Friday, February 27, 2015

Sean Penn criticized for "xenophobic" Green Card joke

Sean Penn's remark about Mexican-born Oscar-winner Alejandro Inarritu's immigration status at the end of Sunday's Academy Awards telecast struck many as an insult, but the director says it was nothing more than a brutal joke between old friends.

In announcing the win for "Birdman," Penn asked, "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card? Birdman."

The term "green card" refers to a document that confers permanent residency to immigrants in the United States.

"I found it hilarious," Inarritu said after the ceremony. "Sean and I have that kind of brutal (relationship) where only true friendship can survive."

Inarritu directed Penn in his 2003 film "21 Grams," and the pair remain friends. Penn posed for pictures with Inarritu after the ceremony.

The director, who won three Oscars on Sunday night, said he has told many similarly brutal jokes at Penn's expense. "I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you," Inarritu said.

Joke or not, the remark struck many online as problematic for an awards ceremony that had been criticized for not having more nominees of color.


Affectionate abuse is a common thing among men

"N*gger privilege

Kanye West left his fellow stars speechless as he debuted his new single, All Day, at the 2015 BRIT Awards on Wednesday evening.

The controversial rapper delivered an expletive-filled performance [including "N*gger] as he revealed the latest single from his yet-to-be released album that drew mixed reactions from the likes of Taylor Swift and Lionel Richie.

In the ferocious performance which saw the star sharing the stage with British grime artists such as Skepta, Krept and Konan, Jammer and Novelist, the rapper was heard saying the N-word at least three times despite ITV’s attempt to mute his swearing.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Must not joke about security frisking

A high-ranking corrections officer has been sacked after joking on Facebook that he had been 'groped' by guards during a tour of prisons.

Former state trooper Michael Allred had accompanied his boss, the secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety Stephen Moyer, on a tour of prison facilities in Jessup, Maryland on Wednesday.

Later that day he posted on Facebook: 'Visiting the prisons ... haven't been groped this much since the flight on the honeymoon ... and this is just the guards!'

Incredibly Allred tagged both his boss Moyer, and 'Maryland House of Correction' in the post which quickly circulated among other prison officers.

A statement  posted on the Department of Correctional Services website confirmed that Allred had been dismissed for 'inappropriate comments made on social media'.

'AFSCME members believe that Michael Allred's social media comments were inappropriate and insulting to 7,200 Maryland correctional officers,' AFSME said in a statement.

'The secretary has the utmost respect for correctional officers and requires all employees to respect the department, their authority, and their peers,' the department said on its website.


Must not associate dreadlocks with marijuana

I guess Rastamen don't exist

Giuliana Rancic has apologized for making 'racist' comments about 18-year-old singer Zendaya.

In the Tuesday on air apology Rancic said she was sorry for claiming that the Disney star looked like she smelled of weed just because she has dreadlocks.

'I'd really like to address something that's weighing really heavy on my heart,' the TV host began. 'I want to apologize for a comment that I made on last night's Fashion Police about Zendaya's hair.'

'As you know, Fashion Police is a show that pokes fun at celebrities in good spirit, but I do realize that something I said last night did cross the line.'

Furor erupted online on Monday after Rancic claimed Zendaya smelled of patchouli just because she has dreadlocks.

The comments went further on the Academy Awards special when the show cut to a picture of the singer on the red carpet - a voice off camera could be heard saying that the Disney star smelled like 'weed'.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

LAPD Targets Citizens’ Free Speech Rights

Charlie Beck, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), wrote a letter recently to Larry Page, CEO of Google, to complain about the Waze app’s ability to track the location of police officers.

Waze is a wildly popular mobile app, owned by Google, that lets users type in their destination address, and, while driving with the app open on their phone, passively contribute real-time traffic data. Users can also actively report accidents, traffic jams, police locations, or any road hazard by tapping buttons, giving other users in the area a heads-up.

It’s the police-location feature that Beck opposes.

“It is not always in the public’s best interest to know where police are operating,” Beck said, explaining the letter. “There is a criminal element that are able to ply their trade and ply their craft more effectively by knowing where police are.”

Beck concluded his letter by asking for a “dialogue” with Page on how “Google can prevent the future misuse of the Waze app to track law enforcement officers . . .” It is not a stretch to surmise that Beck wants the police button removed from the app.

Let’s be clear about what Beck is asking: He wants this app, and presumably any similar traffic app in the future, to not allow private citizens to communicate with each other about the public whereabouts of police.

If mandated by governments in the future, such a ban would be a clear infringement of citizens’ free speech rights, and a dark and dangerous road to go down.


The ultimate sacrilege -- censoring Shakespeare

Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance claims he has to edit Shakespeare plays to remove 'antisemitic' lines.

The British actor and former artistic director at the Globe Theatre in London said he feels compelled to cut certain parts which have taken on more 'resonance' since the Holocaust.

Rylance, who plays Thomas Cromwell in the hit BBC drama, was speaking at the Globe where he unveiled a copy of Shakespeare's first folio - recently found in France.

'From what I know of talking to scholars, our own practices are not different from what they did at the time.

'If you went out and played in a puritan town in the north of England, you took out some of the things that were going to offend those people.'

Professor John Jowett of The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham said: 'Anti-Semitism is a fact of the early modern culture in which Shakespeare lived, worked, and thought, and he was not exempt from it.

'Critics have often remarked on his sensitive and to some extent sympathetic presentation of Shylock, but there is always an element of special pleading.

Shylock is a Jewish moneylender


This is ridiculous.  There is a famous scene in "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 3 scene 1) which is widely held to be a plea by Shakespeare for Jews to be treated equally:

"Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the  rest, we will resemble you in that".

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Young woman forgets that only blacks can use the n-word

Kate Moss's model sister has been forced to apologise after sending an 'ill thought-out' tweet using the N-word.  Lottie Moss, 17, took to her account at 4am last night to tweet a lyric from Chris Brown's song Loyal which includes the offensive word.

She went on to tell her 7,000 followers how it had been a 'successful night' because she had thrown a drink over her ex-boyfriend.

The tweet, sent at 4am, featured a lyric from a Chris Brown song which included the offensive word

She tweeted: 'I just want a monkey,' adding afterwards: 'When a rich n***a want ya and ur girl can't do nothing for ya'.

A spokesman for the model told MailOnline that Lottie was 'hugely apologetic'.  She said: 'Lottie unfortunately made an ill-thought out use of a song lyric, and she is hugely apologetic if any offence has been caused.'


Another quarrel with reality and history

Leftists seem to believe that if you don't think about it, it will go away

A tourist attraction popular with children has sparked fury by displaying a model railway version of Auschwitz complete with cattle trucks, labourers' huts and barbed wire.

A Holocaust survivor was among those to criticise Birmingham's Wonderful World of Trains and Planes for the 'crass' miniature railway set of the infamous concentration camp.

