Friday, December 19, 2014
UK: Anti-Europe candidate quits after bigoted rant
Private jokes made public
One of the UK Independence Party’s most prominent general election candidates has resigned after being forced to apologise for a series of offensive comments.
Kerry Smith, the candidate for the top target seat of South Basildon and East Thurrock, is said to have mocked gay party members as “poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt" and referred to someone as a “Chinky bird”.
His rants were revealed in recordings of phone calls obtained by the Mail on Sunday
Sony emails reveal how racist Leftists are in private
FOX News contributor Juan Williams discusses his recent column where he addresses the racist emails traded between a Sony executive and a producer where they joke about what President Obama's taste in movies must be. They suggested he must love Django Unchained or The Butler, movies that have black characters as the leading role.
Scott Rudin, a movie producer, said, "I bet he likes Kevin Hart." Kevin Hart, a black comedian, has been in several recent box office hits.
JUAN WILLIAMS: I wrote about this for FOXNews.com because to me, the idea of white liberal hypocrisy of these Hollywood executives who are giving money to the Democrats and then go, "What do we talk to the president of the free world about?"
We don't have to talk about foreign affairs or what's going on in the world. No, you know what, this guy is just like any other 'black guy' even though he's a Harvard-educated constitutional lawyer. "I bet that Kevin Hart, you know the slapstick comedy, that's about his level. Then we can talk to him about the slave movie, that's about what we can talk about." Holy smokes.
LAURA INGRAHAM: But it's the most tolerant people are in many ways behind closed doors just as intolerant as the yahoos they have imagined in West Virginia sitting around their, you know, wood stove.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
BBC are 'wrong' and insensitive to broadcast book about Margaret Thatcher's assassination, Tory MP says
Hilary Mantel is a bitter and barren Leftist blob. Will she also write a story about Tony Blair being assassinated? And would the BBC air it? I think we know those answers
BBC bosses are under fire over plans to broadcast a controversial story imagining the assassination of Margaret Thatcher.
Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries said the former prime minster's family are still "grieving" from her passing last year and said the Corporation should have "taken stock" of their pain.
It comes amid outrage that BBC Radio 4 has picked Hilary Mantel's controversial new novel for serialisation in its prestigious Book At Bedtime slot.
The Booker Prize winner's new book, titled The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher, has been criticised for insensitivity over imagining the former Tory leader's murder so recently after her death.
Mrs Dorries said that the BBC "has a responsibility to the people who pay its license fee", adding that she would think the same if a book about Tony Blair's death was broadcast by the Corporation.
She added: "I think because Margaret Thatcher's death is so recent and her family are still grieving, I think the BBC should just have taken stock of that. "I think they've made the wrong decision, they should have been a little bit more sensitive. She added: "Maybe in a few years time, but just not now."
Lady Jenkin: the unacceptable face of prole-bashing
Conservative peer Lady Jenkin, who this week helped launch a Church of England-funded report into ‘the problem of hunger’, certainly seems to know the solution. Teach the poor how to eat. Or as she herself put it: ‘We have lost a lot of our cookery skills. Poor people do not know how to cook’. She then said something about how much cheaper porridge is than Coco Pops.
Unfortunately for Lady Jenkin, the sight of a Tory posho denigrating and patronising the poor was too much for the tediously left-righteous. Twitter flowed with allusions to Marie Antoinette, and toff-baiting gags. And the press, like foodies in foie gras, have been rolling around in Jenkin’s cheap snobbery for the past 24 hours. Admittedly, she has since apologised, but her explanation - ‘I was stupidly speaking unscripted’ – was not the most sage.
Yet in a way, Jenkin has a point: she wasn’t reading the script properly. That was the source of her faux pas, her gaffe, not her actual belief that the less well-off are too stupid to feed themselves. After all, the belief that ‘the poor do not know how to cook’ is not anathema to Jenkin’s left-liberal knockers – it is an article of faith. Jenkin just put it badly.
What she needed, of course, was the correct script. She needed one penned on the left, and, ideally, published in the Guardian.
She needed the script followed by Jamie Oliver, New Labour’s head cook, who, in 2006, could call parents who gave their children fizzy drinks ‘arseholes’, ‘tossers’ and ‘idiots’, and be praised by broadsheets, and venerated by politicians. He could even complain, as he did in 2013, that ‘the poorest families… choose the most expensive way to hydrate and feed their families… the ready meals, the convenience foods’, and barely anyone cocked a snook.
Or better still, if Jenkin really wanted to find an acceptable way to articulate the poor-bashing heart of the politics of food, she could have checked out Jack Monroe, ‘the modern face of poverty’, as the Guardian called her (at about the same time it gave her a column). If she had, she’d have found a multitude of ways to suggest that the poor eat badly and wrongly without incurring the wrath of the kneejerk anti-Tories. Take this statement: ‘You can overhaul the education system but there is still a lost generation of people growing up without basic food knowledge.’ That sounds very much like something Jenkin might have said, if she’d had the script. But this wasn’t Jenkin, this was Monroe, the elphin face of poverty herself, at her most sermonising and patronising, lecturing ‘a lost generation of people’ on their inability to feed themselves without a) spending a fortune, and b) eating ‘non-basic’ food (Coco Pops, probably).
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Christmas clanger: Lily Allen upsets Christians with 'tactless' nativity performance
English pop singer Lily Allen has upset conservative Christians by including a nativity scene parody in a concert performance.
Allen was performing on December 12 at London's O2 Arena when the lights came up at start of Sheezus to reveal the singer lying in a manger (yes, just like the baby Jesus) wearing a short skirt and golden halo, surrounded by three performers.
Allen hasn't responded to the criticism. Perhaps her views on it were already clear from her Twitter post which included a photo of herself with the words: "Just hopping out of my manger. As you do #littlebabySHEEZUS."
She may have considered it a bit of cheeky fun, but Christian and conservative groups were not amused. Stephen Green, from the group Christian Voice told Britain's Sunday Express: "It is tasteless, it is disrespectful and it is crass."
Conservative MP Martin Vickers joined in, adding: "This could be extremely offensive to many Christians. It is important that all religions are given the respect they deserve."
Would she have parodied Mohammed?
Australia: Must not mention the absence of Aborigines
Even though that is a major factor that people would want to know about
The developer who partnered with the Aboriginal Housing Company to redevelop The Block in Redfern has been forced to explain why an advertisement for a development completed in 2012 stated that Aborigines had "moved out" of the suburb.
The owner and director of DeiCorp Construction, Fouad Deiri, says that the statement on the website of Sydney-based Great Fortune Investments had "not been worded correctly". Great Fortune Investments was engaged by DeiCorp in 2010 to market Redfern's 19-storey Deicota Apartments to local and international Asian investors.
But Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says that the developer is "guilty-by-association" and that the incident should lead to a rethink as to whether they're the right partners for The Block.
"I've been out and about in Redfern and they're pretty pissed off," says Mr Gooda. "They reckon there's got to be some sorting out of this."
