Thursday, July 31, 2014


No welfare payments if you don't contribute to UK: Tories push for new migrant crackdown after limiting the dole to three months

Migrants will be banned from receiving any benefits until they have contributed to Britain, under government plans to limit access to handouts.

David Cameron today announced the period for which European migrants can claim benefits is to be halved and recruitment agencies are to be banned from advertising jobs exclusively overseas.

But Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go even further to secure EU agreement to stop benefits being paid to people who have not contributed to to the state, raising the prospect of handouts being linked to tax payments.

Prime Minister David Cameron announced migrants would only be allowed to claim benefits for three months, but Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed plans to go further and ban claims for people who have not contributed to the welfare state

The Conservatives are forcing through further measures to deter so-called ‘benefit tourists’.

In January, the Government introduced rules that meant European migrants had to wait three months before they could claim out-of-work benefits – and then could only claim for a maximum of six months.

Today Mr Cameron said the claim period will be cut from six months to three months from November and applied to jobseekers’ allowance, child tax credit and child benefit.

The Government will also stop recruitment firms from advertising British jobs elsewhere in the EU without also doing so in the UK – in English.

Agencies have been accused of recruiting only foreign workers for specific shifts, for jobs such as fruit picking and hotel work, without even offering a chance to UK citizens.

But Mr Duncan Smith said this was the limit of what the government could within European law, but ministers are pushing to go further.

The eventual plan is that people should have contributed to the system when they come in before being able to claim anything
Iain Duncan Smith

He said there was 'growing consensus' with countries like Germany, Holland and Spain to limit access to migrants who have not contributed to the state.

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4's World at One: 'What we’re working on with others in Europe [is] that there should not be a right to just enter a country and claim benefits unless you’ve contributed.

Mr Duncan Smith told BBC Radio 4's World at One: 'What we’re working on with others in Europe [is] that there should not be a right to just enter a country and claim benefits unless you’ve contributed. He said there was 'growing consensus' with countries like Germany, Holland and Spain to limit access to migrants who have not

'So the eventual plan – and this is where we want to be and I think there is a lot of general agreement about this – is that people should have contributed to the system when they come in before being able to claim anything.' 

Key measures announced today include:

    Benefits to be cut off after three months - rather than the current six - unless the migrants have ‘very clear job prospects’
  
 Tougher rules imposed on universities and colleges which sponsor international students to study in the UK

    From November, the threshold for stripping educational institutions of their “highly-trusted sponsor” status will be cut, so that they lose it if 10 per cent or more of the individuals they offer places are refused visas, rather than the present 20 per cent

    A ban on overseas-only advertising of jobs, by legally requiring employment agencies to seek applicants for posts in Britain

    Number of JobCentre Plus vacancies automatically advertised on an EU-wide employment portal will be restricted

He said that under the last Labour government it was possible to claim housing benefit 'so their immigration policies did leave a very, very big open door. We’re shutting that door, but we’ve yet more to do'.

On a visit to an immigration raid in Slough, Mr Cameron claimed the changes announced today will save the British taxpayer half a billion pounds over the next five years.

During this morning's raid, immigration officers found four Albanian men aged between 27 and 31, along with one minor, who all entered the country illegally.

In the same house, they detained a Kenyan woman, aged 35, who had overstayed her visa, while at a separate address was a 35-year-old Indian visa overstayer who was in possession of a false Portuguese passport.

A Home Office spokesman said all of them have been taken to immigration detention pending removal from the country, apart from the minor, who is in the care of social services.

The Prime Minister said the crackdown was the latest attempt to reverse a ‘soft touch’ approach adopted by Labour, who he accused of ‘practically sending out search parties’ for people to come to Britain.

He claimed so-called ‘highly skilled’ migrants allowed in under the last government had ended up ‘stacking shelves’.

Mr Cameron said: 'Let's be clear - some people are coming here to work, some people are coming here to claim, some people are coming here pretending to be students. I have a very clear approach to this, which is, if you don't have a right to be here, you will be sent home, you shouldn't be here.

'People want to know that, yes, we have a fair legal migration system but, in terms of illegal migration, we will find you and we will send you home.'

He added: 'We want an immigration system that puts Britain first and so what we're doing today is a whole series of changes that says to people if you come here illegally we will make it harder for you to have a home, to get a car, to have a job, to get a bank account, and when we find you - and we will find you - we'll make sure you're sent back to the country that you came from.'

Mr Cameron will also warn that some universities and colleges could lose their licences to recruit overseas students in a tightening of visa rules.

Ministers say a current 20 per cent tolerance threshold of student visa refusals that education institutions are allowed before losing their ‘highly trusted’ status is too generous. It is expected to be lowered to 10 per cent.

Other measures coming into force include attempts to rein in abuse of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to family life – by migrants to avoid deportation. In future, judges will have to consider the British public interest too, Mr Cameron said.

The Government is also introducing a new system of ‘deport now, appeal later’, designed to help the authorities remove foreign criminals – who will have to launch any appeal from their own country rather than delaying their departure with endless legal action.

‘Under Labour, 2.5million more people came to this country than left. As Peter Mandelson has admitted, they were practically sending out 'search parties' for people to come here,’ the Prime Minister said.

‘It used to be that European jobseekers could claim JSA (jobseekers’ allowance) or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.

'We will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.’

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the Government was failing on immigration despite Mr Cameron's promise to get it down to the tens of thousands.

'We need less talk from the Prime Minister on immigration and more action,' she said.

'It's almost a year and a half since Labour called for benefit restrictions on new migrants. In that time we've had reannouncement after reannouncement from the Tories but little in the way of firm action.

'Behind the rhetoric, the true picture of this Government on immigration is one of failure, with net migration going up, despite David Cameron's promise to get it down to the tens of thousands.

'The Government should get a grip and finally implement Labour's proposals to stop the undercutting of wages and jobs for local workers by the exploitation of low-skilled migrant labour, including banning recruitment agencies that only hire foreign workers and pressing for stronger controls in Europe.'

SOURCE





Federal Court: Virginia Marriage Is for All

An appeals courts' decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, is the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit, and is the first to affect the South, a region where the rising tide of rulings favoring marriage equality is testing concepts of states' rights and traditional, conservative moral values that have long held sway.

"I am proud that the Commonwealth of Virginia is leading on one of the most important civil rights issues of our day," said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who had refused to defend the state ban when he took office in January. "We are fighting for the right of loving, committed couples to enter the bonds of marriage."

Virginians voted 57 percent to 43 percent in 2006 to amend their constitution to ban gay marriage and state law prohibits recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, which the court said infringes on its citizens' fundamental right to marry.

The court itself also highlighted the debate that pits moral values and the idea of equality against states' rights, recognizing that same-sex marriage "makes some people deeply uncomfortable," but argued in its ruling Monday that those concerns are "not legitimate bases for denying same-sex couples due process and equal protection of the laws."

"Civil marriage is one of the cornerstones of our way of life. It allows individuals to celebrate and publicly declare their intentions to form lifelong partnerships, which provide unparalleled intimacy, companionship, emotional support, and security," Judge Henry F. Floyd wrote. "Denying same-sex couples this choice prohibits them from participating fully in our society, which is precisely the type of segregation that the Fourteenth Amendment cannot countenance."

The 2-1 ruling applies throughout the circuit that also includes West Virginia, Maryland, and the Carolinas, where the attorneys general split Monday on what they'll do next.

North Carolina's top lawman, Roy Cooper, quickly announced that he will stop defending his state's ban, but a spokesman said South Carolina's attorney general, Alan Wilson, sees no need to change course.

Maryland already allows same-sex marriages. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, for his part, said he's reviewing the decision and won't comment until it's final.

The ruling came as Colorado's attorney general, John Suthers, asked his state Supreme Court on Monday to stop county clerks from issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Colorado's gay marriage ban, passed by voters in 2006, is still the law although recent rulings in federal and state court have found it to be unconstitutional. Those rulings have been put on hold during appeals. Suthers argues the state needs to have a consistent practice on gay marriage licenses until the issue is ultimately settled.

