Tuesday, April 18, 2006


"The editor of an Italian monthly has apologized for any offense to Muslims over a humorous caption for a drawing showing the Prophet Muhammad in hell, Italian news reports said Sunday. The journal Studi Cattolici (Catholic Studies), which offers a variety of opinions on cultural issues, ran the caption and drawing in its March issue. Italian news agencies on Sunday quoted the journal's editor, Cesare Cavalleri, as "apologizing, as a Christian," for any offense.

Milan daily Corriere della Sera said that the journal had run a humorous caption next to the drawing, which was inspired by Dante's depiction of Muhammad in hell in his "Divine Comedy." The Union of Italian Islamic Communities said it had protested the caption. The organization's secretary, Roberto Piccardo, declined to comment on the reported apology.

Cavalleri was quoted as saying the vignette "was interpreted as being anti-Islam when, if anything, it was a denunciation of a cultural identity crisis in the West," the Italian news agency ANSA quoted Cavalleri as saying. "In any case, if, contrary to my and the author's intentions, someone felt offended in his religious feelings, I willingly apologize as a Christian.""

More here

In the cartoon, famous Italian poet Dante is asking the Roman poet Virgil: "That man divided in two from his head to his feet - isn't that Muhammad?" Virgil replies: "Yes, it is him and he is in two because he has divided society - while the man next to him with his arms down represents Italian politics towards Islam."



Nebraska has just passed a law that resegregates some of its shools -- a law that prominent blacks argued for. I noted the matter on EDUCATION WATCH under the heading "SEGREGATION IS GOOD FOR BLACKS -- APPARENTLY". A reader who is a teacher in Hawaii has responded as follows:

"Numerous lines of evidence indicate:

1) as institutions take from parents the power to determine for their own children the course of instruction and the pace and method of instruction, overall system performance (as measured by standardized test scores or, inversely, arrest rates) falls, and

2) political control of school harms most the children of the least politically adept parents ("Well, duh!" as my students would say). Across the US, the correlation between mean district size and NAEP 4th and 8th grade Reading and Math scores is negative. The correlation between the fraction of a State's total enrollment assigned to districts over 20,000 and NAEP test scores is negative. Smaller is better.

There is an interesting exception: the mean score of children of college-educated white parents is slightly positively correlated with mean district size and with the fraction of total enrollment assigned to large districts. There is an instructive exception to the exception: In Hawaii, which maintains a single State-wide school district of 180,000 students, the mean score of white students (NAEP 8th grade Math) is the lowest in the US. The mean score of children of high-school educated black parents is the lowest in the US. Asians dominate the DOE bureaucracy and the State legislature.

This does not yield high performance for Asian students (the mean score of the top one-third of schools in Hawaii is lower than the mean score of three States' bottom one third of schools), but the system harms most the children of the least politically adept parents. Segregation is good for blacks? I would say: "parent control of education is good for everybody except bad teachers, politically-connected construction contractors, and NEA thugs"."



Drug addiction linked to genes: "New research involving DNA samples from 700 cocaine abusers and 850 non-users in Brazil found people who carried two copies of a gene variant were 50 per cent more likely to become addicted to the drug. Cocaine acts to inhibit the action of a protein, known as DAT, that controls the removal of the chemical dopamine in the brain. The result is a "high" feeling when nerve cells in the brain are overloaded with the good-mood chemical. The study, by a team of British and Brazilian researchers, including geneticist Gerome Breen from the Institute of Psychiatry at London's Kings College, found people who had two copies of the variant that influenced the amount of the DAT protein were at greater risk of addiction. "What seems to be happening is that once someone with this variant is exposed to cocaine they start to produce less of this dopamine transporter protein than they had before and this has a knock-on effect in the brain and knocks the system out of kilter," Dr Breen said".

Hard to change a leopard's spots: "It was a story that touched the hearts of Minnesotans. But now it has taken a surprising turn, in Boston. A homeless, 22-year-old, undocumented immigrant from Mexico was found secretly living inside a Twin Cities high school last year, using the showers and foraging for cafeteria food. Francisco Javier Serrano's story captivated the news media there and moved a wealthy developer to provide him with money, an immigration attorney, and a rent-free apartment overlooking downtown Minneapolis. But immigration officials ordered Serrano back to Mexico. Officials believed that he boarded a plane for his home country Jan. 5, and it seemed to be a closed case. Then, two weeks ago, a tenant in Boston's North End heard a sound inside his apartment. A man with a knife had broken in. The tenant struck the intruder with a kitchen pan, and police responded to find Serrano and the tenant in a struggle, authorities said. Now, Serrano sits in Suffolk County Jail facing charges of home invasion."

Is the US sugar problem solvable? : "The United States' sugar policy has a long history of supporting sugar producers, and the current system has its roots in the agricultural programs of the Great Depression. The policy has been widely criticized both at home and abroad for supporting a relatively small group of sugar producers at the expense of consumers, taxpayers, sugar-using industries, and the environment. The program relies on restricting sugar imports to keep domestic prices high, which especially hurts those developing countries that are low-cost producers of sugar. The artificially high price also provides incentives for domestic sugar producers to increase production into environmentally sensitive areas."

For more postings, see EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. (Mirror sites here, here, here, here, here and here). I also post several times a week on TONGUE-TIED. There is an archive of my "Tongue-Tied" posts here or here


Practically all policies advocated by the Left create poverty. Leftists get the government to waste vast slabs of the country's labour-force on bureaucracy and paperwork and so load the burden of providing most useful goods and services onto fewer and fewer people. So fewer useful goods and services are produced to go around. That is no accident. The Left love the poor. The Left need the poor so that they can feel good by patronizing and "helping" them. So they do their best to create as many poor people as possible.

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" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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