Sunday, March 31, 2013

Soccer org says refs can halt matches for “racism”

Even sport is being brought under the iron heel of speech conformity

"UEFA reiterated its zero-tolerance policy on racism at a meeting in Sofia on Thursday, encouraging referees to halt matches if need be and encouraging teams to denounce racism among fellow players and fans. UEFA’s executive committee said it 'recommends and fully supports referees to stop matches in cases of racism and calls on national associations and leagues to do the same,' in a resolution drawn up by the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) and ratified Thursday."


US congressman apologises for racial slur

Nobody must be offended any more

LONG-SERVING US Republican politician Don Young has issued an apology after sparking criticism for referring to Hispanic migrant farmworkers as "wetbacks."

"My father had a ranch; we used to have 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," Young, one of the most senior members of the US House of Representatives, said in a radio interview.

"It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It's all done by machine."

The term "wetbacks" has a pejorative and racist connotation and is occasionally used to refer to undocumented migrants, particularly those who arrived from Mexico.

In a statement, Young apologised for the slur, saying he employed a "term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California."

"I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect," he said.


Friday, March 29, 2013

No free speech in Austria

Austria's Roman Catholic Church has forbidden a priest from preaching to his flock at Easter Mass because of his comments against gays and Muslims.

The move comes after the 75 year-old priest, Karl Tropper, has been repeatedly warned to desist from inciting hate against gays and Muslims.

Last week he called gay people ‘homo-deranged’, he has also described Islam as ‘pure racism’.

Tropper has a history of using hate language, in numerous press releases from his Church he referred to LGBT people and Muslims in hateful terms, reported the daily Kleine Zeitung.

Austria’s Catholic Church previously put these comments down to Tropper’s old age but explicitly warned him on Thursday (21 March) to stop inciting hatred or else face retirement.

Tropper ignored the warnings and in an interview the following day (22 March) with the daily Kleine Zeitung he described gays as ‘perverts’, adding: ‘If you can no longer say this, you have to go as a parish priest into retirement’.


No free speech in football

Recently, Chris Culliver, cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers, said on The Artie Lange Radio Show, "I don't do the gay guys, man. I don't do that. Ain't got no gay people on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff ... Can't be ... in the locker room, nah."

The backlash began just minutes after Culliver made the remarks and the 49ers were quick to release a statement that made their official stance on the subject clear, "There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community."

Culliver, who is required to undergo sensitivity training and work with at-risk youth as part of his punishment, issued an apology the very next day stating, "The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel."


Thursday, March 28, 2013

PETA "insensitive" to women

PETA, or the People's Ethical Treatment of Animals, claim to recognise the "right of all animals to be treated with respect". They are famous for their outlandish stunts such as dousing Kim Cattrall in red paint and involving celebrities such as Pamela Anderson in their efforts. Although they are most likely the world's largest animal rights group in the world, and certainly the most well-known, PETA seem to care very little for one animal in particular: human beings.

PETA have a long history of using 'scandalous' pictures in an endeavour to gain some edge in their advertising campaigns. Their complete lack of respect in regard to the human female form is incredible, and their adverts frequently engage in some kind of body-shaming message in their endeavours to bring a worldwide switch to vegetarianism or veganism. They have a habit of objectifying women for causes as utterly unrelated to sex as bull-riding and getting your five-a-day. After looking through a selection of their ads, both past and present, what is notably lacking amongst the naked women and attempts at shock value is the presence of any actual animals.

Although they defend their decision to use almost exclusively naked women in their advertisements on the basis that 'sex sells', it cannot be overlooked that by replacing abused animals with abused women, they are hitting much too close to the truth. In a world where violence against women is rife, using shackled and bruised women in an attempt to promote ethical treatment of elephants is inappropriate and insensitive.


White men not allowed to talk about race

All whites are "privileged", apparently  -- and therefore incapable of understanding.  That sure sounds like bigotry against whites to me  -- JR

Most people who are not straight white men would probably smirk at the idea that straight white men feel alienated in the higher education workplace.

Those who smirk, Sandra Miles said here at the annual conference of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, are hindering meaningful discussion about race.

Miles, whose dissertation on the professional experiences of black women in her field produced an unexpected sub-study about the alienation of straight white men, made this argument to a couple hundred people who turned up to hear more about her research. The ensuing debate was, unsurprisingly, somewhat contentious.

A comment by one white graduate student toward the end of the session summed it up well. He described a recent discussion about privilege in a higher education class, when he was shot down after offering his own thoughts.

“I couldn’t even begin to have that conversation because it was automatically assumed I didn’t understand,” he said. “To go through that experience in a higher education class – which is supposed to be the safest place to talk about that – was just terrifying.”


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Must not quote what Muslims themselves say:  That's "hate"

A controversy has been re-ignited this week as ten new ads go up on San Francisco Muni buses containing quotes used by terrorists.

“Killing Jews is worship that draws us closer to Allah,” reads one of the ads, which has people debating the line between free speech and hate speech.

“The purpose of our campaign is to show the reality of Jihad, the root causes of terrorism. Using the exact quotes and text that they use,” said Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Institute.

Several San Francisco city leaders, including District Attorney George Gascon, have condemned the campaign.  “San Francisco won’t tolerate Islamophobic bigotry,” said Gascon.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu said the American Freedom Defense Initiative is made of “well-known hate extremists” and said he is introducing a resolution at Tuesday’s board meeting to denounce the ads.


Obama's anti-gun hate speech

Democrats apparently know no bounds in their quest for gun control.

The Second Amendment and the right to own guns and firearms by law abiding American citizens must not be overthrown or defeated by the current Obama administration.

President Barack Obama and his conspiring drive-by news media have ruthlessly attacked and smeared the tea party, conservatives and talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Mike Savage, Glenn Beck and other voices of freedom and truth.

Now, Mr. Obama will stop at nothing to attack the Constitution and anything or anyone that stands in his way.

There is no excuse or explanation for such uncalled for and savage hate speech being leveled against gun owners and red-blooded Americans. We, the innocent, are being treated like law breakers. Our right to own firearms must not be infringed upon by the current administration.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mich. Man Fights For Right To Display Anti-Obama Signs on His Property

A Michigan cattle farmer is fighting for the right to display two trailer-sized anti-Obama signs on his property, according to WOOD-TV.

Authorities in Gaines Township, Mich., say the massive signs on Vern Verduin’s property violate local zoning codes, which state that all political signs must be contained to 20 square feet.

The two signs, which are clearly visible from the highway, read “Marxism/Socialism = Poverty & hunger” and “Obama’s ‘mission accomplished.’ 8% unemployment. 16 trillion debt,” respectively.

“I felt that things were going in the wrong direction,” Verduin told WOOD-TV, adding that he’s concerned about hunger and poverty.

But here’s the thing: According to the same zoning ordinances, Verduin is allowed to display a sign that covers more than 20 square feet if it for the purpose of “selling ideas.” So that’s how he plans on fighting the town.

“You can have a 32-foot advertising sign. I don’t get that,” said the cattle farmer.

“This is clearly a violation of his free speech and free exercise right,” attorney Howard Van Den Heuvel added.


Twitter Faces Criminal Complaint Over Hate-Speech Hashtags in France

Twitter has been hit with a $50 million (€38 million) criminal suit in the latest stage of a legal battle over a series of hate-speech hashtags in France. 