The static train set is a dark addition to the intricate village green, mountain and woodland rail layouts at the venue, which is popular with children and model enthusiasts.

The detailed model of Auschwitz, where at least 1.3million people were slaughtered during the Second World War, shows a train entering the Nazi death camp.

The model of the camp where around a million Jews were murdered is situated next to a 1930s seaside scene and Swinging Sixties London in the tourist attraction.

The exhibit claims it 'will take you on a journey of adventure past, present and future'.

Mala Tribich, a survivor of both Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps who now gives talks on the traumatic experiences, also criticised the model railway.

The 84-year-old said: 'What are they trying to say? They used trains in wartime and trains played a very big part in the Holocaust, they could not have done what they did without trains.

'They were moving millions of people, but then you have to show the whole exhibition in a different context. As it is, it is useless, frivolous, even.'

Visitor to the attraction Simon Hardy said: 'It's just unthinking and crass. Totally bizarre, those are the only words for it.

Peter Smith, managing director of Birmingham's Wonderful World of Trains and Planes, defended the piece and said it had proven popular with visitors.

He said: 'It's gone down very well. I have seen people in tears as they realise that without the trains the Holocaust would not have happened.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Former Conservative candidate quits the party after calling feminists 'left-wing lesbo-groupies' on Twitter

Feminists are indeed generally Leftist and a lot of feminists are admitted lesbians so the man's biggest fault was realism

A former Conservative candidate has resigned from the party after calling a group of feminists 'left-wing lesbo-groupies' on social media.

Nick Morris, who describes himself as a Conservative 'activist', went on to call them 'cretins' in a later tweet.

He made the comments in response to a post by feminist campaigner @LiraelClayr who was tweeting about a campaign against male violence towards women. 

In the tweet, Mr Morris, who stood as a Conservative candidate for Sheffield Richmond in the 2004 Sheffield City Council elections said: 'Frankly I really dont care what you and leftwing lesbo-groupies think.'[sic]

Following a backlash on Twitter, Mr Morris hastily deleted the offensive tweets and his account. He later issued a statement apologising for his remarks.


2 Broke Girls slammed for Aboriginal joke

The popular American comedy show was called out by Aussie viewers for the offensive remark, which occurred during the first five minutes into the season 4 episode titled “And the Fun Factory”.

In the scene a male character reveals that he has been flirting with an Australian girl online and says: “She’s part Aboriginal, but she has a great personality!”

Unhappy viewers took to social media, with former Nine personality and The Block contestant Chantelle Ford just one of the many to voice her disgust.

“They were inferring that Aboriginal means inferior. The other characters laughed like it was the funniest thing they had ever heard.”


Aborigines are generally very "disadvantaged" so the joke was just a bit of realism.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Clothing manufacturer forced to apologise for putting jokey 'Give it to your mum - it's her job' on washing label

An Italian clothing manufacturer has been accused of sexism after selling fashion items complete with washing instructions reading: 'Give it to your mum - it's her job'.

Politician Federica Mazzoni, who works at the equality commission at the legislative assembly in the country's Emilia-Romagna region, was incensed when a friend bought a cardigan for her son from the Shoeshine clothing brand and found the offensive label.

Ms Mazzoni, 28, has now lodged a formal complaint with Italy's advertising council the IAP - although the company that distributes Shoeshine clothing, Unipersonale, has dismissed the controversial washing instructions as 'a simple joke aimed at teenagers'.

Beneath a list of ordinary washing instructions including 'Machine wash cold' and 'Do not dry clean' the Democratic Party MP found the English language instruction: 'Or give it to your mum, it's her job'.


Must not compare Greece to a kebab

The BBC has been criticised for stereotyping by using a kebab to explain Greece's potential exit from the eurozone. 

The news report explores how Greece might leave the EU - the so-called 'Grexit' - by comparing Greece to a kebab.

It comes as eurozone finance ministers are gathering in Brussels for make-or-break talks that could see Greece break away from the EU.

In the report by BBC journalist Dougal Shaw, he says: 'To understand this let's think of a more familiar kind of Greek exit. Let's do it with one of the Mediterranean's finest exports, the kebab.

Viewers took to Twitter to criticise the BBC saying it was stereotyping by using the analogy of the kebab.  Steve Giddens, a journalist, said: 'Grexit explained with a kebab - nice to see the BBC are not succumbing to racial stereotyping.'

University professor and author Stephen Westland wrote on: 'Greek euro exit explained - with kebab. Quite a pathetic analogy. You can do better BBC!'


Friday, February 20, 2015

Krispy Kreme have dangerous initials

Doughnut chain Krispy Kreme has apologised after bizarrely branding a half-term club KKK Wednesday - the same initials used by the US race hate group the Ku Klux Klan.

A billboard at the Hull branch advertised the outlet's half-term Krispy Kreme Klub 'KKK Wednesday'.

But after details appeared on social media the company faced complaints that the initials were the same as the racist group, the Ku Klux Klan.

Krispy Kreme created KKK Wednesday with the store in St Stephen's Shopping Centre, Hull as part of a calendar of activities designed to keep kids occupied during half term.

The club will allow youngsters a chance to decorate their own doughnuts and also other activities.

Krispy Kreme issued a formal apology and said: 'Krispy Kreme apologises unreservedly for the inappropriate name of a customer promotion at one of our stores.

'This promotion was never intended to cause offence. All material has been withdrawn and an internal investigation is currently under way.'


NZ Pork producers under fire for jocular advertising campaign which calls on men to 'give mums a night off cooking'

A new advertisement campaign telling men to 'man up, put on an apron' in order to 'give mums a night off' is under fire for pushing an outdated and sexist message.

The intention behind New Zealand Pork's television and Facebook ads appear to have been to send up sexism, stating: 'there are more women in New Zealand's workforce today than ever before but men are still not putting on an apron and doing their share of cooking'.

However it clearly backfired, with social media users taking to Twitter and Facebook to criticise the campaign, dubbing it 'sexist' and an 'embarrassment'.

Recipe names include the likes of 'your big pork balls', with a glossary definition for the words 'recipe book' being 'the thing your wife stands on to reach things'.

One of the instruction for a Pork Belly recipe states: 'Throw it in a 170 degree oven and watch a Grand Slam Final of women's tennis (roughly 30 minutes)' while the other instructions measure time in how long it takes to drink a beer - 15 minutes, according to the ad.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Marquette’s dangerous subversion of free speech

Marquette University is a private, coeducational, Jesuit, Roman Catholic university located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  They seem to have strange ideas about what tenure and academic freedom mean

Marquette University plans to fire tenured political science professor John McAdams for criticism of a graduate student and philosophy instructor published on his blog.

