Wednesday, February 05, 2014
The new iPad? Wimbledon tickets? No, these women are queuing round the block in the cold to sign up to a new branch of the WOMEN'S INSTITUTE
Established in 1915, Britain's Women's Institute (WI) is the largest voluntary women's organisation in the UK. It was initially formed to revitalise rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. And during World War II, its members' ‘Jam Busters’ effort enabled the nation’s bread to be spread with vitamin-rich home-made jam, bottled by volunteers slaving away in small kitchens across Britain.
Queuing round the block in the cold, these women look like they are waiting patiently to purchase a new gadget or coveted sports tickets.
But in fact, they are queuing up in the darkness to join a new branch of the Women's Institute (WI).
More than 60 women turned up to the Downend WI's first monthly meeting at Christ Church Hall in Bristol in a bid to sign up.
The group hopes to accommodate women who have been turned away from nearby Bromley Heath WI, which attracted a record-breaking 350 people on its opening night a few months ago.
It was set up by Tracey Simmonds, 37, who pulled together a committee of nine women to organise the first meeting.
'My husband Andrew is in the Round Table charity and always has a lot of fun, so I thought to myself "I want a bit of this!",' she said.
'Despite the recession, people still want to enjoy themselves, even though they might not have much money.
'People also have such busy lives these days, meaning they have no time to meet new friends and have new experiences.
'The WI gives them a chance to meet once a month and enjoy a sense of community at low cost.'
Sarah Byfield, 31, was among the dozens of women queuing round the block in Downend.
She said: 'There’s nothing like this in the area and it sounds really varied and interesting. I thought I would dip my toe in and find out more about it.
'I’ve got a full-time job and I am member of the PTA at my son’s school so this will be something for me.'
Another applicant Melanie Gale, 50, said she had tried to join the WI many years ago, but had felt too young for the crowd.
'I think they were all over 60 and I felt I didn’t fit in,' she said. 'I have always wanted to join the WI because I think it’s a bit more dynamic these days, with a lovely mix of ages.
'I enjoy a lot of things they put on such as craft working and campaigning on issues.
'I have got a lot of friends at work but I don’t know many people in the area so I am really looking forward to joining.'
The WI, which was set up in 1915 to harness the spirit of the First World War, is best known for jam-making and for its anthem, Jerusalem.
The iconic organisation famously put former prime minister Tony Blair in his place in June 2000 when he was subjected to a slow handclap at a speech to their conference.
Its increasing popularity is believed to have been spurred on by TV programmes such as Great British Bake Off and Great British Sewing Bee, as well as social-networking sites like Facebook.
Ms Simmonds said the Downend WI has an extensive range of activities planned for the coming year, including Indian cookery, button art and even zorbing.
'The choices are limitless,' she said. 'We can have talks, do cookery, craft work, photography.
'As we progress, I envisage lots of sub groups which can run their own workshops.'
How Hollywood Is Killing Same-Sex Marriage
In May 2012, Vice President Joe Biden floated a political trial balloon: He came out in favor of same-sex marriage. In the process, he stated that the way had been paved for the same-sex marriage movement by Hollywood. "I think 'Will & Grace' probably did more to educate the American public than almost anything anybody's ever done so far." Biden, of course, was absolutely right: Hollywood's personalization of the societal issue of same-sex marriage has shifted millions of minds.
Now, unfortunately for same-sex marriage advocates, Hollywood is busily shifting those minds back.
On Sunday, the Grammys tooted its self-proclaimed righteousness by trotting out Queen Latifah to officiate the mass wedding of 33 couples, including gay couples. She did so as new Grammy winner Macklemore shouted cloyingly sanctimonious anti-religious slogans into his microphone: "The right-wing conservatives think it's a decision / And you can be cured with some treatment and religion ... Playing God, aw nah, here we go / America the brave still fears what we don't know / And God loves all his children is somehow forgotten / But we paraphrase a book written 3,500 years ago." To top off the marriages, Madonna then staggered out to warble "Open Your Heart."
This wasn't an argument for same-sex marriage. It wasn't even attractive image-making on behalf of same-sex marriage. It was hatred of Biblical values cloaked in pietistic nonsense.
Begin with the marriages themselves. The only rationale for getting married on the Grammys en masse would be either attention-seeking or spite toward Americans with traditional values, or both. Neither of these rationales scream "love," "commitment" or "societal building block."
Move on to the cheering audience — a group of anti-marriage Hollywoodites who largely see the institution itself as patriarchal. The same folks standing up for same-sex marriage at the Grammys largely scorn the institution of marriage itself. The only time they embrace marriage is when it is being mocked, undermined or perverted. That's not a cuddly case for same-sex marriage.
Finally, look at the artists: Macklemore, who rages against religious Americans for cash and Grammys; Madonna, who is happy to glom onto the marriage bandwagon after selling her body for decades, and running through a raft of unsuccessful marriages and relationships of her own; Queen Latifah, acting as a stand-in for the government, offering up salvation via paper licenses from the state. None of this warms hearts or changes minds.
But this is Hollywood unmasked: angry, vindictive, self-righteous, anti-Biblical. The case for same-sex marriage rests on an application of Biblical principle — monogamy and commitment — to actions condemned by Biblical text.
For years, Hollywood was able to get away with perverting the Bible by ignoring it. But in its rush to congratulate itself for overthrowing Biblical values without a shot, Hollywood spiked the football and revealed its true agenda. And that agenda is not the agenda of tolerance for individuals, but an ugly agenda of unearned moral superiority via destruction of traditional values.
