France has had something of an undeserved reputation for tolerance since the butchers of the French revolution were the first to declare the emancipation of the Jews. That declaration did not affect basic French attitudes, however -- as the Dreyfus case of the 1890s showed. And we see below some final acceptance of the fact that the French of WWII fully "understood" the Nazi antipathy to Jews. And guess what? French Jews are being forced out of France right now -- with many going to Israel -- because of the failure of the French State to defend them from Muslim attacks. It seems that the French of today "understand" Muslim attitudes too
France's top administrative court ruled today that the state was responsible for the deportation of French Jews during World War Two, but appeared to close the door on major new compensation for victims' families. Some 76,000 Jews were arrested in France between 1942 and 1944 and transported in appalling conditions to Nazi concentration camps such as Auschwitz. Only 3000 returned.
Today's landmark ruling by the Conseil d'Etat court establishes a legal recognition of France's role in the deportations and was welcomed by Jewish organisations. "The Conseil d'Etat recognises the error and responsibility of the state," the court said. "This persecution, in a total break with the values and principles ... enshrined in the declaration of human rights and the traditions of the Republic, inflicted exceptional damage of extreme gravity," it said.
Former President Jacques Chirac was the first French leader to acknowledge state complicity in the deportations in an historic speech in 1995, breaking with past efforts to dissociate France from the collaborationist Vichy regime. His recognition of French involvement opened the way for victims' families to seek compensation and the authorities have since given hundreds of millions of euros to plaintiffs.
The Conseil d'Etat issued its ruling after a minor court sought guidance over the liability of the state in the case brought by daughter of a deportee. The top administrative court said the junior courts could decide on compensation, but added that the state had already met its obligations and respected European norms. "Taken together, these various measures ... have compensated as much as is possible ... the losses suffered as a result of the actions of the state, which collaborated with the deportation," the ruling said.
Serge Klarsfeld, a famous French Nazi hunter whose own father was deported from France, welcomed the ruling. "This ruling is satisfying," he was quoted as saying by Le Figaro newspaper website. "France is now showing itself to be a leader amongst countries facing up to their past." He added that reparations was no longer a major issue. "Those who are currently seeking more compensation have often already received something."
Some more interesting onomastics (Onomastics = the study of names)
The journal abstract is here. Interesting that the finding applied to whites as well as blacks
The authors of Freakonomics, Steven Levitt, an economist at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Dubner, a New York Times journalist, noted that data shows African Americans are far more likely than other racial groups to give their children uncommon names. White people tend to favour more familiar names that formerly were popular with other, more affluent white people (hence the journey of Madison from relative obscurity in 1988, when it was ranked 300th on the Social Security Administration's name database, to its high of No. 2 in 2001 and 2002).
New research out of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania also looks at what names signify. However, unlike Freakonomics - which maintained that although a name might tell you something about a person's background, it wouldn't predict the outcome of that person's life - the new study purports to show a link between name and outcome: The more unpopular your name, the more likely you are to land in the juvenile justice system.
The Shippensburg researchers first assigned a popularity score to boys' names, based on how often they showed up in birth records in an undisclosed state from 1987 to 1991. Michael, the No. 1 name, had a popular name index score of 100; names such as Malcolm and Preston had index scores of 1. The researchers then assessed names of young men born during that time who landed in the juvenile justice system. They found that only half had a rating higher than 11. By comparison, in the general population, half of the names scored higher than 20. The take-away? "A 10 per cent increase in the popularity of a name is associated with a 3.7 per cent decrease in the number of juvenile delinquents who have that name," they say in the study, to be published in Social Sciences Quarterly.
For the most part, this isn't new territory. That's because we know that boys with uncommon names are more likely to come from a socio-economically deprived background, which means they also are more likely to get involved with crime. The Shippensburg researchers readily admit that it's not a name alone that affects a child's outcome, but rather the circumstance underlying the name.
A lot of baby names in Hollywood these days would have to rate badly. I'm not just talking about marginally weird names given to Gwyneth Paltrow's daughter - Apple - or Sylvester Stallone's son - Sage Moonblood. I'm talking names like Pilot Inspektor (actor Jason Lee's son), Hud and Speck Wildhorse (singer John Mellencamp's sons), and Tu (actor Rob Morrow's daughter; get it? Tu Morrow?). Insofar as such names are often a symptom of a larger problem - parental narcissism and immaturity, anyone? - you can see why some people might want to get the US Congress involved.
And they illuminate the degree to which some parents view kids as accessories. Sure, some odd names may have family significance, but they mostly seem like ads for parents' cleverness and self-congratulatory "individualism". It's not fair saddling a kid with an ad for his folks rather than giving him a name of his own.