Marquette is a private university, and thus is not bound directly by the First Amendment. Despite this, Marquette makes various promises of free speech and academic freedom to students and faculty that hold it to standards similar, if not equal, to those of a public university. And Marquette has been consistently backwards on free speech throughout McAdams’s case. While refusing to defend his free speech rights in the context of his private blog, for instance, Marquette has argued that graduate students, by the very virtue of being graduate students, have a right to be free from public criticism, an argument that does not withstand basic scrutiny.

Primarily, however, I want to focus on Marquette’s most dangerous argument, which is that McAdams himself bears direct responsibility for the harassing and threatening communications received by graduate student and philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate from third parties after McAdams published his criticisms.

McAdams, of course, had no control over what unidentified third party individuals sent to Abbate. Yet Marquette justified revoking McAdams’s tenure in part by arguing that he “knew or should have known that [his] Internet story would result in vulgar, vile, and threatening communications” and that he thus bore responsibility for them.

On this point we cannot be too clear: Marquette’s logic is entirely divorced from basic notions of free speech. As Robert Shibley put it in FIRE’s press release, “A fundamental principle of our society is that you aren’t responsible for how unrelated and possibly unhinged third parties react to your speech.”

If bloggers like McAdams become vicariously liable for what others say or do in response to their writing, free speech as we know it ceases to exist, and industries like journalism immediately collapse under the weight of their collective liability. .”

The threats Abbate received from others are reprehensible. But McAdams is simply not responsible for them. If Marquette fires McAdams based on its profoundly misguided notions of free speech, it will have ended a lot more than McAdams’s professional career: It will have ended free speech and academic freedom at Marquette in any meaningful form.


Abbate is a far-Leftist who says that  things like homosexual marriage are so obviously right that they must not be  discussed or challenged in her class.  A conservative student objected to that and McAdams publicized it.  So the university is backing up her censorship with more censorship.  The "tolerant" Left just cannot tolerate disagreement with their beliefs.  Rather like Muslims.

And a Catholic university going to extreme lengths to defend homosexuality is rich.  Would the Pope be allowed to address homosexuality there?  Apparently not.  Most nominally Catholic colleges in America seem to have lost their Catholicism long ago.  If I were a Catholic, I think I would be offended that they still represent themselves as Catholic.  It's false pretences.

No free speech about transgender people in Britain

Mary Beard says she was left 'wanting to cry' after she was bombarded with abuse for speaking out in favour of free speech.

The celebrated academic joined other campaigners in calling on universities not to ban speakers perceived to be hostile to transgender people.

But just hours after a letter - signed by Professor Beard and many others including gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell - was published, she faced a torrent of abuse on Twitter.

The original letter claimed it was 'illiberal and undemocratic' for universities to ban lecturers and academics deemed 'transphobic', meaning prejudiced against transsexual people.

But the letter sparked an angry backlash from some in the transgender community and Professor Beard was later branded an 'unrepentant bigot' and Mr Tatchell was called a 'parasite'.

 Mr Tatchell, 63, said he has received more than 5,000 messages attacking him since the letter was published, some of which, he said, were threatening.

He told the Independent: 'On Saturday night, after the first attacks started, I couldn't sleep. I was so upset about being misrepresented as an anti-trans bigot.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An innocent joke heavily punished

The nastiness of the Left on display

A PR consultant has revealed how a tweet she sent to amuse her 170 followers ended up making her a global hate figure and ruined her life.

Justine Sacco's ill-thought-out message, sent before she boarded a flight to South Africa in December 2013 read: 'Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!'

It cost the 30-year-old from New York her job and her reputation after it was re-tweeted by tech blogger Sam Biddle to his 15,000 followers.

Tens of thousands of people responded in outrage accusing Justine of being ignorant and racist and calling for her to be sacked from her role as the senior director of corporate communications at IAC.

People continued to troll her and more dirt was dug from her deleted Twitter account with BuzzFeed posting an article called '16 Tweets Justine Sacco Regrets'.

Now more than a year on, Justine has spoken of the negative impact the incident has had on her life and how she never intended the tweet to be taken literally.  'I thought there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.'

'I had a great career, and I loved my job, and it was taken away from me,and there was a lot of glory in that. Everybody else was very happy about that,' she said.

She added that it has also ruined her love life: 'I'm single; so it's not like I can date, because we Google everyone we might date. That's been taken away from me too.'

Justine told Jon that she realised she 'couldn't sit at home and watch movies every day and cry and feel sorry for myself' forever and she needed to 'make steps to reclaim my identity and remind myself of who I am'.

As a result, she now has a new job and is wary of what she shares on social media.


Lightning flashes incorrect

A University students' union has been forced to apologise after using a Nazi SS victory symbol to advertise a German-themed drinking event.

Dozens of students at Aberystwyth University complained after spotting the resemblance between the double lightning bolt on the Bierkeller advert and the Siegrune used by Hitler's bodyguard.

University chiefs insisted the logo was accidentally used to separate Welsh and English text on the poster for the sold-out night and removed it from the Facebook event.

But students branded the organisers 'insensitive and inappropriate' for using a poster which glorified the brutal fighting force responsible for the Holocaust and other crimes against humanity.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"Girl" is a dangerous word

From national security to education, and from the corporate boardroom to raising children, the PC police are in full force. Becoming more emboldened every time their actions go unopposed, they now espouse a “one-up” mentality to outdo their comrades with the next outrageous act. And their momentum continues unabated, common sense and the Constitution be damned.

Consider these recent events:

 The president of the Professional Golfers Association of America, Ted Bishop, was fired for “insensitive gender-based” statements — codespeak for completely innocuous remarks — prompting the PGA to issue a nauseating response: “We must demand of ourselves that we make golf both welcoming and inclusive to all who want to experience it. ... We apologize to any individual or group that felt diminished, in any way, by this unacceptable incident.”

And what did Bishop say that was so heinous? He took issue with comments made by British golfer Ian Poulter criticizing Ryder Cup golf captains Nick Faldo and Tom Watson. Bishop tweeted that Poulter was a “Lil Girl,” while, on Facebook, Bishop wrote: “Tom Watson and Nick Faldo ... get bashed by Ian Poulter. Really? Sounds like a little schoolgirl squealing during recess.”

If you’re waiting for the bombshell language, sorry to disappoint, but there isn’t any. In other words, a top executive was canned for calling someone a squealing school girl in a tongue-in-cheek social media post.

Who in their right mind could possibly feel “diminished” by that? And what do Bishop’s comments have to do with being, or not being, “welcoming” or “inclusive?” What does that even mean? Have these people lost their minds from hanging out in the clubhouse bar too long?


