Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Will Obama be the one who finally removes a memorial cross?

He'd be crazy to do it in the run-up to the election

For decades, there has been a First Amendment battle raging over the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, Calif., where a large cross anchors a tribute to Korean War veterans.

Because it sits on public property, the American Civil Liberties Union has long argued that the cross amounts to an unconstitutional entanglement of government and religion.

In 2011, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, triggering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in June, the high court justices declined to hear the case.

Oddly, the 9th Circuit, while ruling the cross illegal, didn't order it removed. The parties were left to begin negotiations about what to do with it. "We're going to go back and talk to the district court and talk to the government, and we will work at arriving at an appropriate remedy," ACLU attorney David Loy said at the time.

But just days ago, attorneys for the Mount Soledad Memorial Association learned that the ACLU has been negotiating with the Department of Justice without including the group that actually maintains the cross and memorial site. That sparked concern on Capitol Hill.


Town Forced to Remove Cross From Logo

City leaders in Steubenville, Ohio have decided to change their official logo after the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened to sue because the emblem included a silhouette of a cross atop the Franciscan University chapel.

Law Director Gary Repella announced the city’s decision after a closed door meeting – deciding to change the logo because they could not afford a potential lawsuit. The city reverted to a previous logo that did not include the offending items.

“I researched current case law and found a lot of case laws that do not allow religious symbols in government symbols,” Repella said in comments reported by the Herald-Star.

But officials at Franciscan University of Steubenville told Fox News the chapel and cross were included in the logo because the school is one of the top employers in the area and one of the most recognized entities in the city.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation said this logo is unconstitional.

“We were included in the city’s logo not because of our faith, but rather our role in the community,” said Michael Hernon, the university’s vice president of advancement. “This out of town and out of touch group decided that they wanted to purge all reference to religion from the public life.”


Monday, July 30, 2012

Must not mention gun ownership?

Apparently a rather dim American Olympic hurdler named  Lolo Jones tweeted as follows after the American archers lost to Italy:

The tweet has been condemned as "insensitive" but it is plainly true that many Americans do own guns so getting "sensitive" about an everyday reality seems to be the problem of the sensitive person rather than anyone else, it seems to me.

More here

Twitter joke trial conviction quashed in Britain's High Court

Joking has become dangerous in both Britain and America in recent years so it is refreshing that some sanity about it has finally emerged on at least this occasion

The country’s most senior judge has overturned a man’s conviction for joking about blowing up an airport on Twitter.

In an important High Court ruling the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said that the message posted online by Paul Chambers could not be considered “menacing”.

He pointed out that no one who saw the tweet thought it was a genuine bomb threat, and it was not sent to airport staff.

The joke about “blowing the airport sky high” was made in frustration at flights being cancelled because of the snow, and was only spotted five days later by an off-duty security manager.

“We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the Crown Court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it. On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed,” said the Lord Chief Justice, sitting with Mr Justice Owen and Mr Justice Griffith Williams.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Must not criticize multiculturalism and socialism

A bit of a flap in Britain after someone DARED to criticize the Olympic Opening Ceremony

A Conservative MP...  appeared to describe the Olympic Opening Ceremony as 'leftie multi-cultural crap'.

The comments, claiming the ceremony was more left wing than that which opened the 2008 Beijing games in Communist China, appeared in a Twitter account purporting to be that of Aidan Burley, Tory MP for Cannock Chase.

The opening section showcased British history, including the creation of the NHS and the Jarrow march, a 1936 protest against unemployment in the North East.

Two tweets were posted from @AidanBurleyMP, saying: 'The most leftie opening ceremony I have ever seen - more than Beijing, the capital of a communist state! Welfare tribute next?'

A second tweet read: 'Thank God the athletes have arrived! Now we can move on from leftie multi-cultural crap. Bring back red arrows, Shakespeare and the Stones!'

Downing Street distanced itself from the comments, with a senior source saying: 'We do not agree with him.'

The tweets, widely repeated, caused an avalanche of criticism on the social networking site including from a fellow Conservative, Croydon MP Gavin Barwell.


"Monday" is a racist word

Can "Black Friday" be far behind?

 A Massachusetts mayor on Thursday fired a white police officer accused of using a racial slur to taunt Boston Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, saying the officer had "brought discredit" on himself and the department.

"You have demonstrated through your racist comments that you cannot continue as a patrol officer," Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella wrote in his termination notice to officer John Perrault.

"He was criticizing Crawford for being a bad player, not because he was a black man," Sandulli said.

Perrault had been on paid leave since he called Crawford a "Monday" before a July 5 minor league game in Manchester, N.H.

The word can be used as a derogatory term for blacks, and is often associated with Mondays being one of the most-hated days of the week, such as in the common phrase, "I hate Mondays.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Must not joke about Africans

GREEK triple jumper Voula Papachristou has been kicked out of the Olympics for a racist tweet about Africans.

The 23-year-old Papachristou had written that "with so many Africans in Greece, at least the mosquitoes of West Nile will eat homemade food".

Although she subsequently deleted the message after a huge public backlash, the Hellenic Olympic Committee decided to drop her from the squad for London.


Must not suggest that homosexuality is unhealthy

One of Britain’s most senior Roman Catholics has sparked fury by suggesting an MP and former minister died because he was gay.

The new Archbishop of Glasgow, Philip Tartaglia, said society had kept ‘very quiet’ about the death of Labour MP and former Scotland Office minister David Cairns.  Mr Cairns, a former Catholic priest himself, died in May last year at the age of 44 from acute pancreatitis.  But Bishop Tartaglia questioned why his body ‘just shut down’.

At a conference on religious freedom held at Oxford University, he said: ‘If what I have heard is true about the relationship between the physical and mental health of gay men, then society is being very quiet about it.

‘Recently in Scotland, there was a gay Catholic MP who died at the age of 44 or so, and nobody said anything, and why his body just shut down at that age.

‘Obviously he could have had a disease that would have killed anybody.

‘But you seem to hear so many stories about this kind of thing, but society won’t address it.’ A source close to David Cameron said the Prime Minister believed the Archbishop’s remarks were ‘totally unacceptable’.

Mr Cairns’s partner of 15 years, Dermot Kehoe, accused him of delivering a ‘hate speech’, and said the comments had added to his grief.

Mr Kehoe said the bishop’s ‘ignorance and prejudice should not go unchallenged’. He wrote on Twitter: ‘Tartaglia’s comments are hate speech. He has position of moral leadership and should not speak from ignorance of the facts... Distressing and painful.’


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Did the Jonesboro Sun Publish Hate Speech?

Sounds a reasonable comment to me.  Homosexuals themselves often refer to themselves as queer these days

LGBT group Wipe Out Homophia posted a photo on Facebook that shows what looks to be a letter to the editor on the Jonesboro Sun, an Arkansas newspaper, that could be interpreted as hate speech.

The short message, under the headline “Correct Decision,” and written by someone named Carl Baxter, reads as follows:

“Congratulations to the Boy Scouts of America for doing the right thing and reaffirming their gay ban. That’s why they are called Boy Scouts and not Queer Scouts of America,” the message says.

According to Alyssa Aldridge, who sent the photo to WOH, it was published last Saturday, on July 21.

No LGBT organizations that we know of have approached the newspaper about the letter so far. However, the Facebook post received close to 500 comments in the last hours, many in repudiation.


Chick-Fil-A ‘Smeared By Vicious Hate Speech And Intolerant Bigotry’

Regardless of what you think of Huck,  it's a good thing that there's some pushback against the anti-Christian bigots

Mike Huckabee has designated Wednesday, August 1, as National Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day because he is “incensed at the vitriolic assaults on the Chick Fil-A  company.” Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister and failed Republican presidential candidate, created the event and posted it on his Facebook page, claiming the only reason Americans are angered with Chick-Fil-A is “because the CEO, Dan Cathy, made comments recently in which he affirmed his view that the Biblical view of marriage should be upheld.”

Huckabee added that “if Christians affirm traditional values, we’re considered homophobic, fundamentalists, hate-mongers, and intolerant.”


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Censorship at Blogger News

Blogger News is a small (few articles) and rather quiet (few hits and few comments)  site where the average story seems to get  about 400 hits.  It started out as a libertarian/conservative site but has now dropped that claim, presumably with the intent of broadening its audience.  It does a lot of book and TV reviews also with that intent in mind presumably.

I have been irregular contributor there since before the present management took over.  I have put things up there that I would like  to  get to people who do not read any of my blogs.  And some of my posts there have got over 1,000 hits.

