Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The "race card" gets an airing in Australia

A motel manager rents out a room to two people -- one black and one white -- but backs off when four people turn up to occupy the room. That's racism?

A Sunshine Coast motel is at the centre of a race row after being accused of refusing to allow a black couple who had booked accommodation to stay the night. Beenleigh couple Trevor Johnson and Colleen Malone, both 28, have lodged a complaint with the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission claiming the motel refused to honour their booking because of their race. The couple, who are of Aboriginal and Pacific Islander descent, claim the motel manager told them: "I don't have to put up with people like you."

Ms Malone said the experience had demoralised them and cost them their dignity in front of their friends, who they had been visiting. "I felt so small. I know it was because I was dark," Mr Johnson said. Ms Malone said she was with a white girlfriend when she went into the motel to book a room in Mr Johnson's name. The motel manager, who cannot be named, accepted a $110 deposit.

But when Ms Malone was joined by Mr Johnson and her friend's partner, the four were refused entry to the room. Mr Johnson claims the manager threatened to phone the police if they did not leave and refused to refund their deposit. "I said to her I was going to call the police, instead. They were dumbfounded when they arrived," he said. "The police advised us she wasn't going to give our money back. We advised her we were going to take her to court."

Ms Malone said they had since been offered $1000 by the manager to "go away" but they refused the money because what they really wanted was an apology. Mr Johnson said he had contacted a lawyer and intended to pursue the matter.

In a letter to the commission, the manager confirmed she had accepted a booking for the couple but claimed she had asked only "the extra people" to leave. "At no stage did I ask all to leave, and as the four chose to leave, that is the decision they made," she said.

"I did not see any reason to refund money as most nights of the year are busy with us, and particularly weekends." The manager said she and her husband had been in the industry as owners and managers for 16 years and could not have survived with "any discriminatory inclination". She said she was offended by the accusations.

The above article appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on May 28, 2006

MSM Prefers Anti-Semite to Conservative in California Republican Primary

Trees trump Jews, apparently

If ever there was an example of just how much the Mainstream Media hates conservatives, it is their endorsement of Pete McCloskey, who is running against incumbent Richard Pombo in the 11th congressional district. Pete McCloskey, who served as a member of congress from 1967-1983, has been endorsed by several major newspapers in California. This week, the San Francisco Chronicle was the latest to join the ranks of hateful, hypocritical newsrooms around the state who would rather endorse a Holocaust denier like Pete McCloskey than endorse a conservative like Richard Pombo. Or, and there?s always this option, remain neutral and not take a position, period.

McCloskey denies that he denies the holocaust, though his protests are weak at best. In a speech delivered in Orange County?s Irvine, California at the Institute for Historical Review (more on them in a moment) in May 2000, McCloskey made reference to the "so-called Holocaust." Clearly, he wasn't trying very hard to convince anyone that he denies the holocaust: "Earlier here today I listened to speeches about the courage of men in France, Britain, Germany, and New Zealand who have spoken out against the commonly accepted concept of what occurred during the Second World War in the so-called Holocaust."

Hitler's extermination of the Jews is passed off as a mere "concept" by McCloskey in this speech. Even worse, however, is that the speech was delivered at the Institute for Historical Review, which is nothing more than an organization devoted to debunking the "myth" of the Holocaust. IHR is obsessed with proving that the book The Diary of Anne Frank is "propaganda" and "a fraud". Meanwhile, they promote books and articles sold by Noontide Press with such titles as "Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie," and "Israel's Knife in the Back Attack on America."

McCloskey, for his part, defends IHR as merely expressing their free speech rights to question history. Speaking to IRH, he proclaimed, ?I came because I respect the thesis of this organization, that thesis being that there should be a reexamination of whatever governments say, or politicians say, or political entities say.? At best, and I mean very best, McCloskey is embracing the bumper sticker idiom, Question Authority. But at worst, and this is where I believe McCloskey stands, he supports IHR because the organization is opposed to Israel, opposed to Jews and exists only to revise history of 6 million Jews and their surviving relatives.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Weisenthal Center commented on what it meant for McCloskey to appear at IHR in 2000 and give a speech where David Irving was also speaking. (If you aren't familiar with Irving, click here: "To show up at the address of the institution here in California, which by its very existence is a source of such unending pain to the victims of the Holocaust and the survivors who live in our community, and secondly, on top of it to make an appearance under the same tent as someone who's just been crowned the leading intellectual Jew hater in the world, I guess, speaks volumes," Cooper said. (Los Angeles Times, May 30, 2000)

Also speaking volumes are the endorsements McCloskey has received from the mainstream media. News of McCloskey's relationship with IHR and his views on the Holocaust, Israel and Jews isn't -- or shouldn't be -- news to any editorial board. But to the major dailies in California, having a Jew hater in DC would be better than a conservative like Richard Pombo (pictured to the right) who isn?t friendly enough to the environment. In their endorsement of McCloskey, the LA Times wrote, "Pombo's possible ethical lapses pale next to his assault on the nation's environmental protections." I suppose the logic is, it's better to hate the Jews than to hate a tree. McCloskey, after all, helped write the Endangered Species Act. Ironic, since he probably doesn't question how many species are truly endangered with the same degree of fervor he questions how many Jews died at Auschwitz.

The San Jose Mercury News refers to McCloskey's "experience and integrity". The Sacramento Bee tells us Republicans like McCloskey are "all too rare these days." And the San Francisco Chronicle says McCloskey "defines the term "straight-shooter."" Shame should be heaped on the heads of all these editorial board for making such outrageous endorsements. They are either guilty of turning a blind eye at McCloskey's anti-Semitism or of committing criminally lazy journalism. Either way, no one should carry a subscription to any of these newspapers. Nor should any Republican vote for Pete McCloskey.



Plans to ban junk food from school lunches are under threat because some local authorities are unable to find a contractor willing to provide healthier meals. New rules for school meals were published by the Government last week, limiting children to two portions of chips a week and requiring schools to offer them two portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Some local authorities, however, are struggling to find suppliers able to meet the new requirements, to be funded with an extra 220 million pounds over three years. Bracknell Forest Borough Council received no bids in a recent tendering exercise for its school meals service, while Sheffield City Council received just one.

Sallie Swann, a senior manager in Sheffield’s children’s and young people’s directorate, said: “A number of authorities have received no bids for contracts that are due to start in September.” The biggest deterrent for contractors was the uncertainty about the number of children likely to sign up for school meals, Ms Swann added. Numbers have declined by more than 10 per cent over the past 12 to 15 months, after Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie Oliver’s television series that highlighted the poor quality of food served in schools. The Local Authority Caterers’ Association, which represents council-run and private caterers, estimates that the number of school meals served has fallen by more than 71 million in the past year. Many parents have withdrawn their children from school meals having learnt just how poor the food can be. However, some children are rejecting the new, healthier options.

The Government’s new healthy school meals targets aim to increase the number of school meals eaten by 4 per cent by March 2008, and 10 per cent by autumn 2009; but some contractors believe that they cannot run a profitable service unless the figure increases by 10 per cent by 2008. Kevin McKay, chairman of the caterers’ association, said that, with so much uncertainty and insufficient funding, caterers were reluctant to bid for school meals contracts. “Spread over three years, the Government’s extra 220 million pounds equates to an increase of just 12p per meal — that’s the equivalent of just two cherry tomatoes,” Mr McKay said. He added that the expected costs of the improved standards would push the price of a school meal from less than 1.50 pounds to 2 pounds a day. “I would question how many parents would pay this,” he said.

Tony Eccleston, director of children’s services at Bracknell Forest council, said that, although it had approached eight companies to bid for its school meals service, none had wanted to. “Companies were fearful that parents wouldn’t pay for the extra costs,” he said. Mr McKay said the situation was less clear for the 13 councils whose policy was to close school kitchens altogether.



Wwll-wishers marked the Queen's 80th birthday with outpourings of respect. The Duke of Edinburgh, by contrast, is to be faced with a book documenting 60 years of gaffes. In the absence of formal celebrations for his 85th birthday, the most public tribute may turn out to be the book Duke of Hazard: The Wit and Wisdom of Prince Philip. It gives an impression of a sharp-tongued consort, oblivious to the impact of his words as children burst into tears, foreigners fume at his apparent xenophobia and businessmen reel at his habit of speaking his mind. Many, though, admire his frankness in an age dominated by political correctness.

News of the book's publication stung his private office into a rare public defence of Prince Philip, who, until now, has appeared to care little about the effect of his pronouncements. Sir Miles Hunt-Davis, Philip's private secretary, said: "My predecessor worked here for 30 years and I have worked with the Duke of Edinburgh for 15 years. If he had been as acerbic as presented [in the book], he wouldn't have kept the staff that he has. "Even secretaries returned to his office after their families had grown up. These extracts are not indicative of the man as a whole."

Philip, born in Corfu in 1921, had a distinguished war in the Royal Navy, and the public took to him. But, from the start of his relationship with the then Princess Elizabeth, courtiers worried about his inability to keep his thoughts to himself. They appeared vindicated by his behaviour at the independence ceremony for Kenya in 1963 when he represented the Queen. Just before midnight, when the Union Jack was about to be hauled down, Philip turned to Jomo Kenyatta, the new leader, and asked: "Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Questioned afterwards in Britain, the prince revealed: "Kenyatta grinned all over his face and said, `No!'" He appears to find it irresistible to test the limits of tolerance on questions of race and disability. His comments about "slitty-eyed" Chinese, pot-bellied Hungarians and pyjama-wearing Nigerians have become notorious.

The book recounts more obscure gaffes. At a festival in Cardiff he was introduced to a group of youngsters from the British Deaf Association who were standing near a noisy Caribbean-style band. He commented: "Deaf? If you are near there, no wonder you are deaf." This weekend he again put his foot in it, saying he would do "as little as possible" at the London Olympics in 2012. "Opening and closing ceremonies ought to be banned," he said. "Absolute bloody nuisances."

Philip was yesterday pursuing a favourite sport, competing in the Hopetoun horse driving trials near Edinburgh. He was driving a team of four ponies owned by the Queen at speeds of up to 30mph. The duke has won titles in the past two years and is aiming for a third - last night he was leading his class of competitors.