Copenhagen: the bloody, murderous denial of free speech

Another month, another murderous assault on those who believe in and exercise the freedom of speech. Today’s shooting at a free-speech debate in a cafe in Copenhagen may not have been as bloody as the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in January: according to reports, one person is dead, and the cartoonist who was presumably the target – the Muhammad-mocking Swede Lars Vilks – survived. But the intent seems to have been the same: to punish those who blaspheme, who dare to say offensive things, who refuse to bend the knee at the altar of PC and instead either say and draw scurrilous stuff or defend the right of others to do so. In the second decade of the 21st century, a couple of hundred years since those dark days when it was the norm in Europe for the spouters of strange or ‘wicked’ or simply unpalatable things to be executed, a fashion for killing the free-speaking seems once again to be stalking the continent.

What is especially disturbing about the shooting in Copenhagen is that it was an assault not only on Islam-ridiculing cartoonists — which would be, and has been, heinous enough — but on what seem to be ordinary, engaged citizens, keen to discuss the value of freedom of speech. This gathering of people, who had come to hear not only Vilks but also the French ambassador to Denmark, who was speaking about the post-Charlie Hebdo situation, found themselves under a hail of bullets simply for taking part in a debate on ‘Islam, blasphemy and free speech’. This should feel chilling to everyone who is interested in public debate and the liberty to think and say and discuss what we please. For now, even those of us who aren’t especially interested in drawing cartoons of Muhammad, but who do want to speak and argue in favour of other people’s absolute freedom to do so, find ourselves to be potential targets. Today, it seems, it isn’t only the exercise of freedom of speech that can earn you summary punishment; so, too, can simply thinking about freedom of speech.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Racism: FBI director calls it like it is

Comey has been praised for admitting that police often react differently to blacks and whites.  Everybody seem to have been  impressed by that  -- while at the same time conveniently overlooking what he said is the cause of that:  Black behavior

In an unusually frank and personal speech, FBI Director James B. Comey on Thursday addressed “hard truths” about policing, acknowledging racial bias among law enforcement officers and lamenting a “disconnect” between police agencies and communities of color.

Police “often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color,” Comey said. “Something happens to people of goodwill working in that environment. After years of police work, officers often can’t help but be influenced by the cynicism they feel.”

A police officer, whether “white or black,” has a different reaction to two young black men on the side of a street than he does to two white men, Comey said, because the black men “look like so many others the officer has locked up.”

At one point in his remarks, Comey cited the song “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical “Avenue Q” in making the case that everyone makes judgments based on race.

“Look around and you will find,” Comey said, quoting the lyrics, “no one’s really colorblind.”

Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis branch of the NAACP, which has been deeply involved in the response to the shooting in Ferguson last year, applauded Comey’s remarks.

“It is extremely profound and timely that the folks at the highest level of the justice system and law enforcement are beginning to talk publicly about what they know and we have always suspected,” Pruitt said.


Chicago local candidate was too jocular

A civil rights group is calling out 43rd Ward candidate Jen Kramer for a series of tweets sent from her personal Twitter handle that the group said are offensive.

The more than a dozen tweets from Kramer's personal account include racial references to a pedicurist and driving in Cabrini-Green, among others.

The tweets were brought to light by The Civil Rights Agenda, a civil rights advocacy organization founded by Jacob Meister.

"These tweets are not illegal. However, they are inappropriate, they show poor judgment and a lack of respect for other people that is offensive and just plain wrong," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of the civil rights group.

"I clearly said some things on my social media feed several years ago that I shouldn't have," Kramer said. "But the notion that I am insensitive to gay rights is just patently false."

Kramer noted her work with Special Olympics Chicago, the Gay Games, the AIDS foundation and Gay Pride Parade.


You can read the comments at the link.  They are lighthearted but do either implicitly or explicitly mention minority groups, which is a BIG no-no.  Must not laugh "inappropriately"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hate-filled SPLC apologizes for slur on black Republican

The Southern Poverty Law Center offered an apology of sorts on Thursday to Dr. Ben Carson, a black potential Republican presidential candiidate, for lumping him in with neo-Nazis, skinheads, and Klansmen on its influential 'Extremist Watch' website.

The iconic American civil rights group targeted Carson, a world-renowned retired pediatric neurosurgeon, because he is a Christian who opposes gay marriage.

The SPLC has seen its mission creep from defendng the civil rights of African-Americans to embracing a broader target list that includes 'white nationalists, anti-gay zealots, black separatists, racist skinheads, neo-Confederates' and others.

'In October 2014, we posted an "Extremist File" of Dr. Ben Carson,' the SPLC wrote in a statement on Thursday. 'This week, as we've come under intense criticism for doing so, we've reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it.'

The mea culpa quickly took on a backhanded quality, however.

'We've also come to the conclusion,' the group added, 'that the question of whether a better-researched profile of Dr. Carson should or should not be included in our "Extremist Files" is taking attention from the fact that Dr. Carson has, in fact, made a number of statements that express views that we believe most people would conclude are extreme,' the group added.

The bulk of the published statement consisted of a list of those quotes.

Carson's attack at the hands of the SPLC was a hot topic of discussion among American conservatives this week as Carson moves closer to announcing a White House run.

'I don't think the left can stand the idea that the next black president might be a Republican,' one U.S. Senate staffer said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press. 'And the SPLC is a left-wing group. Don't forget that.'


Dangerous watermelon

At the National Book Awards last November, Daniel Handler, better known as the children’s author Lemony Snicket, bounded onstage after Jacqueline Woodson won a top prize for “Brown Girl Dreaming,” the chronicle of her family’s history from slavery to civil rights. As the applause for her award died down, Mr. Handler, the evening’s M.C., told the crowd that Ms. Woodson had once shared with him over lunch that she was allergic to watermelon.

“Just let that sink in,” he said.

It didn’t take long. The next day, authors and critics decried his remarks as insensitive and racist. Mr. Handler took to Twitter and apologized for overshadowing his friend’s achievement with what he called “my own ill-conceived attempts at humor.” Underscoring his regret, he offered to donate funds to the “We Need Diverse Books” campaign Ms. Woodson supports. Ms. Woodson responded with an opinion article on the Op-Ed page in The New York Times that said that Mr. Handler, in making light of the racist association of African-Americans and watermelon, “came from a place of ignorance.”


Friday, February 13, 2015

An impolite techie

A day after apologizing for making insensitive remarks on Twitter, the technology chief of Jeb Bush's presidential campaign-in-waiting has resigned.

In one tweet posted in 2009 and since deleted, Czahor wrote, "new study confirms old belief: college female art majors are sluts, science majors are also sluts but uglier."

He praised Martin Luther King Jr., saying that the civil rights leader "didn't have his pants sagged to his ankles, and he wasn't delivering his speech in `jibberish' or `slang."'


Fanatical antisemite tells UNC-Chapel Hill audience that "civility" is a racist term

But hating Jews is OK, apparently

More than 100 students, faculty, administrators, and political activists packed a lecture hall at UNC-Chapel Hill last Thursday to hear controversial indigenous studies professor Steven Salaita speak about academic freedom and censorship. 

