The Price of Profanity

While Americans are focused on the run-up to the General Election, Brits are in a frenzy over a late night prank on BBC Radio 2. Now you might think that put in perspective, the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross scandal is insignificant. Perhaps it is. But in and of itself, it is quite significant.

There are a significant number of people who think it is much ado about nothing. They argue that only two people complained when the broadcast went out and that it was only the national media outlets that have churned up the froth. Listeners to the more youth-oriented Radio 1 appear to be mostly in support of Brand and Ross. It says a lot about Radio 1 listeners that they have found the abusive and obscene phone calls to 78-year-old Andrew Sachs amusing.

For those blissfully unaware, Brand and Ross placed four telephone calls to the actor whose most famous role was as Manuel on Fawlty Towers. Using the crudest language, they describe how Brand had slept with Sach’s granddaughter. They also joked that Sachs might kill himself. That’s the bit that made the pre-recorded broadcast. Senior producers who signed off on it, actually cut fouteen lines of the dialogue. Sensitive readers might not want to click here for a transcript of what was said.

To draw an American analogy, it was basically like a Howard Stern routine with all of the obscenity explicit rather than implied. The other difference is that it was funded by license payers – in other words, everyone who owns a television. Television viewer pay for all of BBC Radio, with our forced £139.50 per year charged by the government (or fines of up to £1000 for failure to pay, and roaming enforcement vans with electronic spying equipment to catch offenders). If you had to pay $240 a year for other people to listen to Howard Stern say things for which he would be fined by the FCC, you might have something to say as well.

Jonathan Ross is the highest paid performer at the BBC, getting £6 million per year for crude and juvenile humour. When over 2,000 job cuts were announced at BBC News soon after he sealed his £18 million three-year deal, Ross openy boasted that he was worth more than 1,000 journalists. Russell Brand was on a mere £200,000 for an act that is entirey based on graphic details of his sexual exploits and proclivities.

Those who support Ross and Brand believe that entertainment, and particularly language, should have no boundaries – that there is nothing actually indecent. Well, you can’t say anything about Muslims, but other than that, everything is fair game. (And the whole Muslim thing is driven by fear rather than decency.)  Worse than that, it is a philosophy that anything that gets a laugh is acceptable regardless of who is hurts or offends.

Will the resignation of Russell Brand and the £1 million discipline of Jonathan Ross change the face of entertainment? No. Willing the BBC become a more decent place? Perhaps for a time, while everyone holds their breath waiting for the furore to settle. Sadly, I think that the values that underpin the glorfication of profanity are well entrenched, particularly amongst the young, and this creates a vicious cycle. The media panders to the profane and the profane become evermore acceptable, creating a greater appetite for it in entertainment.

Sneaky Piggy Profits

I have uncovered one of the underhanded tricks by a major corporation in the UK.

Since time immemorial, Marks and Spencer have sold Percy Pigs. For anyone outside the UK (as there would be no one inside the UK unfamiliar with Percy Pigs) they are a raspberry-flavoured gelatin-based, and yes, pig-shaped confectionery. In other words, they are small chewy pink sweets. They are delicious. Everyone likes Percy Pigs, proving the words of George Orwell that some pigs are more equal than others. Some people have been known to be almost addicted to them at times.

When I was in M&S recently I intended to purchase a bag of Pigs. I usually bought the largest size (400 grams), but recently had been in the habit of buying the medium size (200 grams) Percy Pigs together with a medium size bag of lemon-flavoured but identically shaped Penny Pigs.

I picked up a bag of Pigs and immediately noticed that it seemed lighter than usual. I thought perhaps it had been split open and some of the contents fallen out. No, further inspection confirmed that the bag was intact. I picked up another bag and it also felt unusually light. Then I saw something strange.

I saw a 7. I happened to glance in the direction of the lower left hand corner of the bag and there was a 7 next to a 0. It all became clear. There was not 200 grams of delectible pork-derived gelatin in the bag. There was 170 grams.  That woud be 15% less.

