Tuesday, May 31, 2005


Now politically correct censors have decided that it's wrong to be horrible to a Dalek. What has become of the battle between good and evil? asks MICHAEL HANLON

Global domination was just for starters. The most evil beings in Creation had far bigger fish to fry. Entire star systems, the galaxy and the majesty of the universe itself was their ultimate goal. All were to be enslaved under a tyranny which would make the jackbooted hegemony of Nazi Germany look like a week at a holiday camp.

The tyrants in question were, of course, the Daleks - faintly ridiculous with their pepperpot exteriors, dodgy, easily avoidable weaponry and all that bother with the stairs, but deeply sinister and scary nonetheless. The Daleks are not nice. They do not have "unresolved issues". They have no feminine side or psychological angst. That is the whole point of them. The Daleks are the fascists of Doctor Who's universe, a creation of pure evil implanted in an impregnable, emotionless machine carcass. They are psychopaths, beings whose raison d etre is to kill, or be killed. They do not hesitate to inflict as much pain and misery as is necessary to get the job done and to make the extermination balance-sheet add up.

Which is why it is so gibberingly silly that Britain's children have been told they cannot watch a Dalek getting a taste of its own medicine. That's right. Politically correct censors of the British Board of Film Classification has decided, in its infinite witlessness, to give the current series of Doctor Who a not recommended for under-12s classification when it is released on DVD.

The reason? Scenes of depraved and exploitative sex? No. The good Doctor doesn't really "do" sex, we are told, and quite right, too - with that nice Billie Piper as his assistant Rose, he could get into all sorts of trouble. Drug-taking? Nope. The new Doctor Who might have been brought right up to date with its depictions of an edgy, urban, 21st-century Britain, but the real world of dope and crack, foul language, promiscuity and racial tension is absent.

No, the reason is that the series depicts the "use of violence to resolve problems". Britain's "nannycensors" have taken against one particular episode in which an American boffin has somehow got hold of a Dalek (the "last of its race" - Ha! Not likely), kept it in chains and tortured the metal beast with drills.

The Doctor, a rather amoral and nihilistic alien incarnation as played by Christopher Eccleston, is also shown taunting and tormenting the Dalek - not unreasonably, since the Daleks not only wiped out the Doctor's family but also his race and planet.

This won't do at all, says the BBFC. "However cross one might be with a Dalek", a spokesman for the board said. "being cruel is not the way to deal with the issue. "Some children might take it into the playground ... a good role model should not use torture to satisfy his desire for revenge. It is not an acceptable way to deal with problems of power."

This statement is ridiculous in so many ways that it is hard to know where to start. But to make just one point: how likely is it that, faced with a scene in which a fictional Doctor Who torments another fictional Dalek for the crime of destroying an equally fictional planet, schoolchildren will start torturing each other in the playground?

Of course, we should not condone torture. Most people would agree that deliberately inflicting pain, be it to acquire information or to terrorise, is beyond the moral pale. But that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, nor that it shouldn't be discussed or shown in a popular fiction aimed at children.

Doctor Who, like most fantasy fiction, involves a struggle between good and evil. But if it were simply left at that, it would be dull and unwatchable. Good fiction also involves dollops of grey between the moral absolutes of black and white. The Doctor is not a comicbook hero - like all of us, he has shades of darkness in his character and that is what makes him so compelling. We cannot sanitise our children from "the dark side" - particularly if we want to fire their imagination. And besides, if we are going to stop the under-12s from watching Doctor Who, we are going to have to stop them watching (and reading) a whole lot else. Most fairy stories contain deeply disturbing imagery and plenty of violence. Think of Little Red Riding Hood, for example, or Cinderella - a story in which (in the original version) the Ugly Sisters are tortured by the King for their deceit over the glass slipper by being forced to dance to their death wearing red-hot iron shoes.

Pretty well all World War II films would be off the children's menu, too. For what was the struggle against the Nazis if not the "use of violence to solve problems"? Do we want our children to be unaware of the horrors of 1939-45? Sometimes evil will triumph if good men stand by and do nothing. The moral dilemma is that doing something sometimes, and regrettably, involves the necessary use of force. The key to Doctor Who's success is surely, at least in part, its clever scripting (it was never the special effects, which were always amateur, although much better in the new series ).

Yes, the plots are unbelievable, yes, the aliens are ridiculous creations and the dialogue is sometimes execrable. But when on form, the Doctor's writers are capable of devising plots that explore some of the deepest moral dilemmas known to man - and furthermore in a way that is grippingly accessible to the under-12s.

The greatest Doctor Who story to date was The Genesis Of The Daleks, a late 1970s six-part story in which we were told how the Doctor (then played by Tom Baker) had his chance to exterminate the Daleks at their point of creation by the evil genius Davros. It was all silly in some ways, yet there was a strangely deep moral dilemma exposed here. The Doctor had his chance, but chose to let the Daleks live. He realised that without absolute evil in the universe, it would be hard for good to exist as well.

This highlighted a vexatious moral issue, probably lost on most of the prepubescent audience.

Children are deeply moral beings. When shown a Dalek being "tortured", there is every chance that this might spark a debate in young minds as to whether it can ever be right to inflict pain on even the most evil being. All the best children's fiction contains profound, often disturbing moral imagery, full of murder, torture, betrayal and pain. Presumably the starched nannies of the film classifications board would ban the Brothers Grimm, C.S. Lewis and Aesop as well. If so, perhaps we should invite any surviving Daleks to deal with them in the time-honoured fashion.

The above article appeared in the Brisbane (Australia) SUNDAY MAIL on May 29, 2005


The liberal Interfaith Alliance is backing a hate-crimes bill that adds "sexual orientation" to its list of protected list. The legislation, reintroduced by two Democrats and two Republicans in Congress, would expand federal jurisdiction to cover violent hate crimes committed "because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability" of the victim. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005 is sponsored by Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., Barney Frank, D-Mass., Lleana Ros-Lehiten, R-Fla., and Christopher Shays, R-Conn.

As WorldNetDaily reported, Conyers, responding to the Middle East riots allegedly sparked by the retracted Newsweek Quran-in-toilet story, also has proposed a congressional resolution that condemns defamation of Islam's book.

Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, said, "Legislation alone cannot remove hatred from the hearts and minds of individuals, but legislation can help to create a society where hate-motivated violence is deemed intolerable." Gaddy said "sacred scriptures of many different faith traditions speak with one voice on the subject of intolerance. If we aspire to be true to the core of our religious traditions, we cannot condemn hate and then sit idly by while it destroys our communities," Gaddy said. "We believe that religious and civil rights groups, law enforcement, and government must work to ensure that all people are safe as well as free." Gaddy complained that "a few religious voices, wrongly claiming to represent the view of all religious people," continue to attempt to defeat the hate-crimes legislation.

Current law permits federal prosecution of a hate crime only if the crime was motivated by bias based on race, religion, national origin, or ethnicity, and the assailant intended to prevent the victim from exercising a "federally protected right."

More here

Monday, May 30, 2005


A plump woman strolling through a Mexican market might be showered with affectionate cries of gordita (fatty). In Argentina, feo (ugly) can be a term of endearment. Even here in Brazil, a black woman might be flattered to be called neguinha (little black girl). Throughout Latin America, a person is as likely to be described by his skin color or girth as someone elsewhere might be called tall or smart or gregarious. A word that in the US could provoke a fistfight or a court case is often just a personal identifier here.

Now Brazil is making its first forays into changing this. Last year the government quietly issued an 87-page document entitled "Political Correctness and Human Rights," which listed 96 words and phrases it hopes will eventually become unacceptable. The challenge is formidable: introducing P.C. terms bucks years of tradition and cultural norms. And the government may have undercut its own efforts, prompting ridicule earlier this month when word spread that the list included words such as "clown" and "drunk" that it said could offend comedians or tipplers....

In the US, minorities have waged lengthy battles to take control of the language used to describe them. Indigenous groups have rejected the term "Indians." "African-American" has replaced negro and colored. Even some disabled people find the term "handicapped" offensive. But the black lobby in Brazil, where 45 percent of Brazilians call themselves black or dark-skinned, does not have the political clout to dictate what words are unacceptable. Even if it did, the vagaries of the Portuguese language (and Spanish in Hispanic America) complicate the process. The impact of sensitive words can be reduced by using the diminutive forms of nouns. By adding "-inho" for the masculine or "-inha" for feminine softens a word and gives it an affectionate, less-threatening feel. "The word neguinha, for example. There's nothing more racist, even if it is used in a supposedly affectionate way," says Mr. Stephens. "You can use euphemisms, but it means the same thing."

The government document contains many such euphemisms, along with warnings that some people may find them offensive. At least 17 of the 96 terms refer to race, ethnicity, or creed. However, those serious warnings were missed in the firestorm over the inclusion of many other seemingly innocuous words. Drunks should not be called drunks because even alcoholics deserve respect, the document says. Old people should be called elderly because being called old has negative connotations. And the document even counseled people to take care when using the word clown in case professional funnymen get offended.

Bestselling author João Ubaldo Ribieiro ignited the situation earlier this month when he criticized the text as an "authoritarian, delirious and stupid" example of political correctness. Perly Cipriano, the government official who oversaw the document's publication, says the intention was not to prohibit words or phrases, and that there would be no condemnation and no penalty. However, the outcry was so loud that officials quickly halted distribution of the document. The human rights secretary said the government would convene a seminar on the subject next month at which experts and representatives of minority groups will discuss how to address the issue in the future.

More here

"Modern Tribalist" on Hispanic Illegals

I liked the post below lifted from Modern Tribalist:

According to defenders of open borders, we must all agree that illegal immigrants are only reclaiming their land, or that they all come here to work, or that they deserve no scrutiny regarding requirements that even citizens have to abide by.

