Thursday, January 31, 2013

Must not mention that some people are mentally retarded

A more sophisticated person might have called the team "challenged".  It would be fun seeing what reaction that got.  "Challenged" is PC at the moment but if it became widely used, it too would probably get get criticized.  "Retarded" was once PC too.  It substituted for "stupid", "dumb", "imbecile" etc.  It still is used that way on occasions  -- if you are allowed to mention the subject at all

Former England rugby star and Sky Sports commentator Stuart Barnes has been slammed for accusing England of playing like “retards”.

Barnes, 51, was taking part in a “round table” preview of the Six Nations tournament alongside ex-players Jeremy Guscott, Lawrence Dallaglio and Sean Fitzpatrick, when he made the insensitive remark.

He said of England in the Sunday Times piece: “I hate to say it but I utterly agree with Jerry (Guscott): since 2003, we’ve been retards at the breakdown.”

The chief executive of the London Centre For Children With Cerebral Palsy yesterday criticised Barnes’ “offensive” language.

Marc Crank said: “It’s very unfortunate. Barnes is young enough to know that retard is an offensive term. "It really isn’t appropriate to use and I think it sends out the wrong message.

“If you’re in your 80s, you can be a little more tolerant of this while not actually approving of it. But there’s no excuse here.


High School Teacher Suspended After Twitter posts

If you've got a job, you must not be make light-hearted comments on Twitter.  The censors are everywhere.  So much for free speech.

The woman was a bit on the raunchy side but so what?  She was making personal comments mostly in her own time for the benefit of her friends.  In all the pix her private parts were covered

A high school math teacher at Overland High School in Aurora, Colorado has been suspended pending an investigation into her less than respectable Twitter account.  According to Colorado’s NBC 9News, 23-year-old Carly McKinney not only posted semi-naked photos of herself, she also joked about drugs and students who are “jailbait” using her Twitter handle @Crunk_Bear.

One post said “Naked. Wet. Stoned.” Another indicated the poster was high while grading papers. An additional post even talks about having marijuana on school property saying, “Watching a drug bust go down in the parking lot. It’s funny cuz I have weed in my car in the staff parking lot.”

A post that seems to be about a student says, “Just got called Ms. McCutie. Points for being clever, however you are still jailbait.”

The school district reiterates that they will investigate the matter, warning teachers that they shouldn’t post anything on social media they wouldn’t post on the chalkboard.


More connection problems

Two days ago I lost electrical power for about 12 hours, which meant that I could not get some of my blogs up.

Today, however, I have lost my cable connection while they are doing work to repair storm damage in my area

For some reason, however, Google addresses (such as this  one) and Facebook are still accessible.  So I can still post but am cut off from most news sources and my Hotmail.

If anybody has sent me a recent email via Hotmail, I would therefore be grateful if they would resend it to my Gmail address:  jonjayray@gmail,com

As a tentacle of Google, Gmail is unaffected for some reason

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jamaican accent incorrect?

Everyone loves a good Super Bowl ad scandal, but Volkswagen is one of the last companies we'd expect to be accused of inappropriate content.

Between a pint-sized Darth Vader and an adorably obese dog, VW and its ad agency, Deutsch LA, have cemented a reputation for making truly great creative work for the Super Bowl.

But eyebrows have been raised over its newly released Super Bowl spot, in which a white Minnesotan man sports a Jamaican accent because he is so happy about his new Volkswagen. He cavorts around the office to the tune of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff's new rendition of the Partridge Family theme song "Get Happy."

Although Soledad O'Brien said that she liked the spot on CNN's "Starting Point," her guest, New York Time's columnist Charles Blow, had a different opinion. "I don't like it at all," he said. "It's like blackface with voices."

Wall Street Journal's Christopher John Farley agreed that the superimposed accent was problematic given that it was "coming out of people who seemingly weren't supposed to be from Jamaica, so it was done as a joke." He even referred to it as the "Jar Jar Binks of 2013."

VW America marketing officer Tim Mahoney told O'Brien, however, that "We actually talked to about 100 Jamaicans in the research, and we had a speech coach on site to make sure it was authentic as possible."