Defenders of gay marriage bans are likely to ask for a stay pending their next appeal; otherwise, licenses could be issued to Virginia's same-sex couples in 21 days. And once it becomes final, the decision will apply to the entire circuit, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer James Esseks said.

Gay marriage proponents have won more than 20 legal decisions around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. Most are still under appeal. More than 70 cases have been filed in all 31 states that prohibit same-sex marriage. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia allow such marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court could have at least five appellate decisions to consider if it takes up gay marriage again in its next term, beginning in October.

The 6th Circuit in Cincinnati will hear arguments Aug. 6 for Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee. The 7th Circuit in Chicago is set for arguments on Aug. 26, and the 9th Circuit in San Francisco for Sept. 8. The 10th Circuit in Denver overturned Utah's ban in June.

The Virginia lawsuit was filed by Timothy Bostic and Tony London of Norfolk, who were denied a marriage license, and Carol Schall and Mary Townley of Chesterfield County. The women were married in California and wanted their marriage recognized in the state where they are raising a 16-year-old daughter.

"Marriage is one of the most fundamental rights — if not the most fundamental right — of all Americans," said plaintiffs' attorney David Boies. "This court has affirmed that our plaintiffs — and all gay and lesbian Virginians — no longer have to live as second-class citizens who are harmed and demeaned every day."

Herring said the decision evoked the notion from a 2003 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which Justice Anthony Kennedy noted the framers of the U.S. Constitution "knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress."

The decision by U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen that Virginia's ban violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection and due-process guarantees was challenged by two circuit court clerks whose duties include issuing marriage licenses. They were supported by the right-wing legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The group said it may ask for a full circuit rehearing, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

"Every child deserves a mom and a dad, and the people of Virginia confirmed that at the ballot box when they approved a constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as a man-woman union," ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione said.

The decision falls in line with the changing climate in the 4th Circuit, which had a reputation as one of the nation's most conservative courts. That has changed in the past five years.

Most of the 14 active judges are Democratic appointees, including five named by President Barack Obama. Floyd was initially appointed as a federal judge in South Carolina by George W. Bush, and then nominated for the appellate court by Obama. Roger Gregory, who joined Floyd in the majority, was a recess appointment of Bill Clinton, re-nominated by Bush in 2001. Paul V. Niemayer, who wrote the dissent, was appointed by George H. W. Bush.

SOURCE





Sen. Marco Rubio: Tolerance 'Is a Two-Way Street'

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said Wednesday that supporters of same-sex marriage must “respect those of us who support traditional marriage” because “tolerance is a two-way street.”

“States have always regulated marriage in America, and state legislatures have a right, a constitutional right to change those regulations. But that right to define and regulate marriage is a two-way street,” Rubio said at a Catholic University of America (CUA) symposium on “Strong Values for a Strong America.”

“Just as states have a right to redefine marriage to include same-sex marriage, they also have a right to continue to define it as between one man and one woman,” he said.

Rubio criticized unelected judges who have been redefining marriage even in states where the people have decided that it should exclusively remain a union of one man and one woman.

“All across this country, we have judges overturning state laws and defining marriage and redefining marriage from the bench,” Rubio said.

Last week, a local judge in Rubio’s home state of Florida ruled that same-sex couples in the Florida Keys could get married, contrary to a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

“Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislatures to change their state laws. But Americans, like myself, who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have a right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing them overturned by a judge.”

“Our nation has in the past demonstrated a tremendous capacity to work through issues like this. And I believe it will do it again. But doing so will require those of us who support traditional marriage to respect those who support same- sex marriage. But it will also require those who support same-sex marriage to respect those of us who support traditional marriage, because tolerance is also a two-way street.”

"However, today there is a growing intolerance on this issue. Intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage," Rubio said.

The senator acknowledged that America’s history “is marred by discrimination against gays and lesbians.”

“Many cities carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay Americans,” he said. “Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. But . . .supporters of same-sex marriage argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are discrimination.”

“I respect their arguments,” Rubio said. “And I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and for society.”

But "thousands of years of human history have shown that the ideal setting for children to grow up is with a mother and a father committed to one another, living together, and sharing the responsibility of raising their children,” the senator said.

“That is the definition of marriage that I personally support - not because I seek to discriminate against people who love someone of the same sex, but because I believe that the union of one man and one woman is a special relationship that has proven to be of great benefit to our society, our nation, and our people, and therefore deserves to be elevated in our laws.”

Rubio mentioned the push earlier this year for Mozilla co-founder Brandon Eich to resign as CEO because of a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of California’s Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages, as an example of growing intolerance towards supporters of traditional marriage.

Last week, a Colorado cake artist appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission that forces him to make cakes for same-sex weddings.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop, was sued by a same-sex couple after refusing to make them a wedding cake in 2012. Citing his religious beliefs, he offered to make them another type of cake instead. The commission’s order also compels Phillips and his staff to undergo anti-discrimination training and file quarterly “compliance” reports for the next two years.

“I promise you that even before this speech is over, I will be attacked as a hater, a bigot, or someone who is anti-gay,” Rubio said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. . .supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay, it is pro-traditional marriage.”

Support among Americans for legalized same-sex marriage has increased to 55 percent, according to a Gallup poll released in May.

SOURCE







Blacking up on the Road to Auschwitz

By Sean Gabb

On Friday, the 25th July, I was called by a female researcher at BBC Radio Ulster for a comment on a story in Northern Ireland. Several members of the Rugby Team there has been photographed at a fancy dress party, with their faces blacked up and wearing chains round their necks. All hell had broken loose on publications of the photographs, and grovelling apologies from all concerned hadn’t been enough to settle things. The local anti-racism bureaucracies were calling for resignations from the Team. Would I, as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, care to make a comment on this?

I could have come out with the boilerplate libertarian reply – that it’s not our business if someone paints his face black or green at a party, or puts on an SS uniform, or hangs himself, or consumes recreational drugs. I could also have said what I do believe about this incident, or what I know about it: that, if the politically correct hegemony makes it almost irresistible not to make jokes, it is uncharitable to laugh at black people in this way. However, I was in a bad mood that day, and so began the following conversation with the researcher:

SIG Can you explain to me why anyone should take offence if a white man chooses to paint his face black?

BBC Because t shows contempt for black people.

SIG I see. Yet there is a black comedian called Lenny Henry who often whites up and mocks white people – and on the BBC. Talking of comedians, the female duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders used to have a sketch where they dressed as fat, working class white men and mocked them. I’m not aware in either case of any outrage and calls for them to be taken off air. Why is it so terrible, then, if a couple of white men paint their faces black? Before I can make a comment on your show, I do need to have it explained what the problem is.

BBC [Long pause] Because they were wearing chains as well. They were mocking slavery.

SIG I think we can both agree that slavery is a terrible thing – and we can celebrate the role of the United Kingdom in putting down both slavery and the slave trade. But is there any reason to suppose that the sportsmen were somehow calling for black people to be made slaves and forced to work on sugar or cotton plantations?

BBC [Another long pause] Making fun of white men is an act of defiance. It’s an attack on patriarchy by the oppressed.

SIG Really? So a couple of women whose comedy has made millionaires of them are oppressed? As for men as a dominant group, is it your ambition to follow French and Saunders into comedy? Men are at a structural disadvantage in divorce and custody proceedings. Men are more often sent to prison than women for the same offences. Men accused of rape are generally treated as guilty until proven innocent. Women who make malicious accusations of rape are seldom punished, and hardly ever harshly. Men die earlier than women. NHS resources committed to male illnesses, such as prostate cancer, are trifling set against the obsession with breast and cervical cancer. Men commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. School teaching and examinations are biased to improving the grades of girls rather than boys. The BBC itself discriminates against men in its hiring and promotion policies. Speaking as a man, I don’t see much evidence of a discourse of patriarchy that consigns women to second place in this country. [Facts here]

BBC [Now impatient] So you think there’s nothing wrong if ethnic minorities are insulted?