The advertisement, which was removed from Great Fortune Investment's website earlier this week after being flagged by The Australian, said that: "'The aboriginals [sic] have already moved out, now Redfern as [sic] the last virgin suburb close to city, it will have great potential for the capital growth in the near future."
Mr Deiri points to their Chinese origins and says that it was grammatical failure. "The Block was being relocated at the time and it was a point about the relocation," he says.
That doesn't wash with Mr Gooda who says that he's both outraged and saddened by the comments in the advertisement. "What were they trying to say by referencing Aboriginal people?" he says. "What are we? Noxious weeds or something?" [No. Problem people who are often drunk and pestering in public]
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Must not applaud a death
An anti-bloodsport campaigner and councillor has provoked fury by claiming that the suicide of a former soldier and game hunter was the ‘best use of a gun I can think of’.
Thomas Woodward is facing calls to quit over the ‘outrageous’ remarks, which were posted on the Hunt Saboteurs Association’s Facebook page.
The 48-year-old – a Liberal councillor on Ryedale District and Pickering Town councils in North Yorkshire – made the comments after reading reports about the death of Allan Ellis.
Mr Ellis, 50, a former Scots Guard from Bacup, Lancashire, shot himself in August after learning he was to be sued over a £40,000 debt. Mr Woodward wrote: ‘We would all rather live in a world where no one kills for fun. However, if you choose to own a gun and kill for pleasure, then it’s best you kill yourself.’
Richard Ali, of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, said: ‘Mocking the suicide of anyone is absolutely unacceptable. Going further and stating that lawful gun owners should “kill themselves” is despicable behaviour. This man is not fit to hold a public office.’
Tim Bonner, of the Countryside Alliance, called the remarks ‘outrageous’ and added: ‘Mr Woodward should consider his position and those in authority in his party and council should consider disciplinary action.’
Outrage at Maryland sorority sister who celebrated birthday with racist cake and shared image on Instagram
Sounds like a joke gone wrong
A sorority girl at the University of Maryland is facing outrage after she posed for a photo with a racist birthday cake made of alcohol bottles that reads, 's*** a n**** d***' on her 21st birthday.
The photo from Delta Gamma Sorority was posted online to Instagram along with an offensive hashtag comment that featured the 'n-word.'
University of Maryland student Chandler Perry told Pulsefeedz that she saw the photo on her Instagram feed and was angered by what she saw. I was so baffled that 77 people liked it and none of those 77 people told her it was inappropriate,' Perry said.
The photo reached the eyes of the vice president of public relations for the University of Maryland's Black Student Union Samira Jackson who wasn’t pleased. 'I didn’t know it was okay for white people to say n**** now? Who knew?'
As soon as the University heard about the backlash surrounding the photo, The University of Maryland Department of Fraternity and Sorority Life posted a response to their Twitter and said, 'We are aware of an insensitive post from a community member and are addressing it with the chapter as it does not align with our Greek values.'
The sorority posted on their Facebook saying, 'We have become aware of an unacceptable Instagram post by a member of our chapter. The Fraternity volunteers and staff are working with our chapter at the University of Maryland at this time to hold this member accountable.'
Monday, December 15, 2014
Is this the rudest necklace ever? 'phallic' pendants spark fury
Controversial designer Tom Ford has sparked fury by launching a range of penis necklaces - just in time for Christmas. The phallic pendants - which resemble the shape of a cross - come in gold or silver and are available with small, medium and large charms.
Intended as the perfect holiday gifts for kinky fashionistas, size apparently doesn't matter as they are all priced $790.
But the latest offering from the designer provoked outrage on Twitter from users who said the necklaces were 'unbelievably offensive' to Christians and branded Ford 'sick' for combining a phallic image with a religious symbol.
Kevlyn Hall added: 'How dare you use a phallic symbol in the Christian cross! You insulting piece of trash! HOW DARE YOU!'
One user said on Twitter: 'This is unbelievably offensive to me. Is he insane?'
I have no doubt that these pendants were meant to offend and were probably seen by their creator as innovative and original. They are not however. The cross was originally a pagan sex symbol, meant to symbolize a male penetrating a female. With the encouragement of St. Paul, however, the early Christians adopted many pagan practices, such as Sunday observance, Easter etc. Use of the cross is another such borrowing.
In the original Greek of the New Testament there is no mention of Christ dying on a cross. The words usually translated as "cross" are either "xylon", which simply means "wood" or "stauros", which simply means "stake'. Christ was executed by nailing him to a stake with his hands both directly above his head. Why bother to add a crossbar when a simple stake could do all that was needed?
'Swastika' wrapping paper withdrawn after complaint
Shopper complains after finding wrapping paper with 'swastika' design in store's Hannukah display
You have to squint to see any swastikas there. And half of the arms are pointing the wrong way for a Nazi "Hakenkreuz" anyway. Their resemblance is to an Indian Swastik
Wrapping paper featuring a blue and silver design has been withdrawn from shops after a complaint that the gift wrap featured swastikas.
A shopper noticed the paper in a Hanukkah display at a branch of Walgreens in California, US, and complained.
Hallmark Cards has since apologised and said that any similarity to a swastika was unintentional, adding that the pattern has been in the company's reference archives for several years.
"As soon as we were made aware of the situation, we began taking steps to remove the gift wrap from all store shelves and we will ensure the pattern is not used on any product formats going forward," a company statement said. "We sincerely apologise for this oversight and for any unintended offense."
Roughly 6m Jews were murdered by the Nazis in Germany during the Second World War, and the swastika is seen by many as a symbol of support for the Nazis.
Hallmark, which is privately owned, has roughly $4bn in annual revenue from sales of greeting cards, gift wrap and other products sold in 100 countries.
In India, you see swastikas plastered over trucks and buses everywhere. I wonder how the sensitive souls go if they visit India?
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Black dolls must cost the same as white doills
Target has been heavily criticized by customers after listing a black Barbie doll on its website for two times the price of the near-identical white alternative.
According to Buzzfeed, the glaring error was first brought to the attention of the retailer - and the public - by Cincinnati resident Warren Johnson, who noticed the bizarre price discrepancy when he logged onto the Target website to buy a Christmas present for his daughter.
After noticing the difference in cost between the Barbie Fashion Design Maker Doll, which was until recently priced at $23.49, and the Barbie Fashion Design Maker African-American Doll, which was priced at $49.99, the outraged 30-year-old contacted the store to ask why there was such a difference in price between the two toys.
The 30-year-old spoke to three different stores and while two told him the price difference was an error, a third admitted that the white doll was cheaper because it was more popular with customers.
An official spokesperson from Target's corporate office was quick to reject this theory however, but admitted that she could not give any real reason as to what could possibly make one doll so much more expensive than the other.
'[The Target saleswoman] was speechless and said she really didn’t have an explanation and she was apologetic, and she told us that a change would be made,' Mr Johnson told Buzzfeed. 'Then she gave us the doll for the price that the white doll was.'
Target later released a statement blaming the shocking price discrepancy on a 'system error'.
