Saturday, November 06, 2004

Schoolbooks Teach Abstinence, Traditional Marriage

Nov. 6, 2004, 1:32AM
Altered school books given board approval
Texts rewritten to define marriage as between a man and a woman
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle Austin Bureau

AUSTIN - New public school health textbooks that teach abstinence exclusively and address concerns about homosexuality by defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman were adopted Friday.
Only one of 14 State Board of Education members present at the meeting voted against the books, which were widely criticized for failing to provide information to help teens avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Dallas Democrat Mavis Knight said she voted against the books because they failed to include required information about contraceptives.
Two publishers agreed to make minor changes after some board members Thursday expressed concern that the books tacitly endorsed same-sex marriages by references to "partners" instead of "husbands and wives."
Holt, Rinehart and Winston included the following sentence in its health books for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders: "Marriage is a lifelong union between a husband and a wife."
However, Holt did not adopt controversial language in its teacher editions suggesting that homosexuals and lesbians are more prone to self-destructive behaviors.
Glencoe/McGraw-Hill changed a few references in its two high school books. For example, "When two people decide to marry ... " became "When a man and a woman decide to marry ... "
Board member Terri Leo, R-Spring, had argued that the neutral language about "partners" legitimized homosexuality in violation of a Texas law that prevents state agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages or civil unions.
"I'm extremely happy," Leo said. "I really wanted a definition of marriage between a man and a woman to be in the book."
Randall Ellis, executive director of the Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, said the books left out any information that might have given gay and lesbian students a sense of belonging.
"The books talk about abstinence until marriage. That's not an option for gay and lesbian students. So they feel alienated right there," said Ellis.
Most of the reaction to the adoption focused on the high school books' lack of information to meet a curriculum requirement that students "analyze the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of barrier protection and other contraceptive methods" in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
More than 200 people testified on the books during public hearings in July and September.
Many speakers said the books should stress abstinence but also wanted the material to provide medically accurate, age-appropriate contraceptive information.
Others said that including birth-control information in the texts would send teens a mixed message.
Charts listing types of contraceptives, their failure rates and protection they offer from diseases are included in the teacher editions of the books, but were omitted from student editions.
Leo said she thinks those charts should be in the teacher books only.
"It's highly sensitive material and the reason the Legislature wrote an abstinence-based law is to give parents an opt-out," said Leo.
She said that the required half-year high school health course was never meant to be comprehensive sex education.
"Because this basic information is not in students' editions, most students will never see it," said Peggy Romberg, chief executive officer of the Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas.
The board also adopted new materials for fine arts and foreign language classes.
The state is expected to spend $378 million on the books, which replace 11-year-old texts.
A report released in September from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute said the Texas process leads to sanitized books written to avoid offending anyone who might complain at textbook adoption hearings in big states.
The report recommended allowing local districts, and even individual teachers, to choose their textbooks.

Promoting Kinsey's Crimes and Consequences

Vol. 20, No. 23
November 15, 2004
Table of Contents
Promoting Kinsey, Censoring Grandma
by Judith Reisman, Ph.D.

The release of Kinsey by the Fox/Murdoch conglomerate should alert those fighting for Judeo-Christian civilization that the battle lines in this war are treacherous indeed.
Judith Reisman, Ph.D., is the author of Kinsey: Crimes & Consequences.
On November 12, Fox Searchlight, a branch of Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox studios, releases Kinsey, the much-heralded film glorifying the life and work of Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey. The movie boasts the star power of Liam Neeson (Schindler’s List, Star Wars: Phantom Menace) as Dr. Kinsey and Laura Linney (Love Actually, Mystic River) as Kinsey’s wife, Clara. However, it isn’t the acting, the directing, or the “production values” that are creating all the media buzz about this supposedly must-see “biopic.” (I can tell you that authoritatively without having seen the film. Not that I didn’t try: I was prevented twice from previewing the movie. More on that in a moment.)
No, the major media have been hyping this movie to the skies because of its subjects: Kinsey himself and the “sexual revolution” that Kinsey was so instrumental in spawning. Kinsey has become a sort of god for the sex cult that dominates the higher circles of our major cultural and educational institutions: the media/entertainment cartel and academia. His sordid “research” forms the basis of their warped theology of human sexuality.
For these zealous cultists, Kinsey’s “sex science” tomes, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), have become the new holy writ. They will not tolerate any facts that tarnish Kinsey’s deity status or that challenge his gospel of sexual license. However, the truth is out, the facts are undeniable. Kinsey’s sensational “research” turns out to be not scientific at all, but outright fraud. In order to undo traditional moral norms, Kinsey had to perpetrate the lie that all kinds of perverse sexual practices were “normal.” According to Kinsey, anything goes: promiscuity, pornography, prostitution, adultery, sodomy, pedophilia, group sex, sadomasochism, even incest. To support his outlandish claims, Kinsey intentionally skewed his population sample by secretly stacking his “research” with selected cohorts from the most sexually disordered populations: rapists, child molesters, prison inmates, homosexual activists, the “feeble minded,” and prostitutes.
This colossal fraud and the damage it has done should be, alone, sufficient to consign Kinsey to eternal infamy. However, the rest of the Kinsey story is far, far worse. Kinsey himself was a pornographically addicted, pedophile-promoting, bisexual sadomasochist. In the name of science, Kinsey and his “research” acolytes engaged in heinous criminal activity that would, even today in our more “liberated” society, get them sent to prison for a long time. Most horrid of all was Kinsey’s recruitment and protection of pedophiles who sexually tortured hundreds of children and even small infants.
However, don’t expect Kinsey’s crimes and unspeakable depravity to be mentioned in the avalanche of media accolades cascading around Fox’s Kinsey. On October 14, for instance, ABC’s Primetime Live bent the knee before the Kinsey altar, featuring a glowing interview with actress Laura Linney. Of course, ABC used titillating headlines to snare an audience: “‘Kinsey’ Star Talks About Sex Researcher” and “The Man Who Let a Nation Discuss Sex.” Why not something more accurate, such as, “Hollywood Glorifies Infamous Pedophile-promoting Professor”?
Kinsey has been shown at film festivals nationwide. Unable to attend these “hot” happenings, I tried to see the film — twice. On one occasion, Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of MovieGuide, invited me to join him in Los Angeles at a private Kinsey screening arranged by Fox kingpin Rupert Murdoch. On September 20, I did join him, but suddenly, 20 minutes into the film, the screen went black. We were told Kinsey could not be screened. The projectionist, “Josh,” had just gotten a call from “higher up” and was told to axe the film.
Really? Why? Josh said he was told to say the film was damaged. He refused to do that. Both he and an elder statesman projectionist in the room were outraged. The elder stated, “I’ve never seen a thing like this in the 40 years I have been here.” The younger agreed. He’d never seen a film suppressed like this before. No, the film was not axed by “bluenosed censors.” It was censored by Fox Searchlight.
On October 1, Ted Baehr issued a press release on our blackout entitled, “Curious: Kinsey Screening May Have Been Cancelled Because of Grandmother.” The release noted that the Kinsey revolution is a “flimsy house of cards” in danger of collapse since “Dr. Judith Reisman exposed the quackery and pedophilic perversity of Kinsey’s research.” Ted opined that we were shut out because “Judith Reisman” was the “expert” who could expose the truth. Perhaps. A few days later Fox Searchlight rescheduled, and on October 5, I flew to L.A. again for the Fox screening. One hour before the appointed time, Fox called and canceled us again. This time, they said that since Ted had criticized the film, they would not allow us to view it.
The release of Kinsey by the “conservative” Fox/Murdoch conglomerate should alert those fighting the hedonist Kinseyite onslaught against Judeo-Christian civilization that the battlegrounds and battle lines in this war are treacherous indeed.

The 'Hicks' Bit Back in the Election

Sat, November 6, 2004
The 'hicks' bit back
The icons of glamour and glitz all said John Kerry was the only choice for people with any intelligence -- but Middle America didn't care, says Michael Coren

Ben Affleck changed the world this week.

No, of course I don't mean that a tedious movie star actually changed international events. I mean that he personifies why George Bush and the Republicans won the election.

They won because Middle America bit back. Simple as that.

Middle America bit back. The abused, the marginalized and the mocked decided that they had had enough. Those taken for granted, those patronized, those treated with disdain voted to no longer play the silent victim.

For months a daft coalition of the extremely willing played their guitars, sang their songs and read their Hollywood statements about Iraq, oil, the evil George Bush and the foolishness of the American people. They would deny, of course, that they accused their fellow Americans of being stupid, but this is precisely what they did.

True understanding and enlightenment, it seemed, only came after you'd appeared in a sequel to a superhero movie or seen your last album go platinum. Bruce Springsteen might claim to be an ordinary working man, but ordinary working men don't have bank accounts the size of Rhode Island.

The assembled pop stars and actors meant no harm when they demanded that Americans vote Democrat, but what they were really saying was that only certain people really get it. Michael Moore got it. Rosie O'Donnell got it. Academics at universities got it. Howard Stern got it.

Yes, Howard Stern. America listened to Stern and his giggling sidekick explain why only a "retard" would vote for George Bush. In between fart noises and references to naked lesbians, this tired peddler of smut made fun of people who spoke with southern accents and voted on "moral issues."

