webofevil: (Default)
The BBC’s Have Your Say forum has outdone itself with today’s choice of topic. Presumably this is part of a departmental drive to increase web traffic to impress the bosses, but the question amounts to simple trolling. Strap in (steady) for some reasoned debate, everyone.

NB: Sane people are advised not to actually read any of the comments.

Should homosexuals face execution?

Go on then, sample quote:
Can I move to Uganda? At least one country in the world is taking moral values seriously (as well as the health of their citizens). It may sound extreme, but that shock value will allow more people to think about their actions beforehand.

Throwing condoms is not going to solve any problems. Look at the UK--you give out birth control for free and you still have problems with unwanted pregnancies!!

N F, Alberta, Canada
Thanks to the nothing tralala blog for this.
webofevil: (Default)
Last February the blog Here Comes The Science posted an article on the design genius of the Obama campaign logo (right).

Nine months later it published a recap of the many ignorant and racist comments that article had received. They’re instructive, as they reveal much of what had been stirred up by fringe commentators and desperate Republican “strategists” alike, and they’re darkly amusing so long as you don’t just find them depressing.

A highlight, though, even among all the nonsense (such as “I love the logo; its genius is the way they hide the swastika, yet keep in line with Obama’s political mentor, Adolf Hitler”), is this contribution:
Why not be truthfull and incorporate the marxist, hammer & sickle, or the muslim, cresent & star? Silly question. Truthfullnes from babykillers. From the “party of death” who see nothing wrong with sticking a spike in a baby’s skull and sucking it’s brains out.
Really? [livejournal.com profile] strictlytrue, you tend to follow these things—has this ever been a central plank of Democratic party policy? Was it snuck through as an amendment to a shipping bill or something?
webofevil: (hijab)
A young footballer who filmed a friend having sex with a 14-year-old girl before distributing the mobile phone images has walked free from court. Callum McKinlay passed the video round among school friends after the incident at a party in Perth.

At the town’s sheriff court, the 16-year-old, who earlier admitted making and distributing indecent images, was admonished. McKinlay was told he was being treated leniently because of his future career.

The schoolboy, who was 15 at the time of the offence, and two of his friends, recorded a 16-year-old youth having unlawful sex with the third-year pupil during the drunken party in May. When footage of the incident was distributed to several youngsters at a school in Perth, police were called in to investigate.

McKinlay, from Bridge of Earn, who has played for Scotland Under-16s, Rangers and Hibs, was told he would have had his sentence deferred, had it not been for his potential career. Sheriff Michael Fletcher told him: “I think there’s a whole raft of things you can learn from this whole sorry experience... You might develop into a good footballer and if that did happen to you, imagine what it would be like if you were in the situation these people were, and people took photos and sent them on to magazines or newspapers.” [BBC]
Clearly the judge here knows his football, and has made his judgment on the basis that when McKinlay grows up and joins the big time, he’ll need the time and experience necessary to become a successful premier-league rapist.

Talking of which, research last week showed that rape convictions have stood still and that changes brought in by the 2003 Sexual Offences Act are having little impact or just aren’t being implemented in the first place. As unexpected news goes, this is right up there with “Earth revolves around sun”, but it doesn’t change the fact that with a 5 per cent conviction rate for reported rapes in England and Wales, right now this is a bull market for rapists.

There are, inevitably, opposing views on this. First, still frosted with intellectual fairydust from the enlightenment wonderland that is the BBC’s “Have Your Say” forum, here’s James from Durham:
Part of the problem is the fact that so many women are falsely accusing men of rape nowadays. A woman gets drunk and gives consent, yet in the morning can accuse the male of rape. Add to that cases of women accusing celebrities of rape, yet the first port of call is Max Clifford, then the local police station, doesn’t stand to reason. A judge and jury have to take these in to account before establishing ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Thanks for that, James. Sue from London appears to disagree:
The myth of women crying rape, whether after bad sex or for whatever reason, is crucial to the condoning of rape. The problem is not that women falsely report being raped but that most women do not report rape at all, and those who do are subjected to a process of character assassination which leaves them bewildered.

The phrase ‘false allegations’ needs unpicking. The malicious woman who concocts a false story to take revenge on her past lover would not get very far in the legal system, where a past sexual relationship usually precludes cases even getting to court. Temkin (1987) points out that there is no evidence that fabricating allegations happens more often in rape cases than in other types of crime. In a Home Office study, the police decided that they had evidence of this in only seventeen of the cases reported to them from two London boroughs over a three-year period. There is no evidence such cases reach court. According to a Scottish study of police response published in 1983, although some officers talked about a high rate of false allegations, they found it very difficult to recall particular cases they had dealt with that were unquestionably false. When I asked the director of one of the regional CPS offices who had worked for the CPS since 1985 if he had ever come across a case in which a woman had made a false allegation, he somewhat sheepishly admitted that he could not think of one. *
Come on, love, call yourself professor of women’s studies at the University of London? You don’t even begin to address the massive epidemic of celebrities being accused of rape. After all, why on earth would you behave badly if you were a celebrity?