They have however refused to put up one of my articles that I submitted to them recently so I doubt that I will send anything more to them.  You can read the "censored" article here.  There is no doubt that the article was on a generally "forbidden" topic but it is sad to see censorship encroaching where there was none before -- particularly since the article I submitted was solidly based on good scientific research.

They of course have every right not to put up my writings and I  have every right to send them nothing more.


They now say that they withheld my article because it had typos in it!


'Vile and tasteless' toy?

Toy guns are common so why not this one?

A [British] luxury department store has apologised for selling wooden toy versions of Soviet-era rocket launchers.  London store Liberty was forced to pull the £23.50 toy from is shelves following a number of complaints, with some describing it as 'vile' and 'tasteless'.

Available in baby pink, yellow or natural wood, the design appeared to be marketed at younger children.  The toy was based on Katyusha rocket launchers which were first used in the Second World War by the Soviet Union.  Recently, they have been used by Hezbollah militants to fire rockets into Israel and during the Libyan conflict last year." 

More here

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

United Nations Bans Song for Criticizing Tyrants

The United Nations will tolerate many things (child rape, corruption, socialist thuggery, scientific fraud, Islamofascism, over the top demagoguery, etc.), but criticizing tyrants goes over the line:
    The dreams of dozens of Norwegian girls ended in disenchantment on Saturday when organizers axed part of their show at the UN General Assembly in New York, citing concerns over lyrics listing some of history’s worst tyrants.

    The 46 members of the Norwegian Girls Choir had long looked forward to performing their song about war and peace at the General Assembly Hall, newspaper Aftenposten reports.

    But the girls, aged 12 to 19, never got to realize their ambition after the organizers of the Rhythms of One World Festival took fright on hearing the choir sound-check.

    As conductor Anne Karin Sundal-Ask worked out some of the details for the stage show with a lighting technician, the choir shrieked out the names of infamous tyrants from Hitler and Mussolini to Quisling, Stalin, Lenin, Castro, Tito, Maria Antoinette and Papa Doc.

    “The mood changed quickly at that point and they wanted a list of all the names,” Sundal Ask told the newspaper.

    The choir leader said she was willing to compromise and remove some of the names but the organizers at the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation eventually told her the girls were not going to be allowed to perform the piece.

The award-winning song has been performed all over the world. Gasps composer Maja Ratkje,      “As far as I’m aware, this is the first time my art has been censored.”

If you want your music to be performed at the UN, be sure to limit criticisms to rhetorical rotten tomatoes hurled at the USA and Israel.


Thought crime in Britain

Peter Saunders

Last week, Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London staged a five-day trial (cost to the taxpayer: unknown, but doubtless staggering) at which Chelsea and England soccer star John Terry successfully defended himself against the charge that he had racially abused an opposing player, Anton Ferdinand, during a Premier League game last season.

Ferdinand told the court that during the game, Terry had called him a ‘c---,’ so he called back him a ‘c---’ back and accused Terry of ‘shagging his team mate’s missus.’ Terry responded with the words: ‘F------ black c---,’ although Ferdinand did not hear him say it. The incident was later posted on YouTube, and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) started a criminal investigation, resulting in Terry’s arrest and trial.

It was not the foul language that landed Terry in trouble. The word that put him in the dock was the only part of his utterance fit to print without asterisks (and the only bit that was descriptively accurate). It was the adjective, black.

Ever since 1965, incitement of racial hatred has been a criminal offence in Britain. This was incorporated into the 1986 Public Order Act, under which Terry was charged. This Act has subsequently been extended to prohibit incitement of hatred of religious and sexual minorities as well, so if Terry had referred to Ferdinand as, say, a ‘f------ Muslim c---’ or a ‘f------ gay c---,’ he could have found himself in the same sort of trouble (calling someone a ‘f------ bald c---’ or a f------ old c---’ is, however, not currently illegal, so bald old Brits like me have no statutory protection).

This case has given middle Britain a ghastly insight into the depraved culture of England’s sporting elite. Foul-mouthed men like Terry earn around £150,000 per week and are revered as role models by youngsters up and down the country. They are gross, yet they are treated as heroes.

What is more disturbing, though, is that Terry was brought to trial simply for the language he used. The case shows how Britain’s race relations laws attempt to control, not just what we do, but the way we think. Words betraying negative emotions about racial (or religious or sexual) minorities are illegal, regardless of whether they have any influence on behaviour.

It obviously makes sense to prohibit language intended to stir up violence, but that was never the case here. Terry and Ferdinand exchanged gross and abusive insults, nothing more. Yet Terry was arrested – not for anything he had done, but because he added that Ferdinand was black. That was enough to get him charged with what Orwell would recognise as ‘thought crime.’ It showed (in the eyes of the prosecution) that Terry was a ‘racist.’

In the end, Terry got off because the prosecution failed to prove that he had intended to abuse Ferdinand when he mouthed the words he used. But this case is only the tip of a monstrous iceberg, and others have not been so lucky.

Since 2000, UK schools have been required by law to report ‘racist incidents’ to the authorities: 30,000 incidents were reported in 2008–09, more than half of them from primary schools. Even though 95% involved only verbal abuse or name-calling, the CPS launched almost 3,000 prosecutions against children aged between 10 and 17 for ‘hate crimes.’

Sometimes I wonder what has happened to the country that gave birth to John Stuart Mill.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Intolerant advocate of tolerance

Calls for inclusiveness but refuses to be inclusive of Christians

Mayor Thomas M. Menino is vowing to block Chick-fil-A from bringing its Southern-fried fast-food empire to Boston — possibly to a popular tourist spot just steps from the Freedom Trail — after the family-owned firm’s president suggested gay marriage is “inviting God’s judgment on our nation.”

“Chick-fil-A doesn’t belong in Boston. You can’t have a business in the city of Boston that discriminates against a population. We’re an open city, we’re a city that’s at the forefront of inclusion,” Menino told the Herald yesterday.

“That’s the Freedom Trail. That’s where it all started right here. And we’re not going to have a company, Chick-fil-A or whatever the hell the name is, on our Freedom Trail.”

Chick-fil-A has been swept up in a growing national controversy over company president Dan Cathy’s remarks questioning gay marriage and lauding the traditional family.


Australia:  Refugees must not be seen as sexy

Zoo Weekly magazine will issue a public apology in its next edition after its controversial call to find the "hottest asylum seeker".  The magazine's editor, Tim Keen, has confirmed in an email to an opponent of the two-page spread, Matt Darvas, that the magazine would apologise.

"We will explain that the reason for the apology is that we regret any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee who was offended, along with their families and supporters," Mr Keen wrote this afternoon.

Over a two-page spread, the magazine's July 16 edition read: "We're looking for Oz's hottest asylum seeker, so if you've swapped persecution for sexiness, we want to shoot you (with a camera - relax!)".

A petition on Change.org, set up by Mr Darvas, has called for Zoo Weekly to apologise for "exploiting asylum seekers", attracting more than 5000 signatures since yesterday morning.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Leftists desperately scrabbling to find racism in Romney and his supporters

The unexpected problem for the plug-uglies on the left is that neither Romney nor Republicans and other conservatives are acting like Republicans and conservatives are "supposed to act." They're not following their assigned roles in the script with harsh language and unyielding prejudices, reflecting what has happened everywhere. The n-word, for example, has been long banished from the conversation, at least in public, by nearly everyone.

Sometimes the "racism" ascribed to conservatives is so subtle that no one but the accuser could recognize it. Recent observations that the president looks '"skinny" is supposed to be racist code for a type who is "good at basketball." Mocking the former law professor is said to be code for "uppity." Any criticism or observation from certain quarters is code for racist.

The fact is that it's the Republicans who have blazed the way for greater acceptance of blacks in high office. George W. Bush appointed Colin Powell as his first secretary of state -- the first black to hold such high office in America -- and when he departed he was replaced by Condoleezza Rice. In the Republican presidential primaries earlier this year, Herman Cain, a relatively obscure black businessman, unexpectedly prospered and briefly led in the polls.


Free speech against Islam very shaky in Germany

A recent Legal Project article authored by me concerned a German court's fining (pending appeal) of Michael Mannheimer for his condemnation of Islam as an authoritarian and aggressive belief system.  However, on a more positive note, as reported again by the conservative German website Politically Incorrect (PI), another German court, on June 26, 2012, in the city of Darmstadt, rejected a call to prohibit a book decried by a German Muslim in a civil complaint as an assault upon his freedom of religion. 


