Archive for January 24th, 2008

Three Pigs Story Ruled ‘Offensive to Muslims’

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Everything is offensive to Muslims. Welcome to the Islamic Caliphate of the United Kingdom.

A children’s story based on the tale of the Three Little Pigs was rejected for an award after judges became concerned that it would offend Muslims, the Times of London reported.

The animated virtual book for primary school children, The Three Little Cowboy Builders, was also criticized for its potential to offend builders.

The row centered on the Bett awards, which were supported by Becta, the Government’s technology agency for schools. The judges’ remarks, reported on the education technology Web site Merlin John Online, included: “Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?

“The idea of taking a traditional tale and retelling a story is fine, but it should not alienate parts of the workforce. Judges would not recommend this product to the Muslim community in particular.”

Ann Curtis, whose company, Shoo Fly Publishing, produced the CD-Rom, said the criticisms were unjustified and could even “propagate a racist stance”. She said: “I felt disbelief, to be honest. As a small company, we have a strong ethical and moral grounding. We support the rights of all children in the world to have access to education.

“To be told that we cynically set out to alienate minority groups is a very narrow-minded view.” She said the group had had messages of support from the local community, including Muslims. The book had already won an award in a separate competition.

But the Bett award’s backers — Becta, the Besa trade association and Emap Education — said that the book was rejected for a range of reasons. In a joint statement, they said: “The reason The Three Little Cowboy Builders was not shortlisted was that it failed to reach the required standard across a number of criteria. The . . . issues highlighted were a small selection from a much broader range of comments.

“In particular, the product was not sufficiently convincing on curriculum and innovation grounds to be shortlisted.”

The statement said the competition aimed to “reward inclusive and accessible designs” and was judged by a panel of 70 people, including many teachers.

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Investors May Regret Tuesday Sell-Off, Says Financial Expert

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Art Ally, founder and president of The Timothy Plan, says Wall Street’s recent sell-off and panic resulted from traders and the media over reacting to negative news — and he’s advising Christians to be a better example of market wisdom.
Wall Street SignThe Dow Jones fell more than 400 points after the opening bell on Tuesday. Investors were reportedly reacting to big losses in global markets over the long weekend. Uncertainty in the U.S. economy — by stock traders in New York and investors around the world — drove the market down, analysts say.

The Timothy Plan is a Christian-owned mutual fund company. Its founder believes investors may regret Tuesday’s panicked reaction. “There are times in market history when it goes into feeding frenzy, and that’s what’s happening right now — they are feeding on fear,” Ally maintains.

Ally warns that Christians should be able to stay confident, however, even without the Federal rate cut and economic stimulus promises that the U.S. government is mulling. He says Tuesday was good practice for people of faith, who unfortunately tend to react like the world reacts. “We tend to have all of our sense of security and comfort and well-being tied to the almighty dollar instead of to the Almighty,” he observes.

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Life on Mars?

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

It’s amazing what people are willing to believe. The Great Deceiver, otherwise known as Satan, plays on this natural urge of ours constantly.

Life On Mars?

Perched on a rock, she could be waiting for a bus. But if so, she could be in for an awfully long wait.

This photo of what looks remarkably like a female figure with her arm outstretched, was taken on Mars.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has set the Internet abuzz with claims that there really is life on the red planet.

Others may well feel that it is simply an optical illusion caused by a landscape.
The image was among many sent back to Earth by Spirit, Nasa’s Mars explorer vehicle which landed there four years ago.

Initial inspections revealed nothing unusual, but closer examination by amateur astronomers has thrown up this intriguing picture.
As one enthusiast put it on a website: “These pictures are amazing. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw what appears to be a naked alien running around on Mars.”
Another, dismissing cynicism about the somewhat stony look of the “alien”, wrote: “If you show me another rock in another photo from Mars, or Earth, that naturally looks like that, I will reconsider.”
A third contributor, who might have come closer to the majority view, said: “Ah, the human eye can be tricked so easily.”

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“An All-American Hero: Jody Williams, a Former Sex Slave” by Dr. Phyllis Chesler

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

According to Las Vegas ex-prostitute Jody Williams, founder of Sex Workers Anonymous, we should compare the “promotion of prostitution with the way the tobacco companies market cigarettes. “They’re taking advantage of your ignorance of the industry,” she told the Pahrump Valley Times on September 7, 2007 at a press conference.

