Monday, January 11, 2016

One of Americas's treasured multiculturalists in action

Mug shot

When the Boston Police drug unit officers saw Grant Headley cruising down Mount Bowdoin Terrace on Friday morning, they suspected the convicted felon was selling drugs, police said later. They pulled him over and boxed him in.

But the 27-year-old, who was wanted for violating his probation, did not go quietly. Headley allegedly leapt from his car and opened fire, wounding a nine-year veteran in the leg and sparking a shootout, then taking off on foot before being tackled on Geneva Avenue, police said.

Thirteen preschoolers were just a few hundred yards away, out for a walk with their teachers.

“This individual had a dangerous path,” Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said at a press conference outside Boston Medical Center, where the injured officer was in the intensive care unit. “He didn’t want to go back to jail.”

The officer, whom the Globe is not yet identifying because his mother has not been told of his injury, is expected to survive. He is a 37-year-old father of two who was less than a week away from receiving a commendation for bravery when he was shot.

Headley, whose adult criminal record dates back more than a decade and includes convictions for gun and drug charges, was released most recently from prison last April after serving five years on a host of gun charges, including being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card.

On Friday, probation officers had a warrant for his arrest on charges related to violating his probation, though the nature of the violation was not immediately clear.

Evans said at the press conference that Headley was driving with a suspended license when drug unit officers stopped him.

Headley is in custody pending his arraignment, which is set for Monday in Dorchester Municipal Court.

Headley is being charged as an armed career criminal with a spate of charges, including assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and being armed while in the commission of a felony. He was not injured during his arrest, police said.

Court documents list Headley as an alleged member of the Greenwood Street Posse gang, and an official said his nickname is “Young Gunna.” Relatives either could not be reached or declined to comment.

Evans called the shooting “unprovoked.” It occurred around 10:20 a.m. on Mount Bowdoin Terrace, which residents described as a mostly quiet street filled with longtime residents but one that has been troubled in recent months by drug problems and absent landlords.


Mansplaining: an affront to universalism

What exactly are feminists talking about when they use the term ‘mansplaining’? Is it whenever a man offers his opinion to a woman? If so, how is that any different to the sexism the phrase ‘mansplaining’ purportedly protests? Is this not just sexism aimed at men?

That certainly seemed to be the case when the makers of the deeply inoffensive BBC drama Sherlock were chastised over the show’s New Year’s Day special. Apparently, it didn’t show proper deference to the Suffragettes, as the prodigious sleuth was heavily criticised on social media for supposedly ‘mansplaining’ feminism.

The episode, titled ‘The Abominable Bride’, returned Sherlock and Watson to the Victorian era, where they investigated a secretive group of women, who, it was implied, were Suffragettes responsible for a series of murders of married men. After solving the case and uncovering the mysterious female cabal as the culprits, Sherlock gave a speech, which was entirely supportive of the Suffragette movement:

‘One half of the human race [is] at war with the other. The invisible army hovering at our elbow, tending to our home, raising our children, ignored, patronised, disregarded, not allowed to so much as vote. But an army nonetheless ready to rise up in the best of causes, to put right an injustice as old as humanity itself. So you see, Watson, this is a war we must lose.’

These well-meaning comments, however, were not kindly received by disapproving feminists on Twitter, who accused Benedict Cumberbatch’s character of ‘mansplaining’.

Unfortunately, these individuals seem to struggle with discerning the difference between actual misogyny and a man – in this case a fictional one – simply voicing his thoughts. Mansplaining is a divisive concept that pathologises the male psyche, as if men are uniquely capable of patronising, sexist behaviour. And it is an inherently self-contradictory phrase, which attempts to identify sexism while also reinforcing it.

I have certainly encountered men who treat women as lesser intellects. Yet I also know plenty of men who would never dream of doing that. It is pretty obvious that supercilious men don’t behave that way because they are male. They do it because of their ignorant and unpleasant personalities. Such lordly behaviour is certainly not limited to men or misogynists, for that matter.

I have, however, met my fair share of condescending ‘femsplainers’: feminists who cannot countenance the possibility that someone can both be female and not a feminist. Such people have tried to forcibly convert me to their political ideology by insisting that I am a feminist – despite my claims to the contrary. Usually they will argue that if you believe in equality between the sexes you are therefore a feminist, as if one cannot reach that point by any other path.

For these femsplainers, feminism is the default option for women, and if you opt out then you are either stupid, mistaken or self-loathing. This is where the ugly politics of identity leads you, into a world of mistrust and intolerance of anyone who does not fit the required stereotype. A man isn’t even allowed to comment on anything related to the history of women because it isn’t his history.

This is where I have my own bone to pick with Sherlock. I completely disagree with the sleuth’s assertion that in the campaign for women’s suffrage ‘one half of the human race [was] at war with the other’. Actually, there were many men who advocated votes for women. The philosopher John Stuart Mill being one notable example. There were also women who campaigned against the Suffragettes. But, most importantly, the right to vote was something that working-class men were fighting for, too. Prior to 1918, they didn’t have the vote either. It was not so much a gender conflict as it was a class conflict.

The campaign for suffrage doesn’t belong to the Suffragettes alone, and it is not just ‘women’s history’. It was a triumph of universalism – a common history that we all share.


Rhodes statue is protected by planning laws - so Oxford college can't take it down even if it wants to bow to pressure from anti-colonial protesters

The statue of colonist Cecil Rhodes is protected by strict planning laws and the property's Grade II* listed status means the Oxford college would struggle to remove it.