The New Patriotism
"It is worth considering the meaning of patriotism because the question of who is - or is not - a patriot all too often poisons our political debates, in ways that divide us rather than bring us together." -Barack Obama, June 30, 2008
Throughout the Bush years, particularly in the wake of Iraq's liberation, liberals from coast to coast grew increasingly paranoid about patriotism. Virtually anything conservatives said about anything could be twisted and perceived as a dig-subtle or overt-at any given liberal's love of country. Here are some illustrative examples of this phenomenon, circa 2004:
Conservative A: "I support the troops."
Liberal A: "Dissent is patriotic, chicken hawk."
Conservative B: "God Bless America."
Liberal B: "How dare you suggest that I don't want God to bless America! For your information, I hope that he or she blesses America, and every other country for that matter."
Conservative C: "I'm flying American Airlines today."
Liberal C: "Stop questioning my patriotism!"
Suffice it to say, they seemed a tad insecure about the whole thing. Left-leaning pundits and talking heads continually insisted that Republicans, particularly those within the administration, reflexively tarred anyone who dared to deviate from the party line as a traitor. In most cases, these accusations were figments of the Left's collective imagination. Still, to liberals, it was very real and totally outrageous, so America was introduced to a new Golden Rule of politics: Questioning someone else's patriotism is strictly verboten in all circumstances.
A Congressman from Pennsylvania maliciously slanders US Marines by falsely accusing them of murder? Don't bring up the P-word. A former haughty-looking presidential candidate encourages young people to educate themselves, lest they get "stuck" in the military? He won three purple hearts. Bite your tongue. A certain Democratic leader in the Senate prematurely declares an active US military mission "lost" for partisan gain? He loves the troops! He has many friends who are troops!
The lesson, time and again, was that ascribing patriotism (or the lack thereof) based on someone's statements, positions, or actions was out of bounds. To use patriotism as a political badge of honor was an unforgivable-even un-American!-tactic of the warmongering, bloodthirsty Bush/Cheney death machine. In fact, perhaps the purest form of true patriotism, we were told, was the act if dissenting from the creeping fascism promulgated by the neo-con cabal at the helm of Amerikkka's government.
To the astonishment of no one, these once-sacred rules are suddenly vanishing now that the Left has taken power. In fact, three of the most powerful Democrats in America have already gone to the patriotism well to help reinforce support for specific policy preferences.
While still a candidate, Vice President Joe Biden faced questions from an ABC News about his ticket's plan to hike taxes for "the rich." The term "rich," incidentally, was defined at the time as households making $250,000 or more-though that figure crept steadily downward as the campaign wore on. These rich Americans, Biden explained, could afford to fork over more of their earnings to Uncle Sam. In fact they should be proud to do so: "It's time to be patriotic," he explained, flashing his patented painted-on grin. (No movement from his forehead, of course). Got that, "rich" folks? You will surrender more of the money you work hard for, and you will do so merrily. Out of patriotism. Why, to even complain would be unacceptable-don't you love your country? Considering this new standard he constructed, one wonders what the Vice President thinks of, say, his administration's current Treasury Secretary. Never mind. One ought not get bogged down with such distractions.
This past week, the President of the United States abandoned his June 2008 position by eagerly expanding the politicization of patriotism. In his efforts to woo public support for his entirely pork-free, catastrophe-preventing, crucially-crucial stimulus package, Obama hoped to enlist some Republicans patsies to help create the mirage of bipartisanship. He succeeded, winning over three whole Republicans out of the 219 in Congress. For those keeping score at home, that's a .014 batting average for the post-partisan healer. According to the New York Times, after the northeastern trio knuckled under, the president called each of them to "applaud them for their patriotism." What a thrill it must have been. After all, it's not every day that one gets the opportunity to condemn future generations to mind-bending piles of debt, all in the name of promoting a non-stimulatory "stimulus" plan that rewards Lefty interest groups and furthers the sweeping policy goals of the party that-technically-represents your opposition.
When the final deal was struck a few days later, Harry Reid echoed the president's kudos, albeit with his renowned cloying charmlessness: "I'm really at a lack of words how to express my admiration and respect for the love of our country, the patriotism, and the courage of three brave senators," Reid said, "Specter from Pennsylvania, Snowe and Collins from Maine. I don't think I need to say more than that." No, he needn't. There's a new patriotism in town. This time around, 98 percent of Congressional Republicans failed to reach the patriotic plateau. Not to worry, though. They'll have three years and 42 more weeks, at least, to redeem themselves and display their genuine love for America by supporting the president and whatever emergency/apocalypse-averting policies he may have in store. God Bless Omerica.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)