The company is being charged with failing to comply with a Jan. 24 ruling to hand over the identifying information of France-based users who participated in a series of anti-Semitic and racist trending topics during several days in October. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also is named in the suit.

The French Jewish Student Union (UEJF) and anti-racism organization J’Accuse/International Action for Justice (AIPJ) are seeking $50 million (€38 million), an amount the groups say they will donate to the Shoah Memorial Fund. UEJF has repeatedly sought to get the California-based tech company to reveal personal details of French users who have violated the country's strict anti-hate speech laws.

The filing follows a monthslong fight over incendiary hashtags here. In October, after the hashtag #AGoodJew resulted in posts such as “a good Jew is a dead Jew” and spawned several copycat topics such as #ADeadJew, the UEJF requested that Twitter release identifying information of France-based users so that they could be prosecuted under anti-hate speech laws. The UEJF and Twitter entered into negotiations aimed at staving off legal action. Twitter agreed to remove the offending France-based tweets but refused to turn over the requested user information.

The UEJF quickly filed a suit to force Twitter to hand over the information, and a ruling in favor of the group was handed down Jan. 24. At the time, Twitter was given two weeks to comply or face fines of $1,300 (€1,000) per day. Twitter said it would review the decision but has made no move to hand over the data.

Twitter now has 15 days to respond to the criminal complaint and indicated late Thursday it will appeal the Jan. 24 decision. The company has maintained that it will not hand over the user information unless ordered to do so by a U.S. court.


Does free speech entail protection for anonymous speech?  Not necessarily  -- but anonymity is an important protection that allows people to say things that are unpopular or banned.  So I applaud Twitter for protecting anonymity.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hate speech prosecutions now more difficult in Canada

After the failure of prosecutions under Human Rights law, hate speech prosecutions must now be brought under the criminal code.  Such prosecutions are at the discretion of the provincial attorney general

Among the loudest critics of anti-hate human rights laws was Ezra Levant of Sun News Network. He mocked a group of Muslims who complained to the federal as well as three provincial human rights commissions about what they thought was a hateful tirade against all Muslims in Maclean’s magazine. That complaint was rejected but the campaign by Levant and Co. continued.

Last fall, Levant did an on-air rant against the Roma. Theirs was “a culture synonymous with swindlers,” he said, while commenting on a crime ring operating in the Durham region involving some Roma.

“One of the central characteristics of that culture is that their chief economy is theft and begging ... The phrase ‘gypsy’ and ‘cheater’ have been so interchangeable historically that the word has been entered into the English language as a verb: he gypped me. Well, the gypsies have gypped us. Too many have come here as false refugees.” And so on.

Gina Csanyi-Robah of the Roma Community Centre filed complaints with the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the Alberta Bar Association and also the hate crimes unit of the Toronto police.

The two broadcast regulatory bodies wrote to say they would await the outcome of the police probe. The bar association, of which Levant is a member, asked whether they could defer their investigation until after police had done their work, she said.

On March 11, Csanyi-Robah says police informed her that they found more than enough evidence to charge Levant under the Criminal Code, and the Crown attorney agreed. But then permission from the Ontario attorney general was not forthcoming, she says, adding that two detectives told her that was highly unusual — they had never seen such a rejection.

She was called to a meeting March 14 with Patrick Monahan, deputy attorney general. The detectives and the Crown attorney were there. So was Mark Freiman, lawyer for the Roma Centre, and two of its board members.

She recalled — and another person corroborated — that Monahan said there was evidence to proceed with the charge but that it could be “a challenging case.” Told that most anti-hate cases can be challenging, he said that Levant was a bully and that he’d turn it into “a bit of circus,” she says.

“They were intimidated about what he’d come out and say on the air,” she told me.

Four days later, Levant issued a rare on-air apology. He said he was wrong to have equated the actions of some individuals with an entire ethnic group. “I must admit that I did more than just attack a crime or immigration fraud problem. I attacked a particular group, and painted them all with the same brush.”

Csanyi-Robah found the apology insincere.


What Levant said about Gypsies is perfectly correct.  They are in general a plague on any community.  But there are exceptions to most rules.  Some Gypsies are no doubt decent.  The exceptions should not however stop us from making  broadly accurate generalizations.  Being aware of probable Gypsy behaviour is some armour against being ripped off by them.

Must not speak the truth at UCB

On Wednesday evening, the Associated Students at the University of California (ASUC) at Berkeley voted unanimously to support a resolution “condeming Islamophobic hate speech at the University of California.”

The resolution focused on the recent incident of the outrageously racist and Islamophobic hate speech of Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, a lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, who was videotaped in June 2012 saying that campus activists involved in Students for Justice in Palestine and Muslim student organizations have ties to “terrorist organizations.”

Rossman-Benjamin, as The Electronic Intifada has extensively reported, is the co-founder of an outside political group, the Amcha Initiative, which seeks out students and professors who criticize Israel or engage in Palestine solidarity activism, accuse them of “anti-Semitism,” and urge university administrations — or state officials — to take punitive action against them.

Immediately after the video surfaced, Rossman-Benjamin’s inciteful hate speech was condemned by student organizations at UC Santa Cruz and elsewhere across the UC system. However, outgoing UC President Mark Yudof has so far refused to take any condemnatory action against her speech, a demand urged by students; while a report posted by Mondoweiss added that his office has only offered a “no comment” response.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

No more asking for permission to speak about the government

The Patriot Act permits FBI agents to write their own search warrants and gives those warrants the patriotic and harmless-sounding name of national security letters (NSLs). This authorization is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that that security can only be violated by a search warrant issued by a neutral judge and based upon probable cause of crime.

When FBI agents serve the warrants they’ve written for themselves – the NSLs as they call them – they tell the recipient of the warrant that he or she will commit a felony if he or she tells anyone – a lawyer, a judge, a spouse, a priest in confessional – of the receipt of the warrant. The NSLs are typically not served on the person whose records the FBI wants; rather, they are served on the custodians of those records, such as computer servers, the Post Office, hospitals, banks, delivery services, telephone providers, etc.

Because of the Patriot Act’s mandated silence, the person whose records the FBI seeks often never knows his or her records have been seized. Since October 2001, FBI agents and other federal agents have served more than 350,000 search warrants with which they have authorized themselves to conduct a search. Each time they have done so, they have warned the recipient of the warrant to remain silent or be prosecuted for telling the truth about the government.

Last week in San Francisco, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston held that the section of the Patriot Act that prohibits telling anyone about the receipt of an FBI agent-written search warrant and the section that requires asking and receiving the permission of the FBI before talking about the receipt of one profoundly and directly infringe upon the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. And the government knows that.


Firing of tech developer who outed inappropriate comments

Another instance of jokes now being dangerous

The company that fired a female tech developer who tweeted about comments she overheard at a Santa Clara conference said in a blog post that "publicly shaming" the men was inappropriate and she had to be terminated for alienating the developer community.

But that firing could be hard to defend in court, say labor law attorneys.  "It's a tough one," said Rob Pattison, a San Francisco attorney who represents employers for the Jackson Lewis law firm. "The law is strong in protecting people who make complaints of harassment, or who participate in an investigation about complaints of harassment."

Adria Richards, a San Francisco "developer evangelist" for SendGrid, an email delivery company, tweeted a photo of a group of men sitting behind her at Sunday's PyCon conference who made a comment about "big dongles."

Richards' tweet set off a social media tsunami with ominous overtones, including threats and name-calling directed at Richards. The fallout led to her firing, as well as the dismissal of one of the men in the photo by his employer, PlayHaven, a San Francisco mobile-game company.