The clever people at the mainstream television networks, the stylish types in New York and Los Angeles, the icons of glamour and glitz all said that John Kerry was the only choice for a person with any intelligence. As for those ignorant evangelicals, those stupid church-going Catholics, those family-values fools, those dumb redneck hicks, they weren't real Americans.

Then, in the smiling twilight of the new political morning, the unwashed told their betters to shove it.

They realized that their kind were smart and sophisticated enough to storm the beaches of Normandy and wrestle Europe from the Nazis and Asia from the Japanese fascists. They realized that they were suave and urbane enough to work the farms, make the cars, drive the cabs, do the work.

An epiphany

Middle America experienced an epiphany. We are not bigots or yokels just because we believe in the family and in traditional virtues and values. We are not hateful merely because we support our troops and cry when we hear the national anthem.

Working-class Americans began to ask some questions. They wondered why wealthy, white entertainers, artists and, I'm sure, freelance manufacturers of organic yogurt, were announcing that they would leave the United States if George Bush won the election.

Imagine that. If democracy didn't provide the result they wanted, these selfish rich kids would run away to Canada or Britain.

Is that patriotism? Middle America didn't remember Republicans threatening to leave when Bill Clinton won a second term.

Middle America grew tired of the insults. We're not voting out of fear, they said, we don't accept every word we hear from the government and we're not so easily manipulated. Stop telling us that we don't understand what's going on.

We've raised kids and paid mortgages and we resent listening to lectures, especially when delivered by an actress with a vacant smile and a copy of Socialism For Beginners.

Tired of the critics

Middle America shouted its impatience. It wasn't that it so liked George Bush, more that it was so tired of Bush's critics.

Middle America remembered a time when actors, singers and writers reflected the nation. These performers no longer aspired to reflect but to reshape it in their own narcissistic image.

John Kerry was too close to that clan, too much part of the culture of smug assumption.

It wasn't George Bush who was the victor last week, but men and women who stood up and announced to the self-defined elites that "the people" is not a concept but a flesh-and-blood reality. And one that bites back.

The Real Losers in the U.S. Election

Some Advice for Tuesday's Real Losers

The real loser in Tuesday's election wasn't Democrat John Kerry, but the media and intellectual elites who demonstrated, once again, how out of touch they are with the American public. In the final analysis, John Kerry and running mate John Edwards accepted their defeat with dignity and grace.

It remains to be seen whether their supporters among the intelligentsia will do the same. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof was typical. Writing "without knowing the election results," as he admitted in the column that appeared the morning after the election, he nonetheless felt he should lecture "the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting — utterly against their own interests — for Republican candidates." The common folk, you see, just don't know what's good for them. That attitude explains why the elites continue to get it wrong.

There is simply no way to explain away the Republican Party's stunning victory Tuesday. Not only did the president win some 3.5 million more votes than his opponent, but he did so despite a relentless onslaught of bad press in the final days of the campaign. The president prevailed in spite of vicious attacks on his personal character and integrity by an array of well-funded partisan attack dogs. The president won re-election even though Democrats and their allied groups outspent Republicans by an estimated $70 million.

And it wasn't just a personal victory for George W. Bush. Republicans overall made impressive gains in the House and Senate, including defeating Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. When all the votes are finally counted, the GOP will likely hold a 55-44 edge in the Senate, a 234-201 majority in the House, and will control 29 of 50 governorships.

This was not supposed to happen.

The pollsters told us so; Bruce Springsteen told us so; and so did Bill Clinton, Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Jon Stewart, George Soros and a lot of other very important people. The theme was echoed by CBS, ABC, CNN, MTV and most of Hollywood. The only problem was, the American people just weren't listening.

When it came time to go into the voting booth, Americans went with the candidate and the party that reflected their core values. They chose not to be cowed by the naysayers who said we can't win in Iraq. They chose not to be intimidated by 11th-hour threats by Osama bin Laden, who emerged from whatever rock he's been hiding under to lecture Americans on everything from security to deficit spending, echoing talking points that sounded like they could have been written by Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe or film propagandist Michael Moore. They chose not to be divided by class warfare, or scared by outrageous claims that their Social Security benefits would be slashed or that their sons would be drafted if the president were re-elected. Americans went with the man whom they thought they could most trust because he is most like them.

No doubt Maureen Dowd, Michael Kinsley and their crowd will spend endless hours poring over exit polls searching for clues about what makes John and Jane Q. Public tick. I expect they'll end up blaming the outcome of the election on the voting public's ignorance. Americans confuse the war in Iraq with the war on terror, they'll fume. Middle-class Americans actually think the Bush tax cut benefited them, the intellectuals will lament. If only more voters would read the New York Review of Books or take their instruction from those who do, things might have turned out differently.

I have some advice for these learned souls. If they want to understand the American electorate, maybe they should spend less time at Starbucks sipping double lattes over the Sunday Times and more time at church or the local high school football game or in line at a Wal-Mart. They might actually learn something about the values that drive most Americans: faith, family and an abiding love of their country. Maybe if the elites would stop lecturing and instead start listening to the American public, they'd be less surprised at the outcome of our elections.

(Linda Chavez is CEO and President of the Center for Equal Opportunity. And the author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics.)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Only 24 Per Cent of Urban South Africans Back Abortion 'Rights'

SA abortion survey: 24% in favour
Cape Town
04 November 2004 10:28
Twenty-four percent of urban-dwelling South Africans are in favour of abortion on demand, a market research company said on Thursday.

Research Surveys said in a statement they had surveyed a sample of 500 adult South Africans living in metropolitan areas and with access to a landline telephone.

The company said the issue was clearly one where people held strong views, with only three percent saying they "don't know", although this rose to 11% among Indians.

The telephone study revealed a strong correlation with wealth on the issue, with only 18% in favour in households earning less than R6 000 per month.

Agreement rose to just over 40% among people in households earning over R15 000 a month.

Gender differences were minimal, but different population groups gave different responses, with 30% of Indians agreeing, whites 31%, Africans 20% and coloureds 16%.

The study found no differences by city, or "perhaps surprisingly", by marital status.

When those who said "no" or "don't know" to abortion on demand were asked "What if a woman was raped and fell pregnant?" 65% of these people agreed that abortion would then become justified.

This made a total of 73% of people agreeing that abortion would be justified in certain circumstances.

Approval of abortion in extreme circumstance was more likely from those aged 35 and older, and those in the middle income brackets of between R3 500 and R15 000.

Seventy percent of women who had said "no" to the abortion on demand question now agreed, compared to 59% of men.

Whites were also more likely to agree at 74%.

Respondents were also asked if nurses should be allowed to perform abortions. A proposal that specially trained nurses will be permitted to perform abortions without a doctor's assistance was approved by the National Assembly, but has not yet been passed by the National Council of Provinces.

Fourteen percent of people in the sample felt that nurses should be allowed to perform abortions.

People in households earning more than R10 000 were more likely to feel this was acceptable at 22%, while Indians, at 25%, were the most accepting.

"Even more controversial is that, even amongst those in favour of abortion on demand, only a third are in favour of nurses being allowed to perform them without a doctor's assistance. This drops to 21% among females, the people most affected," read the statement. - Sapa

EPA to Use Infants as Guinea Pigs

Study of Pesticides and Children Stirs Protests
By Juliet Eilperin
October 30, 2004 A-2

An Environmental Protection Agency proposal to study young children's exposure to pesticides has sparked a flurry of internal agency protests, with several career officials questioning whether the survey will harm vulnerable infants and toddlers.
The EPA announced this month that it was launching a two-year investigation, partially funded by the American Chemical Council, of how 60 children in Duval County, Fla., absorb pesticides and other household chemicals. The chemical industry funding initially prompted some environmentalists to question whether the study would be biased, and some rank-and-file agency scientists are now questioning whether the plan will exploit financially strapped families.
In exchange for participating for two years in the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, which involves infants and children up to age 3, the EPA will give each family using pesticides in their home $970, some children's clothing and a camcorder that parents can keep.
EPA officials in states such as Georgia and Colorado fired off e-mail messages to each other this week suggesting the study lacked safeguards to ensure that low-income families would not be swayed into exposing their children to hazardous chemicals in exchange for money and high-tech gadgetry. Pesticide exposure has been linked to neurological problems, lung damage and birth defects.
Suzanne Wuerthele, the EPA's regional toxicologist in Denver, wrote her colleagues on Wednesday that after reviewing the project's design, she feared poor families would not understand the dangers associated with pesticide exposure.
"It is important that EPA behaves ethically, consistently, and in a way that engenders public health. Unless these issues are resolved, it is likely that all three goals will be compromised, and the agency's reputation will suffer," she wrote in an e-mail obtained by The Washington Post. "EPA researchers will not tell participants that using pesticides always entails some risk, and not using pesticides will reduce that risk to zero."
Troy Pierce, a life scientist in the EPA's Atlanta-based pesticides section, wrote in a separate e-mail: "This does sound like it goes against everything we recommend at EPA concerning use of [pesticides] related to children. Paying families in Florida to have their homes routinely treated with pesticides is very sad when we at EPA know that [pesticide management] should always be used to protect children."
Linda S. Sheldon, acting administrator for the human exposure and atmospheric sciences division of the EPA's Office of Research and Development, said the agency would educate families participating in the study and inform them if their children's urine showed risky levels of pesticides. She said it was crucial for the agency to study small children because so little is known about how their bodies absorb harmful chemicals.
"We are developing the scientific building blocks that will allow us to protect children," Sheldon said, adding that the study design was reviewed by five independent panels of academics, officials of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and representatives of the Duval County Health Department.
Families can remain in the study even if they stop using pesticides, Sheldon said, as long as they were using them before the experiment started. It was unlikely that any family would volunteer for the study out of financial need, she added, because researchers will require parents to invest time in monitoring their children's activities and diet.
"Nobody can go into this study just for that amount of money," Sheldon said.
R. Alta Charo, a professor of bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison's law and medical schools who co-authored a National Academy of Sciences report last year on the use of pesticides for research, said EPA officials were struggling with how to balance the need to protect the individual child's interests against the goal of pursuing a broader scientific agenda. While she said the agency's approach was reasonable, Charo said it did raise ethical questions.
"Where is the line between enticement and a godfather offer" that impoverished families would find hard to refuse, Charo said. "That is really troubling. We make these decisions over and over in public policy. This is one of those moments."
Several EPA officials, all of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation, also questioned why the agency removed the study design and its recruitment flier from the EPA's Web site once some scientists started to complain about the project. Sheldon said the agency is rewriting how it portrays the research.
"We removed it so we could modify it, so it would make more sense," she said/