Even if the man is convicted, there may still be questions about his accuser. The case that caused the phrase “date rape” to be coined, that of Angus Diggle in 1994, became a cause célèbre for the right-wing press. The Sunday Telegraph at the time, lambasting what it saw as the latest manifestation of political correctness, said:
The conviction only makes sense on the basis that Diggle was being punished not for what he actually thought would be Ms X’s attitude to his advances, but for what he ought to have thought.
Since the jury agreed with Ms X that she had been asleep on the couch at the time when Diggle started having sex with her, he seems a curious choice as a hero for these guardians of law and order, civil society etc. Telegraph columnist Minette Marrin was particularly incensed on his behalf:
The whole date-rape nonsense, of which this is the worst example in this country, was the direct result of political correctness... what Diggle did was something that most of our sons and lovers have done, though, it is to be hoped, with more style.
Um... remember the part where she was asleep? Look, just don’t spend the night at Minette’s house. Lord alone knows what she’ll be getting up to once you nod off.

The right-wing press was, however, as it so often likes to claim, ahead of its time. Sleep has been downgraded in recent sexual offences legislation from a reason rape will automatically be judged to have happened to a factor that can be argued over. Essentially, the fact that you were asleep when attacked does not now necessarily mean that you weren’t giving your consent. Presumably defence counsels will soon be regularly consulting Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams in court.

Meanwhile, the original version of this story (though not the update) quoted a woman who was recently challenged by a judge: if she couldn’t remember exactly what time she had gone to sleep, how could she possibly remember whether or not she had given her consent for sex? A reasonable question for someone to ask—if they have never, for example, had sex. Or sleep.

Also, case history has repeatedly established that if the complainant has previously had a sexual history with the defendant, there is no way that a jury will countenance that he could later have raped her. It turns out that I could at any time, under any circumstances, have sex with any woman I have previously slept with and, she and her boyfriend or husband might be rather surprised to discover, no court would ever think of convicting me.

Still, if you have been so ungallant as not to revisit an old flame, it is important to remember, as a man, that you’re statistically more likely to find yourself up before a male judge, a man of the world who’s been around. He’ll understand.
In court [the defendant] agreed that he had asked the young woman if she would like to wait for her boyfriend in his flat. He claimed that when she had disappeared, he had gone to look for her and, to his astonishment, had found her naked in his bed. He said she had invited him to join her and claimed she had agreed to intercourse. At this point the judge, who had given the impression that he found the complainant very attractive, intervened with the following preposterous question:

JUDGE: Did you find her attractive as a woman, a girl?
DEFENDANT: She was attractive enough.
JUDGE: When you went into the bedroom you must have thought it was Christmas and Easter put together when you found her naked in your bed. *


* Extracts taken from Sue Lees (professor of women’s studies at the University of London), Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial, 2002. This edition makes it plain that it does not take into account the changes that were due to be enacted by the Sexual Offences Act 2003—but as it’s now clear that precious few of those changes have actually happened, it looks pretty much as relevant as bloody ever, doesn’t it?

Say had

Nov. 2nd, 2006 10:16 am
webofevil: (whuh?)


If you've just joined us, welcome to Have Your Say on the BBC. One of our main topics tonight has been the recent comments by Australian Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali comparing women who don't wear the veil with meat that deserves to be devoured. We go over now to one of our contributors.
Thanks, Harry. Raj, your thoughts?
Good point. However, with all the controversy stirred up by this debate, a broader issue has been overlooked. So far no-one seems to have explicitly stated their support for the general concept of clothing.
Excellent.

Some breaking news: Andy from London has just filed this report on the death of apartheid-era South African president PW Botha. Andy?
Thanks, Andy, that seems to have all the angles covered.

It's time for today's edition of Hard Crossfire. The question is: should flag-burning be a crime? Flag-littering expert Phill Dixon:
Flag-burning expert Leon Rosgarten, your response?
Well, you can’t argue with that. Thanks, guys.

A quick thought now about the Government’s attempts to deal with climate change. Over to you, Keith.
Thanks a lot, Keith. Take care out there.

Okay, we’ve got some more breaking opinion for you here on “HYS”.
Sadly, Richard, I’ve got an email here from “Steve” saying “I do want governments to restrict access to the internet”, so you're going to have to fight that out between yourselves, I'm afraid.

Our chief political correspondent has been covering events in Parliament over the last couple of days. The Government narrowly avoided defeat in a vote on whether or not to hold an inquiry into the invasion of Iraq. Tell us what’s been going on, Khalid.
One million people dead and a new dictator in Iraq. That’s some breaking news here on Have Your Say. I'm sure we’ll have more on that later on.