Australia:  PM's partner criticized for prostate joke

He doesn't seem to be very bright but there was nothing wrong with what he said.  He was just saying that a small finger is preferable for a rectal probe and noted that Asians are generally smaller.  All perfectly reasonable.  But ANY mention of racial realities draws fire, these days

WAS First Bloke Tim Mathieson's quip about prostate testing funny or poor taste? Forget the floods and driving rain, that's the question lighting up our social media sites today.

Mathieson, Prime Minister Julia Gillard's partner, made the quip during a speech at The Lodge last night for the Prime Minister's XI cricket match which will be held in Canberra today.

Mr Mathieson was acting in his capacity as a men's health ambassador when he encouraged the gathering - which included the West Indian cricket team - to get a prostate examination.

"We can get a blood test for it, but the digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small, Asian, female doctor is probably the best way," he said.

Cue anger, disappointment, eye rolls and a couple of chuckles from the social media brigade and a surprising defence from liberal senator, George Brandis.

“I think Tim Mathieson is lucky he didn't tell this joke after the Nicola Roxon anti-discrimination bill became law, because if he did he'd probably have been carted away to the re-education camp by the thought police,"Senator Brandis told Sky News.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Jail time for hurting someone’s feelings?

On November 28 a municipal judge in Canton, Ohio, sentenced William Bailey to 30 days in jail after Bailey pleaded no contest to criminal charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing. According to a story on Fox News, “Bailey was caught on cell phone video at a school bus stop in October making fun of how [a] ten-year-old disabled girl walks.”

There were no allegations of physical or even verbal assault — the jail time is just for making fun of how she walks.

The girl, Hope Holcomb, suffers from cerebral palsy and claims she was regularly teased in this way by Bailey and his son. Apparently the families have been feuding for years.

Bailey said he was reacting to his son’s being teased, reported Trace Gallagher for Fox News. Hope’s family didn’t believe this, however, and the girl’s grandmother went down to the bus stop one afternoon to get video. The family then took the video to the police.

Kelly and Gallagher need to get a grip here. No one was injured; no one was even threatened. No property was damaged. Was there really a need to involve the police and a criminal court in this family feud? Mean people are not automatically criminals.

It’s fair to ask what possible ramifications may ensue from this precedent. For example, if criminal charges like “disorderly conduct” and “aggravated menacing” — sufficiently vague already — can now be stretched to include an act of insulting insensitivity, imagine the recourse available to a restaurateur who gets a bad review, a severely heckled comedian, or even a politician offended by protesters. Remember that a man has now been sent to jail just for hurting someone’s feelings.


Silvio causes outrage by attempting a balanced view of Mussolini

If you read what Silvio actually said, he condemned racism.  Mussolini had no death camps and many Italians do think well of him to this day.  He was the only one who ever suppressed the Mafia, for instance.  It should be noted that Italy under Berlusconi had especially good relations with Israel

Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi praised Benito Mussolini for 'having done good' despite the Fascist dictator's anti-Jewish laws, immediately sparking expressions of outrage as Europe on Sunday held Holocaust remembrances.

Berlusconi also defended Mussolini for allying himself with Hitler, saying he likely reasoned that it would be better to be on the winning side.

The media mogul, whose conservative forces are polling second in voter surveys ahead of next month's election, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan to commemorate the Holocaust.

'It is difficult now to put oneself in the shoes of who was making decisions back then,' Berlusconi said of Mussolini's support for Hitler. 'Certainly the (Italian) government then, fearing that German power would turn into a general victory, preferred to be allied with Hitler's Germany rather than oppose it.'

Berlusconi added that 'within this alliance came the imposition of the fight against, and extermination of, the Jews. Thus, the racial laws are the worst fault of Mussolini, who, in so many other aspects, did good.'

Outrage, along with a demand that Berlusconi be prosecuted for promoting Fascism, quickly followed his words.

Among those voicing condemnation were prominent Jewish figures abroad.  Mussolini `'modeled his anti-Jewish laws after the Nazi Nuremberg Laws barring Jews from civil service,' Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said in a statement.