To think otherwise makes us racist and insensitive. But to many taxpaying American citizens, the illegal immigrant multitudes seem to be getting commensurately more rights than American citizens, and that's making people angry.

Illegal immigration is a serious problem that neither side of the political spectrum seems to want resolved.

Marshaled by militant Chicano separatists and sundry other activists and sympathy peddlers - like the nefarious ACLU, which sees illegal immigrants as weak and defenseless players unfairly placed on an uneven field - the left doesn't really care for the sovereignty of our nation.

Such a flippant attitude regarding our nation's laws is becoming less and less supportable for the American people.

The American taxpayer is beginning to resent so much money being spent on this issue.

We live in a nation of immigrants, yes, but an important point that gets lost in the shuffle is that legal and illegal immigration are two different things.

On the one hand, we want to help the immigrant; on the other, we see the illegal immigrant as a person who has little consideration for our laws or the expense - at least $10 billion a year spent on schooling, hospitals and medical care for more than 8 million illegal immigrants, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

And what's with the sanctuary cities, where no one is allowed to give up illegal immigrants? Cops can't; citizens can't. They have free citizenship rights, thanks to sensitive groups interested in political correctness.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


A suspect is assaulted by a police officer after a car chase in Philadelphia on April 28, 2005. A local TV news helicopter crew videotaped the incident. Normally this is the type of thing becomes a mainstream media frenzy. Normally this is the lead report on every network national and local telecast. Rodney King was. So were the incidents in Inglewood and Cincinnati. This also proved true nearly five years ago, when a similar incident occurred just before the Republican convention in Philadelphia. This time there is no saturation coverage in the national media.

Charles Baum, who is white and a resident of the Kensington section of Philadelphia, had been paroled last August. He served four months less than the four- to eight-year sentence he received after being convicted of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and conspiracy in December 2000. The video showed Officer Michael Collins, who is black, striking Baum eight times during the arrest - even after he had handcuffed his white charge. As is the standard procedure Collins was transferred to desk duty pending an investigation.

Police brutality stories are red meat to the mainstream media; this would seem to be perfect for them. If this were a white cop using excessive force to arrest a black suspect, it would be on television round-the-clock. That is always national news - especially if it is on videotape -and especially if the video is taken by the NBC network affiliate of a major city like Philadelphia. Yet the silence from the mainstream media has been deafening. Only the local Philadelphia media reported this in depth. The Washington Post gave the incident all of 177 words in their May 2 online edition. Why was there no ad nauseum reporting by the national news network broadcast or front page New York Times, L.A. Times articles? Why no righteous indignation and outrage by columnists and editorials? Because this incident did not involve a white cop and a black suspect. This time the cop was black and the suspect white - and that does not fit the template of the liberal mainstream media, just as the shootings of black suspects by black cops do not fit their "police brutality" mold.

A September 2, 2002, article, I wrote for Front Page magazine detailed the differences of reporting by the media regarding incidents where police shot a black person. One example I used was that of LaTanya Haggerty. Haggerty, who was a black woman, was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Serena Daniels, a black woman. The shooting took place after the police pursued a car in which Haggerty was a passenger. Daniels ordered Haggerty to stop talking on her cell phone and exit the vehicle. She was shot after refusing the command. Daniels said she saw Haggerty grab a silver object. Thinking it was a gun, the officer fired. A subsequent investigation could not locate a gun; instead, officers found a silver padlock. This incident occurred in 1999. Yet, it is doubtful that one-in-ten people ever heard of this incident. Contrast this to the Amadou Diallo shooting, which also occurred in 1999 and was a staple of the mainsteam media for months.

There were no cartoons about the Haggerty shooting, though there were countless cartoons about the Diallo case. The Diallo cartoons contained illustrations such as one which said, "NYPD weapons training: Sawed off hankie, 38mm house key, semi-automatic lipstick, 45 caliber wallet." The reason for this disparity is the fact that any journalists believe their purpose is not to communicate information about events to people but to right society's wrongs. The more righteous indignation they can provoke, the greater audience they can attract for their advertizers - which is their real purpose. It is an added benefit that they get to indulge their left-wing ideologies in the process. Naturally, this contrasts sharply with their self-portrayal as hard-working go-getters looking out for the public interest.

More here


Judging by a rally at the Ontario legislature Monday, the religious community is starting to get organized in its opposition to same-sex marriage. Even though the number may appear small — 3,000 turned up for the event — it may be just the beginning of a larger, national campaign that may turn heads in Ottawa. One merely has to look south to the U.S. presidential election that saw the religious right become a political force that helped elect a president who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.

There seems to be a resurgence in the religious community and a willingness to work together on this debate. If Toronto’s rally is an indication, opposition forces will continue to grow. Canada, or least the perception exists, is a moderate country with citizens generally understanding the separation of church and state. But that doesn’t prevent people who are vehemently opposed to changing the definition of marriage to create a political lobby. With polls tight across the country and plenty of political ammunition being fired, this alliance could prove to be a force to be reckoned with during the next election. Rallies at political campaign stops will keep the debate at the forefront of the campaign trail, along with the sponsorship scandal.

Same-sex marriage legislation could prove to be a tough one to fight when ministers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders give the message to members of their congregations across the country. The religious right has enjoyed major growth in the U.S. and is regularly courted by Republicans. It has become a powerful lobby that pretty much re-elected George W. Bush — and he knows it.

Monday’s rally may be the beginning of a similar movement in Canada — something Ottawa politicians will watch closely. Until now, there has been little organization among religious groups who oppose Bill C-38. Representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths spoke at the rally Monday.

The federal Liberals drafted the legislation after it was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin supports the law and calls it a “human rights” issue. However, religious groups and others have challenged it as changing the definition of traditional marriage, and prefer legal unions for gays and lesbians instead. Martin, with a minority government teetering because of the sponsorship scandal, will have to defend the new law while at the same time distancing his government from the Gomery Inquiry in an election expected to be called for the fall. All major parties will watch closely to see if the rallies and the outcry continues to get louder and better organized.


Saturday, May 28, 2005


Along with sports, culture has long offered ethnic minorities a path into the white-dominated societies of the West. Indeed, whether in theater, movies or popular music, leading artists of, say, African, Asian, Hispanic or Arab extraction have often become social trailblazers, demonstrating to their peers and to national audiences alike that integration is possible. But this is also a process that can take years, even decades.

Now the Arts Council England, the government-financed body that subsidizes the performing arts in England, has decided to speed things up by introducing affirmative action to culture. Specifically, it wants the 1,100 cultural organizations that receive its help to employ minorities, to present black, Asian and other ethnic art, and to reach out to minorities unaccustomed to attending cultural events. Further, it has given the initiative teeth by linking its continuing financial support to adoption and execution of what it calls racial equality action plans. "We will closely monitor the development of your action plan and your progress in meeting your race equality objectives," the council noted in a 110-page instruction manual, "and future funding may include considerations on your ability to meet race equality targets." In other words, go multiethnic or risk bankruptcy.

More than a few cultural administrators have been taken by surprise. Until now, while the council's beneficiaries have included ethnic minorities engaged in artistic activities, most of its annual budget of £412 million, or $753 million, has gone to mainstream theater, dance, opera and classical music (major museums are supported directly by the government). Never before has the council tried to dictate quite so specifically how this money should be spent.

So does this action represent political correctness gone wild, as some critics have protested, or it is merely a coherent way of using taxpayers' money to benefit society as a whole? Certainly, no other European country has tried to link culture and race so openly. But the council's new policy also reflects the distinctive way that Britain has handled the immigrants who have settled here since World War II, first blacks from the Caribbean, then Asians from the Indian Subcontinent and most recently Eastern Europeans, Arabs and Africans from countries with no historical ties to Britain.

While France, Europe's other major former colonial power, has always tried to absorb immigrants through assimilation, Britain has adopted what is known as a communitarian approach, one that admits different cultural practices and languages and, like the United States, recognizes hyphenated nationals, such as Asian-Britons and Afro-Britons. And this wide embrace has extended to artistic expression of all kinds.

One result is that, as in the United States, minorities are relatively present in culture and show business here, notably on television and on stage, whether as actors, comedians or singers. The BBC, for instance, is anything but an all-white network today: It even has radio stations specifically targeting Asians. The Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theater also routinely give black actors key roles, even as English kings.

Yet, as evidenced by this month's general election, not all is well with race relations in Britain. As the central plank of its campaign platform, the opposition Conservative Party pledged to limit the number of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers entering Britain. And while the Tories were again defeated, their drum-beating - amplified by the widely read and oft-xenophobic Daily Mail - led Tony Blair's Labour Party to promise tighter controls on immigration.

In fact, concern about erosion of the national identity has led to growing nationalism here, some of it political, more of it expressed culturally through the popularity of polls to choose the "greatest" Briton or Britain's favorite book or painting. Yet 1 in 10 of Britain's inhabitants comes from an ethnic minority background. And, just as Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities are settled here, London has become Europe's most cosmopolitan city.

This poses an issue common to much of Western Europe: how to harmonize distaste for the social impact of, say, large-scale Muslim immigration with the reality that societies are changing irreversibly. The evidence suggests that, while antidiscrimination legislation can fight overt racism, culture can serve as a positive vehicle for ethnic integration. And for this reason, many European governments do in practice subsidize minority artists.

The difference is that, while France, Denmark, Spain, Italy and others help them first as artists and only secondly as minorities, the Arts Council England has chosen to address the racial question head on.

More here


Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci will face trial for insulting Islam in her latest work, a court in northern Italy ruled Tuesday, May 24. The court turned down a request by prosecutors to have the case, filed by the president of the Muslim Union of Italy, Adel Smith, thrown out, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP). The magistrates now have until Thursday, May 26, to formally charge the controversial writer, infamous for her provocative style of writing. Smith said Fallaci's last book "La forza della ragione," which translates as The Force of Reason, contains "words that are without doubt offensive toward Islam."