SIG I haven’t said that. However, I will elaborate on my earlier comments. We live in a soft totalitarian police state, and the BBC is one of its instruments. Hardly anyone gets locked away for disagreeing with the justifying ideology of multi-culturalism. But dissidents go get stuck in the pillory. They are especially pilloried if there are white men popular with the working classes, and if their disagreement is expressed as mockery. Whatever can be seen as dissident humour – and I really have no idea why those sportsmen blacked up – is portrayed as the start of a continuum than ends in Auschwitz. This has to be done, because nothing is more subversive of a police state than mockery. Also going after these sportsmen in as integral part of manufacturing the appearance of consent. When people can be destroyed for upsetting the inquisitors, the rest of us become vary careful about what we say or do. For most of us, the surest way to be careful is to say or do nothing that is likely to upset. The resulting absence of dissent keeps the unstable equilibrium from falling over….

The debate on air that resulted from this was more Punch and Judy than cultural analysis. To do it justice, the BBC is sometimes a good place for the latter. But a five minute slot, with a nervous presenter to shut me up every few seconds, wasn’t the right place. I sneered at the complainants, pointing out that they were all somewhere on the State’s payroll. At one point, I had to tell the enraged anti-racism campaigner I was up against to shut up and let me have my turn. Before the microphone was turned off on me, I managed to say that this was a story only given prominence because the BBC was a culturally Marxist institution, and that it said more about the obsessions of our ruling class than the wickedness of a few rugby players.

Given another minute without interruptions, I’d have added that apologies never work in these cases. Step on someone’s foot in a railway carriage, or get his name mixed up, and an apology usually works – and may even start an interesting friendship. But do not suppose you can buy off the anti-racist inquisition with an apology. It helps not to get these people sniffing round in the first place. Those sportsmen must have been stupid to think they could get away with what they did – especially in a world where everyone has a mobile telephone packed with recording hardware. After the event, though, the only response should be a shrug and a curt “No comment.” Once you start apologising, these people smell blood and start circling in earnest. Stonewalling works more often than you might suppose. Even when it doesn’t you’ll go down with more dignity on your feet than one your knees.

I sometimes wonder why the BBC lets me so often on air. I’m on the radio once a week on average, and sometimes get an audience of several million. Could it be that the British state broadcaster has a genuine commitment to diversity of opinion, and that, when I make the effort, I can be crisp and entertaining? I doubt this. More likely, the BBC has a legal obligation to go through the motions of allowing a diversity of views, and I have a reputation for not actually swearing at the fools and villains I’m put against.

SOURCE

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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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Wednesday, July 30, 2014


British PM  announces immigration benefits crackdown

David Cameron is to announce tough action on immigration that will halve the amount of time foreigners can claim benefits in the UK.

The Coalition will introduce laws to ensure that European Union migrants can only claim out-of-work benefits for three months, Mr Cameron says in an article for The Telegraph.

The Prime Minister also pledges to stop more than 500,000 British jobs being advertised across the EU and announces tough new curbs on colleges offering visas to “bogus” students.

The Government will make changes to the immigration system that put “Britain first” and ensure that the UK is “a country that is not a soft touch”, Mr Cameron says. “We changed the rules so that no one can come to this country and expect to get out-of-work benefits immediately; they must wait at least three months,” Mr Cameron adds.

“And we are announcing today that we are cutting the time people can claim these benefits for. It used to be that European jobseekers could claim Job Seeker’s Allowance or child benefit for a maximum of six months before their benefits would be cut off, unless they had very clear job prospects.

“I can tell Telegraph readers today that we will be reducing that cut-off point to three months, saying very clearly: you cannot expect to come to Britain and get something for nothing.”

Mr Cameron’s latest intervention on immigration will be seen as an attempt to woo back Conservative voters who have defected to Ukip in recent months.

Under measures announced last year, European immigrants have to wait three months before they can claim out-of-work benefits. They can then claim the benefits for a maximum of six months.

Mr Cameron’s announcement came as the International Monetary Fund warned that “restrictive immigration policies” in the UK “could have a negative impact on productivity growth”. In a report on Britain’s finances the IMF, which last week upgraded its forecast for UK growth to 3.2 per cent this year and 2.7 per cent in 2015, said: “Relaxing immigration requirements in areas with labour shortages, such as manufacturing, could provide a boost to productivity and facilitate the rebalancing of the UK economy.”

There was anger last year after it emerged that under an EU scheme partly funded by British taxpayers, all positions advertised in UK job centres also have to be offered to workers in European member states. UK firms are given as much as £1,000 as a bonus for taking on the foreign workers.

The EURES scheme offers foreigners hundreds of pounds of funding to pay for interviews in the UK, relocation costs and even English lessons.

Of the 2.4 million jobs posted on the EURES site, 1,138,847 are posts in the UK. Jobs at UK firms including Tesco and Sainsbury’s are advertised on the site.

Downing Street said that in future, jobs will only be uploaded to the website if an employer specifically requests that the position is offered across the EU. “Some recruitment agencies have even been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for jobs,” Mr Cameron writes. “So we are banning overseas-only recruitment — legally requiring these agencies to advertise in English in the UK. And today we are announcing a further measure. In the past, all vacancies advertised in Jobcentre Plus were automatically advertised on an EU-wide job portal.

“This meant advertising over a million job vacancies across the EU. So we are going to massively restrict this, aiming to cut back the vacancies on this portal by over 500,000 jobs.”

There have also been growing concerns that colleges are abusing immigration rules offering visas for money so that people can come to the UK to work by pretending that they are here to study.

“Some of the most egregious examples were those claiming to be students, enrolling at bogus colleges,” Mr Cameron says. “We have taken radical action – shutting down more than 750 of these colleges. Today we are announcing a further step to make sure colleges do proper checks on students: if 10 per cent of the students they recruit are refused visas, they will lose their licence.”

In his article, the Prime Minister also highlights a series of measures that have come into force in recent days, including new restrictions on abuses of European human rights laws, which immigrants have used to avoid deportation.

SOURCE





Female brains really ARE different to male minds with women possessing better recall and men excelling at maths

Funily enough

Men’s and women’s brains really are different.

Researchers say that if both sexes had access to the same levels of education, they’d expect women to do best on tests of memory – and men to excel at maths.

The prediction comes after an analysis of how the sexes’ abilities varied across Europe across time.

More than 31,000 men and women aged 50-plus from 13 countries were put through three tests of brainpower.

The test of numeracy involved being given five questions, such as working out how much a cut-price car would have cost when new, while the memory test involved trying to remember a list of ten words.

The third test was of ‘verbal fluency’ – and involved naming as many different animals as possible in a minute.

In northern Europe, women in their 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s consistently outperformed the men in the memory test.

However, in southern Europe, where economic conditions were poorer for longer, the earliest born women did worse than the men. However, as education and living conditions improved, so did their performance and those born from around 1940 onwards beat their male counterparts.

However, the gap narrowed as conditions improved, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

The researchers, from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, said that women may benefit more than men from improvements in lifestyle because they were at a greater disadvantage to begin with.

They said the patterns mean that if men and women had equal access to education, females should do better than men.

Men should still do slightly better in maths – and the sexes should do equally well in quick fire tests of vocabulary.

It is thought the differing strengths can be explained by differences in the biology of the brain as well as in the way the sexes are treated by society.

SOURCE





Hallelujah! The tribunal gravy train's derailed: As workers are made to pay £1,200 fee, discrimination cases plunge by 75%

The multi-billion pound industry built on vexatious discrimination claims against employers has virtually collapsed, it emerged yesterday.

Employment tribunal cases have dropped by three-quarters over the past year, with sex discrimination claims down by 80 per cent and race claims by 60 per cent.

The spectacular decline follows a simple reform introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling last summer – the charging of fees to workers who want to make a claim against their employer.

The charge, which is £1,200 for discrimination claims, is reimbursed to employees who win. But the threat of losing this money appears to have deterred the majority of those who would once have been tempted to claim.