But wait, there was more. I looked at the price tag. Had M&S lowered the price to reflect the reduced quantity of pigs per package? No. Rather they had raised it. That’s right 200 grams of Pigs at £1.09 had become 170 grams of Pigs for £1.19. No announcement. No fanfare. No warning.

It’s because M&S is losing money so they have to tighten their belt, right? No. In May this year, they reported that their profits were up 20% over the previous year. They tucked £1.1 billion into the bank after paying their bills.

I will be calling M&S later today to get an explanation about this development.

Not As Easy As It Looks

At our house we’ve already started ballet, karate and Scouts. The next logical step is musical instruments.

The Older Child has been on about learning to play the guitar for some time. He was even looking into taking lessons at school. While the former seemed plausible, the latter is ridiculous, given that the Older Child’s father has been playing guitar for almost 29 years and has taught guitar for almost as long, including teaching children not much older than the Older Child.

Because my acoustic guitar is way too big for the Child to use, we considered repairing a 3/4 size guitar belonging to the Unnamed Woman. It ony needed a bridge, nut, strings, and perhaps a few other bits and bobs, plus I’m not sure the tuning mechanism even holds. And it’s still a bit big for his hands. Or we could buy a new one. We took the Woman’s guitar to a repair shop to get an estimate for bringing it into working order. It was only £15 more to get a new half-size guitar.

We went with the latter option. He had money from his grandfather and at least he was putting some of it into something of more value than most of the toys he buys.

The Older Child was under the same impression about guitar playing that I was about snow skiing when I was 5. You just put on the skis and away you go, right? As soon as he got the guitar, he did the musical equivalent of standing still in the snow. He wanted to play a song and the Woman wanted me to buy him a guitar book.

After explaining how the strings and frets are numbered for reference, he tried his first chord. E minor. I always start with E minor because it is the simplest. The finger positioning wasn’t a problem for the Child. Pressing down with his fingertips and not touching anywhere else on the neck of the guitar was another matter. He had no idea that guitar playing involves pain.

His enthusiasm began to wain a bit. He finally began to understand that he will not be playing “Johnny B. Goode” like Michael J Fox in Back to the Future any time soon.

This morning he was strumming on his guitar again, playng a muted E minor. I hope he has the interest to follow through, even with the pain in the fingers. He is starting 10 years earlier than I did. I hope one day he is better than me.

Living in the Discredited Past

Someone forgot to tell these kids that the 1960s are over.

I am always amazed at how the most left-wing, commie organizations always like to use the word “democratic”. I think the idea is that if they can finally convince 50%+1 of the population to adopt their radical socialism, they can collectivise the US and finally turn it into a communist paradise. After all, look how it has worked so well everywhere else in the world.

They know it’s not going to be easy: “This demands a broad-based, deep-rooted, and revolutionary transformation of our society. It demands that we build on movements that have come before, and alongside other people’s struggles and movements for liberation.” Maybe Mao’s Cultural Revolution didn’t go far enough.

The comforting thing is that these are students for a democratic society. It’s why the first incarnation of this group didn’t outlast the 60s. Everybody has to grow up at some point. Well, most everybody.

Specious Analogies and the Liberal Politics of Hate

What a contrast in two blogs.

The Alaskan Anti-Palin, the very popular liberal blogger AKMuckraker over at Mudflats, has compared the governor of that state and current GOP Vice Presidential candidate to the White Witch of Narnia. By the time  I read the article posted yesterday, there were over 250 cheerleading comments by fellow liberals who have happily fallen into the same fallacies that AKMuckraker has pulled together to create her analogy. Some were even so absurd as to say that Lewis would be impressed or happy with the analogy. Some recognised and lauded the obvious parallel analogy of Obama to Aslan. (An Aslan who apparently be happy with leaving unsuccessfully aborted babies in cupboards to die. Yeah, that’s what would make Lewis proud. Definitely.)

