China to Intensify One Child Effort; Immigration Case Throws Some Horror Stories In Doubt

China recently announced that it was intensifying its |one-child policy| designed to keep its population down. An editorial in The People’s Daily, the Communist Party newspaper, announced “We cannot just be content with the current success, we must make population control a permanent policy.”

China claims that the one-child policy prevented the births of 250 million babies, but this is unlikely given the fact that, as the BBC notes, people in the countryside largely ignore the one-child policy and in urban areas rising income and educational levels would have likely led to a reduction in family size anyway. Besides almost all of the decline in China’s population growth rate occurred prior to the creation of the one-child policy.

The one very noticeable demographic effect of the policy has been the vast skewing of the sex ratio, with far more boys being born than girls — according to the BBC there are now 60 million more men than women in China and that number is going to continue to grow as children born in 1980s and 1990s, where the sex ratio skewed the most, reach adulthood.

Meanwhile, China arrested officials in central China who murdered a baby that was born to a mother who had already exceeded the official state quota. Most of the allegations of human rights abuses caused by the one-child policy involve such state officials who are given quotas for live births for their area but often very little guidance on how exactly they are to stop women from getting pregnant. Under pressure to meet the quotas some officials, such as the three recently arrested, are willing to commit atrocities.

On the other hand the veracity of many horror stories was challenged recently by the indictment of a prominent New York attorney who specialized in Chinese immigrant cases. Robert Porges, 61, was indicted for helping international smugglers evade immigration authorities and bring up to 7,000 illegal immigrants from China to the United States.

Among the things Porges stands accused of is falsifying horror stories of persecution under the one-chlid policy in order to gain his clients political asylum in the United States. According to the Washington Post,

To secure [INS] releases, Porges and his paralegals concocted thousands of fake political asylum stories, claiming, for example, that a Chinese woman had undergone a forced abortion because of China’s one-child policy.

<porges and his firm filed fake documents from the so-called relatives, usually the smugglers themselves, or forged signatures of people with no relation to the aliens.

While there are certainly human rights abuses associated with the one-child policy, such concoctions and inventions may have helped exaggerate the extent of such abuses.

Source:

China steps up ‘one child’ policy. The BBC, September 25, 2000.

N.Y. lawyer charged in immigrant smuggling. Hanna Rosin and Christine Haughney, Washington Post, September 21, 2000.

ALF Raid Liberates Feral Cats

After an outbreak of rabies in the area, authorities in Gaston County, North Carolina began rounding up feral cats. The cats were housed in an animal shelter where the Animal Liberation Front activists apparently feared they would be euthanized. So on September 14, several ALF members broke in to the animal shelter and stole the cats.

The raid was denounced by a local group trying to help the cats, Friends of Feral Felines. FFF leader Ann Gross told The Charlotte Observer that the raid was “outrageous” and she feared that the cats might no longer be receiving proper medical attention. From personal experience trying to find humane ways to deal with feral cats, they tend to have a large number of health problems and diseases, and the ALF activists didn’t do the cats or people concerned about rabies and other diseases any favors with their raid.

Source:

Animal advocates take issue with cat liberators. Peter Smolowitz, The Charlotte Observer, September 15, 2000.

World Farm Animals Day Coming Up

October 2 is World Farm Animals Day designed to mark, in the words of FarmUSA, “the suffering of ten billion innocent, sentient animals raised for food…” Activists demonstrating on October 2 will be demanding

  • Ban of veal crates
  • Ban of sow gestation stalls
  • Ban of battery cages
  • Ban of forced molting of laying hens
  • Enactment of Downed Animals Protection Act
  • Strict enforcement of Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
  • Phasing out subsidies for large factory farms
  • Strict environmental pollution regulation of factory farms
  • Strict control of antibiotics in factory farms
  • Choice of plant-based foods in the National School Lunch menus

You do have to appreciate the rhetoric espoused by FARM. At their website they reprint a speech by Alex Hershaft which is priceless:

In the 1950’s, General Dwight Eisenhower warned America of the rising political clout and awesome destructive impacts of the military-industrial complex. …

In the 1970’s, leaders of the vegetarian movement warned America of a much more formidable national threat – the meat-industrial complex. Like its predecessor, the meat-industrial complex feeds human greed by killing living beings and destroying their environment. But, unlike its predecessor, the meat-industrial complex does not wait for wars or other diplomatic failures. Driven by grain surpluses, government subsidies, deceptive promotional practices, and consumer apathy, it carries out its deadly mission every minute of every day of every year, even as we speak. Its destructive power boggles the mind.

That would make a great X-Files episode.

If you want to participate by protesting animal agriculture, the FarmUSA site does provide some helpful slogans though a few are a bit confusing such as “Stop Exportation of Factory Farming!” Is this a Monty Python gag? Help me, I’m being exportated! Others include, “Be Kind To Animals — Don’t Eat Them!”, “Nonviolence Begins at Breakfast”, and that old standby, “It’s Time To End Animal Slavery.”

I also can’t help but notice FarmUSA has a picture of a billboard on its site showing a cat and a pig asking “Which do you pet and which do you eat?” I’ve often asked the same thing to my cats who are very nice to my wife and I, but they keep murdering poor innocent bats who get trapped in our house (let me tell you how much fun it is to come home to find a chewed up bat on your floor). I hope they don’t come to take my felines friends away.

