Friday, July 31, 2015

Disgruntled British mothers up in arms after Coventry hotel sign declares benches are 'for bums NOT babies'

A group of mothers were left outraged by a sign at a Coventry hotel, which they felt labelled babies as 'a nuisance'.

Notices were posted in the swimming pool changing rooms of the Village Urban Resort, near Hearsall Common over the weekend.

Warning parents to keep the benches in this area clear, the signs said: 'Polite notice: These benches are for bums - not bags or babies! Thank you.'

A flurry of disgruntled mothers then contacted the local newspaper, the Coventry Telegraph to complain about the message, which they saw as 'disgusting'.

Bosses at the hotel maintained that the signs were put up for 'health and safety' reasons and defended their decision to post them.

Stephen Cresswell, regional director at the Village Hotel said: 'If someone has been offended by the sign that has been put up then we, of course, apologise for that. 'But a sign like that would only have been put up from a health and safety perspective to help everyone who uses the club.'

But many of the mothers, who came across the signs while taking their children swimming were distraught at the suggestion of changing their babies on the floor.

One such mother, Toni Bird, who took her four-year-old daughter to the hotel's leisure club on Sunday, told the newspaper: 'I took my daughter swimming and as I was going in I heard people talking about it.

'There is only one fold-down changing table in the female changing rooms and if there are a few people with babies you aren't going to stand around while they get cold, you are going to change them on the bench.

The debate has continued on the Coventry Telegraph's Facebook page, with opinion differing between social media users.

One commenter wrote: 'They cannot expect people to put their babies on the floor unless they provide mats or more changing stations.'


British cops investigating after three youngsters sparked a race row by 'blacking up' as golliwogs

Is that the best they have got to do with their time. They don't have the personnel to attend the scene of most burglaries but they have got time for this triviality?

Police have launched an investigation to identify three teenagers who sparked a race row after they blacked up as Golliwogs for their town's summer parade.

Two girls and a boy painted their faces black, wore curly wigs and donned distinctive red, blue, white and black costumes at the Wick Gala, in Caithness, Scotland, on Saturday.

Police launched a probe into the incident after a member of the public raised the alarm over 'inappropriate behaviour' at the gala.

Golliwogs were a character in children's books in the late 19th century usually depicted as a type of rag doll. But the term has become a racial slur applied to black people in recent years.

Saskia Leighton, 23, from Wick, Caitness, added: 'Gala is a fantastic day of the year that really brings the community together.

'It's a real shame to see that great atmosphere spoiled by a few naive, thoughtless youngsters. I hope that they have learned from this and understand that although Wick may be remote they understand what it means and why it caused offence.

Wick Gala Committee have also been contacted by police as part of their probe.

Police Scotland confirmed it is carrying out an investigation but would not comment further.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

British slang 'pikey' OK after all

Top Gear was today cleared of breaching broadcasting rules for using the word ‘pikey’ in a show.

Travellers told Ofcom they were offended when the show's now ex-host Jeremy Clarkson was seen holding a placard with the words Pikey's Peak while Richard Hammond drove a car up a mountain.

The word - used as a derogatory term for gipsies or travellers - was part of a ‘running gag’ between Clarkson and fellow presenter James May about their colleague Hammond’s perceived cheap style.

A similar complaint was lodged with the BBC but eventually not upheld, with the BBC Trust finding that the word had been used to mean ‘cheap’, rather than as a term of racist or ethnic abuse.

In its evidence, the Corporation admitted the word could be ‘a derogatory term’ but cited online encyclopaedia Wikipedia as proof it also referred to someone who ‘lives on the cheap’.

But Matthew Brindley, a spokesman for the Traveller Movement, which made the complaint, told MailOnline today: ‘We're shocked and horrified at Ofcom's decision to uphold use of the P-word.’

He added: ‘We don't like to use it because we believe it’s offensive. We totally disagree with Ofcom’s decision, as we did with the BBC Trust's decision.

‘I think it shows a complete disregard for travellers and gipsies across the UK that a public broadcaster in a programme as widely viewed as Top Gear can use this word freely.’

Ofcom admitted in its findings on the episode broadcast in February last year that ‘some in the audience would perceive the word pikey as a derogatory term for gypsies and travellers’.

But a spokesman added: ‘On balance there was sufficient context in the way the word was used to minimise offence. However, we have advised broadcasters this doesn't mean the use of the word is acceptable in any programme in any context and that it is capable of causing significant offence in certain contexts.’

In the episode, Clarkson had put up the placard during a challenge in which the presenters had to race 1980s hatchbacks, and he and May were ridiculing Hammond's choice of a Vauxhall Nova.


Are illegals 'cockroaches' and 'feral humans'?

Outspoken columnist Katie Hopkins has admitted she regrets some of the extreme language she used to describe migrants in the Mediterranean, but has stopped short of a full apology.

The media personality sparked outrage in April, when she wrote a newspaper column entitled 'Rescue boats? I'd use gunships to stop migrants.'

She went on to write: 'Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don't care.'

The 40-year-old also described migrants as 'cockroaches' and 'feral humans', prompting UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein to denounce her racist language and compare her comments to pro-genocide propaganda.

Ms Hopkins prides herself on never having apologised for anything she has said but in a new interview she says she does have regrets. She admitted: 'There's some things about that column, there are some words which in hindsight you'd probably pull out of there.

'But I think overall my message isn't about the idea that we want to see migrants and people suffering, it's an idea that we need to find solutions to problems.'


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Instagram lifts ban on "curvy"

I think fatties are kidding themselves in saying "curvy" refers to them. As far as I can see, the usual polite way of referring to fatties is "big"

A week after it found itself under fire for banning users from tagging their photos with #curvy, Instragram has reinstated the word after backlash from users.

The company outraged plus-size women earlier this month by preventing the word 'curvy' from being used as a search term, while it was still possible to search for the 'skinny', 'thin' and even 'anorexia'.

In a statement a spokesperson from the company said: 'We want people to be able to express themselves, and hashtags are a great way to do that.

'At the same time, we have a responsibility to act when we see hashtags being used to spread inappropriate content to our community.

'In the case of #curvy, we don’t like putting restrictions around a term that many people use in very positive ways, so we have decided to unblock the hashtag while taking steps to ensure that it's not used as a vehicle for bad content.'


No free speech for rappers

Police shut down a rap show on Saturday while the star was appearing – by hologram – to appeal for an end to violence in hip-hop.

Police in Hammond, Indiana, pulled the plug on Craze Fest while Chief Keef was beaming in his set from a soundstage in Los Angeles. He was just finishing I Don’t Like, and talking about the need to stop violence, when music was turned down, the hologram disappeared and police cleared the stage.

The show, held in a public park and attended by 2,000 people, was planned as a benefit for Chief Keef’s friend Marvin Carr – a rapper known as Capo – and 13-month-old Dillan Harris, who killed on 11 July. Dillan was killed by a vehicle fleeing the scene of a shooting that killed Carr.