In contrast, over at Hillbuzz, a pro-Hillary pro-McCain pro-Palin blog – yes, a Democrat blog – you can see what Obama followers have done in Gainesville, Virginia. This was picked up by the local press in Northern Virginia, but it doesn’t seem to have made any national outlet. Funny that. Something tells me if it had been anti-Obama messages spray painted, there would have been a lot more interest.

At least the hanging effigy of Sarah Palin in West Hollywood, California was picked up by the press. That was so over the top it really would have been hard to miss. But again, if it had been Obama . . . Well, it doesn’t even bear thinking about all of the recriminations. The same house also had McCain in the chimney with flames around him. The local CBS affiliate wanted to be sure their coverage was balanced and unbiased, so they mentioned that the vandalism went both ways. There was a report of a single Obama yard sign in the LA area that had a racial slur on it.

Open Font, Open Heresy

I went to a baptism today. Actually it was a triple baptism.

Being an Anglican rite, certain things are optional. For example, none of the parents were Anglican. I know that at least some of the godparents were not Anglican either. (My best guess is that none of them are.) I know that the parents of two of the children are not married. (My best guess is that the others weren’t either.)

Now here is what I don’t get. Even in the wishy-washy (or rather, the wishier-washier) alternative to the Common Worship text, the parents have to turn to Christ, repent of their sin, and renounce evil. If they are living in fornication when they walk into the Church and when they walk out, with no intention of changing that arrangement, how is it that the church allows them to go through the motions?

The church cannot know the secrets of the heart, but they can easily know the openness of cohabitation. The C of E substitutes social occasions for sacraments. Having the baby “done” is an excuse to have a party. Actually when I saw the godfather of one of the children with a diamond ear stud and his shirt undone to show off his bling, I knew this was going to be what could only  be called an ex-chav-aganza.

Is it any surprise that if the sacrament of baptism has lost its sacredness, the rest soon follow? You end up with things like women pretending to be priests (or even bishops) or the proported marriage of a man and a man.

The Prince of Darkness and the Unaccountable Media Bias

Anyone who has been watching media coverage of the US Presidential election can hardly have missed that any misstep by the Republicans is amplified and that of the Democrats is minimalised. Right now, with Obama leading in the polls, Katie Couric (who I watch most nights) is almost bursting with enthusiasm and joy.

Things are not much different here in the UK. George Osbourne, the Shadow Chancellor (Opposition spokesman on treasury matters) once attended a party given by rich Russian businessman on his really big yacht. He didn’t ask for a donation to the Conservative Party and he did not receive one. As a result, the BBC and other media outlets have been running this story non-stop. They are almost urging people to call for his ouster.

On the other hand, the sleaze-ridden twice-resigned and twice-rehabilitated Prince of Darkness, Peter Mandelson, back in the cabinet again, has now admitted that he lied about when he also met with the same Russian oligarch. He had previously said he met Oleg Deripaska, merely in a social context, in 2006 and 2007. Or as he finally had to admit, “During the weekend when I moved from Brussels to London and prior to me being admitted to hospital for an urgent medical procedure, a statement was released to the press which said I had had meetings with Mr Deripaska in 2006 and 2007.  Some people formed the reasonable view, therefore, that my first meeting with him was in 2006. This is not the case: To the best of my recollection we first met in 2004 and I met him several times subsequently.”

It also just happened that Deripaska’s aluminium business made huge profits because Mandelson, as European Trade Commissioner, cut back the import duties in 2005. Deripaska owns the largest aluminium producer in the world, UC Rusal.

But it’s not Mandelson, a member of the Government, that is being pressured to resign again, it is a front bencher in the not-so-Conservative Party. As David Cameron, the Leader of the Opposition, said, this must be the first financial scandal where there weren’t any finances involved. In fact, it is not even illegal to solicit political donations from foreigners (something both Mr Osborne and Mr Deripaska agree didn’t happen), it is only illegal to accept them (something the Tories didn’t do).