Kuwaiti Politician, Feminist Agree — Women’s Bodies Should Be Hidden

When Islamic extremists and feminists agree on a principle, run for cover. In this case, both feminists and a Kuwaiti politician both decried the provocative display of the female body in regards to the same event: the Olympics.

In Kuwait, the conservative member of parliament Waleed al-Tabtabai complained about the obscene display of women’s bodies during televised coverage of women’s beach volleyball, diving and synchronized swimming at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. “A number of competitions, especially those for women,” al-Tabtabai complained, “include indecent displays which require that television should stop showing them to viewers. … Showing such competitions cannot be accepted as sports because they only reflect Western standards which do not provide a woman’s body with the sanctity, honor and protection that Islam does.”

This is one of only several causes al-Tabtabai has taken up — in 1997 at his initiative Kuwait banned music concerts where both men and women were allowed to attend.

Al-Tabtabai was joined in his criticism of the sexualization of women in sports by feminists angry over photographs of some female athletes. An especially sore spot was hit with the publication of a picture of U.S. Olympic swimmer Jenny Thompson. Thompson posed on a beach for the cover of Sports Illustrated wearing a swimsuit bottom, but nothing on top — covering her breasts with her fists.

Donna Lopiano, executive director of the Women’s Sports Foundation of Long Island, New York, told Newhouse News Service that “any exposure in a sports magazine that minimizes athletic achievement and skill and emphasizes the female athlete as a sex object is insulting and degrading.”

Olympic swimmer Ashley Tappin, who appeared in a provocative pose for the September issue of Maxim magazine said such criticism was “a bunch of bull. We’re healthy. We’re fit. And we’re not just cute; we do good things with our bodies. They are functional. Why not show them off?”

Some of the feminist critics don’t get out much since they seem to think semi-nude athlete photos is an exclusively female phenomenon. Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, told Newhouse, “All I am asking for is equal treatment. When Tiger Woods is on the cover of Sports Illustrated naked, holding a golf ball with the Nike swoosh in front of his genitals, I’ll be quiet.”

To my knowledge no serious male or female golf professional has been photographed semi-nude with or without golf balls — that sport takes itself a bit too seriously for such a photo. On the other hand, plenty of men from bicyclists to swimmers to (remember the poster of Mark Spitz clad only in a barely there Speedo and his gold medals?) to track and field athletes have been featured in semi-nude photos. In fact as a recent Sports Illustrated story noted, so many athletes have done the nude photo shoot that the whole genre is quickly becoming a dull cliche, since it’s no longer shocking.

In fact, despite the feminists attempt to ghettoize women, the bottom line is that sports coverage has always tended to sexualize athletes of all sexes. If Tappin and Thompson want to show off their bodies as Spitz and other males athletes have done, more power to them. The Kuwaiti politicians and radical feminists should mind their own business.

Source:

‘Olympics are too sexy’. The BBC, September 21, 2000.

Sex and the Olympics. Mark O’Keefe, Newhouse News Service, September 16, 2000.

Alf Activist Justin Samuel Pleads Guilty

Last September, Justin Samuel was arrested by Belgium authorities and extradited to the United States where he faced charges of releasing mink and other animals from fur farms (see ALF Updates). At the end of August Samuel plead guilty to two misdemeanor offense related to releasing animals from four Wisconsin farms in 1997. He faces a maximum of two years in jail as well as restitution to the mink farmers who claimed losses of around $200,000. Samuel’s sentencing hearing is November 3.

Samuel admitted to authorities that he and Peter D. Young, who remains a fugitive, were responsible for the mink releases in Wisconsin. The two were implicated when police stopped their car in October 1997 after a mink release and found ski masks, a bolt cutter and a list of mink ranches in the area. FBI tests demonstrated that the bolt cutter from the car was the same one used to break into several of the mink farms.

Samuel reached a plea agreement whereby authorities dropped the felony charges against him and instead charged him with conspiracy to disrupt an animal enterprise and traveling in interstate commerce to disrupt an animal enterprise. In exchange, Samuel is to provide testimony to a grand jury about his activities.

Typically animal rights activists have responded very negatively toward ALF members who turn state’s evidence, and it will be interesting to see how they react to Samuel’s cooperation with authorities.

Source:

Washington state man admits releasing hundreds of mink by cutting fences. Kevin Murphy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, August 30, 2000.

Good and Bad Software Programs

Since I was expounding on what I thought made good and bad software, I got to thinking about the best and worst software I’ve ever used.

On the best side, the best computer game I ever played was Pinball Construction Set. To my mind that game is still as close to perfection as I’ve seen. The beauty was that pinball is a pretty limited game but within that basic board and balls domain you could do anything. I remember creating a game once where the gravity was set to zero, there was one hole in the middle of the board for the ball to go into, and then bumpers, flippers and other stuff on the outside — called the game The Black Hole. You could do that sort of thing very easily and it was fun to play around with.

The worst software is a shoe-in — pretty much any Windows word processor. WordPerfect stinks, and MS Word somehow manages to be even worse. I spend much of my time at work editing documents in those two programs and they drive me bonkers. Most of my co-workers like WordPerfect because of the “Reveal Codes” feature, but I routinely run into documents where what I see on screen has nothing to do with the codes. Word is pretty much unuseable; I really have no idea how people get work done with it.