Brad Badiuk, Winnipeg teacher, on leave after controversial Facebook posts on aboriginals
A Winnipeg high school teacher who posted controversial remarks on Facebook about First Nations people is now on paid administrative leave.
Some of the comments made by Brad Badiuk, an electronics teacher at Kelvin High School, concern aboriginal people generally. Others targeted Derek Nepinak, the grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC).
Kevin Hart, who works with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, lodged a formal complaint about Kelvin High School teacher Brad Badiuk's comments about aboriginal people.
The controversy started when another teacher posted an article on her Facebook page about John Ralston Saul's book, The Comeback, which contends that repairing the relationship between First Nations peoples and the rest of Canada is a pressing issue.
In response, Badiuk put these posts (taken verbatim) on Facebook, "Oh Goddd how long are aboriginal people going to use what happened as a crutch to suck more money out of Canadians?
"The benefits the aboriginals enjoy from the white man/europeans far outweigh any wrong doings that were done to a concured people."
Another line read, "Get to work, tear the treaties and shut the FK up already. My ancestor migrated here early 1900's they didn't do anything. Why am I on the hook for their cultural support?"
Kevin Hart, who works with the AMC, complained to the school board about the comments, calling them racist and hurtful, and demanding action be taken.
School officials could not say how long the investigation would take or whether Badiuk might face discipline.
"It's obviously really disheartening," said Mark Wasyliw, chair of the board of the Winnipeg School Division. "We are a very diverse school division. We have a huge population of aboriginal students and these types of allegations are always concerning and demoralizing for staff."
Interesting that no-one seems to be disputing the truth of what he said. Another case of truth that must not be mentioned, it seems.
Friday, December 12, 2014
Campaign launched to ban singing of Tom Jones' hit Delilah at Welsh rugby matches 'because it glorifies domestic violence'
A campaign has been launched to ban Sir Tom Jones' hit Delilah from being sung at Welsh rugby matches over claims it 'glorifies domestic violence'.
Senior politician Dafydd Iwan, 71, is leading a protest to ban the iconic ballad being sung by choirs at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, because he claims it depicts a brutal revenge killing of a woman.
The campaign over the song, which has become an unofficial anthem for Welsh rugby fans, comes more than 40 years after it was first recorded by Sir Tom.
Bosses at the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) have defended the hit by comparing its dark subject matter to the best of Shakespeare's works like Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Coriolanus.
A spokesman said: 'Within rugby, Delilah has gained prominence through its musicality rather than because of its lyrics.
'There is however plenty of precedent in art and literature, prominently in Shakespearean tragedies for instance, for negative aspects of life to be portrayed.'
Wrong to say ALL lives matter
Must concentrate on black lives
Smith College President Kathleen McCartney led a vigil attended by 130 people Monday afternoon three days after she apologized for her original wording in an email she sent to the campus community in reaction to the recent police killings of three blacks.
McCartney sent two emails Friday, which were obtained by the Gazette from a Smith faculty member. The first, with a subject line reading “All Lives Matter,” was sent by McCartney to Smith students, faculty and staff with a list of actions that would taken on campus to heal those in pain, to “teach, learn and share what we know” and to “work for equity and justice.”
Nearly six hours later Friday evening, McCartney sent a second email expressing regret that she was unaware the phrase “all lives mater” was used by some on social media as a counter to the “#BlackLivesMatter” movement protesting the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
McCartney closed her email acknowledging her mistakes, “despite my best intentions,” and thanking those who shared their “wisdom and wise counsel” with her.
Amusing that even liberals can get caught out as incorrect
Thursday, December 11, 2014
I’m Dreaming of a Racially Ambiguous Holiday Season
Darius Rucker takes heat for singing “White Christmas” in the wake of the Eric Garner decision.
Quick: If you had to pick one classic Christmas song that the thought police would deem racist, which would it be? If you said, “White Christmas,” congratulations!
The 82nd Annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting last Wednesday was interrupted by protesters in the wake of the grand-jury decision to not indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner. The lighting went forward as planned, and Hootie & the Blowfish’s lead singer, Darius Rucker, sang Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas.”
Although Rucker’s was a perfectly adequate performance, the song enraged some on social media. An African-American musician singing a song that had the word “white” in it, despite the word’s referring to snow and not skin color, so close to the Eric Garner decision was apparently offensive enough that many felt the need to sound off on Twitter.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Using the term "Strange Fruit" makes you a racist(!)
An Austin-based public relations firm is making headlines this week — and not because of its talented clients. Strange Fruit PR, the local hospitality PR firm that represents many of Austin's most popular restaurants, is under fire for its racially insensitive name.
On Saturday, a slew of tweets called out the company for using a name associated with the lynching of blacks in the South. Based on a poem by Abel Meeropol, "Strange Fruit" was made famous after it was recorded as a song by Billie Holiday in 1939. The phrase "strange fruit" refers to the bodies of black men and women hanging from trees.
Strange Fruit PR shared its official statement with CultureMap via email:
"We were wrong. We extend our deepest & sincerest apologies for the offense caused by the name of our public relations firm. This is very troublesome to us & was most definitely never our intention to draw any parallels to Abel Meeropol's powerful poem & the song that holds the name. We thought the term "strange fruit" really could stand for someone who stood out in a crowd, a talent that was different and remarkable — in a good way."
The pussification of students at the University of Iowa
Students at the University of Iowa occupied the Office of the Registrar on Friday after a controversial display was placed in the heart of campus.
The statue – a 7-foot-tall Ku Klux Klan robe with a vinyl hood, an affixed camera and screen-printed newspaper articles chronicling more than 100 years of race riots and hate crimes – was erected at 7 a.m. by Serhat Tanyolacar, a visiting art professor.
The artwork was removed around 10:30 a.m. after officers with the University of Iowa Police Department discovered that Tanyolacar failed to secure a permit for it.
After a gathering outside UI President Sally Mason’s office students moved to the Iowa Memorial Union’s Bijou Cinema to share their emotions about the statue. Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin and Georgina Dodge, UI’s chief diversity officer and associate vice president, were present for the discussion.
"Sharing emotions"! Is that what universiity students now do? How about having rational discussions?
Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Must not say that Indians in Britain work in shops
Patels were originally small landlords in the Indian State of Gujurat and many are still small businessmen, running shops, small hotels and motels etc. so the judge's guess was pretty good -- but he should have posed his thoughts as a question rather than as an assertion
A judge has quit after allegedly making a racist comment about an Asian crime victim in court. Peter Hollingworth had asked lawyers to fetch the harassment victim so he could finish sentencing her ex-boyfriend.
Prosecutor Rachel Parker said she was unsure whether the woman in question, Deepa Patel, could attend at short notice due to work commitments.
The district judge allegedly replied: ‘It won’t be a problem. ‘She won’t be working anywhere important where she can’t get the time off. She’ll only be working in a shop or an off-licence.’
When Miss Parker asked the judge to clarify his comments, he added: ‘With a name like Patel, and her ethnic background, she won’t be working anywhere important where she can’t get the time off. So that’s what we’ll do.’