`'It is the height of revisionism to try to reinstate an Italian dictator who helped legitimize and prop up Hitler as a `reincarnated good guy,'' said the rabbi, whose organization monitors anti-Semitic incidents worldwide.

Italian laws enacted following the country's disastrous experience in the war forbid the defense of Fascism. A candidate for local elections, Gianfranco Mascia, pledged that he and his supporters will present a formal complaint on Monday to Italian prosecutors, seeking to have Berlusconi prosecuted.

Hours later, Berlusconi issued a statement saying he `'regretted' that he didn't make clear in his earlier comments that his historical analyses `'are always based on condemnation of dictatorships,' the Italian news agency LaPresse reported.


Monday, January 28, 2013

US court: Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional

"An Indiana law barring most registered sex offenders from using social networking sites such as Facebook is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The law that bans sex offenders from using sites they know allow access to youths under the age of 18 is too broad, a three-judge panel determined, and 'prohibits substantial protected speech.'"

To be upheld, the appeals court found, such a law needs to be more specifically tailored to target "the evil of improper communication to minors."

The ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago overturned a June decision by a district court judge in Indianapolis that upheld the law enacted by the legislature in 2008.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a class-action suit challenging the law on behalf of sex offenders, including a man identified only as John Doe who served three years for child exploitation. The offenders were all restricted by the ban even though they had served their sentences and are no longer on probation.


There have always been some non-protected forms of speech  -- such as libel -- so this could have gone either way.

Australia Day TV advert banned

Dick Smith is a very popular Australian entrepreneur, starting out running an electronics retail business.   He now promotes a line of "Australian made" groceries

He is a very jolly type and has always found his own name amusing.  In times past he used to advertise himself as the "electronic Dick".  But such simple jokes are now apparently -- in our more "enlightened" age -- not permissible.

An Australian TV advert has been banned from being broadcast because its jokes and innuendos were deemed to be too offensive.

The advert was given a PG classification meaning that it is unsuitable to be screened during the 6pm news bulletins on Australia Day, despite Dick Smith booking $100,000 worth of ad space. Only adverts rated G can be braodcast in the 6pm timeslot.

The advert for Dick Smith food products features "Dick" jokes and innuendos, and includes an elderly lady saying "there's only one Dick I'll be eating on Australia Day,"

"I think it's harmless, it's good fun and these people should reverse their decision and on Australia Day let me run the damn thing. They're talking about beeping it out and I said 'No' ," Dick Smith said.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Twitter ordered to identify anti-Semitic tweeters in France

Interesting to see what happens next.  Note that it's only a private company that is protecting the identity of anonymous  posters.  There seem to be no legal protections

A FRENCH court has ruled Twitter, which has steadfastly refused calls to police its millions of users, must hand over data to help identify the authors of racist or anti-Semitic tweets.

In a test case that pitted the right to free speech against laws banning hate speech, the court granted a request, lodged in October by France’s Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), which argued that many tweets had breached French law.

The union had been pressing Twitter to exercise tighter control of what appeared on its internet site following a deluge of anti-Semitic messages posted under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew).

Twitter later removed some of the offending tweets.

The UEJF took legal action aimed at forcing Twitter to identify the authors of some of the posts.

The court in Paris on Thursday ruled the site must do this ‘‘within the framework of its French site’’.


An emptyhead says cold weather is 'worse than the Holocaust'

Travis Okulski, the senior writer and second name on the masthead for Gawker Media’s car blog Jalopnik, compared the cold snap that has struck the East Coast with the Holocaust.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this cold weather is far worse than the Holocaust,” Okulski wrote on Twitter at 9:41 a.m. on Thursday.

After making light of the murder of millions, it was business as usual for the writer: At 10:39 a.m., less than an hour later, Okulski followed up with a self-promotional link to a video of himself discussing the recent multi-million dollar sale of the original Batmobile.

Such remarks are clearly offensive and inappropriate, said  Deborah Lauter, Civil Rights Director, Anti-Defamation League.