Chief Keef had performed by hologram owing to several arrest warrants against him in the neighbouring state of Illinois. However, other cities had refused to allow him to perform by hologram recently. Last weekend, a similar appearance in Chicago was cancelled after the staff of mayor Rahm Emanuel called him “an unacceptable role model” who “promoted violence” and whose presence, even via hologram, “posed a significant safety risk”.

“I know nothing about Chief Keef,” Hammond’s mayor, Thomas McDermott, told the New York Times. “All I’d heard was he has a lot of songs about gangs and shooting people – a history that’s anti-cop, pro-gang and pro-drug use. He’s been basically outlawed in Chicago, and we’re not going to let you circumvent Mayor Emanuel by going next door.”

Alki David, chief executive of Hologram USA, which sponsors Chief Keef, said: “Shame on the mayor and police chief of Hammond for shutting down a voice that can create positive change in a community in desperate need. And for taking away money that could have gone to help the victims’ families. This was a legal event and there was no justification to shut it down besides your glaring disregard for the First Amendment right to free speech,” he added. “Mark my words, if you censor us, you only make us stronger.”


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Group Waging War on Meter Maids Tests Free Speech Limits

Forgetful residents of the New Hampshire city of Keene have found an ally with a group of activists who call themselves Free Keene.

These self-styled “Robin Hooders” run ahead of meter officers, and slip nickels into expired meters.

Free Keene members leave cards informing vehicle owners that they have been “Saved from the King’s Tariff!”

Yes, most would appreciate it if someone did this for them.

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed.

This, however, is not the end of the story.

While expressing their distaste for the “unfair tariff” by dropping nickels in meters, some of the more zealous “Free Keene” members took to sharing their distaste of meter-keepers, too.

Reports show that some Free Keene members harassed meter officers by following and videotaping them.  “How do you live with yourself?” one Free Keane member demanded of a weary meter-keeper.

Unsurprisingly—but unfortunately—the members of Free Keene became defendants in a case exploring the boundaries of free expression.

While the city allegedly took no issue with their practice of feeding expired meters, it is concerned about employee safety and work-related stress.

Citing allegations of physical contact and reports of meter officers who have quit under the activists’ spite—most notably an Army veteran who was told that he “condoned the drowning of brown babies”—the city sought damages for costs of therapy sessions and asked the courts to impose a protective 50 foot “buffer zone” around the meter officers.

This June, however, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unreservedly defended Free Keene’s right to free speech—even if that involves, as Justice Robert J. Lynn noted, saying “nasty things to parking-meter people.”


Australia: Banning political donations will run foul of free speech protections in the constitution

In the "Citizens United" case, SCOTUS has ruled that donations are protected speech in the USA too

Unfortunately the simple solution to the potentially corrupting influence of political donations - banning them altogether - is not as simple as it seems.

The inquiry into political donations laws in NSW headed by Kerry Schott found that only Tunisia has adopted a total ban and that virtually all Western democracies allowed fundraising from the private sector.

For a start, a total ban would likely drive donations underground and shunt political campaigning into third party identities, giving rise to the new problem of establishing whether the groups were independent or linked to political parties.

Second, most Western democracies regard financial support for political ideals as part of the democratic right.

A total ban would almost certainly fall foul of the implied right of freedom of political communication in the Australian constitution.

Even partial bans have run foul. Bob Hawke's attempt in 1992 to ban television advertising in an effort to curtail the burgeoning costs of campaigning, was knocked on the head by the High Court. So was former NSW premier Barry O'Farrell's attempt to ban donations from unions and corporate donors.

The latest freedom of speech challenge is coming from former Newcastle mayor and property developer Jeff McCloy, who is challenging NSW's ban on developer donations. The ICAC heard allegations that McCloy had paid $30,000 in secret donations to local Liberal MPs in breach of NSW laws which ban certain classes of people, including property developers from making political donations. The ICAC report and the High Court decision are still pending.

The thinking behind NSW's approach of banning certain classes of donors is that the profits of developers, the alcohol industry and the gaming industry are directly affected by state decisions and so the risk of corruption is much higher.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Former VSU student awarded $900,000 in free speech case

A lawsuit filed by a former Valdosta State University student against the school’s former president ended Thursday with a near million-dollar settlement.

In 2008, Hayden Barnes filed a civil rights suit against VSU, then president Ronald Zaccari, other school administrators and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

The suit stemmed from Barnes’ expulsion from the school in the spring of 2007 after he posted a “satirical environmentalist collage” on his personal Facebook page, according to Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), that helped Barnes file the suit.

Claims against VSU and the Board of Regents were dismissed from the case in 2012, leaving Zaccari as the sole defendant.

He was represented by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services that settled the case Thursday for $900,000.

“After eight years, and one of the worst abuses of student rights FIRE has ever seen, Hayden Barnes has finally received justice,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “Thanks to Hayden’s courageous stand, would-be censors at public universities nationwide have 900,000 new reasons to respect the free-speech and due-process rights of their students.”

In court filings, Barnes claimed Zaccari conspired to remove him from the university in 2007 after a series of protests by Barnes regarding the construction of parking decks. The protests, which included flyers put up around the university and calls to the Board of Regents, culminated when Barnes posted a photo collage on Facebook that Zaccari viewed as a threat to his safety.

The photo collage referred to the parking decks as the “Zaccari Memorial Parking Garage” and was attached to a letter to Barnes from Zaccari explaining that he had been administratively withdrawn.

“I am pleased to have finally reached a resolution. It has been an epic journey,” said Barnes. “However, it was a worthwhile endeavor because I know as a result of this case other students will have their constitutional rights respected. I sincerely appreciate the work of my counsel and of FIRE, both of whom were instrumental in achieving justice.”


The student was a Greenie, which may account for the size of the award

Cal Poly Pomona settles free-speech lawsuit over animal rights protest

Cal Poly Pomona has settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of a student handing out animal-rights literature on campus.

“I’m glad that Cal Poly was able to reach agreement fairly quickly,” said Nicolas Tomas. “I think had they reached out to their counsel when I reached out to their administrators before, we could have settled this before, but I feel like they kind of ran wild with their policies with no constitutional basis.”

In the settlement, reached Thursday, Cal Poly agreed to revise its policies and pay Tomas $35,000 in damages and attorney’s fees.

Earlier this year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a nonprofit that fights speech restrictions at campuses around the country, sued on Tomas’ behalf in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The 24-year-old nutrition major had been handing out Vegan Outreach pamphlets advocating the vegan lifestyle and attacking the treatment of farm animals since fall 2013. According to Tomas, he mostly worked the sidewalks between the university’s parking garage and the main campus, reasoning that was where he would see most of those coming or going from campus.

But administrators and, eventually, campus police objected, telling him he had to restrict his activities to a 154 square-foot “free speech zone” — a little triangle of grass between the university library and student center — and wear a badge, signed by a university administrator, declaring that he had permission to be there.

FIRE attacked the policy as a “deprivation of fundamental rights” and sued the university on March 31. Cal Poly suspended its free-speech zone policy in early May.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

WWE sacks ‘racist’ wrestler Hulk Hogan

He used the n-word!