Salaita has become a celebrity of sorts. Last summer, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded its job offer to Salaita after he posted a series of caustic (or, as my colleague George Leef has described them, “astoundingly nasty”) anti-Israel tweets. 

While most of the Chapel Hill audience cheered at various points during Salaita’s speech and seemed to be star-struck by his presence, one audience member voiced strong dissent. During the Q & A session, a man who described himself as a Jewish UNC employee referred to one of Salaita’s infamous tweets, which stated, “At this point, if Netanyahu appeared on TV with a necklace made from the teeth of Palestinian children, would anybody be surprised?”

Earlier in his speech, Salaita claimed that those who refer to his tweets as “uncivil” are actually perpetuating deep-seated “colonial” racism. According to the professor, the word “civility,” as it has been used in the context of post-16th century North American civilization, “sets up a hierarchy that distinguishes between those who are capable of entering into modernity and those who are incapable of entering into such a passage.” Salaita said that University of Illinois administrators were unaware of those New World, “racist” connotations. “They thought ‘civility’ was [an] innocuous word.”


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Wicked tapestry

Urban Outfitters has once again angered consumers with one of its designs, this time with a tapestry that closely resembles a Nazi concentration camp uniform forced upon male gay prisoners during the Holocaust.

Anti-Defamation League, an organization dedicated to fighting antisemitism, issued a statement yesterday calling for Urban Outfitters to stop selling the tapestry; which is not listed on the retailer's website, but was photographed at a store in Boulder, Colorado.

'Whether intentional or not, this gray and white stripped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture,' said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL's national director and a Holocaust survivor.

The tapestry in question does not currently appear on Urban Outfitters' website, but a store clerk from its Boulder store told The Daily Dot she 'recalled seeing it sold in the last few months' but added it was no longer available.

Urban Outfitters' other tapestry designs retail for between $39 and $69, and are described as being 'the perfect piece for topping off your bed, wall, or favorite chair', or used as a 'beach or picnic blanket'


These activists would have a fit in India -- with swastikas everywhere

Must not mention monkeys

Scrubs actor Zach Braff has apologized after a tweet he sent on Sunday night comparing Pharrell’s bellboy outfit at the Grammys to the flying monkey in The Wizard of Oz got him into trouble.

For the performance of his award-winning song Happy, singer/producer Pharrell wore a bellboy-type hat and jacket that provoked much online debate.

While many viewers tweeted about Pharrell’s likeness to the bellhop in the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel, others wondered if – given his political-charged performance – the outfit was a reference to black bellhops.

Braff joined the online debate when he jokingly shared a side-by-side picture of Pharrell and the flying monkey from the 2013 The Wizard of Oz-remake – Oz The Great and Powerful.

His post sparked much intense debate online and he was called out for not realizing that comparing African Americans to monkeys could be construed as an offensive racial slur.

On Monday Braff posted an apology, claiming that his reference was inspired by his voiceover role as a monkey in Oz.

'I love Pharrell. I thought the outfit he wore was similar to that of my bell hop in Oz. I apologize,’ he tweeted.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Money is no no object when the goal is to shut students up

Dozens of posters plastered across the University of Michigan caution students not to say things that might hurt others’ feelings, part of a new “Inclusive Language Campaign” at the state’s flagship public university that cost $16,000 to implement.

Words declared unacceptable through the campaign include “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” Phrases such as “I want to die” and “that test raped me” are also verboten.

Students have been asked to sign a pledge to “use inclusive language” and to help their peers “understand the importance of using inclusive language,” according to campaign materials.

“This program is intended to be educational, not regulatory,” Fitzgerald said of the campaign. “We hope there is only the understanding that we all participate in, and have the power to influence campus culture.”

Students living in university housing are urged to take part in a Change It Up! workshop, which “brings bystander intervention skills to first-year housing residents for the purpose of building safe, inclusive, and respectful communities.”

Before and after completing these workshops, students fill out surveys in which they reflect on internal biases that may pose a threat to an “inclusive campus.”  [Sounds like a Maoist self-criticism session]


Maine school must drop Indian mascot

"Cultural violence" gobbledegook below.  How is an Indian mascot racist?  It celebrates Indians if anything

The president of the Greater Bangor Area NAACP has formally asked school officials in Skowhegan to stop using the Indian name and image as a mascot for sports teams.

In a letter dated Friday, accompanied by copies of a petition, NAACP President Michael Alpert writes that his organization is dedicated to “universal civil rights and to the eradication of all forms of racism” — including use of the Indian mascot, which he called a symbol of racism.

“The implications of cultural violence embedded in Skowhegan High School’s nickname and mascot are deeply offensive to native people,” Alpert writes. “Just as important, the nickname and mascot degrades your community’s standing.

Alpert said the NAACP is acting in support of efforts already underway by Barry Dana of Solon, the former chief of the Penobscot Nation, and Ed Rice, of Orono and New Brunswick, a journalist, adjunct college instructor and author who has campaigned for the name change.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Must not mention nuns

Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow education secretary, is under fire after appearing to question whether nuns make good teachers during an appearance on a TV debate.

Labour has pledged to stop state schools employing unqualified teachers – a policy which would rule out graduates or former servicemen becoming teachers immediately without taking a course.

The comments came after journalist Cristina Odone, who spent some time at a faith school and writes for The Telegraph, praised the education she had received under nuns.

“The most inspiring teachers I’ve ever encountered were not out of teacher training college. You know what, they taught values, not British values, they taught real values,” Ms Odone said.

Mr Hunt interrupted: “These were nuns. These were all nuns, weren’t they?”

He added: “I know about your religious schooling and there’s a difference I think between a state education system having qualified teachers in the classroom.

The comments drew criticism from journalists and politicians on Twitter, with some calling on him to clarify that he did believes nuns can make good teachers.


Barack Obama causes outrage by saying religious conflict in India would have shocked Gandhi

US President Barack Obama said that religious conflict in India has produced "acts of intolerance" that would have shocked the country's icon of peace, Mohandas "Mahatma" Gandhi, provoking a storm of outrage.

Obama made the remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, which also raised the ire of conservative Christians in the United States.

"Michelle and I returned from India – an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity," Obama said, "but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs."

The "acts of intolerance" would have "shocked Gandhi, the person who helped to liberate that nation," Obama said, employing the honorific used in India for the revered freedom fighter.  ["Gandhi" is not an honorific.  It is a surname]

"So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith," he added. "In today's world, when hate groups have their own Twitter accounts and bigotry can fester in hidden places in cyberspace, it can be even harder to counteract such intolerance. But God compels us to try."

At the prayer breakfast, Obama was seated near the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has long lived in exile in the hills in Northern India after fleeing Chinese repression. This irony was not lost on critics here.