Over the years, Philip's wit has strayed into rudeness. When a Swedish tourist waved to Philip in his carriage and shouted proudly: "Good morning, sir, my little girl is six today!" he replied: "So what," and she burst into tears. Michael Mann, the former Dean of Windsor, who worked closely with the prince, defends Philip. "He has a very sharp mind," Mann said. "He believes that by making a quip he can draw out the other person." Dorothy Rowe, a psychologist and author, is not so charitable. She believes the quips are driven by Philip's frustration at his position as consort. "When people make hurtful statements passed off as a joke, they are getting rid of aggression, but deny responsibility for any hurt," she said. Hunt-Davis said Philip, who will be 85 on June 10, was about to plan his next six-month diary of engagements.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Another ban on the flag of England

Just occasionally, a battle of ideas takes place that is all the more remarkable for being conducted among ourselves and largely without leadership from politicians. One such is the argument about our national culture and its place in what our more obtuse and self-serving leaders call our "multicultural society".

Politicians don't like this debate. It means they must come out fighting for something that most Britons regard as good and positive, but which political elites regard (absurdly) as narrow and divisive. So it is left to the likes of the venerable rock 'n' roll star Ray Davies to warn, as he did when collecting an award last Thursday, of the dangers of forgetting, or blatantly ignoring, the fact that we have a culture of our own.

The public sector is, indeed, full of minor functionaries who see it as their job to prevent the majority culture from imposing itself, in any way, on that of a minority. Such people are revolted by the fact (for it is, I am happy to say, still such) of our national identity. This is because they regard nationalism as an entirely destructive force. On hearing the word, they can think only of the jackbooted regiments of the SS and Wehrmacht stomping down the Unter den Linden, thence to acts of violent and genocidal oppression.

I take the opposite view. Our country allows the expression of such idiotic ideas only because, 65 years ago, enough of our people had a sufficiently strong national identity to make them go to fight against the Nazi hordes.

It is quite a step from that, however, to the Birches Head High School in Stoke-on-Trent, whose headmistress is a Mrs Karen Healy. Mrs Healy, who is I am sure a dedicated teacher, this week took an absurd, oppressive and hysterical step. She banned colleagues and pupils from having England football flags and car stickers during the forthcoming World Cup finals.

Asked to defend this preposterous imposition, Mrs Healy said the St George's flag was becoming a symbol of the British National Party, and she did not want the possession of such a football flag or sticker to be construed as support by someone connected with her school for the BNP. "We can't be associated with any political party," she self-righteously added. Of course they can't: and if the school has any rose beds, I hope gardeners are uprooting them now, lest anyone construe their presence as support for the Labour Party.

Within 24 hours, after howls of protest from pupils and parents alike, Mrs Healy scrapped her decree. But why was she so foolish in the first place? For all I know, she might genuinely have believed what she said - though, if so, I would question her fitness to teach impressionable children. But her misjudgment showed a typical problem with the modern, obsessive multicultural mindset.

Long before the BNP existed, the St George's flag was my flag as an Englishman: and it was the flag of the English people who lived in Stoke-on-Trent, the rest of Staffordshire and all over our country. It symbolises our history, our culture and, above all, our Christian roots. It flies on Sundays from church towers, not as a rallying point for shaven-headed racist thugs, but as a symbol of the nation in which the established Church does its humane work.

All Mrs Healy did, in her zealous thoughtlessness, was help pass ownership of this benign symbol to extremists, bigots and bullies. She became a perpetrator of the very ill she sought to remedy. She handed a superb propaganda coup to the BNP.

I would never encourage disrespect by schoolchildren for the rules made by their teachers. However, in this case they were absolutely right to rebel. A headmistress shouldn't need to be taught a lesson, but Mrs Healy has been: that this flag belongs to all of us, and not to the BNP.



People everywhere tend to prefer others who are like themselves -- But that can be a risky preference nowadays

French pledges to combat racism will be put to the test this week when a judge decides whether a cosmetics company was guilty of discrimination in a recruitment campaign. The case against L'Oreal, the country's best-known manufacturer of beauty products, is the first of its kind since riots last year focused attention on discrimination against immigrant jobseekers from the suburbs. The verdict to be delivered on Thursday, which could include a hefty fine, will be seen as a measure of French resolve to tackle the problem.

Garnier, one of L'Oreal's top brands, has been accused of instructing an employment agency to hire only slim women of the "BBR type" as hostesses to hand out leaflets and samples of shampoos for a supermarket promotion campaign in 2001. "BBR" was shorthand for "Bleu Blanc Rouge" - meaning blue, white and red, the colours of the French flag. Typical of the image the company is accused of wanting to promote is that of the actress Virginie Ledoyen, a model for L'Or‚al until last year. Prosecutors have argued that "BBR" is a well-known employers' code for excluding people of Arab, African or Asian origin. The term is also used in literature of the racist, far-right National Front party, according to Samuel Thomas, of SOS-Racism, the anti-discrimination group that brought the case. "This sort of thing is ideologically objectionable and must be stopped right away," he said. "The message it gives is that the only valid sort of French people are white people."

L'Oreal has denied any discrimination. "Diversity is something that is very important at L'Or‚al and Garnier," said Laurent Dubois, a former managing director.

According to the prosecution, however, the company concluded that young, white women would be more effective than men or black people at promoting Garnier products in supermarket campaigns. "White people might be frightened to have an Arab or a black person explaining a product to them and even demonstrating it to them by trying to massage their scalp," said Thomas.

The case has turned the spotlight on one of France's most sensitive issues: the gap between the official doctrine that all French people, whatever their origin, are equal, and the reality of racism excluding youths of immigrant origin from the workplace. In the grim suburbs ringing French cities unemployment of up to 30% is not unusual and the "wrong" postcode on a job application can be enough to ensure it ends up unopened in an employer's bin.

A key piece of evidence presented in the Garnier case was a fax written by Th‚rŠse Coulange, a former employee of Districom, a communications company acting for Garnier. It spelt out Garnier's requirements for the Adecco employment agency - "18 to 22-year-olds of the BBR type". Coulange said she had used the term "BBR" to refer to people who could "express themselves correctly in French" rather than to whites. However, another Districom employee told the court Garnier refused to employ black people as promotional staff. Less than 4% of the staff eventually hired for the promotion campaign in 2001 were black. Before it received instructions, the employment agency had been offering a pool of candidates of which 40% were non-white. The law allows for a maximum fine of 30,000 pounds but whatever the outcome of the case, employers will now think twice before invoking the colours of the flag.


Queensland (Australia) kids defy "junk food" ban

This is the junk food rush -- the early-morning and lunchtime fast food fix that makes a mockery of new healthy eating laws at school canteens. As these pictures show, students are lining up before class and during their lunch breaks to feast on fatty fast foods.

Parents say the queues are getting longer as students openly rebel against the healthy menus forced on school tuckshops. ``I saw these kids walking back with bottles of Coke and hot chips. Their parents have dropped them off, giving them lunch money for the tuckshop and now they probably don't have enough to buy it because they bought junk,'' a Gold Coast mother told The Sunday Mail.

Defiant students say the State Government's ban on the sale of junk food in tuckshops will not change their eating habits. ``The attitude is `Who cares?' A lot of people will still go down to Woolies and Maccas and get their stuff there,'' a student said.

Leading nutritionist Michael Georgalli predicted more students would rebel against the Healthy Choices program as it was rolled out across the state. He warned the ban on junk foods would ``fuel the obesity epidemic'' instead of helping students adopt healthier eating habits. ``The process of restriction has been shown to encourage the uptake of the very behaviours that one is attempting to avoid in children,'' he said. Research produced for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found restricting children's access to certain foods may ``actually promote the very behaviour its use is intended to reduce''. Mr Georgalli said the banning of junk foods at tuckshops could also lead to serious safety concerns. ``These restrictions can lead to children leaving the school grounds and crossing dangerous roads,'' he said.

Confectionery manufacturers argue the ``prohibitionist stance'' on so-called treat foods will fail. They support children having access to all foods so they learn good nutrition from making responsible choices. ``From our point of view, we believe there should be the sale of good nutritious food in canteens and that confectionery is a treat food which shouldn't be seen as a form of meal replacement,'' Confectionary Manufacturers of Australasia chief executive officer David Greenwood said. He said the move to control what food was eaten by students might work at primary schools but not at high schools. ``While this may appear to be a good idea on the surface, it is unlikely to control the eating of older students,'' Mr Greenwood said. ``High school students often have access to their own funds and can purchase foods outside of school grounds. ``Some may even purchase treat foods and then sell them to other students, depriving the canteen and the school of funds.''

The changes to tuckshop menus have also sparked reports of canteen workers resigning in protest. Staff have also been upset by the more labour-intensive preparation of food and greater spoilage required to meet the new rules. Queensland Association of School Tuckshops project officer Chris Ogden confirmed that ``early on there were some complaints''. ``If some have left, to be honest, it's probably better that they did. You're a tuckshop convenor because you care about children's health,'' Ms Ogden said. ``If you're not prepared to make the changes then maybe you're better off looking for alternate employment.''

The above article appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on May 28, 2006

An Australian State Premier opposes homosexual indoctrination

Daycare centres should not be used to teach children about gay and lesbian relationships, says [NSW] Premier Morris Iemma. His comments come after a report claimed a Tempe childcare centre uses books that feature characters from same-sex parent families. The Learn to Include books include titles such as The Rainbow Cubby House, which is about a young girl and her two mothers who build a cubby house in their backyard with a little boy and his two fathers.

Federal MP for Sydney Tanya Plibersek is quoted on the Learn to Include website as saying: "I know that the kids who are reading these books might just start life with the wonderful gift of growing up without homophobic prejudice. That's great for those individual kids and it's wonderful for our whole community too."

But Mr Iemma said children as young as two-years-old are being inappropriately drawn into a gay rights debate. "Kids should be allowed to be kids and daycare centres should not be a battleground for gender politics. I do not personally believe it appropriate for two-year-olds to be dragged into the gay rights debate." Parents who want such issues taught to their children should do so at home, not at daycare centres, he said. "If parents feel particularly strongly about educating children on these issues there is plenty of scope for them to do so at home where they run no risk of offending other parents who may old opposing views and who may not be able to find childcare elsewhere."

Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor, David Scamell, said the Learn to Include books simply teach children about acceptance and tolerance. "Children are not being taught about sex education, but rather that some kids had two mums, some have two dads, and that's OK." "It's unfortunate that the Daily Telegraph has wanted to jump on a bandwagon to beat up a story and it is unfortunate that it's been joined by the Premier's Department this morning," Mr Scamell said. "[They] need to actually have a look at the educational material being taught at [the daycare centre] to realise that this actually quite a basic lesson ... they're quite important concepts but then they are not ones that go beyond the level of a five- or six-year-old."

