly 400 people were involved in the several fights that happened along Elm Street.

Greensboro police arrested 11 people ranging in age from 16 to 20-years-old. Officers had to use pepper spray and a stun gun to try to get the crowd under control. Greensboro Police Department had to call UNCG Police and Guilford County for extra help.

Some officers minor injuries following the fights. As soon as one fight stopped another started.

The security cameras outside of Syn and Sky nightclub caught many of the brawls. The footage shows two groups of teens walking toward each other on Elm Street and several people running away into the streets.

Mike Carter is the owner of Syn and Sky and thinks it’s about time to reenact the 11 p.m. curfew that was enforced in 2011.
“It makes no sense for teenagers to be out roaming around on a Friday or Saturday night, or any night for that matter,” Carter said.


The missing word is a color

Black barber didn't like competition

A barber has been spared jail after he beat up a rival hairdresser with a beer bottle when he stole a customer after opening a new salon next door. Melusi Sithole, 35, owner of Big Daddy's became angry when former trainee Salah Barani opened his own business next door.

A court heard the last straw for Sithole came when he saw one of his customers going for a £8 trim at the new salon called Pill Barber Shop.

He went into the shop and shouted at Shane Davis for taking his custom to his new rival. Sithole then hit Mr Barani, 29, over the head with a beer bottle which the victim claimed left him with long-term amnesia. Sithole punched and kicked Mr Barani while he was on the floor.

He was also accused of hitting him with a three-foot metal pole used for shelving during the attack on January 6 last year, but was found not guilty of possessing an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Ieuan Morris said: 'It was a vicious attack which left Mr Barani with a cut to his left ear and a wound on the right shoulder blade. 'He is still suffering from memory loss more than 18 months later.'

The attack took place in the docklands suburb of Pill, Newport, South Wales.

Mr Barani told the court: 'I still don’t know what I’m doing, I still don’t know who I am.'

But Sithole told police he acted in self-defence after being punched by his rival.

He told Newport Crown Court Mr Barani threw a punch after he had asked regular customer Mr Davies why he was having his hair cut at the rival shop.

Sithole said the bottle of Budweiser he had been drinking 'just broke' on his rival’s head and denied beating him with a metal pole.

Sithole, of Newport, South Wales, was found guilty of unlawful wounding but was cleared of wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Sithole, who has since closed his shop, was also ordered to pay £800 in compensation to Mr Barani.


Quentin Letts "gets it" about fathers and daughters

I treasure the magical bond between father and daughter - so I weep for Pierce Brosnan

One photograph shows a grown-up Charlotte Brosnan in 1999. She is walking down a street with her stepfather Pierce Brosnan, hugging him tight while he kisses the top of her head.

The other photograph shows her in 1980 when she was nine and the actor had just married her widowed mother.  Little Charlotte shelters inside his arm, her expression one of trusting adoration in her new family.

Though there are 19 years between the two snapshots, Charlotte’s smile barely changes. It is one of devotion to a man who, though not her biological father, is plainly a source of immeasurable support.  He is her security, her safety, her rock. And she is his bonny little girl.

Charlotte Brosnan died this week of ovarian cancer, aged just 42. As I looked at these two photographs yesterday I must confess I found it damnably hard to keep an even keel.

Why should this be? I never met Charlotte Brosnan. I know her father only from his work as a film actor.  Really, it should be none of my business to presume such sorrow over their private misfortune. How dare my stranger’s eyes well?

Yet, as a father of two daughters (aged 14 and ten), I found myself deeply affected by those photographs. It touched a nerve deep within me, a nerve I barely realised I had.

The death of a youngish mother — Charlotte leaves two young children — is always sad, but why did this story resonate so strongly?

The answer says more about human nature and, I suspect, the survival instinct than it does about some refined sensibility on my own insignificant part.

It may also tell us something that sits awkwardly with the egalitarianism of our age. We are told to be blind to gender. We try. We observe the protocols of feminism. We are all Suffragettes now.

But the fact of the matter remains: there is a special tie between girls and their fathers, one that political dogma will never surpass.  Exceptions will no doubt exist. Some fathers are feckless and some daughters are unloving. But can the majority of dads deny it?

There is, between daughters and their male parents, a special connection. If it is not too bad a pun, given Pierce Brosnan’s best-known role, you could call it a magic bond. Here is the chemistry of that most powerful of human units, the family.

Shortly before our second child was born in 1998, a colleague asked me if my wife and I hoped for a boy or a girl.

I did that usual thing of saying we did not mind what gender the infant was, as long as mother and babe were in good health. We already had a boy, aged one. We told ourselves we did not mind if he acquired a brother or sister.

How lucky I count myself that we had a girl. Eveleen was born in the middle of a hot August night. By the time I reached the hospital she had been tidied up and was presented to me wrapped in swaddling bands, or the NHS modern equivalent thereof.

She had a shock of inky black hair and was bright red, covered in wrinkles.

‘She’s a hoot!’ the midwife said. I looked down at that tiny ‘hoot’ and, far from seeing the angry lavatory brush she no doubt resembled, I saw only instant, overwhelming serenity.

It is a moment — a smiting, a thunderbolt — I can practically taste to this day, even as I type these words. I can remember clearly the room, the angle at which Eveleen lay in my arms  and the striking concept of something special.

I realised that the all-suffusing, protective love I was feeling for her was unlike what I had felt the first time I held my son just 13 months earlier.

When he had been born, I was chuffed, relieved, daunted, happily energised and more —you know, proud Pop lights a cigar and all that.

