POLITICALLY CORRECT MEDICINE
Christine Brody is an obstetrician practicing in San Diego. Like many physicians she worked her way through medical school and put in long hours establishing a viable practice. She is also a committed Christian, something of an occupational hazard for medical doctors in a culture as morally adrift as is ours. She works out of a small clinic with three other doctors, all of whom are champions of the old ways.
In 1999, Dr. Brody was asked to provide artificial insemination services for a lesbian. Brody refused. She told Benitez she was willing to continue overseeing her treatments, but would not perform the insemination procedure because she had a religious objection to impregnating a lesbian. Lupita Benitez found a different obstetrician to do the deed but the insemination procedure was unsuccessful.
Benitez had a child three years ago, through in vitro fertilization. She is now the proud fatherette of a 3-year-old boy. He will no doubt be a wonderfully tolerant young man, very accepting of true diversity.
The alert reader may have guessed that there is more to this story; and so there is. In 2001 Benitez filed a suit against Dr. Brody and her medical clinic. Benitez alleged that she was very upset by Dr. Brody's refusal and that she was told that no one at the clinic would do it. She was eventually referred to an out-of-plan physician, and was forced to pay an out-of-pocket expenses amounting to several thousand dollars. She pled numerous causes of action against Brody and her colleagues. In addition to alleging she was denied services on the basis of sexual orientation, she claimed breach of express and implied contract, bad faith, and infliction of emotional distress. She also accused Brody of invading her privacy by noting on her chart that she would "require donor sperm" because she "has never been with a male partner." Benitez claims that she did not want her sexual orientation noted.
Dr. Brody belongs to the California Medical Association so she should have professional support, right? Wrong. The CMA originally filed an amicus brief in support of Dr. Brody. The brief seemed to imply that physicians who act on the basis of clearly held religious beliefs are entitled to a constitutional exemption from state anti-discrimination laws. A week ago, the CMA caved in to intense pressure from homosexual rights groups and withdrew their support.
But the CMA explained! Their spokesman (oops, I should rather say their Communications Officer) said that by withdrawing support of Brody, the association wished to "dispel suggestions that it had abandoned its long-held opposition to discrimination based on sexual orientation." Susan Penney (CMA attorney) told the media that "We have never taken a position on the facts of the case, but filed the brief merely to argue that the case should be decided on the basis of the legal standards that were controlling at the time the physicians acted." That is weasel talk for "we're sorry, we're sorry, we are so sorry. We will never again take any action that could possibly be interpreted as unresponsive to homosexual sensibilities.
The CMA could not stop there. What had begun as an orderly retreat turned into a full-scale running rout with the militant homosexual toughs in hot pursuit. The CMA just rolled over on its back and whimpered 'don't hit us anymore'. Communications Officer Penny sniveled "we have tried to make our position clear to the public, but it remained misunderstood." She finished by admitting that the strong-arm tactics and the misinformation campaign of homosexual militants resulted in the decision to withdraw CMA support from Dr. Brody. The case is scheduled for argument Oct. 11 in San Diego.
FREE SPEECH FOR SOME BUT NOT FOR OTHERS
Ho hum! The Left never changes
Keith Shilson, president of Middlesex University Students' Union, is telling me how he became deeply embroiled in a battle over free speech that has led to him being barred from the university before term has even properly begun. Shilson had invited the Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir to take part in a 'question and answer' session on campus, which he was instructed by the university to cancel. Shilson refused, and found himself suspended from duty and escorted from campus by security guards. The meeting was cancelled. Now Shilson faces a disciplinary hearing, students are organising a petition and meetings in his defence, and a new chapter in the saga of free speech on campus begins.
Shilson is a pleasant, articulate young man who is almost at the end of his studies in politics and history. With long hair, a hat and a little badge of Lenin (he wears his membership of the Socialist Workers' Party (SWP) on his sleeve), he looks like a caricature of a students' union president. Then again, he also has some guts and some principles - rare qualities in the student body politic. Shilson's fight for the speaking rights of Hizb ut-Tahrir should give some hope to all those who believe universities should be about encouraging students to think rather than policing their thoughts.
But Middlesex students' union's stance on Hizb ut-Tahrir is also problematic. It does not come out of an absolute commitment to free speech: Shilson, along with many of his colleagues in the SWP, passionately supports the National Union of Students' policy of 'No Platform' for the fascist British National Party (BNP). Rather, this free speech campaign contains a strong element of opportunism. The liberal left, wrapped up in its own self-loathing, finds it increasingly difficult to criticise the opinions or actions of radical Muslim groups. In this sense, the union's stance does not represent a hard defence of free speech so much as a soft approach to politics, which seeks to accommodate all manner of opinions and actively avoids ideological confrontation.....
In reality, the SWP's vision of a secular socialist future surely shares nothing with the outlook of Islamic supremacism. Its attempt to pretend a consensus is pure opportunism. And the fact that the liberal left views the white working class, who might vote BNP and attack black or Muslim people, as a greater threat than disaffected Muslim youth, indicates the depths of its own cultural disaffection.
Above all, the fact that so many of those protesting against the ban on Hizb ut-Tahrir do not support free speech, as an absolute, inalienable right, shows their distrust of people. We are all capable of listening to wrong ideas, and coming to our own conclusions. Whether it's Hizb ut-Tahrir or the BNP or, indeed, the Stop the War coalition, we do not need politicians, university administrators or Guardian editorial boards to filter out inappropriate material - not because we're interested in what Hizb ut-Tahrir has to say, but because we know we are strong enough to hear it.
More -- much more -- here
HO HUM! THE INCORRECTNESS OF SALT AGAIN
More bunkum masquerading as science. Note the lack of evidence reported at the end of the article. The human body is very good at dealing with salt. It has to be. Why? Because our own blood contains roughly as much salt as seawater
The public has been urged to reject processed food that contains too much salt. A report, published by the Medical Research Council (MRC), claims that, despite reductions by the food industry, people are still eating too much salt. The average adult consumes 9.5g a day, but the recommended level is 6g, according to Susan Jebb, head of nutrition and health research at the MRC's centre in Cambridge.
It is hoped that the report, Why 6g?, will persuade the public and health professionals that reducing salt levels would save lives. According to the report, achieving the 6g target could cut strokes by 13 per cent and heart disease by 10 per cent nationwide. Dr Jebb, speaking with her co-authors, Professor Peter Aggett, of the University of Central Lancashire, and Paul Lincoln, chief executive of the National Heart Forum, said that there was a consensus that consuming high levels of salt was harmful.
The claim has been contested by the salt industry. But Dr Jebb said that reducing salt intake was practical and would have no harmful effects, adding that three quarters of salt came from processed food and that only 10 per cent was added during cooking or at the table and that the main responsibility lay with the food industry......
Salt sales fell from 23 million pounds in 2000 to 20 million pounds this year, according to Mintel, the research group, but rock and sea salt have increased their share of that figure. Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at St George's Hospital, London, said: "We have analysed sea and rock salt and it has more or less the same sodium chloride content as table and cooking salt. If we are to prevent heart disease and strokes, we need to get the message across that too much salt is bad for you, whatever it looks like or has on the label."
Studies have shown that lowering salt intake lowers blood pressure, making it seem likely that it would also reduce the death rate. But there has been limited research to support this. The report cites only one study, which found that the death rate increased the more salt that was eaten. But the impact was only significant in men who were overweight