A number of parents had chosen to send their children to the childcare centre because of the types of lessons that are taught there, he said. "Given where the childcare centre is, it is highly likely that a number of children would come from same-sex families. If these lessons are not taught, then those children will continue to feel as though their family is not valued or accepted." He said the the front-page of the Daily Telegraph "is probably the best reason why we actually need to have these lessons in school."

Marrickville Mayor Sam Byrne said the Premier's comments were an example of the "hysteria'' that had erupted over the use of the Learn to Include books at the council's seven day care centres. "It's not a gay rights debate. It's not sex education. It's about inclusion and about having material that reflects the diversity of our community,'' Mr Byrne said. "If the Premier, or anybody else out there, thinks that there are not families out there with two mums or there are not families out there with disabilities [or] from different backgrounds, then they are mad. They are crazy. They need to get out and get amongst the people again.''



A reader writes:

"Your blog quoted: 'Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor, David Scamell, said the Learn to Include books simply teach children about acceptance and tolerance. "Children are not being taught about sex education, but rather that some kids had two mums, some have two dads, and that's OK'.

Now what if the book was about a child whose parents smoked and the quote was : 'A Phillip Morris spokesman, said the Learn to Include books simply teach children about acceptance and tolerance. "Children are not being taught about smoking, but rather that some people smoke cigarettes, and that's OK'.

Monday, May 29, 2006


Proposed California laws to ban dogs from competitively hunting wild jackrabbits and to force zoos to expand acreage for elephants died this week in legislative committees. The two measures were among many torpedoed Thursday by legislative appropriations committees, which marked their final hurdle before reaching the Assembly and Senate floors....

Assembly Bill 2110 would have banned the sport of live field coursing in which greyhounds, whippets, salukis and other sighthounds compete in capturing and killing wild jackrabbits in rural fields. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, proposed AB 2110 after watching TV footage of a Solano County event in which competing dogs played tug of war over a jackrabbit carcass.

Hundreds of Californians took sides on AB 2110, fueling a passionate fight that Hancock claims lawmakers were reluctant to jump into. "Frankly, I have to say the fact that it was controversial killed it," Hancock said. "There was controversy created by people who wouldn't acknowledge that (field coursing) has nothing to with traditional hunting." Hancock's bill would have banned competitions, but it would not have prohibited dogs from hunting jackrabbits outside the sport.

Lesley Brabyn, a leader in the fight against AB 2110, said live field coursers were falsely targeted as cruel or inhumane. Brabyn argued that live field coursing is expressly permitted by state law and is an important element in breeding because it allows owners to identify the most exceptional sighthounds. The sport hunts only wild jackrabbits in their natural habitat; it mirrors real-life chases by predators; and 90 percent of the jackrabbits chased by sighthounds escape unharmed, Brabyn said. "We felt listened to," she said of legislative debate over AB 2110. "It renewed my faith in the legislative process."

Separate legislation targeting zoo habitat for elephants also was derailed. Assembly Bill 3027, known as the Elephant Protection Act, would have required zoos to set aside at least five acres of usable habitat for every three elephants, plus an additional half-acre for each additional elephant. The measure by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, would have affected circuses by banning the use of steel-tipped bullhooks and chains to herd or restrain the pachyderms. "I don't think we have an inherent right to see elephants," Levine said. "If we can't give them the care and respect they deserve, if we can't afford that, then we shouldn't have the privilege of seeing them."

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association charged that the bill sets arbitrary acreage requirements for zoo elephants that are not supported by science. "We believe that these changes are another attempt by animal-rights activists to effectively ban elephants from zoos today and then ban other species, such as giraffes, lions and penguins, from zoos tomorrow," the organization said in a statement while AB 3027 was under debate.

Levine said he has given up on his elephant proposal for this year, but added, "If the zoos and circuses think I'm going to go away on this issue, they're sadly mistaken."

More here


It is almost midnight at the Three Monkeys and the manager is worried. The most popular gay club in Moscow should be heaving by this time, Ivan Timchenko says. But the bar is almost empty, the dancefloor deserted. Barbed wire has been strung around the exterior, extra bouncers have been drafted in and the barmen have been issued with electric batons.

Russia's homosexual community is under siege. It should have been preparing to celebrate the 13th anniversary today of the lifting of a Soviet-era legal ban on homosexual relations between men. Instead, plans to mark the occasion with the first gay parade in Russia have sparked a violent backlash from religious and nationalist groups, and the controvery is polarising the country's fledgling gay community.

The controversy began last year when Nikolai Alekseyev, a gay rights activist, announced plans to stage a parade. "We want to give hope to gays and lesbians in the regions, who have no influence on politics," he told The Times. "These people do not feel free, natural or normal. They think they are mistakes of nature."

His proposal triggered a chorus of outrage from Russian Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish leaders. Talgat Tadzhuddin, the Chief Mufti, said: "If they come out on to the streets anyway, they should be flogged." Mikhail Dudko, of the Orthodox Church, denounced the idea as the "propaganda of sin", and one bishop likened homosexuality to leprosy. The furore spilt on to the streets this month, when angry crowds protested outside the Three Monkeys and another club that was playing host to a gay night.

Skinheads and elderly women holding icons and crosses chanted, "Death to pederasts!" and "Russia for Russians!", and several of the clubs' guests were attacked. Moscow city authorities have since turned down the application for the parade, saying that it could provoke riots. Inna Svyatenko, the head of the security committee of the Moscow City Duma, said: "It wasn't long ago that homosexual relations were illegal. There is still no single generation that has grown up without this way of thinking."


A later report:

Russian police, militant Orthodox Christians and neo-fascists broke up a first ever gay rights march in Moscow overnight, but the homosexuals said their short-lived protest as a "great victory". Activists led by 28-year-old Nikolai Alexeyev had planned to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - a symbol of the World War Two struggle against fascism, and one of Russia's most sacred places. But police closed the gates to the park where the eternal flame burns under the Kremlin walls, and a heavy scrum of women singing hymns and shaven-headed nationalists tried to charge into the gay activists as the march arrived.

"This is a great victory, an absolute victory - look at what's happening," Alexeyev said as he was dragged, bent almost double, away from the gates by two policemen. City authorities had banned the march, which they called an "outrage to society", while religious leaders from all major faiths condemned it. Interfax news agency reported police had detained around 100 people after the clashes.

Even some rival gay activists said the march risked inflaming Russia's widespread intolerance of homosexuality, and wished Alexeyev had chosen a less direct way to protest against discrimination and homophobia. Homosexuality was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, and although some gay clubs exist in big cities, same-sex couples almost never make a public display of their affections.

A gay German member of parliament who attended the rally, Volker Beck, was punched in the face. Mr Beck, a leader of the Greens party and a prominent gay rights leader, was shown in German TV getting hit in the face. "I was attacked," Mr Beck told German television. "It was a stone and a fist. It shows we're not safe in this country. The security forces did not protect us but instead prevented us from retreating. We were left without any protection."

The marchers, who seemed to number about 40 although an exact count was impossible in the mob, were outnumbered at least twofold by men and women carrying Russian Orthodox icons and chanting "Moscow is not Sodom". "We must stop them at this first stage, or they'll come and corrupt our children," said Kirill Bolgarin, 24, who had come to protest despite the pouring rain. His friend Andrei, 25, interrupted, and gestured at the eternal flame. "We are Russians. We are Orthodox. These soldiers died so we could live like Russians, not so these people could come here and tell us what to do," he said.

Alexeyev had invited gay activists from all across Europe to the march, the culmination of three days of events that were a first Russian attempt to hold a Gay Pride festival like those in Western cities. "We came here to lay flowers at this anti-fascist memorial, but the mayor is so terrified of us that he took the step of ordering the gates closed," said Peter Tatchell from the British gay rights group OutRage. "As soon as we arrived we were set upon by fascist gangs and police. Today is a great shame for Russia because a peaceful protest has been suppressed."

Later, when police had formed a line between the two sides, a group of skinheads - young Russian nationalists who have grown in number in recent years and have been behind a series of attacks on foreign students - rushed towards the gay activists. Their faces masked, they threw flares as they ran, but OMON riot police stopped them and dragged them to waiting buses. Passers-by on the pavement outside parliament, which is on one of the capital's main streets, looked on in disbelief. "I think it is a sexual abnormality, but if these gays want to do it, they should," said Robert Antonov, 35. "Why shouldn't they do what they like? They are people too."

Australia: Churches successfully defend religious education

She is the woman behind an emerging force in Queensland politics, with access to thousands of Christian followers throughout the state and a formidable record of bending government policy to her agenda. From an office in Springwood, Logan City, Carolyn Cormack led a campaign that in less than a month saw the State Government back down on proposed changes to religious education in schools. With access to more than 3000 churches, from mainstream to charismatic organisations, the Australian Christian Lobby's Queensland chief of staff encouraged parishioners to protest against the changes. In less than a week, more than 9000 signatures were recorded on a petition and dozens of letters were sent to local members throughout the state. Weeks later the proposals were shelved.

Mrs Cormack is loath to boast about the group's success, politely thanking Premier Peter Beattie for his "common sense". But she is determined the Christian voice will be heard at the next state election. Issues such as gay marriage and same-sex adoption would be fought vigorously by the group and they want to see Bibles near every hospital bed. For the first time, the ACL is planning to create a score card on the State Government's performance to hand out to Christian voters before the 2007 election.

Premier Peter Beattie was wise to heed the power of the religious lobby, Griffith University politics and public policy lecturer Paul Williams said. "They are not a flash-in-the-pan type force, and their impact will be more widespread than single-issue groups," Dr Williams said. He said the influence of the religious lobby could mean the difference in several seats, especially outside Brisbane.

In August, ACL will host its state conference to focus on how to make the most of the influence of the Christian vote at the next election. And when campaigning starts, the group will seek to organise forums for candidates to meet with Christians ahead of the poll. It is a move Dr Williams describes as a return to old-fashioned politics with candidates having to engage with lobby group members and explain where they stand on issues. Mrs Cormack said the group was open minded and would offer no special favours for Family First candidates.


The price of politically correct silence about Australian blacks

As the national soul-searching about the plight of remote Aboriginal Australia mounts and the curtains of censorship are pushed back, shocked voices can be heard wondering how we reached this point and what the blueprint for a constructive future may be. But one looks in vain for a precise, coherent road map from the federal Government, which has abolished the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, only to find it has no one left to blame for the disaster unfolding in central and northern Australia. This deep policy uncertainty dawns even as the consequences of decades of underfunding become more evident and the demographic explosion in remote Australia places ever sharper pressures on strained social services.