The 74-year-old writer, who lives in New York, wrote that Europe is turning into "an Islamic province, an Islamic colony" and that "to believe that a good Islam and a bad Islam exist goes against all reason." The lawyer for the Muslim Union, Ugo Fanuzzi, said she would have to answer first to the charge of insulting a faith, but he did not exclude that she could face charges of inciting hatred of religions.

More here


North Carolina: Church sign sparks debate Rutherford Daily Courier "A sign in front of a Baptist church on one of the most traveled highways in the county stirred controversy over religious tolerance and first-amendment rights this weekend. A sign in front of Danieltown Baptist Church, located at 2361 U.S. 221 south reads 'The Koran needs to be flushed,' and the Rev. Creighton Lovelace, pastor of the church, is not apologizing for the display. 'I believe that it is a statement supporting the word of God and that it (the Bible) is above all and that any other religious book that does not teach Christ as savior and lord as the 66 books of the Bible teaches it, is wrong,' said Lovelace."

More here

Friday, May 27, 2005


May 17 was a milestone: the one-year anniversary of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The media marked the occasion by spotlighting some of the 6,000 gay and lesbian couples who got married here during the past 12 months, and if there was a common theme that ran through all the interviews and profiles, it was the joy of the newlyweds. Hundreds of same-sex couples converged on Boston Common to celebrate the anniversary on Tuesday, and in the large group photo that appeared in The Boston Globe the next morning, virtually every face is wreathed in smiles. If I were a supporter of same-sex marriage, I would congratulate the delighted couples on their anniversary and wish them continued happiness.

But I am an opponent of same-sex marriage. That being the case, my message to the couples is: Congratulations on your anniversary, and may you enjoy continued happiness. I mention my sincere good wishes only because so many supporters of same-sex marriage think that anyone who disagrees with them must be an ignorant bigot. Time and again, I have been told that my views on marriage are morally equivalent to the views of a segregationist on race, or a Nazi on Jews. It is remarkable: Express the conviction that marriage should mean what it has always meant -- the union of male and female -- and you are likely to be told that you are peddling hate.

Of all the motifs that get played and replayed in the marriage debate, this one is the worst. For two reasons: First, because it is untrue. Marriage was not created to hurt homosexuals or enshrine bigotry in law. It did not become a universal human institution as an expression of animus. The core of marriage has always and everywhere been the pairing of a man and a woman because no other arrangement can do what marriage does: produce the next generation, bind men to the women who bear their children, and give boys and girls the mothers and fathers they need.

The second reason that the ''only-a-hater-could-oppose-gay-marriage" meme is so objectionable is its destructiveness. It breeds resentment between parties who should be seeking common ground. It causes pain to gays and lesbians by encouraging them to believe that they are hated by most of their fellow citizens. And it promotes the poisonous idea that those who defend the traditional definition of marriage are moral cripples.

If the price of opposing unisex marriage is to be labeled a homophobe, many opponents will keep their opinions to themselves. The New York Times reported a few years ago on three scholars -- ''respected Protestant theologians well known for their work on religion and ethics" -- who had been asked to take part in a TV program on same-sex unions and the church. These were not hardliners -- one of the scholars, for instance, endorsed civil unions -- but they shared the belief that Christian clergy should not bless homosexual marriage. All three refused to go on the air, afraid of being ''pegged as antigay and anti-compassion." They wouldn't let the Times identify them by name; one worried openly about his family, which he said had ''felt the heat" for his previous statements.

Yes -- if your goal is to silence an opponent, playing the hate card can be an effective tactic. But it is illiberal and crude, unworthy of people who style themselves ''progressive."

More here


The gender of your children may depend on your choice of job, say researchers. While those who opt for caring careers such as nursing or teaching are more likely to have girls, people who go into a profession such as accountancy or engineering stand a far greater chance of having boys. The theory, outlined in a report by the London School of Economics, may help couples predict whether they are fated to have only girls - or boys. The study may also reinforce some stereotypes of the sexual division of jobs. The researchers came up with their conclusions after studying the careers and families of 3,000 people from various professions.

The report, published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, links maleness to "systemising" jobs such as engineering which require precise and detached judgment. Femininity, by contrast, is more linked in the study to work that requires "empathising" and human understanding. Satoshi Kanazawa, the LSE academic who led the research, explained last week that in the general population, roughly 105 boys are produced for every 100 girls. But according to his calculations, among engineers and other "systemisers", the ratio is 140 boys for every 100 girls, and nurses have 135 daughters for every 100 sons.

Kanazawa said that a physicist and a mathematician would be the most likely pairing to produce a boy, while it would be worth betting that a therapist and a chat-show host would have a girl. The study lists insurance executives, architects and management consultants as being among systemising occupations, while empathising jobs include dieticians, careers advisers and those who work with children. Kanazawa, along with other experts, is unsure exactly why the effect should occur.

John Manning, a specialist in evolutionary psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, said the findings could be due to the effect of testosterone in the womb. Manning said: "High testosterone levels before conception cause a slight excess of sons, but we don't know why." There was evidence that children of systemiser parents encountered more testosterone in the womb than the children of empathiser parents, and were thus more likely to be male. A study published in 2002 by the University of Auckland, found that assertive women had a higher chance of having a son because of their testosterone levels - indicated by long ring fingers. Meanwhile, Copenhagen researchers have found that smokers are more likely to have girls than boys. ....

Among the famous who appear to fit the thesis as empathisers are Bob Geldof, the Live Aid organiser, who has three girls and no sons, and Bruce Willis, the actor, who also has three daughters.

More here

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Will Hitler soon be unmentionable for fear of upsetting the Germans? Post lifted from Canadian Econoview

Britain is celebrating the bicentennial of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar over a combined French and Spanish fleet in June, kind of. It appears that the objective is to hold the festivities while trying to avoid mentioning what is being commemorated.

According to this piece from the Sunday Times organizers of the commemoration have decided that the re-enactment they're planning isn't really a re-enactment:
Organisers of a re-enactment to mark the bicentenary of the battle next month have decided it should be between “a Red Fleet and a Blue Fleet” not British and French/Spanish forces. Otherwise they fear visiting dignitaries, particularly the French, would be embarrassed at seeing their side routed.
As for what it is they're not actually commemorating for fear of offending someone,
Even the official literature has been toned down. It describes the re-enactment not as the battle of Trafalgar but simply as “an early 19th-century sea battle”.
It should be quite a spectacle, whatever it is.
The aim is to create a spectacular “son et lumière” re-enactment with pyrotechnics, lights and effects from barges in the Solent. Tall ships will create the illusion of a real battle.
Along with the illusion that they're actually marking what was a fairly significant event in the history of both Britain and Europe. The BBC adds a bit here
Organisers have confirmed there will be no "sides" at the Trafalgar 200 event on 28 June, which is taking place off Southsea, near Portsmouth, it added. The Ministry of Defence said: "This is not a historical re-enactment. It is a piece of theatre, and not supposed to be historically accurate." The spectacle will involve tall ships in a mock battle alongside fireworks, lights and music.
The organizers haven't completely overlooked the actual participants in the actual battle. A spokeswoman for the Royal Navy said of the event:

"This is an illustration and theatre on water. "Nelson is featured, but we are not billing it as Britain versus France. This will not be a French-bashing opportunity."
Nice of them to feature Nelson, although, to be fair, if you browse the novels of Dudley Pope, Alexander Kent and even Bernard Cornwell you could come away with the feeling that Nelson was a pretty minor player in the whole business. Still, the "let's not offend anyone" approach isn't likely to help the kids mentioned in this article from the "Daily Telegraph" answer the question.

Who's that on Nelson's Column?
(Americans, think of "Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb")According to the authors of the Telegraph piece, Chris Hastings and Nina Goswami,
Schoolchildren think it's Mandela

And according to Simon Thurley, the chief executive of English Heritage, British schools are producing
"a generation of children who know so little about the past that they are incapable of appreciating a walk through Trafalgar Square or a visit to the National Gallery".
Mr. Thurley blames the lacuna on schools' obsession with teaching about the Second World War. Which still means that British school kids probably know more history than Canadian kids do.
A Sunday Telegraph survey of children visiting Trafalgar Square appeared to support Mr Thurley's claims. Only one of the 12 children, aged between nine and 15, was able to name Admiral Lord Nelson as the figure on the central column. Others thought it was Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa.
One at least had the right war
"Alice Beardman, 13, from north London, knew the figure was an admiral but thought it was "the man who invented Wellington boots"."

This "let's not offend anybody" attitude applied to Trafalgar is just a continuation of the whole process of reducing the world to a bland, homogeneous pap. We're starting to see it being applied to the World Wars, and considering how much of human history involved battles which one side or the other lost, it's a process which can go on for a long time.

Consider the Euro, the European common currency. When the Euro notes were being designed, the decision was made that their design should include illustrations representative of the architecture of different periods in European history, but that no actual monuments from the various periods should be illustrated, for fear of offending someone. So you've got a continent loaded with imposing structures, none of which can appear on its banknotes.

If this is going to be European policy, though, shouldn't it be applied generally? Consider. In Paris, at the end of the Champs Elysées, sits a large, man-made object called l'Arc de Triomphe, whose inscriptions commemorate great French victories. Over peoples who are now their fellow Europeans. Shouldn't l'Arc at least be sandblasted into non-offensiveness? (Although some unkind types might suggest that, after June 28, Trafalgar could be inscribed on it.)

Presumably the re-enactment of “an early 19th-century sea battle” between the Red and Blue fleets (bitter rivals at the time - look it up) will not be followed by a performance of Henry V by the Royal Shakespeare Company.