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

People of Faith Delivered the Election

People of Faith Deliver the Election

It is hard to imagine an election that featured more discussion of religion than the one that ended — thankfully — on Tuesday. Both candidates discussed their own faith and how it influences their approach to governing. In the end, it was the people of faith who help deliver the election for President George W. Bush.

They were also a critical part of the Republicans' increased majorities in the US Senate and US House as well as ensuring all eleven state referendums passed defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

According to national exit polls, President Bush won 52% of the more than 31 million Catholic votes cast on Tuesday (which represents 27% of the electorate this year). Senator John Kerry, who tried to paint himself as a devout Catholic, received only 47% of the Catholic vote. This represents an eight percent net gain for the president from four years ago when Vice President Al Gore carried the Catholic vote 50%-47%. Kerry became the first Catholic from a major party to run for president and lose the Catholic vote.

President Bush’s Catholic support was even greater among regular Mass-goers. He won this subgroup by a margin of 56%-43%. As many pundits predicted, the race for presidency boiled down to two swing-states: Florida and Ohio. In Florida, Bush won the Catholic vote by a margin of 57%-42% (a whopping 66%-34% among weekly Mass-goers). Ohio was similar, with the president winning Catholics 55%-44% (a 65%-35% margin among weekly Mass-goers).

It is no surprise Bush did so well among Catholics considering the grass roots effort that was made. According to Martin Gillespie, Catholic Outreach Director for the Republican National Committee (RNC), the RNC targeted thirteen states with large Catholic populations, including Florida and Ohio. They identified 57,000 Catholic team leaders (up from 11,000 in January of this year) who gave out voter guides, registered new voters, and engaged in traditional get-out-the-vote efforts. “This was an organic effort at the local parish level,” says Gillespie. “These were Catholics who had a real negative impression of Kerry because he was passing himself off as one of us while ignoring major tenets of the faith.”

President Bush fared well in the Protestants/Other Christians category as well. This segment composed 54% of the electorate on Tuesday. They supported the president by a margin of 59-40%. Within the block of Protestants, Bush won 78% of white Evangelicals compared with Kerry’s 21%. When you examine those among this group who attend church at least once a week, the number for the president skyrockets to 96%-4%. Analysts point to the roughly 4 million new evangelical voters this election as a critical reason for the president’s success.

Jewish voters, who make up 3% of the electorate, supported Senator Kerry over the president by a margin of 74%-25%. Some thought President Bush might do better with Jews considering his unwavering support for Israel and the war in Iraq, coupled with the Democrats' tendency to support a Palestinian state. Jewish voters, however, mostly come from the Kerry “blue” states and they lean left more than other people of faith. Among voters with no faith, Kerry won 67%-31%.

When asked which issue mattered most, 22% said “moral values” (20% listed the economy followed by terrorism at 19%). Those citing moral values as the most important reason for participating voted for the president 80%-18%.

As for abortion, 55% of voters believe it should be legal in all or most cases. Kerry won this group by nearly 3 to 1. Forty-two percent said they believe abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. President Bush secured these voters by a 3 to 1 margin. Regarding gay marriage, 25% of the electorate believes gays and lesbians should be able to marry. This group supported Kerry 77%-22%. Thirty-five percent of voters feel gays and lesbians should be allowed to enter civil unions but not marry. President Bush won this group 52%-47%. Those who believe gays and lesbians should not have any recognition of their partnership represented 37% of the voters. This group heavily supported President Bush 70%-29%.

With the election finally behind us, now what? One of the most important issues facing the re-elected president is filling the Supreme Court’s expected vacancies and other federal judgeships. Chief Justice William Rehnquist, 80 years old, is battling thyroid cancer. He did not appear in court this week and speculation is that he is not well. There are also rumors that two more Supreme Court justices would like to retire.

Democrats and the pro-abortionists in their coalition are warning the Bush administration not to stack the Court with pro-life judges. NARAL is delivering a petition to its membership that says, “Take Action! The battle for the Supreme Court starts today!” The appeal continues, “With President Bush re-elected, the next big fight is coming up fast: the battle to protect the Supreme Court.” They ask their membership to sign the petition that tells the president “that you’ll firmly oppose any Supreme Court nominee who doesn’t support Roe v. Wade.”

With four more seats in the US Senate bringing the number of Republicans to 55, President Bush should have an easier time with his judicial nominations. Not only are there more senators from his party, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, the biggest obstructionist of pro-life judicial appointments, lost his re-election bid on Tuesday. This sends a clear message to any Democrat from a red state to think twice before opposing the president’s nominees.

One piece of disturbing news about Supreme Court nominations came from pro-abortion Republican Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania. He is expected to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee, the committee that oversees judicial appointments. According to the Associated Press, he “warned” the president on Wednesday “against putting forth Supreme Court nominees who would seek to overturn abortion rights or are otherwise too conservative to win confirmation.” Specter continued, “When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is unlikely.”

This is a strange way to thank the President of the United States, who, with Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, saved Specter from a sure primary defeat against a pro-life conservative challenger earlier this year. Senator Specter is not assured of his chairmanship and statements such as these might hurt his chances of getting the job. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, did not give Specter a ringing endorsement when asked about Specter’s chairmanship. He said, “We’ll have to see where he stands,” according to the AP. Obviously, Specter has not examined the election results carefully and has failed to understand the significance of people voting based on moral values. Specter did back off his statement somewhat on Thursday, but there is still cause for concern.

People of faith can be proud of the election results, despite what Europe says. The nation is divided and the fault lines are over moral issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the overall disintegration of the popular culture. We won this battle, but the war still rages.

One area where the fight continues is within the Catholic Church in America. The amount of attention placed on the Catholic voter and the level of engagement from bishops, clergy, and lay people was unprecedented this year. While it is encouraging that the president received a majority of Catholic votes, the hierarchy must address the false teachings that were so pervasive leading up to the election. There is a serious problem when bishops, clergy, professors, and other lay officials run newspaper ads claiming the sanctity of human life and protecting the unborn are not moral imperatives when choosing a candidate, but rank among many other issues. This problem must be addressed immediately. I hope the bishops can do just that when they meet in Washington, D.C. later this month.

St. Thomas More, pray for us.

© Copyright 2004 Catholic Exchange

(Craig Richardson is the founder of the recently launched Catholic Action Network, an organization committed to calling Catholics to authentic and faithful citizenship particularly on issues of life and family.)

Atlantic Canadians Want Legal Protection for the Unborn

PUBLICATION: The New Brunswick Telegraph Journal
DATE: 2004.11.05
COLUMN: Atlantic Canada
BYLINE: TRACY CARR Telegraph-Journal

Most Atlantic Canadians want legal protection for fetuses: poll; Right
to Life group says results suggest desire for new policies relating to

A new poll suggests most Atlantic Canadians would like to see more legal
protection for the unborn.

The Environics poll, conducted for the right-to-life education group
LifeCanada, showed 72 per cent of those who participated in the survey
want to see some form of legal protection for fetuses.

Under existing law, a fetus has no legal rights because the law doesn't
consider it a person until birth.

The percentage of Atlantic Canadian who would like fetuses to be
protected by law's rate was slightly higher than the figure nationwide.

Of the 2,027 people polled across Canada, 68 per cent said the law
should protect human life before birth.

While a third of those polled nationwide said legal protection should
begin at conception, 44 per cent of respondents in the Atlantic
provinces said the law should protect human life from conception on.

Peter Ryan, the executive director of New Brunswick Right to Life, said
these results suggest Atlantic Canadians want changes in policy relating
to pregnancy.

"It shows people are in support of new policies," he said. "And if
policies went according to polls, there would be new policies in place."

The poll results also showed that 79 per cent of Atlantic Canadians who
participated in the survey would restrict public funding of abortion.
Twenty-two per cent said taxpayers shouldn't pay for abortions at all,
while 57 per cent said governments should foot the bill "only in
emergencies such as a threat to the mother's life or in case of rape or

Twenty-six per cent of Atlantic Canadians polled said all abortions
should be covered under the tax-funded health-care system. This was on
par with the national rate.