Since most of the relevant documents are in German, I guess I should sum up.  Basically, two rather nutty people issued declarations denouncing Islam.  The real nutcase got off but the only slightly nutty guy was convicted.

So that does not really tell us much about how a scholarly comment about Islam in the context of political debate would fare but it seems  possible that it would be the most heavily fined of all.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ominous prelude to the Colorado shooting

Just yesterday I posted about the strong feelings apparently held about Hollywood's "Batman".  People appear to connect with the Batman myth in a strongly emotional way.

It certainly did not hit me at the time but the Batman scenario does of course have TWO major figures, Batman himself and the Joker.  And it looks like the Joker was an attractive figure too in our amoral times

There was a hint there of what was to come but nobody foresaw it.

Has the Leftist press started blaming the massacre on conservatives yet?  No doubt they will.  That is a kneejerk reflex for them despite past failures in that department.

If anyone is to blame aside from the inadequate shooter himself, I think the obvious pick is amoral and Leftist Hollywood.

When free speech collides with occupational licensing

"Can the government throw you in jail for offering advice on the Internet about what food people should buy at the grocery store? That is exactly the claim made by the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition.

In response, a major free speech lawsuit was filed in federal court on May 30. It seeks to answer one of the most important unresolved questions in First Amendment law: When does the government’s power to license occupations trump free speech?

The case could have a profound impact on the Internet freedom of millions of Americans who share advice on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and elsewhere online."


Australia: Blackman blacklisted by horse name censors

A painting by Charles Blackman above

One of Australia's top trainers has been ordered to change the name of one of his young racehorses.  Hall of Fame trainer David Hayes has been told two-year-old filly Blackman cannot keep her original name.

The filly, whose father is Excellent Art, was named after renowned Australian artist Charles Blackman.

But the change was ordered by Racing Information Services Australia (RISA), which controls the registration and naming of racehorses, after it received one complaint.

"Certainly the name itself is a surname and certainly respected the connection back to the artist Charles Blackman after which it was named," RISA spokesman Myles Foreman said.

"But (RISA) also found that where the name is used without the known context back to a surname, it could be construed as being offensive which is where ultimately the complaint started.

"Through a consultative process what we've landed at is retaining the original part of the name but placed Lady in front of it so that it is now known as Lady Blackman."

Mr Foreman said requests to change inappropriate names were rare.

"I think probably on average a name would be changed where a complaint has been raised about once a year, and we name around 13,000 names a year."

Hayes was not available for comment but he has been quoted as saying "it's the most ridiculous thing, the biggest reaction I've ever seen".

His view is shared by Sydney trainer David Payne.  "I think it's crazy," he said.  "What happens if you call a horse Whiteman? Would you have to change the name as well? It's just ridiculous."

Payne said he was forced to change the name of a horse in his native South Africa.  "One of my clients called it Islam and we had to change the name, but I think that's more serious than Blackman."

Peter Jurkovsky from the Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners Association of Victoria says the case highlights the perils of naming. "In the context of how the horse was named in particular, I think that is the most disappointing aspect," he said.

"The horse is by a stallion called Excellent Art and it was named after a famous painter and therefore in the context it is Blackman, not black man.

"It was one complaint. We find that a little bit incongruous. "But having had a look at the rules again, they are fairly clear that the registerer can do whatever they please and whatever they deem necessary under the rules."


Friday, July 20, 2012

Schumer calls for “limits on First Amendment rights” during Senate debate

The top order of business for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) this week is the DISCLOSE Act, a blatant attempt by liberals to circumvent and restrict the First Amendment.

Senate Democrats even staged a “midnight vigil” last night to promote their cause. That’s when the follies starting flying. New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat, had the biggest whopper of the evening when he called for “limits on First Amendment rights” during his Senate speech.  Here’s the transcript:
I believe there ought to be limits because the First Amendment is not absolute. No amendment is absolute. You can’t scream ‘fire’ falsely in a crowded theater. We have libel laws. We have anti-pornography laws. All of those are limits on the First Amendment. Well, what could be more important than the wellspring of our democracy? And certain limits on First Amendment rights that if left unfettered, destroy the equality — any semblance of equality in our democracy — of course would be allowed by the Constitution. And the new theorists on the Supreme Court who don’t believe that, I am not sure where their motivation comes from, but they are just so wrong. They are just so wrong.

Ultimately, the DISCLOSE Act failed to get the 60 votes necessary Tuesday afternoon. The final vote was 53 to 45. But even though it’s now failed this session and the last one, there are no permanent victories in Washington.


Must not criticize Batman?

Pity poor Marshall Fine of the movie blog Hollywood & Fine (whatever that is).

As the first person to pan The Dark Knight Rises on Rotten Tomatoes, he found himself on the bottom of a pile-up of anonymous vitriol and even death threats (closing on 900 as I write this, 200 in the first 10 minutes after the review was posted).

Some were as simple as "R.I.P. Marshall Fine" or "It was nice knowing you." Some were passive-aggressive ("I give you permission to die") For comparing the widely-praised finale of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy to Transformers, other more explicit ones were apparently deleted by Rotten Tomatoes. Still others threatened to destroy his website (ultimately it was shut down by traffic).

As lynch mobs go, they weren't exactly single-directional. Some attacked other posters, bringing up a mental image of a brawl within a riot.

Bear in mind, virtually none of the posters had seen The Dark Knight Rises.

As humourous as a flame war can be, there's an undertone to this mania for unanimity of opinion that's a little disconcerting -- especially when it comes from people drunk on the courage of anonymity.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pantyliner advert that uses 'bold' language to describe bodily functions leaves viewers outraged by 'offensive' terms

An advert for a popular brand of pantyliners has sparked outrage after viewers complained it contained language they deemed offensive.

The 30 second television commercial by Johnson & Johnson brand Carefree dispenses with the customary euphemisms and sanitised suggestions at bodily functions.

Instead, the actress in the advert talks openly about the woman's monthly cycle - mentioning the words 'vagina' and 'discharge'.

The actress in the commercial, naked but for a scattering of flower petals to protect her modesty, says to the camera that 'even that bit of discharge in between our period is our body working to keep the vagina healthy.'

She goes on to say that Carefree pads 'lock away wetness and odour, helping you to feel dry, clean and fresh every day.'

Such references may seem entirely innocuous to most.  But after the advert, created by ad firm 303Lowe, aired for the first time on Monday night in New Zealand, the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) received nine complaints, with viewers objecting particularly to the words 'vagina' and 'discharge'.


The current speech uproar in England

Derbyshire Police said on Tuesday they are investigating alleged racist comments made on Twitter involving Chelsea player Ashley Cole and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

Cole, who gave evidence at team mate John Terry's racism trial last week, was labeled 'choc-ice' by a Twitter user thought to live in Britain.

The user posted a message to 33-year-old Ferdinand shortly after Terry had been cleared of a racially aggravated public order offence at Westminster Magistrates' Court last week.

Former England captain Terry was accused of abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton during a Premier League match between Chelsea and QPR.

"Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice," said a tweet directed to Ferdinand.  "Then again he's always been a sell out. Shame on him."

Ferdinand replied with: "I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!"

The term 'choc-ice' is understood to have racial connotations meaning a person is 'black on the outside' and 'white on the inside


Note that the guy who agreed with the tweet is the one who is in the gun

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

French political party to sue "Madonna" (Madonna Louise Ciccone) over swastika video

"Madonna" was pretty offensive about this -- all for cheap publicity, it seems.  It's a libel.   You don't have to be a Nazi to be critical of high levels of Muslim migration  -- which is the central concern of Ms Le Pen.  France has pretty tough anti-defamation laws so I hope they are used in full in this case

France's far-right National Front said Sunday it plans to sue Madonna over a video at a concert in France showing the party leader Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead.

"We cannot accept such an odious comparison," National Front vice-president Florian Philippot said, adding that the legal action against Madonna would be filed this week.

The video, which served as a backdrop for Madonna's performance of the song Nobody Knows Me, flashed a picture of Le Pen's forehead bearing a swastika, followed by an image resembling Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

There was an audible gasp from the audience at the concert in the Stade de France in a Paris suburb on Saturday when the video appeared as part of Madonna's stage show.


