Thursday, June 09, 2016
‘This is a right for these women’: Female-only pool hours spark debate
If it's good enough for Muslims, why is it not good enough for Jews?
A PUBLIC pool that maintains female-only hours so that Hasidic Jewish women can swim with no men present has sparked debate in the US.
For several hours a week, the Metropolitan Pool on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn bars men from entering, allowing local Orthodox Jewish women and girls to swim while maintaining their modesty.
The popular recreational centre in New York City’s thriving neighbourhood, just a few blocks from a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community, has kept women-only pool hours since the 1990s. But the practice only came to the attention of the wider public recently after complaints to the city’s Commission on Human Rights.
Commission spokesman Seth Hoy said they received an anonymous complaint “a few months back” that the indoor pool — one of NYC’s oldest — might be violating the city’s human rights law, which bans gender discrimination in public accommodations.
Jewish law forbids women to bathe in front of men and, according to New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a politician who represents the Orthodox Jewish district in Brooklyn, many Hasidic women were “very distraught” after learning the female-only pool hours might be discontinued.
“I think the concept of reasonable accommodation applies here in a big way,” Mr Hikind told news.com.au. “We all talk about human rights and this is a right for these women, not just Jewish women but any women have right to be part of this. It’s a matter of being culturally sensitive, respecting the differences we have.”
Mr Hikind said he is amazed the issue had become international news, saying there were locations across the country that have separate hours for Muslim women to accommodate their beliefs.
“It’s so simple, going swimming, but in this community there are a lot of things that they [Jewish women] don’t do that you and I do in terms of entertainment and so forth, so having the opportunity to go to the swimming pool is a big deal.”
The Metropolitan Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that maintains female-only hours. Picture: Rachelle Blidner
The Metropolitan Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that maintains female-only hours. Picture: Rachelle BlidnerSource:AP
Critics argue that the accommodation to a particular religious group violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The New York Times proclaimed in a recent article that the rule carries the “odour of religious intrusion.”
But those who have defended the single-sex hours say it allows women whose community separates the sexes a rare chance to exercise. “Why deprive them?” Mr Hikind said. “Really, it hasn’t taken away from anyone.”
“The pool is open from 7am to 7am,” a local woman, who asked not to be named, told theNew York Post. “You can’t tell me that the men don’t have enough hours in the day to swim, that they have to interfere with these women?”
The Brooklyn pool’s women-only hours may be unusual, but they are not unique. Seattle, Washington is home to several municipal pools that bar men from entering during certain hours and St Louis Park, a city in Minnesota offers both male only and female only swim sessions. Public pools in a number of Stockholm suburbs have been offering women only access since the late ‘90s.
Many public pools in Sweden recently began offering gender-segregated hours to accommodate the country’s growing Muslim population — a move which has sparked plenty of debate and has been criticised by the government.
Sweden’s Democracy Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke slammed the initiative last month, telling SVT: “To claim in the name of religion that you have the right that different parts of society — for example swimming pools, buses and trains — should adapt to your right to believe in what you wish, that is taking things too far.”
The NYC Commission on Human Rights and the Parks Department are currently reviewing the policies for the Williamsburg pool, a spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au. Mr Hikind said he feels confident the single-sex hours would continue.
Mob Attacks Trump Supporters, and It’s Trump’s Fault?
“At some point Donald Trump needs to take responsibility for the irresponsible behavior of his campaign.” San Jose, California Mayor Sam Liccardo.
With those words, violence against supporters of Donald Trump and the candidate himself has been justified and in fact encouraged by the Mayor of California’s third largest city, which is the titular capitol of the Silicon Valley.
Trump supporters coming out of a rally, in the city made famous in the 1960s by Dionne Warwick, were attacked, punched, egged and abused while the San Jose police department largely stood and watched, perhaps having gotten word in advance to not intervene on behalf of the law-abiding supporters of the presumptive GOP nominee.
Some of the largely Hispanic mob of protesters waved signs saying things like, “Trump, this is Mexico. You are not welcome on native/Mexican soil,” demonstrating the extent and reach of the la raza (the race) movement in states such as California.
The Mexican reconquista movement is a rejection of American sovereignty over lands that, according to mythology, were formerly held by the Aztecs throughout the southwestern United States. And it is telling that many of the anti-Trump protesters reject his notion to “make America great again” instead waving Mexican flags while burning the Stars and Stripes.
What makes the San Jose situation shocking is the acceptance and almost encouragement of violence against their political opponents, with few arrests made. This almost complete reversal of the civil rights imagery with stooges like Liccardo playing the role of Bull Connor, should stun America.