Williams said ex-prostitutes came to her organization suffering from a variety of physical and emotional disorders. “Women in prostitution suffer from the same combat stress that Vietnam and combat vets do, but they have fewer services than vets do,” she said.

The illegal pimps are replaced by “the legal pimps” in the brothels, Williams charged.

“The current law in Nevada which allows legal prostitution and talks about wanting them to use their earnings to generate tax dollars for the state of Nevada actually makes the state of Nevada a third pimp for these women,” Williams said.

I do not believe that any Presidential candidate has been seriously questioned about this issue—not in the recent Nevada primaries, and not elsewhere. They should be—because the issue is that of slavery. It is easy to decry historical examples of the human slave trade but we have an even bigger global slave trade currently underway: that of sexual slavery.

This is the saddest subject for me and one about which I know too much. I have been writing about this subject from the mid 1970s on and I continued to soldier on during the great feminist Sex Wars when feminist anti-prostitution abolitionists /anti-pornography activists were demonized as puritanical man-haters who were willing to endanger abortion rights, the First Ammendment, and woman’s sexual freedom . In turn, the anti-Censorship activists were also demonized as faux-feminists, heartless Stalinists, and First Ammendment fanatics.

Neither side took any prisoners. Both sides made important points. I made it a point not to demonize anyone and to try to keep working with everyone. Outsiders often under-estimate the ferocity of this struggle among American feminists. In the short run, the abolitionists lost, both in the universities and in feminist movement circles.

Now, thirty-three years later, most feminists on both sides of the aisle understand that sexual slavery (or “trafficking”) cannot be confused with sexual freedom. And many feminists work on legislation for the American government that is meant to enforce the laws against pimps and sometimes against Johns. Some of these feminists are also God-fearing conservatives; some are not. Some are abolitionist refugees from the great feminist Sex Wars or from the domestic violence shelter movement.

In the early 1990s, I read every study and every book about prostitution and about serial murder that I could find. Why? Because I was putting together a “dream-team” for Aileen Carol Wuornos, the so-called first woman serial killer in Florida. (This is the woman whom Charlize Theron brilliantly impersonated in the film Monster). Although Wuornos had wanted us to testify, her lawyer, a public defender named Trish Jenkins, never called my “dream team .” This omission became one of the grounds upon which her death sentence was appealed. Of course, after a decade on Death Row, the same state that had executed Ted Bundy executed Wuornos too. I wrote a book about her but I never published it. That’s a story for another day but suffice it to say: I told the story through her eyes. And yes, I corresponded with and met her and an incredibly sordid cast of Florida scavengers and pirates.

I learned how dangerous “the (prostituted) life” really is, how prostituted women become third- and fourth-class citizens, isolated, practically invisible, and how hard it is to ever return to “straight” life. Prostituted women turn to drugs and drink in order to endure the soul-scorching “work.” They do not become rich. Girls are also no longer as desirable or as marketable once they look older than twenty five. Twelve-year olds (or those who can pass for twelve) are in high demand.

Prostituted women are also the ones whom serial killers prey upon and whom college-age men and kinky Johns gang-rape, torture, rob, and kill. Despite all the myths and lies, there is nothing glamorous about this life. If this were truly desirable work, the daughters of millionnaires would swell the ranks—and this is not the case.

I do not favor legalizing prostitution. It is not a “victim-less” crime. The prostitutes are the victims. (Of course, I do not favor fining or jailing prostitutes; Johns, perhaps, but not prostitutes).

The real heroes are the prostituted women who have themselves miraculously escaped from slavery and who turn right around and help other girls and women to do so. Even the Biblical Moses was reared as a Prince of Egypt; liberators may require just such training in order to endure what a struggle for liberation entails. Slaves—? They turn on each other and on their liberators too. A slave-liberator? They are rare.