The Word "Kitchen" Is Also Racist

Romney mentioned a "kitchen cabinet" in his speech. Kitchen cabinet is a 120 year old reference to a group of close, but not necessarily formal, advisers to the president. I.e., the president has some very important advisers or Wise Men who don't hold any formal position in his administration. The actual cabinet was originally conceived (IIRC) as just that circle of Wise Men; but in fact cabinet positions were given out for other reasons, including political one, so it hasn't served that function. The "Kitchen Cabinet" does. It's the group of advisers the President actually trusts.

Anyway, this age-old term is now racist, because, you know, blacks and kitchens. Wink wink.

I really didn't get this at first. But now I think: "Ah, slaves used to work in the kitchen." They also used to work in offices, so is it racist to say the Office of the Presidency?

I expect so, in time. In time, we'll find out everything is racist. Including the words "and" and "the," as they say.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Indiana cop punished for giving an informal opinion on the civil rights act

A New Albany police officer's 30-day suspension for making a racially-charged statement has been upheld by the Indiana Court of Appeals.

In January 2010, Officer Jack Messer said to a group of fellow officers during a conversation about public housing, "The biggest mistake the government made was giving those people civil rights." Messer was referring to African-Americans. The conversation took place after roll call while Messer was on duty.

Messer later called his remark "stupid," and testified that he was trying to state that African-Americans have equal rights but have been held back by welfare and government housing.

The NAPD conducted an internal investigation and cleared Messer of wrong doing, but the Police Merit Commission issued a complaint. It found that Messer's original statement caused offense to members of the community, raised suspicions of racism in the department and was conduct unbecoming an officer.

Messer was suspended for 30 days. He appealed his case to the Indiana Court of Appeals, claiming his statement was speech protected by the First Amendment.

On Friday, the Appeals Court rejected Messer's argument.


Australia: Murdoch representative vows to fight media censorship in the High Court if necessary

NEWS Limited chief executive Kim Williams has upped the stakes in the media regulation debate, declaring he is willing to go to the High Court to protect free speech.

Speaking at an SA Press Club lunch in Adelaide yesterday, Mr Williams outlined a case against both "Finkelstein" and "Convergence" reviews now before Federal Government.

He said the "preposterous and foolish" Finkelstein recommendations should be treated with caution.

The Finkelstein recommendation for press standards to be overseen by a super regulator was "prima facie bad" because journalists could be fined or jailed with no right of appeal.

When asked how far he was willing to take the company in the fight against the proposed regulations should they be implemented, Mr Williams was unwavering in his response.

"We'll take the matter as far we can - I'll take it to the High Court. If people intend to have this stoush ... let's have it."

Promoting a "consumer first" model of reporting, Mr Williams said it should be the public, not the government, who set the news agenda.  "Consumers anoint the winners, not governments or regulators," Mr Williams said.

"Australians don't need dangerous new laws to give them greater media diversity; they just need a mobile device, or a television or a laptop.

"We should be celebrating this  tidal wave of change and  freedom of information rather than running to hide behind new rules to try to bring it under some tired and inevitably futile form of old-fashioned, unthinking control."

Mr Williams also endorsed the company's print products and said despite the changing media world, News Limited was well positioned to move  forward.

Mr Williams also spoke about recent announcements at News Limited, publisher of The Advertiser, to streamline the company's operations into a "one city, one newsroom" model.

"News Limited has announced a plan to put the customer front and centre of everything we do - to invest and innovate and streamline our organisational structure so that it is fit for purpose for today's world."


Monday, July 16, 2012

Some Leftist "own goals" about free speech

I presume that all readers are familiar enough with football to understand what an "own goal" is

When during the run-up to the 2008 election Leftists tried to prevent distibution of a video critical of Hillary Clinton, the case eventually made it to SCOTUS.  A central issue was that the video was made with assistance from corporate funding and the Left wanted that delegitimized.

In what has become known as the "Citizens United" case, however, SCOTUS ruled that a group of people (which is what a company is) have the same free speech rights as individuals, so corporate funding of political campaigns is OK.

Leftists have been fuming about that verdict ever since.  Huge union contributions to political campaigns are  OK but corporate donations are not, apparently. But it was the Left that forced the issue by their censorship campaign. Own goal!

The latest fumarole that has appeared is in the NYT (where else?), where a Harvard professor, BENJAMIN I. SACHS, points out that pension funds often buy corporate stock and that pension money may therefore be supporting political campaigns that the pension contributor disagrees with.  With rather obscure logic, he argues that pensions therefore violate free speech.  I suppose he is arguing that they are some form of forced speech.

There are so many things wrong with his argument with that it is difficult to know where to start (e.g. political contributions would normally be made out of revenue, not out of capital) but let me point out the argument that the good professor is careful NOT to make.  He notes that unions have some restrictions on political uses of their members' dues but is careful not to argue that  pension funds should be barred from investing in corporations.

Why?  Because pension funds buy corporate stock only because they see it as a good investment and if they were barred from such investments they might have to resort to buying things like California government bonds instead.  Good luck with that!

Besides, coporations are big contributors to Green/Left campaigns anyway, so it could be the "free speech rights" of conservative union members that are being denied.  So if the good professor's wishes were translated into some form of action (e.g. a bar on all corporate political donations),  it could well be the Green/Left that loses most, not conservatives.  Own goal.

British football captain cleared of racial abuse charge

This verdict is a bit of a whitewash (blackwash?) but one must remember that footballers are like Royalty in Britain so rulings  are "fudged" on their behalf

Former England captain John Terry has been found not guilty of racially abusing rival player Anton Ferdinand.

Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle cleared the 31-year-old Chelsea skipper today at the end of a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court in London.

Terry, wearing a white shirt with a grey suit and tie, left court without speaking to media or supporters waiting outside.

He was accused of branding Queens Park Rangers player Anton Ferdinand a "f_____ black c___" during a match between Chelsea and QPR on October 23 last year.

Terry denied committing a racially aggravated public order offence. He told the court that he was sarcastically repeating words he thought Ferdinand had said to him.

The charge was brought by the Crown Prosecution Service, the state prosecutors in England and Wales.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Welcome to the Censorship Olympics
Under legislation by Tony Blair's Labour party

It beggars belief, but it can now be a criminal offence to use words like Games, Gold and Summer - or even a picture of the London skyline. The reason? An outrageous abuse of our laws to protect the profits of Olympic sponsors...

 Britain is at the start of an experiment in the criminalisation of everyday speech; a locking down of the English language, with punishments for those who use it too freely.

In passing the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Act of 2006, the Blair Government granted the organisers remarkable concessions. Most glaringly, the Act is bespoke legislation that breaks the principle of equality before the law.

For it has given privileges to the Olympics and its sponsors and to them alone. The Games' organisers can protect the Olympic trademarks, as any other organisation can protect theirs, but they can also control the use of words any business or shop, for example, may or may not associate with the Games. Along with bans on the use of the Olympic name, rings, motto and logo, the organisers have appropriated ordinary language.

The List A words include: 'Games', '2012' and 'twenty twelve'
At the organisers' behest, the Government told the courts they may wish to take particular account of anyone using two or more words from what it calls List A: `Games'; `Two Thousand and Twelve'; `2012'; and `twenty twelve'.

And the judges must also come down hard on anyone, even a charity, who takes a word from List A and joins it with one or more words from what is List B: `Gold'; `Silver'; `Bronze'; `London'; `medals'; `sponsors'; and `summer'. Common nouns are now private property.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games does not stop there. To cover all eventualities, it warns everyone in Britain against creating an `unlawful association' with the Games, which can be done without even mentioning the forbidden words!

Even the London skyline, believe it or not, is out of bounds if it is combined with, for example, an image of a runner carrying a torch.

And the punishments will not just be damages in the civil courts. The state has granted the police powers under the criminal law to enter `land or premises' and to `remove, destroy, conceal or erase any infringing article'.


I have put more of this story up on POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH

Australia:  Should TV broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings be  fair and accurate?

A rather unfunny Leftist satirist argues below that he should NOT have to be fair and accurate

In Australia the regulations for parliamentary broadcasts state: broadcasts may only be used for the purposes of fair and accurate reports of proceedings, and must not be used for satire or ridicule.

The reason for this law is not entirely clear. The provisions were included in the very first trial of parliamentary broadcasting for television in 1991. At the end of the trial period, the Parliament held a review of the rules. Paul Bongiorno, from Channel 10, questioned the rule, noting: "There are such things in newspapers as cartoons which daily hold up to ridicule our leaders, our politicians and our church leaders at times. They make them look very silly and we all laugh at them. On television, if you are going to do, for example, a political satire or cartoon, naturally enough you are going to hold up the politicians or our leaders to some sort of ridicule."