At this point Miss Parker withdrew from the case at Preston Magistrates’ Court and told the judge: ‘I am professionally embarrassed. I cannot prosecute this case.’
The Crown Prosecution Service made an official complaint after the incident on October 30, and Mr Hollingworth resigned four weeks later from his part-time job as a deputy district judge.
Miss Patel, a 22-year-old from Preston, is currently working in an office after completing a law degree. She told The Sun: ‘I was born and bred in this country... it’s shocking and disgusting for anyone to say that, especially a judge.
Must not dress up as members of a black gang
Partygoers were satirizing the Crips gang based in California
A Clemson fraternity has suspended all activity after students and university President Jim Clements raised concerns about a themed party.
The "CRIPmas"-themed party Saturday night raised concerns about the campus climate, Clements said in a statement posted on the university website. Some students and faculty said on social media the party was racially insensitive.
The national office of the fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, apologized to the campus and community in a statement.
The party was not sanctioned by the university, said spokesman John Gouch. According to the fraternity statement, the party took place at a private, off-campus residence.
Many students said on social media the party's theme was racist, and some pointed out the Crips are a primarily black gang. Some faculty and staff expressed dismay on Twitter as well. Many called for Clements to take action.
Other students said the theme was insensitive, but race was not an issue. Lesley Smith said in a message that the party theme seemed insensitive toward anyone affected by gang violence, but that was not limited to people of one race.
Monday, December 08, 2014
Former England footballer Michael Owen is slammed on social media after comparing women to luxury cars
Former England footballer Michael Owen has been inundated with critical messages after starring in a 'sexist' new car ad.
In the ad, which was made on behalf of his local car dealership, Owen, who is married to childhood sweetheart Louise Bonsall, compares women to luxury cars and goes on to boast about the 'dozens' of Jaguars he owns.
'You've got to go for looks to start with,' said the star in the clip, before adding: 'Then you look inside. It's probably similar to girls isn't it?
'The look attracts you to start with and then you get to know them a bit more, I think it's the same with cars.'
Andrew North, a director at Alexanders Prestige, the dealership behind the ad, defended Owen's statement when contacted by MailOnline. 'I think it's a fair comparison,' said Mr North. 'You are attracted to the outside but ultimately, it's what's on the inside that counts and that's what he was trying to say.
Defending his star, Mr North added: 'Michael was a pleasure to work with. We have known him for years and he have previously worked with him and his family through the equestrian side of the business. 'He was very happy to take part in the advert and we will be working with him again.'
California college settles First Amendment suit with student
A California community college has settled a lawsuit with a student who claimed it violated his First Amendment rights when an administrator threatened him for collecting petition signatures outside of a small, designated "free speech zone."
Student Vincenzo Sinapi-Riddle, with help from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, sued Glendora, Calif., Citrus College after the incident, which occurred on Sept. 17, 2013 - the day designated as "Constitution Day." Sinapi-Riddle was collecting signatures for a petition condemning the federal National Security Agency's domestic surveillance activities.
When he left the area for a lunch break and headed to the student center, he and another student discussed the petition, prompting an administrator to intervene, according to FIRE. Claiming that a political discussion could not take place outside of the free speech zone, the unidentified school employee threatened to eject Sinapi-Riddle from campus for violating the policy.
After a suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the school agreed to pay Sinapi-Riddle $110,000 in damages and attorneys' fees, as well as to revise its free speech policies. In a statement, the school noted the settlement figure was far less than the anticipated cost of fighting the lawsuit and defended its policies as in compliance "with a long line of U.S. Supreme Court cases relating to speech activities in public places, including college campuses." But the school affirmed its support for free speech and agreed to change some campus regulations.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
Australia: Eccentric parishioner denied right to pass out leaflets inside church he was criticizing
The Court of Appeal has refused a “free speech” bid by a Yepoon parishioner to permit pamphlet distribution criticising the theology being preached by the pastor of his local Wesleyan Methodist Church.
The parish considered his brochures that connected the 9/11 twin towers attacks to imperfect religious instruction and praised Russian president Vladimir Putin “as an exemplar of Christian values”, to be objectionable.
Removed by police on two occasions after being denied entry, Ron Gallagher filed a claim against parish board members requiring he be permitted “to pass freely without let or hindrance into the sanctuary” of their premises and for an order disallowing their “edict of suppression made in disregard of the God-given privilege of freedom of speech”.
Of historical interest was the court ruling that article 9 of the English Bill of Rights of 1688 on which Gallagher relied - that applies in Queensland by virtue of the Imperial Acts Application Act 1984 – contained no speech freedom guarantee as argued.
Such freedom and the limited “implied constitutional right to communicate on government and political matters” recognised by Australia’s High Court were irrelevant, so ruled the court, to his ouster. No one had taken steps to prevent Gallagher’s pamphlet distribution elsewhere, they objected only to him so doing on their own premises.
As a regular member of the church’s congregation (but not a member of the church itself), he was merely a licensee whose right to enter could be revoked – at will – by the property owners or the parish board as the owner’s representative.
And in the case of a place or worship, a person’s right to enter was in any event subject to a legally recognised qualification that he or she must “behave in reasonable conformity with the requirements of the religion in which he was participating”.
Gallagher simply had no legal or equitable right to be on the church’s property for any purpose once informed he was no longer welcome.
The court also noted the somewhat obscure Criminal Code offence of engaging in conduct that “caused disquiet or disturbed” persons assembled for religious worship, was punishable by a $10 fine and in more serious cases, by imprisonment.
UK: Businesses must not seek to hire "good-looking girls"
A job advertisement by Pizza Hut which said it was looking for “decent, good-looking girls” has been removed after complaints it was sexist.
The advert for the chain's Leatherhead branch was posted on the website Gumtree but was removed after people reported it to Pizza Hut's head office.
It read: "Pizza Hut Leatherhead looking for full and part time drivers. Need to have your own car. "We are also looking for a decent good looking girls for Reception. That role is just part time."
Jackie Quinn, the president of Leatherhead’s Chamber of Commerce president said the advert was sexist and claimed Pizza Hut had “let itself down”. "It's not acceptable to be sexist, they could have put good-looking girls or boys but they didn't even do that," she said.
Friday, December 05, 2014
Twitter Mass Suspends Conservatives Who Posted NYT Address #Ferguson
What's OK for the NYT is not OK for conservatives, apparently
The People’s Cube is reporting that their Twitter account with over 4000 followers has been suspended for retweeting a post with the addresses of New York Times reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson.
The Times reporters had posted the address of unindicted Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and his wife shortly after the verdict.
The popular conservative art humor website is not alone among conservative Twitter accounts that have been targeted.
It has also been reported that the Cube is not alone, indicating that Twitter is targeting conservative reaction to the outing of Wilson. Wilson has received multiple death-threats and the FBI has arrested Jaleel Tarik Abdul-Jabbaar for plotting to kill Wilson.