Arlene Peck speaks her mind

What is frightening is how they have learned to use our courts and legal systems, and, especially that wonderful ACLU, to subvert our freedoms. Recently, Dell computer, and later General Motors, caved into threatened lawsuits by this Muslim "charity", giving a large group of Muslim workers their claims of back pay, and undisclosed monetary settlements. Why? Because the companies didn't offer prayer sessions during work hours for these employees, some of whom may have been illegal aliens.

I remember not so long ago when I sat in on a town meeting at a local mosque. For two hours we listened while the U. S. representatives who were sent there, two with Arab names informed us of their "rights" via our government. They were told how the next move should be to have their children major in journalism at university and train to enter our political system. Honest! I sat there while the audience was just about given a road map on how to manipulate our system to achieve their gains.

The only cheerful spot in the scenario that I watch each evening on the news is that the terrorists, because of the protective shield, the so-called Security Fence around Gaza and the West Bank can no longer cause the carnage in the nightly "suicide" (aka homicide) bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Nor, do they seem to be attacking the U.S. soldiers with the same tenacity because of the forceful response they receive.

So, who are they going after now? Their own compatriots. Brother Muslims! Would you think I was a terrible person if I smile and hope they kill each other and the hell with their "democracy"? And, while we're there, we should take some of the oil to compensate our economy for the damage they've done to us fighting for their freedom.

I have no doubts that we'll continue to stay ignorant, as will officials in our government and the biased press, to the full depth of danger we're facing from the Islamic threat within our country. It is tedious to read but the Koran is a manual of destruction and war for the world. It even gives specific directions how to train for jihad in the most barbaric and violent ways. Need directions for mutilations of women, honor killings or how best to be-head? Go to your local mosque and you, too, can be enlightened if you get in and know Arabic.

I wish the leaders in Israel could take a few classes in "reality". Somehow, they continue to believe American leaders who are incapable of having the Jewish state's best interests at heart despite the supposed heart-felt religious beliefs they so often talk about. Now that we are paying over three dollars a gallon for gas, that old expression, "money talks", comes to mind. Bush and company listen to "our good friends" in Saudi Arabia but not to our only REAL ally in that region.

Our President is quite cavalier about giving back "occupied land" and signing over the State of Israel. However, I'm not hearing too much from Crawford, Texas about signing over Texas to Mexico. Apparently, what is good for the goose (Israel) is not good for the gander (the US). But, hey, I can also bury my head in the sand with the best of them. So can we all if I'm right.

America is caught fast in the quicksand of politically correct rhetoric, realpolitik, and multicultural Arab/Muslim appeasement. And in the meantime, the "insurgents," "militants," and "rebels" are killing us and our allies left and right in the name of their God.

More here

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I guess the fact that the TV cameras were rolling had something to do with it

Darnell Colquitt thought the TV reporters didn’t belong in the Tillicum ’hood and told them so. People tote heat around here, he warned. He started to pedal away on a bicycle, then stopped, turned, and told the reporters what would happen if they were still there when he came back. “You’re dead where you stand,” he said.

That, and a hail of racial slurs, earned him a trip to jail Thursday, along with a rare charge from Pierce County prosecutors: a black-on-white hate crime. Reporter Kevin McCarty and cameraman Terry Griffin of KIRO-TV were surprised to see things go that far. Normally, they would have ignored Colquitt. But they worried about the woman they were visiting, the subject of that day’s story. Someone had thrown homemade firebombs at her house. When the reporters left, would Colquitt come back and vent some misplaced rage? “He’s gonna remember her,” McCarty said. “That was my concern.”

They called the sheriff’s deputies and showed them the tape of Colquitt’s threats. Griffin’s camera had been rolling the whole time. The tape was good enough for a charge, said deputy prosecutor Phil Sorensen. Prosecutors don’t file many hate-crime cases – one or two a month, Sorensen said. The formal charge is malicious harassment, and usually, the racial roles are reversed. Sorensen couldn’t think of another black-on-white example. “I’m not aware that we’ve ever done it before,” he said. “But it wasn’t charged because it was a reverse deal. It was charged because he was telling these guys to get out of the neighborhood because of the color of their skin.”

Friday, Colquitt, 21, appeared in court for his arraignment. Bail was set at $20,000. Sorensen said the amount was low because Colquitt didn’t have a history of violence.



Have America's college campuses been overrun by an addiction to political correctness? Some students charge they are being treated as second-class citizens if they don't fit the political correctness mold. The most prominent victims these days: conservatives and Jews. They have seen their beliefs bashed by professors and fellow students. Some young Republicans say they have found their grades lowered because of their politics. Jewish and conservative students have been shouted down in classes. Many have learned to just keep their mouths shut and their heads down.

But there are some people who are no longer willing to keep silent. They are starting to spread the word through grassroots media that there is an outright political harassment growing on today's campuses. Take, for instance, 'Columbia Unbecoming.'" In this videotaped cry for help, 14 Jewish students at New York City's Columbia University tell their tales of academic abuse at the hands of professors whose Middle East Studies department is headquartered in this building. Daniella Kahane from the class of 2005 said, "Students who want an honest discussion of the Middle East on campus are being silenced. And it's a problem that starts with professors."

Rachel Fish heads up the New York office of The David Project, which worked with the students to put "Columbia Unbecoming" together. Fish said, "Those students who offer a pro-Israel voice are often intellectually intimidated, and in some cases even harassed and abused by faculty members. Tomy (Tommy) Schoenfeld, class of 2004, says he had a wild encounter in class when Assistant Professor Joseph Massad found out Schoenfeld had been an Israeli soldier. According to Schoenfeld, the professor said: "...It's relevant, and I demand you to answer: how many Palestinians have you killed?" And Schoenfeld said, "I'm not going to answer, but I'm going to ask you a question. How many members of your family celebrated on September 11th if we're starting with stereotypes?"

We asked Massad to give us his side of the story. He never responded to our requests. Also, critics say that not all the abuses involve professors. Student Ariel Beery said, “In the language lab here, anti-Semitic literature was put up on the walls showing Jews as the the classical, money-grubbing, greedy user of Gentiles." Columbia, so long popular with New York's huge Jewish population, twice set up committees to deal with this crisis. But in the end, they only dealt seriously with the complaint of one student out of the 60 who came forth with grievances.

New Yorker Evan Coyne Maloney is a self-made documentarian, whose own film, "Brainwashing 101," has made a stunning impression at film festivals and campus showings even before its actual release. Maloney said, "What must be great about running a university is you get to investigate yourself. And if you investigate yourself, nine times out of 10 you're going to declare yourself innocent, right?" One reviewer of the Maloney film said it was "one of the most horrifying and hysterical documentaries I have ever seen." In it, Maloney details several cases where conservatives have been harassed on their college campuses. Like when a Cal Poly student in the Multi-Cultural Center confronted Steve Hinkle, of the Cal Poly College Republicans as he was hanging a flyer. The flyer simply invited people to come hear Mason Weaver, author of "It's OK to Leave the Plantation." Laura Freberg, the College Republicans faculty advisor, said, "She confronted Steve and basically told him to take his flyer and go, and if he refused to do so, she would call the police." Steve Hinkle said she stated, "You can't post that flyer in here because that flyer's offensive and we have a right not to be offended." She mentioned the flyer as being an example of 'hate speech.'

Maloney commented, "They actually called the police on the student who was hanging the flyer, and he was brought up on ‘hate speech’ charges, he was subjected to a seven-and-a-half hour hearing, and told, under threat of expulsion, that he had to write letters of apology." Another feature in Maloney's documentary: speech codes infused with political correctness. Maloney said, "I think the one from Brown says that you can't say anything that makes anyone feel 'angry, impotent or disenfranchised. One of my favorites maybe, is the one from University of Connecticut that bans 'inappropriate laughter.'"

Maloney told us of another college where it was a blanket policy that every single course had to discuss race, class and gender. He commented, "The physics professor and the botany professor were racking their brain trying to figure out how they were going to introduce this into the course. How do you talk about plants -- are there some plants that are racist?"

Maloney is one of the newest wave of new-wave filmmakers, a former computer geek who uses the new tiny technology to put real films together right inside his cramped Manhattan apartment, and then promotes them on his own blog and websites. He describes himself as a libertarian-conservative with neo-conservative overtones, radicalized by seeing 9-11 up close and personal. "Being a New Yorker and watching the towers fall from the rooftop of my office building,” stated Maloney, “really has a way of grabbing you by the collar, slapping you in the face and waking you up about what kind of threats exist in the world."

After 9-11, he became fascinated with far left protestors who appear to side with Islamic and Palestinian radicals against their own country. He began documenting how their love affair with the Palestinian cause has led them to a virulent hatred of Israel, a hatred he says is starting to spill over into a hatred of the Jews. A clip from Maloney's video 'Peace, Love and Anti-Semitism?' shows pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel protestors. Amid these comments ...

"On the other side of my sign I wanted today to say 'First dump Bush then dump our Zionist Congress."

"I really felt unsafe, there was so much Jew hatred."

"I believe that they should be phased out and I think they could be relocated. I've heard Madagascar mentioned several times."

Then a portion of the film points out that the Nazis kept suggesting sending Jews to Madagascar.

None of this surprises the Jewish students in "Columbia Unbecoming." Noah Liben once watched Professor Massad blow up at a student who questioned the alleged Israeli massacre of Palestinians at Jenin in 2002. Liben said, "He quickly yelled and her, and demanded 'I will not have anyone sit through this class and deny Israeli atrocities, or else you can leave my classroom immediately.'"

Ariel Daube had angry students turn on him after a pro-Palestinian panel discussion. "...and point to me and say things like 'Just remember who's the oppressed and who's the oppressor. You are the occupier...," said Daube. Fish commented, "The question is 'Does Israel have a right to exist?' and the answer is 'No.' And it's all under the mantle of Palestinianism." Daube said "I started to get scared. I'd heard of stories in other universities of Jewish students being attacked, and in my mind there was no reason that it couldn't happen here." Some folks are amazed all this is happening at Columbia, the so-called 'Jewish Ivy.' But it's a warning sign. A whole new wave of anti-Semitism may be starting to infect a radical Left totally smitten with the Palestinian cause."