While each province sets its own funding policy, all four Atlantic
provinces pay for abortions for a broad spectrum of reasons.

New Brunswick pays for abortions in hospitals but not private clinics.
Nova Scotia and Newfoundland pay for all abortions, including those at
private clinics.

On the question of informed consent, 72 per cent of Atlantic Canadian
respondents would support a law requiring that a physician must give a
woman seeking an abortion certain information such as fetal development,
possible complications, and alternatives to abortion. No Maritime
province has such legislation. Nationwide, 73 per cent of those polled
favoured such a law.

Fifty-nine per cent of Atlantic residents think those under 18 should
have to obtain parental consent for an abortion. The national average
was 55 per cent in favour of obtaining parental permission. Mr. Ryan
said he hopes those in the position to make changes to laws relating to
abortion will take these numbers into consideration, and change policy
to better reflect them.

"I would love to see the politicians take note and take action," he

The Morgentaler Clinic in Toronto declined comment about the poll and
its results.

The national poll results are considered accurate plus or minus 2.2
percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error for regional
samples is greater than that for the national sample.

It Was the Morality, Stupid

Thursday, November 4, 2004
Bush should ignore the usual advice
Posted: November 4, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Robert Knight
© 2004

No matter how Bush won the election – decisively or closely – the advice from pundits is always the same: Go left, young man.
They're already at it, advising President Bush to forget his conservative base and be a "leader for all the people." Well, of course the president should be magnanimous in victory, but this doesn't mean forgetting that he now has a clear mandate to defend the moral order.
One Democratic commentator on Fox News actually made the case that because Bush won so decisively, he should feel free to "move toward the center" and "reach out" to moderate Democrats and others.
If Bush had won with a razor-thin margin, the advice would have been the same: "Because the nation is so divided, he needs to move toward the center to heal the wounds."
What Bush should do first is to send a bouquet of flowers to Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, whose clinically insane ruling against marriage in May set the tone for the showdown that occurred yesterday.
Marshall, along with three colleagues, trashed marriage, constitutional law and even the idea of truth itself in a mad dash toward radical stardom. But the nation took notice. Boy, did it take notice.
Credit also goes to Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Phil Burress and Citizens for Community Values, who delivered Ohio for marriage and for Bush, and the many hardworking volunteers at Concerned Women for America and other Christian groups that worked to motivate pastors and turn out the Christian vote.
The driving force behind the Bush victory was the surge in support for marriage all over the nation. Eleven states – even liberal Oregon – passed state constitutional marriage amendments with whopping margins, many of them over 70 percent. Nothing else polled that high.
It wasn't only marriage – the president's clear defense of "the culture of life" and his leadership in the war on Islamic terrorism also gave many voters a clear cut choice. But the assault on marriage was the signature issue that drove many voters to the polls, particularly evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics. Bush even polled higher among blacks, many of whom turned out to vote to defend marriage.
Many voters were not overly fond of Bush, but correctly saw Kerry as the defender of sexual anarchy and appeasement that has gripped the Democratic Party in recent years. By embracing the homosexual lobby, and accusing his fellow Americans of "hatred" and "bigotry" for defending marriage, Kerry didn't need to tell us any more about his "values." It didn't hurt that his wife pledged to make "gay" activism her singular cause when she became first lady. The writing was on the wall: If you liked Sodom and Gomorrah, you'll love the New America under John and Teresa.
To be sure, the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth should also get a nice invitation to all the inaugural balls, given that they pierced the media's wall against revealing John Kerry's traitorous conduct after he returned from Vietnam.
Bush might also send flowers to New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy, whose double life gave us a window into the depth of depravity into which the Democratic Party has sunk with its endorsement of all things sexual. Posturing next to the wife and children he betrayed, he announced, "My truth is that I am a gay American." Right. That does not excuse your cheatin' heart, buddy. By the way, you're a Democrat, aren't you?
Kerry really did himself and his party in with his whole-hearted embrace of the homosexual agenda. During the second debate, he proclaimed that we should all be understanding if a man cheats on his wife and gets into homosexual sex.
From the transcript:
I've met wives who are supportive of their husbands or vice versa when they finally sort of broke out and allowed themselves to live who they were, who they felt God had made them. I think we have to respect that.
No, we don't. After the debate, ordinary people – not the media – rushed to the transcripts to see if he had really said it. He did.
But no matter how obvious it is that Kerry's radicalism, combined with Bush's quiet embodiment of traditional values, gave Bush the victory, we'll hear the drumbeat to move leftward. Even with the GOP picking up crucial Senate seats with solid moral conservatives like Tom Coburn, Okla., David Vitter, La., and Jim DeMint, S.C., the defeat of liberal Minority Leader Tom Daschle, and Bush scoring a clear win, we will hear in the days ahead the siren song of "moderate" Republicans: "Ignore all this, move to the left, and you'll be loved and admired."
Mr. President: Ignore them, honor your base, and let's roll up our sleeves and get some things accomplished, such as filling the Supreme Court with judges who know when life begins and who also know the difference between legislating and adjudicating. We should also begin impeaching judges who betray their oaths to uphold the Constitution, have a lust for making up laws, and who look to foreign countries' courts instead.
One more thing. In Pennsylvania, where Bush made a crucial error in intervening the wrong way in a tight GOP primary race between conservative Pat Toomey and Sen. Arlen Specter, he got nowhere on Tuesday. We're left with Specter as the presumptive next chairman of the Judiciary Committee, where Bush's judicial nominees will run the gantlet.
Specter has already given notice that he will approve only "centrist" (read: pro-abortion, pro-'gay') judges. Given Tuesday's mandate for the "extremist" moral order that Specter disdains, it's not too early to begin a campaign to dump him and ensure that a real conservative like Jon Kyle takes this crucial post.
You heard it here: Dump Specter, now.
And, once again, thank you, Margaret Marshall, for being who you are. You, too, might consider resigning before you do any more damage to your own party, which needs to excuse itself from the Castro Street festivities and make a return to Main Street.

(Robert Knight is director of the Culture and Family Institute, an affiliate of Concerned Women for America.)

Thursday, November 04, 2004

BBC Comedy Ruled 'Blasphemous'

BBC comedy is ruled 'blasphemous'

A complaint about a BBC Three comedy sketch which included a sexually explicit reference to Jesus has been upheld as blasphemous by BBC governors.

Offence was taken to Cyderdelic's reference to Christ and also to a crucifix shown covered in excrement.

The complaint was originally rejected by the BBC's complaints department.

But on appeal, the Governors Programme Complaints Committee decided the show did breach guidelines on causing religious offence.

In its decision it said that while Cyderdelic, which was narrated by the late John Peel, went out in a late time slot on an experimental channel it had still broken BBC Producers' Guidelines.

One of these states that "deep offence will be caused by profane references or disrespect, whether verbal of visual, directed at deities, scriptures, holy days and rituals which are at the heart of various religions".


The original complaint was rejected on the grounds that the remarks were in keeping with the "ludicrous pretensions" of the character involved.

It was also said that because only one complaint was received it "suggested that viewers in general had not understood the humour as the complainant had".

The producer of the show, Karen Rosie, had however offered her regret at the offence caused.

BBC Three recently dropped its controversial animation series Popetown before it was even aired, fearing it would offend Catholics.

Channel controller Stuart Murphy decided the series, set in a fictional Vatican, crossed the line between "scurrilously funny and the offensive".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/03 11:57:12 GMT