GotNews Editor-in-Chief, Charles C. Johnson was suspended by Twitter for posting the reporters addresses on the GotNews website and merely mentioning it on Twitter. Bosman has complained to the Chicago police and demanded V.I.P. protection though the Chicago Police say there’s no credible threat against her.
Conservative twitters have been emailing Johnson trying to reinstall their own accounts after they were mass suspended.
UPDATE: As of 11:40 December 3, 2014 Twitter has reinstated the The People’s Cube Twitter account.
"Ghetto" is a naughty word
James Delingpole appeared on a BBC TV Programme ...
"I have experienced immense obtuseness from BBC audiences on two occasions recently. One was Free Speech — a youth debate programme redolent of that old Not The Nine O’Clock News sketch where Griff Rhys Jones tries unsuccessfully to get down with the kids on a show called Hey, Wow! — in which I made the H.M. Batemanesque mistake of pointing out that, thanks to the failed experiment of multiculturalism, there were now parts of inner-city Britain which were effectively Muslim ghettos.
Rather than dispute the premise — not an easy task, given the widespread evidence from Birmingham and Bradford to Luton — the young audience and most of my fellow panellists decided to attack me for my choice of terminology. ‘Ghetto’ was a racist word, they told me. Islamophobic too.
The more they hissed and jeered and showed their disapproval of my vile bigotry, you could tell, the more warm and gooey they felt inside. See what good, sensitive, caring, non-judgmental people they all were: uniting as one against the language of hatred and intolerance! (But if you go to Birmingham and Bradford and Luton, I suspect the sectarian problem I’ve described won’t have gone away)".
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Must not mention racial details of Egyptians
A famous ancient Egyptian -- with hat
News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch has come under fire on social media after making a racially insensitive tweet.
Mr Murdoch struck a wrong note minutes ago after offering his opinion on the casting controversy surrounding the 2014 film 'Exodus: Gods and Kings'.
Under his authenticated Twitter handle @rupertmurdoch, the media mogul wrote: "Moses film attacked on Twitter for all white cast. Since when are Egyptians not white? All I know are."
Predictably, the tweet went down like a tonne of bricks, but still determined to get his point across Mr Murdoch followed the original tweet with: "Everybody-attacks last tweet. Of course Egyptians are Middle Eastern, but far from black. They treated blacks as slaves."
After a barrage of criticism, which included some users telling Mr Murdoch to "drop dead", the News Corp chairman relented, tweeting: "Okay, there are many shades of colour. Nothing racist about that, so calm down!"
Rupert was perfectly right. Arabs ARE white -- a little swarthy, like most Mediterranean people, but a long way from black.
I suppose the issue is whether the ANCIENT Egyptians were white but we have rather a lot of paintings from ancient Egyptian tombs which show Egyptians as light brown (suntanned?) and many of their slaves -- Nubians -- as black -- as black as modern Africans. So there definitely was a color divide and it was not favorable to blacks.
So the ancient Egyptians may have been a bit darker than modern-day Arab Egyptians but they were sun-worshippers in part so it may have been religiously correct to portray them with suntans. In which case what we see in the tomb paintings may simply be suntanned versions of a Mediterranean skin. Tanned skin does after all have a following to this day.
Note also that the ancient world seems to have been very little concerned about race. People from all over the empire became Roman emperors, for instance. There may therefore have been some occasions when the ancestors of African blacks rose to positions of influence in ancient Egyptian society. If Obama is good enough for modern-day America, why not another black for Pharaoh?
It was of course religion, not race, that mattered most to the ancient world and that was true up until fairly recently. The first set of writings that obsessed about race that I know of is the correspondence between Karl Marx and his disciple Friedrich Engels. And the obsession of America's Democrats with race also goes back to around the mid-19th century.
A 19th century election poster
Even Houston Stewart Chamberlain, writing in the late 19th century, who is sometimes claimed as the main theorist behind Nazism, in fact thought that it was only out of racial mixture that the gifted could be created. He considered that the evidence of this was provided by the Prussian, whom he saw as the superman, resulting from a cross between the German and the Slav. From this Chamberlain went on to argue that the sum of all these talented people would then form a "race," not of blood but of "affinity." Not very racist in the modern sense.
UK: Calling Ukip candidate by Turkish name seen as fanning prejudice
UKIP is an anti-immigration party. There can be little doubt that directing attention to the man's partly Turkish ancestry was intended to damage him in the eyes of potential voters
A controversial Tory leaflet referring to a Ukip candidate by his Turkish name is not racist and will probably "do him a favour", according to the Conservative MP who will fight him at the next election.
Jackie Doyle-Price told The Telegraph the flier calling Tim Aker "Timür" in an apparent attempt to remind voters of his foreign root would give him "credibility" with the electorate.
She admitted the move was "childish" but rejected the comment was racist, saying: "Frankly, I don't consider this a big deal at all."
James Forsyth, a political commentator, accused the Tories in the Mail on Sunday of "diving headfirst into the gutter" with the "attempt to remind voters of his Turkish roots" in the leaflet.
While Mr Aker was born "Timür", he refers to himself as Tim and appears on the ballot paper in the council by-election under that name.
Wednesday, December 03, 2014
Must not criticize Obama's daughters
The Republican spin doctor who scolded Barack Obama’s teenage daughters for lacking “class” in their attitude and dress sense has resigned amid a fierce backlash.
Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for a Tennessee congressman, said that she was quitting after earlier apologising for her “hurtful words”.
The firestorm of controversy reflected a long-standing consensus that the children of presidents should be spared from the partisan and often highly personal invective that characterises US politics.
For a senior political operative whose role was to spread the message of her boss Stephen Fincher, Ms Lauten’s taunt that the girls should “try showing a little class” is also being touted as a case study in how not to do the job.
She launched her tirade in a Facebook posting about the appearance of 13-year-old Sasha and her sister Malia, 16, at the annual White House turkey pardoning – normally an uncontroversial event even in the partisan world of Washington.
Several media outlets noted that the girls looked distinctly underwhelmed and were casually dressed as their father spoke on the eve of Thanksgiving. But Ms Lauten went much further.
“Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class,” she wrote. “Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar.”
Black British footballer faces investigation over 'racist and anti-Semitic' Instagram post
His blackness will protect him, of course
Mario Balotelli, the Liverpool striker, faces a Football Association investigation and possible five-match ban for an inflammatory social media message that has earned him a public rebuke from his club and an angry response from the Jewish Leadership Council.
Balotelli posted and then swiftly deleted an image on his Instagram page depicting the computer game character ‘Super Mario’ alongside a racial stereotype and anti-Semitic remark – "jumps like a black man and grabs coins like a Jew".
Simon Johnson, the former FA executive and now chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council reacted angrily to post on Monday night.
"We abhor all forms of racism, wherever it is found," Johnson said. "We call upon the FA to investigate this offensive social media post and to take action if appropriate if we are to succeed in kicking racism out of football."
The provocative language in Balotelli's post, even if he claims it to be an ironic anti-racist message, leaves the Italian open to a breach of the FA’s social media guidelines. If charged, the minimum ban on race-related breaches is five games.