Richards' former boss, SendGrid CEO Jim Franklin, wrote on the company's blog that Richards was fired because "A SendGrid developer evangelist's responsibility is to build and strengthen our Developer Community across the globe. In light of the events over the last 48+ hours, it has become obvious that her actions have strongly divided the same community she was supposed to unite. As a result, she can no longer be effective in her role at SendGrid."

"Her decision to tweet the comments and photographs of the people who made the comments crossed the line," Franklin wrote. "Publicly shaming the offenders -- and bystanders -- was not the appropriate way to handle the situation."


It's a sad day if a company cannot fire a bitchy employee

Friday, March 22, 2013

Internet sites targeted by Britain for first time ‘in chilling threat to free speech’... but could bloggers also face huge damages in Press crackdown?

The internet will be targeted for the first time as the 'chilling' Royal Charter attempts to curb free speech on the majority of websites and blogs, experts warned today.

The draft version of the document also suggests that foreign-based or owned websites such as Twitter, Huffington Post, Facebook, Holy Moly, the Guido Fawkes political site and even The New York Times will also be subject to the stifling controls if their articles are aimed at 'an audience in the UK'.

But as confusion mounted about exactly who would be covered, the government said it would leave it entirely up to the new regulator to decide whether major foreign sites should be made to sign up. It also claimed that 'small' blogging sites would be exempt.

Lawyers say large foreign organisations could, like newspapers, be pursued for 'exemplary' damages of up to £1million in defamation and other cases if they failed to abide by its rules - even if they have their business or servers in other countries like America and Ireland.

Even if they won a libel case in the High Court they could also be blocked from claiming back any legal costs under the proposed rules, meaning these huge financial penalties could be an incentive for them to sign up.

The document says: 'The new rules would cover newspapers, magazines and websites containing "news-related material", even if the websites are not connected to a printed paper or journal.

The Royal Charter also states that it will cover 'news-related material' including current affairs news and information, opinion and 'gossip about celebrities, other public figures and other persons in the news'.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: 'The fact that in the proposed regulation all things and all people are covered, is very disturbing.

'That is your blog, your forum, your twitter feed, your Facebook page, in fact almost the whole of contemporary discourse. The only place left to speak out will be in the pub… and they are closing at 10 a week due to a series of ill thought out government measures'.


Dior accused of runway 'racism' by major casting director who says 'pointedly white' catwalk shows 'feel deliberate'

Let me guess that 99% of Dior's customers are white.  So showing what clothes look like on white skin is what is of interest

Luxury fashion house Dior has been slammed by a major casting director for using only white models in their runway shows.

The brand's creative director Raf Simons was criticised by James Scully who heads up model casting at Tom Ford, Jason Wu, Derek Lam, Stella McCartney, Lanvin and Carolina Herrera.

Scully even commented that Simons' message was similar to that of his predecessor John Galliano, who was accused of racism following a drunken, anti-Semitic rant outside a Parisian cafe in 2011.

Speaking to James Lim on BuzzFeed, Scully said: 'I feel the Dior cast is just so pointedly white that it feels deliberate. I watch that show and it bothers me - I almost can't even concentrate on the clothes because of the cast.

'And recently they're changing from a very diverse, worldwide, multicultural cast to just a very Germanic-looking white girl.

Scully went on to accuse further houses - Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Chanel - of not being racially diverse enough, saying that in his opinion 'the more diverse, the better'.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

BBC digital radio station censors lyric in Elvis Costello hit Oliver's Army

It has been played in full thousands of times and without causing a fuss.

But Elvis Costello’s hit song Oliver’s Army was censored to remove the word ‘n*gger’ when it was recently played on a BBC digital station to the surprise of listeners.

The song, taken from the album Armed Forces, is one of Costello’s best-known and has received endless plays across all BBC radio stations without any complaint – until now.

The line in question is heard at the end of the second verse before the chorus: ‘One more widow, one less white n*gger’.

A listener who heard the edited tune on Steve Lamacq’s show on 6 Music was prompted to complain to Radio 4’s Feedback, stating the word was actually necessary for the song: 'I do know the song inside out, as most people probably do, then all of sudden – clunk- it had the n-word taken out.

The listener said that their understanding of the lyric was that it referred to British troops in Northern Ireland who used the phrase as a derogatory term for the Irish.

He added: ‘Although it is not a nice phrase and I wouldn’t condone the use of the word these days, it is an anti-war song as far as I believe, arguing against British colonialism and the word would be appropriate for that song.’


San Francisco's New Muzzle Zone

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos is about to introduce a law to end the city's 8-foot "bubble zone" around reproductive health clinics in favor of a new 25-foot "buffer zone."

It's hard to imagine City Hall entertaining a law to curb the free speech expression of union representatives, Critical Mass bicyclists or anti-war activists, but anti-abortion protest is not welcome in this town.

"We respect the right of people to have freedom of expression," Campos told the San Francisco Chronicle. "What is happening is more than that; it's intimidation."


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Philly Mayor Wants Mag Punished over Race Relations Story

The aptly-named Mayor Nutter

The Philadelphia Human Relations Commission has launched an investigation at the request of the mayor after a well-known magazine published an essay that explored perspectives of white citizens on the issue of race relations.

Mayor Michael Nutter called on the commission to consider rebuking both Philadelphia Magazine and writer Bob Huber noting that “the First Amendment, like other constitutional rights, is not an unfettered right.”

Nutter’s fury was directed at a cover story titled, “Being White in Philly.” The story included conversations with mostly anonymous white residents who detailed race relations in the City of Brotherly Love.

“In a city that is largely poor and segregated, white people have become afraid to say anything at all about race,” Huber wrote on the cover of the magazine. “Here’s what’s not being said.”

But Mayor Nutter believes it should have remained unsaid.


The rest of the article makes some good points

Barack Obama lookalike Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni cast as Satan in 'The Bible'

SOCIAL media platforms erupted on Sunday night when US TV viewers noted an alarming similarity between President Barack Obama and an actor playing the Devil.

Thousands of the 13.1 million viewers of The Bible commented on social media platforms on the resemblance of actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni to the 44th President of the United States.

Interest was piqued when right-wing commentator and radio-host Glenn Beck tweeted: "Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?

The show is a retelling of the stories from Genesis to Revelation and is produced by Mark Burnett, who also created Survivor and The Apprentice. He told CBS making The Bible was a “spiritual” calling, not a commercial one.

Burnett says Internet chatter that their Satan character resembles President Barack Obama is "utter nonsense."  He added that the Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni has played Satanic characters in other Biblical programs long before Obama was elected president.

History Channel said in a statement that the network has "the highest respect" for Obama, and that "it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection."


Obama might look like that in 30 year's time but he sure does not at the moment.  But casting ANY black man as the Devil would probably have riled the "offended" brigade.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

"Boy" is a risky word

Chris Christie attacked for using it

Have you ever heard someone use the word “boy” as an exclamation, to add emphasis? If you haven’t, it means one of two things. Either you’re under the age of, say, five years old or you didn’t read this post from this morning, when I used the word that way myself.

Christie used it that way too when a heckler at a recent town hall shouted that New Jersey needs to fix its public schools. Fixing public schools is what Christie’s all about; that’s why he battles the teachers’ union and that’s why he helped promote “Waiting for Superman.” Boy oh boy oh boy, does he want to fix those public schools.