"While Mr. Okulski may have intended to make a joke in comparing the cold weather to the Holocaust, his Twitter post is clearly not funny," Lauter told "Such a trivialization of the Holocaust is deeply offensive to Jews, survivors and those who fought courageously against the Nazis in World War II."

Neither Gawker nor Okulski responded to emails, but within an hour of writing that comment -- and quickly getting blowback from offended Twitter users -- Okulski deleted his comment. Good riddance, Lauter said.


Friday, January 25, 2013


Google's filters are pretty good at catching Comment spam before it gets published but I notice that some Comment spam has been getting though lately.  I plan to check the comments more frequently to delete it  but by all means alert me via email me if it seems to be building up

Fox News gets results

Facebook on Wednesday apologized for threatening to shut down the “Chicks on the Right” Facebook page because of a post critical of the Obama administration, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports. The site claims the users were “incorrectly warned” by the site’s User Operation’s Team.

Mockarena, one of the two women who runs “Chicks on the Right,” a conservative website with more than 100,000 fans on their official Facebook page, reportedly received a notice on Wednesday informing her that she would be locked out of not only her “Chicks on the Right” Facebook page, but her personal page as well. Facebook accused her of violating the company’s standards with one of her posts.

The post in question was directed at White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. The post referred users to a website posting titled, “You Know What? Liberal Hypocrisy is Starting to Cause Me Actual Physical Pain.”  “Jay Carney can kiss my assular area,” Mockarena wrote.

However, shortly after Fox News reported on the incident, Facebook issued an apologetic statement.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience…Unfortunately, the users were incorrectly warned by our User Operation’s Team and we have already removed all associated blocks from the accounts,” Facebook spokesman Fred Wolens told Fox News.


Must not depict mosques?

The amusing thing is that Hagia Sophia was for centuries a great Christian church.  It was converted to use as a mosque after the fall of the Byzantine Empire.  So if the toy depicts anything, it depicts a Christian church!

Lego has been accused of racism by the Turkish community over a Star Wars toy allegedly depicting  a mosque.

The critics claim that the Jabba's Palace model, part of Lego's Star Wars range, offends Muslims as it resembles the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul - one of the world's most renowned mosques.

Members of the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria group also accused the toy manufacturer of depicting Asians as having 'deceitful and criminal personalities'.

The group has released a statement calling for an apology from Lego for its cultural insensitivity.

The Lego set is based on the home of Jabba the Hutt, a central character in the Star Wars series, who lives in a domed palace, with a separated watchtower.


Hagia Sophia is Greek for Holy Wisdom

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A difficult case

I have to agree with the writer below that there is no exception for pornography in the 1st Amendment

Consider the recent case against Ira Isaacs who was sentenced to four years in federal prison last week for the “crime” of producing and selling “obscene” material. His conviction is part of several other obscenity prosecutions that began under the Bush administration in 2005 with the formation of an Obscenity Prosecution Task Force.

Isaacs produced, starred in, and distributed pornographic films through a website he advertised as "the Web's largest fetish VHS, DVD superstore." Some of his films, which depict bestiality and sexual situations involving human excrement, were shown to the jury during his trial.

Again, please take note here that the First Amendment makes no exception what-so-ever for obscenity, pornography, fetishes, or any other kind of sexual activity – all of which existed in the print media at the time the founding fathers created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Never-mind that ruled the court; this criminal was allowed no First Amendment defense even though his “crime” consisted entirely of speech, albeit, speech which many people would find disgusting.

But again, the First Amendment makes no exceptions for disgusting speech, patently offensive speech, or prurient speech. Obscene speech is speech which shall not be abridged by the government authorities.

"They were so disgusting I couldn't even watch them," said Isaacs' own attorney, who said he averted his eyes and read a book as the 90-minute films were played in court. "But that doesn't mean they're not free speech."


Facebook Threatens to Shut Down Conservative Site‏

Given the constant flow of foulness that emanates from Leftists, this is a huge double standard

“Chicks on the Right,” a popular conservative website, could lose its Facebook community after posting a critical message about the White House press secretary that allegedly violated the social networking site’s standards.