"The best example of India's tolerance was the Dalai Lama sitting next to Obama," India's finance minister Arun Jaitley said Friday, according to the news channel NDTV. He also said that India has "a huge cultural history of tolerance; any aberrations do not alter that history."

Obama had also referred to the country's history of religious conflict during his final speech in New Delhi on January 27, saying "India will succeed so long as it is not splintered on religious lines." White House officials said later said the speech was about inclusivity and the power of diversity and was not aimed at Modi or his government.


The religious conflict in India is between Hindus and Muslims. Centuries of oppression by Muslims have not been forgotten by Hindus and they do as a consequence still loathe Muslims.  Obama is however right about Gandhiji.  He did oppose Muslim/Hindu conflict.  "Mahatma" and "ji" are both marks of respect in India.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Simple Exercise of Free Speech at EMU Triggers Faculty Demands for Punishment

Yik Yak is a forum for people who are geographically close to one another

Honor students at Eastern Michigan University [EMU], angry about a course with mandatory 9 AM Friday 3-hour sessions seemingly designed in part to indoctrinate as much as to teach, have apparently nixed the experimental program, cut into the school’s fund raising, and caused at least 2 of the 3 professors involved to refuse to teach it because of adverse comments on Yik Yak.

While the faculty union is in an uproar, demanding measures like punishment for the offending students and a ban on Yik Yak, at least some professors say it shows how a simple exercise of free speech can help overcome the traditional imbalance of faculty-student power in the classroom, and be a teaching tool.

“Although virtually all of the power to control what is said in a classroom traditionally lies with the professor, and both colleges and individual faculty members can choose to indoctrinate more than teach, Internet-based tools like Yik Yak can help redress the imbalance, empowering students to freely express contrary and unpopular views – and even criticize their teachers – especially if the teachers appear to be both unprepared and to stifle discussion,” says public interest law professor John Banzhaf of GWU.

EMU Professor Steve Krause is critical of the faculty union’s claims that the Yik Yak incident constituted “serious student misconduct,” and that students used it to “sexually harass and defame” faculty.

He wrote “there’s a difference between something rude and insulting in the realm of free speech and speech that is both a threat and harassment. Calling someone a ‘bitch’ or a ‘bastard’ or whatever might be rude or insulting, but it’s clearly free speech. Saying ‘I want to hurt/rape/kill her or him’ is a threat, and that’s different. Based on what I’ve heard about this particular course, it is not at all clear to me that what happened went beyond the rude and insulting.”


Argentinian president writes racist tweet poking fun at stereotypical Chinese pronunciation… during state visit to China

She's a dim Peronist (Far Leftist)

Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner has come under fire for posting a racist tweet poking fun at stereotypical Chinese pronunciation during a visit to the country aimed at strengthening relations.

Kirchner, who is facing questions in her own country over the death of a prosecutor who had accused her of helping to cover up a terrorist bombing, replaced the letter R with L in a tweet mocking the accent of the people she was meeting during the state visit on Wednesday.

This resulted in the post, which it appears was supposed to suggest the 1,000 people at the event had only attended for the 'rice and petroleum', reading: 'are they here only for the lice and petloleum?' in an attempt to mimic the Chinese pronunciation.

She seemed to make matters worse when she said 'sorry' and the 'ridiculous and absurd' situation should be 'digested with humour'.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

Canada: Must not link terrorism and Islam

Two national Muslim organizations say they are troubled that Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week drew a link between radicalization and mosques.

Harper made the remark last Friday when he was answering a question about the Canadian government's new anti-terrorism legislation. The measures unveiled in Bill C-51 include criminalizing advocacy for or promotion of a terrorist act. Another measure lowers the threshold needed for police to arrest somebody they suspect may commit a terrorist act.

Asked how to distinguish between teens messing around in their basements and someone who is radicalized, Harper said it would be a serious offence "no matter who you are."

"It doesn't matter what the age of the person is, or whether they're in a basement, or whether they're in a mosque or somewhere else," Harper said Friday in Richmond Hill, Ont.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Canadian Muslim Lawyers' Association (CMLA) said in a press release Monday that they are "deeply troubled" Harper "implicated Canadian mosques as venues where terrorism is advocated or promoted." In a press release, the groups demanded Harper apologize.


Attack on free speech at Oxford university

Hundreds of protesters wielding placards took to the streets to oppose an appearance by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen at Britain's prestigious Oxford Union debating society today.

The leader of Front National's speech was delayed by more than an hour as some protesters tried to scale the walls from the street outside and others chanted anti-fascist slogans.

They held up signs reading 'Le Pen never again' and 'Oxford Union is offering a platform for fascists', as the red brick university came under fire for inviting the controversial speaker.

Ms Le Pen took over the reins of the far-right party from her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2011 and is expected to make a bid for the French presidency in the 2017 elections. The party made gains in both local and European elections last year.

A statement released today by Oxford Union, which describes itself as the world's most famous debating society, reads: 'This term card continues the Oxford Union’s tradition of balancing information, education and entertainment.

'The Oxford Union is a politically-neutral institution. Our members have a variety of views as do our views as do our speakers, officers and staff. 'An invitation from the union is not an endorsement of any particular agenda.

'The union believes in the principle of freedom of speech and we would encourage all members who disagree with an invited speakers’ view to attend the event and question the speaker.

'We allow our members to meet people face-to-face and make up their own minds.  'We invite no speakers who do not accept the right of our members to question them. Marine Le Pen will be answering questions from the audience after her address.'

Friday, February 06, 2015

British supermarket cancels 'Rear of the Year' awards ceremony for staff after complaints it was 'offensive'

Once again, references to physical attractiveness are incorrect

A Sainsbury's store which planned to hand out awards for 'sexiest' female and male workers and staff 'rear of the year' has now cancelled the event after complaints.

Supermarket workers in Ely, Cambridgeshire were set to hold an Oscars-style award night at a local venue as a fun night out for employees.

The planned event had 17 awards up for grabs including the titles of 'Mr/Mrs Chatterbox', 'Pure Banter', 'Hard Grafter' and 'Longest Tea Breaker'.

Organisers even planned a red carpet with a photographer and told guests to dress smartly.

But four of the categories - 'Rear of the Year Male', 'Sexiest Male', 'Rear of the Year Female' and 'Sexiest Female' - caused upset among staff and their families.

The fiancee of one employee, who asked not to be named, tweeted a photo of the leaflet promoting the night and said: 'Does this leave a bad taste in your mouth too, or have I lost my sense of humour?'

She later added: 'I found the categories, particularly the ones about which colleague was the sexiest or had the best bottom, extremely offensive.

Sainsbury's said the awards night was organised locally and was cancelled as soon as objections were raised


UK: Pub embroiled in racism row over historic sign that showed 'vain labour' of white couple trying to scrub a black boy clean

A small village in Staffordshire is fighting to keep the name of their local pub and its original signage which shows a black boy being scrubbed in the bath by a white couple.