WHAT you gonna do when the Hulkster runs wildly racist on you? If you’re WWE, you’re going to fire the company’s most iconic pro wrestler.

The New York Post reports that wrestling legend Hulk Hogan was body-slammed by WWE on Friday when it was revealed he went off on a racist tirade in his infamous sex tape that’s at the centre of a lawsuit with Gawker, according to reports.

Hogan is heard spewing hate speech in a conversation about his daughter, Brooke, and her African American boyfriend, sources told Radar Online and The National Enquirer:

“I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f**k some n****r, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot-tall n****r worth a hundred million dollars! Like a basketball player! I guess we’re all a little racist. Fucking n****r.”

WWE has scrubbed Hogan from several online platforms, according to a report by Wresting Inc: His profile was removed from the Alumni section of WWE’s website, related merchandise was removed from its online shop and Hogan was removed from the cast listing for Tough Enough, a WWE-produced reality series.


Must not use expressions that SOUND LIKE bad words

L'Oreal Australia has been forced to pull advertising on one of their products amid complaints their tagline sounded too much like swear words.

The ad, for Garnier Fructis Full & Luscious hair range, featured the tagline 'F'n'L!' - a nod to its 'full' and 'luscious' product.

A number of viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Board, claiming 'F 'n' L!' sounded too much like 'effin' hell' and it was inappropriate for children.

'I am deeply offended by the pronunciation of the loud F'n'L, it is obviously intended to sound like a swear word and I do not want my young children to overhear the ad and repeat it,' read one complaint to the Advertising Standards Board.

The ad features a women walking through an office environment with her hair billowing around her head.

A male colleague comments: 'F 'n' L!' as she passes, before falling off his chair.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Department store chain refuses to pull sexist 'Trophy' shirt from stores

Popular retailer Target has refused to stop selling a ‘sexist’ T-shirt which markets women as ‘trophies’ and is allegedly being marketed in stores to teenage girls – despite facing a bitter online backlash – with a spokesperson claiming that women of all ages ‘love’ the controversial item.

Outraged customers have been flooding social media with threats to boycott the T-shirt – and the store – while user, Amanda R. from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, started a petition last month for Target to 'Stop Selling Sexist "Trophy" Shirt That Demeans Women', explaining that the shirt's message encourages rape culture.

But despite the online petition receiving signatures from more than 11,500 people, Target has no intention to get rid of the top.

'It is never our intention to offend anyone and we always appreciate receiving feedback from our guests,' Target told USA Today in a statement. 'The shirt you’re describing is part of a collection of engagement and wedding shirts that are available in our women’s and plus size departments.'

'The collection also included shirts that say "Team Bride", "Mrs" and "Bride". These shirts are intended as a fun wink and we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from our guests.'

However, when launching her petition, Amanda explained on the website: 'The word trophy should not refer to any person, man or woman, because we are not THINGS - we are human beings. Labeling any person as a "Trophy" is demeaning their humanity and objectifying them as a tangible object that can be bought, used, and disposed of,' she wrote.


British attempt to curb Muslim incitement to violence likely to hit many others

It is specifically Muslim speech that the British PM needs to attack but that would be "discrimination"

David Cameron’s attempts to clampdown on ‘non-violent extremism’ will extinguish freedom of speech and debate, an atheist commentator has warned.

Writing in The Telegraph, Brendan O’Neill said there was a “dark, twisted irony” to the Prime Minister’s speech in Birmingham this week, during which he said the Government will “tackle” all those who “may not advocate violence” but who do promote “other parts of the extremist narrative”.

O’Neill said this is a “step too far”, and that “official clampdowns” on speech and debate can “never be justified”.

And he pointed out that non-violent extremism could even cover Christians who do not support same-sex marriage, because this could be seen as not having “respect for minorities”.

Mr Cameron said in his speech that, “you don’t have to support violence to subscribe to certain intolerant ideas which create a climate in which extremists can flourish.  “Ideas which are hostile to basic liberal values such as democracy, freedom and sexual equality”.

O’Neill described the controversial Extremism Disruption Orders, which were announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, as “terrifying” because they could be used “to shut-up anyone who says extremist things”.

“What May and Cameron view as the pesky distinction between action and speech, between violent and non-violent extremism, is actually the foundation stone of all free, enlightened societies: we police criminal behaviour, but not thoughts, ideas, words”, O’Neill argued.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Must not associate women with kitchens

BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss has caused a new sexism storm after telling viewers that Open winner Zach Johnson's wife would be spending his winnings on a new kitchen.

The veteran presenter, 84, made the comment as the camera panned towards Johnson's wife Kim, seconds before the golfer landed the putt that won him the prized Claret Jug.

Talking about how Mrs Johnson might spend the prize money he mused: 'She is probably thinking - "if this goes in I get a new kitchen".'

His remarks provoked outrage among viewers, notably from Lesley-Ann Wade, the American manager of former British golfer Nick Faldo.

Taking to Twitter, Ms Wade wrote: 'Can't believe he can say this! Looks at Zach's wife and says "She is thinking if this goes in we get a new kitchen!" #Sexist #Alliss'


No haircut for the First Amendment

The campaign grows on the left to restrict religion and free speech

Once upon a time, the idea of giving the First Amendment a haircut never occurred to anyone. The constitutional guarantee of free speech was held to be the cornerstone of the unique American experiment in government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The Founding Fathers wrote it, plain, direct and so unambiguous that even a United States senator could understand it.

The Founders knew government wouldn’t like it. Thomas Jefferson (politically incorrect himself in the present heated moment), wrote to James Madison in 1787 that a bill of rights was needed to plug a glaring hole in the original document. “[A] bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular,” he said, “and what no just government should refuse or rest on inference.”

Recently, certain Democratic senators, frustrated that “the people” persist in thinking for themselves, want to give the amendment that haircut. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a Democrat, pushes the idea of altering the Constitution to override the First Amendment, enabling the government to control all campaign spending, whether by individuals, candidates or outside groups. He argues that the First Amendment isn’t absolute, anyway. Mr. Schumer, who learned everything he thinks he knows at Harvard, isn’t exactly a constitutional scholar. He once identified the three branches of government as the House, the Senate and the Executive.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, a Democrat, wants to trim the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of religion. She thinks the guarantee of religious liberty applies only to organized institutions of worship, not to individuals.

“Certainly the First Amendment says that in institutions of faith that there is absolute power to, you know, to observe deeply held religious beliefs,” she says. “But I don’t think it extends far beyond that.” The senator, like everyone else, is entitled to her own ignorance, but not to her own “factoids,” a factoid being something that looks like a fact, sounds like a fact, but in fact is not a fact.

The Constitution includes two specific instructions to the Congress. The first is that it shall make no law concerning the establishment of religion. The second, which is not so much in vogue this season, is that Congress shall make no law prohibiting “the free exercise thereof,” that the exercise of religious beliefs is an individual right, not confined to a particular time or place of worship.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Proposed Law Would Strip Words ‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ from Federal Code

Last week, Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would remove the words “husband” and “wife” from the language used in federal law – a move that had drawn ire from faith leaders and family advocacy groups that see this legislation as expected fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

“It is as if a collective madness has settled over our nation's elite and they are trying hard to bring everyone under the same cloud of confusion,” Bishop E.W. Jackson, president of STAND (Staying True to America’s National Destiny), told “They can change 1,000 laws and 10,000 dictionaries.