Just one hitch: The heckler at the town hall was black. So when Christie said “boy,” Democrats pounced.  Which explanation is more likely, do you suppose? That a modern politician would insult a black constituent by calling him “boy,” in full view of rolling cameras and a crowded church no less? Or that he meant it as an exclamation? That 74 percent approval rating isn’t going to deflate without some help, you know.


Judge rules secret FBI letters unconstitutional

 They're called national security letters and the FBI issues thousands of them a year to banks, phone companies and other businesses demanding customer information. They're sent without judicial review and recipients are barred from disclosing them.

On Friday, a federal judge in San Francisco declared the letters unconstitutional, saying the secretive demands for customer data violate the First Amendment.

The government has failed to show that the letters and the blanket non-disclosure policy "serve the compelling need of national security," and the gag order creates "too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted," U.S. District Judge Susan Illston wrote.

She ordered the FBI to stop issuing the letters, but put that order on hold for 90 days so the U.S. Department of Justice can pursue an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Atheists Sue U.S. Treasury in Effort to Remove ‘In God We Trust’ From Currency‏

Atheist activists are taking legal action against the U.S. Treasury. Their target? Currency.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a church-state separatist group, put out a press release on Tuesday announcing that the organization was joining 19 other plaintiffs in challenging “In God We Trust” on federal currency.

The challenge, being made in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was filed on Feb. 1 — and a familiar face in the battle over the First Amendment will be leading the charge.
Well-known atheist activist Michael Newdow, who has fought incessantly to have U.S. courts rule that recitations of the “Pledge of Allegiance” in public schools are unconstitutional (the utterance includes the words ”Under God”), will be representing the group.

In the complaint, non-believers allege that “In God We Trust’s” presence on currency is problematic in that it is purportedly “proselytizing, discriminatory and a per se establishment of monotheism.” These accusations, in the eyes of non-believers, constitute a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause.

Non-believers also claim that they are being discriminated against and excluded due to the fact that they do not embrace a higher power. The “we” in “In God We Trust” is, thus, problematic for them, as it does not include their non-theistic worldview.


A welfare cut is not a tax

The British conservative government is trying to combat underused welfare housing.  Elderly people in particular tend to stay on alone in a large family home long after the family have moved away

Iain Duncan Smith has attacked the BBC for ‘adopting the language of the Labour Party’ by calling a key welfare reform a ‘bedroom tax’.

In a letter leaked to the Daily Mail, the Work and Pensions Secretary accuses the corporation of helping to alarm hundreds of thousands of people in social housing who will be unaffected.

In the strongest attack on  the BBC’s coverage by a  minister since the Coalition  came to power, he says there  has been ‘persistent use’ of the term ‘bedroom tax’ by its  correspondents and on its news website, despite the phrase  being ‘innately political and indeed factually wrong’.

Under the Government’s housing benefit reforms, working-age claimants in social housing who have more bedrooms than they require will see their handouts reduced from April.

Tenants affected will face a 14 per cent cut in housing benefit for the first excess bedroom, and 25 per cent where two or more bedrooms are unused.

The Government, which estimates the average household affected will lose £14 a week, says the policy will cut £500million a year from the housing  benefit bill.

It will also encourage people to move into smaller properties, freeing up larger homes for other families who are crammed into accommodation that is  too small, ministers say.

Mr Duncan Smith says the  Government is simply cutting  a ‘spare room subsidy’ but Labour fiercely opposes the move, branding it a ‘bedroom tax’.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

NC: ACLU sues county over Christian invocations at meetings

Rowan County commission meetings typically open with a pro-Christian invocation. In Lund v. Rowan County, some residents say the practice is offensive and makes them uncomfortable.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit against a rural county in North Carolina, asking a federal judge to permanently enjoin local officials from delivering overtly Christian invocations prior to county commission meetings.

Members of the Rowan County Commission traditionally deliver an invocation prior to the pledge of allegiance at the start of public meetings.

Some county residents have complained about what they say are blatantly Christian references in the invocations.

For example, in March 2012, a commissioner ended his invocation: “And, as we pick up the Cross, we will proclaim His name above all names, as the only way to eternal life. I ask this in the name of the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.”

In December 2012, a commissioner concluded his invocation with the words: “I pray that the citizens of Rowan County will love you Lord, and that they will put you first. In Jesus’s name. Amen.”   

The suit was filed on behalf of three residents of Rowan County who complain that sectarian premeeting prayers and comments are offensive and make them feel excluded from the community and the political process.


British Labour party makes a Muslim a member of the House of Lords and then finds he is antisemitic

What a surprise!

The Labour party today suspended one of its peers over claims he blamed a Jewish conspiracy for being jailed for dangerous driving.

Lord Ahmed was imprisoned for three months for sending texts minutes before his car was involved in a fatal crash on the M1.

But Britain’s first male Muslim peer has blamed his prison sentence on pressure placed on the courts by Jews ‘who own newspapers and TV channels’, The Times reported.

The 55-year-old allegedly told an Urdu-language broadcast in Pakistan that the judge who jailed him for 12 weeks was appointed to the High Court after helping a ‘Jewish colleague’ of Tony Blair during an important case.

As the controversy emerged, the Labour party moved to suspend him from the party and condemned ‘any sort of anti-Semitism’. Labour leader Ed Miliband is Jewish.


Friday, March 15, 2013

'I don't want a poofter to be me in a film of my life'  -- says British racing car driver

Motor racing star Sir Stirling Moss has caused controversy by saying he didn't want 'a poofter or anything like that' to play him in a film.

His comments came during an interview when he said he would like a 'masculine' actor like James Bond actor Daniel Craig to portray him in any biopic.

The 83-year-old Formula One legend then made matters worse by backtracking, claiming he had 'homosexual friends' and that 'there's nothing wrong with it'.

Today gay and lesbian campaigners condemned him for his homophobia.

Three-times married Sir Stirling, who lives with his wife Susie in London's Mayfair, made his original comments at the Motor Sport Hall Of Fame in London.

When he heard that the married Australian actor Chris Hemsworth was playing the late Formula 1 champion James Hunt in a film, Sir Stirling mused on who might play him in a similar film.

He said: 'I hope the actor would be masculine, not a poofter or anything like that.  Perhaps the guy from Skyfall?'


"Poofter" is the British/Australian version of "faggot", though not as aggressive.

'Pornographic' tourism logo polarises opinion

They obviously haven't got much to worry about

A rebrand of the New Zealand region of Kapiti's tourism image may be tweaked to include the word "coast" amid suggestions its logo looks pornographic or like the Loch Ness monster.

The logo, part of a $NZ30,000 ($A24,000) Kapiti Coast District Council contract, polarised opinion when unveiled at a meeting last week.

It includes a 'k', shaped, and coloured green and blue, to look like a mountain and the sea. Underneath is the single word: "Kapiti".

In the public speaking session, Otaki Community Board member Jackie Elliott raised the possibility the logo could be perceived as lewd.

"I have had feedback from the public that this 'k' image with its bent leg, at the knee, is more than mildly pornographic. Perhaps the caption underneath could be 'come to Kapiti and let the earth move for you'."


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Bloomberg Businessweek Goes Too Far With "Racist" Cover

Critics are reading a lot into a zany picture.  There are actually four shades of skin color shown.  The idea is clearly to show that everybody is benefiting

Last week's issue of Bloomberg Businessweek drew wide attention for all the wrong reasons. For its story on the new housing rebound, the magazine's cover featured cartoonish depictions of minorities practically drowning in cash. Journalists, bloggers, and politicians all denounced the cover as racist. "They [the magazine] ought to be ashamed," wrote Matthew Yglesias at Slate.