The laws and measures enacted to change the landscape have fallen short. A generation's worth of land rights in the Northern Territory has failed to revolutionise the outlying indigenous communities: little has changed in the Aboriginal ghetto townships across the scrub or desert, which remain underdeveloped and largely excluded from the national economy. Native title has proved to be a glacial triumph of legal processes, while indigenous self-determination is a fantasy of desperate contradictions.

The bitter truth is lying in the street, for those with open eyes to see and with access to remote Australia's well-guarded shadow world: many of our indigenous fellow citizens are trapped in a cycle of violence, economic dependency, ill-health, and sexual and substance abuse. Bizarre pathologies proliferate, although unheard of until now outside dark science-fiction dystopias. Attempts at genuine reform, which might endanger the present system's beneficiaries, are quickly snuffed out.

The vital key to this system has long been a culture of secrecy about the real conditions, buttressed by silences and by double standards. It is a secrecy, a strategy of euphemism, that covers the private world, the economic and the social space. These secrets are kept, and the minimising lies and evasions peddled, by white and Aborigine, by politicians and bureaucrats, by administrators and their subjects. Thus a pervasive silence is maintained by public servants and community workers, who have long since abandoned their reformist dreams and know they will be sacked at once by their Aboriginal "employers" if they speak out about any of the linked syndromes of the bush: violence, drug and grog-running, sexual abuse and predation, the failure of educational institutions, the constant, corrupting effects of welfare and haphazard work-for-the-dole schemes.

Secrecy is at also at the Aboriginal heart of dysfunctional communities: battered women and abused children do not dare to speak out; senior indigenous leaders are obliged to shield and protect their relations; mothers persuade their daughters-in-law to keep a code of silence about the sufferings that husbands inflict.

Superimposed on top of this local discretion is the elegant muffling filter of the legal system: police cannot gather evidence from victims who fear to testify, while magistrates often pass light sentences in order to spare offenders the pain of incarceration far from their land.

These different forms of silence and half-truth, which all reinforce each other, have long combined to make an accurate description of the state of things in remote Aboriginal Australia almost impossible. Hence the vital importance of the past two weeks of candour and tight media focus. This climate of truth-telling, virtually forced on the Australian political and intellectual class by the revelations of the Alice Springs crown prosecutor about infant abuse, has led to an outpouring of dark testimony that only hints at the broad, continent-wide pattern.

But there is a need for the newly precise and merciless depiction of the world of remote Australia to go further. Three critical elements in the interlock of silence have not yet been given due public attention, and progress towards a sustainable life in the Aboriginal centre and north depends on frank acknowledgment of these shaping factors.

First, there is a temptation to blame the indigenous perpetrators of violence in isolation from the enabling class of welfare and service delivery bureaucrats around them. The manifest incompetence of many of the administrators of remote Aboriginal Australia needs to be exposed and a form of proper accountability designed. Many of the more troubled communities can only attract poor-quality white staff, who could barely hold down a job in the cities.

The corrupt shopkeeper, the drug-running mechanic, the carpetbagging itinerant dress-seller: these are all stock figures in the Western Desert and the Kimberley. There is a storekeeper in the north well known for illegal kava supply in return for child sex, and there are tight family cabals of non-Aboriginal administrative staff in the centre who run communities as private empires. The case for a highly trained cadre of remote area civil servants and for volunteer specialist teams, organised on disaster relief lines, seems unassailable.

The systematic nature of the violence in many Aboriginal communities is still not grasped by outsiders, nor can the conspiracy of crushed silence and fear that accompanies it be well gauged. Shame and terror keep women, girl and boy victims from speaking out. Consider the views of one of the most respected council clerks in remote Australia, speaking this week of the tide of sex crimes in his community: "There's no control and no responsibility. It's a beautiful system designed by the Aboriginal men to protect the Aboriginal men. They've got the white people sorted out: if you even mention anything, you're fired instantly and will never get another job in the Aboriginal industry again. They will continue to get away with it until the courts get serious, and even then no one will step forward to testify; it's like a death sentence. There's no way in a million years anyone is going to go public on all this."

But one can guess at what's happening in the shadows all across the continent. In one community in the Tanami Desert, the women have now banned their sons from going out into the bush with senior men for protracted initiation camps; the reasons, dear reader, can be left to your imagination. And in a small north Kimberley community, there have been six child suicides in the past year. So grave has the problem of sexual violence become that young Kimberley women often measure the extent of their man's affection by the number of beatings they receive, and calibrate the love in their world by the bruises on their skin.

A glance around a remote community or town camp is enough to tell the tale: women sport a baffling array of bandages and splints, while the drone of the flying doctor plane, swooping in for another emergency evacuation, is a regular sound on balmy evenings in the far desert. Police detachments are the natural first counter to these concealed undercurrents of violence: but without realistic deterrence through heavy sentencing, even a police post in every community and outstation will not be enough to guarantee the safety of the remote population.

Most important, in this realm of secrets, free access is the key to truth. Many of the horrors now spread across remote Australia grew in the darkness of the permit system. There are vast swaths of Aboriginal land that go unvisited by the normal array of travelling callers, let alone by journalists; and there is a striking correlation between the levels of violence in a community and the tightness of its closure.

Without any doubt, the most bizarre and horrific corner of central Australia is the grandly named Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, a scatter of outstations and run-down communities torn apart by petrol-sniffing and overseen by a purpose-built little white capital with nice, neat homes. The South Australian Opposition spokesman for Aboriginal affairs, Mitch Williams, this week called for the APY Lands to be thrown open to the public, and at once received a strict dressing-down from the local Land Council general manager, Ken Newman: "Basically, it's private property."

Permits for press visits to this bleak world are scarcely ever forthcoming, while white staff members are forbidden from speaking freely to the media. Who, then, can lay out the weird facts of life on the lands: the plague-like curse of petrol-sniffing, the drug dealing networks, the obesity and the malnutrition, the peculiar messianic cults that sweep through like storm-season cloud-fronts?

Permits have long since been the chosen instrument of power and self-aggrandisement for the white gatekeepers of the remote world, who relish the control the system gives them. The substantial desert settlement of Yuendumu is in the grip of Warlpiri Media, an organisation that will only admit journalists into its territory if they are safely guided and their stories are check-censored before publication or broadcast. No wonder, then, that a frank appraisal of Yuendumu's endless economic and social travails has yet to appear.

Access control limits knowledge, dovetails elegantly with the culture of secret-keeping, and allows for blatant manipulation of the media. But as with all empires of unreason, the permit system is falling apart under the weight of its own illogic. This week the community of Wadeye (Port Keats), anarchic home to 3000 Aboriginal people, refused The Australian a permit on the same day it hosted "safer" media visitors to inspect damaged housing. And suddenly the truth was out: the permit system is today being used not to protect sensitive cultural sites and practices, but to manage and control the news in a crude and blatant fashion.

There is a direct link between the gang warfare tearing apart Wadeye and the lack of in-depth media coverage: this Aboriginal township has been the showpiece of a vast, failed governmental social experiment over the past three years, and that systematic failure has largely gone unreported because it suits the local council staff and their federal and territory masters to keep it under wraps, and keep out unwelcome media eyes.

New federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister Mal Brough will hold a high-profile national summit on indigenous community violence next month. But it is the culture of secrecy that lies behind, and underpins, the violence. The summit will be much more than a meeting of concerned officials. It will be a test of Australia's moral temper and our willingness to stop the tide of illicit violence disfiguring the remote world. Sometimes the truth is painful; its denial is worse.


Sunday, May 28, 2006


High school football coaches in Connecticut will have to be good sports this fall - or risk a suspension. The football committee of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, which governs high school sports, is adopting a "score management" policy that will suspend coaches whose teams win by more than 50 points.

A rout is considered an unsportsmanlike infraction and the coach of the offending team will be disqualified from coaching the next game, said Tony Mosa, assistant executive director of the Cheshire-based conference. "We were concerned with any coach running up the game. There's no need for it," Mosa said Wednesday. "This is something that we really have been discussing for the last couple of years. There were a number of games that were played where the difference of scores were 60 points or more. It's not focused on any one particular person."

Some have dubbed it the "Jack Cochran rule," after the New London High's football coach, who logged four wins of more than 50 points last year. In New London's 60-0 rout of Tourtelotte/Ellis Tech, Cochran enraged the Tourtelotte bench by calling a timeout just before halftime. Tourtelotte's coach was arrested on breach of peace charges after police say he struck a security guard and an assistant New London coach.

Leo Facchini, New London's athletic director, called it unfair to single out his coach. Facchini said he and Cochran tried to pull in the reins during New London's 90-0 drubbing of Griswold last season by trying to get both sides and the timekeeper to agree to run a continuous clock. Some states, including Iowa, continuously run the game clock in the second half if a team has a 35-point lead. The Connecticut committee rejected a similar proposal because members thought it would unfairly cut into backups' playing time.


If a school's team stinks, maybe they shouldn't field a team! How is it the other side's fault if they do? A big loss is probably a lesson they need. And is it fair to the stronger team that they are given so little of a challenge? It is coaches fielding hopelessly weak teams who should be treated with contempt and penalized for wasting everybody's time


The police allow blacks to get away with heaps because of the colour of their skin. Since blacks commit crime at roughly 9 times the white rate, the police should be stopping blacks roughly 900% more than they stop whites. In fact, it is only 42% more

The disparity gap between the number of white and black drivers who were stopped by Missouri police last year grew wider, according to a report that Attorney General Jay Nixon released today. The report, delivered to the General Assembly and Gov. Matt Blunt, tracks the demographics of more than 1.5 million police vehicle stops made by 624 agencies across the state in 2005. It shows that African-American drivers were stopped at a rate 42 percent higher than expected based solely on their proportion of the driving-age population. That number increased from 34 percent in 2004.

When compared with whites, African-American drivers were 46 percent more likely to be stopped. The 2004 report showed that African Americans were 38 percent more likely to be stopped than white drivers, based solely on their proportion of the driving-age population. "The information in this report serves as an important basis for dialogue between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve," Nixon said in a release.

In the St. Louis area, several of the largest departments saw the disparity gap shrink between black and white drivers stopped. The Jefferson County Sheriff, St. Charles County Sheriff and St. Louis County Police departments were among them. St. Louis city police saw nearly no change in its statistics. Nixon noted that the overall number of vehicle stops recorded increased by 10 percent, to more than 1.5 million stops from 1.37 million from 2004. A change in the law that took effect in August 2004 requires law enforcement to report on a wider variety of stops, including investigative stops.