At the very least, the striker has had to explain his intentions to his club and the swiftness with which it was removed demonstrated Liverpool concerns. The FA is sure to explore it further.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
I’ve lost my lawsuit. But I’m going to appeal. Here’s why
Today I lost the lawsuit against me brought by Khurrum Awan, the former youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress.
You can read the full ruling here. The judge awarded Awan a whopping $80,000 plus legal costs.
I am reviewing the technical aspects of the ruling with my lawyer. But there is something terrifying, buried in this ruling, that I already know I simply must appeal — all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary.
On paragraph 166 of the decision, the judge ruled that calling Awan an anti-Semite is defamatory, and that’s one of the reasons I lost, and have to pay him so much money.
But Awan was, at one time, the youth president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, an anti-Semitic organization. At the time Awan was its youth president, the CIC was led by a notorious anti-Semite, Mohamed Elmasry. Elmasry famously went on national TV to state that any adult in Israel is a legitimate target for terrorism. The CIC has publicly called for the legalization of anti-Semitic terrorist groups.
And yet the judge ruled that it is defamatory to call the former youth president of an anti-Semitic organization, anti-Semitic. Because he denied it in court, and said he never knew about his organization’s infamous misconduct.
This should concern anyone who is worried about radical Islam, the right to criticize it, and the right to call out anti-Semitism in the public square.
If this judgment stands, anyone who dares to challenge members of Muslim extremist groups on the basis of their affiliation with such groups is at risk of costly lawsuits — and all the member of the anti-Semitic group needs to do is to deny that they share the beliefs of their organizations that they work hard to promote, or say they had no clue their anti-Semitic group was anti-Semitic.
If this ruling is allowed to stand, it will hinder anyone who campaigns against anti-Semitism — any Jewish group, any pro-Israel group, even anyone who criticizes radical Islam.
This ruling doesn’t just affect my rights. It’s a setback for freedom for everyone.
The comments in question were written on my personal blog six years ago, and so I’m footing the legal bills for this fight myself.
SCOTUS verdict on threatening speech due soon
Anthony Elonis claimed he was just kidding when he posted a series of graphically violent rap lyrics on Facebook about killing his estranged wife, shooting up a kindergarten class and attacking an FBI agent.
But his wife didn't see it that way. Neither did a federal jury.
Elonis, who's from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was convicted of violating a federal law that makes it a crime to threaten another person.
In a far-reaching case that probes the limits of free speech over the Internet, the Supreme Court on Monday was to consider whether Elonis' Facebook posts, and others like it, deserve protection under the First Amendment.
Elonis argues that his lyrics were simply a crude and spontaneous form of expression that should not be considered threatening if he did not really mean it. The government says it does not matter what Elonis intended, and that the true test of a threat is whether his words make a reasonable person feel threatened.
Monday, December 01, 2014
Did the Department of Defense Just Go All Politically Correct in Describing Captured Enemies?
The Department of Defense just changed the wording of their categories for detainees. It’s a subtle adjustment with real implications.
This is a screen shot from the May 30, 2008 version of their Joint Publication 3-63 on Detainee Operations:
Note that of the three categories, the ones actively involved in fighting are referred to as “enemy combatants.”
Now this is a screen shot from the November 13, 2014 version:
Note the change from “enemy combatant” to “privileged belligerent and unprivileged belligerent.”
Apparently, the word “combatant” was no longer acceptable and was replaced with “belligerent.”
To give some context, the words “privileged” and “unprivileged” basically mean people who are members of regular armed forces and fight under traditional rules of combat, versus those who fight with non-traditional groups or in non-traditional manners.
Even so, the wording seems soft. Is this an example of finely-tuned language, or a submission to the politically correct notions that would rather avoid negative labels?
Kids must not see a Christmas tree
It's a Christmas miracle! An elementary school in a Boston suburb that was going to cancel its annual trip to see The Nutcracker has decided allowing kids to see a Christmas tree on stage will not destroy the non-Christians in the audience. According to whdh.com:
"The trip to see the famous ballet has been a tradition at the school for years, but apparently some felt the trip was improper because there is a Christmas tree on the stage.
The issue came to a head at a [Butler Elementary School] PTA meeting Tuesday night. A source said some people were told they were being discriminatory if they supported their kids going to "The Nutcracker."
The controversy was so white-hot, the PTA apparently worked in secret to cancel the field trip:
Some parents of the second graders, who didn't want to appear on camera, told 7News that they're also upset because PTA leaders secretly cancelled the field trip without telling anyone, but word spread.
PTA Co-President Barbara Bulfoni said, "In the past years there were parents complaints as 'The Nutcracker' has a religious content."
You know what? The Nutcracker does indeed have religious content. Everyone in the ballet is celebrating Christmas, a Christian holiday commemorating Christ. Same thing happens in A Christmas Carol, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, White Christmas, Black Christmas (a slasher movie) and—heck—Handel's Messiah.
Are these a terrible influence, one and all? How about all those Renaissance paintings of Mary and Jesus? Should the PTA ban trips to the art museum?
Kids can be exposed to ideas and cultures different from their own and not immediately feel offended. In fact, I'm betting Christian kids could probably survive seeing Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights without insisting afterward that mom burn the tree and leave Santa a bowl of liver and onions.
The Nutcracker is a ballet, not fundamentalist propaganda. I'm glad the Butler School PTA figured that out.
Sunday, November 30, 2014
Community says that "redskins": is NOT obscene
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the body's consideration on Tuesday of censoring the word "Redskins" on the public airwaves.
"There are a lot of names and descriptions that were used over time that are inappropriate today," FCC chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters, according to Reuters, on a conference call. "And I think the name that is attributed to the Washington football club is one of those."
The consideration of a ban stems from a petition brought to the commission by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf to revoke the license of Washington, DC-area radio station WWXX-AM, a sports outlet owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder. Banzhaf claims the team's name amounts to an obscenity.
What community regards "Redskins" as obscene?
Last week, a Sports Illustrated/Marketing & Research Resources poll of NFL fans found that about four out of five do not regard "Redskins" as offensive. Similarly, an Associated Press poll of the broader public reported that 79 percent want the team to keep the name. An Annenberg survey of Native Americans conducted a decade ago reported just 9 percent of respondents judging the team's name "offensive."
British Abortion Industry Wants Radical Law Prohibiting Pro-Life Free Speech
According to the BBC, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is calling for a law to move pro-life protestors ten metres or 33 feet away from abortion facilities in the United Kingdom.
The BPAS launched a campaign called “Back Off”, which asks the government to create access zones to prevent women from coming in contact with pro-lifers on the sidewalks. This measure would be similar to the “buffer zone” law abortion proponents passed in Massachusetts in 2007.
However, earlier this year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law because the judges believed it was “inconsistent with the First Amendment,” and it “restricts access to ‘public way[s]’ and ‘sidewalk[s],’ places that have traditionally been open for speech activities.”