Australian voters' support for republic hits 20-year low. Monarchy still strongly favoured
Increasing publicity in recent years for two very popular Princes -- William and Harry -- has no doubt helped. Duchess Kate has been a big help too
Backing for an Australian republic has collapsed to a 20-year low, with just 39.4 per cent of Australians saying they support a republic.
Support was lowest among older Australians and Generation Y voters, with people aged 35 to 65 most supportive of Australia abandoning the monarchy.
An exclusive ReachTEL poll of more than 2100 Australians, conducted on Thursday night for Fairfax, shows 41.6 per cent oppose the country becoming a republic, and 19 per cent had no opinion on the issue.
Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy national convener David Flint said the findings were a "time bomb" for the republican movement, with support among 18 to 35 year olds at 35.6 per cent. More people in this age bracket oppose a republic than support it. Only people aged over 65 had a lower rate of support (30.7 per cent) for Australia becoming a republic.
"That is a time bomb, I believe, for republicans, because you don't have that investment for the future," Professor Flint said.
Not only were young people uninterested in a republic, he believed, they were favourable to the monarchy partly because of the star power of the "young royals", Princes William and Harry and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
But Geoff Gallop, chairman of the Australian Republican Movement, said: "Polls will come and go, but we've been encouraged by the support we've been getting, and our campaign will continue." Mr Gallop said higher support for a republic among Generation X and baby boomer voters could be explained by them having participated in the 1999 referendum, and remembering the 1975 constitutional crisis.
The poll was conducted less than a week after Prime Minister Tony Abbott named General Peter Cosgrove as the next governor-general, the Queen's representative in Australia. Mr Abbott said he could "not think of a better person" to fill the governor-general role than General Cosgrove. "Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a commitment to our country and a commitment to service," Mr Abbott said. "He has given service of the very highest order to our country. I am confident that in this new role he will continue to deliver to a grateful nation leadership beyond politics."
General Cosgrove was roundly endorsed by male voters in the ReachTEL poll, with 61.9 per cent of men saying the decorated veteran was a better choice than Quentin Bryce. Ms Bryce, who five years ago became the first female governor-general, is due to retire next month.
Women were more supportive of Ms Bryce, with 47.4 per cent saying she was a better governor-general, compared with 52.6 per cent of women supporting General Cosgrove.
In November, Ms Bryce used the final Boyer lecture of the year to publicly support the push for Australia to become a republic. Ms Bryce said she hoped the nation would evolve into a country where same sex marriage was legal, "and where perhaps, my friends, one day, one young girl or boy may even grow up to be our nation's first head of state".
At the time, Mr Abbott, a staunch monarchist, said: "It's more than appropriate for the Governor-General, approaching the end of her term, to express a personal view."
According to the ReachTEL poll, women were less likely to support Australia becoming a republic (with 36 per cent support) than men (with 43 per cent support).
Tebow Blacklist Isn’t the Beginning, It’s the End
Openly Christian footballers banned?
The NFL has allowed politics to be interjected into the game repeatedly, running anti-2nd Amendment commercials on the one hand during the Super Bowl, and rejecting a commercial from a gun manufacturer—who by the way sells a perfectly legal product, guaranteed by the constitution.
But the sellout doesn’t stop there. It gets worse.
As my friend Bill Rogan, sportscaster for KNUS AM710 Denver has noted: “Quarterbacks Kyle Orton, Curtis Painter, Michael Vick, Rex Grossman, Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, Colt McCoy, Tavares Jackson, Jordan Palmer, Shaun Hill, Scott Tolzien, Seneca Wallace, Josh Freeman, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Sean Renfree, Dominique Davis, Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen, Luke McCown, Dan Orlovsky, Thad Lewis, Matt Moore, Pat Devlin, David Garrard, Matt Simms, Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez (injured reserve), Tyler Bray, Chase Daniel, Matt McGloin, Terrelle Pryor, Brad Sorensen, Charlie Whitehurst, Tyrod Taylor, Josh Johnson, Zac Robinson, Jason Campbell, Brian Hoyer, Alex Tanney, Brandon Weedon, Bruce Gradkowski, T.J. Yates, Matt Hasselbeck, Ricky Stanzi, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Rusty Smith were all on NFL rosters this past season. But Tim Tebow wasn't.”
“Well they say Tebow isn't an NFL quarterback. He can't throw. He can't read defenses. He can't play,” Rogan continued. “I'm glad I watched the video to confirm that this guy can't play. He can't complete a pass. He doesn't do anything to help his team win. What a loser. No wonder he wasn't on an NFL roster. All those guys listed above have proven themselves to be NFL greats with highlight reels hours long. Yep, watch the video. This guy can't play.”
He can play. But really he MUST NOT play… because he’s Christian.
"And just as I feel compelled to call out the league when it comes to injustices like the dearth of minorities in offensive play-calling roles,” wrote Yahoo NFL writer Michael Silver last year, “the apparent blacklisting of a quarterback who went 7-4 as a starter in 2011 and won a memorable playoff game over the Pittsburgh Steelers doesn't seem kosher to me.”
That’s because it’s not kosher. Imagine the NFL blacklisting someone who is outspoken about global warming, or anti-poverty programs or women’s and minority issues. hey wouldn’t dream of doing it.
You can rape and abuse a woman, be an accessory to murder, get nailed for doping and as long your play on the field is acceptable, the NFL has a place for you.
But being a Christian? That’s where they draw the line.
Of course they’re in trouble. When the game that helped America kill the color barrier has no more room at the stadium for Touchdown Jesus, the end is near.
(P.s. While I was editing this column a commercial for Scientology appeared during the Super Bowl. It’s a good thing the NFL has standards. I rest my case.)
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.