Next church-state dispute: "In God We Trust": "The words appear on every dollar bill and US coin. They are displayed at the entrance to the US Senate and above the Speaker's chair in the House. But when local officials in North Carolina placed 'In God We Trust' on the front of the Davidson County Government Center, they soon found themselves in federal court facing a complaint that they were violating the separation of church and state. The display was mounted in 18-inch letters that passing motorists could see on nearby Interstate 85. 'If you are going to get sued, you may as well get sued for big letters,' says Larry Potts, vice chairman of the Davidson County Commission."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


If California truly is the bellwether for the rest of the country, get ready for more government intrusiveness in your life. The legislative Sages of Sacramento are emulating European-style over-regulation: They plan to ban the traditional production of foie gras, and now a state senator and an assemblyman, both Democrats, have crafted two Europe-inspired bills to protect us from the trumped-up dangers of cosmetics. From a health and safety perspective, the relative risks posed by chemicals in cosmetics are so incredibly minute and theoretical they hardly warrant our attention. The FDA regulates cosmetics and their ingredients in a manner similar to foods. A cosmetic is adulterated and cannot under penalty of law be sold if "it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling." Manufacturers who market an adulterated cosmetic product could face both civil and criminal penalties.

In a state that has real problems with energy prices, automobile congestion, unaffordable housing and huge fiscal deficits, why the preoccupation with an issue that poses, at most, de minimis risks to consumers? As with most crimes of passion, this one begins with a motive. In 1989, environmental activists discovered—via the completely bogus Alar-and-apples scare—that if they can't eliminate chemicals through solid scientific evidence, they can bully them off the market by pressuring companies and by issuing the-sky-is-falling warnings to consumers. Having worked their way through the food, toy and medical device sectors (to name a few), the activists have turned their attention to cosmetics as the latest consumer segment ripe for fear-mongering.

As they have previously, activists are attacking a category of chemicals called phthalates, which are sometimes found in products such as fragrances, hair spray and nail polish, wrongly alleging that their presence at any level is sufficient grounds to incite panic and cause regulators to yank products. And, now, by aligning themselves with highly motivated breast-cancer groups suspicious about the health impacts of any "environmental toxins"—in spite of the fact that not one has been shown to cause breast cancer—they have deftly converted a scientific question into an issue of the exploitation of women.

While the political appeal of "standing up for breast-cancer victims" is undeniable, ridding the world of nonexistent health threats by banning safe chemicals or requiring excessive (and often inaccurate) product labeling requirements, as these bills would do, will not make women safer and healthier. And it is a bad public policy precedent, in the tradition of California's idiotic Prop 65 (which requires the warnings in virtually every business establishment that carcinogens or toxins are present).

But the real concern here is not the fate of a few unfairly maligned chemicals, or even whether cosmetics makers will escape the clutches of Sacramento's nanny-state legislators. It is whether our elected officials will come to their senses and realize that California isn't just a version of Europe with better weather and more earthquakes. (Could they possibly have become confused by the governor's accent?) Although we may wish to defer to Europe on matters relating to existentialist philosophy and anachronistic pomp and ceremony, it is the last place on earth we should look for regulatory guidance. The highly risk-averse regulators of the European Union have raised to a high art form the obstruction of innovation and the free market.

More here


As I noted on 22nd., the speech warriors say that "nitty gritty" is an allusion to slavery. A reader has drawn my attention to the following from here

[Q] From Helen Norris: “Any ideas on the origins of the expression nitty-gritty? I heard today a rather horrible suggestion that it referred to the debris left in the bottom of slave ships after their voyages, once the slaves remaining alive had been removed.”

[A] This may belong in the same line of folklore which holds that a picnic was a slave lynching party. There is a slight link, in that nitty-gritty was indeed originally a Black American English expression, and some people guess that nitty-gritty is a euphemism for shitty, which also suggests a relevance. However, it’s recorded in print only from the 1950s, and never directly with this sense.

Dr Jonathan Lighter, in the Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, records the first example from 1956: “You’ll find nobody comes down to the nitty-gritty when it calls for namin’ things for what they are”. As it is here fully formed, and has the now customary sense of the fundamental issues, the heart of the matter, or the most important aspects of some situation, it had by then probably already been in use for some while (I know of two people who claim to have come across it in the 1920s). But it is inconceivable that it should have been around since slave-ship days without somebody writing it down.

Its origins are elusive. One explanation is that it is a reduplication—using the same mechanism that has given us namby-pamby and itsy-bitsy—of the standard English word gritty. This has the literal sense of containing or being covered with grit, but figuratively means showing courage and resolve, so the link is plausible, and if it is not the direct origin may have influenced it. It has also been suggested (in a 1974 issue of American Speech, the journal of the American Dialect Society) that nits refers to head lice and grits to the corn cereal. None of these are supported by any firm evidence.

Monday, May 23, 2005


If it's popular it must be bad

Is it time to kill the cheese zombie? That's the recommendation of well-meaning lawmakers in California. Concerned about the epidemic of obesity among school children, they have backed legislation to boot junk food off school campuses. The "zombie," a cheese-filled bread snack that has been popular at some East Bay schools for years, might be considered for extinction. Sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? And it is, except for one problem. It doesn't work. At least so far.

The dirty little secret of school lunches is that all that awful stuff -- the cookies, burgers, potato chips, pizza and soda pop -- is paying the freight for those healthy school lunches we all say we want. Kathleen Corrigan, who has been food services director for the sprawling Mount Diablo School District in Contra Costa County for 20 years, knows that students in her cafeterias are making a lunch of a Coke, a slice of pizza and two cookies. "Yeah, and I hate it," she says. "In an ideal world, I would sell lunches only. But it is becoming harder and harder to make our budget. The fact is, the snacks are what keep our full meals reasonable."

Her district isn't the only one affected by the trend. In 2000, the Public Health Institute conducted a school-lunch survey of 345 California high schools and found that a la carte items such as pizza, hamburgers, submarine sandwiches, French fries, chips, cookies, yogurt, bagels, ice cream and sodas accounted for 70 percent of all food sales at 71 percent of school districts surveyed. Amanda Purcell, who conducted the survey, said last week that she doubted there would be much difference today. "In high schools, a la carte is the bulk of the sales," Purcell says. "I don't think we have seen a significant change in how food service does business. They feel they need to sell those high-fat, junky things to keep the meals afloat." Mount Diablo's Corrigan is trying to find solutions to the problem, but Purcell says others are just looking at the bottom line. "Quite frankly, there are a lot of people who would continue to do business as usual," she says. "It is not hard to sell candy to children."

Not that there aren't some hopeful signs. A survey released last month by the UC Berkeley Center of Weight and Health said kids tended to switch to better food sources when junk food was eliminated -- to the point that food service revenues actually increased. That's great. But others point out that students at many high schools can leave campus for lunch or have many more options for what they can bring from home. Also, the majority of the 16 California schools in the Cal survey had large numbers of students who qualified for higher reimbursement rates for lunches. Without a closed campus, or extra reimbursement, the task is very difficult. Consider, in the last two years, Corrigan has made some healthy revisions in the snack menu. She changed to low-fat potato chips and "eliminated some ice cream items we just couldn't justify." The result? "Our income for a la carte items dropped $140,000," Corrigan says.

More here


WE know what's good for you

Lawmakers want to make sure Connecticut students aren't part of the Pepsi Generation. Connecticut is on the verge of adopting the most far-reaching ban in the country on soda and junk food in public schools, in an effort to curb rising rates of childhood obesity. Similar but weaker proposals have been introduced in at least 17 states this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Policies are on the books in a few states, such as Arkansas and California.

Advocates say Connecticut's ban would be the strongest because it is so broad, applying to all grades and all school sites where food is sold. "Connecticut would be the first state to apply those standards to high schools," said Margo Wootan, director of nutritional policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "Most of the recently passed policies are limited in that they only apply to elementary and middle schools."

Last week, lawmakers in the House voted 88-55 after an eight-hour debate to pass a law banning soda and junk food in cafeterias, vending machines and school stores. It also requires 20 minutes of physical activity outside of gym for children in kindergarten through fifth grade. The bill heads to the Senate next week where leaders expect it to pass. "By no stretch of the imagination does it solve all the problems, but it's very important that we provide the right models in our schools," said Senate President Pro Tem Donald E. Williams Jr. The topic was one of the most contested issues of the session. The lengthy debate outlasted discussions about the death penalty and a bill that allowed Connecticut to grant same-sex civil unions. Lawmakers confessed their personal weight problems and many lawmakers openly drank soda during the debate.

Soft drink companies lobbied fiercely against the bill, and many high schools worried they would lose money if sodas disappeared. In the end, weary legislators allowed a compromise that permits high school sales of diet soda and sports drinks on a limited basis. "Diet sodas, while not particularly good for children, have zero sugar content and therefore do not contribute to the weight problem that we're trying to address," said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, D-West Hartford.

Opponents argue that the legislation crossed a line, implementing a "Big Brother"-style mandate better handled by local school districts. Rep. Lawrence Cafero, R-Norwalk, said the legislation wouldn't affect the obesity crisis when school menus offer selections such as cheeseburgers, pizza, chicken nuggets and nachos. "How many of you will stand there and say, 'If you have your share of sloppy joes and quesadillas, you're not going to put on a few pounds?'" Cafero said.

Many state schools have already taken steps on their own. Last year, New Haven Public Schools decided to make Nathan Hale Elementary School junk-free, taking soda out of vending machines and serving baked versions of french fries and tater tots. The initiative expanded this year.