The 2005 report also showed that an African-American driver who was stopped was 78 percent more likely to be searched than a white driver. Statewide, Hispanic drivers were stopped at a rate about three percent less likely than their proportion of the population. Those Hispanic drivers who were stopped, however, were almost twice as likely to be searched as white drivers who were stopped.

Racial profiling can neither be proved or disproved by statistics alone, Nixon said in a statement. The statistics do not prove that police decide to stop a driver based solely on his or her race. "Missouri law enforcement should continue their constructive efforts to eliminate any perceptions that traffic stops are being made solely on the basis of race, rather than for legitimate reasons," Nixon said. State law requires every Missouri police agency to adopt a written policy regarding racial profiling, provide annual training to officers and promote the use of effective, non-combative methods for carrying out their duties in a racially and culturally diverse environment.

More here


Apparently, prejudice against fatties is OK. There is no public health basis for it -- as moderately overweight people live slightly longer

In the past, fat kids only had to worry about the playground bully. Now the politicians, the doctors and their teachers are all out to get them - and their parents. In the next few weeks children aged four and ten are all going to be lined up at school for measurements of height and weight (1). This is necessary because the government, having already set a target for reducing childhood obesity, has realised that nobody knows how many children are overweight. The plan is to repeat these measurements in 12 months' time and then to write to the parents of obese children to warn that they risk long-term health damage unless they lose weight.

Even the government's own health advisers have warned that the mass weigh-in will inevitably stigmatise overweight children and will provoke widespread anxiety and distress among both children and parents. Public health doctors are well aware that it is illegitimate to diagnose individual health risks on the basis of population statistics and that there is no scientific justification for this approach. But, having fostered the obesity panic by promoting scares about fast food and snacks, they are ill-equipped to resist the zealots now driving government policy.

The politicians are now gripped by the dogma that exhorting people to eat less and exercise more will banish obesity. One of the few things that emerges clearly from half a century of research is that this approach simply does not work. While the scale of the problem of childhood obesity remains controversial - and both its causes and consequences are uncertain - it is widely recognised that no form of intervention has been found to be effective.

The crusade against childhood obesity has become dangerously irrational. Like most of the government's most cherished initiatives, it is exempted from the requirements of evidence-based policy. It is driven by the most desperate imperative of New Labour: the need to connect, with at least that section of the electorate that has responded so impressively to the charms of the celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver. In the childhood obesity panic, the insecurities of the nation's elite are projected into our primary schools, reflecting, as American academic Paul Campos observes, a culture that is `ultimately all about fear, self-loathing and endless dissatisfaction'.

Once again this week, the tired metaphors of `epidemic' and `time-bomb' have been mobilised to raise the emotional temperature. Obesity is presented as a modern plague, as a source of contagion and risk, which therefore justifies the sort of authoritarian measures considered necessary to protect society from extreme danger. These metaphors provide new forms of expression for deep-rooted prejudices against ordinary people, particularly against poorer people, who are more likely, in most Western societies, to be overweight. As the Australian educationalists Michael Gard and Jan Wright observe, `the idea of the"obesity epidemic" appears to lock commentators into a view of people as childlike in their stupidity, short-sightedness and utter self-centredness'. To be overweight is to be regarded as being `out of control, undisciplined, deviant, dangerously unhealthy'.

The label of obesity legitimises the public monitoring of behaviour and provides a licence for ridicule and harassment. For politicians and pundits, public health advocacy groups and popular television programmes, parents are a particular focus of condescension and contempt. According to Tam Fry of the Child Growth Foundation, `parents are very ignorant about what a healthy weight is'. In truth, within wide limits, there is no such thing as a healthy (or an unhealthy) weight - a simple fact parents know much better than these self-appointed experts.

The shift in focus of the obesity panic towards children is a particularly invidious development. A younger generation is now being indoctrinated with a deeply misanthropic and neurotic attitude towards the joys of life, such as eating, drinking and playing. As Tom MacMillan of the Food Ethics Council observes, health `neither is nor ought to be [the] main criterion in rational lifestyle choices'.

Eating and drinking are modes of sensual enjoyment and social engagement, ways of expressing individual and group identity, which are impoverished by the narrow preoccupations of the health fetishists. But instead of learning the pleasures of eating and sharing a wide variety foods, children are being coerced into consuming `five-a-day' fruit and veg, even though an authoritative study confirms that this yields no significant reduction in the development of chronic disease. Playing sport for pleasure is now being reduced to taking exercise for health, despite the fact that `no link between school physical education and either the long-term health, body weight or physical activity of children has ever been established'. The crusade against child obesity is likely to produce, not healthy outcomes, but miserable children and anxious parents and epidemics of dieting and eating disorders.


Australia: 'Gay-friendly' child care slammed

Little kids being harassed over sexuality -- out of the public purse

A council-run childcare centre is teaching toddlers that gay, lesbian and "transgender" parents are normal in a bid to "challenge the perception" of young children about sexuality. The Tillman Park Children's Centre in Tempe - which receives council and government funding - has devised the gay-friendly curriculum for children aged six weeks to six years. Marrickville Mayor Sam Byrne said the centre had "successfully adopted several strategies to encompass lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex issues". These included ensuring images were reflective of "diverse families" and "actively affirming the identity of lesbian and gay families". He said the centre challenged "children's perception of what is 'normal' gender and sexual identity".

The centre uses controversial Learn to Include books, which feature Jed and his Dads and The Rainbow Cubby House. Mr Byrne applauded staff and families at the centre for "broadening the minds of our future generation". "At Marrickville we believe in offering children and families an inclusive program based on social justice," he told The Saturday Daily Telegraph. "These are reflected through an open environment where alternative perspectives, values, beliefs, lifestyles and people's identities are respected and accepted."

The Daily Telegraph last year revealed the books - produced by a non-profit program run by the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW - were funded by the Attorney-Generals Department, which provided $33,000 over two years. The Saturday Daily Telegraph can reveal the Learn to Include books are also being used in private childcare centres across the state. Child Care New South Wales president Lyn Connolly said there was no book list for centres to draw from, but in order for centres to meet "high quality" they relied on a variety of resources, including the Learn to Include books.

Marika Kontellis, whose three-year-old daughter Jasmin attends the centre, said although she was in a heterosexual relationship she had no issue with the material being taught. She said she could understand how some families might find the topics confronting or uncomfortable "but for us it is important to know that families come in different shapes and sizes and that's okay and that's good". "Every day the kids are being told that it is okay that you are black, it is okay that you are gay, it's okay that families don't all look the same," Ms Kontellis said. [I guess all families are the same then?]

National Party Leader Andrew Stoner - who last year forced former premier Bob Carr to investigate the use of the books in public schools - said yesterday he was opposed to children being "brainwashed by a political correct agenda". "It's just crazy. Children that young have no concept of these issues of sexuality," he said. "Whether it is heterosexual sex or homosexual sex, it is the choice for parents to talk about it with their children - not for an institution to start some political correct campaign."

Psychologist Lorraine Corne said yesterday it is essential the concept of gay and lesbians was introduced to young children in a proper way. "You would introduce the concept like you would introduce the concept of sex," she said. "It would be done at a level that they understand. It could be as simple as some people have a father and a mother and some people have two mothers and some have two fathers. "It would have to be put in a very simplistic way otherwise it is beyond their comprehension and it would go above their heads," Ms Corne said.


Saturday, May 27, 2006


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto a bill passed by the Senate and pending in the Assembly to revise California's school curriculum to include the contributions of gays and lesbians to the state and nation, a gubernatorial spokesman said Wednesday. "The governor believes that school curriculum should include all important historical figures, regardless of orientation," said Schwarzenegger's director of communications, Adam Mendelsohn. "However, he does not support the Legislature micromanaging curriculum."

Wednesday's announcement signaled a death blow to the efforts of state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica, the openly lesbian author of the measure, to obtain recognition for the contributions of gays, lesbians, transgender and bisexual people to the social and historical landscape. Kuehl's bill had passed the Senate on a 22-15 vote on May 11 and was awaiting hearings in the Assembly. She expressed disbelief that Schwarzenegger, who traditionally has withheld comment on legislation until it passes the Legislature and reaches his desk, has broken with his own precedent and made up his mind on a bill that still hadn't been vetted by one house of the Legislature. "He hasn't made up his mind, I don't care what some underling might have said," Kuehl said.

Kuehl said she hasn't spoken to the Republican governor about the bill yet and that she didn't plan on trying to initiate a conversation with him until it had set sail in the Assembly. She said she intends to approach him on the subject. "I expect it to go before the (Assembly) Education Committee, perhaps then the Appropriations Committee," Kuehl said. "When it gets to the floor, I expect to talk to the governor, and I expect to get it through. For them to take a position on it, I think is precipitous. There's nothing controversial about it. The right wing has drummed up a lot of old fears. Once people understand what it really does, the response is usually OK." Schwarzenegger will come around to supporting the bill, Kuehl said, once he "understands how small a change it is."

Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families and a longtime activist who has opposed gay rights legislation, welcomed Schwarzenegger's decision. But he said he wants more out of the governor. "We're very pleased that Schwarzenegger is listening to the concerns of parents," Thomasson said. "Now the governor needs to pledge to veto the two remaining transsexual, bisexual, homosexual bills, AB 606 and AB 1056. Parents and grandparents are demanding it."

Assembly Bill 606 would ensure that school districts act to reduce harassment of students based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. Assembly Bill 1056 would offer $25,000 grants to schools to "promote tolerance and intergroup relations," according to a bill analysis. Seth Kilbourn, political director for Equality California, which advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and sponsored Senate Bill 1437, said he was surprised that the governor would indicate his opposition to the bill at such an early stage. "That is disappointing," he said. With June being Gay Pride Month, Kilbourn said he doesn't see the political benefit for the governor in shooting down the bill. "This would not be the best time for him to be doing that if he wanted to appear more friendly," Kilbourn said. "He's passed more pieces of legislation benefiting the GLBT community -- except for gay marriage -- than any other governor."

Kilbourn called SB 1437 an important and necessary bill that would help promote tolerance in classrooms. "We are not asking for anything new. It's part of the diversity as required by the state of California," Kilbourn said. "It has enormous impact on gay and lesbian students. When gay issues are talked about, gay students feel better about themselves. For non-gays, it's an opportunity to learn about an underrepresented group in society and provides a more positive perspective."