Yarnsfield locals have battled for 20 years to keep the sign in the 166-year-old Labour In Vain pub, after it was first removed in 1994 after two 10-year-old girls complained. It was then replaced by a farmer sowing seeds.

In 2001, then-licensees Christine and John Glover found the sign and hung it in the beer garden, prompting the Stafford and District Racial Equality Council to request it be removed from view. The sign was given less prominence, but remained on display in the garden.

In 2009 Vince Hannant and Debbie Donovan took over the pub and again there was talk that the 'sign should come down'. But at the time Mr Hannant was reported as saying the locals told him, 'Don't even touch it, we've been though so much to keep it.'

Pub regular Richard Charwood was said to have then arranged a referendum of villagers to find out if they wanted to keep it. They were reportedly overwhelmingly in favour of doing so. 

'Everybody is outraged. There is not one person who uses this pub that thinks the name or the sign is racist.  'It should stay as it is because the pub is an integral part of the village's history.'  Local John Rogers, 80, said he fears the pub and village will lose its identity and its heritage if the name is changed.  He added: 'It has been called the Labour In Vain for more than 100 years.


British pub signs go back to the time when many people were not literate.  The particular pub was identified by the picture on its sign for those who could not read.  And a memorable sign avoided confusion.  It had nothing to do with race.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

British politicians have a human right to sound racist, says equalities watchdog

Some easing up, it seems

Politicians should be free to say things which “could be construed as racist” while debating issues such as immigration, the Government’s equalities watchdog has insisted.

New legal guidance on freedom of expression in the UK also defends the right of media outlets to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, if they consider it in the public interest, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo last month.

But the advice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission also contains a series of warnings – including one to faith schools over their approach to controversial topics such as gay marriage.

It argues that while schools designated as having a religious character have a legal right to teach their own beliefs on subjects such as sexuality and same-sex marriage, they could still face a discrimination action if their handling of the issue is considered inappropriate or insensitive.

The Commission said the new guidance was needed to help address “muddle” over the law, particularly in the wake of the Paris terrorist atrocities.

But the National Secular Society – which successfully campaigned alongside the Christian Institute against “insulting” behaviour being treated as a public order offence – said it underlined how free speech in Britain relies on a complicated “patchwork of laws” in urgent need of a “root and branch review”.

The paper said there was often a “fine line” between comments which are protected under human rights law and those which could be deemed to be inciting hatred.

But it added that “very little interference” with political campaigning, journalism and commentary on matters of public interest could be justified, particularly during election campaigns.

“Speech that is intended to inform rather than offend attracts greater protection, even if it could be construed as racist,” the guidance says.

“Beliefs, opinions and ideas – even deeply-held beliefs – cannot be immune to criticism or satire. Democracy depends on people being free to express, debate and criticise opposing viewpoints.


Must not eat the Lord Ganesha

A Hindu activist has urged the Bond Street Chocolate company of New York to withdraw its “Ganesh Chocolate,” a figurine of Lord Ganesh made with chocolate, calling it highly inappropriate.

Rajan Zed, Indian American president of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a Jan. 31 statement said that Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be eaten casually.

Zed urged Bond Street Chocolate to show some responsibility, respect and maturity by “understanding the hurt feelings of Hindu community” and stop manufacturing Ganesh-shaped edible chocolates.


I have a big bronze image of Ganesha in my entrance hall, mounted respectfully.  I think he is a lot of fun.

My Ganesha

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Must not even mention the KKK

Even if you are trying to be anti-racist.  The sensitive petals feel "threatened" even at the mention of it

A University of Iowa vice president repeatedly defended UI's initial statement and later response to the removal of a controversial sculpture on the UI Pentacrest on Dec. 5, even amid criticism that the statement inaccurately described the artist's intentions and undermined the university's commitment to free speech.

Before issuing UI's statement at 12:20 p.m. Dec. 5, vice president for student life Tom Rocklin spoke with the artist, visiting art professor Serhat Tanyolacar. Rocklin also had received information explaining that Tanyolacar intended his public artwork to be a critique of ongoing racial violence in the U.S., according to emails and other correspondence released by UI last week.

"I have learned a lot from listening to students over the last few days," Rocklin wrote to UI law professor Alexander Somek on Dec. 9. "While I understood that I would view the piece through the lens of my own privilege, hearing the students pour out their hearts as they described the fear they felt when the saw the piece was a visceral reminder that intent is only part of the question ... and sometimes impact trumps intent."


Indian censors object to musician's use of 'Bombay' for Mumbai

When he released his first music video, the Mumbai-based musician Mihir Joshi understood that it would be reviewed by India's Central Board of Film Certification for obscene or offensive lyrics. When the board objected to a single word, he quickly agreed to part with it.

But he was flabbergasted to hear that the word was "Bombay."

The music video was broadcast on the MTV Indies cable channel over the weekend with the offending place name replaced with a bleep and blurred in the accompanying subtitle. "I have nothing against the word 'Mumbai,'" he added, a little plaintively. "I'm not calling it 'Constantinople' or 'Atlantis' or whatever."

He chose "Bombay" in the second line of the song, he said, because he needed a rhyme with "today." But by doing so, Joshi stumbled into one of India's many unresolved tugs of war over history and identity.

Mumbai, a word drawn from the Marathi language, has been the official legal name of Joshi's home city since 1995, when the nativist political party in power chose it to replace the Anglicised name Bombay, used since colonial times.

Not everyone adopted the new name, though. Some kept using Bombay out of long habit or institutional inertia - the city's stock exchange and its high court still bear the name, for example. Others stuck with Bombay as a political statement, rejecting what they considered xenophobic politics behind the change.

The film censor's decision drew considerable criticism and mockery on Monday, but the board's top official, Pahlaj Nihalani, said he stood by the decision, which was made by his predecessor. (Mr Nihalani became the board's chairman in January.)


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Must not sing Dixie

In 2013, during the trial and conviction of a black man, James D. Kirk, Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin, as reported by Idaho Statesman writer Sven Berg, paraphrased lines from the song "Dixie" as she addressed the jury at the end of Kirk's trial.

"Some people know it. It's the 'Dixie' song, right? 'Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton. Good times not forgotten. Look away. Look away. Look away.' " Kallin then went on to ask the jury, wasn't it being asked by the defense to look away from the testimony of the prosecution witnesses?

During appellant arguments, Eric Fredericksen, the state public defender, stated that whether she meant to or not, Kallin made the case a racial matter. While the state denies the use of the "Dixie" lyrics as being a racial ploy, defense attorney Aaron Bazzoli, who represented Kirk at trial, commented, "I don't know if it impacted (the verdict), but when you are sitting in the courtroom and there is one black guy sitting next to you and the prosecutor's singing 'Dixie' - it just seemed a little weird."