And it would seem that the only one in a position to start the allegations against Mr Osborne was someone else who was at the party, namely, Lord Mandelson. This would be the same Lord Mandelson that was recently attacked by George Osborne for his ties to Deripaska. Mandelson’s approach seems to be, “Attack me for my long-time relationship to a dodgy Russian tycoon and not only will I lie about it, I’ll say you were the one doing a dodgy deal.”

And unsurprisingly the BBC and print media have go along with it. They ignore the fact that Mandelson has fallen from power in a Government that has made it very difficult to fall from power in two separate financial scandals. They turn on the otherwise squeaky clean George Osborne.

It is as if the BBC is playing a game. Someone has decided that they will continue to report on this long enough and often enough that the Tories have to say something to deny it and then report the denial long enough and often enough until people figure there must be something to it, or the Tories wouldn’t keep denying it.

Forcing Sex Education on Five-Year-Olds

I ignored this story when I first saw it in the Daily Mail, but it is all over the news now. The Government plans to teach compulsory sex education in England from the age of 5. Ministers may not even allow for parents to withdraw their children. In other words, unless parents can afford a private school or opt to homeschool, their very young children will be subjected to a combination of the National Curriculum requirements and the bias of their particular school teacher.

Schools Minister Jim Knight thinks sex and relationships education from age five is needed to combat the ‘earlier sexualisation’ of youngsters. It is the usual sex education policy of fighting fire with fire. So if small children are going to see sexual imagery in every exposre to the media, the best thing is to explain it all to them. Even at Key Stage 1 (ages 5-7) teachers will be told not to duck discussions about ‘explicit sexual matters’ if they are raised by pupils. They don’t actually have to teach about sexual intercourse until Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11).

State schools that are faith-based will be allowed to include their own guidance and values in the curriculum. For Catholic schools, that is rather clearly defined. I’m not sure what it means for Church of England schools, since the C of E’s own values about sexuality seem in quite a state of flux. But in nondenominational non-faith state schools, there will only be guidance from the government. As Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, was quoted in The Independent, this is a Government that wants to see “a whole generation fornicating”, something I’ve been saying for a long time.

The other guidance will be form the lifestyles of the teachers themselves. I can’t see how fornicating teachers will be teaching about sex as appropriate only with the context of marriage. If they were to do so, their hypocrisy would undermine what they are saying. As much as teachers may try to keep their private lives private, pupils eventually know whether a teacher is married or living with a “partner”.  Children observing and under the influence of hedonistic teachers can hardly be expected to follow a different path.

Pearls Before Swine

I was discussing the number of Christians in the world with one of my classes and one boy questioned the number of worldwide believers. He doubted that the number was accurate. I agreed with him.

I explained that while demographic experts used a variety of data, that data was not always accurate. I explained that the Chinese government says there are 100 million Christians in China, while researchers at Shanghai University estimate the number is closer to 300 million, because most Christians in China worship in underground churches and are not recognised in the government’s figures. That would put the number of Christians in the world closer to 2.3 billion instead of 2.1 billion.

Then I made the mistake of explaining that many Christians in China and elsewhere are persecuted for their faith. Some kids, including the boy that questioned the numbers, thought that was pretty funny.

I don’t know why I then mentioned that they might have seen in the news that a British Christian who was working with handicapped children in Afghanistan was murdered just a couple of days ago. One girl laughed quite openly. I wanted to cry.

New Martyr Gayle Williams

Gayle Williams was working with handicapped children in Afghanistan. She was working there because she is a Christian. She wasn’t there to preach the Gospel – just to live it.

That was enough for Taliban leaders to order her murder. In the cowardly way of Islamist terrorists, two of them drove by on a motorcycle and shot her.