Great! "Ethnic" law to be scrapped in Australia

Sharia zapped

The Howard Government has widened its plan to remove legal recognition of Aboriginal customary law in criminal sentencing to include the cultural beliefs of all ethnic minorities. The extension of the plan beyond Aboriginal tribal law is understood to have been triggered by concerns that a law directed only at indigenous offenders could be in breach of the Racial Discrimination Act. Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock last night said no one convicted of a crime in Australia should be able to plead their cultural practices and beliefs as mitigating factors in their sentencing. "We are not a nation of tribes," he said. "There should be one law for all Australians. Our expectation is that when people come and settle in Australia they are under an obligation to accept the law and the principles that go with it."

The Government's move came after Northern Territory Opposition Leader Jodeen Carney asked Mr Ruddock last week to check if planned restrictions on Aboriginal customary law being used as a mitigating factor when sentencing violent offenders would breach the Racial Discrimination Act. Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough this week said he would put a proposal to scrap consideration of cultural law in serious crimes to state and territory governments at a national summit. He said customary law had been "used as a curtain that people are hiding behind". The minister's remarks followed a national outcry after a 55-year-old Aboriginal elder was sentenced to a month's jail for having anal sex with a 14-year-old girl promised to him as a wife.

Territory Chief Justice Brian Martin, who sentenced the man, admitted this week he had made a mistake by placing too much emphasis on the man's belief that under tribal law he had the right to teach the girl to obey him. Ms Carney urged the Government to change the Racial Discrimination Act if it considered restrictions on customary law would amount to a breach. Mr Ruddock is understood to have sought legal advice on the possibility of changing the Racial Discrimination Act, but his preference is to extend the exclusion to all minority groups in the community.

The scheme drew qualified support yesterday from Islamic civil rights leader Waleed Kadous but was condemned as impractical by the legal profession. "I don't think any member of the community should expect any special privileges because of their cultural background," said Mr Kadous, co-convenor of the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advisory Network. "Speaking for the Muslim community, we understand we are not entitled to any special privileges in the courts - nor should we be," he said. Judges should always have some discretion to consider a person's circumstances "but our cultural background should have no major impact on how we are sentenced", Mr Kadous said.

However, Law Council of Australia president John North said the Government's plan was "totally impractical". "An important part of the sentencing process, apart from retribution and revenge, is to look carefully at the subjective features of each individual before the court," Mr North said. "Those characteristics may involve cultural or what can be termed customary law matters, and this has long been held by the High Court to be a proper exercise in the use of sentencing discretion. "To try and legislate across the board to remove this discretion would, in our view, prove impossible."

Mr Ruddock said Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough would be urging the states to change their sentencing laws to fall into line with the Government's plan. While he believed the plan would not cause a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act, he indicated that the commonwealth would be prepared to change federal laws - including the Racial Discrimination Act - to achieve its goal.



Here, as far as we want to elaborate on them, are the circumstances. In a council house in West Lothian sits an eight-month pregnant 12-year-old, probably with a cigarette in hand, waiting for the fruits of her dubious celebrity to ripen. Soon she will be Britain's youngest mother. She exists in the anonymous limbo of the transgressive child-adult; gawped at by local rubber-neckers, isolated but for the attentions of tabloid journalists and social workers.

Right now, tragically, she is probably the most famous person in Scotland. Her home, it is said, was habitually used by local junkies, who openly smoked drugs and rolled joints in front of the children. Her mother, it is claimed, is a long-term heroin addict, although her daughter denies this, with six children by three different fathers. The 12-year-old's father, said to have been a well-known drug dealer, long ago moved away. Just a few days ago, her mother gave birth to her latest half brother. The newspaper serialising the girl's own story reported her claims that she was smoking cannabis on the night last summer when she got drunk and became pregnant, aged 11, on a night out in Edinburgh.

Okay, so that's the situation. Now comes the difficult bit. What is anyone going to do about it? More to the point, what would the average member of the liberal intelligentsia, placed in charge of this dreadful scenario, do next? Here's a clue: idealistic bleating about ending poverty and raising self-esteem achieves nothing. My heart goes out to the social workers, police and Children's Panel members dealing with the case. I am glad I am not in their shoes; I'm even more glad that the majority of politicians and liberal commentators are not in them, either.

There is all the difference in the world between theorising about what to do in cases like this, and actually doing something. Pragmatism is an art little practised in debating chambers or newspaper columns (or, indeed, in social services high command), but it is the only effective method of dealing with chaotic, damaged human lives. Ask any front line social worker, daily fire-fighting domestic catastrophes, with one hand tied behind their backs by a straitjacket of regulation, theory, best practice, patients' charters, monitoring of standards and the protection of human rights.

I don't know Duncan McNeil personally, but I do know that when he stood up last week and made his controversial speech in Holyrood, about putting contraception in methadone, he spoke from the heart. Even on TV, you could see that. A former shop-steward from the Clydeside shipyards, Mr McNeil is a genuine politician who works hard for his constituents. He has never said anything as bold or controversial before; his speech clearly indicated how bad drug abuse must be in his Greenock constituency.

It was interesting to note that when Reporting Scotland asked people to respond to his speech, those who did not condemn him were those most likely to have seen how incompatible heroin and child-rearing are. The response elsewhere, from those who've never encountered a fix-seeking addict with a baby in their arms, was utterly predictable.

Poor Mr McNeil's views were condemned as eugenicist and Nazi by the chattering classes, who, themselves faced with a mother on heroin, would be as much use as a chocolate fireguard. The Liberals, the Scottish Socialists, the Tories and the SNP scurried to pile words of scorn on his suggestion. Pathetic. Stupid. Irrational. Bizarre. Illegal, they said. Mr McNeil's own Labour Party distanced itself from him.

The criticism was utterly unfair. Mr McNeil's suggestion is none of these things. Oh, it needs some refinement, certainly. But so grave is the drug-abuse situation in Scotland that the concept of enforcing birth control in some way on those unable to care for babies is now being talked about openly by pragmatic, sensible and informed people.

Jack McConnell wants social workers to remove more children from drug-abusing parents (though whether he can provide the vastly increased resources to look after them is not yet certain). Susan Deacon, the former health minister, wants drug-addicted mothers to be offered contraceptive implants at a cost of 80 pounds a time. Professor Neil McKeganey, a drugs expert from Glasgow University - whose research suggests there are 50,000 Scots children growing up exposed to drug addiction at home, and who knows of what he theorises - wants drug-abusing women to be paid to be on contraception. In 39 states in America, it is now common policy for female addicts to be paid $500 to have long-term contraceptive injections: a tiny fraction of what an unwanted child will cost taxpayers.

Is this immoral? No, it's inspired. History shows us that great social reform has always been done by people who saw need and distress and reacted accordingly. The pregnant 12-year-old in West Lothian may never know it, but in the awful nature of her celebrity may yet lie the seed for a radical new social progressiveness in Scotland, which will save unknown numbers of children from despair.



By Jeff Jacoby

Amid the din over illegal immigration, I have been thinking about two immigrants I happen to know rather well. One is a 3-year-old boy from southern Guatemala. He was brought to the United States in March 2004, one of 11,170 adopted orphans to immigrate that year. The other, who will turn 81 in August, comes from a small village in what is now Slovakia. He entered the United States in the spring of 1948, a few months before his 23d birthday.

Born an ocean and 78 years apart, on different continents and into very different cultures, these two immigrants might seem on the surface to have little in common. But as naturalized US citizens, they in fact have a great deal in common. English, to mention the most obvious example, is the primary language for both. Neither retains the customs of his native land. Both have a share in the American constitutional patrimony.

As it happens, they share more than that. The little boy from Guatemala is my younger son. The older man from Slovakia is my father. America is a richer place because my father and son are here, and no doubt most Americans -- even those now clamoring for a crackdown on illegal immigration -- would agree. Signs reading, "We love *legal* immigrants," have been on display at rallies organized to oppose amnesty for illegal aliens. Another popular sign demands: "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

To countless Americans, the difference between legal and illegal immigration is self-evident and meaningful. But is that really what distinguishes the immigrants we want from those we don't -- that the former enter the country lawfully, while the latter break the rules to get here? Are immigrants like my father and son inherently desirable merely because a lot of exasperating bureaucratic requirements were met before they came? Are the 11 million illegal immigrants living within our borders (and the several hundred thousand added to their number each year) unwelcome and problematic only because they got in the wrong way?

A foreigner who enters the United States without first running the immigration-law gantlet is not congenitally unfit to be a good American any more than someone who operates an automobile without a license is congenitally unfit to drive. Our immigration laws are maddening and Byzantine. They are heavily skewed in favor of people with family ties to US citizens -- nearly two-thirds of all legal immigrants qualify to enter the United States because they are the relatives of someone already here, and even then it can take 10 or 15 years to qualify for legal residence. If you were designing an immigration system that would admit people on the basis of whether they seemed likely to become good Americans -- patriotic, hard working, law-abiding, English-speaking -- this is hardly the system you would devise.

In so many other contexts, Americans admire self-starters and risk-takers who find ways to get around roadblocks that would defeat less inventive, determined, or gutsy individuals. Of course it is vital, especially after 9/11, to properly control the nation's borders. But there is still something to be said for the self-starters and risk-takers who look at the formidable roadblocks we place in the path of most would-be immigrants, especially those not related to a US citizen -- and make up their minds to find a way around them. In his televised remarks last week, President Bush noted that many illegal aliens "will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country." Aren't those the kind of people America should crave -- men and women willing to risk everything, including their lives, for a chance to build their own American dream?

Yes, porous borders -- and not only the one with Mexico -- are a national-security problem, one too long neglected. But the burning *immigration* problem of our time isn't that too many people are breaking the rules to get in. It is what they are finding when they get here. Instead of a national commitment to assimilation, a cynical multiculturalism -- often state-mandated -- sends the message that our culture is no better than any other, so there is no particular reason to embrace the American experience. "Bilingual" education and foreign-language ballots accelerate the loss of a common English tongue, making it easier than ever for newcomers to hunker down in linguistic ghettoes. Identity politics and affirmative action erode the national identity, encouraging immigrants to see themselves first and foremost as members of racial or ethnic groups, and only secondarily as individuals and Americans.