In the United Kingdom one of the most prominent pro-life groups is Abort67 and they work through education to help women make an informed decision about abortion. The group utilizes images of aborted babies and presents fetal models to depict various stages of a child’s development in the womb. Although some people think images shouldn’t be used in front of clinics, Ruth Rawlins, the group’s leader, believes women have the right to know everything before having an abortion.
She said: “We’re just here to show the truth, firstly, about abortion, and what abortion does to the pre-born child. The images are disgusting, we don’t like looking at these images, but the reason that they are so offensive can only be because the act of abortion is so offensive. So we’re simply showing the public the service that BPAS are providing.”
Friday, November 28, 2014
Incorrect immigration cartoon
On Friday, we posted a Gary Varvel cartoon at indystar.com that offended a wide group of readers.
Many of them labeled it as racist. Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama's decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States.
But we erred in publishing it.
The cartoon depicted an immigrant family climbing through a window of a white family's home as Thanksgiving dinner was served. I was uncomfortable with the depiction when I saw it after it was posted. We initially decided to leave the cartoon posted to allow readers to comment and because material can never truly be eliminated once it is circulating on the web. But we are removing the cartoon from the opinion section of our website, as well as an earlier version posted on Facebook that showed one character with a mustache.
This action is not a comment on the issue of illegal immigration or a statement about Gary's right to express his opinions strongly. We encourage and support diverse opinion. But the depictions in this case were inappropriate; his point could have been expressed in other ways.
Must not speak the truth about black thugs
(Hopkins is a British TV personality and a newspaper columnist)
Katie Hopkins has sparked controversy once more by saying police officer Darren Wilson should 'get a medal' for shooting unarmed black teenager Michael Brown who she called 'a thief and a thug'.
'Brown was not shot for being black. Brown was shot for being a thief and a thug. Give the officer a medal. Justice with knobs on,' Ms Hopkins wrote.
In response, several Twitter users accused Ms Hopkins of 'attention seeking', 'antagonizing', and trying too hard'.
Ms Hopkins, whose post has been favourited 306 times and had 264 retweets so far, is not the first person to tweet her opinion on the controversial case.
When St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCullough announced the grand jury's conclusion that 'no probable cause exists' to indict Officer Darren Wilson at 8.30pm CT, around 52,200 tweets per minute were posted.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Don Lemon Sparks sour response With Marijuana Comment In Ferguson
The CNN anchor was describing the scene from outside the Ferguson police station Monday night, just moments after the announcement that police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Speaking with Anderson Cooper, Lemon reported hearing the sounds of gunfire and seeing protesters jumping on cars.
And then he said: "Obviously, there is the smell of marijuana in the air."
But to viewers at home, that wasn't obvious at all. The comments immediately sparked backlash on Twitter:
Professors' Rights to Free Speech at Risk Nationwide
Working for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending civil liberties on campus, we've seen faculty nationwide punished for speaking their minds as of late. The list of examples is long:
In September 2013, University of Kansas Professor David Guth was placed on administrative leave following a tweet he posted to his personal Twitter account condemning the National Rifle Association. Though the tweet comprised only constitutionally protected speech, the controversy surrounding it inspired the Kansas Board of Regents to enact a new policy on "improper use of social media" that allows the state's public institutions of higher education to punish faculty for a range of protected expression online.
Back in January, Bergen Community College Professor Francis Schmidt posted a picture on Google+ of his young daughter wearing a T-shirt that said, "I will take what is mine with fire & blood"--a quote from the popular HBO show Game of Thrones. An automatic email was sent to Schmidt's Google+ contacts, which was forwarded to administrators who deemed it a "threatening email." BCC placed Schmidt on unpaid leave until a psychiatrist attested to his mental fitness and told him he could be terminated if he made "disparaging" comments about the college. BCC finally cleared Schmidt's record only under pressure from the law firm of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
Twice a year for over 20 years, Professor Patti Adler included a presentation on prostitution in her "Deviance in U.S. Society" course, which included a skit in which teaching assistants volunteered to portray prostitutes and answer questions as their characters. The course was a perennial favorite at the University of Colorado at Boulder, but in December 2013, administrators told Adler that a former teaching assistant had objected to the presentation. Because some students might be "uncomfortable" (though no students said they were), Adler was given a choice between resigning or canceling the course. Under public pressure, CU-Boulder eventually allowed Adler to return and continue teaching, but by then, participation in the presentation had already been significantly chilled, forcing Adler to discontinue it.
In March 2012, Appalachian State University Professor Jammie Price was placed on administrative leave for criticizing the university's handling of sexual assault cases and screening a documentary that took a critical look at the adult film industry in her sociology course. Students alleged that Price had created a hostile environment, and App State found her guilty without affording her due process and ordered her to complete training on how to teach "sensitive topics."
Professor Suzanne Sisley worked for years to obtain the necessary governmental approval for her study on the therapeutic effects of marijuana, to be conducted at the University of Arizona, where she had worked since 2007. In June 2014, however, the university abruptly terminated her employment amidst accusations that she supported a recall petition against a senator who had blocked state funding for her study. Arizona lawmakers wrote to UA to express concern that Sisley's termination appeared to be politically motivated and to note the severe chilling effect this could have on future research.
This summer, University of North Carolina at Wilmington Professor Mike Adams finally reached the end of his seven-year federal lawsuit alleging that UNC Wilmington denied him a promotion because of conservative political viewpoints he had expressed in non-university publications. The university was ultimately ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and back pay. Adams created positive First Amendment precedent in the Fourth Circuit for everyone, regardless of views, but this legal battle demonstrates the extreme lengths to which professors sometimes must go simply to defend their right to free speech.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Do Online Death Threats Count as Free Speech?
Exhibit 12 in the government’s case against Anthony Elonis is a screenshot of a Facebook post he wrote in October 2010, five months after his wife, Tara, left him. His name appears in the site’s familiar blue, followed by words that made Tara fear for her life: ‘'If I only knew then what I know now . . . I would have smothered your ass with a pillow. Dumped your body in the back seat. Dropped you off in Toad Creek and made it look like a rape and murder.'’
Exhibit 13, also pulled from Facebook, is a thread that started when Tara’s sister mentioned her plans to take her niece and nephew — Elonis’s children — shopping for Halloween costumes. Tara responded and then Elonis did, too, saying their 8-year-old son ‘'should dress up as a Matricide.'’ He continued: ‘'I don’t know what his costume would entail though. Maybe your head on a stick?'’ This time, Elonis included a photo of himself, holding a cigarette to his lips.
After Tara saw these posts — and another one, from the same time, which begins: ‘'There’s one way to love ya but a thousand ways to kill ya. I’m not gonna rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts'’ — she went to court in Reading, Pa., and got a protection-from-abuse order against her husband.