“Marriage was, is and always will be only a union between one man and one woman,” Jackson said. “If the emperor has no clothes, it matters not that the whole world compliments him on his outfit.

“Perceptions change, but reality remains the same,” he added. “I will oppose any effort to sanitize our legal system of the words husband and wife.”

“Redefining the terminology in marriage now of ‘husband and wife’ proves that the gay lobby is only out to completely destroy marriage between one (naturally born) man and one (naturally born) woman,” Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, told “If everything that marriage represents is eliminated, including the language, why did they not just settle for civil unions?


Former Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson is blasted for sly joke

The offence is in the mind of the hearers.  "Fudge-packing" is slang for anal sex, which could be heterosexual

Jeremy Clarkson was today accused of being homophobic after tweeting a poor-taste joke about being sacked by the BBC.

The 55-year-old posted a photo of himself and Richard Hammond outside the Margaret River Fudge Factory in Australia with the caption: 'We have got jobs at last. Here. As packers'.

His joke was a nod to a phrase commonly considered a slur used to describe gay men, and has caused uproar.

A spokesman for gay rights charity Stonewall said: ‘We can’t quite see Clarkson in the confectionery industry, maybe it’s the sour taste that his racist and homophobic slurs leave. All we can see him packing up at the moment is his career.’

The star was sacked earlier this year after punching a BBC producer in a row over a steak and his two former co-hosts have also decided to leave the corporation.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Must not mock trendies

London Fire Brigade has apologised for announcing 'no hipsters were injured' after fire ripped through a restaurant.

The tweet, about a fire in Shoreditch, east London, sparked outrage on Twitter amid claims the remark was 'unprofessional' and 'not funny'.

Street food trader Hank's Po' Boys posted: 'Hard work and livelihoods ruined and you make a joke of it? Completely unprofessional and insulting to many people'.

LFB later posted: 'Sorry if we caused any offence by using the term hipsters. Hope Shoreditch businesses are back on their feet soon.'

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were called to a pop-up restaurant on Great Eastern Street at around 3.45am today.

Around half of the building was damaged by the blaze, a LFB spokesman said.


Scotland: Must not advertise incorrect food

Council wants the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, to take its banner down as part of a plan to 'improve the look' of Stonehaven

A chip shop has been asked to remove a banner hailing it as the home of the deep-fried Mars bar.

The Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, advertises itself as the "birthplace of the world famous deep-fried Mars bar" with a large sign on the side of the shop.

Owners say it attracts thousands of tourists from around the world to try it every year but the local council wants the banner to come down as part of a plan to "improve the look" of Stonehaven.

The deep-fried Mars bar has become synonymous with the negative stereotype of the unhealthy Scottish diet and is often mockingly referred to as one of the country's other national dishes, after haggis.

The Carron owner Lorraine Watson said she was happy to put a disclaimer on the main menu but she is refusing to remove the banner.


Monday, July 20, 2015

NAACP Calls Calif. Newspaper Cartoon Racist

A Sacramento, Calif. newspaper is at the center of a racism controversy after releasing an issue last week with Mayor Kevin Johnson on the cover.

KTXL-TV reports, the Sacramento chapter of the NAACP is demanding an apology because they believe the front page image and cartoons in the Sacramento News & Review are stereotypical in nature.

Stephen T. Webb, president of the NAACP Sacramento chapter, said he is "disgusted" by the cartoon which he deemed a "racist picture." Webb says the images are reminiscent to 1930 and 1940 minstrel show pictures.

“They’ve made him very, very dark, they’ve made very large lips, wide eyes, kind of a spoof on things,” he told KTXL.

The NAACP is demanding an apology from the paper.

The cartoons of Johnson are part of an article detailing a lawsuit against the News & Review and the City of Sacramento by the mayor to block emails from being released to the public.

The Sacramento News & Review released the following statement:

“The illustrations of Mayor Kevin Johnson in SN&R’s July 9 issue depict him as sweaty and nervous while reading about his lawsuit against this paper and allegations of email misuse.

These illustrations are based on an actual photo of the mayor.

We refute the NAACP’s assertion that the illustrations are in any way racist, violent, or perpetuating negative stereotypes, or that our coverage of the mayor is racially biased. Such accusations are unfounded and without merit."

The mayor’s office has declined to comment on the situation.


Incorrect: "Born In The USA", by Bruce Springsteen

Poor old Bruce. This has to be one of the most consistently misunderstood and misused songs in history. A blistering anti-Vietnam war screed and not the uber-patriotic anthem that many - including clueless presidential candidates - think it is.

It's also the perfect song to sing along to loudly, and without shame. That is until you get to the second verse, where Bruce bellows:

"Got in a little hometown jam, so they put a rifle in my hand / Sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the Yellow Man."

Oh dear. Unlike the 'n' word, the term 'yellow' has never been widely reclaimed by those it disparages. While Springsteen clearly did not intend to offend, it is nonetheless a jarring line and a glaring reminder that no matter how progressive our politics, we can't really escape the time in which we live.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

'Curvy' is a naughty word

According to Instagram's acceptable search terms, posting photos when you're #thin or #skinny is OK - but not so much if you're #curvy.

The picture sharing app has outraged many plus-size women by banning users from searching for the #curvy hastag.

While the company claims that the ban is in place because the hashtag often includes photographs that violate its nudity policies, several other hashtags that are seemingly more likely to include risqué images, like #noclotheson and #vaginas, are still acceptable search terms.

As reported by Buzzfeed, Instagram began banning searches for the hashtag because, a spokesperson claimed, too many people were using it to share too-revealing images that didn't comply with Instagram's nudity guidelines.

But while Instagram has focused on a word that many other users, including plus-size models and bloggers, use to empower women to be confident about their bodies, they've left other, arguably more sexually-charged, hashtags untouched.

Users can still look up #nipplepiercing, #hooker, and #vajayjay, as well as several other words and phrases that seem likely to turn up inappropriate content.


'White n**ger' incorrect too

Oliver's Army, by Elvis Costello.  For the entirety of my childhood, my sister and I thought this classic went, "Eye of the zombie is here to sta-ay!" Turns out Oliver's Army isn't an ode to the undead, but an anti-war lament

"Have you got yourself an occupation?" Costello sneers before referring to an occupation of a different kind - the Irish Troubles:  "Only takes one itchy trigger / One more widow, one less white n**ger."

'White n**ger' was a derogatory term the British troops used for the local Irish, and the Irish have certainly been subjected to virulent racism over the centuries, both in the UK and in the US, where they were widely regarded as "happy, lazy, (and) stupid".

That doesn't mean, however, that their treatment parallels that of black people, nor that the 'n' word suddenly becomes acceptable to use just because it is preceded by the word 'white.' While some radio stations now censor the word after public opinion turned against its casual use, Costello was still playing the full version live as recently as 2013.