Hollywood's Worst Nightmare

Producing a Hollywood flop
By Stephanie Mansfield

Sherry Lansing, the soon-to-be-retired Paramount studio honcho and friend of Sen. John Kerry, is said to be "depressed."
Actress Sharon Stone, who stumped for Mr. Kerry in Wisconsin, reportedly was "traveling" yesterday. It wasn't clear whether the "Basic Instinct" star had fled the country, as she had hinted that she might do if the Democratic nominee lost.
There were tears and tribulations. Long sighs and short tempers. Shock and bawl.
For a rich and powerful demographic used to getting its way, Hollywood was downbeat yesterday as President Bush — more heinous than a mid-February release date to so many celebrities and other bold-faced names — made his gracious victory speech.
Not only entertainers were said to be dispirited. The literary crowd in New York was crying into its Evian.
"Sure, I feel terrible," said New Yorker editor David Remnick, whose published endorsement of Mr. Kerry was a first for the magazine. "There are a lot of long faces today."
And "Fahrenheit 9/11" propagandist Michael Moore's Web site actually went silent.
That's the same Mr. Moore who only a couple of weeks ago had paused in his anti-Bush road trip to opine: "I have a feeling that slackers are going to rise up in this election. The slacker motto is: Sleep till noon, drink beer, vote Kerry."
George Soros, the Hungarian-born billionaire who went on his own 12-city speaking tour and spent an estimated $17 million on ads and get-out-the-vote drives to defeat the president, posted a message on his Web site describing himself as "distressed."
"I'll be back," he wrote.
Buoyed by early exit polls that put their candidate ahead, many in Beverly Hills dined together and waited out the night. Slowly, their leading man faded from the political screen.
"There's a lot of disappointment out here. A lot of apprehension," said Robert Dowling, editor in chief of the Hollywood Reporter. "People are comatose."
It was the right coast versus the left coast, and the morning-after mood was described by Mr. Dowling as "somber." It left many Kerry supporters reaching for their Prozac vials.
"Mine is already empty," joked a high-level publicist who counts A-list celebrities as his clients. "Everyone's so down. All the studio execs are bummed. I have to tell you, when gay marriage becomes a bigger issue than the Iraq war, we're missing something."
Long decried as out of touch with "the real America," Hollywood woke up to its worst nightmare on Main Street.
"This is definitely Kerry country," said Gabriel Snyder, senior writer for Variety, the industry bible.
One can only imagine the despair of the Hollywood stars over the specter of glittery state dinners and policy lunches that could have been: Barbra and Moby,, Uma Thurman and Viggo Mortensen, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, Bette Midler and George Clooney. Directed, perhaps, by Rob Reiner and Steven Spielberg.
Who knew "moral values" voters could triumph over production values?
Asked whether outspoken stars might regret their more vitriolic sentiments about the president, Mr. Snyder said he doesn't think there is a risk of backlash.
"My prediction is the political tenor will come down for a little while," the Variety scribe said. "I don't think anyone will say anything wild. Next week, of course, might be different."
Among the most shrill in past months: Jennifer Aniston, the "Friends" actress who called Mr. Bush "a [expletive] idiot." Actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who stumped for Mr. Kerry in Oregon and Florida and appeared in an ad for the Democrat on the Internet. Singer John Mellencamp, who described Mr. Bush as "a cheap thug."
Cher also threw her wig in the ring, calling Mr. Bush "stupid and lazy" during a sparsely attended rally at a Miami Beach disco in Florida.
Al Franken is also a loser today; Dennis Miller a winner.
Sean Penn, Whoopi Goldberg and Meg Ryan: losers. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Silver and Angie Harmon: winners.
Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi lost their full-throated bids to play at an inaugural ball. Larry Gatlin and Brooks & Dunn, call your agents.
Rap impresario Sean "P. Diddy" Combs made his preferences known, without using the names "Bush" or "Kerry," in urging the hip-hop nation to "Vote or Die." Fellow rapper Eminem put in a belated appearance with the animated video for his venomous anti-Bush single "Mosh," in which his "army" appears to veer from violence in the streets to voting at the polls.
What proved to be a tonic: Building 429 and other Christian rockers who urged prayerful consideration of the stakes on their "Redeem the Vote" tour.
"It was a very gradual thing," the Hollywood Reporter's Mr. Dowling recalled. "First it was Puff Diddy, then Bruce Springsteen came along, then Ben Affleck came out and the bandwagon rolled. It was slow to engage, and I'm not sure if Kerry wasn't just a surrogate for anti-Bush feelings."
"Celebrity testimonials may help [sell] erectile-dysfunction products," Marty Kaplan, communications professor at the University of South Carolina, told Agence France-Presse, "but in politics, they're mainly eye candy for the media."
Mr. Dowling agreed.
"It didn't work," he said of the Democrats' star-studded support.
Asked whether Mr. Affleck, who wasn't available for comment, would suffer any repercussions, Mr. Dowling laughed and alluded to the actor's latest box-office flop "Surviving Christmas."
"Ben Affleck," the Hollywood journalist said, "has more career problems at the moment than his political beliefs."

More Money Laundering in Canada

Investigators report more money laundering in Canada by criminals, terrorists
47 minutes ago

OTTAWA (CP) - The amount of dirty money that global terrorists and other criminals tried to launder in Canada during the last year is dramatically higher than previously reported, a federal agency says.

Almost 200 cases involving $700 million in suspect financial transactions were turned over to police in the last fiscal year - a sizable jump over the $460 million tracked the year before, says Fintrac, the federal agency monitoring money laundering.

But that doesn't necessarily mean Canada is becoming a haven for international criminals cleaning the proceeds of their crimes, adds the head of the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre.

Rather, the fledgling agency is doing a better job of tracking money laundering, its director Horst Intscher said Thursday.

"I would tend to think we're getting better at discerning it, partly because we have more information sources and partly because we have more experience and we've sharpened our tools," said Intscher.

"There may be increases happening, but (more crime) is not the conclusion I'd draw."

Canada is no more of a target than other industrialized countries with financial systems that are hectic enough to hide criminals cleaning dirty money, he said.

The amount of terror financing tracked in 2003-04 jumped to about $70 million from $22 million the year before - a serious concern and a security threat, says the Fintrac report.

Terror financing accounted for 44 cases that Fintrac passed on to police. Another four cases involved both suspected money laundering and terrorist financing activity, Fintrac reported to Parliament.

Another 149 cases involved money laundering alone, about 60 per cent of those likely coming out of illegal hydroponic marijuana grow operations.

That seems to be a rapidly growing export industry and a thorn in the side of investigators.

"It's certainly becoming visibly prominent," although it's difficult to gauge just how fast the sector is growing because Fintrac only began full operations two years ago.

Since then, Fintrac has disclosed almost $2 billion in suspected money laundering and terrorism financing.

Meanwhile, as Fintrac reported on its search for terrorists and their funds, the country's privacy commissioner warned that personal freedoms are becoming a casualty of the fight against terrorism.

As law enforcement and national security agencies collect more information about more people, there are greater chances that travellers and others will be treated unfairly, Jennifer Stoddart said her annual report Thursday.

Fintrac was created by the federal government in 2000 to help uncover illegal financial activities.

But it took a couple more years for Ottawa to finalize reporting requirements that compel banks, brokerage firms, mutual funds, real estate agents and casinos to all disclose large transactions or deals involving more than $10,000 in cash.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Disgruntled Democrats Can't Get Into Canada So Easily

Unhappy Democrats Need to Wait to Get Into Canada
Wed Nov 3, 2004 01:16 PM ET
By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Disgruntled Democrats seeking a safe Canadian haven
after President Bush won Tuesday's election should not pack their bags
just yet.

Canadian officials made clear on Wednesday that any U.S. citizens so fed
up with Bush that they want to make a fresh start up north would have to
stand in line like any other would-be immigrants -- a wait that can take
up to a year.

"You just can't come into Canada and say 'I'm going to stay here'. In
other words, there has to be an application. There has to be a reason why
the person is coming to Canada," said immigration ministry spokeswoman
Maria Iadinardi.

There are anywhere from 600,000 to a million Americans living in Canada, a
country that leans more to the left than the United States and has
traditionally favored the Democrats over the Republicans.

But recent statistics show a gradual decline in U.S. citizens coming to
work in Canada, which has a creaking publicly funded healthcare system and
relatively high levels of personal taxation.

Government officials, real estate brokers and Democrat activists said that
while some Americans might talk about a move to Canada rather than living
with a new Bush administration, they did not expect a mass influx.

"It's one thing to say 'I'm leaving for Canada' and quite another to
actually find a job here and wonder about where you're going to live and
where the children are going to go to school," said one government

Roger King of the Toronto-based Democrats Abroad group said he had heard
nothing to back up talk of a possible exodus of party members.

"I imagine most committed Democrats will want to stay in the United States
and continue being politically active there," he told Reuters.

Americans seeking to immigrate can apply to become permanent citizens of
Canada, a process that often takes a year. Becoming a full citizen takes a
further three years.

The other main way to move north on a long-term basis is to find a job,
which in all cases requires a work permit. This takes from four to six
months to come through.

Official statistics show the number of U.S. workers entering Canada
dropped to 15,789 in 2002 from 21,627 in 2000. Early indicators on
Wednesday showed little sign of this changing.

A spokesman for Canada's foreign affairs ministry said there had been no
increase in the number of hits on the Washington embassy's immigration Web
site, while housing brokers said they doubted they would see a surge in
U.S. business.

"Canada's always open and welcoming to Americans who want to relocate
here, but we don't think it would be a trend or movement," said Gino
Romanese of Royal Lepage Residential Real Estate Services in Toronto.

Those wishing to move to Canada could always take a risk and claim refugee
status -- the path chosen earlier this year by two U.S. deserters who
opposed the war in Iraq.

"Anybody who enters Canada who claims refugee status will be provided with
a work permit ... it doesn't matter what country they're from," Iadinardi

Refugee cases are handled by special boards, which can take months to
decide whether to admit applicants. The rulings can be appealed and
opposition politicians complain some people ordered deported have been in
Canada for 10 years or more.

Leadership and Values Helped Bush Win

Leadership and Values Helped Bush Win
20 minutes ago
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites) combined his reputation for
strong leadership in a time of war with a campaign about traditional
values to win re-election despite voters' doubts about his job performance
and policies.

In a dozen swing states that decided the presidential election, moral
values was tied with the economy and jobs as the top issue in the
campaign, according to Associated Press exit polls. Terrorism was close

Bush won among those in swing states who picked moral values by 84-15 and
he won among those who picked terrorism by 85-15. Kerry won by a wide
margin among those who picked the economy.

"The fact that values trumped the economy sends a very strong signal,"
said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, who said the moral values issue was
in the background of the day to day campaign debate over terrorism, Iraq
(news - web sites) and the economy. "It's a subliminal message that 'this
guy thinks more like I do.' "

In the swing states, Bush was more trusted to handle terrorism and equally
trusted to handle the economy, the polls found.

A fourth of the voters in swing states were white voters who consider
themselves evangelicals and they voted for Bush by almost 3-1 — providing
a strong base for Bush in those key states.

