Friday, May 11, 2007

Just the sight of a chicken can offend in Britain

A playwright has been told he must warn audiences his one-man act features a roast chicken - for fear of offending vegetarians. Doug Devaney, 41, of Roedale Road, Brighton, has toured the city for years with his play Mein Gutt, a black comedy about a man's losing battle against obesity. But the vegetarian Sanctuary Cafe in Hove has told him the show can only go on if the audience is warned beforehand that there is a dead chicken involved.

Mr Devaney said: "I phoned up as a matter of courtesy to let them know I used a chicken as an essential part of the show but they got back to me a few days later to say I would have to give the audience a warning. "I've heard of strobe lighting or nudity being cause for audience concern but never sugar-roasted chicken. "Do people really need that much protecting? I wonder what they do when they walk past the rotisserie at Asda? "I'm happy to do it - I just consider it weird. Will Shakespeareans have to warn theatre-goers about eye-gouging in King Lear from now on? It takes some of the surprise of theatre away and how sensitive are we?"

Sandra McDonagh, who organises events at the Sanctuary Cafe, said: "Essentially we just don't want to cause offence so we want to give out a warning beforehand. "I had to run it past the cafe owners and they asked for a warning in case somebody stands up and says, I wasn't told about this'. "People would definitely assume there was no meat on the premises but it will be nowhere near the kitchen or any food preparation area. "There will always be one person who will be sensitive enough to complain. I have come across staunch vegans in my time who will kick off about most things and it's better to cover yourselves."

The play, which Mr Devaney said was about "the way people change their attitude to you when you become a man of size", will be performed every Friday throughout the Brighton Festival Fringe at 9.15pm in the cellar room.

Source. (H/T Interested Participant)

Hate Crimes Hypocrisy at the ACLU

The ACLU has just jettisoned principle and sacrificed civil liberties on the altar of political correctness in supporting the federal hate-crimes bill. Historically, the ACLU has opposed many federal laws against crime, citing civil-liberties concerns, such as the Constitution's ban on double jeopardy (double jeopardy is when a person is tried twice for essentially the same crime).

The ACLU feared that the creation of federal crimes would give prosecutors two bites of the apple, enabling a federal prosecutor to indict an accused person even after a state court jury has found him not guilty of a similar state crime. (A divided Supreme Court created a gaping loophole in the constitutional protections against double jeopardy, ruling in the Bartkus case that the double-jeopardy protection against being tried twice for the same crime only applies when both prosecutions are brought by the same unit of government, not when the first is by the state and the second is by the federal government). For this reason, the ACLU in the past declined to endorse federal hate crimes laws, recognizing (in its longstanding policy #238a) that such federal laws create the danger of double jeopardy.

Now, however, the ACLU is endorsing a federal bill banning "hate crimes" based on sexual orientation, sex, race, religion, and disability. Apparently, while the ACLU believes that criminals in general should receive every constitutional protection imaginable (and many protections that have no basis in the Constitution: the ACLU opposes the death penalty, "three-strikes" laws, victims' bills of rights, and the building of many new prisons), it believes that those accused of "hate crimes" are not entitled to the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

As I have explained earlier and elsewhere, portions of this bill exceed Congress's power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause, in light of its decision striking down the Violence Against Women Act in United States v. Morrison (2000) and limiting the reach of the federal arson statute in Jones v. United States (2000).

The ACLU has given no reason for its unprincipled about-face on double-jeopardy protections. But ACLU leader Paul Hoffman gave a possible explanation years ago in urging the ACLU to create a "civil rights exception" that would deny double-jeopardy protections to people accused of hate crimes. Writing in the 1994 edition of the UCLA Law Review, Hoffman argued that constitutional protections against double jeopardy should be overridden in hate crimes cases, because society has a "compelling societal interest" in preventing hate crimes (by contrast, Hoffman apparently saw no compelling interest in preventing non-hate crimes, even murders).

The ACLU's about-face on double jeopardy is similar to its prior about-face on free speech, which it now regularly attacks. As I have noted earlier, the ACLU once took free speech to an unbounded extreme. It sued the owners of the Alpine Village Inn for not allowing neo-Nazis to display swastikas in their restaurant, and sued a private shopping mall in Connecticut for not letting the Klan proselytize on its property.