From the day he got off the boat from Europe, my father lived up to the code that expected immigrants to go to work, learn the language, obey the laws, and become an American. My immigrant son, I hope, will live up to it too. The melting pot, it used to be called, before political correctness intervened. That political correctness is what has caused the present crisis. The crisis won't be solved by blaming the immigrants.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Bank of America ("The Homosexual Bank") Pushes Gay Rights Agenda on Georgia Boy Scout group

A good reason to cancel your Bank of America account if you have one. Tell them that you are cancelling because you oppose discrimination against heterosexuals. They are responsive to pressure. They have stopped funding the Scouts before and then restored the funding. Post below lifted from Red State

A Boy Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind and - according to the Bank of America - discriminatory.

If you have heard of Valdosta, chances are it was because of the local high school football team's prowess at winning national championships. But today, the overbearing effects of overactive liberalism reached far into South Georgia and slapped the Boy Scouts right across the face.

At a recent Valdosta Kiwanis Club meeting, the local Boy Scouts leader, Matt Hart, was present to accept a donation from the Club. Matt gladly accepted the contribution to help the local Boy Scouts spruce up their summer camp and then he told the Kiwanis Club the Scouts were grateful for the donation because the regular donation received each year from Bank of America had been denied this year because Bank of America believes the Boy Scouts national organization discriminates against gays.

In fact, Matt, the Executive Leader of the Alapaha Area Council for the Boy Scouts, shared with the group a recent letter he received from Bank of America Charitable Foundation explaining the denial

“...Under the non-discrimination policy, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation cannot provide funding to any organization that practices discrimination on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, or veteran or disability status. The Boy Scouts' current employment and membership practices do not comply with this policy.
The letter continues:

“If the Alapaha Area Council, Boy Scouts of America has the autonomy to depart from the current discriminatory practices of the national organization, and will verify that fact in writing, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation may consider reviewing this request again.”
(Full letter here.)

This is absurd. The letter sounded like it had been written by an ACLU lawyer in San Francisco. And this is the same bank that donated $150,000 to a San Francisco Community Center “to serve the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.”

Andy Smith, the president of the Alapaha Council of the Boy Scouts of America responded in a letter:
“I think this policy and what this policy represents is an attempt to cause a serious erosion of personal freedoms, personal rights to associate, the right of parents to know that the Boy Scouts of America does everything it possible can to be as inclusive as it can be and still carry forward the traditional and applaudable character building programs of Scouting and to see to the safety of every child whose safety is entrusted to the Boy Scouts of America.”
(Full letter here.)

For nearly a Century, the Boy Scouts of America has “prepared young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law” and has made leaders out of boys through traditional values. It's unfortunate that the Boy Scouts in Valdosta end up being the victims in this game of liberal cat and mouse.


One of the co-producers of "The Da Vinci Code," John Calley, was quoted last year saying the movie was "conservatively anti-Catholic." Leaving aside the silly qualifier, ask yourself: Is there a single producer in all of Hollywood who would boast that his movie is anti-Semitic, racist or homophobic? And to top it off, ask yourself why inoffensive depictions of Muhammad are rarely shown on TV or in newspapers?

The bias against Catholicism is palpable. No other segment of society is continuously the target of vicious jokes by the likes of Penn Jillette or Bill Maher. No other segment of society is subjected to the obscene assaults like those "South Park" delivers over and over again. And no other segment of society is routinely held up to derision on college campuses.

Consider that a student newspaper at the University of Oregon recently put a depiction of a naked Jesus Christ on the cross with an erection. It also showed a graphic of a naked Christ kissing a naked man, both sporting erections. And the response from the university's president? It was so weak that state lawmakers — after receiving color copies of the offensive pictures from the Catholic League — have decided to deal with this incident themselves. All because the president of the university found it politically incorrect to morally condemn the newspaper.

It's not just Catholics who are on the receiving end of these attacks — all Christians are fair game. NBC dumped "The Book of Daniel" because there was no audience for the script, but the producers surely thought there would be one. After all, who wouldn't want to watch a show where an Episcopalian priest dabbles in drugs, the wife is a boozer, the daughter is a dope dealer, one son is gay, the other is a womanizer, the brother-in-law is a thief and the father's father is an adulterer? Just your ordinary Christian family — in the eyes of Hollywood, that is.

To understand what's driving this, consider that our culture teaches that freedom means the right to do whatever we want to do and Catholicism teaches that freedom means the right to do what we ought to do. There's a natural disharmony here, a tension so taut that something's got to give. Never mind that a libertine idea of freedom — liberty as license — is spiritually, psychologically, physiologically and socially deadly in its consequences. It's what sells. Sadly, what is attendant to this perverse interpretation of liberty is a need to lash out at any creed that preaches the virtue of restraint.

The scandal in the Catholic Church did not help matters, but the frontal assault on Catholicism antedated the revelations of 2002. No matter, the kind of hate speech that spews with regularity toward the Catholic Church can never be justified. That it occurs amid all the chatter about tolerance and respect for diversity makes it all the more repugnant.

More here

Harry Reid & The End of Liberal Thought

By Dennis Prager

The highest-ranking Democrat in America, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, described the Senate bill making English the national language of the American people as "racist." And the New York Times editorial page labeled the bill "xenophobic." Welcome to the thoughtless world of contemporary liberalism. Beginning in the 1960s, liberalism, once the home of many deep thinkers, began to substitute feeling for thought and descended into superficiality.

One-word put-downs of opponents' ideas and motives were substituted for thoughtful rebuttal. Though liberals regard themselves as intellectual -- their views, after all, are those of nearly all university professors -- liberal thought has almost died. Instead of feeling the need to thoughtfully consider an idea, most liberal minds today work on automatic. One-word reactions to most issues are the liberal norm. This is easy to demonstrate. Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ:


And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for:

The poor
The disenfranchised
The environment

These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways. First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person.

Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal -- essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy. That is one reason young people are more likely to be liberal -- they have not had the time or inclination to think issues through, but they know they oppose racism, imperialism and bigotry, and that they are for peace, tolerance and the environment.

Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself -- by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc.

Examples could fill a book. Harry Reid, as noted above, supplied a classic one. Instead of grappling with the enormously significant question of how to maintain American identity and values with tens of millions of non-Americans coming into America, the Democratic leader and others on the Left simply label attempts to keep English as a unifying language as "racist."

Another classic example of liberal non-thought was the reaction to former Harvard University President Lawrence Summers' mere question about whether the female and male brains were wired differently. Again, instead of grappling with the issue, Harvard and other liberals merely dismissed Summers as "sexist."

A third example is the use of the term "racist" to end debate about race-based affirmative action or even to describe a Capitol police officer who stops a black congresswoman who has no ID badge.

"Phobic" is the current one-word favorite among liberal dismissals of ideological opponents. It combines instant moral dismissal with instant psychological analysis. If you do not support society redefining marriage to include members of the same sex you are "homophobic" -- and further thought is unnecessary. If you articulate a concern about the moral state of Islam today, you are "Islamophobic" -- and again further thought is unnecessary. And if you seek to retain English as America's unifying language, you are not only racist, you are, as the New York Times editorial describes you, "xenophobic" and "Latinophobic," the latest phobia uncovered by the Left.

There is a steep price paid for the liberal one-wording of complex ideas -- the decline of liberal thought. But with more and more Americans graduating college and therefore taught the liberal list of one-word reactions instead of critical thinking, many liberals do not see any pressing need to think through issues. They therefore do not believe they have paid any price at all.

But American society is paying a steep price. Every car that has a bumper sticker declaring "War is not the answer" powerfully testifies to the intellectual decline of the well educated and to the devolution of "liberal thought" into an oxymoron.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


The "human rights" of foreign ex-prisoners on the run from police are being put before public safety. Detectives across the country are refusing to issue "wanted" posters for the missing criminals because they do not want to breach human rights laws. Forces said that the offenders had a right to privacy and might sue for defamation if their names and photographs were released.

Critics condemned the decision as "ludicrous". It comes as the Government faces mounting pressure to reform or scrap the Human Rights Act, which was blamed last week for a murder by a serial sex attacker and for a court ruling that nine asylum seekers who hijacked an aeroplane cannot be sent home to Afghanistan.

Yesterday, the Lord Chancellor acknowledged public fears that dangerous criminals were able to remain at large because of the legislation and said the Government was considering new laws. Lord Falconer said: "I think there is real concern about the way the Act is operating. The deployment of human rights is, often wrongly, leading to wrong conclusions to be made about issues of public safety. There needs to be political clarity that the Human Rights Act should have no effect on public safety issues - public safety comes first." Last week the Prime Minister's official spokesman indicated that Tony Blair was also considering amending the Act to restore public confidence.

The Conservative leader, David Cameron, has already vowed to order a review of the law if he is elected and will consider rewriting the legislation or even abolishing it.

Meanwhile, Charles Clarke has revealed that he "did not lose a minute's sleep" over the freed foreign prisoners scandal that led to him being sacked as Home Secretary. The MP told his local newspaper: "My sleeping was completely normal, fortunately I'm not worried by sleepless nights. Sleepless nights occur when there are things which are genuinely exercising your worry." In his final Commons appearance before he was sacked, Mr Clarke said that police and immigration officers were engaged in "very intensive work" to find and deport 38 serious offenders who were released from jail without being considered for deportation.

His successor, John Reid, suggested last week that the true number may be higher, but could not give a figure. Police forces pointed to human rights legislation as the reason why names and photographs cannot be issued. They also said the on-the-run former prisoners were not sought as criminals, but instead as the perpetrators of immigration offences. The Metropolitan Police said: "Anyone who is wanted on any offence has the right to privacy." Greater Manchester Police said: "We could not be sure about putting out information now without possibly defaming somebody." The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) says in its guidance to forces: "Article 8 of the Human Rights Act gives everyone the right to respect for their private and family life... and publication of photographs could be a breach of that."

According to Acpo, photographs should be released only in "exceptional circumstances", where public safety needs override the case for privacy. Last night the Conservatives condemned the decision. David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "If true, this is a ludicrous interpretation of human rights. A criminal's right to privacy is as nothing by comparison to the public's right to safety. "Now that these individuals are on the run, their names and pictures should be in the public domain so that people are not put at even more unnecessary risk."

The Immigration Service has insisted that the decision as to whether to name the missing former prisoners is down to the police. A Home Office spokesman said: "It is an operational matter for individual police forces to decide whether to publish details or photos of the individuals concerned." Yet every force in the country has come to the same decision - to withhold the details of the former prisoners. The Met, Britain's largest force, said: "They are not criminals; it is an immigration offence. We will use all the tools in our tool box to try and find them without printing their identity - that's the last recourse." Greater Manchester Police said its fear of being sued for defamation was heightened because "this only happened two or three weeks ago and the investigations are in a very early stage".