"Republicans have managed to define elections in almost tribal terms —
it's us against them," said Norm Ornstein, a political analyst with the
American Enterprise Institute.

About three-in-10 swing state voters were from cities over 50,000, and
they went for Kerry by 2-to-1. But in the suburbs, swing state voters went
for Bush by 54-45 and in rural areas they went for Bush by 57-42.

Democrats on Wednesday were trying to figure out how they can extend their
appeal to voters outside the cities and to voters who are involved with

"The Democratic Party needs to be more comfortable on cultural and
national security issues," said Al From, founder and chief executive of
the Democratic Leadership Council, a moderate think tank. "Bush was able
to use these effectively against us."

A majority of swing state voters named strong leadership, having clear
stands on issues, being honest and trustworthy and having strong religious
faith as the most valued qualities in a candidate. All of those groups
favored Bush. Kerry did best among those who most wanted a candidate who
would bring change, about a quarter of the total.

"If there was a tide, it was a tide for President Bush notwithstanding all
the skepticism about his administration and its policies," said Democratic
pollster Doug Schoen. "This represents a real serious issue about the
structural position of the Democratic Party."

He and other Democrats said the party needs to relearn how to appeal to
rural voters and religious voters.

Eight-in-10 voters in swing states consider themselves either moderate or
conservative politically. The states were Arizona, Colorado, Florida,
Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West
Virginia and Wisconsin.

Issues like gay marriage and religious values reminded many voters that
they related more closely to the values of the president and were unsure
of Kerry's values.

"Bush successfully appealed to his base and to a wider base on moderate to
conservative social issues like gay marriage and prayer in school," said
James Thurber, a political science professor at American University.
"Democrats have to learn to appeal to those people."

Scott Edwards, a voter in the central Iowa town of Huxley, said he voted
for the president out of what he called a "gut instinct."

"It's more of a trust issue," Edwards said. "I trust President Bush. With
Kerry, I just didn't have a good feeling."

Media Took a Beating in the Election

Media squander public trust by playing politics

Even before we knew who won the election, we knew who lost it: the media.
And the race wasn't close.

News organizations of every stripe and type took a beating in the campaign
of 2004. Mostly, they earned it, with the result being the clock has been
turned back on decades of progress in standards and fairness. Trust in the
media is at an all-time low.

Screwups were a big part of the story, the lowlight being CBS News'
September "scoop" on favored treatment given to George W. Bush 30 years
ago in the National Guard. Shockingly, CBS still has not come clean about
the blunders of Rathergate. It outsourced its ethics probe and has yet to
hold anyone accountable.

But bat-blind mistakes like that are only the most obvious signs of a
deeper problem. The heart of the matter is trust - and how it is being

The search for facts, facts, facts is seen as time-consuming and quaint.
Attitude and advocacy are the new currency. It's as though the
partisanship of the candidates has seeped into the bloodstream of
journalism, with many news organizations taking on the coloring of one of
the political parties.

If you doubt that, look at the media the way the parties do. They know
where their bread is buttered. That's why Bush gave one of his few long
interviews to Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. It's why CNN was the only
organization to have a prime interview space on the floor of the
Democratic convention in Boston.

So the next time somebody says Fox is pro-GOP, say, yeah, that's true -
then suggest a new name for CNN. Call it DNN - the Democratic News
Network. After all, DNN has two advisers to John Kerry on its payroll -
James Carville and Paul Begala.

Whatever your politics, though, take no comfort in the fact that Fox and
CNN cancel each other out. For they both cancel out trust. It is a
setback, not progress, that viewers can pick their cable channel on the
basis of political preferences.

Many newspapers are taking the same wrong turn, providing comfort food for
the committed instead of facts to the curious. Apart from abdicating their
responsibilities to play it straight, they're also being shortsighted.
Once readers and viewers stop agreeing with a paper's politics, they will
look elsewhere for news.

It wasn't always like that. As recently as 1976, a Gallup survey found
that seven of 10 Americans trusted news organizations. A survey this year
by the Pew Research Center found that 53% of Americans do not trust them,
seeing the media as "self-centered and self-promoting."

That's a major falloff, and I bet next year's survey will find even lower

Advocacy, either real or perceived, is a big part of the problem. The
liberal, big-government view still dominates the major media, which is why
Kerry got more newspaper endorsements than Bush. But endorsements on
editorial pages and signed columns, like this one, are supposed to express
the writers' opinions.

What critics and some readers suspect is that many of the same papers that
endorsed Kerry tilted their news coverage toward him, too. The New York
Times, my alma mater, is Exhibit A. Even its own in-house critic called it
"a liberal newspaper" whose supposedly unbiased news pages "present the
social and cultural aspects of same-sex marriage in a tone that approaches

Such honesty is refreshing. Other editors are struggling with the issue,
too, sometimes twisting themselves in knots in the process. The Albany
Times-Union, a Hearst newspaper, tried to deflect attacks of partisanship
by putting a big picture of Bush on page 1 for half of a day's run, and a
picture of Kerry in the same spot for the other half. Editor Rex Smith
later regretted the experiment, saying he had been wrong to abandon his
news judgment.

Alas, he could have found a solution the old-fashioned way, simply by
adopting the standard for fairness set long ago by one of the giants of

A.M. Rosenthal, for many years the boss of The Times, was a fierce figure
in the newsroom. But he had a seemingly simple goal for news coverage, one
he wants as his epitaph: "He kept the paper straight."

To judge from the evidence of 2004, too few journalists share that goal.
That's not just the media's loss. It's America's, too.

Originally published on November 3, 2004

Elton John to Marry in Canada?

Elton John plans to marry longtime companion
Tue Nov 2, 7:33 PM ET Entertainment - AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - British pop legend Elton John (news) plans to marry his
longtime boyfriend David Furnish, saying he has "never been so happy".

"We haven't set a date and it surely won't be a big public ceremony but I
would like to place my life in his hands with a wedding vow," the
57-year-old told German weekly celebrity magazine Gala.

"I have never been so happy."

John, who did not reveal in which country he planned to tie the knot, said
he had lived for years "like a wild animal" with a lifestyle marked by
drugs, alcohol, depression and suicide attempts.

"Today I am happy that person no longer exists."

He called the 40-year-old Canadian-born Furnish "the most important person
in my life".

"I cannot imagine a life without him."

John said he had grown fed up with fame and would like to lead a quieter
life, but he said it was unlikely he would shy away from the spotlight for

The singer was married to studio technician Renate Blauel from 1984 to
1988. He has been linked to Furnish since 1993 in what London's Observer
has called "the most conspicuous gay couple in the world."

John is to accept Germany's "Bambi" media award in Berlin in November for
his charity work to fight AIDS (news - web sites), German publisher Burda
said Tuesday. His foundation has raised nearly 40 million euros (50
million dollars) for research into the disease.

Study: Spiritually Inclined Students Are Happier

Study: Spiritually inclined students happier
Published in the Asbury Park Press 11/02/04

College students who participate in religious activities are more likely
to have better emotional and mental health than students with no religious
involvement, according to a national study of students at 46 wide-ranging
colleges and universities.

In addition, students who don't participate in religious activities are
more than twice as likely to report poor mental health or depression than
students who attend religious services frequently.

Being religious or spiritual certainly seems to contribute to one's sense
of psychological well-being, says Alexander Astin, co-principal
investigator for the study of 3,680 third-year college students. The study
was released this week by the Higher Education Research Institute at the
University of California-Los Angeles.

Those who participate in religious activities also are less likely to feel
overwhelmed during college.

Religious involvement includes such activities as reading the Bible or
other sacred texts, attending religious services and joining religious
organizations on campus.

These findings are important because psychological well-being declines
during the college years, Astin says. One in five students has sought
personal counseling since entering college, and 77 percent of college
juniors report feeling depressed frequently or occasionally during the
past year. Only 61 percent of the students were depressed frequently or
occasionally when they first started college.

A high degree of spirituality correlates with high self-esteem and feeling
good about the way life is headed. The study defines spirituality as
desiring to integrate spirituality into one's life, believing that we are
all spiritual beings, believing in the sacredness of life and having
spiritual experiences.

"Students seem to feel better about themselves if they see themselves as
spiritual," Astin says. "In these trying times, it's a positive feeling to
correlate in people."

But the study also finds that highly spiritual students are more prone to
experiencing spiritual distress, or feeling unsettled about spiritual or
religious matters, than students who aren't as spiritual.

Being religious also could play a role in whether someone starts to drink
alcohol while in college. Three-fourths of students who don't drink beer
before attending college won't start in college if involved in religious
activity, the study says, but only 46 percent of students will continue to
abstain if not involved religiously.

Astin says the next question to answer is whether students who are more
religious and spiritual are more psychologically healthy or whether the
more psychologically healthy students are seeking religious and spiritual

The research also finds that 77 percent of college students pray, 78
percent discuss religion with friends, and 76 percent are "searching for
meaning and purpose in life."

Strongly religious students tend to describe themselves as politically
conservative, but they hold more liberal views on issues such as gun
control and the death penalty, the research finds.

The project is paid for by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Ontario Government 'Addicted' to Gambling Revenues

Nov. 3, 2004. 05:37 AM
Addicted to gambling revenues
McGuinty admits Ontario relies on gaming profits
Problem gamblers chip in 35 per cent of revenues: Study

The Ontario government is hooked on gambling, Premier Dalton McGuinty said yesterday.