However, given the Obama Justice Department’s political decision to not prosecute the New Black Panther Party members who were swinging a sword around in front of a Philadelphia polling place in 2008, along with DOJs Civil Rights Division’s propensity for throwing gasoline on fires of unrest, this descent into violence is beyond troubling. With promises from far left financier George Soros funded groups to disrupt the Trump campaign with localized violence only in their nascent stages, the ugly face of the angry, intolerant left will soon be revealed to anyone willing to look.
The mobs of San Jose and earlier Orange County, CA have made it clear – this is their country and there is no place for dissent from the orthodoxy of race politics.
America, for its part, will remain more concerned about a dead gorilla in Ohio, than the unraveling of the electoral system and the admission by anti-Trump protesters that they have not come to America to join the dream, but instead seek to capture land for the nation that they or their families left behind.
In cities like San Jose, there will be no police ensuring fair and safe voting for those who disagree, because disagreement is by their own definition racist and intolerable.
Should Donald Trump prevail in the upcoming election and be inaugurated President, the very same violent thugs who attack lawful supporters of his now, will demand the very protections under the law that they deny their political opponents today. And they will be afforded their rights, because in America that’s the way we do it. At least until people like the Mayor of San Jose take charge, then the final illusion of freedom will be stripped away as the social fabric of America is torn asunder once and for all.
And somehow, it is Donald Trump’s fault, because after all, threatening to enforce the law is an abject threat to those who have been taught to reject its legitimacy.
The 'War On Salt' Is Bad Policy Based on Bad Science
The Center for Science in the Public Interest, one of the few openly authoritarian organizations functioning in the United States, once sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for refusing to regulate Americans' salt intake. No worries. This week, the Obama administration finally embraced CSPI's junk science and allowed the FDA to set new "guidelines" to "nudge" companies into treating a perfectly harmless ingredient as if it were a dangerous chemical.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell explained that pressuring private companies into lowering sodium levels is "about putting power back in the hands of consumers." Of course, consumers already have an array of bland, low-sodium choices, if they desire. But in progressive-speak, limiting choices is tantamount to attaining power. According to our government, consumers having too many choices means "the deck has been stacked against them."
The good news is that the FDA is almost always wrong about everything. The bad news is that these guidelines set an incredibly ridiculous precedent that allows our intrusive government to mislead Americans with bad advice.
But let's concede for a moment and say that sodium is killing you.
If you're one of those last starry-eyed idealists, you may ask yourself: "What governing principle empowers the Obama administration to launch crusades that ensure every citizen is living salubriously? What principle authorizes the state to control how salty my soup is?" Life is a killer, after all. If Washington, D.C. can regulate the amount of ingredients in foods—not poisonous ingredients, or instantaneously unhealthy ingredients or even hidden ingredients, but ingredients that the CSPI has decided to whine about—what can't it regulate? And if salt is worthy of all this attention, why is the Obama administration allowing citizens to commit mass suicidal acts by ingesting sugar? Or dairy? Or bleached white flour? Or canola oil?
"Americans need to reduce their sodium intake to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke," explained CSPI President Michael F. Jacobson to ABC News after the FDA released its memo. "If companies achieved the FDA's proposed targets, it would have a huge benefit for the public's health. If companies don't achieve these voluntary targets, it would be clear that mandatory limits will be necessary to reach safe sodium levels."
Now, you may ask yourself, "Who the hell is Michael F. Jacobson to tell me what I need to do?" Well, Jacobson's organization, meticulously debunked since 1971, now says that if you don't do something voluntarily then the government has the duty to force you, which sounds about right these days on almost every front.
But, setting all that aside, what happens if salt isn't even bad for you? What if CSPI is wrong, as usual? What if the FDA is pushing flawed science and compelling companies to engage in practices that will do nothing to improve public health? What if these practices end up hurting people?
Not long ago, a meta-analysis of seven studies in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that reduced sodium intake lowers the risk for strokes, heart attacks or death for people with normal or high blood pressure. Some studies, in fact, found that salt has beneficial effects. A study by The Journal of the American Medical Association, which followed 3,700 healthy people for eight years, found similar benefits.
A couple of years ago, Scientific American reported that "meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure."
Obviously, there is still disagreement over what these studies mean. But, surely, the FDA has no business authorizing a position on salt when a definitive one has not been reached in the scientific community. "The science is uncertain," Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today this week. "If you're in the general population, I can't support the widespread recommendation to reduce sodium intake."
Now, I get that this saves Americans the bother of thinking or acting for themselves, which is how we like it. Americans want to label everything and be warned about all things. All things. A new study by The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal found that 80 percent of people surveyed want labels on food containing DNA. The number is nearly the same as those who support labeling foods that contain genetically modified organisms, which have been found to be about as dangerous as DNA.