The Bloomberg Businessweek cover was offensive because it played upon the worst stereotypes of Latinos and African-Americans. Not only was it incorrect in suggesting that minorities caused the housing crisis, it was not at all an appropriate illustration for the accompanying article. Unfortunately for Bloomberg Businessweek, this cover represented a tremendous lapse in editorial judgment.

The cover in question showed four bug-eyed, big-lipped people lolling about a pink shack that is literally bursting with dollar bills. While the ethnicity of these characters is ambiguous, one thing is clear: none of them are white. It is astonishing that no one at Bloomberg BusinessWeek realized that this imagery -- showing minorities as lazy, irresponsible, and greedy -- would be perceived as insulting to people of color.


Must not call a Pom a twit

A British God-doctor can't take criticism.  A cystic fibrosis sufferer was struck off as a patient from his local GP surgery after posting an “offensive” message about its staff on Twitter, it emerged tonight

Mathew Cochrane, 26, was left astonished after being removed without notice from the Stanwell Surgery, Penarth, south Wales for describing staff as “incompetent t***s”.

Practice officials wrote to him this week, saying he had to find another GP practice at which to register.

But tonight the case provoked a backlash on Twitter, after Mr Cochrane posted a copy of the letter and a picture of the offending “tweet” on the social media site.

While it is understood the decision by the practice to protect “defenceless” staff from “abuse”, critics said it raised fundamental questions about free speech.

The row was provoked last week when he contacted the surgery to make an appointment after getting a letter in the post telling him he needed to see a doctor.

Because he usually only dealt with a specialist consultant, he rang worried it was a serious problem but a receptionist told him the next available slot was three weeks away.

The pair then argued about the practice’s systems, and he was told “in an unpleasant tone” that mangers were unavailable to hear his complaint and he had to make it in writing.

He then took to Twitter at lunchtime on Friday and posted to his just over 500 followers: “#StanwellSurgery in #Penarth is run by a bunch if [sic] incompetent t***s!”

On Monday, the practice’s senior partner, Dr Jonathon Evans, wrote to him informing him he had been deregistered for his “offensive tweet” and that he needed to find an alternative doctor.

Tonight Mr Cochrane, a driving instructor from Penarth, admitted he was left astonished that his surgery “could have me removed for what I thought was a harmless tweet”.


"Pom" is Australian slang for the English.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Must not satirize women

The Medium, a satirical student newspaper at Rutgers University, apologized last week for printing a controversial article that made derogatory remarks about the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and compared its members to livestock.

The Rutgers chapter of Alpha Chi Omega is closing due to a small pledge class and financial troubles, according to the Daily Targum. The Medium decided to cover the sorority's end with a satirical story under the headline and deck: "Alpha Chi Omega to Shut Down; ‘We don’t want to be like you ugly bitches‘ Potential Pledges say."

The article, bylined "Satanic Yoda," said AXO's pledge class "consisted of a measly three wildebeests and an elephant." It included a photo of a barn painted with AXO's Greek letters in a cornfield with a cow in front. Most of the article was filled with fat jokes.

The Medium has since removed the article from its website, but copies are still being shared on various blogs.


A crime to criticize abortion in Tasmania

“Abortion has effectively been legal in Australian states for more than 40 years, although it has remained in the criminal code. The number of prosecutions in all that time can be counted on one hand. So why the sudden enthusiasm for decriminalization?

“Because the real aim of the Labor-Green coalition which is running Tasmania is to criminalize abortion dissent. With only two weeks for the public to respond, the Health Minister, Michelle O’Byrne, has drafted what may be most draconian abortion law anywhere.

“The neighbouring state of Victoria decriminalized abortion in 2008. Ms O’Byrne says that this is the model for her bill. But the Victorian bill contains no penalties for conscientious objectors; the Tasmanian bill does. The Victorian bill doesn’t mention counsellors; the Tasmanian bill threatens counsellors with jail. The Victorian bill doesn’t mention protests; the Tasmanian bill threatens protesters with jail.”

Whenever you have a “public inquiry” in which ordinary citizens are given next to no time to prepare and enter a submission, then you know the government is trying to pull a fast one. They don’t really want public input – their mind is already made up. So that ridiculous deadline (March 22) certainly gives the game away.

And consider just what a Big Brother bill this really is: “If this bill passes, a part-time volunteer counsellor for an organization supporting pregnant women could be jailed for a year and fined up to A$65,000 if she refuses to refer a woman to a place where she can get an abortion. The bill’s definition of a counsellor includes anyone who gives ‘advice or information relating to pregnancy options’ and ‘whether or not for fee or reward’. Overnight, all agencies which disagree with abortion will be forced to shut down.

“Medical practitioners will be obliged under threat of a $65,000 fine to make referrals if they have a conscientious objection. To anyone who believes that an unborn child has a right to life making a referral means cooperating with evil. The proposed laws are coercing participation in the overall process of abortion procurement.

“Nurses who refuse to participate in abortions could be fined $65,000. The right to peaceful protest will also be shut down. The bill imposes a 300-metre-wide exclusion zone around abortion clinics. The maximum penalty is 12 months in jail and a $65,000 fine…

“To make matters worse, the prohibited activity includes intimidating, protesting or photographing, and ‘any other prescribed [sic] behaviour’. The sloppy wording, in combination with an open-ended section on regulations, could be used to punish innocent activity.

“The Health Minister has been quite disingenuous about the scope and purpose of her bill in her statements to the media. She has mentioned none of these tyrannical measures and has given the public a mere two weeks to respond to one of the most far-reaching pieces of abortion legislation ever proposed anywhere.”


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Leftists think students are dumb

There would be few students who do not know what female genitals look like but equally few who DO know what aborted babies look like.  This is just an attempt to give offence

The University of Cincinnati has given the green light to a pro-choice group to put on an outdoor display of female genitalia posters on campus amid vocal opposition from anti-abortion activists.

The college’s LGBTQ Alliance and UC Feminists say the 12 photos of vaginas are meant to cause discussion aimed at discrimination and exploitation of women’s bodies.

The project called Re-envisioning the Female Body also wants to counter a pro-life demonstration on campus last year that featured giant posters of aborted fetuses.

Critics of the temporary display held Thursday and Friday have complained that is pandering obscenity, which is a felony, and could be viewed by young children.

University President Santa Ono called the event a ‘teachable moment,’ saying in a statement that UC is an academic community where ideas and images are analyzed and debated, however controversial and complex they might be.


Australians are not a race

Genetically, Australians mostly hail from the British Isles and Western Europe but most races are represented.  About 5% are of Han Chinese descent

A woman convicted of racially abusing her neighbour by calling her a 'fat Australian' has spoken of her anger and relief after winning an appeal against the charge.

Petra Mills, 31, was witnessed by police officers calling her neighbour Chelsea O'Reilly - a British/New Zealand national - a 'stupid fat Australian' during a drunken tirade at her former home in Macclesfield.

Macclesfield magistrates found her guilty of racially aggravated public disorder and assaulting a police officer in November last year.

Ms O'Reilly claimed that Czech-born Ms Mills had used the term 'Australian' offensively as she knew she was from neighbouring New Zealand.

But Chester Crown Court overturned the public disorder charge after ruling the use of the word 'Australian' could not be considered racist.