Some are unconvinced the initiative is the right way to approach the obesity problem. Rep. Konstantinos Diamantis, D-Bristol, said he weighed 240 pounds as an eighth-grader and couldn't play sports because of weight limits. He lost the weight through willpower. "There's a host of things that go into it," he said. "Banning a particular food isn't going to teach a child a proper form of nutrition."

More here

Sunday, May 22, 2005


The dumbing down of American universities continues apace. Group membership is trumping academic qualifications

Lawrence H. Summers, the embattled president of Harvard University, announced yesterday that the university would spend at least $50 million over the next decade to recruit, support and promote women and members of underrepresented minority groups on its faculty. Dr. Summers said the money would be spent on a range of initiatives, including the creation of a new senior vice provost post to focus on diversity issues, improved recruitment, subsidies for salaries, mentoring of junior faculty members and extending the clock on tenure for professors who go on maternity or parental leave.

Dr. Summers has been under siege since making remarks in January suggesting that "intrinsic aptitude" might be a factor behind the low number of women in science and engineering. With his presidency threatened, he issued repeated apologies and appointed two committees to make recommendations on how to increase the presence of women on Harvard's faculty, particularly in science and engineering. In making his proposals, Dr. Summers adopted the recommendations of reports released yesterday by those committees. The reports made clear that Harvard, arguably the most prestigious university in the nation, lagged behind the most aggressive universities in attracting and retaining a diverse faculty. Last year, only 4 of 32 professors offered tenure in the faculty of arts and science were women.

Many of the proposals in the new reports were inspired by programs already in place at universities around the country. "In spite of more than three decades of concern, Harvard has made only limited progress in its efforts to create a genuinely diverse faculty," the committee members said. "Women and minorities remain significantly underrepresented in relation not just to their proportions in the broader population," the committees said, "but in comparison to their presence in the student body of Harvard's ten schools."

Dr. Summers said in a telephone news conference yesterday that Harvard's hiring record last year had been unacceptable. "We have to do better," he said. He called the $50 million an "initial commitment" and said he expected that the university would ultimately devote more resources to attract and retain a more diverse faculty. "Certainly our aspiration is that Harvard be the leader in this sphere and does what is necessary to be the leader," Dr. Summers said.....

Among the initiatives cited with approval by professors were recommendations for helping female and minority faculty members with their professional and personal lives, including giving financial aid for research and day care and helping the spouses of professors being recruited by Harvard to find jobs.

More here


Phrases like “ship shape and Bristol fashion” and “nitty gritty” have been banned at a West Midlands council – after politically correct training consultants branded them racist. The consultants, taken on to talk to members and officers at Wyre Forest Council, brought with them a list of words they said should be outlawed. They claimed both phrases have reference to the slave trade and were therefore taboo.

But the ruling, by Walsall-based Aldridge Training Solutions, has outraged people in the city of Bristol who have branded it a slur on their reputation. The city’s Lord Mayor Peter Abraham today was shocked to hear of the ban. He said he had always understood the term referred to the standard of sailors and ships in the city and pre-dated links with slavery. Mr Abraham said: “I have used the phrase for 60 years and my family has and there is no way it can be regarded as politically incorrect.” Bristol historian Gerry Brooke said: “These councillors have certainly got the wrong end of the stick. Bristol was a very difficult port to work in before its floating harbour was built. “The term comes because vessels built and loaded in the city were always first class in that they were constructed well and their cargoes would not shift about.”

But the 15 council members who attended the council’s equality and diversity meeting were today instructed to stand by the ruling. Wyre Forest councillor Ken Stokes said the terms were now taboo and even apologised for repeating the phrase ‘nitty gritty’ over the phone, apparently a reference to slaves in the lowest reaches of slave ships. He said: “I shouldn’t be saying that anymore after our equality meeting last week. We were told that ship shape and Bristol fashion was meant to refer to black people being ready for sale as slaves. It was a fascinating meeting to attend.”

But Councillor June Salter said: “The political correctness is getting pathetic. “I am not racist and I don’t need to be told how not to be a racist, which is why I didn’t attend.”


Saturday, May 21, 2005


They want to be left in peace but are unwilling to leave others in peace

An anti-gay marriage activist group claims a graphic safe-sex guide for adult gay men was distributed to students at Brookline High School last month. Sean Haley of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which sponsored the April 30 event, denied the claim. ``The allegations are simply lies,'' he said. ``We assign monitors to every workshop and event to assure that all policies are strictly enforced. No such material from AAC (Aids Action Committee, which produced the booklet) or anyone else were ever present.''

The booklet, ``Little Black Book: V 2. Queer in the 21st Century,'' which includes graphic instructions on how to safely perform gay sex acts, was described as ``vile and disgusting'' by Brian Camenker of the anti-gay marriage Article 8 Alliance, which claims it was given to students. Sally Turner, a retired Carlisle mother, said she picked up the booklet at a table at Brookline High School set up by Fenway Community Health. ``I was quite horrified they were promoting homosexuality all the way down to the youngest grades,'' she said. Fenway Community Health officials could not be reached.

Brookline Superintendent William H. Lupini said GLSEN rented the high school for the event. ``We're going to investigate it,'' said Lupini, who said he has been assured the claim is false. ``If it happened, it's going to mean a lot of things for us. . . . We'll have to take appropriate steps in terms of safeguarding our facility.''

The booklet thanks the state Department of Public Health as a supporter. But Gov. Mitt Romney said yesterday the state did not fund the booklet, and denounced ``graphic pornographic material on the gay lifestyle'' in schools. Meanwhile, AAC director Rebecca Haag said, ``This is a very targeted publication for gay men over 18 and it should not be misused. However, it is a very effective public health tool for preventing HIV and AIDS. . . . We never use sexually explicit materials (in the schools.)''



A Saskatchewan man has been charged and ordered to pay $17,500 in damages to several homosexuals as a result of a flyer he distributed in Regina, containing warnings against the dangers of a homosexual lifestyle that a human rights tribunal ruled was “hate speech.” On May 2, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal ordered William Whatcott to pay homosexual Guy Taylor $2,500 and $5,000 each to homosexuals Brenden Wallace, James Komar and Kathy Hamre for damages. The four had sued Whatcott for a flyer he had distributed in mailboxes between September 2001 and April 2002 for what they considered “hate speech.”

“I believe homosexuality activity is a sin,” Whatcott said, according to a CP report. “To give me a $17,500 fine and say I can't say that is quite frankly garbage and is not something I am going to abide by. If I have to sit in jail for the rest of my life, I am not going to be quiet.” Quotes found to convict him included, “Our children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse…if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong,” and “Sodomites are 430 times more likely to acquire AIDS and 3 times more likely to sexually abuse children!”

Whatcott added bible verses referring to homosexuality such as the following: “The Bible is clear that homosexuality is an abomination,” and “Sodom and Gomorrah was given over completely to homosexual perversion and as a result destroyed by God’s wrath.”

Whatcott argued in his own defence that “he had himself engaged in homosexual acts and that the Lord had set him free,” according to court testimony. He added that “only 2% of homosexuals were monogamous or semi-monogamous, while 43% of male homosexuals estimate having had sex with 500 or more different partners, and 28% of male homosexuals estimate having sex with 1,000 or more different partners.”


Friday, May 20, 2005


If American Muslims get a bit pesky at times, it is NOTHING on what happens in super-"liberal" Sweden

A top Muslim scholar said the Muslim minority in Sweden would abide by Swedish law in confronting a Christian preacher who insulted Prophet Muhammad, urging his fellow Swedish Muslims not to take the law into their own hands or commit any violent acts to avenge the remarks of the Christian cleric. Norwegian celebrity evangelist preacher Runar Søgaard, in a sermon at Filadelfia church in Stockholm on March 20, repeated claims that Muhammad was "a confused pedophile" since his wives included a girl aged nine years old. Søgaard is under protection by Swedish police after receiving death threats. The sermon has triggered fears of a religious war in Sweden. It is essential according to Islamic teachings to respond to those who defame Muhammad. Muslim extremists in Sweden have urged Al-Qaida's al-Zarqawi to take action in the matter, and radicals of the Salafyist variety have posted a very explicit threat to launch a wave of terrorist attacks against Sweden because of the "insult". The threats were posted on a number of known Islamist forums and were accompanied by rather lurid graphics.

However, Fjordman has documented that Swedish Muslims called for terror attacks against Sweden even before this incident happened. This text was posted on a large Swedish Muslim forum in February 2005: "Wallahi I pray that Allah will severely punish all those who are involved in this war against Islam. And that Sweden will feel the punishment of the Mujahdiin that the USA and Spain and other countries have done for their involvement in Iraq. May Allah punish this hypocrite government, Ameen. Please give me evidence that kuffar (infidels) should NOT be allowed to kill. Why should you not be allowed to call Sweden Darul Harb (the House of War)? Ulama have stated many times that every state that does not judge according to sharia, and does not have a pact with the Muslims or is paying the Jiziya is a part of Dar ul-Harb, which is allowed to attack and their wealth permitted for all Muslims. Why not follow the example of what our Mujahid brother in Holland did with that pig Theo van Gogh? That brother's action really made a difference in the world, and because of it the Muslims now enjoy some respect and eminence among the kuffar. Sure, Muslims enjoy "protection" in Sweden as citizens. So what? There are Muslims in the USA and Israel, too, getting "protection". What difference does it make? Allah made Jihad compulsory. A Muslim has to enter fully into Islam, not just ignore issues as he feels like. This is Islam, not a lunch buffet."