It is very unlikely that her murderers will be prosecuted. After all, preaching the Gospel is illegal in Afghanistan. Converting to Christianity can result in the death penalty. And this is from the regime that the US, UK and assorted allies put into power.

I have long suggested that the Western powers that are propping up the Karzi regime should refuse to support it until Afghanistan legalises and protects Christianity.

May the memory of the martyr Gayle be eternal.

What the Government Has Planned for Your Daughter

Next week all the 12-year-old girls at my school will get their vaccinations against the virus that causes many cases of cervical cancer. The injection is given to 12-year-olds because it is only effective if taken before a girl becomes sexually active. It will be too late for some of the girls.

The Government now has another plan for 12-year-olds. Under legislation to be considered in Parliament this week, they will be given pills for do-it-yourself home abortions. As long as their unborn child is less that 19 weeks old, they will get the abortifacients without their parents ever knowing.

They will have to be a little creative, obviously. At 19 weeks, the baby is about 7 inches long and weighs about 2/3 of a pound. That’s a lot to flush down the toilet. It’s probably the sort of thing that will require sneaking some sort of small plastic bag upstairs and then slipping out to the bins. Best to plan the abortion near to collection day, so the decomposing flesh doesn’t alert mum and dad. It would be especially nasty to have a dog get into the bin and drag the corpse around the garden.

Then there’s all the blood and related gloop associated with expelling what Dr Evan Harris, MP always prefers to call the “products of conception”. But I guess mum will just think her darling daughter is having an unusally heavy period.

And this will bring abortion to Northern Ireland, which until now, like the counties to the south, has prohibited it.

Language Barrier

“Sir, can I work with someone else?”

“With whom?”

“Huh?”

“With whom would you like to work?”

“Huh?”

With whom would you like to work?”

“Whaddya mean?”

“What do you mean, ‘Whaddya mean?’ You asked if you could work with someone else.”

“Yeah. Can I?”

“It depends. With whom would you like to work?”

“Huh?”

“What’s the problem? I’m not going to let you work with just anyone.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“So with whom would you like to work?”

“Whaddya mean ‘whom’?”

“I mean, with whom would you like to work?”

“What’s ‘whom’? I don’t know that word.”

“Ah, I see. ‘Whom’ is the objective case of ‘who’.” The declension of pronouns is clearly beyond his grasp. The despair of the inevitability of having to end a sentence with a preposition begins to weigh upon me. “Who do you want to work with?”

“Sam.”

“Fine.”

A fourteen-year-old boy, very intelligent for his year group according to standards of the day, looks back at me like I’m some kind of idiot. He mutters sarcastically to whomever will notice as he walks away, “What’s he on about? Whom. Why doesn’t he just speak English?”

An Effective Way to Deal with Sexual Assault

Leftovers

Reading about Elizabeth’s tooth reminded me of information I got from the Unnamed Woman over dinner yesterday.

She took the Older Child to the dentist because a filling had fallen out, whereupon it was discovered that he had a (fortunately painless) abscess under the tooth. The dentist is always quite snooty to the Unnamed Woman and always feels she has to remind the Woman what sort of foods are dentally appropriate for our children. The Unnamed Woman, being rather intelligent and healthy food conscious, never fails to take a bit of offence at this condescension.

Remarkably, the Ms Dentist was subdued. It turns out that the abscess was due to the dentist leaving something behind in Older Child’s mouth at the last appointment. The Unnamed Woman was a little pleased to see to the dentist bumped down a peg.

Prayer Warriors

Older Child: I’m doing “Our Father”.

Younger Child: It was your turn last night. I’m doing “Our Father”.

Me to Older Child: Younger Child is doing “Our Father”. It’s your turn to do “Most Holy Trinity. . .”

Older Child: Younger Child can do “Most Holy Trinity. . .”

Younger Child: I’m not doing “Most Holy Trinty. . .”!

Older Child: But I want to do “Our Father”.

Eventually everyone took their proper turn.

