Thursday, October 11, 2007

Britain moves to ban Bible

We read:

"Inciting homophobic hatred will become illegal, the justice secretary, Jack Straw, announced last night, following a campaign by gay rights groups. The introduction of an offence of rallying hatred against gays and lesbians follows similar measures to tackle religious hate crime, which were passed earlier this year after lengthy rows over freedom of speech.

"It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are now appalled by hatred and invective directed at people on the basis of their sexuality. It is time for the law to recognise this," said Mr Straw, introducing the second reading of the criminal justice and immigration bill.


Looks like the British socialists are trying to make the Bible illegal in Britain. Read this: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13). If that doesn't "incite hate", I don't know what would.

But the bill may not make it into law. Here's why:

"On Tuesday, Muslim groups vented further outrage, with Massoud Shadjareh of the Islamic Human Rights Commission posing the question to The Daily Express, "If someone is reading the Bible and calls homosexuality an abomination, is that going to be incitement?"


Must not upset Muslims.


No wonder this research is described as "unfunded"! They say that two ailments have a common cause but out of more than 900 patients with either condition, they found only FOUR cases of overlap! Better proof that the ailments are NOT related would be hard to come by. Another pet theory bites the dust. Popular summary followed by journal abstract below

MULTIPLE sclerosis (MS) and ulcerative colitis (UC) -- a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes colon ulcers and diarrhoea -- may have common causes, according to new Australian research published in the Internal Medicine Journal. Led by Dr Christopher Pokorny from Liverpool Hospital and the University of NSW in Sydney, the research team examined medical records at Liverpool Hospital dated between 1996 and 2006 and identified 496 patients with MS and 414 patients with UC. There were four patients with both UC and MS, two of whom developed UC after they were diagnosed with MS. Given that some treatments for UC can damage the protective covering of brain cells -- the same process that occurs in MS -- the authors claim that common underlying causes of the two diseases should be further investigated.


Association between ulcerative colitis and multiple sclerosis

By C. S. Pokorny et al.

An association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been described. The current study was undertaken to explore this association further. Personal records of patients with IBD and MS were reviewed. In addition, a search of medical records at a large tertiary teaching hospital in Sydney was carried out for the years 1996-2006. Four patients (three women and one man) with both ulcerative colitis and MS were identified. MS did not occur in any of our patients with Crohn's disease. The association between ulcerative colitis and MS appears to be real and may help identify common factors involved in the cause of these two diseases. No association was found in this study between MS and Crohn's disease, sparking consideration why such difference should occur. With the increasing use of biological therapies in IBD and their reported propensity to cause demyelination, recognition of an association is all the more important.

Internal Medicine Journal, Volume 37 Issue 10 Page 721-724, October 2007

Still some old-style patriotism left in Britain -- just not in the chattering classes

Botham is a man of great fame and accomplishment. Something the chatterers would like to be but are not

Early yesterday morning, as the fast train from Darlington clattered towards London, Ian Botham seemed unusually thoughtful. His words were carefully measured and savoured as he remembered his very first train journey to London 36 years ago. In August 1971, at the age of 15 and on his way for a trial to join the ground staff at Lord's, he had travelled with his mum.

"They offered me a place immediately and I was back down again, on my own, the following Monday. That's when my adult life started - leaving home to become a professional cricketer. And that's what makes it so special to have my mum coming back to London this week to join us when me and [my wife] Kath and our grandsons go to the Palace."

Tomorrow morning, plain old Beefy will arise as Sir Ian Terence Botham after he receives his knighthood and, yesterday, noticing the perspiration in the creases of his brow, I asked him if he was nervous. "I'm actually excited," he grinned. "It will be the greatest day of my life. When I think how far I've come these 36 years I feel extraordinarily honoured."

Botham flicked away a bead of sweat with the old nonchalance. "They're coming up with all kinds of names for me now and Sirloin of Beef was the first good one. I don't mind. The monarchy stands for everything that makes me proud to be English. I'm a massive royalist." My eyes, presumably, had begun to glaze at that point because a Beefy fist came crashing down. "I listen to all these republicans," Botham thundered, "and if it was down to me I'd hang 'em! I honestly would. It's a traitor's game for me."

Botham's candour, however, can be moving rather than just amusing. He contemplated, with rare seriousness, the prickly selfishness and contrasting selflessness which underpin not so much his knighthood as his life. In sporting terms Botham is an undisputed colossus and his cricketing success was built on the back of a single-minded belief, and sheer selfishness, that hurt his family terribly. But, for all his faults and failings, he has also raised 10m pounds for research into leukaemia.