The response of the House of Representatives Select Committee on Televising was far from comprehensive: "The committee views the medium of television as being a much more powerful medium than any other and therefore discounts any suggestion that televising of proceedings should be as unrestricted as publishing in newspapers and magazines."

The argument is intriguing - we don't mind being ridiculed as long as it isn't by a powerful medium. The most common justification for the rule given to me has been "to protect the dignity of the house". If you have watched question time recently, where cat calls and guffawing pass the time before the daily call for the suspension of standing orders, such dignity may have evaded you.

Is this law actually a restriction on freedom of speech? True free speech does not restrict the tone or type of speech. It does not say, you may discuss your government, but only in polite tones. It does not say, you may criticise your politicians, but only in a well-researched op-ed piece.

As the US Supreme Court has accepted, the criticism of public figures "inevitably, will not always be reasoned or moderate"; public figures will be subject to "vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks".

Much more HERE

Friday, July 13, 2012

Free speech for lies?

So the  Supreme Court seems to have decided when it struck down the Stolen Valor Act

The act reads (in part), “Whoever falsely represents himself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States … shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.” An enhanced penalty is provided for falsely representing oneself as a Medal of Honor winner, which is what Xavier Alvarez did when he introduced himself as a new member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District Board in Claremont, Calif.

Convicted under the statute, Alvarez appealed, arguing that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was prosecuted for knowingly making a false statement. The plurality opinion (written by Justice Anthony Kennedy) agrees, declaring that the category of exceptions to the First Amendment’s general protection of speech does not include false statements. The supporting citation is to New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), in which it is said that because false statements are inevitable in public debate, they must be protected “if there is to be an open and vigorous expression of views.”

Kennedy also points out that in those instances (perjury, fraud, defamation) in which false statements have been criminalized, the statements are part and parcel of a “legally cognizable harm.” In the case of stolen valor, however, there is, Kennedy avers, no such harm; the statute “targets falsity and nothing more” and therefore could be extended to false statements “made to any person, at any time, in any context,” including “personal whispered conversations within a home.”


The verdict is pretty obnoxious but I can see the point of it.  The Act should have included a provision that an offence is committed only when someone gains a significant personal advantage from the lie.

Can the president switch off the internet? Critics fear new executive order hands Obama too much control over the web

Barack Obama has signed an executive order that could hand control of the internet to the U.S. Government, in the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The order lays out guidelines government agencies should follow if there's a serious emergency, so they can maintain levels of communication.

But critics are concerned by a section of the order they claim gives the president and the secretary of homeland security control of 'the on/off switch to the Web'.

The order, signed by President Obama last week, stated that 'The Federal Government must have the ability to communicate at all times and under all circumstances to carry out its most critical and time sensitive missions.'

But Section 5.2 has raised alarm among those who fear the government will have too much control over the Web.

The section explained how the secretary of homeland security - currently Janet Napolitano - will 'satisfy priority communications requirements through the use of commercial, Government, and privately owned communications resources, when appropriate.'

According to The Verge, sceptics fear the clause gives Mr Obama and Ms Napolitano 'control over the internet' over and above the needs of the nation in extreme cases, like natural disasters.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hate-filled enemies of "hate"

Hollywood and the American left love diversity, except when it offends their "progressive" value system.

Witness the reaction to actor Brad Pitt's mother, Jane, who publicly opposed President Obama's re-election. Mrs. Pitt's pro-life, anti-gay marriage statement to her local paper last week enflamed the Tolerance Mob. And her mere expression of dissident political views exposed the glittering hypocrisy of the left-wing "No H8" campaign.

In a letter to the editor for Missouri's Springfield News-Leader, Mrs. Pitt responded to another reader who argued that Christians should not support Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith. Arguing for interfaith tolerance, she praised Romney's "high morals" and "business experience." The celebrity mom urged "prayerful consideration" from fellow Christians before voting for Obama -- "a man," she pointed out, "who sat in Jeremiah Wright's church for years, did not hold a public ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage."

Self-appointed Tinseltown anti-bigotry cops blew their tops. The Hollywood Reporter labeled Mrs. Pitt's letter "anti-gay." Gossip website Global Grind, founded by rap mogul Russell Simmons, called her "homophobic." Perez Hilton, an L.A.-based gossip website operator and hanger-on to the stars who fronts the "No H8" gay-marriage movement in California, pounced on Mrs. Pitt as "mommy dearest."

Hilton angrily scrawled across a photo of Mrs. Pitt with her son: "A vote for Romney is a vote for God." After taking obligatory potshots at Christians, Hilton, who calls himself the "queen of all media," fumed: "Ugh! How can one woman birth such a beautiful boy, but have such unattractive views???"

You want ugly? Hilton knows ugly. He's the same trash-mouth blogger and former beauty pageant judge who attacked Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean with misogynistic profanities in 2009 because she said she opposed legalizing gay marriage at the federal level in favor of states' rights to put the question up for a vote. "She lost not because she doesn't believe in gay marriage," Hilton railed. "She lost because she's a dumb bitch!"

You want ugly? When word of Mrs. Pitt's letter spread on social media late last week, Twitter lit up with a stream of death threats, smears and slurs. My Twitter curation site, Twitchy.com, compiled just some of the vile bile aimed at Mrs. Pitt......

The usual civility police were in their usual place when the No H8 bullies mauled Mrs. Pitt: nowhere to be found.


Why does Canada still have a hate speech law?

Hardly was there time to celebrate the demise of Section 13, the infamous provision of the Canadian Human Rights Act prohibiting “communication of hate messages,” before we were reminded this was not the only unwarranted restriction on freedom of speech on the books.

Section 319.2 of the Criminal Code, for example, forbidding the “willful” promotion of hatred “against any identifiable group,” is currently getting a workout in a Regina courtroom in the case of Terry Tremaine, a sometime math lecturer and avowed neo-Nazi.

While Tremaine will have available to him the sorts of due process rights denied to those hauled before the human rights tribunals — the defence of truth among them — the end result is much the same: the suppression of speech society finds objectionable, for the sole reason that it is objectionable. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail.

The National Post, in an editorial, made the case that such prosecutions only provide a platform for the promotion of the very ideas that were supposedly so toxic as to require suppression. In the age of the Internet, moreover, only a tiny fraction of such material is ever likely to be caught in the state’s web, raising questions as to what, if anything, is being achieved.

To deprive someone of their freedom of speech is perhaps not so grave a matter as to deprive them of their physical liberty. But it is not that far off. It is defensible in certain limited cases, and only with the most rigorous justification. The harm asserted, therefore, cannot be vague or subjective. It must be of a kind that others can agree is harm. That is why the classical exceptions have tended to focus on individuals, and on the more tangible forms of harm.

More here

If you want to encourage tolerance,  being intolerant of some points of view is a strange way to go about it.  To encourage tolerance the first step is to BE tolerant.


I am getting around 250 spam comments per day here at the moment.  I just delete them all of course but it wastes a few minutes of my time.  Don't these guys ever give up?  I guess they're mostly spambots of some sort but they have really discovered this site with a vengeance. 

So if the Google spam filter throws a genuine comment into the spam box -- as it occasionally does --  all I can do is apologize.  There is no chance of rescuing it from amid the flood of spam

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Must not look forward to Obama's defeat

"The mayor of a Utah town is vowing to be 'a little more careful' in choosing who gets to march in the Fourth of July parade, after one entry mocking President Obama stirred controversy last week.

One float in the Hunstville, Utah, parade included someone dressed up as Obama, with one sign reading: 'Huntsville Welcomes Obama's Farewell Tour?'"


Pronouns must be abolished?

George Leef over at NRO’s Phi Beta Cons had a teasing link to this exciting news earlier today:

    "Harvard has appointed Vanidy “Van” Bailey as the College’s first permanent director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. Bailey, the assistant director for education at the University of California, San Diego, will assume the new position on July 16."

Alas, this long overdue shattering of the BGLTQ ceiling was marred by the Harvard Crimson’s grossly insensitive coverage:

    "An earlier version of this article used the pronoun “she” to refer to Vanidy “Van” Bailey, the newly appointed director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. In fact, Bailey prefers not to be referred to by any gendered pronoun."