Friday, July 17, 2015

UK: Must not joke about fat women

A mayor is being investigated after he made a 'derogatory' remark about women in the town he represents having 'fat bottoms' as he publicly introduced a Queen tribute act.

Francis Purdue-Horan provoked outrage with the comment which he made just before Queen tribute act Mercury were about to perform at a music festival in Bingham, Nottinghamshire.

As Mr Purdue-Horan welcomed the band to the stage, he announced he had arranged for them to sing Queen's 1978 hit Fat Bottomed Girls 'for all the girls of Bingham'.

However, female residents failed to see the funny side and have now called on Mr Purdue-Horan to apologise.

Kelly Rayner said: 'As the Mayor of Rushcliffe he should have thought about what he was saying. 'I think he has lost a lot of Bingham folks' respect.'  And Carol Morley, who also lives in the market town, described the remark as 'derogatory'.


Must not make bad guys look like Jews

A Samsung company on Wednesday removed online cartoons attacking a US hedge fund's founder as a ravenous, big-beaked vulture after Jewish organisations protested similar smears in South Korea's media.

The hedge fund, Elliott, is opposing a takeover deal between two Samsung companies that critics say will ensure the current generation of Samsung's founding family retains control over South Korea's biggest conglomerate.

Samsung C&T, one of the Samsung firms involved in the takeover, posted cartoons online that depicted Elliott's founder Paul Singer as a vulture-like figure. In one scene, Singer is depicted hiding an axe behind his back while taking money from a man in ragged clothes.

The cartoons were displayed for several weeks on a website set up by Samsung C&T to argue the merits of the takeover deal.

Samsung C&T said the cartoons were a sensitive issue and asked The Associated Press not to publish a story before a crucial shareholder meeting.

It later issued a statement saying offence was unintentional. "We categorically denounce anti-Semitism in all its forms, and we are committed to respect for all individuals," the statement said.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

UK: Must not give machines names!

Once upon a time, you might have been on first-name terms with the staff at your local bank.

Now, it seems, Barclays wants you to be just as friendly with their automated counterparts.

In a move that furious MPs have branded ‘insulting’ to customers, the bank has given human names to its self-service machines.

Customers are being told to go to see ‘Sally’, ‘Mike’ or ‘Jake’ if they want to pay in a cheque, withdraw money or amend a direct debit.

The machines – dubbed ‘Assisted Service Counters’ – have name plaques, with a list of transactions they can help with underneath.

Those queuing up to speak to an adviser will be told to use a machine if they are performing a ‘routine’ transaction, such as paying in a cheque. Typically only customers with more complex enquiries – such as taking out a mortgage – will be directed to a member of staff.

Barclays said it is testing out this tactic at five of its 1,488 branches – although it refused to disclose where they are. It said the aim is to make it easier for customers to distinguish between the different types of machines. If the trial is successful, machines at branches across the country could be given names.

But the move appears to have backfired, with campaigners last night accusing the scandal-hit lender of ‘taking its customers for mugs’. The Mail has launched a campaign – Bring Back Real Customer Service – to highlight the frustration customers feel in banks, supermarkets and train stations when forced to deal with self-service machines rather than a real person.

Derek French, of the Campaign for Community Banking Services, said: ‘There will be some customers who will appreciate the joke. But this is an insult to those who have queued up at their local branch wanting to speak to a human.


Westerners must not wear Kimonos?

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has cancelled their programme which allowed museum-goers to dress up in kimonos inspired by the well known Claude Monet painting in their collection, depicting the artist's wife wearing the garment. The Museum has now apologised and stopped the popular event which caused demonstrations and was seen to be insensitive.

Monet exhibited this iconic work at the second group show of the Impressionist painters in 1876, where it attracted much attention. Large-scale figure paintings had traditionally been considered the most significant challenge for an artist. Using this format, Monet created a virtuoso display of brilliant color that is also a witty comment on the current Paris fad for all things Japanese. The woman shown wrapped in a splendid kimono and surrounded by fans is Monet’s wife, Camille, wearing a blond wig to emphasize her Western identity.

We actually see this as political correctness gone wrong and a misinterpretation of the time and history that inspired this painting. This is a celebration of the beauty of Japan not an event mocking Japanese culture. The museum has now pulled down all references to the event off their website.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Liberal writer claims Instagram filters are racist

Liberal writer Morgan Jenkins, who has found racism in Hollywood, publishing, Starbucks, the news, and even films that feature light-skinned black actors, now informs us that there is a quiet racism in Instagram.

Jenkins believes that some of Instagram’s filters alter women of color’s appearance beyond recognition, continuing what she perceives as photography’s long racist tradition.

“In other words, what you see in a photo is never pure reality—it’s the world as someone has chosen to depict it. And for the first hundred or so years of filmmaking, camera technology chose to ignore people of color entirely, leaving photographers’ tools with built-in biases,” Jenkins wrote in Rack on Tuesday.

She explained that dark skin absorbs more light than white skin, creating the need for different filters based on the darkness of a subject’s skin color, as is used in most photography now. In the 1950s, Kodak and many other film companies used the same filter regardless of race, causing the film to “neglect or, in extreme cases, erase whoever is not white.”

Instagram still uses that Kodak filtering process that lightens or whitewashes people’s skin color.

Testing several filters on women who come from different races and skin tones, Jenkins showed how several filters on Instagram can make blacks look lighter than they are in person.

Filters are optional, but according to Georgia Tech and Yahoo! Labs researchers, they make a picture more desirable to look at and make it more likely that someone will comment on them.

Jenkins gives too much credit to a racial narrative. There is no grand plot by the executives at Instagram to whitewash women of color from the internet. And in the free market that created Instagram, it’s possible that a tech-savvy entrepreneur who created new filters that enable photos to better filter people of color could make a fortune.


Left-leaning morons offended by British flag

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Coke Removes Labels During Ramadan

Pretty wacky

Coca-Cola is removing its logo from its cans of soda in the Middle East and plans to have the no-label cans run throughout the Muslim holy period of Ramadan.

One side of the can is blank –only featuring the company’s coloring. The other side reads: "Labels are for cans, not for people."

According to the Business Insider, Coca-Cola reportedly released a statement saying, "In a time when equality and abolishing prejudices is a hot topic for discussion around the world, how does one of the leading brands like Coca-Cola join in the conversation? In the Middle East, during the month of Ramadan, one of the world's most well-known labels has removed its own label, off its cans, in an effort to promote a world without labels and prejudices."

The “No Label” effort has been showcased in a series of videos encouraging viewers “This Ramadan see without labels.”


Must not laugh at large clothes

One plus-size shopper wants people to be more aware of how the comments that they make can affect those around them - especially when those comments poke fun at someone's size.

On July 3, Rachel Taylor from Monroe, Louisiana was shopping at Old Navy for a special outfit to wear over the long weekend. The 24-year-old was browsing through tank tops when she found a plus-size one with an American flag print that she thought would be perfect for the next day's Independence Day festivities.