The controversy involves a posting on their Facebook fan page that referred readers to a website posting titled, “You Know What? Liberal Hypocrisy is Starting to Cause Me Actual Physical Pain.”
“Jay Carney can kiss my assular area,” wrote Mockarena, who runs the website with Daisy, a medical writer and adjunct professor of communications.

Both women asked that their true identities not be revealed due to possible security concerns.  “I think people are starting to realize Facebook is not necessarily a safe place for conservatives,” Mockarena told Fox News.

She said she tried to log onto her Facebook page Tuesday morning and learned that access to both her personal account and “Chicks on the Right” account had been temporarily blocked.”

“We removed the following content you posted or were the admin of because it violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” read a screen-grab she posted.

... the ladies who run the website and Facebook page aren’t sure how the Carney statement violates the social networking site’s policies.  “There are pages on Facebook that are incredibly obscene,” she said. “There were ‘Kill Mitt Romney’ pages during the election that were allowed to stand.”

As a result of the incident, the “Chicks” have launched a new social networking site on “The experience is very similar to Facebook,” she said. “We are hoping to drive traffic there because we know it’s a safe place.”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Australia: Apology demand after gay and lesbian group's signs deemed 'offensive'

PARRAMATTA'S lord mayor is facing a social media backlash after a gay and lesbian youth group invited to a family fun day was asked by the council to remove its "offensive" signage.

Council staff told Twenty10 that a banner promoting its "support services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, same-sex attracted and gender diverse young people, their families and communities" was inappropriate at last week's Rediscover the River festival, Twenty10's acting managing director, Terence Humphreys, said.

The request prompted Twenty10 to pack up its kite-making stall and leave, posting on Facebook that it could not support an event if a sign describing the group had been "deemed to contain offensive language".

The council has been inundated with complaints as news of the January 17 incident has spread. A petition calling for an apology had attracted more than 6000 signatures in a matter of hours on Monday.

The council said in a statement that organisers asked that two banners be removed "in response to numerous complaints by members of the public" but at no stage did it request Twenty10 to leave. It declined to say what aspect of the signs was deemed to be offensive.

Independent councillor and former mayor Lorraine Wearne apologised for any offence caused but labelled some of the response an overreaction.

Labor's Julia Finn said the council's reasoning was inadequate. But independent councillor Paul Garrard said Twenty10 should not have been at the family day as it was no place for "semi-political" groups.


Church of England's official Twitter feed sparks row after 'offensive' joke about gay marriage and Katie Price

A totally harmless joke

The Church of England’s official Twitter feed was branded ‘offensive’ yesterday after a quip about gay marriage and former glamour model Katie Price.

A user calling himself ‘Just Skippy’ began the exchange by sending a question to the Church’s Twitter account, @c_of_e.  He wrote: ‘Can I ask what @c_of_e thinks about Katie Price marrying for 3rd time making a mockery of marriage yet you are against Homosexual marriage.’

In response, the Church replied: ‘We don’t have an official policy on Katie Price. Having said that, Jordan gets quite a few mentions in the Old Testament’ - a reference to the reality star’s name in her glamour modelling days.

While some readers were amused by the unexpectedly light-hearted quip, others took offence - illustrating the pitfalls of trying to communicate to the world in just 140 characters.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Must not portray ANYONE as fat

It looks like the fat acceptance people are not accepting fat!

Disney reopened a controversial attraction at its Orlando theme-park on Friday after it was removed over claims it mocked fat children.

Habit Heroes an interactive educational program at Epcot was launched last February with the aim of helping kids live more healthily.

Its animated characters depicting a rotund fairy called Snacker; an exercise averse character called Lead Bottom and a greedy baddy known as The Glutton were battled by happy and fit action figures called Will Power and Callie Stenics when the attraction first opened.

But for many the message went too far and complaints flooded in that the exhibit stigmatized overweight children.

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance said in a statement: 'We're appalled to learn that Disney, a traditional hallmark of childhood happiness and joy, has fallen under the shadow of negativity and discrimination.

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor of family medicine, told the Calgary Herald, 'It's so dumbfounding it's unreal. I just can't believe somebody out there thought it was a good idea to pick up where the school bullies left off and shame kids on their vacation.'