Anyone with knowledge of U.S. history would see the direct connection. From its beginning, "Dixie" was racist and insensitive. The song, often credited to Ohio-born Daniel Decatur Emmett, originated in the blackface minstrel shows of the 1850s. Its lyrics, written in an exaggerated version of African-American vernacular English, are a story of a freed black slave longing for the plantation of his birth. During the Civil War the pro-slave Confederacy adopted the song as its de facto anthem. With the Civil Rights Movement, many identify the lyrics of "Dixie" with the symbolism and ideology of the Old South. Certainly for the black community the song harks to the collective memory of slavery, discrimination and racial separation. "Dixie" brings forth all the painful memories past and present.

The Idaho Court of Appeals agreed, saying it "does not require resort to articles or history books to recognize that 'Dixie' was an anthem of the Confederacy, an ode to the Old South, which references with praise a time and place of the most pernicious racism. The prosecutor's mention of the title, 'Dixie,' as well as the specific lyrics recited by the prosecutor, referring to 'the land of cotton,' expressly evoke that setting with all its racial overtones."

The court gave weight to the importance of both the constitutional obligation to provide criminal defendants a fundamentally fair trial and the interest of maintaining public confidence in the integrity of judicial proceedings against imposing a stringent standard to determine whether harmful error occurred. The court ordered the conviction vacated and remanded for further proceedings.


Must not mention a woman's looks

An obituary for author Colleen McCullough published in The Australian newspaper has sparked anger this morning, with readers labelling it "sexist".

The article, which begins by describing the internationally acclaimed Australian author as "plain of feature" and "overweight" was tweeted by ABC journalist Joanna McCarthy along with the words: "Award for worst opening lines of an obituary goes to ... #everydaysexism."

McCullough, who died on Thursday at the age of 77, worked as a neuroscientist in the United States before turning to writing full-time. Her much-loved The Thorn Birds, a romantic Australian saga published in 1977, has sold 30 million copies worldwide and is the highest-selling Australian book, helped by the popular 1983 mini-series.

Twitter users have highlighted the disparity between The Australian's reporting of McCullough's death and that of fellow author Bryce Courtenay, the latter hailed "one of Australia's greatest storytellers".

The incident calls to mind The New York Times' obituary for Yvonne Brill, where the scientist's professional achievements were listed below her cooking prowess  and success as a dedicated wife and mother.


Monday, February 02, 2015

Army Deletes Tweet About ‘Chinks In Armor’ After People Cry Racism

Apparently, being “offended” is a force so powerful that not even the U.S. Army sticks to reason

The U.S. Army has deleted a tweet that used the term “chinks” in armor after people freaked out that the same word can be used in a completely different context as a racial slur against people of Chinese descent.

“Chinks in special ops’ digital and physical armor poses challenges, experts say,” the tweet read, followed by a link to a news release about how terrorists’ using social media has left a hole — dare I say, a chink in  — our country’s defenses.

Originally, the release had a headline similar to the tweet, according to the Washington Post. It has since been changed, however, because apparently calling someone racist is an irrefutable argument even when the accusation is based on not knowing what words mean.

For some, the deletion of the tweet was not enough — because how dare those Army jerks not apologize:


Timberland cancels its A.P.C. shoe collection after unwary Frenchman uses the word n*****r

He was too clever for his own good. A.P.C. is a French ready-to-wear brand, founded in 1987 by the Tunisian-Jewish born designer Jean Touitou. Timberland LLC is an American manufacturer and retailer of outdoors wear with a focus on footwear. Timberland says that it is a proponent of corporate social responsibility so they are super righteous.

Timberland has terminated its relationship with A.P.C. after founder Jean Touitou used 'offensive remarks' to introduce the brand's fall 2015 menswear show in Paris this week.

While holding up a sign that read, 'Last Ni##@$ IN PARIS,' Mr Touitou explained that A.P.C's collaboration with Timberland is 'a very strong ghetto signifier.'

Yesterday Timberland chose to 'immediately terminate' its involvement A.P.C., including the footwear collaboration it had planned for this fall.

According to A.P.C., Mr Touitou didn't mean to offend.  In a statement sent to BuzzFeed, the brand stated: 'During the A.P.C. presentation in Paris Jean Touitou made a reference to two moments in recent popular culture.

'One being the song Niggas in Paris by Kanye West and Jay Z and the second being the Bernardo Bertolucci film Last Tango in Paris. The connection was used to describe a look for the collection and was in no way intended to cause offense.'

Later, asked Mr Touitou to clarify what he meant.

He explained via Email: 'I made looks which are a cross-over of those two references: the Timberland shoes and the sweat pants are iconic of hip-hop, and the camel hair color coat, worn with nothing under it, is iconic of that precise movie.

'I am friends with Kanye [West, who recorded Ni**as in Paris with Jay Z], and he and I presented a joint collection at the same place, one year ago, and that this thing is only a homage to our friendship.'


Sunday, February 01, 2015

Facebook to censor images of Prophet Mohammed in Turkey

Business is business, I guess

Facebook has reportedly agreed to censor cartoons of Prophet Mohammed just two weeks after its founder defended the right to free speech in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks.

The social network made the decision after Turkish authorities threatened to block the site entirely if it did not remove the images - some of which come from Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The dramatic about-face will be personally embarrassing for Zuckerberg, coming weeks  after he defiantly said: '[Facebook] will never let one country or group dictate what people can share.'

'We follow the laws in each country, but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world'.

According to the BBC, Facebook has now blocked pages 'that offended the Prophet Mohammed' after getting an order from a court in Ankara, Turkey's capital.

Facebook's founder was branded 'a first rate coward', a 'sorry excuse for a human', and 'a liberal coward' by users after news of the decision became public.


British singer James Blunt upsets gay people with joke about soap in the showers

The joke is an allusion to the prevalence of homosexuality in British private schools.  Apparently Blunt is supposed to like that.  He went to Harrow

James Blunt has been accused of homophobia after joking about 'picking up the soap' in the showers around fellow public schoolboys including David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

The pop star faced a backlash after posting the comment online alongside a magazine front cover of himself under the words: 'Does it pay to be to posh'.

The group were pictured sipping champagne and wearing white tie evening dress on the cover of the New Statesman, to go with an article on privilege and success.

Blunt, 40, posted the image on Twitter and then joked: 'I won't be picking up the soap when this party moves to the showers.'

Gay rights charity Stonewall condemned the Old Harrovian's comments.

A spokesman said: 'Although James might have been joking, it's this sort of language that perpetuates negative stereotypes around gay men and gets deemed as acceptable as it becomes ingrained in society.'

Twitter users were also unimpressed. Lisa Gifford wrote: 'Just when I thought James Blunt couldn't be any more repugnant, he manages to put homophobia and a rape joke together.'