So America is now the first nation in history in which people take on six figures of debt for the privilege of entrusting their education to persons with no pronouns. That seems likely to work.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Must not mention the race of someone you are criticizing

Denis Rancourt is a former tenured Full Professor of physics, University of Ottawa. He has run the "U of O Watch" blog, critical of the University of Ottawa, since 2007. Rancourt was dismissed from his full professorship in 2009, after 23 years. The dismissal is presently in binding labour arbitration where the hearings are scheduled to continue until June 2013.

In 2008, the student union at the University of Ottawa published a report ("the SAC report", Student Appeal Centre) alleging systemic racism in the University's treatment of academic fraud, based on the SAC's data and on case studies. This SAC report immediately attracted media attention.

The University asked tenured [black] Assistant Professor of law Joanne St. Lewis, then Director of the University's Human Rights Research and Education Centre, to write an evaluation ("the St. Lewis report") of the SAC report. The completed St. Lewis report was announced on the University web site and Professor St. Lewis did media interviews about her report.

The St. Lewis report was critical of the SAC report, found, in part, that:      "The short answer for this evaluator on whether there is systemic racism in the administration of the Academic Fraud process at the University of Ottawa is: I don’t know. What I do know, is that this report does not establish this in any measurable or analytically plausible fashion."

In 2011, Rancourt posted another blog article critical of the St. Lewis report, based on the newly released access to information documents. This second blog article was entitled "Did Professor Joanne St. Lewis act as Allan Rock's house negro?"

The later blogpost gave rise to a $1 million defamation lawsuit against Rancourt, initiated by St. Lewis, see June 23, 2011 Statement of Claim.

Rancourt sought to discover if the University of Ottawa was funding the St. Lewis litigation. This question was pursued and even was asked at the University's Senate via a student senator's motion

The University replied on October 25, 2011, via hired lawyer David Scott, that it was indeed funding the St. Lewis litigation against Rancourt.


Rancourt is an unusually straight shooter,  undoubtedly to his detriment.  I don't always agree with him but he calls it as he sees it.   He even rejects global warming!  I gather that they have been out to get him for a long time.  He needs donations for his legal defense.  Note that he was actually OPPOSING racism.

European Parliament rejects internet regulation proposal

The European Parliament has voted against signing up to the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The Parliament voted by 478 to 39 to reject the treaty, which aimed to prevent copyright infringement in both digital and real objects but became mired in controversy after secret negotiations. There were, however, 165 abstentions.

Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, hailed the move as "a tremendous victory for the movement, for democracy and for every European citizen that has demanded that their rights be respected. ACTA must be abandoned. The Commission must drop its calls to try again."

Earlier, a 19-12 Committee vote against the treaty had effectively ensured the full European Parliament would vote it down. Rapporteur David Martin MEP had previously told the Telegraph that ACTA was 'dead in the water'.

ACTA aims to protect the intellectual property in both digital and physical goods, and has proved divisive because it was negotiated largely in secret and had originally proposed criminal sanctions for those who used the internet to break copyright. It would tighten up the enforcement and definition of copyright theft, which is particularly controversial for web users who routinely share digital versions of music, films and software.

More here

Monday, July 09, 2012

Words, Then and Now

As a former Soviet citizen, Oleg is used to words being misused and is appalled at the Sovietization of American political discourse.  Below is his list of misused terms

Then: Ejecting from a failing aircraft before it crashes
Now: Injecting money into a crony too-big-to-fail bank before it crashes

Then: Someone a pal would share a drink with
Now: Someone a pol will share taxpayer money with

Then: You do what you want
Now: You do what we want

Then: A lack of the basic necessities of life
Now: A lack of the newest iPhone

Then: Resentment of one's skin color
Now: Resentment of one's political views

Then: A means of funding the services provided by the government
Now: A means provided to the government to screw you if you don't buy health insurance

Then: All the news that's fit to print
Now: All the news that fits our narrative, we print

Then: A scientific theory explaining the development of complex creatures from simpler ones
Now: A journalistic theory explaining the development of simplistic legal opinions from supposedly complex supreme court justices

Then: A person risking some of his own money in hopes of a positive return
Now: A politician risking a lot of the public's money which he's positive won't be returned

Then: A movement seeking to preserve the earth for future generations
Now: A movement seeking to kill off future generations to preserve the earth

Then: A loan made to a mature, responsible person for the purpose of purchasing a house
Now: A loan made to an immature, irresponsible person for the purpose of making politicians feel good

Then: Spending billions to build a rocket to take men to the moon and break rocks
Now: Spending billions to build a train to take men from Bakersfield to Fresno which will never break ground

Then: A human with female sex organs and sexual characteristics
Now: A human with female sex organs and sexual characteristics who votes Democrat

Then: An occasion to celebrate with gifts to the new bride and groom
Now: An occasion to celebrate with a donation to Barack Obama

Then: "Change back from your dollar," an ad campaign for selling hamburgers
Now: "Change you can believe in," an ad campaign for selling a meathead

Then: Symbolic head of McDonalds
Now: Actual head of the US


 'illegal immigrant' is a slur?

A bit of fast and loose reasoning below

Last month's Supreme Court decision in the landmark Arizona immigration case was groundbreaking for what it omitted: the words "illegal immigrants" and "illegal aliens," except when quoting other sources. The court's nonjudgmental language established a humanistic approach to our current restructuring of immigration policy.

When you label someone an "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant" or just plain "illegal," you are effectively saying the individual, as opposed to the actions the person has taken, is unlawful. The terms imply the very existence of an unauthorized migrant in America is criminal.

In this country, there is still a presumption of innocence that requires a jury to convict someone of a crime. If you don't pay your taxes, are you an illegal? What if you get a speeding ticket? A murder conviction? No. You're still not an illegal. Even alleged terrorists and child molesters aren't labeled illegals.

More here

So nobody can be called an illegal immigrant until a court declares them so?  What were they before the court declared them illegal then?  Legal?

His reasoning is actually an example of the old logical  fallacy of composition, which  arises when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is true of some part of the whole.  So it may be true that a particular person should not be called illegal until a court has judged him but that does not imply that there is not a group of similar people which is illegally present -- and who can thus be referred to as a whole as "illegals".

And even if we want to refer to a particular person as an illegal, we can reasonably follow newspaper practice and refer to him as an ALLEGED illegal immigrant.

But the argument is rarely about individuals.  It is about a very large group of people who are in America without permission.   Denying that such a group exists would be absurd and being in America without permission is illegal  -- hence the term illegal as a shorthand reference to that class of persons is perfectly reasonable.

Rather fun pulling that apart.

Ruben Navarrette Jr. doesn't think "illegal immigrant" is a slur either.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

‘Great Day For The First Amendment’: Walker Wins Appeal Vs. Kimberlin Peace Order

Back on May 29, Judge C.J. Vaughey of District Court of Maryland for Montgomery County signed a peace order against attorney Aaron Walker, preventing him from writing anything about convicted Speedway Bomber Brett Kimberlin.

Today both parties were back in court in front of Appellate Judge Nelson Rupp. This time, Walker was represented by attorney Reginald Bours.

Kimberlin made a number of statements, but his basic argument boiled down to Walker wanted to encourage people to blog about Kimberlin to incite others to harass him and send him death threats. As evidence, Kimberlin again had pages of Twitter feeds and blog posts.

This time, though, Judge Rupp did something extraordinary that Judge Vaughey did not. He actually looked at the evidence Kimberlin presented. After looking at them, Rupp declared, “I see nothing in here that threatens you personally.”

In the end, Judge Rupp wasn’t buying Kimberlin’s spiel. He ruled that there was no evidence to support stalking or harassment, and the peace order against Walker was thrown out.

I asked Walker if he had any comment. He replied, “It’s a great day for the First Amendment.”

Disgusting prank by Leftist magazine

The Duchess of Cambridge has done nothing to deserve this.  She is unfailingly polite and  pleasant to all.  It's just Leftist hatred of success in others again, I suppose

For someone so beautiful, this isn't pretty.  The face of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, has been slapped on the front of a U.S. magazine with a set of yellow, decaying teeth.

The Royal was PhotoShopped like the American stereotype of a Brit with bad gnashers for a special issue of the politics and arts publication The New Republic about the future of Britain.

Last year the pearly white Duchess spent thousands of pounds having her teeth polished and turned to give her the perfect smile.  French dentist Didier Fillion used a hidden brace to make Kate’s teeth appear a little out of line, un-American and therefore beautifully natural.

Sadly, this will just reinforce the British view of Americans as crude and crass.  It will  neither surprise nor upset most Brits. 