On Nov. 7, three days after Tara got the ruling, Elonis linked to a video satire by the comedy troupe the Whitest Kids U’ Know. On camera, a member of the group mocks the law against threatening to kill the president. Elonis mimicked the group’s lines but subbed in his own text, to make it about Tara. ‘'I also found out that it’s incredibly illegal, extremely illegal to go on Facebook and say something like the best place to fire a mortar launcher at her house would be from the cornfield behind it because of easy access to a getaway road and you’d have a clear line of sight through the sun room,'’ he wrote. ‘'Yet even more illegal to show an illustrated diagram.'’ Elonis added a diagram with a getaway road, a cornfield and a house. ‘'Art is about pushing limits,'’ his post concluded. ‘'I’m willing to go to jail for my Constitutional rights. Are you?'’
At the same time that he was posting about Tara, Elonis used Facebook to threaten his co-workers at an amusement park in nearby Allentown, where he worked. In one photo, from Halloween, Elonis held a fake knife to a co-worker’s neck. They were both dressed in costume, but Elonis added the caption, ‘'I wish.'’ His boss saw the image and caption and fired Elonis. He also called the F.B.I. In December 2010, Elonis was charged under a federal law that makes it a crime to use a form of interstate communication (like the Internet) to threaten to injure another person.
A jury convicted Elonis, and he spent more than three years in prison. On December 1, the Supreme Court will hear Elonis’s First Amendment challenge to his conviction — the first time the justices have considered limits for speech on social media. For decades, the court has essentially said that ‘'true threats'’ are an exception to the rule against criminalizing speech. These threats do not have to be carried out — or even be intended to be carried out — to be considered harmful. Bans against threats may be enacted, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote in 2003, to protect people ‘'from the fear of violence'’ and ‘'from the disruption that fear engenders.'’ Current legal thinking is that threats do damage on their own.
I think SCOTUS will throw out this case, as they should. I am not sure that the guy belongs in prison, though. He sounds quite a sicko. Permanent confinement to a mental institution would probably be best for him.
Dartmouth student: America must ‘fix free speech’ with censorship
An Ivy League student says that America “has gone too far in allowing people to say whatever they want,” and asserts that the country needs to censor free speech.
In an editorial in The Dartmouth titled “ Fixing Free Speech,” Traynor claims the extent in which the First Amendment protects American’s right to express their views and ideas is “distasteful.”
“[T]his country has gone too far in allowing people to say whatever they want, and should curtail speech that is obviously harmful to society, such as hate speech,” writes Traynor. “This kind of speech, despite being clearly distasteful, has long been upheld as legal in America because of the First Amendment.”
Traynor claims that censoring speech in America would never progress to the degree of authoritarian regimes such as China because of cultural norms and social media presence.
“[G]iven America’s deeply-held cultural norms and the power of the Internet and social media, such a scenario is highly unlikely,” writes Traynor. “We need only small but significant change to the freedom of speech in this country: namely, the prohibition of unambiguously destructive, hateful speech.”
Traynor goes on to cite examples of other democracies that do not legally protect certain kinds of speech, and suggests Americans can learn from them.
“South Africa outlaws ‘advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion’ and war propaganda,” writes Traynor. “Many European countries, as well as Australia and New Zealand, have similar laws regarding racist speech.”
He continues to ask readers how America can justify allowing speech that other democracies “have wisely deemed to be against their modern values?”
However, Traynor’s proposition did not settle well with readers who voiced their concerns about censoring speech through comments posted below the article.
“Mr. Traynor, your views are repulsive, and I am ashamed of you for propagating them. There are no ‘sensible restrictions on free speech,’ and whoever thinks that stifling speech eliminates hatred, anger, and violence, is plainly wrong. The answer to hate speech is more speech, not less.”
I find Mr Traynor's speech offensive. So should he be censored?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Is it offensive to call women 'girls'?
A lot of elderly ladies that I know refer to one-another as "girls" -- but apparently men must not call any adult females "girls"
Last week Pharrell Williams defended himself against accusations that 'the worst song ever' Blurred Lines made light of sexual assault. After giving his version of events, (it's about rejection, repeat to fade …), Williams said he considered himself a feminist. As a visual flourish of sorts, he turned around to show the back of his jacket which read 'girls are everything'.
But … Williams is 44 years old. Is it OK for a man of his age, a man who says he supports equality, to call an album GIRL? And if it's not, well why is it permissible for Beyonce to proclaim that 'Girls run the world'? And for Amy Poehler to call her web series 'The Smart Girls at the Party'? And hey, for the love of political correctness, what about Lena Dunham?
What about those times when women - real, human, grown-ups with Facebook accounts - have said to one another, 'Let's organise a girl's night out' and everybody knew that did not mean children. And do we dare confront the thorniest question of them all: the Ryan Gosling 'Hey Girl' memes? I mean, are we human or are we DANCER?
When I first started working as – soft brag alert - an editor at Fairfax media I was told to familiarise myself with the stylebook. One of the top rules was this: Under no circumstances are writers to refer to any woman over the age of 18 as a 'girl'. So, if the stylebook of a large, mainstream media company can lay down the law, surely it's ok to question what the hell is going on when men as old as Williams are using it … willy-nilly?
It's not simply that the word is reductive, (which it is). But that, as sociology professor Lisa Wade pointed out last year, 'The sexualisation of girls and the infantilisation of adult women are two sides of the same coin. They both tell us that we should find youth, inexperience, and naivete sexy in women, but not in men."
Fifty years after the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley
And speech is still unfree there
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, a massive student mobilisation in defence of free speech that took place at the University of California, Berkeley campus during the autumn of 1964. It inspired an unprecedented wave of student protest across the US and helped to define the radical legacy of the 1960s. The memory of this movement has resurfaced at times of intense political engagement of the student body. On these occasions, the meaning of the campaign and its broader significance have been fiercely contended.
This autumn  the debate erupted once again, reaching the national media in the US. As someone who is not steeped in this tradition, I was intrigued by how the memories and myths of 1964 still haunt and galvanise the Berkeley campus. But what are we talking about when we talk about free speech at Berkeley?
Dirks, current Chancellor
In early September 2014, Nicholas Dirks, Berkeley’s chancellor, sent a message to the campus community that read, at first sight, like the usual start-of-the-year message that you would expect from somebody who is running a university. Dirks invited students and staff to “honor the ideal of Free Speech” while fostering civil, constructive dialogue in an environment in which everybody can feel safe and respected. What could go wrong with such a well-meaning message? In fact the reactions, on campus and in the outside world, have been swift and forceful.
Many commentators have analysed the message in legal terms. They have observed that the chancellor described free speech and civility as “two sides of a single coin”, arguing that “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so”. But protected speech is not necessarily civil, courteous speech. On the contrary, speech that needs protection is often uncivil, angry and offensive to many.
According to the current interpretation of the First Amendment to the American Constitution, civility is not a precondition for free speech. To introduce a criterion of civility would be an unacceptable limitation to the right to free speech. Furthermore, as Berkeley students remarked in their newspaper The Daily Californian, civility is a slippery notion: who gets to decide what counts as uncivil behaviour? The chancellor? The campus police? That an authority should be granted such an enormous discretion would hollow out the right to free speech. After all, the now-celebrated Free Speech Movement looked rather uncivil to its opponents in 1964.