In the first six months of the new fees system, the number of claims to employment tribunals dropped from 109,425 to 20,678.

This fall of nearly 90,000 is a major boost for businesses, which were previously spending around £1.6billion a year in defence costs. There were 191,000 employment claims in the financial year to March 2013.

Around one in five businesses were thought to have been threatened, with the average defence costing £8,500 and compensation to employees who won averaging £10,000 each.

The scale of the collapse was highlighted by the TUC in a report on the impact of the new fees. Trade union leaders argued the reform has meant ‘a huge victory for Britain’s worst bosses’.

TUC chief Frances O’Grady said: ‘By charging up-front fees for harassment and abuse claims the Government has made it easier for bad employers to get away with the most appalling behaviour.’

But there was satisfaction among ministers and business leaders, who believe the system was regularly abused by vexatious claimants, including serial litigants trying to win thousands of pounds for spurious complaints.

The consequences of vexatious claims are most serious for small businesses, which can rarely afford to launch a robust defence. Prior to the new system, claims had more than doubled since the year 2000, when there were around 80,000 a year.

The fees, introduced at the end of July last year, range from £390 for a straightforward claim over unfair dismissal or a failure to pay wages, to £1,200 for sex or race discrimination. But poor claimants can have the fees reduced, or even waived.

If the claimant wins, the tribunal normally orders the employer to reimburse the fees.

The TUC report, based on Ministry of Justice figures, said sex discrimination claims went from 6,017 in the three months to March 2013 to just 1,222 in the same three months this year.

The figures also showed there were 584 claims of race discrimination in July 2013. By January this year the number had fallen to 157.

Equal pay claims also saw a large decline, from 3,654 in March 2013 to 574 in March this year.

John Allan of the Federation of Small Businesses welcomed the changes, saying: ‘Employment tribunals should always be the last resort in an employment dispute as they can be stressful, time consuming and expensive for all parties.’

Justice Minister Shailesh Vara said: ‘It is reasonable to expect people to pay towards the £74million bill taxpayers face for providing the service.’

SOURCE






Malaysian politicians claim it was offensive and disrespectful to Muslims to use Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

And I think it is offensive and disrespectful for Muslims to bad-mouth dogs, who are usually much loved by their owners

The Scottie dogs which stole the show at the spectacular Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow did not get quite as warm a reception with some Malaysian politicians.

The animals which led each team in the parade of athletes at the event in Celtic Park proved a hit on Twitter - but have earned the ire of officials in the Islamic country as dogs are considered unclean by some Muslim scholars.

During the parade of athletes, each team was led by a Scots man or woman in tweeds walking a Scottish terrier wearing a jacket bearing the name of the country.

Judy Murray tweeted after the ceremony: 'Scottie dogs in tartan coats at CG opening ceremony. Barkingly brilliant.'

Jackie Baillie MSP tweeted: 'Just love the Scottie dogs! Can I have one please?" while Heather Patterson wrote: "These Scottie dogs are the best thing about this ceremony... pure class.'

However, Mohamad Sabu, the deputy president of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party said: 'Malaysia and all Islamic countries deserve an apology from the organiser.

'This is just so disrespectful to Malaysia and Muslims – especially as it happened during Ramadan,' he added, according to the Daily Telegraph.

'Muslims are not allowed to touch dogs, so the organiser should have been more aware and sensitive on this issue. It is hoped this incident can teach other Western countries to be more respectful in the future.'

Dato Ibrahim Bin Ali, a far-Right politician, former MP and founder and president of Malay supremacist group Perkasa called the use of the dogs 'shameful' and 'offensive'.

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said there have been no complaints about the dogs from any of the nations taking part.

SOURCE

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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, July 29, 2014


Is the Left anti-Semitic? Sadly, it is heading that way

By Brendan O'Neill

There has been a lot of talk over the past two weeks about whether it is anti-Semitic to oppose Israel’s attack on Gaza. Radical Leftists and liberal commentators have insisted (perhaps a bit too much?) that there is nothing remotely anti-Semitic about their anger with Israel or their fury on behalf of battered, bruised and bombed Palestinians. And of course they are right that it is entirely possible to oppose Israel’s militarism without harbouring so much as a smidgen of dislike for the Jewish people. Some will oppose the war in Gaza simply because they are against wars in general, especially ones that impact on civilians.

However, it seems pretty clear to me that much of the left in Europe and America is becoming more anti-Semitic, or at least risks falling into the trap of anti-Semitism, sometimes quite thoughtlessly. In the language it uses, in the ideas it promotes, in the way in which it talks about the modern world, including Israel, much of the Left has adopted a style of politics that has anti-Semitic undertones, and sometimes overtones. The key problem has been the Left’s embrace of conspiratorial thinking, its growing conviction that the world is governed by what it views as uncaring “cabals”, “networks”, self-serving lobbyists and gangs of bankers, all of which has tempted it to sometimes turn its attentions towards those people who historically were so often the object and the target of conspiratorial thinking – the Jews.

Yes, one can hate Israel’s attack on Gaza without hating the Jews. But there’s no denying that the hatred being expressed for Israel’s attack on Gaza is different to the opposition to all other acts of militarism in recent times. Just compare the huge 2003 Hyde Park demo against the Iraq War with the recent London demos against Israel’s attack on Gaza. The former had an air of resignation; it expressed a mild, middle-class sense of disappointment with Tony Blair, through safe, soft slogans like “Not In My Name”. The latter, by contrast, have been fiery and furious, with screeching about murder and mayhem and demands that the Israeli ambassador to the UK be booted out. Some attendees have held up placards claiming that Zionists control the British media while others have accused both London and Washington of “grovelling” before an apparently awesomely powerful Israeli Lobby.

This is a recurring theme in anti-Israel sentiment today: the idea that a powerful, sinister lobby of Israel lovers has warped our otherwise respectable leaders here in the West, basically winning control of Western foreign policy. You see it in cartoons depicting Israeli leaders as the puppet masters of politicians like William Hague and Tony Blair. You can hear it in Alexi Sayle’s much-tweeted claim that the “Western powers” kowtow to Israel because they are “frightened of it… frightened of the power that it wields”. You can see it in the arguments of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their popular book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, which holds an apparently super-powerful pro-Israel lobby in the heart of Washington responsible for the Iraq War and all other kinds of disasters. The claim is often made that Israel has corrupted Western officials, commanding them to carry out its dirty work.

Sound familiar? Yes, this has terrible echoes of the old racist idea that Jewish groups controlled Western politics and frequently propelled the world into chaos – an idea that was especially popular in the early to mid-20th-century Europe. Very often, anti-Israel protesters treat Israel not just as a nation at war – like Britain, America or France, which also frequently launch wars that kill huge numbers of civilians – but also as the warper of policy and morality in the West, as a source of poison in global affairs, as the architect of instability across the globe. Indeed, a few years ago a poll of Europeans found that a majority of them view Israel as “the biggest threat to world peace”. So Israel is undoubtedly singled out by Leftists and others, and even more significantly it is singled out in a way that the Jews used to be singled out – that is, as a sinister, self-serving corrupter of nations and causer of chaos.

Much of today’s anti-Israel protesting has a conspiracy-theory feel to it, with its talk about powerful lobby groups designing wars behind closed doors in order to isolate Israel’s enemies and boost Israel’s fortunes. And this is in keeping with Left-wing politics generally, today. The Left has increasingly embraced a conspiracy-theory view of the world. It is now very common to hear Leftists talk about the “cabals of neocons” who control world affairs, or the “cult of bankers” who wreak havoc on our economies, or the Murdoch Empire that “orchestrates public life from the shadows” (to quote Labour MP Tom Watson). All seriously analytical and nuanced readings of international trends and political dynamics have been elbowed aside by contemporary Leftists, who prefer instead to argue that dark, hidden, mysterious forces are ruining politics, plotting wars, and enriching themselves at the expense of the poor. And, as history shows us, there is a thin line between railing against wicked cabals and cults and wondering out loud whether the Jews are secretly running world affairs, or at least wielding a disproportionate influence.