"There is no doubt about it, we have come to rely on gambling revenues," he said. "Perhaps in a better world we wouldn't, but the fact of the matter it's here, it's here to stay."

McGuinty was reacting to a new study that shows problem gamblers — 4.8 per cent of all gamblers — account for 35 per cent of the more than $4 billion that Ontario reaps each year from all forms of gaming.

The study comes at a time when Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation is reviewing whether gaming should be expanded, which critics say is not warranted.

"I have asked the OLGC to review what potential there is and what the market will bear ... and they will come back with a full report sometime this fall," said Economic and Trade Minister Joe Cordiano, who had not yet seen the study.

According to Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the province's many lotteries, casinos, racetracks racked up a profit of $2.1 billion for the Ontario treasury.

The study, which surveyed 6,500 Ontarians over a 10-month period, was commissioned by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre and conducted by two University of Lethbridge professors. The centre is an arm's-length provincial funding agency.

"It leads to a fairly to incontrovertible conclusion that a significant portion of gaming revenue comes from problem gamblers," said Rob Williams, a member of the university's school of health sciences and a co-ordinator for the Alberta Gaming Research Institute.

"We have known a significant portion of gaming revenue comes from problem gamblers and the purpose of this research was really to pin that number down," he said in a telephone interview.

The former New Democratic Party government introduced casino gambling to Ontario in 1993 when a temporary facility was opened in Windsor.

Now there are permanent casinos in Windsor, Niagara Falls and Orillia. The OLGC also operates hundreds of slot machines at racetracks, as well as four charity casinos.

In 2003-2004, the Ontario government spent $36 million on problem-gambling research, or 2.6 per cent of the $1.4 billion that problem gamblers spend here, the study says.

Cordiano dismissed suggestions the province isn't doing enough to help problem gamblers. "We have one of the most progressive problem gaming policies in North America," he said.

The minister played down problem gambling, saying, "Most people go and have a good experience ... they may spend a couple of hundred dollars, win a couple of hundred dollars, but it's entertainment."

And anyway, Cordiano said, it's too late for the province to turn its back on gambling. "Gaming is here ... it is a significant contributor to the province's revenue base," he said. "We are going to do what we can to be as responsible as we can to make sure ... that people aren't going to be hurt by this."

Asked if the province's casinos are enabling problem gamblers, Health Minister George Smitherman said: "I don't think anyone would characterize us as that.

"What we need to do is make sure is that we've got good, strong programs designed to assist people affected by any range of addictions," said Smitherman, who hadn't seen the study.

NDP MPP Peter Kormos (Niagara Centre) said the study shows Ontario has become dependent on revenues from problem gamblers.

"That's a serious problem ... and it shows the modest amount of money being invested in dealing with problem gambling hasn't worked at all," he said.

Kormos said the information in the report also opens the province to legal liability.

"The government armed with this type of knowledge ... has increased it exposure, its liability, vis-à-vis continuing to service gamblers with gambling addictions and then being liable for the damage that they cause," said Kormos.


Nov. 2, 2004. 06:45 PM
'Problem' gambling here to stay, premier says
McGuinty acknowledges study: Ontario has come to depend on gambling

Ontario will keep its slot machines, racetracks, casinos and lotteries despite a report showing problem gamblers contribute more than one-third of the province's gambling revenues, Premier Dalton McGuinty said today.
"There's no doubt about it, we have come to rely on gambling revenue," McGuinty said before a caucus meeting.

"Perhaps in a better world we wouldn't, but the fact of the matter is it's here, it's here to stay."

Ontario pulls in about $5.7 billion a year in overall gambling revenues, with about $2 billion going directly to government coffers.

The report, released today, says the province gets 35 per cent of its gaming revenues from problem gamblers, which make up just five per cent of the gaming population.

But the study points out that Ontario spent only $36 million last year trying to prevent and treat gambling addictions.

McGuinty said that's a "significant" amount of money - although it's less than three per cent of the $1.4 billion the study estimates was made from problem gamblers.

"I think that creates some ethical quandaries for governments if the purpose of the government is to serve the interests of the people," said Rob Williams, co-author of the study and a University of Lethbridge health sciences professor.

The study shows that most problem gamblers played the slots, bet at the racetrack or played casino table games.

Economic Development Minister Joseph Cordiano said Ontario has ``one of the most progressive problem gaming policies in North America," and said he would review the report.

For most people, gambling provides a few hours of fun, he added.

"It's entertainment, then they go home and they don't have a problem."

Cordiano said he's asked his department to review the government's gaming policies, including improving help for addicts.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. is also looking at whether there should be more casinos built in the province, a report which is expected later this fall, he said.

New Democrat house leader Peter Kormos said the government must take action on the study's findings.

"I think there should be a moratorium on new casinos and a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of their gambling addiction treatment programs," he said.

Williams acknowledged that gambling is entrenched in the province.

"We've created a culture of gambling so you can't suddenly take it away," he said.

However, the province can do better at preventing people from becoming addicted and having more effective programs aiding those with problems, Williams said.

The province could more effectively enforce self-exclusion programs, where gambling addicts ask to be refused entrance to a casino or other betting facility, he said.

The province could also offer a debit-type card with a limit for slots, take cash machines out of gambling locations, and spend more on prevention programs, Williams said.

Jim Cronin, a spokesman for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., said the organization will take a close look at the report, but defended the province's problem gambling program.

"We have a program that includes treatment and counselling, public awareness and education, the research centre and a 24-hour help line," he said.

"No question we understand that a percentage of our customers are going to be problem gamblers, and that's why there is this provincewide program to point them in the right direction to give them the help they need."

Larry Flynt Said He'd Leave if Bush Won

Flynt: 'I'll flee if Bush wins'
02/11/2004 15:50 - (SA)

Paris - American porn mogul Larry Flynt said he may decide to go into exile if George W Bush is re-elected president of the United States.

"If Bush is re-elected - but I don't want to even consider the thought for one second - I really have to think about living somewhere else," Flynt said early Monday in a strip club on the Champs Elysees in Paris where he was celebrating his 62nd birthday.

Flynt, who made his fortune after publishing the popular porn magazine Hustler, said he had come to Paris to "escape the nauseating atmosphere of the electoral campaign".

He was accompanied by 40 strippers, who came to Paris especially for the birthday celebration. Holding one well-endowed dancer in each arm, Flynt told journalists that he hoped American voters would make "a good choice for their individual freedoms". - dpa

11 States Approve Gay 'Marriage' Bans

11 states approve ban on gay unions
Activists promise court challenges
By Dana Wilkie
November 3, 2004

WASHINGTON – In nearly a dozen states yesterday, voters sent the loud, clear message that they think marriage should be reserved for unions between a man and a woman.

Reacting to recent court rulings allowing same-sex marriages, voters from Oregon to Georgia passed state constitutional amendments banning such unions – often by sweeping margins.

"The people are responding to the courts, which are increasingly trying to change the definition of marriage," said Carrie Gordon Earll, a spokeswoman for Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group. "Marriage is not some kind of social play dough that the courts can reconstruct."

Gay rights activists vowed to challenge some of the amendments in court.

"Basic human rights should not be put up for a popular vote," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "We're confident that the Bill of Rights is going to secure the freedom to marry for gay Americans."

The measures were on ballots in 11 states – Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah – and they were placed before voters at a volatile time.

This year, Massachusetts' highest court ordered the state to grant marriage licenses to gays. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom thumbed his nose at a voter-passed state law banning same-sex marriage, Proposition 22, and allowed thousands of gays and lesbians marry in his city. The state Supreme Court later invalidated more than 4,000 of these marriage licenses.

A 1996 federal law already defines marriage as between a man and a woman. And all the states with ballot measures, except Oregon, have laws outlawing same-sex marriage, as do 27 other states.

But President Bush and others say a federal constitutional amendment is needed to prevent what they call "activist" judges from overturning the 1996 law. After such an amendment failed this year in the House and Senate, the state ballot measures were seen as a backlash against congressional inaction.

The measures galvanized liberals and gay rights activists, as well as social conservatives and evangelical Christians.

The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest gay rights groups, spent nearly $7 million to fight the measures. In Ohio, where voters banned same-sex marriage by a ratio of 3-to-2, the Christian Coalition had mailed out 2 million voter guides on the issue.

Ohio's measure is considered the broadest because it bars any legal status that "intends to approximate marriage."

Gay activists' best hope was Oregon, where voters have a history of defeating measures perceived as anti-gay. But even Oregon voters endorsed the ban on same-sex marriage.

"It feels like a death," said Kelly Burke, 35, of the amendment's passage in Oregon. She is a stay-at-home mother who began receiving health care coverage for the first time after she wed electrician Dolores Doyle, herpartner of 15 years, in Portland in March.

The measures won easily in the 10 other states – by ratios as high as 3-to-1 in Kentucky and Georgia, and 6-to-1 in Mississippi.

Polls indicate Americans oppose same-sex marriage by 2-to-1. But they are far less enthusiastic about amending the federal Constitution.

Gay rights advocates claim the GOP used the measures to rally social conservatives and boost turnout for Bush. Four of the measures were in presidential battleground states.

"(Republicans) will pay a long-term price for this kind of intolerance," Foreman said. "Young people and swing voters are going to reject the Republican Party."

