Monday, June 30, 2014

More on sperm-donated children

I put up yesterday (below) a report that chilren conceived from donor sperm had a high rate of dysfunction.  The article concerned was from a leftist source so gave the impression that just being such a child was upsetting.  The impression was that environmental causes were behind the poor adjustment.  I thought at the time that genetic issues in the matter had been slighted but was in too much of a rush to note that.  Some women turning to donors would be doing so because of husband infertility but many others would be women who were too poorly adjusted to form a relationship with a normal man.  And that probably indicated  serious inadequacies in the mother and such inadequacies could well be passed on to the children.

A senior medical reader with experience in the matter has confirmed my reservations -- and in fact tells me that it is even worse than I thought.  I quote:

"Yes, agreed that children’s search for real parents can be unnerving, but a well adjusted teenager would not become unglued by such or commit crimes or suicide; the maladjustment comes, more likely, from their parents (natural and adopted). I can tell you this from personal experience.

From 1982 – 1987 I worked at [name given]. One of the early pioneers in IVF worked there; we had a string of patients that, in my not so humble opinion, were among the world’s worst adjusted misfits; unlikely they would be fit parents.

Most were well educated, had some money (cash only), and many traveled great distances to come to [that hospital]. Many had tried multiple times elsewhere. Most were amazingly self absorbed (“it’s all about me”) - they radiated self loathing about not conceiving naturally.

I would favor the parents more than “search for origins” for creating abnormal children.

A personal relative was mentally ill; she harassed her adopted daughter by telling her “you are adopted” every day, reinforcing the girl’s feelings of inadequacy; needless to say, no one was surprised when this young lady became screwed up.

I would not at all be surprised if some of the same results (in  IVF offspring) occurred in children adopted or surrogated from gay couples; these professionally victimized gays are among the most self indulgent (“it’s all about me”)  people alive; this MUST be transferred to the children."

The Importance of the Family

There’s a reason that progressives have historically been so hostile to it

By Jonah Goldberg

While I was in London, I had some really interesting conversations with some British conservatives. It was a disparate bunch, but there was a consistency to a lot of what they had to say. Nearly all the Brits I talked to think their country has lost its cultural confidence. They also think that the U.S. is in the process of doing likewise. That’s a worthy topic for discussion, and I think both contentions are largely true. But I want to talk about something else. When talking about politics, many of the same Brits would cavalierly mention that they don’t care about “social issues” or that social issues aren’t relevant in British politics. As an analytical matter, that seems right. But I couldn’t help but wonder if there’s a connection there.

Now of course, it depends what you mean by social issues. But it seems to me that as a broad generalization, social issues revolve around the role and authority of the family. Arguments about abortion, gay marriage, obscenity, sex ed, etc. all connect to the family directly or indirectly. Even gun rights have a lot to do with the family, and not just because “gun culture” is primarily learned in the home. Guns fit neatly into the conception of the autonomous family and the role of parents as primary protectors of their children.

But the key word is culture. No institution transmits culture more effectively than the family. We learn language, dialect, and accents in the home (we learn grammar at school). We get most of our religion and morality at home. We learn from our parents how citizens behave in a society and what they should expect from society and government. It’s important to keep in mind that while parents teach their kids by telling them things, the real learning comes from watching what parents do — or don’t do. Kids are wired to emulate their parents. They see how we divide our time. The habits of the heart are formed in the home.

And this is why progressives of all labels have had their eye on the family. It is the state’s greatest competition. As I’ve written a bunch of times around here, if you listen to Barack Obama’s vision of America, it’s one where there’s the state and the individual and pretty much nothing in between. Civil society, mediating institutions, and other “islands of separateness” are problems in Obama’s eyes. Well, the family is the truest island of separateness. In the Life of Julia, the state is her family.

I’m reminded of a passage from Liberal Fascism where I am discussing “children’s rights” — a concept developed precisely to get the state into the home as quickly as possible:

Since Plato’s Republic, politicians, intellectuals, and priests have been fascinated with the idea of “capturing” children for social-engineering purposes. This is why Robespierre advocated that children be raised by the state. Hitler — who understood as well as any the importance of winning the hearts and minds of youth — once remarked,

“When an opponent says ‘I will not come over to your side,’ I calmly say, ‘Your child belongs to us already . . . You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing but this new community.’”

Woodrow Wilson candidly observed that the primary mission of the educator was to make children as unlike their parents as possible.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman stated it more starkly. “There is no more brilliant hope on earth to-day,” the feminist icon proclaimed, “than this new thought about the child . . . the recognition of ‘the child,’ children as a class, children as citizens with rights to be guaranteed only by the state; instead of our previous attitude toward them of absolute personal [that is, parental] ownership — the unchecked tyranny . . . of the private home.”

James Pethokoukis cites a fascinating passage from George Weigel’s biography of Pope John Paul II:

"Perhaps the hardest-fought battle between Church and [Poland's] regime involved family life, for the Communists understood that men and women secure in the love of their families were a danger. Housing, work schedules, and school hours were all organized by the state to separate parents from their children as frequently as possible. Apartments were constructed to accommodate only small families, so that children would be regarded as a problem. Work was organized in four shifts and families were rarely together. The workday began at 6 or 7 a.m., so children had to be consigned to state-run child-care centers before school. The schools themselves were consolidated, and children were moved out of their local communities for schooling."

Now I don’t think today’s progressives (at least not most of them) are consciously at war with the traditional family. But they are certainly not its biggest fans, either. Perhaps the most depressing thing about the Democratic party is that its electoral success hinges on the continuing unraveling of the traditional family. The more Julias, the better. Democrats have a huge advantage among single women. Married women recognize that the government can never be a family.

Getting married was once a celebrated life goal. It still is for millions of people, of course, but it’s less and less celebrated as a cultural priority — at least not for heterosexuals. One of my biggest peeves is that 99 percent of the time you hear a liberal saying anything positive about marriage, it’s about gay marriage. And now that we’re getting gay marriage, some activists don’t feel the need to saying anything nice about it at all.
Think about how often you hear politicians, economists, educators, and journalists talk about the importance of going to college. Now consider that getting married is about as beneficial to your lifetime economic prospects as going to college. And let’s be clear: It is far better for children to grow up with married parents (even if they didn’t go to college!) than it is for them to grow up with a single parent with a degree in gender studies from Princeton.

Charles Murray exposed the ugly secret of the American elite in his book Coming Apart: The rich and successful are closeted traditionalists when it comes to how they raise their own children. They’re just horrible hypocrites when it comes to everyone else’s children. “It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, told the New York Times.

As Charles puts it, the biggest problem with today’s elite is that they refuse to preach what they practice.

Anyway, I guess my point is that when I hear people say they don’t care about social issues but they worry about a loss of “civilizational confidence,” creeping socialism, and the rest, I just wonder if they’re not part of the problem. I’m not saying that there’s a direct link between, say, being pro-life and supporting laissez-faire capitalism. But I do think that much of what passes for laissez-faire capitalism is an artifact of our cultural heritage, and that cultural heritage is formed and transmitted by cultural institutions. Change those institutions, subvert them to the state by making them dependent on the state, and the culture goes with them.

Opponents of child tax credits and the like are shouting “social engineering!” I like and respect some of these critics, but I think that this is an asinine criticism.

Think of it this way. I love artificial reefs. They provide new habitat for all kinds of wildlife. Over time a pile of concrete or a sunken oilrig can turn into a whole vibrant ecosystem. But it is absolutely true that building artificial reefs is a kind of meddling with the natural order. I have no problem with meddling with the natural order if the meddling helps the natural order heal from other negative meddling we do all of the time. The oceans are overfished and too polluted. Why not help counteract that?

As Brad Wilcox, Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Stein, and other champions of a conservative family policy will tell you, their proposals are aimed at counterbalancing the burdens liberal social policy has put on families. It’s a bit like Bill Buckley’s famous line about moral equivalence. If one man pushes old ladies in front of oncoming buses and another man pushes old ladies out of the way of oncoming buses, you simply cannot describe both men as the sort who push old ladies around.

If one political party wants to engineer family formation and another political party is invested in engineering the destruction of families, you simply can’t denounce both approaches as “social engineering.” Or I guess you can, but doing so is dumb.


Now BBC dumbs down WW1 with foul-mouthed rap: Factually inaccurate video tells history of Great War in the form of a hip-hop style battle

One hundred years ago today, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated... setting off a chain of events that led to the First World War.

But did you know that the Austrian aristocrat didn’t see the pistol of his assassin because he was ‘too busy guzzling his tenth Wiener schnitzel’?

And that gunman Gavrilo Princip, a member of Serbian terror group the Black Hand, had ‘popped a cap in his a** for my Black Hand brothers’?

Well, that’s according to the BBC – which commissioned a five-minute video in which the key figures behind the outbreak of the Great War play out the complex tangle of events in the form of a ‘rap battle’ – complete with hip-hop style swearing, sexual innuendo and national stereotyping.

Yesterday experts branded the clip – made as part of the corporation’s efforts to mark the war’s centenary – as a factually inaccurate, juvenile and desperate attempt to court popularity with a streetwise audience.

The video – made by production company Ballista – has actors play the roles of characters including King George V, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.

They make jokes about sex, Queen Victoria, refer to anachronistic characters like Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson and describe the French as having a ‘snail-sucking, frog-cooking, garlic stench’.

Rap lyrics by the main characters include:

Emperor Franz Josef (Franz Ferdinand’s uncle): Russians, Mongols, Turks, my b******, best watch out ‘cos my trigger finger itches. You’re tiresome, you’re irksome, like a Slavic Jeremy Clarkson.

Kaiser Wilhelm II (Germany): Empire braggarts, you hate the French and their snail-sucking, frog-cooking, garlic stench. (Camera pans over to General Joffre standing in the corner). As for your dreadnoughts, wave them goodbye I’ll make your navy into gravy for my sauerkraut pie.

Kaiser Wilhelm II: Look into my eyes, you see compromise? Your collective demise will see our rise. I can’t back down now, I’ll look a clown now. Ain’t **** that can stop this countdown now. I’m going for a lie down now.

Chris McGovern, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘It’s a desperate, frantic and hopeless attempt to engage children, they have given up on every sensible method so they resort to rap music.

'It’s just another example of the complete dumbing down of what history should be about. They would argue they are making it accessible to young people but it’s actually very patronising in that sense because it fails to challenge them.

‘It’s a desperate attempt to appeal to the street, to children they have already lost, basically this is an indication they have given up on any proper teaching.’

The video, which has been watched more than 21,000 times since it was uploaded on YouTube on Tuesday, was written by comedian Lee Henman.

He has admitted that when he was commissioned for the project he knew ‘b***** all about World War I, except what I’d gleaned from Blackadder Goes Forth’.

Oxford historian Professor Sir Hew Strachan said: ‘I do not think this is a sensible way to engage people and it runs the risk of further distorting history in the process. Gavrilo Princip also seems to be a Serbian rather than a Bosnian.’

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said licence fee payers would be angry at the use of cash for ‘lazy national stereotypes and off-colour gags’.

Ballista did not respond to requests for a comment.

A spokesman for the BBC said: ‘Clear warnings are given about the content at the start of this video which introduces younger audiences - in a humorous and accessible way - to the complicated political alliances that led to the outbreak of WW1.

‘We are marking the WW1 centenary with our most ambitious pan-BBC season of programming to date and this WW1 Uncut film sits alongside over 2,500 hours of landmark documentary series, commemoration, drama, debate, music, arts, UK-wide events and online activity.’


NHS worker who 'bullied’ Muslim by praying for her

A Christian health worker has begun a legal challenge after being disciplined by the NHS for praying with a Muslim colleague.

Victoria Wasteney, a senior occupational therapist in one of the country’s most racially diverse areas, was also accused of bullying the colleague after giving her a book about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

In addition, senior managers told Miss Wasteney that it was inappropriate to invite the woman to a community sports day organised by her church.

The complaints led to Miss Wasteney being suspended on full pay for nine months.

Three charges were upheld against the 37-year-old Christian at an internal disciplinary hearing in February and five charges were found to be unsubstantiated. She had to accept a final written warning at work which will remain on her records for 12 months, as well as accept a range of other requirements designed to stop her discussing her faith and beliefs with colleagues.

Miss Wasteney said she was challenging her employers in court because political correctness in the NHS was stifling ordinary conversations about faith.

“I believe in tolerance for everyone and that is why I am challenging what has happened to me,” she added.

The young Muslim woman was appointed as a newly qualified occupational therapist in a team of 30 managed by Miss Wasteney at East London NHS Foundation Trust.

“One of the earliest conversations I can recall was one in which she said she had just moved to London. She felt that God had a real plan and a purpose for her,” said Miss Wasteney, from Essex. Miss Wasteney told her colleague that she went to church, but was “very cautious because our environment is such that these things can be misconstrued and, with her being from a different faith background, I was mindful of being respectful of that”.

Miss Wasteney said the woman was interested in the anti-human trafficking community work being done by her church.

Over a period of time, Miss Wasteney said she invited her colleague to several church-organised events and thought no more about it. Later, when the woman was due to go off work for hospital treatment, Miss Wasteney gave her a book to read during her recuperation.

“A friend had recommended it to me, a book called I Dared to Call Him Father. I hadn’t read it. I still haven’t. But it is a story about a Muslim woman who converts to Christianity.

“Because we had had these conversations it did not seem abnormal. It certainly was not an attempt to convert her to Christianity, as it was put to me later.”

On another occasion the woman came to Miss Wasteney’s office in tears, upset about her health and problems at home.

“I said to her that she had strong faith and she should draw on that faith,” said Miss Wasteney. “I said 'Pray!’ She told me she could not pray, so I replied 'Maybe I can pray for you?’ And she said 'OK’.

“I asked if I could put my hand on her knee, and she said yes. I don’t know if I said 'Lord’ or 'God’ but I said what I thought was the most neutral. Then I said 'I trust that You will bring peace and You will bring healing’.”

In June last year, Miss Wasteney was told that complaints had been made about bullying and harassment.

A disciplinary hearing at her work in February found her guilty of three charges of misconduct – praying with the colleague, giving her the book and inviting her to church events.

Miss Wasteney’s case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, which has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister.

Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said the case demonstrated that “the NHS is increasingly dominated by a suffocating liberal agenda that chooses to bend over backwards to accommodate certain beliefs but punishes the Christian”.

A spokesman for East London NHS Foundation Trust said it did not comment on individual cases.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Sperm-Donor Kids Are Not Really All Right

A new study shows they suffer.

The Kids Are All Right, due out in July, is being praised for its honest portrayal of a lesbian couple, played by Julianne Moore and Annette Bening. But what seems most revelatory about the movie is its portrayal of their two teenage children who track down their sperm donor biological father and insist on forging a connection with him. Finally, we have an exploration of how children born from such procedures feel, because in fact it turns out that their feelings about their origins are a lot more complicated than people think.

Each year an estimated 30,000-60,000 children are born in this country via artificial insemination, but the number is only an educated guess. Neither the fertility industry nor any other entity is required to report on these statistics. The practice is not regulated, and the children's health and well-being are not tracked.

In adoption, prospective parents go through a painstaking, systematic review, including home visits and detailed questions about their relationship, finances, and even their sex life. Any red flags, and a couple might not get the child. With donor conception, the state requires absolutely none of that.

Individual clinics and doctors can decide what kinds of questions they want to ask clients who show up at their door. They don't conduct home studies. No contacts are interviewed. If clients can pay their medical bills, most clinics could care less about their finances. The effects of such a system on the people conceived this way have been largely unknown.

We set out to change that. We teamed up with professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin to design and field a survey with a sample drawn from more than 1 million American households. One of us (Karen Clark) found out at age 18 that she had been conceived through anonymous sperm donation in 1966. The other (Elizabeth Marquardt) has completed studies on topics such as the inner lives of children of divorce and has been profoundly absorbed by the stories of adult donor offspring since she first began hearing them in comments to posts she wrote on the FamilyScholars blog in 2005.

Our study, released by the Commission on Parenthood's Future last week, focused on how young-adult donor offspring—and comparison samples of young adults who were raised by adoptive or biological parents—make sense of their identities and family experiences, how they approach reproductive technologies more generally, and how they are faring on key outcomes. The study of 18- to 45-year-olds includes 485 who were conceived via sperm donation, 562 adopted as infants, and 563 raised by their biological parents.

The results are surprising. While adoption is often the center of controversy, it turns out that sperm donation raises a host of different but equally complex—and sometimes troubling—issues. Two-thirds of adult donor offspring agree with the statement "My sperm donor is half of who I am." Nearly half are disturbed that money was involved in their conception. More than half say that when they see someone who resembles them, they wonder if they are related. About two-thirds affirm the right of donor offspring to know the truth about their origins.

Regardless of socioeconomic status, donor offspring are twice as likely as those raised by biological parents to report problems with the law before age 25. They are more than twice as likely to report having struggled with substance abuse. And they are about 1.5 times as likely to report depression or other mental health problems.

As a group, the donor offspring in our study are suffering more than those who were adopted: hurting more, feeling more confused, and feeling more isolated from their families. (And our study found that the adoptees on average are struggling more than those raised by their biological parents.) The donor offspring are more likely than the adopted to have struggled with addiction and delinquency and, similar to the adopted, a significant number have confronted depression or other mental illness. Nearly half of donor offspring, and more than half of adoptees, agree, "It is better to adopt than to use donated sperm or eggs to have a child."

The stories that donor offspring tell about their confusion help to illustrate why they might be, as a group, faring so much worse. Christine Whipp, a British author conceived by anonymous sperm donation more than four decades ago, gives voice to the feelings some donor offspring have of being a "freak of nature" or a "lab experiment":

"My existence owed almost nothing to the serendipitous nature of normal human reproduction, where babies are the natural progression of mutually fulfilling adult relationships, but rather represented a verbal contract, a financial transaction and a cold, clinical harnessing of medical technology."

Lynne Spencer, a nurse and donor-conceived adult, speaks eloquently of losing trust when her parents did not tell her the truth about her origins, and she suspected the secret:

"When you grow up and your instincts are telling you one thing and your parents—the people you are supposed to be able to trust the most in your life—are telling you something else, your whole sense of what is true and not true is all confused."

Others speak of the searching for their biological father in crowds, wondering if a man who resembles them could be "the one." One donor-conceived adult responded to an open-ended question on our survey by writing: "Sometimes I wonder if my father is standing right in front of me." Still others speak of complicated emotional journeys and lost or damaged relationships with their families when they grow up. One wrote at the end of our survey: "I still have issues with this problem and am seeking professional help. It has helped me to become a stronger person but has scarred me emotionally." Another said, "[I am] currently not on seeing or speaking terms with family because of this."

Listening to the stories of donor-conceived adults, you begin to realize there's really no such thing as a "donor." Every child has a biological father. To claim otherwise is simply to compound the pain, first as these young people struggle with the original, deliberate loss of their biological father, and second as they do so within a culture that insists some guy who went into a room with a dirty magazine isn't a father. At most the children are told he's a "seed provider" or "the nice guy who gave me what I needed to have you" or the "Y Guy" or any number of other cute euphemisms that signal powerfully to children that this man should be of little, if any, importance to them.

What to do? For starters, the United States should follow the lead of Britain, Norway, Sweden, and other nations and end the anonymous trade of sperm. Doing so would powerfully affirm that as a nation we no longer tolerate the creation of two classes of children, one actively denied by the state knowledge of their biological fathers, and the rest who the state believes should have the care and protection of legal fathers, such that the state will even track these men down and dock child support payments from their paychecks.

Getting rid of the secrecy would go a long way toward helping relieve the pain offspring feel. But respondents to our study told us something else too: About half of them have concerns about or serious objections to donor conception itself, even if parents tell their children the truth. Our findings suggest that openness alone does not resolve the complex risks to which children are exposed when they are deliberately conceived not to know and be known by their biological fathers.

At the very least, these young people need acknowledgement of reality as they experience it. Donor offspring may have legal and social parents who take a variety of forms—single, coupled, gay, straight. But they also have, like everyone else, a biological father and mother, two people whose very beings are found in the child's own body and seen in his or her own image reflected in the mirror.


Sperm banks and IQ

Leftist ladies want their sperm donor to be a Bronx gangbanger -- NOT

There's a wonderful article in yesterday's NY Times about sperm banks. I learned that only 1 to 2% of men who offer to donate to sperm banks are accepted as donors, and of those that are accepted, some donors are much popular among the donees than others.

Women who use sperm banks are looking to make a perfect baby:   Handsome and brilliant. Talented and charming. Loving and kind. A match one might only dream of finding in the flesh.

“Many women see this as another way to give their child a head start in life,” says Lori Andrews, a professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law who has studied the sperm bank industry, of the high stakes of sperm selection.

And increasingly, say the banks, women want proof of perfection before buying a dream donor’s sperm.

They ask for SAT scores and personality test results.

I think this is highly ironic, because somehow one suspects that the women who use the services of sperm banks voted for John Kerry in the last election. Under normal circumstances, they'd agree with the following statement: "The Bell Curve is racist pseudo-science proven wrong by experts." But these same women become True Believers in The Bell Curve and eugenics when it comes to selecting genes for their own children.


Insane feminism:  Must not say "It's a boy"!

Leftist pandering to the abnormal again

Obstetricians, doctors, and midwives commit this procedure on infants every single day, in every single country. In reality, this treatment is performed almost universally without even asking for the parents' consent, making this practice all the more insidious. It's called infant gender assignment: When the doctor holds your child up to the harsh light of the delivery room, looks between its legs, and declares his opinion: It's a boy or a girl, based on nothing more than a cursory assessment of your offspring's genitals.

We tell our children, “You can be anything you want to be.” We say, “A girl can be a doctor, a boy can be a nurse,” but why in the first place must this person be a boy and that person be a girl? Your infant is an infant. Your baby knows nothing of dresses and ties, of makeup and aftershave, of the contemporary social implications of pink and blue. As a newborn, your child's potential is limitless. The world is full of possibilities that every person deserves to be able to explore freely, receiving equal respect and human dignity while maximizing happiness through individual expression.

With infant gender assignment, in a single moment your baby's life is instantly and brutally reduced from such infinite potentials down to one concrete set of expectations and stereotypes, and any behavioral deviation from that will be severely punished—both intentionally through bigotry, and unintentionally through ignorance. That doctor (and the power structure behind him) plays a pivotal role in imposing those limits on helpless infants, without their consent, and without your informed consent as a parent. This issue deserves serious consideration by every parent, because no matter what gender identity your child ultimately adopts, infant gender assignment has effects that will last through their whole life.

We see more and more and more high-profile stories about transgender people in the news. The shame and the mysticism surrounding them is fading at an exponential rate, as public consciousness matures from the depths of exploiting puerile stereotypes and bigoted joke depictions of the trans experience into a more complex awareness of, and sensitivity to, the humanity and emotions of non-cis people. Every parent today knows there is a chance their child might be transgender. A small chance, perhaps, but a chance higher than zero.

If a child of any minority status (be it sexual, racial, ability, religious, etc.) is subjected to slurs or physical harassment at school, we do not view the emotional and physical injuries as the unfortunate but inevitable result of that child's minority status. Rather, we correctly lay the blame where it belongs, on the wrong actions of hateful bullies whose wilful decisions were responsible for causing the pain.

Only a cruel parent would punish their son by making him wear a dress in public, or punish their daughter by shaving her head. That's psychological abuse. But for gender nonconforming kids, that's the everyday reality of their lives. We know transgender people are far more likely to be depressed, with a heartbreaking 41 percent rate of suicide attempts, nearly nine times the social average. That's not evidence of mental illness, it's evidence of trauma and distress. They're not miserable because they're transgender, they're miserable as the result of being assigned the wrong gender at birth.

Infant gender assignment is a wilful decision, and as a maturing society we need to judge whether it might be a wrong action. Why must we force this on kids at birth? What is achieved, besides reinforcing tradition? What could be the harm in letting a child wait to declare for themself who they are, once they're old enough (which is generally believed to happen around age 2 or 3)? Clearly, most children will still turn out like we'd expect, but it's unlikely the extra freedom would harm them. On the other hand, we do know the massive harm caused to some children by the removal of that freedom.


China Slows the Spread of Islamic Terrorism by Shooting Muslims

Chinese security forces shot dead five ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs in the third consecutive week of fatal shootings in a restive county in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, an exile Uyghur group said Monday, accusing the authorities of a “cover-up”.

The latest killing in Yingwusitang township in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county, which is administered by the Silk Road city of Kashgar, occurred on Friday when police surrounded a house and gunned down five occupants who had not been suspects of any crime, according to the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress.

Dilxat Raxit, the Sweden-based spokesman for the group, accused the authorities of using excessive force in the incident, saying it was unfortunate that the killings came ahead of the Eid al-Adha, the Muslim festival of Sacrifice, to be observed on Tuesday.

“Ahead of the festival, Chinese armed personnel surrounded a Uyghur house in Yarkand. They opened fire and caused the death of five Uyghurs. They used excessive force,” he told RFA’s Cantonese Service.

“The authorities have tried to cover up the news. They thought some suspects were inside [the house],” he said, suggesting that the five had done nothing wrong.

A staff of the police station at Yingwusitang, when contacted, said he did not know about the shooting incident.

A local motel staff said the shooting occurred after “some disruptive people escaped and they [the police] could not arrest them.”



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Friday, June 27, 2014

Dried out old prune says she supports gay marriage

Republican Sen. Susan Collins on Wednesday announced her support for gay marriage for the first time after getting an endorsement from the nation's largest LGBT advocacy organization in her bid for re-election.

"A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision," the Maine Republican said in a statement issued after several news organizations made inquiries.

Collins joins three other GOP senators who have said they support gay marriage: Illinois' Mark Kirk, Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and Ohio's Rob Portman.

She had been criticized for keeping her view to herself until Wednesday. Campaign spokesman Lance Dutson says she's consistently said the decision rests at the state or local level. She has twice voted against proposed constitutional amendments to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

It's the third time Collins won the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

"Senator Susan Collins has played a pivotal role in advancing support for LGBT equality — from her dogged support for the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' to her critical vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act last year," said Chad Griffin, the group's president. "HRC is proud to stand with Senator Collins, and with allies on both sides of the aisle like her, because she firmly believes that every American should be evaluated based on their abilities, and not who they love."

Collins, who's seeking a fourth term, is being challenged by Democrat Shenna Bellows, who attacked Collins for being reticent to address the issue, even after state voters approved a referendum in 2012 that legalized same-sex marriage.

Bellows, former executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, campaigned publicly in support of the referendum.

"Remaining silent on some of the biggest civil rights issues of our generation, even after the voters have spoken, isn't leadership, and it isn't how Maine became one of the most inclusive states in the country for LGBT rights," she said.


British social workers in action again

'Gruff and unfriendly' social worker ruled suicidal teenager did not pose a danger to herself the day before she was found hanged

A social worker assessed a suicidal teenager as not posing an imminent risk to herself the day before the 15-year-old was found hanged in woods.

Anna Wlodarczak, a practitioner at the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Barrow, Cumbria, saw Helena Farrell on January 3 last year.

An inquest into the death of Helena heard yesterday that she had been referred to the service by the South Lakeland school nursing team after taking an overdose on December 3, 2012, and disclosing an eating disorder stemming from a sexual assault while on a school exchange trip to Germany the previous year.

Ms Wlodarczak, who was on duty at CAMHS, a service found to be in disarray in a subsequent investigation, was described as 'gruff' and 'unfriendly' by Enda Farrell, Helena’s father who accompanied her on the assessment visit on January 3.

He told the inquest: 'Afterwards, Helena said "Dad, she was terrible. Cold.. I don’t ever want to come back here again."

'For Helena, that was the end and I knew I wasn’t going to get the proper service from them,' he added.

Ms Wlodarczak told the hearing she had discussed issues such as bulimia, low mood, suicidal thoughts and her friendship group with Helena during the assessment.

She confirmed she had highlighted in paperwork that the teenager had been a very high risk during the overdose incident and had been scored three out of four for intent to take her own life when talking about the attempt.

But Ms Wlodarczak said: 'There were issues there of concern but nothing in the way Helena presented at that time indicated any more risk.'

Mr Ian Smith, coroner for south and east Cumbria, heard Barrow’s CAMHS team had been dogged by staff sickness and low morale at the time of Helena’s death.

A damning internal report into the referral of Helena to CAMHS found five key areas of operation required immediate improvement, the hearing was told.

The inquest at Kendal County Hall in Cumbria heard she was a ‘bright, intelligent, adventurous and fun- loving’ girl who was a gifted cellist and singer

Failure to recognise the level of risk posed to the vulnerable teenager, failure by clinicians to understand their responsibility towards safe guarding and the reporting of a sexual assault by the
teenager and inadequate information sharing were all weaknesses highlighted in the urgent review of the service, by Lynette Moore, clinical manager for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

The inquest also heard from part-time school nurse Donna Moore who met Helena three times in the month before her death.

Mrs Moore, who had no mental health training, explained that due to sickness and vacant posts she had been responsible for five secondary schools and more than 20 primary schools - up to 5,000 pupils - across South Lakeland at the time.

Speaking through tears, she said: 'I asked her if she had thoughts about ending her life. She said "no, not really, I just feel up and down". At the time I didn’t see the risk then.'

PC Paul Kelly told the coroner he had found Helena hanging in woodlands behind the Castle Green Hotel on January 4, 2013, surrounded by notes, clothing, shells and the Coldplay song The Scientist playing on a loop.

The inquest has previously heard Helena had been left heartbroken when she was dumped by her boyfriend.  Her body was found at the same spot where they went on their first date.

The inquest at Kendal County Hall in Cumbria heard she was a ‘bright, intelligent, adventurous and fun- loving’ girl who was a gifted cellist and singer.

But the teenager had been forced to move schools after being bullied for having red hair and a ‘posh accent’.

Her father Enda Farrell, 56, said: 'She was unhappy because people were teasing her about the colour of her hair and about her accent.’

She transferred to an independent school, and at the age of 14 went on an exchange trip to Europe – where she claimed she was sexually assaulted in an attack which triggered an 18-month bout of bulimia.

After she left the private school she moved to her local comprehensive, Kirkbie Kendal School.

The inquest heard that in autumn 2012 she started dating Billy Williams, a boy who was one year above her.  On their first date the pair went for a walk in the woods near her home in Kendal.

However Mr Williams ended the relationship shortly after the half-term holidays in October.

After the break-up, she wrote on Facebook that he had ‘broken her heart’ and went on to take an overdose of paracetamol.

Her father, a former councillor, and her mother Maria, a GP, told the inquest they had desperately tried to help their daughter overcome her ‘dark thoughts’.

Helena had written letters saying goodbye to her family and friends in the weeks leading up to her death, but they were confiscated by a teacher.


How Liberals Make It Harder For Blacks To Succeed

Dr. Jason Riley discussed his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder For Blacks To Succeed, on Monday at the Heritage Foundation. Riley is an editorial board member of the Wall Street Journal.

In his book, Riley discusses where the Civil Rights Movement has gone wrong. He emphasizes that liberals only encourage blacks to blame their problems on whites and to make themselves out to be victims.

Even after the Civil Rights Movement, black unemployment rates were twice that of whites for the last five decades. In 1966, the poverty rate in America was lower among all groups than it was in 2012.

"The Civil Rights Movement has become an industry that does little more than monetize white guilt," Riley said in his talk. "Liberal solutions to the black problems were just as wrongheaded today as they have ever been."

Riley began his speech with an anecdote about his niece, who once accused him of "talking white" and trying to "sound so smart." Riley used this example to illustrate the fact that black culture often rejects academic success from a very early age, which makes children far less likely to be motivated in school.

"The only thing the government can do is forge equal opportunity," Riley said. "It should not be tinkering with social structure."

He also emphasized that focusing on strengthening black family life is important, citing the statistic that black boys without a father in the home are 68 percent more likely to be incarcerated.

"A black man in the home is much more important than a black man in the White House."

Riley also debunked the minimum wage fallacy. He said that the typical minimum wage earner is not a single mother trying to raise four children; rather, the typical earner is generally a teenager at an after-school job, a housewife making some extra money while her kids are at school, or older citizens keeping busy after retirement.

Riley stressed that blaming racism is a poor excuse for any lack of success among blacks. He compared blacks to Asians, discussing Asians' higher levels of academic achievement throughout the country.

"Blacks must ultimately help themselves," Riley said.


Katie Pavlich Exposes Liberal Feminism At Annual NeW Conference

The Network of Enlightened Women (NeW) held its annual conference from June 19-21 last week, starting with a reception on Thursday night, followed by Friday panels and a keynote and a seminar for college students on Saturday. The organization hosted young college women and recent graduates, as well as numerous visitors.

NeW is dedicated to promoting conservative women on college campuses and providing them an outlet to express and to promote their views in light of their overwhelming liberal counterparts. NeW works with chapters on campuses all over the nation, and chapter leaders and other student representatives were in attendance at the conference.

"One of the things NeW prides itself on is encouraging intellectual diversity on campus," Karin Agness, founder and president of NeW, said. "We resonate with what a lot of women think on college campuses."

The conference's keynote speaker was Townhall's own Katie Pavlich, who spoke about the left's war on women in light of her upcoming book, Assault and Flattery: The Truth About The Left And Their War On Women.

"As a young female, I am sick and tired of being defined by the pills I take," Pavlich said in her keynote speech.

Pavlich described a conference she attended with the National Organization for Women (NOW) to see radical feminists' work in practice. She was astounded to find that the group was selling blatant communist and socialist materials at its gathering.

"The left is dependent on ignorance and to push their own goals and promote their agenda," she said.

Pavlich also discussed how common female role models touted by the left aren't as pro-women as they seem. For example, Hillary Clinton's defense of a child rapist and her comments that the victim was possibly "romanticizing a sexual experience" do not exactly portray her with women's best interests at heart.

Friday's panels featured accomplished women including Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, Sabrina Schaeffer, the executive director of the Independent Women's Forum, and April Ponnuru, the policy director of the YG Network. The various panelists tackled issues such as the truth behind the so-called wage gap, balancing career and family life, and positive communication tactics for articulating conservative feminist ideas with liberals.

Conservative feminists are a growing force on college campuses, and NeW is certainly doing its part to provide a haven for young women who feel smothered or alone at their higher institutions which mainly espouse radical feminism and a victim mentality. It's refreshing to see so many young women brave enough to proudly promote their NeW chapter on their campuses and to actively articulate their beliefs. Young women need to remember that they are not victims- any hardworking woman has the ability in our time to achieve the same goals as men. NeW does a great job of encouraging women to make smart choices for their families, their careers, and themselves.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with the correct title of Katie Pavlich's upcoming book, Assault and Flattery: The Truth About The Left And Their War On Women.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Some very strange international rankings

I can see no sense in most of them at all.  See for yourself.  USA not mentioned?

Ireland is the ‘goodest’ country in the world, according to a new survey which measures what 125 nations contribute to the planet and humanity.

The UK made it to the seventh place in the overall index but was crowned as the best country in the world for its contribution in terms of technology and science.

The Good Country Index, conceived by policy adviser Simon Anholt, analyses 35 different types of data from the UN, the World Bank and other international organisations and NGOs.

This includes information such as freedom of the press, the number of refugees hosted, the amount of weapons exported and the number of Nobel Prize winners. This it the first time the Index is published.

Countries are then ranked according to their contribution to science and technology, culture, international peace and security, world order, the planet and climate, prosperity and equality, and the health and well-being of humanity.

Mr Anholt said the survey was not meant to name and shame nations or to give moral judgements, but to engage in a discourse about what is the role of countries in a global context.

He said: ‘The idea of the Good Country Index is pretty simple; to measure what each country on earth contributes to the common good of humanity, and what it takes away.’

The Nordic Region, as might be expected, makes a collective contribution to humanity and the planet which is well in advance of any other region, while the US ranked 21st due to a poor record in terms of International Peace and Security.

Mr Anholt said he hopes the Index will transform the way countries do business by encouraging them to think about the global impact of their actions. He hopes it will spark debate about what the purpose of a country is.


Are The Religious More Tolerant Than Social Scientists?

A new book by science writer Nicholas Wade seeks to explore the possible connection between evolution and race but in a recent op ed the author points out that in some ways religious people have become more tolerant than those social scientists who think of themselves as being warriors against racism and ignorance.

The book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History, is being attacked by those Ivory Tower profs in the social sciences. But with this attack they have proven themselves to have essentially become anti-intellectual and anti-science as the genome project expands humanity’s knowledge about the building blocks of our biology.

In a June 22 Wall Street Journal op ed, Mr. Wade seeks to expose the ignoramuses in the so-called social sciences.

The problem, as Wade sees it, is that the social sciences have become so hardbound with their claim that “race” is only a “social construct” that they are purposefully ignoring the scientific evidence that is being discovered by geneticists that race truly does have a genetic component.

Despite the truth that is emerging from genetic research, though, the social sciences cannot get past their now obviously incorrect assumption that race is only in our imagination.

The big problem, according to the author, is that with their societal pressure and campaigns of political correctness in our nation’s oppressive universities, professors of the social sciences are preventing real scientists from learning just what part race plays in our makeup. He then notes that genetic scientists are discovering that there are some differences between the genes of the peoples living in our major areas of population, and these facts seem to make the lie to the long held, nearly religious beliefs of the PC social scientists.

I should note that I am the one saying “real scientists,” not Wade. This is because “social science” isn’t science at all. Genetics is, sure, but social science is only so much voodoo and guesswork.

Regardless, Wade closed his WSJ piece with a very interesting point, the one that gave me my headline above.

"In the confrontation between religion and evolution in the 19th century, believers eventually perceived that they could not cast Darwin out with a pitchfork and didn’t need to. Faith, as long as it didn’t overreach, could coexist with science, and all but fundamentalists have accepted that arrangement. Social scientists too could safely agree to live with Darwin, once they accept that evolutionary differences between human groups can today be explored without the return of racism."

So, religious people have been proven to be more open minded, tolerant, and accepting of science than those “social scientists” who have proclaimed themselves the most tolerant humans in history!

That is quite a truth, isn’t it?


If Calling Obama ‘Arrogant’ is Racist Code for ‘Uppity,’ Liberals Need to Stop Being Bigots

Ian Moss, a writer for the Huffington Post‘s Black Voices section, calls the word “arrogant” a code word for “uppity.” Therefore, the term is actually a racist slur of President Obama. No, seriously.
Here’s what Moss has to say:

"Use of the term “uppity” has experienced a revival since Barack Obama’s election as the nation’s first Black President. More than a few of Mr. Obama’s detractors have taken to calling him “arrogant” and at times, they have dispensed with the veneer of political correctness by even calling him “uppity.” This seems especially to have been the case after some of Mr. Obama’s opponents have found themselves outmaneuvered politically. Such indictments seem to be a rhetorical refuge of sorts, for bruised egos mystified by his successes. [...]

Recognizing the political incorrectness and well-deserved criticisms which accompany the use of “uppity,” a more palatable, less provocative adjective was needed. Enter, Arrogant."

But if liberal publications like the Huffington Post truly believe the word “arrogant” is a racist code word for “uppity,” then they’ve been calling folks left and right “uppity” for a long time.

The Huffington Post published at least four articles calling Mitt Romney uppity “arrogant” during the 2012 Presidential election. Contributor Linda Durnell even offered Romney advice on to how to “overcome uppitness arrogance“.

A Salon article last month called Rep. Paul Ryan an “uppity arrogant psychopath,” among other things.

Writer Michael Rosenkratz called Bill O’Reilly and Fox News reporter Jesse Watters uppity “arrogant” last year for their ambush reporting at the UN.

Even American patriotism itself has been called uppity “arrogant” by HuffPo contributor Rev. Candace Chellew-Hodge.

HuffPo featured comments by Roland Martin that called black conservative and former Democrat Rep. Artur Davis uppity “arrogant” for not appearing on black media when he ran for Alabama governor in 2010.

So we need a consensus here: Is “arrogant” a racist code word for “uppity” as Moss implies it to be? If so, HuffPo and other left-leaning publications need to start watching their language, because their racial slurs are getting out-of-control.


Rep. Wolf Rips His Church for Being Hard on Israel, Sensitive to Muslims' Concerns

Rep. Frank Wolf took his Presbyterian denomination to task Tuesday for a decision to divest from three U.S. companies doing business with Israel in the disputed West Bank, even as it chose not to support a recent pledge of solidarity with Christian minorities in Islamic lands lest it be perceived as “anti-Muslim.”

Speaking on the floor of the U.S. House, the Virginia Republican also decried a Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) decision to amend its constitution to recognize that marriage can be between “two people,” not only between “a man and a woman.”

The stances adopted by PCUSA’s General Assembly in Detroit on Friday left him feeling “increasingly alienated” from his church, Wolf said, adding that “giants of this tradition … would find it difficult to recognize the PCUSA church today.”

The assembly voted to divest holdings – worth a total of some $21 million – in Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola, on the basis their products are used by Israel against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Wolf called the decision “deeply misguided” and said it came against “a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe, and even here in the United States.”

“The denomination’s action on Israel stands in stark contrast to its inaction on the persecuted church in the region,” he said, charging that the PCUSA had expressly declined to sign a “Pledge of Solidarity and Call to Action” in support of Christians and other religious minorities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

Wolf said that document, “carefully crafted with input from faith leaders” in the U.S. and the Middle East, had been signed by more than 200 religious leaders from across the nation, who “came together across ecumenical lines to pledge to do more to help beleaguered minority faith communities.”

But the PCUSA, he said, “privately expressed concerns that this action would be perceived as an ‘anti-Muslim’ statement.”

“With the PCUSA’s decision not to associate itself with this urgent call to action, I find myself once again out of step with my denomination in profound ways.”

The divestment decision adopted Friday by a vote of 310-303 incorporated several amendments including one saying the action should not be construed as “an alignment with the overall strategy of the global BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement.”

Still, the Palestinian BDS National Committee welcomed the PCUSA decision, calling it “inspiring and morally courageous” and urging other church denominations to follow its example.


Wolf was not alone in condemning the decision to divest from the three companies and comparing Israel’s record to other countries in the region.

“Even Christians who doubt that the modern nation of Israel represents a specific fulfillment of biblical prophecy can appreciate that Israel is the only major nation in the region that champions democracy and promotes the freedom of worship,” Nathan Finn, associate professor of historical theology and Baptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary said in a statement to the Baptist Press.

“Rather than simplistically criticizing Israel, no matter how politically correct that action may be at this moment in our own nation’s history, when Christian denominations gather, it would be a more biblically faithful stance to ‘pray for the peace of Jerusalem’ (Psalm 122:6),” Finn said.

The First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers, Florida, a PCUSA member, distanced itself from the decision.

“We cannot and will not support Presbyterian Church USA in its misguided decision to divest itself of stock in companies whose products Israel uses in the occupied territories,” the local News-Press daily quoted senior pastor Paul deJong as saying after a church session Monday night unanimously opposed the vote. “We stand in full support of Israel’s right to protect its citizens and of all American companies to engage in honest free enterprise.”

The New York Post said in an editorial that Israel was “the only place in the Middle East where Christian minorities can practice their faith freely.”

“The hypocrisy of the vote, which declared that the Presbyterian church ‘cannot profit from the destruction of homes and lives,’ is underscored by the group’s silence on the slaughter in Syria and Iraq, not to mention the persecution of its fellow Christians elsewhere in the region – including by the Palestinian Authority.”

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had some advice for Presbyterians supportive of the resolution.

“I suggest to them to take a plane, come here and then if we can manage it, let’s arrange a bus tour for them in the region,” he told a Jewish media summit in Jerusalem on Sunday. “Let them go to Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq. And my only suggestion for them is that – well, I have two suggestions for them: One, that it be an armor-plated bus; and two, that they shouldn’t announce that they’re Christian.”



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Marriage and the 'wrong side of history'

by Jeff Jacoby

Thousands of Americans will rally in Washington, D.C., at a March for Marriage on Thursday in support of "the simple and beautiful message," to quote Brian Brown, that "marriage between one man and one woman is unique and critical for our society." Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage, the event's lead sponsor.

Don't he and his supporters know that they're on the Wrong Side of History?

These days, of course, anyone who publicly opposes same-sex marriage can expect to be scorned in many quarters as a bigot or reviled as an ignoramus. No Democrat with serious political ambitions would dare to agree with Brown's traditional point of view. In some places the same is increasingly true of Republicans.

Yet until about 10 minutes ago, in historical terms, the traditional understanding of marriage as the complementary union of male and female was anything but controversial. Brown's "simple and beautiful message," now seen as so threatened that it needs to be defended at Washington rallies, was about as mainstream a position as there was in American life.

"Marriage has got historic, religious, and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time," said Hillary Clinton in 2000, "and I think a marriage is, as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman." Even after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that legal objections to same-sex marriage were irrational, many liberals stood pat. Leading Democratic presidential candidates in 2004 — John Kerry, John Edwards, Joseph Lieberman, Dick Gephardt — ran as gay-marriage opponents. So did Clinton and Barack Obama in 2008.

Has there ever been an issue so elemental on which the tide turned so swiftly?

Same-sex marriage is now lawful in more than one-third of the states, and the US Supreme Court ruled last year that such marriages must be recognized by the federal government. In recent months a flurry of lower-court rulings have struck down state bans on same-sex marriage. And there are predictions of a Supreme Court ruling next year that will knock over the remaining dominoes, legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states.

Overnight, same-sex marriage has gone from all-but-unthinkable to all-but-unstoppable. So what do those marchers in Washington think they're going to accomplish? Don't they have better things to do with their lives than fight for a cause that, if not yet entirely lost, is surely down for the count?

Why don't they wake up and smell the historical inevitability?

It would certainly be easier to make peace with the new order, especially considering the aggressiveness and hostility that many "marriage equality" activists deploy against those who oppose gay marriage.

Then again, much the same could have been said a century ago to those who insisted — in the depths of Jim Crow — that the cause of civil rights and racial fairness was worth fighting for. They too must have heard with regularity that they were on the "wrong side of history." The promise of Reconstruction was long gone. In much of the country, black enfranchisement was a dead letter. The Supreme Court had ruled 7-1 in Plessy v. Ferguson that racial segregation — "separate but equal" — was constitutional. The president of the United States was a white supremacist on whose watch black employees were fired from government positions, and public facilities in Washington were segregated.

Honorable voices argued that blacks had no realistic option but to make the best of bad situation. But there were others who insisted that the lost spirit of abolitionism could be revived, that Jim Crow could be fought and eventually overturned, that "separate but equal" was based on a falsehood and would ultimately prove untenable. They founded the NAACP in 1909, launching a movement that would eventually transform America.

