July 2003

“Europe faces severe challenges. First and foremost, it lacks a real government….

Second, European countries that haven’t yet been absorbed are in steep decline…thriving beside iron-fisted, hidebound Communist regimes was hard enough, but prospering next to massive organized crime – that won’t be pretty.

Third, Europe is lightly armed…the EU’s fringe hosts its share of vigilante bloodletting – thanks to church-burning Balkan bandits, tin-pot dictators in Belarus, Albanian heroin gangsters, and cold-eyed al Qaeda theology students. It’s one thing to talk softly and carry a big stick, but it’s another to talk endlessly and have no stick at all.

Finally, today’s children are the citizens of the future, and Europe has very few of them. While Asia’s population spills out of its own borders to colonize the West, Europe’s is aging and shrinking. The huddled masses yearning to breathe free, who once turned the American continents into emergent states, are more comfortable now. Meanwhile, people from less comfortable regions are arriving in droves. Modern France attracts Algerians, Moroccans, Senegalese, and Tunisians. Turks and Kurds go to Germany. Italy is a magnet for Albanians. Decades hence, the people of “Europe” will have a rather expansive genetic profile.” MORE

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These comments, two statements and two questions, are enough to spark a ‘race row’ according to the Evening Standard:

“School inspectors are today at the centre of an extraordinary row after being accused of making racist remarks at a London primary school.

An official investigation has been launched following the incident at Woodberry Down Primary School in Hackney.

Governors complained after one inspector, commenting on a pupil who had been excluded, allegedly said: “Let me guess, this is a boy… African… they always are.

Inspectors employed by Ofsted contractor Bench Marque Ltd, based in Somerset also allegedly said that they “only had white faces” where they lived and found it hard to distinguish between black boys and girls.

One inspector is alleged to have said: “Have you noticed the white children trying to walk like the black children?” while another asked: “Is there a Turkish enclave in the school?

Am I missing something here? Where is the racism? The only dodge statement is the use of the word “all” about the excluded boy. If that inspector had said “most” or “almost all” they would have been completely right. And yes, I have noticed white children attempting to imitate the distictive “Frankenstein” ghetto gait affected by many of their black peers. I also note that this complaint only came after the inspectors gave the school a dire rating. Revenge perhaps?

We need to get past all this bad faith and instantly lashing out with full fury at even the most innocent and well intended racial allusion. Instead of flipping out about uncomfortable but true statements from inspectors, why not deal with real, deadly bigotry – like the homophobia that is rife in the black community for a start?

[Update 25 July 2003: Ispector hits back and accuses school of reacting to her report. “I’m not a racist, says school inspector “]

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“The AST achieves its goal by a combination of proven techniques:

* A tone of calmness and rationalism is maintained. This creates an enhanced contrast between the AST itself and the responses, which are likely to be emotional and less thoroughly considered.
* The initial starting position for argument is unassailably sensible.
* Each step of the argument is completely reasonable.
* Substantial, even excessive, documentation is provided.
* The final conclusion is outrageous and completely unacceptable to the target victim group.

The hard part of creating a successful AST is making the last item flow naturally from the preceeding ones. The successul AST leaves a typical victim, who is not versed in the minutae of logic, sputtering and flustered as he finds himself almost tempted, for however brief a moment, to believe in the unacceptably outrageous conclusion of the argument.

The AST is not bound to any particular political theory…An AST works toward a conclusion so outrageous that absolutely nobody anywhere in the world (except maybe for a few total kooks) would accept it. Some examples which either did or should have appeared on the now-defunct Adequacy site might be:

Paedophiles perform a public service by accelerating the rate of maturity of our kids
Jeffrey Dahmer was actually a swell guy who is routinely misunderstood
England would greatly benefit from joining the USA as a new state
The death penalty should apply to misdemeanors” MORE

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Assimilation inverted

by Limbic on July 23, 2003

Yesterday I had a meeting with representative of our local (to my company) charity network to discuss my company’s community involvement.

During the meeting the representative, a very pleasant middle aged woman, was telling is about how core funding was being slashed. One project that is jeopardised is one where Somali refugees and immigrants get together for Saturday schools – paid for by taxpayers – where they teach their children Somali languages so that “they can communicate with their parents”. Many of the parents don’t speak English apparently. This surprised me, so I asked the lady “Why don’t their parents learn English instead of teaching the children Somali?”. She looked at me as though I had just admitted to being syphilitic. She did not answer.

So here we have the mountain being brought to Mohammed or Mohammed being made to learn Somali so he does not “lose touch with his culture” and so that he can provide translations for mom, dad and granny.

How did we manage to invert the principle of assimilation and integration so quickly and thoroughly? How did it happen that we completely abandoned the only thing that can turn mass immigration into a something positive opting instead for Apartheid?

I have no problem with Somali kids keeping in touch with their culture and learning their language, but why is that funded by central government when the money ought to be spent on helping their parents assimilate?

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Here is a man who tells journalists he has had a testicle tuck, an extropian who injects himself with megadoses of vitamin B12, evangelises about GHB, has his own dopamine receptors mapped, keeps a court – what the interviewer calls a “Boystown” – made up of male friends who live on his compound.

The man is a visionary! Read this article, rent his movies, thank god for people like this.

[How do you] handle life not being fair? [Nolte] laughs and replies: ‘Moment by moment, man.’

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“Cognitive skills programmes are a specific type of cognitive behavioural intervention, sometimes re f e rred to as ëthinking skillsí programmes. These operate on the assumption that offenders lack the appropriate cognitive skills to achieve their goals in a pro-social way. Programmes seek to address this deficit by teaching new ways of thinking, mainly through skills practice.”

Had no effect at all on recidivism rates, but maybe it made the swines better thieves!

[Update 4 August 2003: The Times has taken up the story – “Jail ‘thinking’ courses show you can’t teach an old lag new tricks

TEACHING prisoners how to think and giving them social skills has failed to stop them returning to a life of crime, according to Home Office research.

The Prison Service had invested £200 million in the courses which aim to cut reconviction rates.

Prisoners who attended the courses were just as likely to reoffend as inmates who did not attend. Among medium to high-risk offenders, the reconviction rate was actually higher.

200 Million!?]

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No prohibition on hermeneutics!

by Limbic on July 21, 2003

“I do not recommend any legislative action against hermeneutics. I am a liberal person opposed to all unnecessary state limitation of individual liberties. Hermeneutics between consenting adults should not in my view be the object of any statutory restrictions. I know, only too well, what it would entail. Hermeneutic speakeasies would spring up all over the place, smuggled Thick Descriptions would be brought in by the lorry-load from Canada by the Mafia, blood and thick meaning would clot in the gutter as rival gangs of semiotic bootleggers slugged it out in a series of bloody shoot-outs and ambushes. Addicts would be subject to blackmail. Consumptions of deep meanings and its attendant psychic consequences would in no way diminsh, but the criminal world would benefit, and the whole fabric of civil society would be put under severe strain. Never!” – Ernest Gellner from “Anthropology and Politics”.

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"If you hear that someone

by Limbic on July 21, 2003

“If you hear that someone is speaking ill of you, instead of trying to defend yourself you should say: ‘He obviously does not know me very well, since there are so many other faults he could have mentioned’.” Epictetus – “Enchiridion”

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New, funny Google hack

by Limbic on July 21, 2003

Go to Google.com, type in ‘french military victories’, then press I’m feeling lucky…..

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“This site examines the accented speech of speakers from many different language backgrounds reading the same sample paragraph. Currently, we have obtained 255 speech samples.”

Want to know what a Zulu sounds like reading “Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.”?

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