In his new autobiography he details the pain he caused Kath for decades. "We've been married 30 years and I put Kath through hell. Brian Close was one of the first people we told we were getting married and he was perceptive. He knew how tough it would be for Kath. He could see I had the narrow-mindedness to get to where I wanted to be as a cricketer and Kath did not stand a chance against that - and her sufferance of my selfishness, her patience, her bringing up three children I hardly saw, could only have been endured by an exceptionally strong person. We're still together - and that's down to Kath. I hold my hand up. I screwed up and nearly lost the person who was the best mate I ever had. But I don't believe in regret because I think everything happens for a reason." Would Kath feel the same? "I'm not sure I'd want to ask Kath that question. But from my point of view we're stronger and closer than ever."

Botham insists that his generous charity is not linked to a subconscious guilt about his sporting ego. "I really don't think so. I just came across four young boys dying of leukaemia in a hospital ward in 1977. I was ignorant and couldn't believe these kids would soon be dead. I'd also just broken the bone in my foot so my mind was off cricket. Maybe that's why I became so absorbed and asked all these questions. And one of the qualities I do have is that when I start something I finish it. I'm as heavily involved in leukaemia as ever. It feels like my life's work."

This comes from a man who cheerfully admits that at school in Yeovil he was called Bungalow - "Meaning," Botham grins as he taps his head, "nothing upstairs". Yet his poignant friendship with John Arlott, a man as bright and cultured as Botham could be crude and reactionary, contains some of the most affecting pages in his book. "I met John when I was 17 and took his picnic basket up to the commentary box. There were four bottles of Beaujolais in that basket. Being a cider-boy I thought wine was a namby-pamby drink. But I was gripped as John started talking to me, this dumb yokel, about wine. His command of English just rolled off him. He got out some cheese and said this goes best with that wine. 'Go on,' he'd say, 'have a taste.' Our incredible friendship started and he became my mentor. These days they call 'em 'life-gurus' or some such crap."

It is hard to imagine Kevin Pietersen befriending a man as different to him and Botham as the former Guardian writer. "But John was a proper person. In the last seven years of his life when we both had places on Alderney I had two meals a day with him whenever I was on the island. At six minutes past nine every morning the phone would ring. John would say, 'C'mon over - and bring your thirst with you.' "At the end when the emphysema took over and he was struggling with speech he had an oxygen mask and I often had to empty his bag for him. But he liked me being there because I knew to wait and let him finish his sentences between gasps. I didn't try to say the words for him because I knew how much they mattered. That was strange for me - to be patient and quiet. But I always wanted to listen to John."

Arlott's one cricketing regret was retiring from commentary a year before the Ashes Test of Headingley in 1981 and Botham's miraculous innings of 149 just after resigning the captaincy. "There was some anger in that knock because when I announced my resignation Alec Bedser [the chairman of selectors] said, 'We were about to fire him.' I thought 'You plonker!' To be brutal, the establishment was never happy some guy from an ordinary school in Somerset was captaining England. They were glad to see the back of me.

"When the press asked me who should take over I said 'Bring back Mike Brearley.' They listened to me but bloody Bedser took the praise for that. The cheek of the tosser! How did he ever get a knighthood? So at Headingley I put up my finger at the establishment and the press and I came back into the dressing room after the fourth day, having scored my century [off 87 balls], and got out a cigar and had a smoke. I was knackered but, as for Bedser and that lot, I thought bollocks to you. I don't need any of you."

That streak of rebellious genius remained. Botham played an even better innings of 118 at Old Trafford later that summer and in subsequent years he would conjure up other unlikely feats - returning from a three-month ban for admitting smoking cannabis to take a wicket with his first long-hop of a ball back in Test cricket. His final delivery, as a professional cricketer, was equally Bothamesque. "I was playing for Durham, against the Aussies, and David Boon faced my last-ever ball. Booney was struggling for his Test place and was deadly serious. But he just about fell over laughing and shouted, 'Beefy, you can't do this to me.' I was midway though my run-up and he'd spotted that I'd unzipped my fly and hauled out the meat and two veg. The old man was dangling in the wind as I steamed in. If I'd got it on target I would've bowled him. I thought it was a nice way to go out."

It is not an anecdote he will share with the Queen. "I'll be on my best behaviour. She actually invited me for tea in 1981. It was a bit like me and John Arlott. I sat and listened. To be honest she probably would've preferred spending time with one of her racehorses rather than me, but I loved it. [Tomorrow] will be even better. "When Kath picked up our grandsons from school and told them that grandad was going to become a knight she asked if they wanted to come to the Palace. The one boy, James, was very thoughtful. He said, 'Is that when she uses the sword?' Kath said yes and he asked, 'Is it a sharp sword?' Kath looked at him but he kept going: 'What if the Queen slips? Would she cut off grandad's head?' Kath said, 'I don't think so, James.' He didn't say anything for 30 seconds but then he looked up and said, 'Yes, I will come. Just in case.'"


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