Sunday, May 18, 2014

Multicultural sex abuser

A leading neurosurgeon has been accused of sexually abusing ten of his female patients.  Nafees Hamid, who worked at the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, denies the 13 charges.

It is alleged that the 50-year-old carried out six sexual assaults and seven other offences of a serious sexual nature between May 2009 and June last year.

It is alleged that the 50-year-old, pictured, carried out six sexual assaults and seven other offences of a serious sexual nature between May 2009 and June last year.

Hamid is accused of preying on the woman at the private Priory Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital, both in Birmingham.

The trust said Hamid was excluded from practising while the inquiry is going on.

Yesterday Hamid, of Moseley, Birmingham, pleaded not guilty at the city’s Crown Court.

He appeared in court wearing a grey suit and tie, and spoke only to confirm his pleas.

Hamid was granted conditional bail and will face trial at the court on September 1.

More than 30 witnesses are expected to give evidence at the trial, which will last for up to four weeks.


Property busybodies

A political battle that is shaping up in San Francisco has implications for other communities across the country.

The issue that will be on the June ballot is whether voter approval shall be required to change the height restrictions on buildings along the San Francisco waterfront. Like so many other political issues, this one is being debated in runaway rhetoric bearing no resemblance to reality.

Former San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne, for example, says that "the people" own the waterfront and therefore should be "consulted." Really? Can one of "the people," who supposedly own the waterfront, decide that he wants to sell his share of it and pocket the money?

As for being "consulted," how many of "the people" -- who have lives to lead, careers to pursue and families to take care of -- are going to study the economic and other complexities created by height restrictions?

What we are really talking about are little coteries of self-righteous busybodies, who have been elected by nobody, wrapping themselves in the mantle of "the people," in order to oppose elected officials, who have been elected precisely in order to give such issues the professional attention they deserve, in a system of representative government.

Height restrictions have serious economic implications that are not immediately obvious to those who do not look beyond rhetoric about "saving" this or "preserving" that.

In a place with very high land prices, such as San Francisco, the difference between building a ten-story apartment building and being restricted to building a five-story apartment building can be a big difference in what rent will have to be charged, when there are only half as many renters to cover the costs of the land.

When a city cannot expand upward, its growing population must expand outward. That means far more commuter traffic, from ever greater distances, to get to work in the city.

Anyone who has seen the huge amount of traffic clogging the bridges into San Francisco, as early as 6 o'clock in the morning, will understand that such repercussions exact a price that goes beyond money to time lost in traffic and lives lost in traffic.

None of these hidden costs of height restrictions is likely to be noticed, much less weighed, by those who speak or hear self-indulgent rhetoric about how the waterfront is a "treasure" that needs "careful and attentive stewardship" by the voters, as a San Francisco Examiner editorial put it.

And just how many of those voters -- "the people" with jobs, homes and families to look after -- are going to have time to carry out this "careful and attentive stewardship"? Does anyone seriously believe that most people have time to be poring over maps, reports and statistics about the San Francisco waterfront?

Is not the whole point of representative government that you cannot run a city, much less a state or a nation, as if you were having "town meeting democracy" in some little New England village, where virtually everybody knows everything that is important to that village?

Nothing is easier than to rhapsodize about the waterfront as "a public resource beyond compare." But, however impressive the San Francisco waterfront may be, no resource is "beyond compare."

Comparing -- weighing one thing against another -- is what rational decision-making is all about. Exempting what some segment of the population wants from the process of weighing alternatives is what rhetoric-driven political stampedes are all about.

Ms. Renne's assertion that those who own the waterfront should be the ones to make decisions about it is an argument for a policy the opposite of what she advocates.

Constitutionally protected property rights, which have been seriously eroded by judicial "interpretation," were meant to keep many decisions out of the political arena.

It is not that individual waterfront property owners will get together to make such decisions. Instead, market processes can make property owners "an offer they can't refuse," based on how much other people want their property, in order to build whatever there is a real demand for by others. And we will be spared rhetorical flourishes.


Modern feminism has got it wrong about men

Earlier this year I was asked to present at a feminist society event in one of the UK's largest and most prestigious universities. I espoused the view that I must be really lucky, because if recent feminist musings in the press and online are to be believed, misogyny is absolutely rife, yet I have very rarely encountered it.

I've had the odd blustering huffer-puffer over the years who has clearly thought himself superior, but I've always presumed that's because of my comparative age and slightly avant garde fashion sense, rather than the simple fact of my vagina. (Whilst it isn't right to form assumptions about someone based on these criteria, it does take the issue out of the realms of feminism.) These instances have, however, been incredibly few and far between. As for the men I regularly spend time with - my male colleagues and friends, boyfriend, dad, my three brothers and numerous uncles and cousins - they've never given me any cause to suspect they're anything but pro-gender equality.

At the end of the session, one of the Society's senior members said: "It's great that you don't think there's any misogyny in your world, but I think if you talked to these men for long enough you'd find there were some pretty sinister ideas about women buried somewhere beneath the surface."