Muslims have been spreading extremism and hate in Sweden for some time. Journalist Salam Karam had on several occasions visited the large mosque on Medborgarplatsen in Stockholm. The aim was to compare the Imam's speeches in Arabic with the interpreters Swedish translations. His report showed that the violent attacks against USA and the West were never translated. The largest mosque in Stockholm was spreading double messages. What the Imam said in his speech in Arabic didn't match how the text was interpreted in Swedish. “America rapes Islam,” the Imam roared in Arabic from the platform. The interpreter translated to Swedish: “We condemn USA's torture of Iraqi prisoners.” Adding to sermons such as these, Radio Islam, based in Sweden, keeps Nazi hate literature such as Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" online in several languages, including English. Should a terror attack occur in Sweden, the country may be unprepared for it. An examination of Sweden's preparedness for a terrorist attack by the Swedish Defense Research Agency, FOI, has found the country’s state agencies lacking.

The threats against Sweden should serve as a lesson to those who still claim that Islamic terrorism is caused by "Israeli aggression" or "American foreign policy". Sweden, a retirement home for foreign war criminals and reputedly where Iraqi ex-dictator Saddam Hussein wants to spend his last years, doesn't have a colonial past. Yet it is probably the most pathetic dhimmi nation in the Western world, even if facing some stiff competition for the title. It subsidizes Palestinian terror conferences at a time when anti-Jewish harassment by Muslims is so bad that Swedish Jews sign up for service in the IDF to escape. IKEA, one of its largest companies, censors its own manuals in order not to offend Muslims. A Swedish court recently judged according to sharia. I have earlier read suggestions by a columnist in Sweden's largest newspaper, Aftonbladet, that Sweden should change its national anthem into "something multicultural". Two Swedish girls were also sent home from school for wearing sweaters showing a tiny Swedish flag. The headmaster was concerned that this might be deemed offensive by some immigrants. Sweden crawls to Muslims in every way imaginable, and it still isn't enough. There are still Muslim radicals who want to attack it. How are leftists going to spin it when the terror attacks come? Since Islamic terror is caused by occupation and oppression, which illegal settlements are Swedes going to withdraw from to please the Muslims? Stockholm?

Just an excerpt from Fjordman


On April 30, American journalist Chris Crain became the victim of a hate crime in Amsterdam. While walking in the street holding hands with his partner, he was savagely beaten by seven men shouting antigay slurs. A few days later, Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Program at the Human Rights Watch, expressed some sympathy for the gay-bashers. Crain's attackers were reportedly Moroccan immigrants. "There's still an extraordinary degree of racism in Dutch society," Long opined to the gay news service PlanetOut. "Gays often become the victims of this when immigrants retaliate for the inequities that they have to suffer."

Welcome to Politically Correct World, where acts that would merit unequivocal condemnation if committed by white males are viewed in a very different light when the offenders belong to an "oppressed group." The irony, of course, is that one of the principal reasons for the recent anti-immigrant backlash in the traditionally tolerant Netherlands is the fear that the influx of immigrants from deeply conservative Muslim cultures will threaten the country's liberal attitudes on social issues, particularly the rights of women and gays. (Pim Fortuyn, the maverick anti-immigrant Dutch politician assassinated in 2002, was openly gay.) This fear is shared by some immigrants—notably, the Somali-born politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The tension between two pillars of the modern left—multiculturalism and progressive views on gender—is not new. It has been particularly thorny in many European countries where, in lieu of an American-style "melting pot" approach, immigrants have been traditionally encouraged to maintain their distinct values and ways. Recently, however, these tensions have started to come out into the open. According to a March article in the German magazine, Der Spiegel, the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist last November after he had made a documentary about the oppression of Muslim women "galvanized the Netherlands and sent shock waves across Europe."

In Germany, these shock waves have generated a long-overdue interest in the sometimes deadly violence toward Muslim women, mostly in the country's 2.5-million-strong Turkish immigrant community. A German-Turkish women's group has documented 40 "honor killings" since 1996—murders of women and girls by family members as punishment for besmirching the "family honor." In February, 23-year-old Hatin Surucu was shot to death in Berlin, allegedly by her three brothers. The young woman had divorced the cousin she had been forced to marry at 16; she had also started dating German men, given up her head scarf, and enrolled in a training course to become an electrician. What made headlines, Der Spiegel reports, was not the murder itself but a letter from a school principal reporting that some Turkish boys at his school had mocked Surucu as a "whore" who "got what she deserved."

"Honor killings" may be relatively rare; but a recent study by the German government found that half of the country's Turkish women are pressured into arranged marriages—often to men they have never seen before the wedding—and more than one in six say they were forced to marry. Serap Cileli, a Turkish-German author and filmmaker who escaped an arranged marriage, told Der Spiegel that until recently, the German media refused to publish her accounts of her and other Turkish women's experiences for fear of appearing "racist."

Even feminists often balk at breaking the multicultural faith. A 2001 article in Labyrinth, a feminist philosophy journal, lamented that concerns about the oppression of women in the Third World could perpetuate "the stereotype that 'brown' men abuse 'brown' women more than white men" and cause "Third World" people to be perceived as "more barbaric" than Westerners.


Thursday, May 19, 2005


(As long as it is Islamic)

There is more than a whiff of racism in Britain today, and this smell emerged in the British elections. Racism in Britain means that politicians must cater to their constituents, even if these constituents demand a differing political and cultural program from mainstream Britain. It is legitimate for any section of any country to actively promote a change in political thought and philosophy, and the massive influx of Arab and Muslim migrants into Britain is certainly having an effect on the political landscape there.

Nowhere was this highlighted more than in the constituency of Bethnal Green. Over forty percent of the voters are Muslim. Here Oona King, the incumbent Labour M.P. who is both black and Jewish, was challenged by an opportunist radical, George Galloway, on an anti-Iraq war platform. The campaign was tinged by racist remarks made both by Galloway and his supporters against Miss King. George Galloway, prior to the Iraq war, went to Baghdad to stand alongside Saddam Hussein and pledge his loyalty to this tyrant. His visit was the subject of much publicity in Britain. Oona King was swept away, courtesy of Galloway's tactics and the Muslim vote.

Is Bethnal Green an early warning of what is to come? Or was it an aberration? In his victory speech, Galloway accused Tony Blair of the murder of hundreds of U.S. and British servicemen. He, Galloway, by demonstrating active support for Saddam Hussein's regime can be accused of aiding and abetting in the mass murder of thousands of Iraqis at the hands of Saddam and his henchmen. Yet in Britain, the evil crimes of the Saddam regime are dismissed as irrelevant and the internal affairs of a foreign country. No moral outcry here. Today's political correctness in Britain demands of their leaders to leave tyrants and dictators alone and let them get on with their crimes and butchery.

On Iraq, politically incorrect Blair was right and just in his decision and action to go to war against an evil dictator. Politically correct Galloway is wrong. Indeed, by standing alongside Saddam Hussein and using the British parliament and media to keep him in power, Galloway can be accused of being criminally wrong. Yet the Muslim voters of Bethnal Green have swept him into Parliament as their newly elected representative.

The prominent Mayor of London, radical Ken Livingstone, makes personal political capital by pandering to the rising Muslim and anarchist population of London. He invites, then re-invites, a radical Islamic cleric to be his guest and to spread his worldview and philosophy in Britain. This cleric has praised Palestinian suicide bombers and terrorists who have killed over a thousand Israelis. But this viewpoint is considered worthy of sympathetic hearing as Israel is portrayed in Britain as a fascist country beneath contempt. Ken Livingstone sarcastically insulted a Jewish journalist, comparing him to a concentration camp kappo. Jewish groups that protest his rude behavior are dismissed as stooges for the Zionists led by a war criminal. All this is political grist to the ears and hearts of his supporters.

This politically acceptable worldview is not restricted to the British Labour Party. Last year, Jenny Tonge's sympathy and public statements about Palestinian suicide bombers forced her off the front benches and out of a prominent role in the Liberal Democrat party. This rare act of common sense and decency did not last too long. Now Jenny Tonge is being promoted to the lofty House of Lords where she will be free to air her views.

Promotion and honors for Brits who express anti-Israel views is becoming commonplace. The pro-Palestinian lobby is so strong in Britain that all sorts of lies can be thrown at Israel and the perpetrator, as in the case of BBC's Orla Guerin, can be feted and included in the Queens Birthday Honors List and an invitation to Buckingham Palace to receive her Honor.

How does this seep down to the ordinary man in the street? Many Israelis are shocked when, in conversation with people in Britain, they are faced with the most outrageous and incorrect accusations. Obviously, opinion makers in Britain, both in politics and in the media, are guilty of fostering a false picture of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This position, however, reflects the agenda of a rising and strong minority. When Kenneth Bigley was cruelly and inhumanely beheaded in Iraq by Palestinian terrorist Zarqawi, his brother did not demand that Tony Blair pursue this killer and bring him to justice. Instead, he raged against Israel, a country not involved in events in Iraq.

So what of the political future of Britain? It is clear the Islamic vote will become increasingly crucial in painting the political picture in Britain. Between elections, Muslim activists will continue to successfully promote their platforms and political philosophies. Bethnal Green was only one place where Labour was defeated due to the Muslim voice. Other Labour defeats, attributable to a shift among Muslim voters included Rochdale, home to 17,000 Muslims, Hornesey and Wood Green, Manchester Withington.

In Britain there are now forty constituencies where Muslims comprise at least ten percent of the population and rising. In some, they number between forty and fifty percent of the voters. There are a number of Muslim M.P.s in the new Parliament.

There is a climate of political intolerance in Britain. Frictions will increase as rank and file Brits feel increasingly uncomfortable with what is transpiring there. For all the talk about changing the immigration laws, many feel this is akin to closing the stable door once the horse has bolted. The problem in already within Britain. The problem is growing. And the problem looks increasingly unsolvable. The face of Britain is changing, and not to the pleasure of the majority.