But before she could buy it, a mother and daughter checking out the racks nearby nearly ruined her shopping experience by openly poking fun and laughing at the size of the tank top – with their cruel comments leaving Rachel in tears.

Rachel, who was picking out that very tank top for herself, was incredibly hurt by the duo's callous comments, clearly made within hearing distance of a plus-size shopper.

She went on: 'I couldn't help it; I started crying. I guess the girl and her mom walked away. I have no idea. My husband walked me out of the store to the car. I sat in the car crying for a long time but eventually went back inside to finish my shopping.'

Despite their hurtful conversation, Rachel went back for that cute flag-print top and put it in her cart.


Isn't it about time that fatties accepted the fact that they are fat and that they did it to themselves?  Other people are not responsible.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Conflict over Confederate flag spreads to Capitol Hill

The conflict over the Confederate flag spread to Capitol Hill Thursday in a politically-charged and emotionally-draining display from both House Democrats and Republicans, who accused each other of using the controversial and thorny topic as political leverage to advance their own agendas.

House Republicans abruptly abandoned plans to vote on a spending bill that included a provision to allow flying the Confederate flag in cemeteries operated by the National Park Service.

The vote would have reversed action the House had taken only hours earlier to ban the flags and underscores how toxic the fight over the flag – as well as other symbols linked to the Confederacy – has become.

“I actually think it is time for some adults here in the Congress to actually sit down and have a conversation about how to address this issue,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “I do not want this to become some political football. It should not. So I would expect you will see some conversations in the coming days.”

About an hour later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., offered legislation to remove all state flags containing any portion of the Confederate battle flag emblem from the House side of the Capitol.

Republican lawmakers prevented the vote by referring it to a committee, while Boehner’s spokesman, Kevin Smith, accused Pelosi of pulling a “cheap political stunt.”

When the dust settled, any real action to continue or prohibit flying the Confederate flag on park service land appeared far off.


Must not imply that fat is sad or bad

With its colourful animated characters personifying the different emotions inside a young girl's brain, it's one of the biggest movie box-office hits this year.

But although Inside Out has enthralled youngsters, the latest film from Toy Story maker Pixar stands accused of causing psychological damage by depicting Sadness as a fat child.

The film focuses on 11-year-old Riley and her feelings as she moves home with her parents.

Her emotions – also including Anger, Fear, Disgust and Joy – are portrayed as characters in the film, which has won critical acclaim in the US and opens in the UK later this month.

But parents have raised concerns over Sadness, voiced by actress Phyllis Smith, being depicted as a frumpy fat girl while Joy, played by Amy Poehler, is slim and fashionable.

Parents have taken to online forums, with one writing: 'Thin, tall and pretty is Joy! Indoctrinate your children.'


Sunday, July 12, 2015

OK Gov't Counters Court's Ten Commandments Ruling

Activist judges don’t have the last word in the forum of public debate. Anyone who says otherwise is just trying to silence one side. The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled last week that the Ten Commandments monument sitting on the grounds of the state capitol is unconstitutional.

But a decree from the Pathological Narcissistic Ruling Class, doesn’t necessarily put the matter to rest, at least in the Sooner State. “Oklahoma is a state where we respect the Rule of Law, and we will not ignore the state courts or their decisions,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said.

“However, we are also a state with three co-equal branches of government.” The executive branch is petitioning the court to reconsider the case, and the legislature will consider amending the state’s constitution over the matter.

Indeed, the debate over the display of the Ten Commandments has had a complicated history of late. The 7-2 ruling handed down by highest court in Oklahoma is the most recent round of a debate that has gone twice to the Supreme Court of the United States, where it ruled two different ways on the matter. Fallin’s response is also reminiscent of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s brave stand several years ago.

The “despotic branch” of which Jefferson warned may indeed have spoken, but the debate over the Decalogue — just like the debate over the definition of marriage — is far from over.


Federal Judge Orders Cancellation of Washington Redskins’ Trademarks

A federal judge in Virginia has ordered the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to cancel six of the Washington Redskins’ registered trademarks because their depiction of an Indian brave is considered offensive to Native Americans.

“The evidence before the Court supports the legal conclusion that between 1967 [when the first Redskins’ trademark was registered] and 1990, the Redskins Marks consisted of matter that ‘may disparage’ a substantial composite of Native Americans,” U.S. District Judge Gerald Lee wrote in his July 8 ruling in Pro-Football Inc. v. Blackhorse.

In his 70-page decision, Lee rejected the Redskins’ argument that the trademark cancellation was an infringement of the teams’ First and Fifth Amendment rights.

“The federal trademark registration program is government speech and is therefore exempt from First Amendment scrutiny,” he ruled, adding that “a trademark registration is not considered property under the Fifth Amendment.”

The order does not prevent the pro football team from continuing to use the logo. However, the loss of federal trademark protection could jeopardize some of its commercial and licensing activities.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has repeatedly vowed not to change the team’s name, so the Redskins will likely appeal the decision.

Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act says that PTO should reject trademark registrations that “consists of or comprises immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter, or matter which may disparage or falsely suggest a connection with persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute…”


Just how is a heroic use of a Redskin logo bringing anybody into "contempt or disrepute"?

Friday, July 10, 2015

SC to take down Confederate flag

THE House of Representatives in South Carolina has voted overwhelmingly to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds.

THE bill achieved its required two-thirds majority after a 13-hour debate, media reports said.

The votes followed the bill's passage by the Senate this week, three weeks after a shooting at an African American church killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina.

Photographs surfaced after the slayings of the white 21-year-old charged with the killings, Dylann Roof, showing him posing with the Confederate flag and prompting a drive to take it down from the state Capitol grounds.

Many consider it to be a racist symbol, but many white Southerners see it as a symbol of their heritage and a way to honour their ancestors' sacrifices in the war.

The legislation must now be signed by Governor Nikki Haley to become law.  Haley said removing the flag would create a more inclusive state government.


Oklahoma Supreme Court Bans Ten Commandments From Statehouse Grounds

The Oklahoma Supreme Court declared that it is unconstitutional to display a statue of the Ten Commandments approved by the state legislature on the grounds of the state Capitol building in Oklahoma City.

In a 7-2 ruling on June 30, the court stated that the state Constitution “specifically banned any uses ‘indirectly’ benefitting religion,” adding that “the Ten Commandments are obviously religious in nature, and are an integral part of the Jewish and Christian faiths.”

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said she “is disappointed with the court’s opinion that a privately funded monument acknowledging the historical importance of the Ten Commandments is not allowed on Capitol grounds,” according to a spokesman for the governor. “She will consult with the attorney general to evaluate the state’s legal options moving forward.”

State Attorney General Scott Pruitt said that he will file a petition with the court to rehear the case “in light of the broader implications of this ruling on other areas of state law.”

“Quite simply, the Oklahoma Supreme Court got it wrong. The court completely ignored the profound historical impact of the Ten Commandments on the foundation of Western law,” Pruitt said.

The lawsuit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) “on behalf of a local Baptist minister and several other citizens” who claimed that the statue of the Ten Commandments violated the Oklahoma State Constitution.