In that moment, I suddenly realised why so many aspects of the modern feminist movement in Britain irritate me so much. Don't misunderstand, I'd consider myself a feminist and I'm all for structural changes which ensure equal treatment of the sexes - the types that are working to ensure we have an equal number of female MPs and laws to prevent female genital mutilation, for example. But cultural "feminist" changes, the types that insist lads mags, Page 3 and wolf-whistling are automatically offensive and should therefore be scrapped from the public consciousness, I have always struggled to comprehend. For, at their crux is the notion that men are either genetically or socially conditioned to be evil. This explains why relatively harmless acts - an admiring glance, a whistle, a propensity for lads mags - are imbued with such weighty significance, often lazily labelled as "rapey".

If a man looks at me, I infer he's doing it for the exact same reason a woman would - because he finds me interesting to look at. If a man whistles at me, I take it as the compliment I believe it was intended to be. If I see a man looking at a female glamour model, I suppose nothing more than he is looking at her because a naked woman is pretty much universally aesthetically pleasing. I have always assumed that Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines transpired to be the most downloaded single of all time in the UK because it's well produced and ridiculously catchy, not because huge swathes of the male population delight in the notion that men "know women want it" and use the lyrics as their life mantra. Call me naive if you must.

I've become increasingly bemused by the "Twitter activists" whose "feminist" world view, however much they try to disguise it, necessitates a dim view of mankind. Some, for example, have taken to posting pictures of men looking at Page 3 on the train, with captions branding these individuals "creepy", "vile" and "disgusting" without any sort of meaningful explanation. These women have made a broad assumption about what their male subjects are thinking - based on we know not what - and despise the product of their own projections.

Similarly, I'm horrified with the regularity and ease with which the word "misogynist" is flung about online. Recently, I wrote an article for a feminist publication on the importance of prioritisation and pragmatism in social progression and suggesting these were often sadly absent from feminist campaigning. During the subsequent inevitable Twitter storm (during which "feminists" threatened to "rip me apart", called me a "piece of s---" and a "brainless bimbo" in an incredibly sisterly fashion) a male tweeter calmly pointed out several historical instances where negotiation had resulted in progression. As a result, he was publicly called a "pendantic misogynist" by the mob.

A pedant he might have been, but it's worth noting the official definition of misogynist as "someone who hates women" rather than "anyone who dares question the popular feminist status quo".

In the same article, I dared to suggest that we should take into account men's feelings and viewpoints on key feminist issues. "Men have had their voices heard for FAR TOO LONG! IT'S OUR TURN!" came the online battle cry, as though even garnering some male opinions would be a threat to womankind's empowerment, so toxic and self-serving they would inevitably be.

The Everyday Sexism movement is a fantastic idea - an opportunity for an open debate on the ways in which genders mindlessly form prejudices against each other. So why have its followers largely excluded men from the conversation? "You can't be sexist towards men!" was a university student's response to this question at another debate I attended (she was studying feminism, by the way). Which is a bit like saying black people can't be racist.

In Britain in 2014, girls are entitled to the same education as boys, they can then go on to get any job they want and be paid the same as a man. Not only is this not true for millions of women throughout the world, it wasn't true for our foremothers. I'd much rather say to young women, "these rights were hard won. Go and make the most of them" than "no wonder you can't fulfil your potential! Men whistle at you and there are boobies in the newspaper, you poor helpless little things".

Today's feminism teaches British women to see themselves as victims and victims cannot exist without a villain, in this instance – men. In order for this thesis to have any kind of logic, feminists have made sweeping, inaccurate judgments about an entire demographic, based on nothing more than their gender. Ironically, the exact practice they claim to be fighting.

Gender equality requires co-operation on all sides. As a humanist, I'd like to see today's feminists give men a bit more credit - they might just be surprised.


This Just In: Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance Is Constitutional in Massachusetts

We’ve known since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 1943 in the case of West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette that it violated the First Amendment to compel students to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. But does it violate the Constitution to give students the option to say the pledge?

Last week, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that voluntary participation in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate Massachusetts’ state constitution or its antidiscrimination law, and the ruling should inform a proper understanding of the U.S. Constitution as well.

Two anonymous students sued to stop their school district from allowing schoolchildren to recite the pledge. If you’re skeptical about whether the anonymous students were being used, you might be recalling the 2004 U.S. Supreme Court case in which Michael Newdow, a perennial litigant, tried to sue on behalf of his estranged daughter.

In this case, the two anonymous students claim to be “atheists and Humanists,” and they declined to say the pledge while in school. Were they bullied as a result? No. Were they even criticized? No. As Chief Justice Roderick Ireland wrote: “The plaintiffs’ claim of stigma is more esoteric. They contend that the mere recitation of the pledge in the schools is itself a public repudiation of their religious values.”

The Massachusetts Supreme Court rightly rejected these claims, holding that “[t]he fact that a school or other public entity operates a voluntary program or offers an activity that offends the religious beliefs of one or more individuals, and leaves them feeling ‘stigmatized’ or ‘excluded’ as a result, does not mean that the program or activity necessarily violates equal protection principles.”

This seems sensible. Mere offense that someone is voluntarily expressing religious views other than your own during school hours does not violate the Constitution. Indeed, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court noted, if this were the case, then the Massachusetts school condom vending machine program could be successfully challenged by traditional Christians or Jews who oppose birth control and are offended by having to see birth control in schools.

Certainly, last week’s decision is a victory for those who want to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Massachusetts. But the troubling fact is that across the country, aggressive litigants are suing to block crosses, the Ten Commandments and other traditional accoutrements of American civic religion, purely on “offended observer” grounds. This type of easily offended litigant is not going away.



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


No comments: