Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Are lesbians fat?

No.  Surprisingly. My late sister was a lesbian and those of her friends that I met were definitely hefty.  There has previously  been research showing that lesbians are fatter but a recent high quality research project separated out bisexual women from lesbian women and found that it was only the bisexuals who were unusually fat.  Come to think of it, my sister would probably rate as a bi.  She was married to a really nice guy once. I reproduce the abstract below but you really need to look at the tables to get the full picture.

Some of the other findings:  Blacks were fatter regardless; male homosexuals were slimmer than male heterosexuals.  Not surprising.  Male homosexuals are often very "looks" oriented and tend to take considerable care over their appearance.  And fat is not attractive.

Sexual Orientation Disparities in BMI among US Adolescents and Young Adults in Three Race/Ethnicity Groups

Sabra L. Katz-Wise et al.


Obesity is a key public health issue for US youth. Previous research with primarily white samples of youth has indicated that sexual minority females have higher body mass index (BMI) and sexual minority males have lower BMI than their same-gender heterosexual counterparts, with sexual orientation differences in males increasing across adolescence. This research explored whether gender and sexual orientation differences in BMI exist in nonwhite racial/ethnic groups. Using data from Waves I–IV (1995–2009) of the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 13,306, ages 11–34 years), we examined associations between sexual orientation and BMI (kg/m2) over time, using longitudinal linear regression models, stratified by gender and race/ethnicity. Data were analyzed in 2013. Among males, heterosexual individuals showed greater one-year BMI gains than gay males across all race/ethnicity groups. Among females, white and Latina bisexual individuals had higher BMI than same-race/ethnicity heterosexual individuals regardless of age; there were no sexual orientation differences in black/African Americans. Sexual orientation disparities in BMI are a public health concern across race/ethnicity groups. Interventions addressing unhealthy weight gain in youth must be relevant for all sexual orientations and race/ethnicities.

J Obes. 2014: 537242

New Labour's war on British identity has left Salmond with an open goal

There have been a couple of times, over the centuries, when it seemed the United Kingdom was facing an imminent threat to its very existence.

That threat was external: from France, in the shape of Napoleon Bonaparte; and Germany, in the infinitely more malign form of Adolf Hitler. In both those conflicts, English and Scots fought side by side as brothers to help defeat an apparently implacable foe.

Now a single opinion poll — suggesting that a majority will vote ‘Yes’ to secession in the Scottish referendum — raises the real prospect that in ten days what we know as Great Britain will be carved up.

The agents of what would be a traumatic act of disunion are not our traditional national enemies or rivals. They are the descendants of people who risked their lives over centuries to maintain our common identity: the Scots themselves.

I still can’t believe this will happen, but in one sense that is none of my business. The vote is only for those resident in Scotland; it is not even for people of Scottish descent living in England, who actually outnumber those enfranchised.

It is the Anglo-Scots, on both sides of what threatens to become a real border, whose emotional shock must be by far the greatest.

As the Canadian former politician Michael Ignatieff recently wrote, recalling how his country was so nearly torn apart by the referendum over independence for Quebec: ‘This is the moral sin of separatism.

Separatist politicians, desiring to be presidents or prime ministers of little countries, force their fellow citizens to make choices they should not have to make between identities they have combined, each in their own unique way, and now watch being ripped apart — one portion of themselves flung on one side of the border, a damaged remnant on the other.

‘If Scotland does secede, there will be many torn souls the day after.’

The Scottish case is still more perplexing. The Quebecois at least spoke a different language to the rest of Canada — French.

It is true the most aggressive campaigners in the Scottish referendum campaign — who organised abusive attacks on Labour’s former Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy — are a group called Siol nan Gaidheal (Seed of the Gaels).

But fewer than 60,000 Scots speak Gaelic. Siol nan Gaidheal present the English as colonial oppressors, a notion that has gained greater currency in Scotland well beyond this small and somewhat poisonous band. Yet Scotland was never like Ireland. It has never been a colony nor treated as one.

As the historian and now Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption pointed out in a magisterial lecture last year: ‘Except for a very short period in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, there has never been a sustained English occupation of Scotland.

‘For Scots, by far the most important reason for agreeing to the union was their desperate need for access to England’s rapidly growing markets.’

Far from being an English takeover, the Union left intact the indigenous institutions closest to the Scottish people: the Kirk, the judiciary, the schools system, the universities. All these continued to be run along distinctively Scottish lines, in many ways superior to those in the rest of the UK.

And as for being ‘oppressed’ by the British Empire, the Scots were pre-eminent in its expansion and in running it.

This is still evident from the disproportionately large number of Scottish surnames, rather than English ones, in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Sumption argues persuasively that it is in part the loss of attachment to and even interest in the Commonwealth (where economic ties were sundered to prepare for our entry into what was then the European Common Market) that has sown the seeds of Scots separatism:

‘British constitutional history has all but vanished from the curricula of university history courses.

Britain’s overseas empire, which was a source of pride while it lasted, has become a matter for embarrassment and apology among many who have only the haziest idea of its history.’

Thus the emblems of working-class British identification in Scotland, symbolised most obviously by marching displays of the Union Flag, are shunned by the official Better Together campaign.

They regard that as nothing else but dangerous emanations of Protestant sectarianism, a grass-roots Unionist force they would prefer to forget.

This is much more a Labour attitude than a Conservative one, but the point is that it is Labour — still by far the biggest party in Scotland — who are in charge of the Better Together campaign.

And it was the New Labour government that was most assiduous in reducing the idea of British identity to nothing more than ‘tolerance’.

Tolerance is an admirable trait, but tolerance on its own is just an empty smile.

Gordon Brown, who is desperately trying to maintain the union (so desperate that he is even prepared to sit on the same platform with his previously ostracised former Chancellor Alistair Darling) tried in 2006 to re-assert what he called ‘Britishness’.

But his arguments amounted to not much more than sermons about ‘diversity and inclusion’. As the cultural historian Robert Colls acidly remarked at the time: ‘To fill the historical vacuum, “diversity” became New Labour’s watchword. But diversity pleased no one and left nothing to build on.’

Scottish nationalism has rapidly filled that historical vacuum. To quote Lord Sumption again: ‘As a serious political movement it dates only from the 1960s.’

Of course, all nationalisms have needed to invent themselves. British nationalism is itself a construct, not something primordial or innate.

Yet there is something especially odd about Scottish nationalism in that so much of its symbolism was, in fact, invented by Southerners — some of them understandably driven by romantic attachment to the sheer beauty of the place.

What could be more Scottish than the kilt? Yet as the late Hugh Trevor-Roper pointed out in his essay The Coming Of The Kilt, it was invented by an 18th-century Lancashire ironmaster called Thomas Rawlinson. He had devised it as workwear for employees who felled trees and stoked his furnaces near Inverness.

This is not to say that the Scottish nation is a sham. But it would be dreadful if they should forget our auld acquaintance.


Think-tank criticises 'pointless' Labour rent cap scheme

Labour's proposal to cap rent increases will make Britain’s chronic housing shortage worse and push up costs for tenants, according to an influential think-tank.

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) said Labour’s pledge to end “excessive” rent increases was a pointless policy that would distort the market and discourage landlords from repairing their properties or renting them out at all.

In a report published tomorrow, the IEA will argue that all forms of rent control reduce investment, push up costs and can even stop people from moving home because of the perceived benefit of a lower rent later in the tenancy.

Ed Miliband revealed in May that a Labour government would introduce an “upper limit” on rent increases based on average market rates. The Labour leader said that nder the proposals, a landlord would be free to set rents at the beginning of the contract, but would then be subject to a cap in increases.

However, the IEA said this would only increase the incentive for landlords to raise rents at the beginning of the contract, in order to compensate for the cap. “Tenancy rent controls would not be welfare enhancing and are, if anything, likely to increase the cost of living,” the report says. “The fact that beneficiaries are obvious and well-organised whilst those who suffer are dispersed would make this a potentially damaging policy, which could be very difficult to reverse.

“Since rents can alter between tenancies, tenancy rent controls cannot improve affordability for any group other than in the short term.”

While the IEA recognised that Labour’s proposals were nowhere near as harmful as rent controls introduced at the beginning of the 20th century, it said history showed direct rent controls led to a shortage in available housing for rent, while less severe caps also had a negative impact.

Labour has argued that Britain could learn lessons from Germany, which has successfully implemented rent controls. However, the IEA report showed that Europe’s largest economy had a much more abundant supply of housing, which had inevitably kept rents down.

“There are huge structural differences between Germany and the UK – not least that there is significantly more development of new dwellings in Germany, making rent levels lower in general,” the IEA said. “Even if land-use planning regulations prevent building in general and keep rents and property prices higher, capping increases in rents just provides landlords with an incentive to sell property that they otherwise might have let out, or to convert properties so that their tenure type falls outside the rent control framework.”

Experts have likened Labour’s rent control policy to the Government’s controversial Help to Buy scheme, which critics argue has attracted much attention without improving affordability.


The Biggest Winner in the Lose-Lose ‘Operation Protective Edge’

After weeks of combat in Gaza, pundits sort out “Who won?” The weak side (Hamas) claims points for just surviving, despite the massive hammering its leadership and its constituents endured, while the strong side (Israel), whatever its battle-field gains, lost the “cognitive war” — big time. In the topsy-turvy universe of Middle East politics, nothing succeeds like failure on the battlefield and nothing fails like military success.

As for the ancillary players, more losers all around: journalists’ credibility dangerously damaged; UNHRC and UNRWA behavior, embarrassingly partisan; Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama, astonishingly clueless and blundering; intellectual left shamefully right-wing in its embrace of anti-Semitic discourse. Consensus assessment of many analysts: Operation Protective Edge (OPE) has produced only losers and bigger losers.

Only one group emerged from OPE a grand winner: European Jihadis. During the weeks of Israel pounding Hamas while Hamas hid behind civilians, demonstrators spilled out into the streets of Western and Muslim cities the world over to protest “Israeli genocide of the Palestinians,” even as they shouted “Death to Jews!” #Hitlerwasright, “Jews to the ovens!” Shops ransacked, Jews refused medical services, attacked in riots, Jewish businesses boycotted. For Jihadis, OPE offered a whole new, and possibly permanent, level of public violence. In Germany: “Hamas! Hamas! Jews to the Gas!”; in France, “Death to Jews! Slit Jews Throats!” This time, the chant has become a battle cry for bands of “youths,” armed with metal bars, running after Jews. And European Jews are packing their bags.

In the Jewish diaspora community and Israel, the alarm was palpable. “Time to go?” asked Shmuel Trigano rhetorically about France. Why? Not only because once again, people killed and sought to kill Jews in the streets of Europe, but because the news media continually played down the amplitude of the violence and hatred, and the authorities, both police and judiciary, resisted it half-heartedly. In France, as in England, anti-Semites no longer hide; unafraid of police, they roam the streets like the brown shirts of yore. Is this the “beginning of the end” of a two-millennia-long Jewish presence in Europe?

Jihadis, of course, delight in these new levels of both hatred and violence. For them, it’s a quadruple win: 1) depict Israel as the Dajjal (Antichrist) to Western audiences; 2) roam through the streets of Western cities yelling Jihadi slogans; 3) accelerate the expulsion of Jews from Europe as preparation for its conquest; and 4) keep the Europeans thinking this violence only targets Jews, and only because of Israel. For Jihadis, these past weeks confirm what they have long believed: that this is the Muslim century in which, among others, Europe joins Dar al Islam.

How did this happen? How did it get so bad before we noticed it? Are we observing changes of civilizational magnitude?

Global Consequences of Lethal Journalism: The Muslim Street

The story of this episode of Jew-hatred, whose rage is not yet spent, begins in 2000 and continues apace during the aughts (2000-09) and well into the teens. Ironically, it seems to be the unintended consequence of a Palestinian asymmetrical war strategy designed to fight Israel, that has turned out to be another, much greater, boon for global Jihad. The spectacular success of Palestinian war propaganda, delivered to the West as news by journalists, activated a violent “Muslim Street,” whose presence, and whose dominant trope of Jew-hatred, stormed onto the stage of European civilization.

With the Palestinians started the “Al Aqsa Intifada” in late September 2000, they could count on journalists to blame Israel. These journalists saw their job as standing “shoulder to shoulder” with the Palestinians, or “leveling the playing field” by recycling Palestinian “lethal narratives” about the IDF deliberately targeting civilians, especially children. What they may not have calculated on was the explosive impact those lethal narratives would have on Western, especially on European society, the way they would systematically promote global Jihad.

The most dramatic, indeed explosive example of such lethal journalism comes on September 30, with France2’s airing of footage purporting, following instructions from the Palestinians, to show the IDF targeting and killing a Palestinian boy who died in the arms of his father. This particular lethal narrative had an immense impact, indeed, became the 21st century’s icon of hatred. It immediately triggered violent riots among Israeli Arabs, and the murderous attacks of the Oslo Intifada among Palestinians. Osama bin Laden almost immediately exploited the story to recruit for global Jihad: as war propaganda inspiring hatred of Israel, no image could compare for emotive power.

Stranger than the Jihadi reaction to this image but no less powerful, Post-Christian Europeans seized upon it as a “get-out-of-Holocaust-guilt-free” card. “This boy’s death” opined a prominent news anchor, “erased, replaced the image of the boy in the Warsaw Ghetto.” One can with difficulty imagine a more staggering case of moral disorientation: dubious video footage of a boy caught in a crossfire started by his own side, trumps an image symbolic of the deliberate murder of a million children by the Nazis? And yet, on the wings of this secular substitution theology, Zionazism entered the public sphere: Israelis become the new Nazis, and the Palestinians the new Jews.