No doubt, if we asked people about salt, we'd see similar reactions. Generally, though, those who want to be healthy use the tools they have, and others do not. For those who care, for instance, the FDA just updated the "Nutritional Facts" label on most packaged foods. It's one thing to try and ensure more transparency, and it's another for the government to solidify bad science and engage in needlessly intrusive policies that attempt to dictate what we can eat.
How Facebook and Twitter Are Treating Death Threats Against Me
By Robert Spencer
The antipathy of Twitter and Facebook to conservatives is well-established. The social media giants’ hatred presumably therefore also applies to opponents of jihad terror, who are universally classified as “right-wing,” however absurd the label.
But do Twitter and Facebook draw the line at death threats against them?
The question arises because of one Obaid Karki, @stsheetrock on Twitter, who describes himself thusly:
I Ain’t Anglosexual Liberal Hippie, Neither Wolf nor Dog, I am a coyote. A Paulite Picassoic Provocateur Constitutionalist Libertarian.
Any doubt that he is quite spectacularly insane will be removed by a perusal of one or both of his incoherent and gleefully obscene websites. Karki is engaging in some bizarre parody of a deranged imam, or perhaps he is trying to make some other kind of inscrutable humor. One of his websites is titled “Obaid Karki St. Sheetrock’s Painfulpolitics Offensive Comedy Hepcat.” The offensive comedy is there, in spades. His other site is called “Suicide Bombers Magazine,” and bears this heading: “Dislaimer: we swear on Elvis’s pickled penis that ‘non-sapient beings’ I mean animals harmed during IED kahbooom.”
But just because Karki is insane or possibly joking doesn’t mean that he can’t be dangerous -- especially if he is also making specific calls for people to be murdered.
Last Saturday, he posted this:
Robert Spencer mustn’t [be] featured but lynched from his scrotum along with Zionists scumbags, Pamela Geller, Pat Condell, Daniel Pipes, Debbie Schlussel and JIHADWATCH Jackass duo Baron Bodissey & Geert Wilders for inspiring Anders Behring Breivik to [kill] innocent students in 2011.
Actually, neither Bodissey nor Wilders runs Jihad Watch -- I do -- and I didn’t inspire Breivik to do anything, but there is no arguing with a crazy person. But what is interesting about Karki’s post, aside from his loony language, is that he posted this call for me and others to be lynched on Twitter, which has a clearly stated policy against death threats.
Per “The Twitter Rules”:
Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.
I therefore duly reported Karki's threat, but as of this writing, it has not been taken down (in fact, Karki has since posted it again, and has posted variants of it several times). Maybe Twitter is just slow to deal with the large number of complaints it receives? To buy that argument, you have to buy that they have a two-year backlog. On May 12, 2014, Karki also posted this:
You can see from this 2014 Twitter exchange linked above that several people claimed they reported Karki for this threat, as did I. Not only does Karki still have his Twitter account -- while many conservatives have lost their accounts for far less -- but the 2014 threat remains there. Hold on -- I misspoke above. I meant to say you would have to buy that Twitter has a three-year backlog of death threats to police. Here, read a Karki tweet from September 18, 2013:
So now you have an example of how Twitter responded to death threats against a political opponent.
How about Facebook?
Not only is Karki on Twitter, but he also has a Facebook page containing the same lurid and paranoid content -- including the threats. He did claim he was temporarily barred this Sunday:
I am axed outta Facebook for 7 days ...
... but, I just read that on his Facebook page. What exactly this axing entailed remains unclear.
At least the social media titans are consistent. The site Epoch Times reported last March:
[W]hile Twitter says it is making strong efforts to shut down terrorist accounts, activists say that not only is the microblogging company not taking down the accounts that matter, but it has even been shutting down accounts of users trying to report terrorists.
The age of Obama has featured a rapid decline in appreciation for the freedom of speech. College students and -- in many, many cases -- their professors routinely avow that “hate speech is not free speech.” They cannot grasp that if they get their wish they will allow whatever the government subjectively deems “hate speech” to be criminalized, and the foremost protection against tyranny will have been removed.
At that moment, free society literally ends.
While the First Amendment still doesn’t allow the increasingly authoritarian Left to silence its opponents, Facebook and Twitter have apparently taken the next most effective steps. They media titans kneecap voices they don't like, and they allow death threats directed against those same voices to remain.
It’s a bad situation growing worse. Maybe if Hillary Clinton -- who called for people like me to be publicly shamed -- is elected president, she will have Obaid Karki perform at White House.
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.