Gay activists see their crusade for same-sex marriage as another civil-rights battle. It's a false analogy. Jim Crow deprived black Americans of rights they were already entitled to — rights enshrined in the 14th and 15th Amendments, then stolen away after Reconstruction. But gay marriage does not restore lost rights; it redefines "marriage" to mean something wholly unprecedented in human society.

History is littered with causes and beliefs that were thought at one point to be historically unstoppable, from the divine right of kings to worldwide Marxist revolution. In the relative blink of an eye, same-sex marriage has made extraordinary political and psychological gains. It is on a roll, winning hearts and minds as well as court cases. No wonder it seems to so many that history's verdict is in, and same-sex marriage is here to stay.

Maybe it is.

Or maybe a great national debate about the meaning of marriage is not winding down, but just gearing up. And maybe those marchers in Washington, with their "simple and beautiful message," will prove to be not bitter-enders who didn't know when to quit, but defenders of a principle that history, eventually, will vindicate.


Feminism and Its Discontents: ‘Rape culture’ at Harvard


The hook-up culture denounced by conservatives is the very same rape culture denounced by feminists. Who wants it? Most college women do not; they ignore hookups and lament the loss of dating. Many men will not turn down the offer of an available woman, but what they really want is a girlfriend. The predatory males are a small minority among men who are the main beneficiaries of the feminist norm. It’s not the fault of men that women want to join them in excess rather than calm them down, for men too are victims of the rape culture. Nor is it the fault of women. Women are so far from wanting hook-ups that they must drink themselves into drunken consent—in order to overcome their natural modesty, one might suggest. Not having a sociable drink but getting blind drunk is today’s preliminary to sex. Beautifully romantic, isn’t it? The anonymous Harvard woman by getting drunk was unfortunately helping to pressure herself into consenting to a very bad experience. But she is right that the pressure comes with the encouragement of the culture. And the culture comes from the dogmas of feminism that made this mess for women and men too.

One more feature of the mess should not be omitted, the worsening of it by our federal government. Colleges today are under pressure not only from feminist students but also from the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the Department of Education. A recent letter from that office, one of a series, was sent to 55 colleges, addressed to “Dear Colleague” and containing what it called “significant guidance.” Anyone who thinks that the idea of a “nanny state” is an exaggeration should read this letter. The official author, who is the assistant secretary for the OCR, purports to be the colleague of the leaders of America’s universities but treats them as if they were children being instructed with a catechism. The form of the letter is Q-and-A, the questions innocent and submissive, the answers authoritative—usually you “must,” occasionally you “may.” 

The purpose behind the letter is to create an area between the law’s commands and the law’s permissions that is “significantly guided” by the government, in which the government commands but leaves the responsibility of enforcement to the universities commanded. The universities have been required to set up (and of course pay for) a “Title IX coordinator” with the duty of preventing a “hostile environment” caused by sexual assault, which may or may not be a crime prosecuted by state and local authorities. The latter police the crime, and the universities are responsible, and open to penalties, for preventing the culture of crime. Harvard responded last year by appointing as its coordinator a woman lawyer formerly employed at the OCR. It has now answered last month’s letter by hastening to hire more staff for her office. Without the slightest sign of pushback, the university volunteers to aid in the ridiculous accusation against itself. The OCR’s ridiculous accusation (and this summary does not do justice to its many absurdities) is for having failed to establish a culture of sexual adventure that never results in misadventure.

In its vocabulary, the OCR fully adopts the feminist notion of gender neutrality so that the sex of the “complainant” or the “perpetrator” is never identified. Thus the obvious difference between the sexes in regard to sexual assault is never stated, the problem never described. Are most men really potential rapists as the term “rape culture” suggests, or are some of them merely taking what is offered? Are women so colossally imprudent as to desire to get into bed with such creatures? Does a gender-neutral environment exist that will please both sexes equally? Are both sexes not independent in different ways as well as dependent on each other? Will there be an end to feminist nonsense aided by government intrusion and university compliance?

These are easy questions, but they call for the independence of mind necessary to answer the hard question that comes next: How can we recover some sense of feminine modesty and male restraint?


Plot to oust Nigel Evans from seat over his gay marriage hope: Tory MP accuses grassroots activists of 'homophobia' over bid to deselect him

A lot of older people would never vote for a homosexual so his party would be merely realistic to disendorse him

The former Commons Deputy Speaker who was cleared of rape and sexual assault faces a plot by his local party to deselect him after he revealed he would like a gay marriage.

After his trial earlier this year, Nigel Evans was welcomed back to Parliament by fellow MPs.

However, his local party has been engulfed in a row over whether he is fit to remain as candidate, while the chairman of the Tory association has quit.

Michael Ranson, 72, has supported Mr Evans since he came out as gay three years ago, and was also his election agent. But it is claimed the chairman’s ‘final straw’ came when the MP told an interviewer he would like to one day marry a man.

Opponents are also unhappy about disclosures during the court case, including Mr Evans’s admission that he slept with a 22-year-old man who was on work experience.

The executive committee of the  Ribble Valley association in Lancashire will now vote on whether Mr Evans, who has a majority of more than 14,000, should be re-adopted as their candidate in the coming weeks. If they decide not to, Mr Evans can demand a ballot of all local Tory members.

Mr Evans, who claims he has the support of senior Tories including the Prime Minister, last night said that he was ‘confident’ that he would win the ballot, but admitted that he had heard local whisperings.

He said: ‘I’m convinced that I will get through the process with flying colours. The vast majority of people are supporting me.

‘Clearly you do get to hear some comments via other people that there are some sort of mutterings and concerns but the reality is I was acquitted by a court of all charges.

‘There’s only going to be a small element of homophobia but it’s incredibly rare to hear any of it. The vast majority were delighted when I came out in 2010, that I’m able to get on with my life, and wish me well for the future.’

Mr Ranson, who is mayor of Ribble Valley, is said to have fallen out with Mr Evans following his acquittal after he told his local newspaper, ‘I would love to have a serious, committed and special relationship with another man. I would like to have a gay marriage.’

Last night Mr Ranson declined to comment on the reselection row and declined to discuss the reasons for his resignation from the association last week. He said: ‘I would prefer not to comment at the moment, as this is an association matter.’

Asked specifically about the claim he became unhappy with Mr Evans’s comments about gay marriage, he said: ‘I do not comment on such nonsense.’

Other senior figures in the constituency spoke privately of a mood of increasing conflict within the association.

One said: ‘It’s split down the middle ... It’s nothing to do with homophobia – that’s a complete red herring introduced by Nigel.

‘Those against him simply feel that for all that he was innocent at his trial, his behaviour left a lot to be desired.

‘They’re asking whether it was right for him to surround himself with young men in and around Westminster. They see his conduct as unbecoming for an MP.’

Another said: ‘People in the Ribble Valley are generally pretty straightforward. They just want a hard-working MP to fight for them. What they’ve found in Nigel is a man who gives the impression of just going to London to have a ball.’

Meanwhile Conservative voters have written to the local paper calling for Mr Evans to step aside.

In April, Mr Evans was cleared by a jury at Preston Crown Court of raping a man and sexually assaulting six others.

When he returned to work, he was toasted with a drinks party in Westminster and was last week elected to the executive of the 1922 Committee, the powerful body of backbench Tories.


He was just being a boy

I spent rather a lot of time in mud when I was a kid -- JR

This little boy gets a firm ticking off from his mother - after getting buried up to his shoulders in mud on a Somerset beach yesterday.

The youngster got an earful after apparently straying onto mudflats which are exposed at low tide in Weston-super-Mare. He is seen bursting into tears as the furious woman wags her finger in front of his face.

The incident happened a few miles from the spot where Lelaina Hall, five, died after getting trapped in the mud at nearby Berrow beach in 2002.

And the ever-present danger was underlined during the day as emergency crews were called out several times to reports of people stuck in the mud.

Three call-outs were for missing children, who were all located safely. A seven-year-old boy had to be checked over by an ambulance crew.