And helping to make their own country look bad will not disturb the American Left one bit.  Their patriotism is not even skin deep.  It is at most a hollow pretense.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Sweeping British speech laws ban even atheist posters

Nobody must be offended by anything in Britain

POLICE have this afternoon issued a statement to clarify their position over a Boston pensioner who has vowed to display a poster labelling religions as ‘fairy stories’.

Officers say that they have not told John Richards he is committing an offence for displaying the poster but said he could only face arrest if he causes offence and refuses to take the poster down when they ask.

In a statement Lincolnshire Police said the 1986 Public Order Act states that a person is guilty of an offence if they display a sign which is threatening or abusive or insulting with the intent to provoke violence or which may cause another person harassment, alarm or distress.

The statement adds: “This is balanced with a right to free speech and the key point is that the offence is committed if it is deemed that a reasonable person would find the content insulting.

“If a complaint is received by the police in relation to a sign displayed in a person’s window, an officer would attend and make a reasoned judgement about whether an offence had been committed under the Act.

“In the majority of cases where it was considered that an offence had been committed, the action taken by the officer would be to issue words of advice and request that the sign be removed.

“Only if this request were refused might an arrest be necessary.

More here

The Muslim teenager who 'insulted six dead soldiers on Facebook' appears in British court charged with 'gross offense'

He'd probably be within the law in the USA but Britain is different.  In this case I don't think I'm too cut up about it though.  Why does Britain let these charmers into their country?

A teenager appeared in court yesterday charged with making offensive comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers.

Azhar Ahmed, 19, has been accused of committing an offence under the Communications Act of sending a ‘grossly offensive’ message.

At an earlier he pleaded not guilty to the charge and was due to stand trial at Huddersfield Magistrates Court yesterday.

Ahmed is alleged to have posted the insulting Facebook message on his profile page on 8 March - two days after the soldiers were killed in an explosion in Afghanistan.

Ahmed walked into court wearing a cap and with a white woollen hoodie pulled up over this head.

The District Judge heard no evidence and adjourned the trial until 14 September due to an unexpected legal problem.  Ahmed, of Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was released on bail.

More here

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The usual:  Lesbian college student 'faked anti-gay notes'

A lesbian student has been kicked out of college and arrested after it emerged she was behind a string of anti-gay messages slipped under her dorm room door, police said.

After the notes were found in Alexandra Pennell's room at Central Connecticut State University in March, hundreds came out in support of the student at a campus rally against hate crimes.

But when police hid a camera along the hallway outside her room, they allegedly caught her leaving the notes herself - and she admitted she had written them to get the attention of her roommate.

She now faces charges of fabricating evidence, lying to police and making false statements. She has also been barred from attending any state university for five years, the Hartford Courant reported.


Free speech for dodgy professors, too

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties’, proclaimed the seventeenth-century poet John Milton. To some of my fellow students in the UK, however, it seems this fundamental liberty shouldn’t extend to academics who hold views they dislike.

Last week, Cambridge University students protested against economics supervisor Martin Sewell, who has penned a number of articles on his personal website concerning race, equality between men and women, and eugenics. The dodgy nature of the don’s views on these subjects is fairly clear. For example, in one post Sewell claims: ‘The most likely reason for the high incidence of black crime is blacks’ lower intelligence and greater impulsivity, which themselves are probably biological in origin.’ This is hardly an original claim, and one which has been debunked many times. As well as descriptions of female immigrants appearing to men as ‘exotic fruit’, students have also taken exception to his claims about eugenics, which he says are ‘actually highly desirable: eugenics can help eliminate genetic diseases, reduce personality disorders and increase intelligence via human biotechnology. Time to reconsider.’

Far more problematic than his views, some of which are certainly highly questionable, is the response from the Cambridge University Students’ Union (CUSU). A CUSU representative argued that Sewell is an individual who ‘cannot remain as a supervisor for Cambridge students’. Sewell himself teaches and researches economics, specialising in land economy. How exactly his views on race, eugenics and sexual equality should impact upon this field of research is not made clear. However, even if they did relate to his specific field of research and teaching, his views should be of no significance. Such veiled calls for the man’s dismissal flies in the face of academic freedom.

Universities should be a place where no idea is sacred, where even the most widely-accepted ideas are subjected to intense scrutiny. Academic institutions such as Cambridge should be a place where all controversial viewpoints can be uttered and debated.


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Facebook heavily biased in enforcing their own rules

My recent interaction with Facebook confirmed what many have already observed: You can mock Jesus and the Christian faith on Facebook in the crudest and ugliest terms without penalty (as you’ll see in a moment, I do mean “crudest and ugliest”), but if you dare post something that is considered offensive to LGBT members, you could very well be punished.

To recap briefly, earlier this month , on two consecutive days, Facebook deleted the page for my book A Queer Thing Happened to America for alleged violation of community standards. The first time it was removed, Facebook told me that it was deleted accidentally; when it happened again (the very next day, with a stern warning sent to my colleague who had created the page), I emailed documentation to Facebook, showing them where at least one gay Facebook group had targeted my page.

Several hours later, with sincere apologies from my contact at Facebook, the page was restored and I was assured that the complaints of a few people should not be able to take a page down. For this I am grateful, but my serious concerns about censorship and double standards remain.

page was restored and I was assured that the complaints of a few people should not be able to take a page down. For this I am grateful, but my serious concerns about censorship and double standards remain.  Can you believe Facebook allows this?
    ‘F— Your F— ing God, You Ignorant Blinded Dumb F—’” (please excuse the language. I’m so sorry.)

    So I reported it to Facebook and got this reply:
    “Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”

The actual page features a revised version of Da Vinci’s Last Supper in which a Satan-like creature stands in the center of the disciples and on the table, in front of him, lays the severed and gory head, shoulders, and chest of Jesus.


The assault on the Enid Blyton books

A comment from Australia below on the wonderful children's books by English author Enid Blyton.  I was a keen reader of them myself in my now long-gone childhood.  The stories are set in England in the first half of the 20th century and so use "prewar" English idioms.  The owners of the copyright, however, do from time to time reissue the books with "modernized" language in them.  Like the writer below, I regard that as a great loss -- JR

I went on ABC Radio in Melbourne yesterday to talk about Enid Blyton‘s latest bout with the rewrite man (or woman). Now, we all know that the Famous Five and Secret Seven books have been tinkered with in the past to remove what were seen as sexist and racist themes. Personally I don’t think that was necessary, but I can see why some people did and I don’t have a huge argument with them.

But this latest rewrite, to “update” the language of Blyton’s young characters, to edit out their goshes and gollys and make their speech “timeless” (read of this time), is, as I said on radio, absolute nonsense. Here’s how Marlene Johnson, head of Hachette’s children’s books in the UK, explained the decision:

"These days you don’t talk about jolly japes to kids."
She’s right, but so what? Kids these days don’t eat tinned tongue either, so do we rewrite the books to replace that staple foodstuff with a cheeseburger and fries?

And one of the stranger changes is to replace “peculiar”, such a lovely word, with the blander “strange”. Mercy me!

When I first read one of Blyton’s stories to my 7yo he was amazed and disgusted to learn that the kids in it ate tongue. It was wonderful to share that with him.

And this is my point: I love reading books to my son that expose him to the concept that people behaved differently in different times, and spoke differently. And that people in different nations have different customs and so on. I believe this is called learning!

This doesn’t apply only to old books either. My son loves Jeff Kinney‘s Wimpy Kid books, and when reading them I often have to explain American references that he doesn’t get. “In America," I say, “they call a footpath a sidewalk”, and so on. Only last night I had to did deep to explain the words Barry Manilow .

I think this sort of thing, working out that that there are different words that mean the same thing in different places, is good for the nimbleness of one’s brain, like doing the crossword. And the more you do it, the better you get. A few days ago we were reading an American book and the word "nimrod" came up. I asked the boy if he knew what a nimrod was and was pleased that he’d worked it out from the context. “A dickhead," he replied.


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Wind Farm Opponents File Suit Challenging Town of Morrison's Sign Ordinance

The small town of Morrison, Wisconsin, near Green Bay, has a free speech problem.  The town’s sign ordinance prohibits residents from placing signs with political or religious messages on their own property, and town officials have used that ordinance to stifle opposition to potential industrial wind turbine developments in the town.