Indeed, some of the most influential trends in Left-wing politics over the past five years – including the Occupy movement and the Wikileaks movement – were both given to conspiracy-theorising and both also had a bit of a problem with anti-Semitism. So Occupy was kickstarted by Adbusters, a magazine convinced that powerful corporations control the masses’ fickle minds. In 2004, Adbusters published a disgustingly anti-Semitic article titled “Why Won’t Anyone Say They Are Jewish?”, which listed the neocons in the Bush administration and put a black mark next to the names of those who are Jewish. Not surprisingly, Occupy itself, which was obsessed with the baleful influence of small cliques of bankers and other faceless, evil people, often crossed the line into anti-Semitism, as the Washington Post reported. And Wikileaks, too, which is also a borderline conspiracy-theory outfit, what with its obsession with the “conspiratorial interactions among the political elite”, has had issues with anti-Semitism: one of its key researchers, Israel Shamir, was exposed by the Guardian as being “notorious for [his] Holocaust denial and publishing a string of anti-Semitic articles”.

It is not an accident that the three key planks of the Left-wing outlook today – the anti-Israel anti-war sentiment, the shallow anti-capitalism of Occupy, and the worship of those who leak info from within the citadels of power – should all have had issues with anti-Semitism. It is because the left, feeling isolated from the public and bereft of any serious means for understanding modern political and economic affairs, has bought into a super-simplistic, black-and-white, borderline David Icke view of the world as a place overrun and ruled by cabals and cults and sinister lobby groups. And who has always, without fail, been the final cabal, the last cult, to find themselves shouldering the ultimate blame for the warped, hidden workings of politics, the economy and foreign turmoil? You got it – the Jews.

SOURCE






'Compensation culture gone mad': Dog owner sues for £5,000 over pet's slipped disc - when it gets its legs caught in the grass on council land as it chases a cat

A dog owner plans to sue a council for thousands of pounds after her pet slipped a disc in grass while chasing a cat. Scooby, a three-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was injured after getting his leg caught in long grass on council-owned land in Brighton, East Sussex.

His disabled owner Rebecca Richardson, 48, claims that she now faces a £5,000 veterinary bill which she cannot afford to pay as she lives on benefits.

Campaigners criticised Mrs Richardson and her husband Steven, 49, for their claim and said it was yet another example of the ‘compensation culture gone mad’.

But Mrs Richardson said Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns her house and the land outside it, was negligent and ‘completely responsible’ for what happened to her pet.

She claimed that she and other neighbours had been asking for the long grass outside their homes to be cut for a month before the accident.

The mother-of-one also said that the council, which says it yet to receive a complaint from her about the grass, was ‘lying’.

‘I was walking my dog and when we got close to my home, he noticed a cat and chased after it,’ she said.

‘He chased the cat up a bank and caught his leg in the grass and now he has a slipped disc. Surgery will cost around £5,000.

‘The grass was too long, it was much taller than Scooby - he was buried in the grass. We’ve been complaining to the council for four weeks about the length of the grass outside our home.

‘All the tenants on the road have been trying to get the grass cut because it is so long. I reported it to the council straight away but they claimed nothing was ever reported to them, which is a complete lie.

‘I would like to pursue it and sue them because they are completely responsible and liable for what happened to my poor dog.’

Mrs Richardson said the accident has left her husband and their son Rhys, 17, feeling ‘devastated’ because the family may have to give up Scooby if they cannot raise the money for his operation.

The couple claim Disability Living Allowance because they are unable to work due to back and hip problems.

Mrs Richardson last worked 18 years ago as a cleaner in a hotel but had to leave the job due to mental health issues.

Meanwhile, her husband was a binman in Dorking, Surrey, but was forced to retire 10 years ago because of his back problems.

Mrs Richardson said: ‘I want to take further action with the council - I would like to sue them.

‘It is so unfair we have a dog who needs an operation, but we do not have the money to pay for it - we may be forced to give him up.

‘We will have to send him to a vet surgery for an operation and then they will find him a new home. But I can’t do that, he is part of our family.’

The couple have another dog, a nine-year-old Corgi and Pomeranian cross called Babe.

‘I want to take Scooby out for a walk with Babe, but he obviously cannot come,' said Mrs Richardson.

'He is depressed, being unable to go on long walks is clearly getting him down. He loved chasing balls and loved going out for walks - it is so sad seeing him like this.

‘We are all absolutely devastated, my son broke down when we told him we may have to give Scooby up. This is affecting us every day.'

She added: 'He could be paralysed, he needs surgery as soon as possible - but we just do not have the money.

‘Being in our situation, it is difficult - we are on benefits. I want to sue the council but we do not have any money to sue them, but it is unfair because the council are definitely liable for what happened.

‘They should pay for the surgery, it is their fault and I am pointing the finger at the council.’

Andy Silvester, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: ‘This is a perfect storm of council neglect and compensation culture gone mad.

‘The council has got to do a better job of looking after the local area, but it’s ridiculous that taxpayers will be left with a potentially huge bill.’

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said it will investigate any complaint Mrs Richardson makes.

SOURCE






'Don't drink bleach': New business minister reveals bizarre sign his family's firm needed to pass health and safety inspections

Health and safety inspectors refused to sign-off the family firm of a government minister until they put up a sign telling people not to drink bleach.

Business minister Matt Hancock revealed the bizarre experience as he railed against ‘heavy-handed’ jobsworths threatening small firms with unnecessary rules and regulations.

Promoted to attend Cabinet in this month’s reshuffle, he will tomorrow unveil plans to allow companies to collect evidence of over-officious red-tape getting in the way of doing business.

The government claims there are too many bodies inspecting businesses, often duplicating work and imposing unnecessary and costly burdens on those struggling to stay afloat.

Mr Hancock says he understands the struggles people face with the ‘stress and worry of meeting monthly bills’ and they should not be added to with pointless inspections.

He grew up watching his parents build an IT software firm, and the impact of daft regulations when it was visited by health and safety inspectors.

Without a sign expressly warning people about the perils of drinking bleach, they would have been failed, he says.

'The only thing they could find that was wrong was that there was a bottle of bleach in the kitchen that wasn't labelled correctly,’ he told The Sunday Times.

‘I remember writing the poster that says, 'There is bleach in the cupboard, please do not drink it.' When we put that up they passed us.’

He later added: ‘When I was growing up my parents started and grew a small software firm in Chester, so I’ve seen first-hand the stress and worry of meeting monthly bills and the constant search for new finance.

‘It’s these personal insights that power this government's determination to make Britain the best place in the world to start up and grow a business.’

Tomorrow he will announce plans to allow business groups to collect and present evidence of excessive burdens to ministers and regulators.

It means industry bodies themselves will review enforcement of regulation in their sectors.  It will cover fresh produce and livestock industries first, before being rolled out to other sectors.

Mr Hancock added: ‘The worst cases are where there are two different regulators. One says: "You've got to do this" and the other says: "If you do that, I'll fine you." There are 11 different regulators of farms. The aim is to have one group of people who take into account all the different regulations and check they are being applied in a reasonable way.’

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, which will return to Parliament in the autumn, aims to reduce red-tape on growing firms.

It includes better access to finance, and making it easier for a small business to get a loan from a lender other than their bank.

New ‘cheque imaging’ technology – where recipients use a smartphone to take a picture of a cheque – will speed up clearing times from six days to two days.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Every village, town and city throughout the country is host to a range of small businesses from shops, garages and caf├ęs, to manufacturing firms and tech start-ups. We are backing business every step of the way with the first small business bill, to help create the prosperity and secure the jobs we need.

‘Small businesses are the driving force of our economy and this bill is part of the government’s commitment to back enterprise and help firms to start-up and scale-up.’

SOURCE






Don’t want to drug your child? You may be a criminal

During his years in Congress, Campaign for Liberty Chairman Ron Paul often spoke out against the over-use of “psychotropic” drugs like Ritalin. Despite psychotropic drugs’ documented dangers, they are still prescribed to children without parental consent. Some parents have even lost custody of their children for defying government officials and medical “experts” and refusing to give their children psychotropic drugs.