Jody Williams is one such incredible hero. How many of us would dare to return to Hell over and over again, risking everything? And, where is “north” for a sex slave on the run? Jody insisted on using her real name for this interview. She lives in Las Vegas. Once Jody began organizing, helping other prostitutes escape, and naming names, she endangered herself in terrifying ways. According to Williams, police and other state officials in Las Vegas personally profit from both legal and illegal prostitution.

Hence, her phone lines were cut as were her computer cable wires. Her electricity and water were mysteriously shut off—and were only restored with the intercesson of a sympathetic elected official. Her daughter was run down in broad daylight by a car and sustained many broken bones.

These things all happened within 24-60 hours after she participasted in a press conference about sex trafficking last fall in Las Vegas. Jody’s own health has been seriously compromised. Despite this, she soldiers on against extraordinary odds.

Here is part of an interview I conducted with her on the phone and via email. If you are moved by reading this and wish to make a donation to her work, please contact me at my Blogsite and I will put her in touch with you.

Phyllis: How old are you? What is your educational background?

Jody: I’m 47 years old now. I left high school at 15 and started community college at 16. I dropped out at 19 to be in the sex industry. I’m now a few classes away from my BA degree.

Phyllis: Where did you grow up? What is your family background?

Jody: I grew up in Los Angeles and left home because I could not cope with living with my mentally ill abusive mother any longer. I got a job as a cocktail waitress so I could continue on with college after my father ripped off my college money. It was there I met the people who indoctrinated me into the sex industry. This was in Tarzana, CA about 1980.

Phyllis: What do you tell people who insist that prostitution is a “choice?”

Jody: One could argue that when a man says he’ll kill your kids in the other bedroom if you scream for help while he rapes you and you decide to protect the children to cooperate—that this means you were not raped. For a long time when I thought about quitting, I knew it would mean I could potentially be hurt and/or killed or set up with the police if I did so. This may mean I “chose” not to take that kind of punishment by continuing—but I wouldn’t call that a choice. Choice means having “other options.” Sometimes you don’t have other options even when a gun isn’t pointed directly at your head.

Phyllis: How did you finally manage to escape from the sex industry?

Jody: I tried for years to find help to get out of the sex industry – but found I could not do it without help and I couldn’t find the help I needed. I did not abuse drugs and the only programs offered at that time were drug programs. I was lucky enough to meet a group of Veterans who were able to help me through the adjustment through the 12 steps of Narcotics Anonymous and through their understanding of PTSD.

Phyllis: What set you on your current path of helping other women who want to escape?

Jody: When I went back to some old friends to do “amends” I found everyone was either dead, dying or in prison and I was the only one left basically. I realized we needed to make help more available.

Phyllis: Why do women return to the sex industry after they’ve tried hard to leave it behind?

Jody: I don’t believe women “change their mind” to return. I think they sometimes second guess their decision out of fear that someone may come to harm if they don’t return. I think sometimes the drugs wear off and it’s the detox talking. Sometimes it’s depression setting in which makes you doubt everything. Sometimes it’s the brainwashing kicking in the pimps have programmed there to return the women like homing pigeons. So when a woman starts talking about “returning” I say we need to carefully examine where those feelings are coming from. It’s never been really them wanting to go back either.

Phyllis: What is happening for you right now, after the fallout from going public last fall?

Jody: After being hit by that car, my daughter has been confined to total bedrest. So my finances are non-existent right now. This gives me a choice – either stop my work helping these women or start reaching out to outside funding sources for help. Actually this is a blessing in disguise. If I were to have died – then my work would have ceased entirely.

I realized after being so sick like this that I need to set up a system that will go on after I die to help these women – so that’s what I’m working on now. I’ve had more difficulties with the police than I can tell you about. I had trouble with the police when I was in the business and now that I’m out of it trying to help women.

Phyllis: How do you financially manage to do rescue work?

Jody: I used to fund everything out of my paychecks – but the last couple of years I’ve been on SSI and can’t do that anyone. I’ve had to look into fund raising and it’s not something people want to donate to usually. I’m between a rock and a hard place with funding right now because of this problem.

Phyllis: Thank you so much for your time and for your amazing work.

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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women’s studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women’s Health Network (1974). She is currently on the Board of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East and lives in New York City. Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.
We are delighted to have Dr. Chesler as a contributor to the Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog.

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