Today, with legal representation from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, four Morrison residents – James and Barbara Vanden Boogart and Jon and Lori Morehouse – filed a federal lawsuit (Eastern District of Wisconsin case number 12-cv-491) challenging the constitutionality of the sign ordinance and seeking damages from town officials.  The lawsuit alleges that town officials – many of whom signed financially lucrative contracts to host wind turbines on their property – have used the sign ordinance to threaten and bully wind turbine opponents, like the Vanden Boogarts and Morehouses, in order to silence their voices.

“It's disheartening that town chairman Todd Christensen and other officials spend so much time and effort preventing town residents from putting up 4-foot signs, while out-of-state developers are trying to put up 400-foot wind turbines,” said Plaintiff Jon Morehouse.  “Government exists to protect people’s rights and freedoms, not take them away.”


Is there a right to shout at people through a bullhorn?

I can't find it in my copy of the Constitution.  It's possible to do street preaching in a polite and considerate way.  The Salvation Army used to do it in my home town and I would often stop a while to listen to the preaching and enjoy the hymns.  Shouting at people through a bullhorn doesn't sound like Christian meekness at all to me

It's Friday night in downtown Gainesville and the intersection of Southeast Second Avenue and Southeast First Street is a hub of activity.

Pedestrians stream along crosswalks on their to way to have dinner, get a cocktail or see a play. At restaurants and bars along the street, customers take to patio seating to enjoy the evening.

And, on the southwest corner of the intersection, members of the Dove World Outreach Center take turns at a bullhorn, bellowing diatribes against homosexuals, the religion of Islam, President Barack Obama and Christian churches that preach tolerance.

Over the last few years, members of the controversial Dove World, 5805 NW 37th St., have gained infamy, at one point on an international scale. They have sent their children to school with shirts bearing the message “Islam is of the devil,” burned the Quran and sparked furor in the Middle East, and, most recently, hanged an effigy of Obama.

For the last several months, they have targeted downtown Gainesville when it is at its busiest. They have called themselves the Warriors of Christ and claimed, at first, to have no connection to Dove World.

Some local restaurant and store owners say the vocal and hateful protests are putting a significant dent in business.

“It clears out my outside patio. Nobody wants to sit out there and listen to this,” said Shawn Shepherd, the owner of Vellos Brickstreet Grill and the president of the Gainesville Downtown Owners and Tenants Association.

“I believe in First Amendment rights, but to just badger people and scream at them, it doesn't make much sense.”


Monday, July 02, 2012

Enoch Powell's real prejudices are alive and thriving – in the rhetoric of the Left

Powell was a Conservative politician who warned in 1968 that Britain was letting too many blacks in.  He was widely condemned by the intelligentsia but praised by many working class Brits.  At the subsequent election, a common unofficial slogan was:  "If you want a n*gger for your neighbour, vote Labour".  There are still a lot of people in Britain who say:  "Enoch was right"

What was the key prejudice in Enoch Powell's infamous 1968 speech, which everyone is talking about again following Powell's 100th birthday? It wasn't actually hatred of immigrants, whom Powell believed to be ambitious, ferociously so. Rather it was fear of native Britons. It was fear of what white Brits, or what Powell referred to as the "ordinary working man", might do if more and more foreigners turned up in their towns.

Indeed, Powell explicitly argued that "the sense of alarm and resentment lies not with the immigrant population but with those among whom they have come". It was these people, he said, these "ordinary Englishmen", who posed a threat to the social order, since their anti-immigrant anger had become so intense that to introduce more immigrants would be to "risk throwing a match in to gunpowder". In short, "ordinary working men" were a powder-keg of unpredictable emotions whom the state should try its best not to antagonise. Or as Powell put it, "The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils", including the evil of "ordinary working men" having their "alarm and resentment" further stirred up.

Even Powell's most notorious line – "like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood" – was a prediction not of immigrant behaviour but of native British violence against immigrants. Powell said native Brits, "for reasons which they could not comprehend" (presumably because they were a bit dim), were feeling dangerously like "strangers in their own country".
So Powell's speech was not only a piece of scaremongering about immigrant numbers. It was also a slur against working people, whom he presumed, for his own narrow political purposes, to be parochial, intolerant of foreignness, and given to outbursts of ethnic envy and violence.

Today, that Powellite prejudice is alive and thriving – in the rhetoric of the Left. In a wickedly ironic historic twist, today it is those who claim to be anti-racist and to hate everything Enoch stood for who maintain the Powellite view of Britain as a potentially atavistic hellhole, inhabited by resentful whites who are one provocation away from filling rivers with immigrant blood.

Of course, they have made a tiny PC tweak to this Powellite prejudice: where he argued that the arrival of more immigrants would explode the gunpowder of resentment in white working communities, they argue that heated debate about or criticism of immigration will do that.

Anti-racist commentators are forever insisting that allowing the BNP to appear on TV or other public platforms "gives encouragement to the thug on the street to engage in racist… violence", as if ordinary people are empty vessels easily filled with anti-immigrant spite. They claim that in the local areas where far-Right politicians make belligerent speeches about the problems of immigration, "racial violence and racial hatred" intensify, because, apparently, working-class automatons hear something hateful and act on it.


Medieval darkness from Teheran

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi may have taken his country's anti-Israel rhetoric a step too far Tuesday during a speech at an anti-drug conference in Tehran.

According to the New York Times, Rahimi told conference participants Zionists are "the main elements of the international drug trade."

"The Islamic Republic of Iran will pay for anybody who can research and find one single Zionist who is an addict. They do not exist," he said. "This is the proof of their involvement in drugs trade."

Rahimi also said the Talmud -- a compilation of rabbinic discussion -- teaches Jews they're a superior people and should destroy all who oppose them.

"They think God has created the world so all other nations can serve them," he said.

Rahimi also claimed Jews started the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and that Zionists gave gynecologists orders to kill black babies.

E.U. Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton called his remarks "unacceptable" and reaffirmed the European Union's "absolute commitment to combating racism and anti-Semitism."

"The High Representative is deeply disturbed by racist and anti-Semitic statements made by Iranian First Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi at the U.N. International Day against Drug Abuse," Ashton said.

U.N. Secretary Ban Ki-moon issued a statement earlier condemning Rahimi's remarks.

"The secretary-general has on many occasions called on Iranian officials to refrain from these kinds of anti-Semitic statements," U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said on his behalf. "He does so again in response to these latest reported comments. He believes it is the responsibility of leaders to promote harmony and understanding and he deeply regrets expressions of hatred and religious intolerance."

One European participant quoted by the Times said, "This was definitely one of the worst speeches I have heard in my life."

"My gut reaction was, 'Why are we supporting any cooperation with these people?'"

An example of the virtue of free speech.  Because this nut was free to air his views, he did a good job of harming the standing and reputation of the evil regime he represents

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Abusive students sent to reform school for a year

Amazing!  Disgusting behavior gets significant punishment for once

The middle school students who tormented a bus aide in Upstate New York have been suspended from school for one year, according to the Greece School District.

The students insulted Karen Klein and made fun of her weight and looks — calling her “fat” and saying she looks “like a troll” — and threatened to egg her house.

At one point, a student even says Klein’s family killed themselves to not be anywhere near her. Klein’s eldest son committed suicide a decade ago.

The incident was captured in a 10-minute cell phone video by one of the students and posted to YouTube, drove Klein to tears.  At least 10 minutes of the bullying was recorded, but it is unclear how long the taunting lasted.

The following is a partial statement issued from the Greece School District:

“Greece Central School District Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams today announced that the due process requirements have been met and the district is able to release the result of their investigation and the assignment of disciplinary consequences for the four Athena Middle School students involved in the mistreatment of their bus monitor.

“Following individual meetings this week with school and district administrators, each family waived their right to a hearing and agreed to one-year suspensions from school and regular bus transportation. The Greece Central School District is legally required to provide all students ages 5 to 16 with an education, therefore, during the 2012-13 school year, the students who have been suspended will be transferred to the district Reengagement Center, located in a non-school facility. This alternative education program keeps middle school students on track academically while providing a structured opportunity for students to take responsibility for their actions by completing community service hours and receiving formal instruction related to conduct and behavior that prepares them for a productive future. The program includes a strong parent involvement component.

“Each student will be required to complete 50 hours of community service with senior citizens and will complete a formal program in bullying prevention, respect and responsibility. In accordance with district policy, if at 30 weeks into the school year the students have completed the conditions of their discipline and are in good standing at the Reengagement Center, they can apply for early readmission to Athena Middle School.”

You are free to utter abusive speech but if it brings retribution down on your head not many people are going to cry for you