For example, Michigan Mom Maryanne Godboldo took her child off the drug Risperdal because of concerns over how the drug was making her daughter “horribly ill… aggressive and violent.” When Mrs. Godboldo refused to comply with an order from Child Protective Services (CPS) to place her daughter back on the drug, CPS obtain a court order taking custody of her daughter away from Mrs. Godboldo.  CPS decided the best way to protect the child was to call in a SWAT team–complete with a tank– to attempt to remove the child from her home.

The result was an hours-long stand-off, ending with Mrs. Godbolo being charged with a felony for firing a shot into her ceiling. Fortunately, Mrs. Godbolo was able to regain custody of her daughter and has so far successfully fought the legal charges against her.

SOURCE

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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

***************************

Monday, July 28, 2014


Some women really do prefer mean guys, research suggests

What your pals told you may be true, guys: at least early in a relationship, being too nice to a woman doesn't help, and may even backfire. So suggest the results of new research.

But while that was found to be the overall trend, results may vary depending on the woman.

The three-part study found that whereas men prefer more "responsive" women, women may or may not prefer more "responsive" men. Women's reaction to such men was, on average, marginally negative. Researchers defined "responsiveness" as being supportive of another person's needs and goals.

It's not clear why women react this way; "it may not necessarily have to do with `being nice'," said said Gurit Birnbaum of the the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, lead researcher in the work, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

She added that women may perceive a responsive stranger as inappropriately nice, possibly as someone trying to win sexual favors, "or eager to please, perhaps even as desperate." Or, she added, "women may perceive a responsive man as vulnerable and less dominant. Regardless of the reasons, perhaps men should slow down if their goal is to instill sexual desire."

On the other hand, she said, some women "may perceive a responsive stranger as warm and caring and therefore as a desirable longterm partner."

The studies sought to find out to what extent "responsiveness" might help in landing a second date with someone.

"Sexual desire thrives on rising intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time," said Birnbaum. But "our findings show that this does not necessarily hold true in an initial encounter, because a responsive potential partner may convey opposite meanings to different people."

In a first experiment, the researchers examined whether responsiveness is perceived as feminine or masculine, and whether men or women perceived a responsive person of the opposite sex as sexually desirable. Men who perceived female partners as more responsive also rated them as more feminine, and more attractive. Women on average showed marginally less attraction to men they perceived as responsive, though they didn't rate such men as less masculine.

Participants in a second experiment were asked to interact with a responsive or nonresponsive person of the opposite sex, and view that person's photo (the same photo was given to each participant). They were then asked to interact online with this person, and discuss a current problem in their life. The responsiveness of the virtual individual was manipulated, for example, "You must have gone through a very difficult time" as a responsive reply, versus "Doesn't sound so bad to me" as a nonresponsive reply.

Men who interacted with a responsive female rated her as more feminine and as more sexually attractive.

Women are more cautious than men when interpreting a stranger's expressions of responsiveness, Birnbaum said. And their perceptions, seemingly unaffected by perceived responsiveness, may reflect conflicting trends among different women.

A third and last study tested whether responsiveness might activate "motivational mechanisms" for men that fuel pursuit of either shortterm or longterm sexual relationships. A female partner's actual responsiveness led men to perceive her as more feminine, and consequently to feel more sexually aroused. That, in turn, was linked to both increased perception of partner attractiveness and greater desire for a longterm relationship with her.

SOURCE






All women should adopt the Fifties lifestyle to save their marriages

Woman, 49, who lives like it's 1950, claims cooking, cleaning and sewing makes her a better wife

A wife who went back in time to live like it’s still the 1950s claims that the retro lifestyle has saved her marriage.

Mandy Jones, 49, spends her free time cooking, cleaning and darning her husband Gary’s socks. She also dresses in vintage frocks, drives a 1949 Chevrolet and listens to rockabilly records on her jukebox, just like teens from sixty years ago.

Mandy, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, claims going back in time has saved her marriage which was 'stuck in a rut'.

Controversially, the part-time caterer, said that all women should adopt the lifestyle if they want to keep their man happy. She said: 'It may seem strange and we get the odd nasty comment, but this way of life works for us and has saved our marriage.

'We love everything about the 1950s, from the clothes to the way of life. Since we started living like this I’ve been a better wife and Gary and I are closer than ever.  'We should all take advice from our grandparents and start living the Fifties way.'

After deciding something needed to be done to keep her marriage to Gary, 48, alive, she travelled back in time to the 1950s. Now every night when Gary comes home from work, his dutiful wife has dinner on the table - and they tuck into wholesome 1950s food in their American diner-style kitchen.

When they first met 30 years ago they bonded over their love of rockabilly and Fifties fashion. But five years ago their passion for the decade reached new heights when they decided to go back in time and live like it is the 1950s.

Bored of their everyday life, Mandy said she was willing to go to extreme lengths to save their marriage, saying: 'Gary and I were sick of the same routine and we were bickering on a daily basis.
'We spent our weekends drinking at the pub until the early hours and it just got so boring.'

The couple decided to take the plunge and dedicate every aspect of their lives to the decade, decorating their entire house - and even building a 1950s-style diner.

Mandy perfected vintage hairstyles and started making her own retro-style clothes in a bid to impress her husband.

Now, instead of booze-filled weekends, the pair go dancing together and take trips in their Chevrolet to vintage fairs.
She said: 'We’re a lot happier living in the 1950s way, it has improved our marriage and enriched our lives.

'Before, we didn’t have much to excite us apart from drinking but now we do all sorts together and it keeps our relationship fresh.

'After a bad day there is nothing better than putting our jukebox on and doing a quick Lindy Hop.'

Mandy is now encouraging others to follow in her and Gary’s footsteps, claiming they too could save their marriage. She said: '1950s marriages definitely work better than marriages these days.
'The divorce rate is so high at the moment and it never used to be in the past. We should all take advice from our grandparents and start living the Fifties way.'

The divorce rate in 1950 was 26 per cent and 42 per cent in 2013.

SOURCE






Liberals Hate Civil Rights - Especially When Conservatives Exercise Them

Liberals never met a civil right they didn't dislike. As with everything about liberal ideology, liberals’ great concern for civil rights is a scam, a lie, a fraud designed to sucker in the weak-minded and disguise their goosesteppy inclinations.

They care about civil rights like Michael Bay cares about Oscar night.

Sure, liberals pose as advocates of civil liberties, but only when they don’t have the power to squash them. In my new book, Conservative Insurgency, a speculative future history of the struggle to restore our system and culture, the left’s coordinated attack on our Constitutional rights is one of the biggest motivations for the pushback that results in conservatism’s final victory.

Yeah, the story has a happy ending.

But don't listen to me. Listen to the liberals. Let's take a look at our Bill of Rights and see which amendments liberals like. Here’s a hint: There aren’t many.

There's the First Amendment, which lists rights such as free speech and freedom of religion. Liberals are against them.

Don't think so? Ask a liberal whether he supports Harry Reid’s plan to repeal part of the First Amendment. He does.

Liberals hate the way the Citizens United decision recognizes that people still have the right to speak freely when they speak together. The feds, defending the law Citizens United overturned, told the Supreme Court that the law could allow the government to ban a book critical of a politician.

Yeah. Liberals think the First Amendment is bad because it protects people from being jailed for writing books. Unbelievable? Don’t believe me. Believe right-wing stalwart Jeffrey Toobin of the ultra-conservative New Yorker.

How about the whole religious freedom thing? Well, 20 years ago even Ted Kennedy thought it was okay to protect people's right of religious conscience when he led the enactment of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that underlay the Hobby Lobby decision. Today, for liberals, the right to religious liberty pales against their “right” to boss you around.

So much for the First Amendment. How about the Second. Seriously? The idea of free Americans armed to protect themselves, their communities and their Constitution terrifies liberals. That freedom-loving Americans are able to defend themselves from the left’s most secret fascist fantasies fills them with fussiness.

On the Bill of Rights, so far liberals are zero for two.