Now, the Government want to encourage, but regulate, online gambling. So, how’s the situation shaping up?
Well, that’s a pretty cogently argued point of view. It’s exactly the kind of thing we’re looking for on Have Your Say, and it’ll almost certainly get read out in the national BBC bulletin. Sorry, I didn’t catch your name...?
... oh.

Any final thoughts on gambling before we go?
Ha ha! Lovely bit of humour there. Seriously, David, thanks for your comment. It really makes our work feel worthwhile.
webofevil: (Default)
This post advocated joyriding around the BBC ‘Have Your Say’ messageboards for no constructive purpose. Someone already has been. He shall remain nameless, so long as you look away from the screen NOW: vote [personal profile] corn, vote [personal profile] fed, vote [personal profile] pig.

This raises several troubling questions, chief among them: since he can't recommend his posts himself, who the hell are these people who do?


Can high-fliers improve adult education?

Industry and public sector high-fliers are to be urged to develop closer links with England’s further education colleges in a bid to improve adult skills, particularly among the under 25s.
Dr Miles: As a doctor I would be happy to add my knowledge. However I would be unhappy if any of the students attempted surgery at home, that's simply unsafe. Some things should be left to the experts.

Recommended by 1 person

Will sex consent adverts be successful?

An advertisment campaign, warning men that having sex without consent could lead to a prison sentence, has been launched by the Home Office.
Dr Miles: I always ensure that a woman has consented to sex by ensuring that she is well paid for the transaction.

No doubt the government will soon tax sex as well - another example of rip off Britain!

Recommended by 1 person

Are you worried by water shortages?

The Environment Agency, together with eight south-east water companies, have launched a customer advice website, Beat The Drought. The move follows a decision by six companies, including Thames Water, to ban hosepipes. Two more companies may force householders to install water meters.
Dr Miles: For the whole of our married life my wife and I got all of our water from a well on our own property, and I suggest other readers do the same. However, I would suggest an automated mechanism for raising the water. I am too old to manage it on my own, and my wife recently died of cholera.

Recommended by 0 people

How can trust in the political process be restored?

Public trust is being damaged due to the way alleged misconduct by ministers is policed, says the Committee for Standards in Public Life.
Dr Miles: All politicians are answerable to the electorate, and therefore they should be voted out on a weekly basis, like in that Big Brothers show on the ITV. Then new members could come in and do a bit, although I for one wouldn't want Dennis Rodman running the country.

Recommended by 1 person

Has the severe weather affected you?

Have you been affected by the severe conditions? What plans are you making for the wintry conditions? Send us your comments and experiences.
Dr Miles: I am snowed in, which has led to me being unable to get to the pub. Thank goodness it will be open later so that I can enjoy a drink later on to warm up! Down with the nanny state!

Recommended by 3 people

As Britain faces a shortfall in energy supply in the near future, what can be done to bridge the gap?

A panel of 150 experts from all sectors of the energy field says fossil fuels will remain the dominant source, with renewables expanding and nuclear power almost certainly needed.
Dr Miles: I would suggest that we build nuclear reactors in third world countries and compensate them for the health risk. Or maybe on Mars, although getting the power back from there could be a bit trickier.

Recommended by 0 people

Why are boys falling behind?

Why do you think boys are not doing as well as girls in "the three Rs"?
Dr Miles: This is undoubtedly due to the emphasis placed on sport, both on tv and in the media at large.

I for one would rather have an unhealthy but intelligent child who lived a short, full life rather than a healthy stupid one who lived a futile life of stupidity.

Recommended by 4 people
webofevil: (yikes)
So today is officially National What The Hell Happened There? Day, and Panorama is going out tonight while I'm here at work, dammit. Given what we now know about Special Branch's desperate attempts to occlude their every fuck-up, it's amazing de Menezes wasn't found with the gun in his hand and a note saying "ITS A FAIR COP I DUN IT SARGE".

Silver linings:

(1) Jean-Charles de Menezes no longer poses a threat to British security.

(2) He now has his own Wikipedia entry.

Unsettling and criminally negligent events like this demand stern, illiberal responses, such as this from the BBC's Have Your Say page:
I bet these so-called “liberals” who object so much to the shooting wouldn’t complain if it was a terrorist who got shot when he was about to blow himself up, or even if someone else got shot by accident on the scene as long as the terrorist was killed at the end of it. Once again it’s one rule for them and another for terrorists and innocent bystanders.
A moment's scrutiny will reveal that this “rule” makes no sense. “Don't shoot me, but do shoot innocent bystanders” is not something any “so-called liberal” has ever said. This has not deterred one reader (so far) from unreservedly recommending the comment. I have also awarded myself bonus points for the use of the phrase “Once again it's one rule for them...”. I invite those with a modicum of free time to join me in this weird, fetid pit that passes for a representative snapshot of public opinion and see if we can't make Joe Omnibus out to be even stupider than he already is.

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