But here, holding a daughter, it felt quite, quite different. This, in my arms, was not a future scallywag, a little cricketer, a prospective partner for my middle-aged trips to the pub.

This was a daughter. This babe was someone to be shielded. Yes, the protective reaction was quite definitely strong.

Saying that, I almost feel I should apologise to today’s equality practitioners.

How can we fathers start to explain this distinctive response to daughters?  I felt the same in 2003 when our second daughter, Honor, arrived in our lives.

Is it still the old caveman in us? Is it that we regard boys as future hunting partners — heavens, perhaps even rivals — while girls will need to be guarded so that they can continue our lineage?

An anthropologist might know the answer to that, but I suspect there is also a historic tenderness that we fathers feel towards women, one that the past half-century of thrusting feminism has not entirely eroded.

Is it unfair on our sons to say this? Might boys not feel left out by this state of affairs?

I hope not. I could not be prouder of our son Claud, now 15. He has had a few problems in life — not the least of which has been having this Anglo-Saxon stuffshirt for a father — but I love him as an English father will his lad, ie without too much ostentatious fuss.

Claud, himself being as English as roast beef, seems content with things as they are.

My daughters, meanwhile, have a different relationship with me from the one they have with my wife.  It is no better or worse. Just different.

So much for the relationship of parent to child. What about that of daughter to dad?

When my dear father was on his deathbed three years ago, I saw the radiant sensitivity with which my sisters responded to him.

I comprehended that my relationship with him was not precisely the same.  I did not love him less, but I loved him in a male way. It was the same with my wife and her late father.  From those photographs of the Brosnans, I am confident that it was the same with them, even though Pierce was Charlotte’s stepfather.

Is this about male role models in human relationships? Is it about the way families work?

Does it explain why that line in Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children, when the adolescent Roberta sees her long imprisoned father and runs down the platform crying ‘Daddy! My Daddy!’, has us weeping buckets every time?

Perhaps it also explains why, for me, the premise of Shakespeare’s King Lear — a father disowning his youngest daughter, and two of his daughters turning viciously on their father — is so hard to accept. I’ve never really ‘bought’ the plot of Lear.

The photos of the Brosnans helped me to understand a little why. More than anything, this week’s story was of one famous man’s immense personal sadness.

Pierce Brosnan, far from living down to the stereotype of the selfish film star, has been a magnificent parent.  He cared for Charlotte after he married her mother Cassandra (Charlotte’s father having died). Love displaced disaster.  Then, in 1991, Cassandra died aged 43, also from ovarian cancer. Pierce became the orphaned Charlotte’s even closer stepfather.

Now, dread fate has again smashed the Brosnans’ lives. We behold this tale and we surely tremble.

Yet amid the awful grief the family must be feeling, a grief on which we should beware intruding any further, there is also the redeeming, golden thread of paternal love.


Australia:  NSW bill to ignite debate over abortion

Good ol' Fred.  He never gives up

A controversial bill giving legal rights to an unborn child will be supported by the O'Farrell government under a deal with Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile in exchange for his support for crucial state budget legislation to privatise Newcastle Port.

The Reverend Nile said the government had promised to pass through the upper house "Zoe's Law", which creates a separate criminal offence for causing harm to or the destruction of a foetus and stemmed from the deaths of unborn children in driving accidents.

The government told Mr Nile it reserved the right to amend the bill in the lower house.  Upper house MPs were caught by surprise when the government supported an urgency motion to debate Zoe's Law on Thursday.

The day before, the government won Mr Nile's support for its ports bill, with the privatisation of Newcastle Port worth at least $700 million.

Mr Nile's bill is already creating disquiet in the O'Farrell government. Liberal MP Marie Ficarra told Parliament that, although she personally supported the bill, "government members are in a quandary about this bill."

She said no one expected to be debating it, and MPs were "deeply concerned" by it. "It is about valuing the life of a woman and her unborn child and the life of the foetus at all stages," Ms Ficarra said.

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi said the bill was "extremely worrying" and a step in the wrong direction for the right of women to control their bodies.

"This bill clearly gives the foetus a personhood status and seems to be a wedge for the anti-abortion lobby," Ms Faruqi said. "It creates a distinct criminal offence that relates to the foetus and is unrelated to the woman."

Current law deals with vehicle accidents involving pregnant women by recognising the crime of aggravated injury to the woman if her foetus is harmed or dies.

The government refused to comment on any deal with Mr Nile.

Mr Nile said the government had not given him details of the amendments it might make in the lower house but said he would not accept changes to the bill's essence.  "The essence is to grant legal status to the unborn child in the womb," Mr Nile said.

He denied the bill was about abortion. "Some Labor women are nervous and saying I am trying to ban abortion, but I have put in an exemption to all medical procedures."

The bill was targeting vehicle accidents and "all violent acts" such as attacks on women by violent partners, he said.

A quarter of the O'Farrell cabinet is comprised of women, and the issue is likely to be highly contentious among Liberal moderates.

Brodie Donegan, the mother of Zoe, for whom the bill is named, previously told Fairfax Media she did not support Mr Nile's bill and he had not spoken to her about it.

Ms Donegan was eight months pregnant when she was run down by a drug-affected driver in 2009, and Zoe was stillborn.

The Labor government in 2005 amended the Crimes Act to expand the definition of grievous bodily harm to a woman to include the destruction of a foetus, after earlier rejecting a proposal to create a new criminal offence of killing an unborn child.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING 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


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