Monday, March 11, 2013

French Muslim mother in court after sending three-year-old son named 'Jihad' to school in a T-shirt saying 'I am a bomb'

Muslim hate at work again.  Despite her shallow denials, she was obviously glorifying the attacks on America of 9/11/2001

A French mother has appeared in court after sending her three-year-old son named Jihad to school in a T-shirt saying 'I am a bomb.'

Bouchra Bagour, 35, insisted she had put it on him 'without stopping to think about it' when he wore it to the nursery in Sorgues near Avignon on 24 September.

Bagour is charged with 'glorifying crime.'

Teachers and the headteacher were shocked by the clothing and alerted authorities.

At the start of her trial in Avignon, she denied defending terrorism through the T-shirt message.  'I thought it might make people laugh,' she said, according to Le Parisien.

The expression plays on the popular French saying 'Je suis la bombe', which translates roughly as 'I am the best'.

The back of the T-shirt read 'Born on 11 September,' but Bagour insisted it was only a reference to her son's date of birth.


Thought crimes

I have lifted this post holus bolus from Bishop Hill.  With thanks to His Grace.  See the original for links

Maxwell Boykoff has written one of those activism-dressed-up-as-academia papers on the subject of media coverage of climate change. Apparently the media should be ignoring dissenting views. Who would have thought it!

"To the extent that mass media misrepresent and/or gratuitously cover these outlier views, they contribute to ongoing illusory, misleading, and counterproductive debates within the public and policy communities, and poorly serve the collective public."

Sounds as though these transgressors are public enemies. Burn them in the streets I say.

Boykoff gets a lot wrong in his two paragraphs on Climategate. This sentence was a goodie:

"After 6 months of multiple independent investigations into possible wrongdoing by data manipulation and the violation of U.K. Freedom of Information laws, Phil Jones and the other climate scientists involved in the email discussions were cleared of the legal charges (Adam, 2010)."

Independent - nope. The Russell inquiry was to all intents and purposes run by a former colleague of Jones. And no legal charges were ever brought because of the statute of limitations, so nobody was "cleared" of anything. But Jones was found guilty of misleading policymakers over "hide the decline", so the allegation of data manipulation stuck. Oh yes, and we still have no investigation of the allegations of journal nobbling, so the questions over the integrity of the climate literature remain.

I wonder what the rest of the paper is like?


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sex abuse victims apologise for calling Vatican candidates 'the dirty dozen'

Nobody is saying what the French term means  so this is difficult to evaluate.  But using obscenity when you are trying to get public attention will just tend to lower your own standing in the eyes of many

CLERGY sex abuse victims have apologised for describing 12 potential papal candidates as a "dirty dozen" after it was revealed the phrase translated as a terrible insult.

The US-based Survivors Network of those abused by Priests (SNAP) borrowed the name of the famous 1967 movie to refer to 12 cardinals who it said had in the past protected pedophile priests or made offensive public statements.

However the group's choice of language provoked an angry response from Canada's Quebec Diocese, whose Cardinal Marc Ouellet was among those named on the blacklist.

When translated into French, "The Dirty Dozen" contains a crude term, which angered many in the church. The Quebec Diocese said it had received numerous complaints after SNAP's statement.

The support group apologised for the furore - but pointedly stated it should not deflect attention way from the key issue.


‘Jesus Christ’ Banned from Council Prayers

The fact that Jesus is invoked in your presence does not compel you to become a Christian or compel you  to become anything else -- so where the problem lies is not clear to me.  If Christian prayers are said in my presence I think it just tells me that the person praying has at least some Christian convictions.  It tells me nothing else.  And even though I am an atheist I treat all prayers with respect.  Where is the problem in doing that?  Treating others with respect is the essence of civility

The mayor of a Washington town has directed pastors to stop invoking the name “Jesus Christ” in city council invocations.

Don Jensen, the mayor of Longview, Wash., told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association that prayers mentioning Christ were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit.

The decision has sparked controversy in the city – located about 50 miles north of Portland, Ore.

Mark Schmutz, who pastors the Northlake Baptist Church, said if they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.

“We need to be able to speak Jesus’ name,” he told The Daily News. “They’re asking us not to do what we’re called to do. This is the one and only true God. We’re not trying to be against anybody – we’re just being clear about what we’re for.

Local ministers have been leading City Council invocations for more than 50 years – and until recently there had never been any complaints.

That changed when resident Dan Smith started raising concerns about the constitutionality of prayers that include the name of Christ and whether it was appropriate for the ministerial association to be responsible for the prayers.

Smith describes himself as a “comfortable atheist” – and called the longtime prayers an embarrassment. He hinted that unless the prayers were dropped it might lead to a lawsuit.

Jensen said the invocations set the right tone for their meetings and said it encouraged residents to be “more friendly.”


Friday, March 08, 2013

Some sensitive petals among Wyoming lawmakers

Things got particularly heated when state Sen. Phil Nicholas, who also serves as majority floor leader, held up two bills in the session’s closing days. They would have denied local governments the chance to make their own gun-control ordinances and the federal government the power to enforce its gun laws in the state.

Mr. Nicholas said the reason for his action was the tone and content of communications that lawmakers had gotten. But one suspects he also realized that at least one of them, the one to nullify federal law, and perhaps both, were bad bills.

Here is just one example from the Gun Owners Facebook page:

“(Expletive) Sen. Phil Nicholas, his (expletive) excuse of a (expletive) family and his left-wing excuse of conservative views. Sincerely, the guy who lives a block away from the (expletive.)”

On the other hand, one has to agree with Wyoming Gun Owners head Anthony Bouchard that legislators need to toughen up.

Consider also that overly sensitive lawmakers closed the media tables at the front of their chambers this session because they felt someone there had given them an angry look. Or the decision to tell people taking pictures they must remain seated in the galleries because legislators felt threatened by special interests’ cameras.

There is no doubt that the tone of political debate nationally, and now apparently in Wyoming, has gotten more partisan and angry. But the flip side is that lawmakers too often enforce rules of etiquette not for the sake of decorum but rather to silence, or at least quiet, those who disagree with them.

The people of this state have every right to express themselves and in ways that they choose n as long as those do not threaten lawmakers’ personal safety. Offensive speech has been at the heart of this nation’s political debate since its founding.

Still, interest groups might lower their tone a bit, if only so they can better get their ideas across. But lawmakers must learn to deal with some of those heated words. They were elected to hear the people, not shut them off for fear of being offended.


No free speech about race in Europe

The human rights expert Anne Weber, in an introduction in the Council of Europe’s Manual on Hate Speech, had this to say: “In multicultural societies, which are characterised by a variety of cultures, religions and lifestyles, it is sometimes necessary to reconcile the right to freedom of expression with other rights, such as the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion or the right to be free from discrimination. This reconciliation can become a source of problems, because these rights are all fundamental elements of a ‘democratic society’.

“The European Court of Human Rights has therefore affirmed that freedom of expression as guaranteed under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights ‘constitutes one of the essential foundations of such a society, one of the basic conditions for its progress and for the development of every man.’

“But however vast the scope of freedom of expression, some restrictions to the exercise of this right may in some circumstances be necessary. Unlike the right to freedom of thought (inner conviction or forum internum), the right to freedom of expression (external manifestation or forum externum) is not an absolute right. The exercise of this freedom carries with it certain duties and responsibilities and is subjected to certain restrictions as set out in article 10(2) of the ECHR, in particular those that concern the protection of the rights of others.

