Thursday, December 13, 2007


Six children who attend St. Stephen’s Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge Ontario, just northwest of Toronto, are taking their school to the Ontario Human Rights Commission. For six years the school had a voluntary program that monitored all kids’ lunches. Teachers would check the students’ lunches to make sure that they didn’t contain such things as peanuts or egg products; ingredients that can pose a danger to children with allergies. The York Catholic District School Board ended the program last year. Maurice Brenner, who is assisting the little litigants, claims that these children suffer disabilities and therefore are entitled to protection from the human rights body.

It is amazing how human rights tribunals that were created to ensure that everyone in society had the same rights regardless of race, religion, creed, etc. are now instrumental in depriving people of what few rights are left in a society run by ever intrusive governments. If this application is successful, students entering the school will be once again subject to their lunches (which presumably will be eaten) searched by teachers acting as the lunch police.

In recent years teachers have become notorious for whining and complaining at contract negotiation time about how overworked they are despite of the fact that they get two months off in the summer and other holiday breaks that others can only dream about. If it ends up that they will be required to sift through lunches and take on the role of the peanut police, perhaps they will have a point about being overworked and underpaid.

Brenner claims that he just wants the school to reinstate the program and claims that he’s not looking for a province wide law. But if the Ontario Human Rights’ Commission upholds the complaint, it is difficult to see how the procedures will not have to be implemented on a province-wide basis. There is nothing different about these particular students at this particular school. Surely these students will not be granted “rights” that other kids do not have. And Dalton McGuinty and his government will be only too happy to have everyone’s lunches inspected; no right is too important to not be taken away; for the good of the children of course.

It’s true that exposure to certain foods can cause serious illness and even death. But as the family and friends of the late Jordan Manners discovered, bullet wounds can be fatal and being within the walls of a school offers no protection from the gun violence that has become rampant in recent years. So let’s not just protect these children; let’s protect all of them.

If it is permissible to comb through a student’s lunch on the grounds that it might contain harmful substances, then students, teachers and everyone else who enters a school building should be searched for guns and anything else that can be used as a weapon. It is hard to believe that 15-year-old Jordan Manners will be the last student to be shot or attacked with a weapon within our school system. All children deserve to be protected; not just those who suffer from serious allergies.

This will never happen of course. It simply isn’t politically correct to deprive students of their privacy rights by searching them for weapons rather than peanut butter. While there will be a lot of support for lunch police in certain circles, the thought of conducting weapons searches will be met with cries of fascism, Nazism, Mike Harrisism and a whole slew of “isms”. In this politically correct world, the rights of certain members of society always trump the rights of others.

If there is any certainty, it will be that those who proclaim about rights the loudest will have no objection to students’ lunches being frisked on a daily basis. And it will only be a matter of time before these searches become province-wide.


Drunk? It's in your genes

THE US ARMY has helped discover a gene that dictates how much booze mice will consume - but it is unsure if humans have the same one. Researchers working with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a joint venture of the US Army and the National Institute of Health, discovered a gene variant which helps brain cells communicate with each other. The researchers said that mice with a variant of the Grm7 gene consumed more alcohol than other mice during experiments.

According to the NIAAA, scientists had already discovered that genes played a part in alcoholism, but it was not known which ones. NIAAA director Dr Ting-Kai Li said that finding link between the Grm7 and alcohol consumption was a breakthrough. "This is a noteworthy contribution, particularly since identifying genes that predispose to alcohol-related behaviours is such an arduous task," Dr Li said.

One of the researchers, Professor Csaba Vadasz from New York University's School of Medicine, said that if a similar gene variant was found in humans, new drugs could be developed to fight alcohol dependence.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correla-tion coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi-tions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal-ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.


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