The sight was closed after a month but reopened on Friday minus the taunting characters, according to the Orlando Sentinel.


Atheists to encourage Bible reading!

Atheists plan to give Florida schoolkids free atheist literature as a response to free Bibles being given out.  I doubt that either will be much read  -- with one exception.  The atheists are giving out a book titled: “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible.”.  That would interest any kid and should lead to more Bible reading!

Atheists in Orange County, Fla., are taking the Bible to task. Central Florida Freethought (CFF), a local, secular group associated with the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), plans to distribute atheist books in public schools after a religious organization began giving away free Bibles in 11 of the county’s public schools. At least one of the literary works, “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible,” is sure to raise eyebrows.

Under the district’s rules, outside groups — believing and non-believing, alike — are invited to hand out faith-based materials. However, representatives of various organizations are not allowed to have contact with students. They can, however, setup a table and leave the materials for consumption. Information that includes pornographic material and references that tout tobacco, alcohol and drugs will not be allowed.

Considering these banned subjects, the FFRF’s book, “An X-Rated Book: Sex & Obscenity in the Bible,” will likely raise the ire of critics. The title alone leads one to wonder if the contents will render it unacceptable.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Toy makers bullied into ceasing production of action figures from Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained

Toy makers have ceased production of controversial dolls of slave characters from Quentin Tarantino's blockbuster Django Unchained after outraged civil rights activists demanded they be withdrawn from sale.

The figurines represent characters from the ultra-violent film Django Unchained, which tells the story of a former slave who travels across America to find his wife and free her from slavery at the hands of a cruel plantation owner. was selling three, eight-inch tall plastic dolls representing the black slaves Django, Broomhilda and Stephen as part of a series of figures from the film.

But black community leaders called for them to be withdrawn from sale saying they 'trivialise the horrors of slavery'.

TMZ reported that shortly after advocacy groups including Al Sharpton's National Action Network and Project Islamic Hope spoke out, the Weinstein Company asked that the toy line be discontinued as soon as possible.

They were produced by National Entertainment Collectibles Assocation (NECA) in collaboration with the Weinstein Company, the studio that produced Django Unchained.

The toy company, which said they had no intention of causing controversy, ceased production immediately.


History is incorrect, apparently

Skiing atheist joins lawsuit to remove Jesus statue; case moves forward

A lawsuit calling for the removal of a statue of Jesus from a patch of federal land at Whitefish Mountain Resort will move forward to trial after a national organization of atheists and agnostics identified a local member and avid skier who regularly encounters the statue on Big Mountain and finds it offensive.

The group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, filed the legal action to get rid of the statue in U.S. District Court in Missoula in February, charging that the religious symbol – a historic icon on Big Mountain – violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  [Just HOW does it establish a church?]

The suit names as defendants the U.S. Forest Service and Flathead National Forest Supervisor Chip Weber, who in January issued a decision to reauthorize a special use permit allowing the statue to remain. Members of a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus who maintain the statue and lease the site also are named.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Arrested for rant against Islam on Facebook?

Since I have repeated the "offending" words below, it will be interesting to see if the British try to extradite me to their nasty little police state.  This post will presumably be read in Britain so they could have grounds. 

I would certainly be rash to visit Britain again.  The British have in the past dragged an Australian (Toben) off a plane at a British airport for things he said in Australia.  A nasty little police state indeed  -- made even nastier by the fact that what Toben was arrested for was eventually found in the courts not to be a crime in Britain  -- and he was acquitted of any offence and released  --  but released only after a considerable, prolonged and expensive ordeal.  So he was in effect punished for a non-existent crime

Anyone in the UK prone to ranting on Facebook should be afraid. Given a case earlier this week, it now seems that simply posting offensive comments is enough to have you arrested and forced to pay regular visits to a police station.

The comments posted by the co-leader of the English Defence League (EDL), Kevin Carroll, will certainly offend some people. Responding to an article about a ritual slaughter of cattle for the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival, complete with pictures of a dozen cows lying in pools of blood in an arena, Carroll wrote in block capitals: ‘They are all fucking backward savages, a devil-spawned death cult worshipping all that is unholy and barbaric, pure evil.’