What about the Third Amendment, the one about quartering soldiers in private homes? This is a toss-up. Liberals want to harass soldiers, who they see as hillbilly knuckledraggers useful only as photo op backdrops, but they also can’t resist intruding on private property. Call it a wash.

There’s the Fourth Amendment, but since the Obama administration probably read this column the minute I emailed it off, you can safely put this one down in the “Against” column.

Liberals are loving the Fifth Amendment more and more these days, as every Obama administration flunky seems to be taking it. We’ll call that one “For,” at least until it stops being useful to them.

Sixth Amendment due process rights? This whole “fair trial” thing is a huge hassle. They want the bureaucrats to handle that, not courts. For example, now the EPA apparently wants to garnish people’s wages without due process for bothering elk.

Liberals love the Seventh Amendment! It guarantees a Democrat-donor trial lawyer the right to have his crappy product liability lawsuit involving a plaintiff who is suing because his hammer was defective because it hurt when he hit himself in the head with it is heard by a jury composed of people who were unable to figure out how to get out of jury duty.

The Eighth Amendment against excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishment? The liberals loved the idea of fining into oblivion companies that didn’t want to pay for abortifacients. As for cruel and unusual punishment, they’ll be for that once the trials for political heresy get underway.

The Ninth Amendment? Liberalism is literally built on denying and disparaging rights retained by the people.

How about the Tenth Amendment, the one that reserves unenumerated rights to the states or to the people? Unenumerated rights? Liberals don’t even like the enumerated ones.

In sum, of ten amendments, liberals are against seven, in favor of one because it makes Democrat ambulance chasers rich, in favor of another as long as it keeps them out of jail, and torn about one because it’s too hard to choose between shafting our warriors or shafting property owners.

So, what do the liberals really think of civil rights? Not much. To liberals, the Constitution doesn’t have a Bill of Rights. It has a List of Suggestions.

SOURCE





What We Women Want

Just the other day when I was home in Dunn, a woman standing in the checkout line told me that she felt as though she had less money in her pocket. And, unfortunately, she’s right. Did you know that the average clothing cost for children has risen $310 during the president’s term and that food costs have risen an average of $210? Or that an average family of four is missing as much as $1,120 from their monthly budget? I bet women do.

No one understands the true implications of these missing dollars better than women. Women are the ones balancing the household checkbook, worrying about health care and education decisions for their families, and are the ones sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the month crunching numbers to figure out how to cut costs so the dollars don’t run out before the month does. I understand this because I have done this – and still do. Having worked at the local Burger King during high school, and then paying my way through community college and nursing school, I can relate to the pressures that women feel.

Women talk to me every day about the situations they face at work and home, and how they want a government that works to find solutions. My colleagues and I want to work together for solutions too. Our goal is to empower and engage every woman in this country, regardless of political-leaning or socioeconomic status. We are aware of the facts. The sad fact is that for every job the White House boasts about creating, two new people were added to the food stamp program. Additionally, if we were to factor in the number of people who have given up looking for work, real unemployment would be an astounding 10.2 percent. This is inexcusable. Our job is fighting to create good-paying jobs, grow a healthy economy and help hardworking Americans keep more of their paycheck.

So what are we doing in the House to resolve this? House Republicans are passing legislation with our Democrat colleagues to create jobs and get Americans back to work. There are currently 321 bills that have passed in the House of Representatives, yet still await action in the Senate. Just this past week, the House took up several bills to improve educational access and affordability for young Americans—providing higher-ed opportunities to support families and spur economic growth. To further tackle the issue of unemployment, the House passed legislation called the SKILLS Act which helps workers to acquire the education and skills-training they need for in-demand jobs. This legislation gives women new opportunities by providing them with the hands-on training necessary to transition into a new field of work or move up the ladder. Our party is one of solutions, and we are working for the American people to ensure that we are making their lives easier.

Unfortunately, due to the current Obama economy, I understand the need to stretch every dollar. However, surging gas prices, increasingly-high food and childcare costs do not have to be the norm. Fortunately, women have the opportunity to change the status-quo. We represent nearly 52 percent of the voting electorate, and we are the ones who are going to determine which direction our country heads. The woman who juggles a hectic schedule at work, packs school lunches for her children, finds the time to balance her household checkbook, and makes critical healthcare decisions for her family will be the same woman who will determine elections and policies that will influence our country.

Imagine a time in the future, when all women can turn on the nightly news and hear how something actually got done in Washington. Instead of learning about increasing costs or the new bills she will have to pay, she will hear how decisions made in Washington that day made her life a little easier and a little less chaotic.

This is what my colleagues and I are fighting for every day— a bright future for women and all Americans.

SOURCE

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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, July 27, 2014


Hitler lives  -- in America

A Israel defends itself against rocket fire and genocidal attack, the demonization of Israel and the scourge of raw anti-Semitism reappear

As Israel continues its dangerous incursion into Gaza to suppress Hamas terrorism and unceasing rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, predictably, the UN, the world media, and intellectual elites have initiated their collective denunciation of the Jewish state. More alarming have been the pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Boston, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, and other U.S. and European cities which quickly devolved into anti-Semitic riots, with protestors yelling such epithets at pro-Israel counter demonstrators including such vile comments as, “Jews back to Birkenau” and “Drop dead, you Zionazi whores.”

In Boston, student supporters of Israel were surrounded by angry demonstrators, physically assaulted, and called “Jesus killers,” asked how many babies they had each murdered, and told they would “burn” for supporting Israel.

During Operation Cast Lead, the 2008-09 incursion by Israel into Gaza, campus radicals rose up in a similar manner, demonizing Israel for defending itself, accusing Jewish students and other supporters of Israel of being racist oppressors and supporting the “genocide” of Palestinian Arabs, and sponsoring campus events in which Israel, Zionism, and Jews were libeled, assaulted, and attacked for simply trying to live in peace.

Facing a fall semester of radicalism and hatred

We know from history that this fall campuses will again be in turmoil as pro-Palestinian activists, radical professors, and Muslim student groups agitate for resolutions, sanctions, and aggressive censure of Israel, and will use the recent events in Gaza as a platform for their continuing campaign to demonize Israel and intimidate Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of the Jewish state.

SPME addressed this same anti-Israel activism last semester as well in events such as these:

* At San Francisco State University the General Union of Palestinian Students organized an event at which students sold a t-shirt lauding Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, and the GUPS president, Mohammad Hammad, expressed the wish for all Israelis to be killed. Students were encouraged to use a stencil bearing the image of a notorious terrorist and another that stated, "MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS KILLED COLONIZERS"

* At University of Michigan, pro-Palestinian radicals promoting a BDS resolution on campus yelled “dirty Jew” and “get off campus, kikes” at pro-Israel students

* At Vassar College, members of Students for Justice in Palestine physically blocked faculty and students, passed out fliers, and verbally assaulted them as they attempted to enter a classroom where an International Studies course was being held because the course involved a trip to Israel and the West Bank. After a school-wide meeting was called by the diversity office to discuss the “ethics” of the trip, campus radicals continued to demonize Israel, harass the two Jewish professors leading the trip, and argue for the necessity for boycotts against Israel

* The American Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, and other academic associations continue to propose resolutions to boycott Israeli academic institutions, making the claim that Israeli academic institutions-and only Israeli ones-should be targeted for a boycott that marginalizes Jewish scholars because of the policies of their government. Radical faculty within these associations hold secret meetings and enlist the support of well-known Israel-haters who seek the destruction of the Jewish state.

Email from SPME






Female coder live-tweets overheard sexist remarks 'made by lunching IBM execs' who refuse to hire young women because they 'get pregnant again and again and again'

What the men were saying was perfectly reasonable given the many laws in existence which give women costly and disruptive special treatment  -- maternity leave etc.  Pro-women laws are so extreme in Sweeden that very few businesses will hire any.  Most women can find jobs with the Swedish government only.  British and Canadian laws are however moving in the Swedish direction.  With the shortsightedness that is typical of the Left, feminists will never be able to see such problems however.