Weber further explained: “The European Court has always affirmed that ‘it is particularly conscious of the vital importance of combating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations.’ Thus, it has emphasised in various judgements ‘that tolerance and respect for the equal dignity of all human beings constitute the foundations of a democratic, pluralistic society. That being so, as a matter of principle it may be considered necessary in certain democratic societies to sanction or even prevent all forms of expression which spread, incite, promote or justify hatred based on intolerance (including religious intolerance), provided that any ‘formalities’, ‘conditions’, ‘restrictions’ or ‘penalties’ imposed are proportionate to the legitimate aim pursued.’


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Some Leftist hate speech in Georgia

Lum, assisting with Christmas decorations at the White House

These are Deborah Lum’s own mean-spirited words: “The essence of the Republican Party has been quite unambiguous, thanks to ambassadors of intolerance, dishonesty, incompetence, negativity, bigotry, chicanery, and the asinine.”

This next quote is in her reference to the Republican Party: “The party embraces and defends the extreme, idiotic and vile people.”

Another of Deborah Lum’s quotes: “The litany of Republican intransigence, insanity, intolerance, bigotry, hypocrisy, ignorance, policies, and manipulations is well-documented and way too long for this space.”

More of Deborah Lum’s quotes: “How can so many Republicans (64 percent by the most recent poll) be so ignorant and persistent in this absurdity? From the halls of congress to the backwoods (where you might expect it).”

This is a nice little racist slur against rural people, isn’t it?

Deborah Lum continues with this hate-filled statement: “The non-stop drumbeat of bigotry and vitriol ... and the actions of Republican leaders is a constant reminder that humanity’s cancer still affects too many Americans. Dare I say it: the ‘R’ word.

This must be the “I hate Republicans and people from the backwoods (where you might expect it)” universe of Deborah Lum.

What I have analyzed from Deborah Lum’s diatribe is that her mean-spiritedness and hate-filled statements seem to get more intense the further into her diatribe she goes, rising to an ultimate crescendo by calling people who disagree with her, her ideologies, her political party and her dear Obama as “humanity’s cancer.”


Just imagine anyone saying the same thing about the Democratic party.  But being black, she will get away with it

The commentary above refers to this story.  Note that the comments attached refer to a fictional story about Ann Coulter, which is in its own way just as libellous.

Kia concept car 'Provo' reminds Brits of the IRA

KIA'S new concept car, the Provo, is designed to provoke comment. But to many across Britain and Ireland, the name sounds like a celebration of terrorism.

British politicians appealed on Tuesday in the House of Commons for the South Korean car maker to junk the name of its planned mini sports coupe because Provo is the street name for the dominant branch of the outlawed Irish Republican Army. The Provisional IRA killed nearly 1800 people during its failed 1970-1997 campaign to force Northern Ireland out of the United Kingdom.

Kia insisted the Provo - an experimental prototype unveiled this week for the International Geneva Motor Show and years away from production - was named to suggest "provocative," not IRA bombings and shootings. And in a follow-up statement, Kia said it would be certain not to market any future car as a Provo in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Disgraced Lord Mayor of Oxford quits for 'telling 13-year-old schoolgirl she looked sexy when she bent down'

He probably spoke the truth in saying so and he harmed no-one  -- so the reaction seems rather hysterical

A disgraced Lord Mayor who allegedly told a 13-year-old schoolgirl she looked 'sexy' when she bent over has today resigned from his post.

Liberal Democrat Alan Armitage quit his coveted role as Lord Mayor of Oxford today after being accused of telling the teenager: 'It's sexy when you bend down like that'.

The alleged incident happened while the youngster and other members of an under-13s sport team were having their photograph taken with him.

The married father-of-three, who is a city and county councillor, claims he may have said ‘best if you stand next to me’ and was misheard.

Mr Armitage's resignation follows a ruling by the council's standards committee last week that it was 'highly probable' he did make an ‘inappropriate and disrespectful’ comment.

But the shamed public figure today announced his decision in an email to his fellow councillors and Oxford city council's chief executive, Peter Sloman.

Despite quitting his role as Lord Mayor, it is understood he has not left his post as a councillor.


OH: Time for an orgy of self-righteousness and self-congratulation at Oberlin

Did they really need to close the school down for what could well have been Leftist provocations anyway?

Oberlin College, one of the first schools to integrate black and white students, suspended classes for the day on Monday after a report that a person wearing a hood and robe resembling a Ku Klux Klan costume was seen on campus.

The suspension came as Oberlin was to begin a planned Peace Week in response to homophobic, and racially and religiously insensitive vandalism that has plagued the highly ranked Ohio liberal arts college over the past month.

Classes and non-essential activities were suspended at the school to allow students to gather for discussions about issues faced by the Oberlin community in recent weeks, the school said in a message posted on its website.

"During the last several weeks, incidents of hate speech have appeared on campus including racist, anti-Semitic, and homophobic defacing of posters that were advertising events and programming," Oberlin President Marvin Krislov and Dean of Students Eric Estes said in a letter to parents on Monday.

Oberlin, a private college with about 3,000 students, provided co-education for men and women from its inception in 1833, and was one of the first to integrate black and white students, regularly admitting students of color from 1835.


Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Outrage at British parents who 'blacked up' baby to look like black football star

It certainly looks unpleasant but I am not sure why it is being regarded as a slur.  It could be complimentary.  "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"

A baby has become embroiled in an online race row after he was 'blacked up' to look like former Manchester City football player Mario Balotelli.

Chocolate was smeared over the child's face and a washing-up sponge stuck on his head to copy the striker's Mohawk hair.

A picture of the baby, who even sports the footballer's slogan 'Why Always Me?', was then posted on the Internet sparking outrage last night. The photo was retweeted 2,000 times.

Jim C posted on Twitter: 'You thought you'd seen it all. Dear me.'

While another said: 'Parents tweeted ghastly picture of baby dressed as Mario Balotelli, this must be child abuse.'

Matt Bishop added: 'Jesus wept, who does this to their child!?!?!?!?'

Parenting expert Sue Atkins, author of Parenting Made Easy: How To Raise Happy Children, told the Sunday Mirror: 'Just looking at this picture makes me very uncomfortable, especially the fact the child is blacked up. I don't like it at all.'

It is believed the photo was uploaded by a Manchester United fan on Instagram.

Balotelli, from Italy, left Manchester City to play for AC Milan after helping the club to win its first title in 44 years.


Too much free speech on Reddit?

WILLIAM Shatner may be new to Reddit - he joined the site last month - but he's already making waves.  The Star Trek star called out the community on the social news network for its racism and bigotry.

"I am apalled [sic] by some of the immature, horrifically racist, sexist, homophobic, ethnic... etc.. posts that are just ignored," he wrote in a comment on the site.

“Why are these accounts still active? While Reddit has done well in getting interest from the mainstream I just wonder if by allowing these children to run rampant and post whatever they feel will cause the most collateral damage if Reddit is biting off it's own nose in taking that step to become a mainstream community."

But user "Karmaisforsuckers" replied "Why don't we just call Obama and have him moderate then, Huh? HUH? MY FREE SPEECH!"

Shatner replied, saying that Reddit was the first "mainstream site" that allows "racists and other hate mongers to group, congregate, incite and spread their hatred".

"The fact that someone could come here, debase and degrade people based on race, religion, ethnicity or sexual preference because they ‘have a right’ to do so without worry of any kind of moderation is sending the wrong message, in my humble opinion."