Oriel college sparked a national debate last month when it announced it would remove a plaque dedicated to Rhodes, in response to a student anti-racism campaign.

The anti-Rhodes lobby claimed the 19th century mining magnate, who helped Victorian Britain colonise much of Southern Africa, held opinions that now offend modern values.

Rhodes was one of the era' most famous imperialists, with Rhodesia - now Zimbabwe and Zambia - named after him. 

Oriel will start a six-month 'listening exercise' after the campaign group said forcing ethnic minority students to walk past the 4in memorial amounted to 'violence' as Rhodes paved the way for apartheid.

Even if it bowed to pressure from the student protesters, attempts to remove the statue will be blocked by planning regulations, according to heritage experts.

Legal requirements say decisions 'must have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building' including 'features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses', The Times reported. 

Julian Munby, of Oxford Archaeology, said the statue was an essential part of the design of the building.

He said: 'I don't see why Historic England would agree to it.' Although Historic England does not have the final say, it would be consulted and its advice would not be taken lightly.

Chris Smith, director of planning at Historic England, added: 'The stories of human suffering and triumph that are embodied in historic places should be spoken about, understood and debated as an essential aspect of our national culture.

'The building is among the top seven per cent of buildings which are afforded special protection.'

If the removal were rejected by the city council, the college may have to appeal to the secretary of state, which could rack up a six-figure legal bill.

The campaign to remove the unobtrusive statue on Oxford's High Street - which has been there since 1911 - followed the Rhodes Must Fall student protest in South Africa.

A statue of Rhodes was removed at the University of Cape Town after it was attacked as a symbol of oppression.

The student group is led by Ntokozo Qwabe, whose education was funded by the scholarship set up by Rhodes, which led some to accuse him of hypocrisy. Rhodes Scholarships finance an Oxford education for students from former British colonies. 

Mr Qwabe has also faced criticism for saying French flags should be taken down as they are a 'violent symbol' akin to the Nazi swastika and writing how he 'did not stand with Paris' in the wake of the terror attacks last November. 

Oriel has been heavily criticised by the likes of Tony Abbott, a former Rhodes beneficiary, Mary Beard, Jacob Rees-Mogg MP and Trevor Phillips for trying to 'destroy history'.

Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan, an Oriel graduate, said he would cancel his monthly direct debit to the college if it continued to act in such a 'cowardly way'. 


Pharmacists Ask U.S. Supreme Court to Protect Their Conscience Rights

A family-owned pharmacy and two individual pharmacists petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to stop a state law that compels pharmacies and individual pharmacists in Washington State to provide abortion-inducing drugs despite conscience objections.

The 2007 Washington law requires pharmacists to dispense all drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a “timely manner consistent with reasonable expectations,” with no exceptions for conscience-based referrals for abortion inducing drugs.

Washington is the only state that currently makes conscience-based referrals illegal.

The petition to the Supreme Court comes after a long battle with Washington over this law which, according to the Becket Fund, “was passed in a cloud of controversy, with then-Governor Christine Gregoire threatening to terminate the State Pharmacy Commission and replacing commission members with new ones recommended by abortion-rights activists.”

The Stormans family owns Ralph’s Thriftway, a grocery store that includes a small pharmacy. The family, in keeping with their Christian beliefs, “cannot stock or dispense the morning-after or week-after pills (collectively, “Plan B”),” according to the petition, “For Petitioners, dispensing these drugs would make them guilty of destroying human life.”

The petition points out that, “Within five miles of Ralph’s, over thirty pharmacies carry Plan B. Plan B is also available from nearby doctors’ offices, government health centers, emergency rooms, Planned Parenthood, a toll-free hotline, and the Internet. As of 2013, the morning-after pill is also available on grocery and drug-store shelves without a prescription.”

The petitioners are Stormans, Inc., doing business as Ralph's Thriftway, Rhonda Mesler, and Margo Thelen.

Margo Thelen and Rhonda Mesler are individual pharmacists with similar objections to dispensing abortion-inducing drugs. They have worked in the pharmacy profession for a combined 70 years. When a customer requests an abortion-inducing drug, they refer the customer to one of over 30 pharmacies within five miles that willingly sell the drugs.

Margo Thelen lost her job because of the law and Rhonda Mesler reportedly was threatened with losing hers, stated the Becket Fund.

The petitioners sued initially in July 2007 to prevent implementation of the law and, following a five-year litigation process, a federal judge struck down the law in February 2012, ruling that the regulation violated First Amendment rights.

“The Board’s regulations have been aimed at Plan B and conscientious objections from their inception,” the court explained. “Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented reams of [internal government documents] demonstrating that the predominant purpose of the rule was to stamp out the right to refuse [for religious reasons].”

However, the Ninth Circuit of Appeals reversed that decision last July being “unconvinced that the right to own, operate, or work at a licensed professional business free from regulations requiring the business to engage in activities that one sincerely believes leads to the taking of human life is ‘so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental.’”

The Becket Fund, along with the Alliance Defending Freedom, jointly filed a writ of certiorari on Monday on behalf of the Stormans, as well as for Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen.

“No one should be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs,” said  Luke Goodrich, deputy general counsel of the Becket Fund. “We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will step in and strike down this blatant discrimination against people of faith.”



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


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