Even the main union of teachers in Britain has voted to boycott Israeli universities. Israel, it seems, is the singular country in the world deserving of such censure. Democratic Israeli universities, where students of all religious and ethnic background are free to discuss and air even the most extreme viewpoints, are accused of being racist by politically correct but ignorant, or malevolent, British academics who reach positions of influence from where they impose their biased worldviews.

Already the decreasing Jewish population is feeling isolated and threatened as anti-Jewish incidents rise sharply in Britain. British Jewry has contributed to the richness of British political and cultural life but now they are feeling exposed and not represented. British Jews have joined their French co-religionists in looking to Israel for support and succor. Many are buying homes in Israel as security against a day when they feel that they can no longer tolerate living in Britain. For those who remember Britain for all its past glory, decency, and tolerance, it is sad to see how political correctness has reduced this country to insanity, bias and racism.

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Christians have succeeded in stopping the preaching of homosexuality in one school system (in Montgomery County) but rather than argue any of the issues concerned, the Left simply engage in totally dishonest descriptions of their opponents. When truth is inconvenient they take to lies like a duck to water

On its Web log on April 6, teachthefacts.org posted an entry titled, "Theocrats making their move in our country." It showed a picture of two women covered head-to-toe in Muslim burkas. "So here's the plan. Conservative Christians are going to 'take back' America. They will eradicate evil and make sure that all Americans live according to the Gospel," wrote Jim Kennedy, a federal worker with two children in high school. "You will dress modestly, abstain from liquor, cigarettes, dancing. Your daughters will learn about sex from their husbands when they marry ... You will obey the scriptural laws of the country and will attend services, of course," he wrote.

Mr. Kennedy's Web log entry was aimed at critiquing a letter that the Center for Reclaiming America had sent to the county school board to complain about the sex-ed course. In an April 12 entry, Mr. Kennedy wrote that efforts to stop the sex-ed course were "part of a larger attack on American values" seeking to replace "reasoned thinking" with "superstition." [Sounds like Mr Kennedy want to replace reasoned thinking with mere abuse]

Erik Stanley, chief counsel for Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based Christian group representing the groups that filed a federal lawsuit against teaching the course, called talk of creating a theocratic society "ridiculous." "This is not some kind of nationwide plot to establish a theocracy," said Mr. Stanley, whose group has ties to Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell. "It's actually the opposite. We are trying to stop the implementation of radical indoctrination in the school system. "If one side has been given an unfair advantage in this case, it's not the Christian conservative side," Mr. Stanley said. "And we're not seeking for any particular side to have an advantage."

Michelle Turner is president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC), an ad hoc group that filed the lawsuit against the sex-ed course. She said, "It is loony" to think that theocracy is her group's goal. "That's just so absurd that they would say that, and I would think that the Montgomery County community would find that very insulting," said Mrs. Turner, who has four children in public schools. "We are not requiring girls to wear head scarves, and, I'm sorry, the schools opened up the 'religion store,' and if they opened it up, they're going to talk about all of it, not just certain pieces," she said.....

On May 5, U.S. District Court Judge Alexander Williams Jr. ruled that Montgomery County's course did teach about religious points of view on homosexuality and discriminate against others. "The revised curriculum presents only one view on the subject -- that homosexuality is a natural and morally correct lifestyle -- to the exclusion of other perspectives," Judge Williams, who was appointed in 1994 by President Clinton, wrote in his 22-page opinion.....

A CRC member tried to introduce health statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into the citizens committee that approved the sex-ed materials. But they were rejected on the grounds that similar data were included elsewhere in the health curriculum.

Mrs. Turner said CRC filed its lawsuit because the board refused to meet with them after they presented 3,500 signatures on a petition opposing the sex-ed course last month.

Last week, Newsweek magazine ranked five Montgomery County high schools in the top 100 schools nationally -- more than any other county in the country. Judge Williams recognized that what happens with the county's sex education will have national impact. Montgomery County Public Schools "have to be the pacesetter. This is a very important issue," he said during a May 5 hearing in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Invoking the name "Martin Luther King" and screaming "Black Power!" a gang of up to 30 black teens attacked four white girls in Marine Park in what police are saying is not a bias crime. The March 30 attack was a hot topic at state Senator Marty Golden's recent public safety forum. According to witnesses and parents of the victims, four young girls from St. Edmund's had the day off from school due to Easter recess. They were playing basketball during dismissal from nearby Marine Park Junior High School, when several Marine Park students demanded to use the court.

After adults intervened and asked them to wait their turn, the teens left - but returned in a pack of up to 30, both boys and girls, and stormed into the park. Witnesses say the attackers were all black and called their victims "white crackers" during the bloody melee, which raged for almost 20 minutes.

"This is not being looked at as a bias crime," NYPD Deputy Inspector Kevin McGinn said at the meeting.

"When I pulled my car up to the park, I witnessed a pandemonium I've never seen in my life," said Debbie, a mother of one victim who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons. Her daughter ran to the car, screaming, "They're going to kill us," Debbie recalled. My daughter was so scared and kids were running around like crazy. Pursued by dozens of teens, some of the girls were "literally running into traffic to save their lives," she said.

One girl made it as far as a nearby house, but was dragged by her hair back into the playground by a "wolf pack of children," Debbie said. The St. Edmund girls were bleeding and beaten to the point where they had cuts, scrapes, footprints and dirt all over them - and the attackers surrounded her car and started pounding on the windows as Debbie tried to herd the terrified children into her vehicle.

Two girls were hospitalized - one with a broken nose and one with a head injury, according to Edith, the mother of another girl. According to Lt. Mark Molinari, from the 63rd Precinct, five of the assailants, who attend Marine Park Junior High School, were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. But since the attackers are all under the age of 16, they are facing charges in Family Court, and were arraigned last Friday.

"I always felt safe in the area and after hearing about such an incident, you start thinking what else could happen. These situations should not be happening, not in Marine Park, or anywhere else, and the safety of our kids should be of most importance," said Denise Williams, a parent from Gerritsen Beach. "It's getting progressively worse in the community - these types of gangs are not only taking away our parks, they're ruining our neighborhoods," said parent Cathy Miller. "Nobody expects their child to go to a park and get beaten, with footprints on her head and arm, everyone just wants their child to be safe," said Edith. "Everyone should have the right to be safe from teens, to small kids, to seniors, to mothers with strollers, no one should fear of being beaten while enjoying a day in the park."



President Vicente Fox refused to apologize Monday for saying Mexicans in the United States do the work that blacks won't a comment widely viewed as acceptable in a country where blackface comedy is still considered funny and nicknames often reflect skin color. Fox's spokesman, Ruben Aguilar, said Mexican and foreign news media have misinterpreted the remark as a racial slur. He said the president was speaking in defense of Mexican migrants as they come under attack by the new U.S. immigration measures that include a wall along the U.S.-California border.

Stung by the U.S. crackdown on illegal immigrants, many Mexicans including Mexico City's archbishop said Fox was just stating a fact. "The president was just telling the truth," said Celedonio Gonzalez, a 35-year-old carpenter who worked illegally in Dallas for six months in 2001. "Mexicans go to the United States because they have to. Blacks want to earn better wages, and the Mexican because he is illegal takes what they pay him."

But the Rev. Jesse Jackson said Fox should apologize. "His statement had the impact of being inciting and divisive," Jackson said Monday, noting that in many U.S. cities tensions are already high between blacks and Latinos because they compete for scarce jobs and often have children crowded into underfunded schools. Another American civil rights activist, the Rev. Al Sharpton, said the comment was especially disturbing because Fox was educated in the United States and "he is not unaware of the racial sensitivities here."

Fox made the comment Friday during a public appearance in Puerto Vallarta, saying: "There's no doubt that Mexican men and women full of dignity, willpower and a capacity for work are doing the work that not even blacks want to do in the United States." Responding to the criticism during his daily news conference Monday, Aguilar read a statement expressing Fox's "enormous respect for minorities, whatever their racial, ethnic or religious origin."



Until recently, German nationality was based on the principle of descent, rather than place of birth, meaning that a person could be born in Germany and not qualify as a German citizen. A child born in Russia to descendents of German emigrants had more right to German citizenship than the offspring of Turkish parents living in Germany. Although the law was recently changed to make children born in Germany to foreign parents eligible for German citizenship, the general population still consider family to be more important than place of birth in defining nationality. Germans of Turkish descent are routinely referred to as 'Turks' or even 'Ausl,nder' (foreigners) and are seldom regarded as full German citizens.

Similarly, expats of colour are frequently asked where they are 'really' from when they give their nationality, or are subjected to crass speculation about their country of origin. Comments such as "I thought you were Spanish with your dark skin" are not uncommon.

Advertising is another area where insensitivity to questions of ethnicity can be seen. This often takes the form of crass attempts at humour. An advertisement by the Berlin public transport authority, the BVG, showed a black woman beneath the slogan 'Schwarzfahrer' (literally 'black passenger' but also meaning fare-dodger). In a similar vein, a recent cinema ad for the TV licence authority GEZ featured a black actor and a white actor, with a slogan that punned on 'schwarz' (black) and 'weiss' (white).

One company who should really have known better is McDonald's, whose German ad for its 'Chicken McFu' hamburgers played on stereotypes of Asians with slogans such as 'Plima!' and "Liesig!' "These ads are jolly and funny," commented a McDonald's Germany spokesman in response to complaints by Chinese-German groups, showing the kind of insensitivity typical of those who have never been on the receiving end of such stereotyping.

Juergen Ruettgers, the CDU's candidate for the key 22 May state election in North Rhine-Westfalia, is one mainstream politician who has repeatedly made racist comments. In 2000, he infamously called for "Kinder statt Inder" ("Children instead of Indians"), proposing that Germany fill its IT skills gap through procreation rather than employing foreign specialists. Then in a recent television interview, R_ttgers said that as a Catholic he believed the Christian worldview was the correct one, and not comparable with worldviews of other cultures

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