Shatner is entitled to his opinion and Reddit is entitled to run any speech policy it wants but if there were any official pressure on Reddit over its policies, that pressure would almost certainly be ruled as a breach of the 1st Amendment.  Hate speech is protected speech  -- as any Leftist will tell you if he is accused of hate speech against Jews, Christians, conservatives etc.

Shatner is probably touchy because he is both Jewish and Canadian. As far as I can work out, "Schattner" (the original spelling of his name) means "The shadower" in German/Yiddish.

Monday, March 04, 2013

British politician subjected to 6-month '£100,000' police racism probe for telling man he is 'unkempt'

A former Government Minister has been subjected to a ‘humiliating’ six-month racism investigation by police after describing a voter who claims to have a Romany Gipsy background as unkempt.

Conservative MP Tim Loughton was summoned to a police station where he was questioned under caution by detectives for 90 minutes.

The MP, an Education Minister at the time, had to mingle with drug dealers and was asked if he could read or write or had mental health problems, an experience he said was ‘unsettling and intimidating’.

The investigation was sparked by a strongly worded email in which Mr Loughton backed his local council’s description of someone he considered a troublesome constituent.  In the email, the MP told the constituent, Kieran Francis, that he agreed with the description of him as ‘unkempt’.

But Mr Francis claimed this was racist because he has ‘Romany Gipsy origins’ and said his MP was ‘being disrespectful’ by calling him ‘dirty’.

Mr Loughton later made clear to the police he had no knowledge of Mr Francis’s background.

During the investigation, which is likely to have cost taxpayers up to £100,000, Mr Loughton’s staff were also interviewed and hours were spent trawling through archives for evidence before it was abruptly dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service last month.

The 50-year-old MP for East Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea yesterday said he would be demanding an explanation from Sussex Chief Constable Martin Richards.

He said: ‘I am very angry that time and money has been wasted in pursuing what was clearly a vexatious and malicious complaint that had no substance.

'Because of the merest hint of something to do with racism and the sensitivities about travellers, the police go into overdrive.’


Amazon axes 'rape' T-shirts after being slammed for selling 'Keep Calm And Rape Them' clothing

Amazon  was last night forced  to remove a T-shirt range bearing the sickening message Keep Calm And Rape A Lot.  Other vile T-shirts pulled from sale by the online retailer included Keep Calm And Punch Her, Keep Calm And Grope On and Keep Calm And Kill Her.

The US firm that makes the shirts, Solid Gold Bomb, blamed  a ‘computer’ error for the offensive slogans.

But Tory MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘These are ridiculous, mindless products for anybody to attempt to sell. It is absurd to say they were manufactured in error.’

A flood of complaints on social-networking websites prompted the decision by Amazon.A company is selling t-shirts with the slogan 'Keep Calm And Rape Them' emblazoned across the chest on Amazon.

Solid Gold Bomb sold the short-sleeved t-shirts for between £15 and £17 on the warehouse website.

But potential customers were clearly not willing to buy the deeply offensive t-shirts, slamming both Amazon and the clothes shop, which has its headquarters in the UK.


Sunday, March 03, 2013

A brain rotted by Islam

Turkey's prime minister, has been strongly criticised after branding Zionism 'a crime against humanity.'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a United Nationals forum this week: 'As with Zionism, anti-Semitism and fascism, it is inevitable that Islamophobia be considered a crime against humanity.'

New U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to take Turkey's prime minister to task for the 'objectionable' comments during his visit to the country.

Kerry, on his first trip to a Muslim nation since taking office, is meeting Turkish leaders for talks meant to focus on Syria's civil war and bilateral interests from energy security to counter-terrorism.

But comment by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan at a U.N. meeting in Vienna this week, condemned by his Israeli counterpart, the White House and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, has clouded his trip.

'This was particularly offensive, frankly, to call Zionism a crime against humanity ... It does have a corrosive effect (on relations),' a senior U.S. official told reporters as Kerry flew to Ankara.


Does Free Speech Protect the Right to Panhandle?

 Earlier this month a state lawmaker in Georgia renewed his call for legislation making it a crime to alter a photo in a manner that “causes an unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction.” (Some wiseacre had Photoshopped his head over a porn star’s body.) Asked whether this might raise any constitutional issues, the lawmaker Smith — whose first name, appropriately, is Earnest— solemnly declared, “No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It’s not a First Amendment right.”

Smith’s comments are funny, but restrictions on panhandling are not. And they are especially unfunny in Charlottesville, Va., a city sometimes referred to as “the People’s Republic of” because of its liberal (for Virginia) leanings. Charlottesville is home to UVa, the university founded by Thomas Jefferson (who was no fan of the Sedition Act). It is also home to the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. And it is home to the Downtown Mall — a quaint run of shops and cafes where you are not allowed to ask people for money within 50 feet of two cross-streets.

Five homeless gents took objection to that ordinance and, with the help of the ACLU, filed suit against it. A lower court sided with city, but last week a three-judge panel on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision and sent the case back for further review.

Charlottesville is just the latest in a long line of burgs from Medford, Ore., to Macon, Ga., that have tried to bring the hammer down on panhandlers.

Courts have struck down panhandling ordinances time and again. In 2011, an Arizona appeals court ruled that Phoenix could not ban panhandling after dark. Last March, a federal judge ruled against Utah’s anti-panhandling law. In August, a federal judge ruled against Michigan’s state law against panhandling in public places. Time and again the courts have found, as the 4th Circuit did last week, that “begging constitutes protected speech.” But cities across the country keep passing anti-panhandling ordinances anyway.

And we all know why: The homeless are dirty and smelly and not the sort of folks the local Convention and Visitors’ Bureau would put on a brochure.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Canada’s top court upholds "hate speech" ban

But defines hate speech narrowly

Canada’s top court on Wednesday upheld a ban on hate speech contested by a Christian anti-gay activist, but struck down a section of the law also prohibiting belittling or ridiculing others.

The Supreme Court said in its decision that the hate speech ban “is a reasonable limit on freedom of religion and is demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

“The benefits of the suppression of hate speech and its harmful effects outweigh the detrimental effect of restricting expression which, by its nature, does little to promote the values underlying freedom of expression,” it said.

However the court also found that speech which “ridicules, belittles or otherwise affronts the dignity of (a person or group) does not rise to the level of ardent and extreme feelings constituting hatred.”


Oscars host Seth MacFarlane gets away with a lot of incorrectness

He's been criticized but it seems to have been just a passing storm 

Seth MacFarlane, the Oscars host, has been widely critcised for a series of "offensive and nasty" jokes at the expense of members of his audience.

Perhaps the most controversial joke came as he said only one actor had really got "into Lincoln's head" - John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated the president.  Responding to the boos from the audience, the host said: "150 years and it's still too soon".

MacFarlane also sang a song called "We've seen your boobs" in which he listed a string of actresses in the audience who had appeared topless in films.

In another segment, the host appeared to take a swipe at British singer Adele, saying: "Rex Reed will be out here to review Adele's performance of Skyfall".  Reed, a New York Observer film critic, was at the centre of recent controversy in America when he compared the Bridesmaids actress Melissa McCarthy to a "female hippo".

In a pot shot at Daniel Day-Lewis, the MacFarlane said: "If you bumped into (black actor) Don Cheadle on the studio lot, did you try to free him? How deep does your method go?"