It’s not always easy being Orthodox.

At Least They Admit It

The BBC admits that they treat Islam different than Christianity. The Director General of Britain’s public broacaster says that it is because they are a religious minority. What he means is that it is because if you were to make jokes about imams like the Beeb makes jokes about vicars, every one of the corporations executives and public figures would have to live in fear of their lives.

Can you imagine what would happen if they allowed a production about Muhammad like the live broadcast on BBC2 of Jerry Springer – the Opera, in which Jesus is part of a dysfunctional family, dresses as a baby and poos himself? The BBC Television Centre would be levelled.  The 2001 IRA bombing of the building would look completely amateur in comparison. This eggshell approach just another example of how terrorism is effective.

Mark Thompson has said that programmes criticising Islam would be broadcast if they of a good enough quality. It’s a shame the same standard doesn’t apply to Christianity.

Stealth Politics

The Canadians had a general election yesterday. Who knew?

Vox Pops

Why are people voting for Obama? Don’t let them tell you it is about race. No, people are voting for Obama because they support certain policies. McCain’s policies. Here’s what some folks in Harlem had to say.

Why I Pay Taxes

When I was in law school I became friends with a family that had 9 nine kids when I met them and stopped at 12. Until about the time the last two came along, the father was making in the low $20’s a year. They didn’t pay rent on their very old house, but then they did have to open it from 7:00 until midnight every Friday and Saturday and their living room had a stage and it was filled with little tables. It was the local Christian coffeehouse. Otherwise they lived on the father’s salary, because the mother homeschooled. They lived happy and healthy lives. They had plenty to eat, and usually plenty to share, as I often ate in their home. And they never took a single handout from the Government. They were certainly eligible. They’ve just never had a sense of entitlement.

That is who I thought of when I read the article in today’s Daily Mail about a couple with ten kids. The difference is that neither parent works. The mother never has and the father hasn’t for 15 years. They also live rent free in a semi-detached knocked into one fully detached, but not at the expense of strangers tromping through their downstairs every weekend. They also get £32,656 ($58,780) a year in taxpayer money to fund their lifestyle.

Harry Crompton can’t work because he’s got irritable bowel syndrome. Bloody hell. I have IBS and I’m making a lot less and I have to leave the house every morning. Of course his IBS might get better if the £250 a week they spend on food didn’t include so many crisps and bottles of fizzy drinks.

You’d think Tracey Crompton would be satisfied. But out of one side of her mouth she says, ‘We don’t have money worries. We don’t go without things and I think that’s because we are self-sufficient.” Self-sufficient? Self-bloody-sufficient? How do you leech more than my salary every year and have the audacity to call yourself “self-sufficient”?

Then there’s the other side of her mouth. ‘I’m not satisfied with the benefits we get  –  I want more.” While people with real jobs and real mortgages are feeling the pinch, she wants to suck more out of the system. She is happy to take more of their money and is actually glad the economy is in such turmoil. The prices of luxury goods are coming down to meet the ability of consumers to afford them. That means she can get an even bigger TV on which to watch Jeremy Kyle.

Iran Codifies the Death Penalty for Christians

Even though it has been ignored by almost all of the mainstream media, The Daily Telegraph has an article about the new Iranian law that codifies the death penalty for any male who converts from Islam to another faith. Women who dare to commit such a heinous crime are lucky. They will only get life in prison.

The article focuses on Rashin Soodmand, the daughter of pastor Hossein Soodmand, the last man to be hanged for converting to Christianity. She now lives in the UK. Her brother Ramtin is still in Iran and now in jail. Even though he was never a Muslim, he may be one of the first to die under the new law.

Read this article.

Little Ladettes

Two articles in the Daily Mail today reminded me of a conversation in a lesson yesterday, where some pupils were just incredulous that I only drink alcohol occasionally and never with the intention of getting drunk.