Last week, Andrew Bridges, the Chief Inspector of Probation, concluded that worries over human rights had prevented the proper supervision of serial sex offender Anthony Rice following his release from a 16-year sentence for rape. He went on to kill Naomi Bryant.



You can be as Leftist as you like but nothing else!

In 12 years as a reporter for Tampa's ABC affiliate, Don Germaise's experience with journalism has been mostly one way: He asks the questions, others answer. But he has found himself in the middle of a controversy over an appearance on the other side of the cameras lens. An interview he granted to a member of a white separatist group has been posted on the Internet, drawing thousands of downloads from viewers and criticism for breaching standards of journalistic objectivity.

"How could somebody as experienced as I was be so naive as to talk to this kid?" [A 28-year-old is a "kid"?] said Germaise, an energetic reporter known for his aggressive hurricane coverage. "I was trying to help him out. He said he wanted to be a journalist." Germaise said he submitted to the interview after videotaping his own talk with David Daugherty, the webmaster for an Internet site operated by the Tampa unit of the National Vanguard. The group maintainsthat the media are controlled by Jews and that ethnic diversity harms America. But Daugherty recalls a more explicit bargain: If Germaise wanted an interview about the National Vanguard, he also had to let Daugherty interview him.

Daugherty, 28, posted Germaise's interview on May 9, saying Thursday there had been more than 4,300 downloads of the video, featuring the reporter's views on free speech, illegal immigration and the control his bosses at Tampa's ABC affiliate exert over his stories. The site also offers links to information about pro-white music and a glowing report on a speech by convicted Holocaust denier David Irving, now in prison in Austria.

Daugherty has asked to swap interviews with other journalists, but no one agreed until Germaise did. "You very rarely see one of these guys who is a standard foot soldier reporter (interviewed) in front of a camera," said Daugherty, who denounces most news stories about pro-white groups as "propaganda" developed by a Jewish-controlled media industry. "They're kind of a faceless people. When I posted the story, it generated a ton of traffic because everybody wanted to hear what this guy had to say." "ABC Action News Reporter Blasts Media Bosses, ADL!" the headline reads over the link to Germaise's interview. (ADL refers to the Jewish advocacy group, the Anti-Defamation League.) "Don Germaise confirms what many of us have suspected about 'mainstream' media," adds a blurb on the site.

"All these illegal immigrants are causing a huge strain on government services because they want free medical care, they want to be able to drive, they want all of these resources that are available in this great country of ours," Germaise says on the video, filmed at an Ybor City park. "Yet they're not paying taxes because they're illegal immigrants. If you're in the country illegally, you shouldn't be here."

When asked by Daugherty whether media owners influence the news process, Germaise said, "When the boss speaks, the workers listen. I have definitely had my manager say we need to do this kind of a story. Did it come from ABC, did it come from Walt Disney? Did it come from someone else? I don't know. I do know there have been times when I've been told to do a story."

The interview drew praise from visitors to the message boards at, a "white pride" Web site. "I'm speechless," wrote one user, identified only as Zemi. "We need more voices like his in the MSM (mainstream media). I hope he gets to keep his job. Or will someone find a illegal immigrant to do his work?"

Germaise, who eventually developed a story on the National Vanguard for WFTS earlier this month, maintained he did not provide the interview to Daugherty in exchange for permission to interview him. However, Daugherty made the same demand of a St. Petersburg Times reporter who hoped to write about the National Vanguard unit, but editors declined. And while experts on hate groups at the Southern Poverty Law Center knew activists sometimes videotape journalists interviewing them -- as protection against misquotes -- they had not heard of someone insisting on interviewing the interviewer....

Famous locally as the "hunker down" guy for his kinetic reports from inside raging hurricanes, Germaise insisted his earnest attempts to answer Daugherty's questions were distorted by heavy editing. Now he's left wondering whether the world thinks he's a closet white separatist. "This is a guy who told me in an interview he wanted every black person in America moved to another state," Germaise said of Daugherty. "I can state unequivocally that there is nothing about this group that I like. I was naive ... to let them use my words to make it appear the way they did. I was wrong."...

Don Heider, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, said Germaise was "seriously compromised" as a result of the interview. "What comes through (this interview) is that there's some conspiracy at the station to cover the (news) in a certain way," said Heider, a former TV news reporter who watched Germaise's interview over the Internet from his office in Austin. "I'm not sure his news director would agree with that."...



Nobody seems to be mentioning that moderately "overweight" people live longest!

Children are to be weighed at the ages of four and ten and their parents warned if they are too fat. The school screening regime is aimed at fighting the obesity epidemic which threatens a generation of youngsters with a lifetime of ill-health. But the plan triggered angry claims that the Government is trying to dictate the size of children. Critics dismissed the weigh-in scheme as misguided, costly, bureaucratic and a dramatic extension of the 'nanny state'. They said pupils branded overweight could be stigmatised and bullied.

Under the programme, children will be weighed and measured as they start primary school and again before they leave. Parents of those judged too heavy will be sent letters warning of long-term health problems unless they lose weight. School nurses will conduct the first checks this summer and the results will be used to create a 'fat map' of the country.

Ministers are understood to be studying a trial scheme in the U.S. which uses three standard letters - one saying the pupil is within healthy limits, a second raising concerns they may be getting out of shape and a third warning that the child is obese. Details of the scheme emerged as a Parliamentary written answer revealed that one in three youngsters aged two to 15 is now overweight or obese, putting them at risk of a host of serious illnesses. Thirty-three per cent of boys and 35 per cent of girls are estimated to be too heavy. [In the opinion of the do-gooders only] ...

Parents are expected to be told how their children's weight compares with healthy youngsters of the same age and height. Public health minister Caroline Flint has insisted that it is parents who 'first and foremost influence what their children eat'. But parents' groups warned that the weigh-in letters could be ignored or deeply resented while psychiatrists warned of a surge in eating disorders among children.

Margaret Morrissey of the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations said: "It appears to be more of the 'nanny state' and I don't think it's going to be terribly effective. "What we do in our own homes is our business and some parents may not react particularly well. "We all appreciate guidance on good diets but most of us think we are already doing our best to provide that. "Parents may say 'so what?'. If parents have a particular lifestyle and they prefer it, all the letters home in the world will not make a difference. "This will be extremely expensive to introduce and I do not believe it's the most efficient way of tackling obesity."

Dr Robin Arnold, of the British Medical Association's psychiatry committee, said: "It may well be justified in public health terms but one wonders what it will do to rates of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa in the future."

Sociologist Patricia Morgan said youngsters who were tubby as children often became slimmer naturally without outside interference. She said: "It used to be called puppy fat and it was accepted children would often grow out of it. "This is another piece of surveillance and another layer of bureaucracy. The risk is that people will become less likely to change things on their own initiative." ...

The Children's Commissioner, Professor Al Aynsley-Green, has expressed reservations about the scheme and nurses have warned that it could amount to an invasion of privacy. Chris Etherington, vice-chairman of the Royal College of Nursing school nurses forum, said: "The RCN is not opposed to primary school children being weighed and measured but we have concerns about how it will be done to avoid stigmatising them. "Children will pick up on the tallest, largest and smallest. Is this a positive experience for them to be going through?" ...

More here

Politically correct Australian judge admits he was wrong

But there's still a long way to go to see justice done

Northern Territory Chief Justice Brian Martin has admitted he made a mistake in sentencing an Aboriginal elder to just one month's jail for having anal sex with a 14-year-old girl and bashing her with a boomerang, because he placed too much emphasis on Aboriginal customary law. In a case that triggered a national outcry, the judge gave weight to the 55-year-old man's belief that he was within his rights to have sex with the girl because, at the age of four, she had been promised to him as a wife. "I was wrong. I got the sentence wrong. The Court of Criminal Appeal said I was wrong. I have no problem with that," Justice Martin told The Australian yesterday.

But while he accepts his error, the Chief Justice warned against the "simplistic" view that Aboriginal offenders are hiding behind traditional law. When courts considered an Aborigine's belief in customary law they were applying a principle that was used in courts across the nation, he said. "The principle is the same. It goes back to the offender's circumstances, their background, their culture - all of those things go to their make-up and reflect on their moral culpability," Justice Martin said.

Justice Martin's defence of customary law is at odds with the views of federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough, who wants to prevent it being used as a mitigating factor in sentencing indigenous offenders found guilty of violent crimes. Mr Brough said on Monday that customary law "has been used as a curtain that people are hiding behind" and it should be excluded as a factor when judges are determining sentences.

Justice Martin, a father of three daughters and a son who is on leave in South Australia, delivered his defence of customary law before he became aware of the moves to wind it back. After learning of Mr Brough's plan, Justice Martin said he had no intention of entering a political debate. Justice Martin handed down his original one-month sentence in August last year while sitting under a tree surrounded by residents of the remote community of Yarralin, 380km southwest of Katherine. The sentence for the crime of sexual intercourse with a child under 16 was increased on appeal in December to three years after the Northern Territory Court of Criminal Appeal ruled it was "manifestly inadequate".

Mr Brough said not only was Justice Martin's decision wrong, but that the appeal judges had also failed the victim by increasing the sentence to three years suspended after 18 months. "If you think giving a man an 18-month prison sentence - that's how long he was actually to be in jail for - for raping a girl for two days at 14 years of age, then I think our society has some very serious questions to answer," he told ABC Television.

Yesterday, Mr Brough told the Coalition partyroom many indigenous communities were run like "communist" states with individuals having no property rights. But Mr Brough has been accused of bigotry and a lack of understanding by West Australian Aboriginal Legal Service chief executive Dennis Eggington over his plan to scrap customary law. "Aboriginal people do not hide behind customary law," Mr Eggington said. "Whether he (Mr Brough) understands it or not, in Australia there are two sets of laws that will always apply to Aboriginal people who live according to their traditions and customs."

Justice Martin said it would be a mistake to view the Yarralin case as evidence that Aborigines were winning lighter sentences by hiding behind customary law. "What happened is that you get something like (the Yarralin case) and people start taking this very simplistic approach that they are hiding behind traditional law," he said. He said the appeal court had made it clear there were limits to the weight that could be given to customary law. "The system works. They increased the penalty and said there is a limit." He said his sentencing remarks in the Yarralin case had made it clear that when customary law was in conflict with the law of the Northern Territory "the Territory's law must prevail". "It is a balancing exercise. But if they commit a very serious crime then the weight that is given to the personal side of things decreases."