By contrast, today's ACLU seeks to use government power to silence "hate speech." In the Aguilar v. Avis Rent-A-Car System case, the ACLU argued that racial slurs are not speech, but just "verbal conduct." In that case, it helped convince a divided California Supreme Court, in a 4-to-3 ruling, to uphold an injunction banning any use of racial slurs in a private workplace, based on racial insults that the trial judge himself conceded had stopped years earlier. In another case, it argued that the Establishment Clause limits the free speech rights of purely private employers.


Court ruling does support incest, polygamy

Time admits critics of 'gay' rights decision were right

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas prohibition on homosexual sodomy, leaders including then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., warned the decision would be used in support of incest, adultery and polygamy. While Santorum got "holy hell" for his prediction, a media leader of no less influence than Time magazine now admits that he was right.

"It turns out the critics were right," the magazine said in a recent article addressing the use of the precedent in a series of other cases. "Plaintiffs have made the decision the centerpiece of attempts to defeat state bans on the sale of sex toys in Alabama, polygamy in Utah and adoptions by gay couples in Florida." Also, in Ohio, a man's conviction of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter also is being challenged based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, the magazine said.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby noted that just one of the warnings about the Texas ruling, which essentially struck down all state laws in the nation banning homosexual sodomy, came from Santorum. "If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home," Santorum said at the time, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

As Jacoby noted, Santorum was given "holy hell" and handed "nail-spitting" by some critics. "When the justices, voting 6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punish consensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum's point. 'State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . called into question by today's decision,' Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority," Jacoby wrote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Texas law "demeans" the lives of homosexuals. "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime," Kennedy wrote. At the time of the 2003 decision, Time, in its "A Yea for Gays," said, "Lawrence v. Texas turns an issue that states have historically decided for themselves into a basic constitutional tenet." "The decision was not, strictly speaking, a 'liberal' one," the magazine said then, noting, "Thus the activists' notion that gay marriage is an inevitable outcome of the ruling may be little more than wishful thinking."

The magazine also at that time questioned whether there even was a "culture war" that would involve moral issues. "It is clear . that the court has taken sides in the culture war,' Justice Antonin Scalia wrote last week in his abrasive dissent from the Supreme Court's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. Excuse me, but what culture War?" the magazine wrote. "Most Americans aren't extremists, and they are not at war. The lovely paradox of 21st century America is that we seem to be increasingly united by the celebration of our differences. That is what the Supreme Court acknowledged in its decisions on homosexuality and affirmative action last week," the magazine wrote then.

But with same-sex marriage now on the books in Massachusetts, and pending in several other states, the magazine's position has changed. "Now, Time magazine acknowledges: 'It turns out the critics were right.' Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults," Jacoby wrote.

"In Lawrence, the court had ruled that people 'are entitled to respect for their private lives' and that under the 14th Amendment, 'the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.' If that was true for the adult homosexual behavior in Lawrence, why not for the adult incestuous behavior in the [new] case?" Jacoby wrote.

Time, in its article, "Should Incest Be Legal," noted that so far most of the challenges have been unsuccessful. "But plaintiffs are still trying, even using Lawrence to challenge laws against incest." Jacoby noted he'd reported several years ago on an incest case, in which the brother and sister involved were prosecuted. "But the next [case] to come along, or the one after that, may not lose. In Lawrence, it is worth remembering, the Supreme Court didn't just invalidate all state laws making homosexual sodomy a crime. It also overruled its own decision just 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986) upholding such laws," Jacoby wrote. "If the court meant what it said in Lawrence - that states are barred from 'making . private sexual conduct a crime' - it will not take that long for laws criminalizing incest to go by the board as well."

In an analysis after the Lawrence decision was announced, Santorum said what he feared had happened. "What I feared the Court would do in Lawrence in striking down the Texas sodomy statute is finally and completely eliminate marriage as a privileged institution in our laws and simply expand the zone of privacy in sexual conduct to all consenting adults. That is exactly what they did: Marriage has now completely lost its special place in the law. The Court said in effect that marriage has not only outlived its legal usefulness, it said it is discriminatory to treat people differently based on such an outdated social construct. Therefore, over the past generation, it has decided to change the zone of sexual 'privacy' from one man and one woman in marriage to consenting adults, period. . If consent is now the only standard to have your sexual behavior protected by the Constitution, then how can the Court prohibit any consensual sexual behavior among two, three, or more people? The answer is logically, judicially, that you cannot - for other than arbitrary reasons," he wrote.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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