Thursday, July 09, 2015

Australian bureaucrat wears Confederate-themed shirt -- gets prize

Australia is not America

THE decision of a senior Northern Territory bureaucrat to wear a Confederate flag to a recent dinner was totally inappropriate, Senator Nova Peris says.

MARK Coffey, the NT manager in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, won best dressed man at the annual Central Australian Beef Breeders dinner on Saturday in a shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag, the American Civil War emblem linked to white supremacy and racism.

"We're trying to move on from those days, we're trying to build a more inclusive country.... I think wearing that - I call it a costume - you have to think you're going to draw criticism, and rightly so," Ms Peris said.


Nova Peris is black

IT company forced to apologise and pull its advertising campaign after its wombat logo was mistaken for a PIG by Muslims

An adorable wombat mascot has been mistaken for a pig by offended Malaysian locals whose protests have led an Australian company to abandon their advertisement.

Servcorp, a company that sells serviced office spaces and provides IT services, was forced to apologise and explain what a wombat was on its Facebook page after Muslims participating in Ramadan complained about the imagery.

'Servcorp would like to extend its sincerest apologies for any confusion caused due to the use of a Wombat in a recent digital advertisement in Kuala Lumpur,' the company's post read.

'Servcorp is an Australian company and uses the Wombat as its company mascot - the wombat itself is a small furry bear like animal that belongs to the Koala Bear family and is native to Australia - It would seem that some people mistook the wombat for a pig and during the holy month of Ramadan this might lead to some sensitivities.

'As an international business it is not Servcorp's intention to offend any race nor religion and indeed, there have been no prior issues globally with the use of our mascot inclusive of Servcorp's many Middle Eastern and Saudi Arabian offices.

'Despite the advertisement depicting a wombat and having the prior approval of DBKL (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) the advertisement has now been removed.'

Ramadan, when strict fasting occurs between dawn and sunset, is practiced during the ninth month of the Muslim year.


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

GOP Indecisive On Confederate Flag

 House Republicans are struggling with the question of whether to remove the Confederate image from around the Capitol complex — and they seem in no hurry to commit themselves one way or another.

Democratic Rep. Bennie Thompson, the sole African-American member of the Mississippi delegation, introduced a resolution late last month that would authorize removal of any state flag on the House side of the Capitol containing a portion of the Confederate symbol. Such a flag would then be donated to the Library of Congress.

The flag of Thompson’s state would be taken down under those guidelines, since it is the only state flag which includes the X-shaped symbol of the Confederacy.

Thompson introduced his resolution last week under a “privileged” process that obligated the House to act on it within two days. But rather than immediately pass or reject the resolution, the House instead punted, voting to refer the measure to the House Administration Committee for review.


Australia: Must not suggest that bad sportsman is Greek

OLYMPIC legend Dawn Fraser has launched a tirade on polarising Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios after his Wimbledon loss.

Fraser, a four-time gold medallist and one of the country’s most celebrated athletes, was questioned about Kyrgios’ performance in his fourth-round defeat against Frenchman Richard Gasquet.

Kyrgios was accused of tanking after clearly making no effort to return serve in the third game of the second set during his 7-5 6-1 6-7 (7-9) 7-6 (8-6) loss.

“It’s absolutely disgusting. I am so shocked to think that he went out there to play and he tanked … that’s terrible,” Fraser told Channel 9’s The Today Show.

But Fraser did not stop there, going on to suggest both Kyrgios and his fellow Australian tennis player Bernard Tomic should “go back where there parents came from”.

Born in Canberra, Kyrgios is the son of a Greek-born father and Malaysian-born mother. Tomic is German-born with a Croatian father and Bosnian mother.

Fraser was immediately criticised on Twitter over the outburst.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

An Australian car with "inappropriate" number identification

A CAR with licence plates spruiking an inappropriate internet slang term has been spotted driving through northeast Melbourne, despite VicRoads staff checking every custom plate for inappropriate language.

The blue Holden with the custom plate “FAP2IT” was seen on Manningham Rd, Bulleen, on Wednesday night. The term “fap” is common internet slang for masturbating, popularised when the mass leaking of nude celebrity photos last year was dubbed “The Fappening”.

Car owner Daniel Van Der Horst said he had had the plates for a few months and VicRoads had approved his application without issue.  “Who is it offensive to?” he said.

Mr Van Der Horst said he had dozens of people taking photos of the car every day and no one had ever expressed any offence.

He said VicRoads’ pledge to potentially recall his plates was “a bit far-fetched”.

VicRoads commercial enterprises and business development executive director Adrian Tofful said they would review the “FAP2IT” combination and recall the plate if necessary.


Christian Fire Chief Fired For ‘Anti-Gay’ Views ‘Absolutely’ Wants His Job Back

After being fired for writing what’s been described as an “anti-gay” book, former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran says he “absolutely” wants his job back.

“In the United States of America, Americans should not have to choose between keeping your job and living out your faith,” Cochran told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “And that’s the position the city of Atlanta actually has taken—that I have to have a choice to live out my faith or to keep my job.”

Cochran was fired in January 2015 for publishing a men’s devotional book for a Baptist church group. In the book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked?” Cochran addressed issues of homosexuality, gay marriage and premarital sex from a biblical perspective.

Cochran has been a firefighter since 1981 and was appointed Atlanta’s fire chief in 2008. In 2009, President Obama appointed him as U.S. fire administrator for the United States Fire Administration in Washington, D.C. In 2010, he returned to serve as Atlanta’s fire chief.

In his 34 years of service, Cochran had never been accused of discrimination.

The controversy with his book began in late 2014, when gay activist groups caught wind of the literature and demanded that Cochran be dismissed.

In January, the mayor fired him.


Monday, July 06, 2015

'Star Trek' actor calls Supreme Court Justice Thomas a 'clown in blackface'

So is he a clown in chinkyface?  It follows

"Star Trek" actor George Takei called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a "clown in blackface" for dissenting from the high court's ruling on gay marriage last Friday, a local Fox affiliate in Phoenix reported.

"He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry," Takei said.

He also said that Thomas "does not belong in the Supreme Court."   "He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America. I'll say it on camera," Takei said.


Takei is the embarrassment

Naughty Pebbles points out the obvious

Gossip columnist and Kiwi socialite, Pebbles Hooper, has tastelessly labelled the death of a young family as 'natural selection.'

The 25-year-old - daughter of New Zealand fashion designers Denise L Estrange-Corbet and Francis Hooper-  made the shocking and tasteless statement via her Twitter account on Saturday after the bodies of Cindy George and her three children Pio, Teuruaa and Telyzshaun were found in their Ashburton home.

According to the New Zealand Herald, the mother and her children, aged between five and two-years-old, died when the family car was left running in their garage, sending deadly gases into the home through a connecting door.

'I'll get major slack for this, but leaving a car running inside a closed garage while you're (sic) kids are in the house is natural selection,' the opinionated media identity wrote to her 6,800-strong Twitter following.

The tweet was quickly deleted when she started receiving backlash, but not before she tried to defend her words.