Last year, fire crews had to send a hovercraft to rescue five people after they became stuck in mud on the same beach. The shallow incline of the beach means the tide comes in faster than a human can run

Mark Newman, Chairman of BARB Search and Rescue - a charity that operates hovercrafts in the area - said the mud flats present a constant danger.

'We had a very busy weekend attending incidents of people who had got stuck in the mud or had gone missing from families,' he said. 'It's a very dangerous stretch of coastline, that goes on for some way, and has strong currents and deep mud in places.  'People should always take care when going out to sea and be wary of the mud.'

Retired Roger Fry, 66, of Weston-super-Mare, took the photos as he attended the Weston Air Day on Sunday.

He said: 'I was on the beach watching the planes when I heard this great ruckus. I looked round and saw this mother screaming a a kid. "I told you not to go down there, you're filthy" and so on.

'Everyone stopped and looked around before the mother stormed off with some other children towards the car park. The muddy kid just followed on a little later.

'There is so many people that get stuck out on the mud every year that the mother must have been aware of the danger. There are plenty of warning signs around.'



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Professor Coins Awesome New Term: ‘Liberal Privilege’

Check this out: a professor not only speaks out against white privilege – saying people should be judged by the content of their character - he goes on to explain the real problem - liberal privilege.

Melvyn Fein, a sociology professor at Kennesaw State University, writes for the Marietta Daily Journal:

Far more pervasive is “liberal privilege.” The very people who accuse others of not being sufficiently grateful for their status are guilty of taking their own advantages for granted. Liberals do not seem to recognize the special treatment they receive. They actually believe they are nicer and smarter than others as a result of having been allowed to get away with this conceit.

Liberals, because they are liberal, assume they are more compassionate than anyone who disagrees with them. From elementary school on, they are praised for their concerns about the welfare of others — even though this kindness is only manifested in verbal declarations.

Likewise, from the earliest grades, their teachers applaud their superior intelligence. Since they agree with the principles they are being taught and regurgitate them on cue, they are regarded as unusually perceptive. Critical thinking, although orally encouraged, is, in practice, punished.

And so liberals grow up in a bubble of self-deception. Their self-esteem is grounded in conforming to beliefs that do not accord with reality, but which nevertheless earn them gold stars and certificates of achievement.

Then they enter the real world. Yet for them, it is not altogether real. The books they read and the television shows they watch confirm their special status. Liberal newsreaders and authors assure them they are better than their conservative peers. Clearly, they are more generous and insightful than these relics.

Professor Fein – why aren’t there more of you out there? Liberal Privilege – that has a nice ring to it.

We’ll try a few:

#LiberalPrivilege – Is OK with discrimination, as long as it’s against Christians

#LiberalPrivilege – They are for free speech – unless it’s something they disagree with

#LiberalPrivilege – They are against racism – but support affirmative action quotas based on skin color


How to win friends and influence people

A black man tells patriotic Brits that they are stupid.  One guess that he just lost his party a lot of votes

Ukip voters feel disconnected from mainstream politics because they don’t know how to send emails or browse the internet, Labour’s shadow business secretary has suggested.

Chuka Umunna, said that “a lot of those voting for Ukip” in the local and general elections were not computer literate and “can’t do things like” sending and receiving emails or browsing the internet.

The UK Independence Party stormed to victory at the European elections, the first time since 1906 that a party other than the Conservatives or Labour had won a national election.

Nigel Farage's party also picked up more than 100 seats from Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems in council elections nationally

At the time Suzanne Evans, Ukip's Communities spokesman blamed London’s "more media-savvy and educated" population was an explanation for the party’s lack of support in the capital.

Mr Umunna said it was time for Labour to “empower” the “mass of people” who's inability to perform basic functions on the internet had left them alienated from the wider economy.

He told BBC One’s Andrew Marr show: “The BBC has carried out some very interesting research on this - 1 in 5 people in our economy cannot do the full basics online of sending and receiving an email, browsing the internet, filling in an online form.

“There has been a lot of talk of communities that have been disconnected from our global economy, and those of course were a lot of those voting for Ukip in the local and European elections, and of that mass of people who can’t do the things that all of us take for granted, a very large number of them are from those communities.

He added: “So the next Labour Government, we are going to be absolutely focused on connecting people into the global economy so they can realise their dreams and aspirations.”

As part of this drive Maggie Philbin, the former presenter of Tomorrow’s World, is leading a Labour review into how the digital skills of young people can be improved.

A recent study by the Labour-affiliated Fabian Society found that a gradual drop in support among blue-collar workers since 2005 has been exacerbated by the rise of Nigel Farage’s Ukip, putting Labour’s general election strategy in jeopardy.

Ed Miliband has said some people who voted for Ukip are traditional Labour voters “in tough jobs” where life is “a real struggle”.

"They are people who love our country but they are people who are saying the country is not working for me,” he said at a speech last month.

“They feel left behind by what has happened to Britain – some people, who in years gone by, would have been Labour till they die, some people whose parents have always been Labour, whose grandparents have always been Labour."


Don’t Lick Your Lips at Me. That’s Harassment!

One of my favorite parts of giving harassment training is explaining the types of behaviors that can create a hostile work environment. If you haven’t already, be sure to add lip licking to the list. (And, to be clear, we’re talking about an alleged harasser licking his own lips.)

A recent case out of Connecticut, Lewis v. City of Norwalk, 122 FEP Cases 703 (2d Cir. 2014), reminds us that a plaintiff can base a sexually hostile work environment claim on lip licking. There, the plaintiff complained of lick lipping and leering. The court concluded, however, that the licking and leering weren’t sufficiently severe to create a hostile work environment.

What can employers do to protect themselves? Provide free lip moisturizer?

As long as employees interact, there’s the potential for one to take offense – sometimes justifiably. And once a claim gets made, in a very real sense, the employer has already lost. Even a victory in court can be an expensive and disruptive proposition.

Still, employers can take steps to demonstrate that they oppose harassment. These can include:

* circulating the anti-harassment policy,

* making sure the appropriate posters are up,

* raising the topic in meetings (with managers or subordinates or both),

* especially in California, providing the state-mandated harassment training (2 hours of management training every 2 years, and within 6 months of hire or transfer to California, for employers with 50 or more employees anywhere); and

* fairly, promptly, and thoroughly investigating complaints.
If you’re an employer, you want every employee to know where to find the company’s policy against harassment and whom to complain to if there’s an issue. You also want them to know that, if they bring an issue forward, they’ll be treated fairly.

Inevitably, harassment litigation focuses more on what the company did (or didn’t do) than what the alleged harasser did. So take steps now to show that your company actively opposes this behavior.


Animal lover put ducks before people

 A Canadian woman who parked her car on a highway to help a group of ducklings on the side of the road has been found guilty of causing the deaths of a motorcyclist and his passenger daughter who slammed into her car.

Emma Czornobaj was convicted by a jury on Friday on two counts of criminal negligence causing death, a charge that carries a maximum life sentence, and two counts of dangerous driving causing death, which comes with a maximum of 14 years in jail.

The 25 year-old was charged in the deaths of Andre Roy, 50, and his daughter Jessie, 16.

She wiped away tears when the verdict was delivered to a packed courtroom in Montreal. Quebec Superior Court Justice Eliane Perreault said the 12-member jury voted unanimously.

Czornobaj was released until her pre-sentence hearing on August 8. 

 Roy’s motorcycle slammed into Czornobaj’s car, which was stopped in the left lane of a provincial highway south of Montreal in 2010.

Czornobaj, a self-professed animal lover, told the court that she did not see the ducklings’ mother anywhere and planned to capture them and take them home.

Pauline Volikakis, whose husband and daughter were killed in the collision, briefly fought back tears when she left the courtroom.  “I don’t wish misfortune on anyone,” Volikakis said. “It’s time that we go on. This will not bring [back] my loved ones.”

Prosecutor Annie-Claude Chasse had a message for motorists. “What we hope is that a clear message is sent to society that we do not stop on the highway for animals. It’s not worth it.”



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here