A group of IBM execs underestimated the all-pervading power of the Internet when they obliviously made loudmouth sexist remarks during a business lunch - which were overheard and subsequently live-tweeted by a furious female coder at the next table.

Lyndsay Kirkham, an editor and freelance web developer in Toronto, had her birthday lunch ruined on Monday as she listened to the 'Big Blue' suits explain that they don't hire young women because 'they are just going to get themselves pregnant again and again and again'.

Ms Kirkham, a mother to five-year-old Aodhan, wrote: 'These executives are so comfortable in the sexism that they are openly sharing. Wow. My disbelief is tempering my anger. #IBM.'

Ms Kirkham had just sat down to lunch at the Richtree restaurant in Toronto with her son and her son's father, when she heard two men at the table next to her being 'obnoxiously loudly and belligerent' about their hiring strategies.

The 36-year-old told MailOnline today: 'It caught my attention because they were talking on what I am passionate about, women working in technology.'

Ms Kirkham is head editor of Demeter Press and has an MA in English and Computer Science from the University of Toronto.

She works part-time in web development and does volunteer projects for women's organizations.

She said the men were in the 50-plus age range and very well-dressed.

She said that their loud remarks, with little heed of who was nearby, made her question if they had been drinking but she saw no evidence of alcohol.

Ms Kirkham told MailOnline on Wednesday that her anger grew as she listened to the men explain that they would hire 'mature' women who were not likely to have more children.

She said: 'They said that women needed to take more breaks and longer holidays due to ''work-family stress''.'

The execs also named specific women in their department who they were 'anticipating to take time off to have children' in the next few years, Ms Kirkham said.

The two men were then joined by a woman, believed to be a colleague, who nodded along in agreement at their misogynistic diatribe.  'Women can be just as responsible for sexism as men,' Ms Kirkham added.

The coder considered taking photos of the offending IBM execs but said she felt strongly about protecting their personal right to privacy.

The editor told MailOnline: 'This is a such a serious issue. They seemed to be willing to cut off, or not even consider, young women for career advancement and saw them only as baby machines.'

The working mother said that her run-in with the tech execs speaks to a more systemic problem for women in technology - whether in gaming, web design or at a corporate Goliath.

She said: 'It is rampant across the board. Anytime a woman goes to a tech conference, she has to worry about being harassed.

'Any time I write an article about technology, I have a man telling me that I don't know what I'm doing with a computer.'

Virginia Marie Rometty is the current chairman and CEO of IBM, the first woman to have ever headed the company.

When her role was announced in 2012, retiring CEO Samuel Palmisano told The New York Times: 'Ginni got it because she deserved it. It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies.'

According to the company's global employment standards: 'IBM will not discriminate in hiring, promotion, compensation of employees and employment practices on grounds of race, color, religion, age, nationality, social or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, political affiliation, disability or veteran status.'

SOURCE





California puts limits on full-contact youth football

California lawmakers have a new plan to make football safer for young players: Put a time limit on tackling.

Under a law signed Monday by Governor Jerry Brown, youth football teams are allowed just three hours of full-contact play per week during the season. In the off-season, full-contact play is not allowed at all. The law will also delay an injured player's return to the field. Players who are suspected of having head injuries cannot play for the rest of that day and must obtain approval from a medical professional before going back into a game.

The issue of football head injuries grabbed headlines nationally in the fall of 2013 as the NFL reached a $US765 million deal with 4500 former players who suffered such injuries. The issue also reached the high school level last year after a Mississippi parent filed the first federal lawsuit involving a high school athletic association over the treatment of concussions.

California Assemblyman Ken Cooley, a Democrat who drafted the legislation, said it will reduce the risk of lasting brain damage among players in middle school and high school.

Many states, including Alabama, Maryland and Texas, have added restrictions on full-contact play in the past year. At a conference this year, top health and college sports officials discussed a national mandate to limit the amount of full-contact practices.

Laws regulating youth football began sweeping the country in 2006, when a 13-year-old player suffered multiple blows to the head and fell into a coma for three months. Zackery Lystedt still walks with a cane and has limited speaking abilities - but continues to push for stronger regulation.

Every state now has safeguards against youth concussions. In January, Mississippi became the final state to pass a youth concussion law. A few months later, Indiana became the first state to require concussion education for coaches. The program is funded by a $US45 million national grant awarded to the Indianapolis-based youth organisation USA Football.

About 140,000 high school athletes sustained concussions in 2012, according to data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System.

The National Football League has also pushed for concussion safety bills on the federal level. A pair of bills requiring concussion prevention training were floated in Congress last year, though neither made it to a full vote.

SOURCE





Muslims Purge Christians From Mosul

Many people may be surprised to learn that Christians and Jews have lived peacefully in Muslim lands since Islam began. Christians and Jews predate Islam. Muhammad considered himself the last in the line of the prophets beginning with those of the Old Testament and continuing through to Jesus. Though not a paragon of virtue by any stretch, Muhammad respected the Bible enough to call Christians and Jews the “People of the Book,” and he granted them the right to live in Islamic lands and practice their religions. He considered others non-believers.

Islam divides the world in two: the House of Islam and the House of War. Muhammad told his followers to fight until non-believers submit to Islamic rule. From Islam’s beginning, Muhammad waged jihad against non-believers, using all the tactics of the ancient world: torture, rape, pillage, slavery and division of the spoils.

Then in the 20th century Islam’s tolerance of Jews and Christians began to disappear. Now terrorists widely practice heinous religious bigotry throughout the Middle East, and the great imams say nothing if not praise for such barbarism.

For months, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which now calls itself just the Islamic State, has waged jihad in Syria and Iraq, racing from sector to sector, crushing resistance. This borderless nation of Islamists is what we have long dubbed Jihadistan.

Last month, ISIL invaded Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city – a place where far too much American blood was spilled in what is now a lost cause. ISIL demanded that Christians pay a tax for non-Muslims, convert to Islam, leave or die. Reportedly, all Christian residents chose to leave. As they left, soldiers forced them to surrender all of their possessions except the clothes they wore. The flight of Christians from Mosul ends two millennia of Christian habitation in this historic city.

Since the U.S. invasion, more than one million Christians have been exiled from Iraq while an estimated 300,000 still remain.

And Iraq and Syria are not alone. Jihadis in Egypt and parts of Africa are driving thousands of Coptic Christians from their ancestral homes. As usual, Islamic imams and Western leaders are ignoring this descent into a new Dark Age.

So far the golfer-in-chief has remained silent on the issue of international Christian persecution. While the White House waged a pathetic hashtag campaign for the Nigerian girls abducted by jihadis, virtually nothing has been said or done to help Christians in Iraq. Also, Meriam Ibrahim, a pregnant Christian woman in Sudan, was sentenced to death for recanting her Islamic faith. She’s been jailed, released, jailed again and released again. Although she’s now at the American Embassy, Sudanese officials are playing cat and mouse with her and refuse to let her leave the country, claiming her passport is forged. Silence from the administration.

But fear not, Barack Obama and his sidekick Joe Biden have launched their own war on prejudice – international LGBT prejudice. Speaking to a group of U.S. and international homosexual rights advocates, Biden said that Obama has ordered U.S. foreign relations agencies to make LGBT rights a priority in dealings with nations throughout the world. “I don’t care what your culture is,” Biden sermonized. “Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice.”

Taking a stern tone, Biden also warned, “[T]here is a price to pay for being inhumane…” He called homosexual rights “the civil rights issue of our day.” The administration has lectured countries like Uganda and Senegal for anti-homosexuality laws that are, in part, meant to curb the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa.

But what about Christian and Jewish rights? Where’s the outrage from the leader of the free world when it comes to the hateful persecution and violence against these people? The arrogance and hypocrisy of this administration would choke the devil himself.

It is frightening to ponder the religious bigotry growing in the world today. Anti-Semitism is rising again in Europe and here in the U.S. – a disease we thought had been stamped out over 60 years ago. Muslim jihadis grow in number everyday. Where we go from here is anyone’s guess.

SOURCE

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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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