Sunday, July 05, 2015

BBC gets it right:  The Islamic state is Islamic

The head of the BBC sparked fury today after rejecting a demand by MPs to stop using the name Islamic State to refer to the terror group - because it would 'give the impression of support' for its opponents.

Tony Hall, the corporation's director general, rejected the call from a cross-party group of 120 MPs to use the name 'Daesh' instead, saying it would 'bias their coverage'.

The decision was widely criticised in Parliament today. Commons leader Chris Grayling said it was like being 'impartial' to Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

Muslim Tory MP Rehman Chisti, who started the petition to stop using 'Islamic State', said the BBC's response was 'not worth the paper it's written on'.

Mr Chishti, the Tory MP for Gillingham and Rainham, said Muslims are offended by the use of the word 'Islamic', as they do not consider the bloodthirsty group representative of their faith.

Mr Chishti added that the name also served to legitimise the fanatics by including the word 'state'.

Mr Chishti said Lord Hall's decision was 'very surprising' and unacceptable, as it has been adopted across the Middle East and by the French and Turkish governments.


Poll Says That Americans See Confederate Flag As Symbol Of Pride, Not Racism

A majority of Americans see the Confederate flag as a symbol of Southern pride, not as a symbol of racism.

However, there is a clear racial divide on how the rebel flag is perceived and what should be done about it and other references to the Confederacy.

According to a new CNN/ORC poll, 57 percent of all sampled adults say the Confederate flag is a symbol of Southern pride. Thirty-three percent called it more a symbol of racism and five percent said it is both equally. Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of blacks view the Confederate flag as more of a symbol of racism, while two-thirds (66 percent) of whites view it as a symbol of pride.

Public opinion about the flag now is about where it was 15 years ago. In May 2009, 59 percent of Americans viewed the Confederate flag as symbol of Southern pride. Sixty-nine percent said the same in December 1992 — both according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll.


Friday, July 03, 2015

'No Gays Allowed': Hardware store owner posts sign refusing service to homosexuals

A hardware store owner is refusing to serve gays after the supreme court legalized same-sex marriage last week. Jeff Amyx, the proprietor of Amyx Hardware in Washburn, Tennessee posted a sign outside his business that said 'No Gays Allowed' earlier this week.

He is banning homosexuals he says because he hates their sin, and he claims that is his religious right.

Amyx revealed that the response to this decision has been mixed, though he continues to stand by his ban.  'A lot of people have called me and congratulated me,' he told ABC 6.

'People calling and threatening me. Telling me I would regret this. No I’ll never regret this.'

It seems that Amyx, while not changing his mind, did decide to change his approach however and take down his sign early Tuesday, replacing it with a new one.

That sign reads; 'We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who would violate our rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.'

He said of the sign change; 'People told me I ought to do it a little bit more, make it a little nicer because I’m a very blunt person.'

The sign he said will now stay, at least until he is forced to remove it from the window.  'Until they tell me it is illegal to have my freedom of speech and to my freedom of religion, the sign will stay,' said Amyx.


Google apologizes after Photos app classifies black couple as gorillas

Mustn't laugh

Google has been forced to apologise after its image recognition software mislabelled photographs of black people as gorillas.

The internet giant's new Google Photos application uses an auto-tagging feature to help organise images uploaded to the service and make searching easier.

However the software has outraged users after it mislabelled images of a computer programmer and his friend as the great apes.

Google said it was 'appalled' and 'genuinely sorry' for the mistake.

Google launched its standalone Photos app in May, announcing a number of features such as automatically creating collections of people and objects like food or landscapes.

However on Monday, Jacky Alcine, from Brooklyn, New York, spotted photos of him and a female friend posing for the camera had been grouped into a collection tagged 'gorilla'.

In a series of Tweets to Google he said: 'Google Photos, y'all f***** up. My friend's not a gorilla.  'The only thing under this tag is my friend and I being tagged as a gorilla.

However, even after a fix had been issued Mr Alcine reported two photos were still showing up under the terms gorilla and gorillas.

Mr Zunger later said that Google had turned off the ability for photographs to be grouped under that label to stop the problem.


Thursday, July 02, 2015

British PM to Broadcaster: Don’t Call Islamic State ‘Islamic State’

Pandering: There are a lot of Muslim voters in England

 British Prime Minister David Cameron took issue Monday with Britain’s public broadcaster’s use of the term “Islamic State” in reference to the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

During a BBC Radio 4 interview days after an ISIS-claimed terror attack on a Tunisian beach hotel cost the lives of at least 38 people, most of them British tourists, Cameron was asked whether he regarded “Islamic State” as an existential threat.

“I wish the BBC would stop calling it ‘Islamic State’ because it is not an Islamic state,” he said.

“What it is is an appalling, barbarous regime. It is a perversion of the religion of Islam and, you know, many Muslims listening to this program will recoil every time they hear the words ‘Islamic State’ –”

Radio 4 presenter John Humphrys pointed out that that is the name used by the group itself, but said he supposed the BBC could use the term “so-called” in front of the name.


Titty becomes Tatty as BBC rewrites classic children's novel

It has entertained generations of youngsters for more than 80 years with its tales of outdoor adventures and childhood friendships.

But Arthur Ransome's Swallows And Amazons is too risqué for modern audiences, say BBC bosses who have decided they might be offended at the name Titty. The character has been renamed Tatty for a new adaptation.

BBC Films has stressed the upcoming version would otherwise be true to the 1930 classic, with the names of the other Walker siblings, John, Susan and Roger, remaining the same.

Ransome based the characters on a real family, the Altounyans, one of whom, Mavis, had the nickname Titty after the children's story Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse.

Sophie Neville, who played Titty in a 1974 film version of the book, told The Telegraph this week: 'I've been Titty for the past 42 years. I didn't get any stick at all over the name in those days.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An interesting dilemma

Is it permissible to display this?

H/t Fintan Barrett

Must not joke about drugs

Just four days after Russell Brand was told to ‘F*** off back to Miliband’ as he prepared to address Left-wing protesters on an anti-austerity march, the self-styled revolutionary has upset Bob Geldof’s daughter Fifi.

Fifi, whose sister Peaches died of a heroin overdose last year at the age of 25, was a guest at a fundraising event this week for a charity that specialises in treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.

But Fifi was horrified when former addict Brand gave a speech in which he made jokes about drug abuse.

‘From what I’ve experienced, a lot of people here tonight are on drugs right now,’ Brand told guests, who included recently knighted singer Sir Van Morrison, actress Sadie Frost and Madness frontman Suggs. 

Referring to the charity Focus 12’s founder Chip Somers, he told guests at the event at London’s Porchester Hall: ‘Chip said, “If you don’t stop taking drugs in the next six months you’ll be dead, in a lunatic asylum or in prison”. So I thought: “Well, I’ve got five months, three weeks and six days before I have to do anything, f*** that.”’

Fifi — whose mother, TV presenter Paula Yates, died of a heroin overdose aged 41 — was disgusted by the comments from the so-called ‘comedian’, saying: ‘Less of a Russell Brand fan than ever after his offensive and highly inappropriate speech at the addiction charity event.’