The first article, by Sarah Lyall, a correspondent for the New York Times and recent author of an ex-pat view of the British, asks in the headline ‘Why are you Brits such DRUNKS?‘. The answer could be related the title of the second article, “Mum branded a ‘disgrace’ after she buys 13-year-old daughter stash of alcohol to take on school charity walk“.

But the problem is that I talk to 13-year-olds every day, including yesterday, for whom getting drunk is regular behaviour. These are not down-and-out rough-and-tumble council estate kids with no hope. These are middle class kids from tidy homes. They can’t imagine being able to socialise or have fun without alcohol. The kids yesterday attributed my lack of regular drunkness to my wild religious fanaticism, you know, the fact that I believe in God.

But neither yesterday’s children nor my present school stand out particularly. At my last school, 14-year-olds regularly talked about going out and getting drunk. And it was not like they were sneaking out of the house to do it. Their parents preferred to know where they were, even if it was stumbling down the streets throwing up or urinating in alleyways, behaviour that was also well-known by their fellow pupils.

And I have seen it myself. My favourite kebab shop is for obvious reason right in the middle of the drinking establishments in our fair city. Any time from 8:00pm on, teenagers, usually wearing the slightest amount of fabric that could called clothes, and shouting the foulest language, wander up and down the lanes in drunken packs.

The one thing they all of these pupils have in common is that they were girls. It’s not that boys aren’t doing the same thing. Rather it seems to be the new expression of feminism – working very hard to equal, and now it seems outdo, the men. And if they are drinking like this in their early teens, think of what they will be like in a few years.

Dealing With Aggressive Disbelief

One of the most draining things about my job is dealing with constant militant atheism. It’s not the entertaining sort of atheism I encounter when blogging – the kind that usually comes from adults able to string two thoughts together with some sort of a logical connection. No, this is an atheistic fundamentalism that is supported with the sort of logic that is based in single unanswerable questions.

“God can’t be real because who were his parents?” “Science has proved there is no God because it was a Big Bang.” “God isn’t real because if he was we could see him.” “God can’t be true because it is just made up.”

They don’t even ask the difficult or probing questions. They are so convinced that the most facile questions prove the non-existence of God that they refuse to even listen to the simplest answers. They cannot conceive that their rhetorical questions could possibly have answers. They haven’t thought of an answer (not that they have tried, because they find the very thought of thinking about God revolting) so there cannot be an answer (or more than one).  I never cease to be amazed at the misplaced intellectual self-confidence of 13-year-olds.

Recently I tried to explain the problems with trying to prove a negative. Somehow, despite their mental superiority, they can’t grasp this.

Yet the worst is not the constant questions to which no answers are desired or heard. It is the anger, the aggression,  the vitriol behind this stream of anti-God sentiment.  I just can’t understand how so many children could be so angry about Someone who they don’t even believe exists. They want to blame Him for the ills of the world they insist He did not create nor does He sustain.

When they have to learn about anyone who does believe in God or why they do, the militancy and anger gets reaches new heights. Many of them cannot even read from a textbook without inserting commentary phrase by phrase about how what or who they have read is rubbish.

I suppose it is fortunate I only have to put up with this five days a week.

Accommodating Thieves

When I first saw the headline “Gardener Ordered to Remove Barbed Wire Fence on Grounds It Could ‘Wound Thieves'” on the FoxNews website, I couldn’t believe. I thought to myself, surely this couldn’t be the case in America. This sounds like something that could only happen in Britain.

Well, upon reading the article, it is, in fact, something that could only happen in Britain. Fox picked up the story from the Daily Mail.

For those not familiar with vegetable gardening in a country with over 10 times greater population density than the US, local councils set aside plots of ground called allotments. People can rent an allotment, put a shed on it and grow some veg.

That’s what Bill Malcolm did in Worcestershire. Then over the course of four months, three times thieves wrecked his plants and stole $600 worth of tools. He even caught one of the theives red handed, but as you might suspect, the police did nothing. Bill thought the best thing to do was put up a little bit of barbed wire to discourage the yobs. Just a single strand around his patch.