Said Gordon Earll, of Focus on the Family: "These measures would have been on ballots regardless of who was running for president."

Scientists Ponder Creation of Headless Clones

Science's new frontier - a headless human?
Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, October 29

Headless mice are already a fact and a headless human being born in a laboratory for organ transplants could just be the next step -- the frightening, if exciting, prospect was put forth on Friday at a surgeons' meet in New Delhi.

Thirty years ago, the debate was on in-vitro fertilisation. It is now an accepted reality offering hope to millions of childless couples all over the world.

But then these are issues that have confronted science all the time, said P.B. Desai, former director of the Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Centre.

He was speaking on 'Conquest over mortality' at the golden jubilee meet of the Delhi chapter of the Chicago-based International College of Surgeons (ICS).

"Science is moving at such a fast pace that scientists have proven that they can create headless mice through removal of genes in embryo that control development of the head. But the body would have the capacity to keep the organs functional for use as transplants," said Desai.

Just like the ongoing debate and ban in the US about use of stem cells for human cloning, Desai anticipates a possible ban on the creation of a headless human being who has the capacity to keep the organs functioning but no thinking mind.

"The ultimate aim of science and medicine is towards immortality. But I personally think a human being has to first learn to be a man, and once you learn the value of finite, you will not play god," Desai told delegates at the meet, attended by over 250 leading surgeons of the country and overseas.

The quest for immortality could lead to the manipulation and creation of a headless man for commercial exploitation and plunder of organs while taking care of all the legal issues, Desai warned.

Opening up thrilling, but scary prospects, Desai brought forth the possibilities offered by biotechnology with scientists having almost completed genomic profiling. So far around 40,000-50,000 genes have been mapped out.

Genomic profiling or mapping has the capacity to predict the possibilities of a person getting a certain disease with high accuracy, enabling early intervention to prevent it through the removal of the organ or the culprit gene and introducing another gene.

Gene mapping is already being offered to people at high cost in the US.

"Embryonic stem cell, which holds promise of cure of any organ, is but a slow move towards immortality. The capability of stem cells is amazing as they can reproduce any organ," Desai said.

Bringing to fore the dilemma on the legalities, moral and religious issues involved, he said: "Science is too important a matter to be left to the scientists alone, just as war is too important a matter to be left to the generals alone. There are always political implications."

An oncologist of great repute, Desai said while stem cells holds promise of cure that could cut down on need for organ transplants, genetic engineering could help to remove bad genes and offer cure for cancer or even pre-empt it.

Psychiatrist: Small Family Size a Cause of Depression

Psychiatrist: Small Family Size a Cause of Depression

HONG KONG, November 2, 2004 ( - Small family size and late marriage may play a significant role in rates of depression in Hong Kong and other Asian regions, according to a leading psychiatrist.

Former president of the World Psychiatric Association, Dr. Norman Sartorius, said, "Depression as an illness has a tendency to appear by the age of 30 and from then on, the prevalence will grow as people get older. The population structure in many countries is that there are few children and many old people. A large part of the middle-aged population is at risk of depression," as reported by the South China Morning Post.

Dr. Sartorius was addressing the 11th scientific meeting of the Pacific Rim College of Psychiatrists at their opening Thursday evening, held in Hong Kong.

"In China, they have introduced the one-child policy, but in many countries in Asia, the one-child policy has instituted itself without any need for government policy," he said. Dr. Sartorius, a Swiss psychiatrist, is the author of many books, including Mental Disorders in China.

Dr. Sartorius said that the modern materialistic view of reality has a significant hand in contributing to psychiatric disorders like depression, especially in cities like Hong Kong. "It is always a rule that your feeling of need increases with what you have. The more you have, the more you want," he explained.

Current estimates suggest depression, which affects three percent of people world-wide, may become the second leading cause of disability by 2020.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

U.S. Newspapers See Further Readership Declines

U.S. Newspapers See Further Readership Declines
Mon Nov 1, 2004 06:56 PM ET
By Martha Graybow

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The three best-selling U.S. newspapers have enjoyed an increase in readership this year, although the industry as a whole continues to struggle with falling circulation, new data released on Monday showed.
Overall, the average daily paid circulation for the 841 newspapers reporting twice-yearly data to the Audit Bureau of Circulations slipped 0.9 percent for the six months ended Sept. 30 from the same period last year, according to an analysis of the data by the Newspaper Association of America.
Sunday circulation at the 662 newspapers that reported readership figures fell 1.5 percent, according to the trade group's analysis.
Circulation rose at five of the nine biggest newspapers, the trade group said. That included increases at the three top-selling U.S papers, Gannett Co Inc.,'s USA Today, Dow Jones & Co Inc.'s Wall Street Journal and New York Times Co.'s flagship New York Times.
Average daily circulation at USA Today, which raised its cover price to 75 cents from 50 cents a copy in September, rose to 2,309,853, up 2.8 percent from 2,246,996 a year earlier, according to the data reported to the audit bureau, which monitors newspaper circulation.
Newspaper circulation has drawn scrutiny because of a string of scandals over inflated data uncovered at several major publishers.
The scandals come as newspaper readership has eroded steadily over the past decade, hurt by competition from other media like the Internet that appeal to younger audiences.
The data did not reflect the circulation misstatements at several newspapers caught up in the circulation scandals, including Tribune Co.'s Long Island, New York-based Newsday and Hollinger International Inc.'s Chicago Sun-Times.
"There were some observers that might have anticipated more severe effects than these numbers would seem to suggest," said John Sturm, the newspaper association's president. "These numbers are fairly normal or routine, given the trends that we have seen over the past 10 or 15 years."
Sturm attributed the overall circulation declines largely to new national restrictions on telephone solicitations of new customers. He said the data also did not reflect many publishers' efforts to boost readership in new ways, through online editions or through the launch of new free daily papers aimed at commuters.
The increase at USA Today was due largely to higher sales of the newspaper in hotels and other travel-related locations, according to USA Today spokesman Steve Anderson.
At The Wall Street Journal, circulation rose to 2,106,774, up from 2,091,062 a year ago, helped by an increase in paid subscribers to its online edition.
But not all large papers recorded gains. Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune both recorded declines. Circulation at The Washington Post, published by Washington Post Co., also slipped.
Circulation levels are used by publishers to set advertising rates. They also contribute revenue to newspapers, although typically much less than what publishers bring in from ad sales.

36 Per Cent of Gambling Cash is From Problem Gamblers

Ontario wins 36% of gambling cash from problem gamblers
Last Updated Tue, 02 Nov 2004 12:14:15 EST

TORONTO - People with gambling problems account for more than a third of the $4 billion spent each year by Ontario residents at casinos, racetracks and lottery kiosks, a new study suggests.
About 4.8 per cent of Ontario residents have a gambling problem, according to a new study by the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre.
But even though those Ontarians gamble away about $1.41 billion annually, the province spends just $36 million each year on gambling research, prevention and treatment.
"Ontario appears to derive a substantial portion of its gaming revenue from problem gamblers," said study co-author Robert Williams, a professor at the University of Lethbridge.
"Government-sponsored gambling is therefore contrary to the interest of the general populace, and therefore contrary to the purpose of government."
The study found that problem gamblers accounted for about 36 per cent of gambling revenue overall, but up to 60 per cent of revenue from gaming machines.
By comparison, problem gamblers generated 53 per cent of the revenue made on horse racing, and 19 per cent of the money raised from lotteries.
The conclusions were based on a survey of 2,424 Ontario residents who provided estimates of their gambling expenses for a month, and another 364 people who completed diaries that charted four weeks of gambling activity.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Community Centres Now Have Unisex Change Rooms, Showers

Oct. 28, 2004. 01:00 AM
Unisex change area raises eyebrows
Rec centre change draws complaint
Stall system better for young families

A Mississauga parent has torn a strip off city officials for replacing men's and women's change rooms and showers with one unisex facility at two Mississauga community centres.

The change has also prompted the Peel District School Board to impose strict rules for the use of such facilities by students attending school swim programs.

"They had no right or mandate to remove separate male and female change rooms," Sherri Thomson, the mother of a 14-year-old who uses the city pools with a synchronized swim team, told city council yesterday. Having her daughter changing in a stall between a 15-year-old boy and a 35-year-old man, either of whom could stand on a bench and peer in, is not a comforting thought, she said.

For personal comfort and safety, people shouldn't be denied the option of gender-specific dressing rooms, Thomson said.

The switch came when the Mississauga Valley and Huron Park community centres were renovated. With space too limited to include both, the separate dressing rooms and showers were replaced by one large room with private stalls for both sexes. Showers were moved to the pool decks, where bathers can rinse in swimsuits.

"There is no (public) nudity involved," said community services commissioner Paul Mitcham, adding the facilities were installed for the safety and convenience of parents with young children. The private, lockable stalls let a parent supervise a child of the opposite sex, instead of having to send the child in alone. The system has been used at the Chinguacousy Wellness Centre in Brampton for seven years without incident, he said.

Before the centres were renovated, Mitcham said, there was public consultation and overwhelming support for common change rooms. But Thomson's complaint to a trustee resulted in a letter to principals from the Peel board, setting restrictions for safety, supervision, logistics and "the comfort level of our diverse communities." It bans mixed-gender swim classes at the two pools, and requires that a teacher of the same gender be present at single-sex classes.