Europeans, especially the French, reran the image repeatedly, “l’image choc” of the Intifada. But even as they did so to satisfy their own needs, they waved a flag of Jihad in front of their immigrant Muslim populations. Already in the first week of the violence that became known as the al Aqsa intifada, for example, Parisian “Leftists” and Muslims from the suburbs met in Place de la République to protest the murder of Muhammad al Durah. There, under a banner equating Israel to the Nazis, for the first time since the Holocaust, the cry “Death to Jews” was heard in a European capital.

In the coming weeks, months and years, stoked by a constant stream of pictures and stories about Palestinian suffering, the “intifada of the suburbs” imported the violence of the Middle East to Europe, especially the ZUS (zones urbaines sensibles) where furious and aggressive Muslims targeted a largely defenseless Jewish population. Starting quite specifically in early October 2000, the “new anti-Semitism” began to “rise from the muck” in France and throughout Europe.

Subsequently, each new outbreak of violence between Israel and its most implacable Jihadi enemies – Fatah, Hamas, Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad – has led to a wave of lethal journalism, which in turn has sparked widespread protests the world over, featuring vituperation against Israel that has spilled over readily into Jew-hatred. In 2 002, after weeks of false but ubiquitous media reports of a massacre at Jenin, Westerners, wearing mock suicide bomb-belts and carrying pictures of Sharon with a swastika on his forehead, marched through the streets of Europe, unaware that they were a parody of those who, in the movie Independence Day, welcomed the ETs about to blast them to bits. In 2006, Jostein Gaarder wrote a supersessionist screed against “God’s Chosen People”, and Judith Butler welcomed Hizbullah and Hamas into the embrace of the “global progressive left.” In 2009, members of the German Die Linke party marched in a gender-segregated march, shouting Allahu Akhbar, and Death to Israel, while members of the British protestors rallied to the cry, “We are Hamas,” and drove British police through the streets of London. And now, 2014.

So rapidly and powerfully did this street presence of protestors emerge, that already by 2003, some began to speak of the emergence in the West (especially in Europe) of a Muslim Street, possibly stronger and more intimidating than the famed and intimidating “Arab Street.” Nor was the Muslim Street limited to anti-Israel demonstrations. In February 2003, some 6-30 million people worldwide participated in protests against US President George Bush’s plans to invade Iraq, described by participants as “the largest peace rally” in history.

No incident better illustrates the way in which Jihadis coopted the “peace” movement than the militant tenor of these alleged anti-war rallies, with their huge posters of Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat, a development that stunned some observers into a realization that something disturbing had happened to the Left. Seduced by the vision of a global progressive left leading the world as a counter-weight to American imperial hegemony, secular, anti-imperialist progressives welcomed the support of the imperialist global Jihadis, virulent anti-Semitism and its twin anti-Americanism.

By the mid-aughts, the Muslim Street, buoyed by its enthusiastic welcome in the “anti-war” rallies against Israel and the US, went solo. The Ramadan Riots of November 2005 in France (below) began open hostilities between a neo-tribal Jihad for control of the ZUS – no-go zones in the heart of Europe, increasingly “lost territories of the Republic.” The Danish Cartoon Scandal, ginned by radicals with a forged cartoon of Muhammad as a pig, took the globe by storm. In the London demonstration in front of the Danish Embassy in February 2006, we see for the first time, the Jihadi Muslim Street formally protesting, under police protection. Next to a man wearing a fake suicide vest, only months after the London transport bombing (7-7-2005), and speeches about conquering Denmark and raping their women, men carried signs with messages like: EUROPE YOU WILL PAY YOUR EXTERMINATION IS ON THE WAY, and ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD.

In hundreds of similar encounters all over Europe, the Muslim Street has grown bolder, more aggressive with each passing year. The anti-Jewish pogroms of 2014 represent the most openly aggressive of the manifestations of the Muslim Street in Europe today, and coincide with the most openly Jihadi discourse. “Never before,” editorialized one paper, “have the sympathizers of Islamic terror appeared so openly in Germany.” Amsterdam presided over a pro-ISIS rally shouting “death to Jews!” even as those Jihadis slaughter infidels who refused conversion to Islam. In Norway, Jihadis threaten their host country with “another 9-11” if they don’t create a separate Sharia-ruled section of the Oslo where Muslims need not “live with dirty beasts like you.”

I suspect that most Jihadis were taken by surprise with these successes in the aughts and beyond. Only a true believer in 2000 could imagine that the West would so extensively indulge open Islamist aggression, and cooperate so readily with broader Muslim demands to silence criticism. Even the most optimistic Jihadi did not expect his progressive allies – UN and “Human Rights” NGOs, post-colonial academics and journalists – who after all, differed with them on all principles and moral values except for their shared enemy, to open up the gates of the global public sphere to their war narrative (that targeted them), and keep that invitation open so long.

More HERE (See the original for links)


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


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