It would seem a would-be thief complained to Bromsgrove Council that he might hurt himself. They have told Bill to take down the wire, because they are afraid of getting sued by injured theives. That’s right. And there is good reason for this. Thieves, who have very little chance of facing any consequences in the criminal justice system, are more than happy to sue when their victims do not roll out the red carpet and politely hand things over.

Admittedly this accommodation for thieves is not limited to Bromsgrove. Bristol council recently told its allotment holders to stop locking their sheds, as shed were being damaged when they were being broken into.

There Was a Kernell of Truth After All

There are a few, mostly conservative, blogs that have picked up the story about David Kernell being indicted for hacking into Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account. Strangely when it comes to mainstream media, more quality outlets in the UK seemed to have picked this up than their US counterparts.

Now I can understand how Barak Obama’s ties to terrorist William Ayers have trumped the Kernell/Palin coverage, but still you think there would be more. Kernell is, after all, the son of a Democratic lawmaker. His alleged actions constitute a crime. He breached the privacy of a Vice Presidential candidate.

When Kernell wass first suspected, liberal bloggers immediately cried foul and said conservatives were just jumping to conclusions and trying to pin this on Democrats. Any retractions from the liberal blogosphere?

Justice for the Uighurs – The Least They Can Do

A number of readers who can imagine that I do anything other than support any Republican policy will be happy to know that I have long been very troubled by use of Guantanamo Bay for holding prisoners. Beyond the problems I have with using Gitmo because it serves a useful loophole purpose by keeping prisoners of the Administration off of American soil, I have trouble with the policy of completely ignoring the power of judiciary. On top of that, I have a big problem with the extreme reluctance to release prisoners even if they pose no threat to the United States.

This is an extraodinary abuse of Executive power. Like most of the expansion of the Executive in the past seven years, no one has dared to attempt to check it, because it is shielded in the patriotism and fear of the War on Terror.

I was particularly disturbed to read about the 17 Uighur prisonser who were taken captive on the basis bounty money offered in Pakistan. I’m not suggesting that all Pakistanis will sell out their mothers for the right price, but some were willing to sell out Uighur refugees from China for $5,000 each.

They were sent to Guantanamo six years ago. It took the military two years to recognise that they posed no threat whatsoever. What happened to the other four years? Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter, since they don’t look like us and talk like us, and after all, they are Muslims. That seems to be the reason they are sitting in prison. I can’t imagine a government lawyer would like to give up six years of his own life for no reason in a foreign country – or actually a military outpost because the laws of that foreign country would not allow him to be held without trial. (That’s why I’ve always said it was 95% of lawyers who gave the rest of us a bad name.)

But then again that government lawyer wouldn’t be there because he didn’t have to flee his own country which had been taken over by another ethnic group who treated him as a second class and suspect citizen because of the way he looks and his religion. And that lawyer didn’t have to flee to the country of other ethnic groups who had no particular sympathy for him and who were willing to sell him out for cash.

But even though the Supreme Court has ruled that judges can release prisoners (not exactly a novel idea) and the Court of Appeal has ruled that there is no basis for holding Huzaifa Parhat, one of the Uighurs, the Administration will not let them go.

The problem seems to be that no country will take them, except for China of course. Chinese officials already have 17 bullets ready, with stamped envelopes addressed to their families ready for the spent cartridges. The one thing the government can’t bear to do is allow them to settle in the United States. Sure they settled them on US-leased land in Cuba for six years, but that doesn’t count. There are 20 churches in Tallahassee willing to help re-home them, amongst other religious and social groups.

The unbelievable and virtually admitted injustice that has been imposed upon these refugees is payment enough to bump them to the head of the queue for a Green Card. In addition to their immediate release, I hope U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina will further order the Department of Homeland Security to do just that.