Such a rant, while certainly distasteful, is hardly uncommon on Facebook or other types of social media. In this case, much the same sentiment could have been uttered by an animal-rights activist expressing his distaste about the Halal method of slaughtering cattle. It seems, however, that one of Carroll’s so-called Facebook ‘friends’ took offence and sent a screengrab of the comments to police. And, according to the British Freedom Party (BFP) - which Carroll has recently become chairman of - the police deemed these comments sufficient to have him arrested in dramatic fashion on his way to a meeting in Luton last Saturday. As Carroll describes: ‘They swooped down on me, blues flashing and sirens wailing - you would have thought I was a serial killer or something. Right in the middle of the town centre.’

According to Bedfordshire police, Carroll was arrested for ‘display[ing] threatening abusive / insulting written material with intent / likely to stir up racial hatred’. Racial hatred? While certainly Carroll’s comments could be seen to be offensive to Muslims, such a charge appears to overlook the fact that Islam is a religion, not a race. Indeed, to make the odd assumption that Islam only has an appeal to a particular race speaks volumes about the prejudices of those making such an assumption. Islam is no more a race than Christianity or Buddhism.

Equally, the Koran itself is hardly averse to expressing disdain for those who hold differing beliefs. Take for example this quote from ‘The Cow’ by Dawood: ‘God’s curse be upon the infidels! Evil is that for which they have bartered away their souls… They have incurred God’s most inexorable wrath. An ignominious punishment awaits the unbelievers.’ Should Muslims also be concerned that if they post excerpts from the Koran, they too will be arrested for stirring up hatred against those who worship religions other than Islam?

But this raises the question: why should anyone be arrested for expressing their views, regardless of how offensive? You don’t have to be an EDL supporter – which certainly I am not – to be chilled by the fact that you can be arrested for saying what’s on your mind.


CA: Judge say nudity is not protected speech

"A federal judge considering San Francisco's public nudity ban rejected arguments Thursday that simply disrobing in public was protected political speech akin to flag burning. U.S. District Judge Edward Chen made his comments during a 90-minute hearing held to consider the new law requiring the covering of 'genitals, perineum, and anal region' that is set to go into effect on Feb. 1."


Friday, January 18, 2013

Asian-Americans speak out against Google app they call offensive

Fun is very risky these days.  It's highly likely to "offend"  somebody

The maker of a Google app thinks it's fun to make yourself look Asian by changing the shape of your eyes and wearing a Fu Manchu mustache and rice paddy hat.

Another app - "Make Me Indian" - makes you a Native American with brown skin, war paint and a feather headband.

“This is just a fun app (that) lets you indulge you and your friends," says the description of the "Make Me Asian" app created by user KimberyDeiss and available on Google Play.

"You can for a few seconds to make (yourself) a Chinese, Japanese, Korean or any other Asians," the description says.

Not amusing or cute, say Asian-American organizations that launched a petition to get Google to remove both apps.

The apps use dated and racist stereotypes of Asians and Native Americans, said the online campaign 18 Million Rising, named after the number of Asian-Americans in the United States.


SC: ‘Rude, racist’ T-shirt sales soaring as debate grows hotter

Must not suggest that most illegals are from South of the Rio Grande?

The owner of a restaurant selling T-shirts comparing catching illegal immigrants to capturing animals has seen a spike in business since the controversy made national headlines last week.

The T-shirts being sold at the Taco Cid restaurant in West Columbia feature a box propped open with a stick and string as a rudimentary trap baited with two tacos. The shirts read “How to Catch an Illegal Immigrant” in red, green and white — the colors of the Mexican flag.

Snelgrove — who defends the T-shirts as a political statement and denies they are racist — said the restaurant has sold shirts to customers in just about every state in the nation, and even received an order from a soldier in Kosovo.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Secret film that must not be seen in France, not even by the courts

An amazing story from France. Telling the truth is defamation.  Some years back, French state TV published heavily edited  "news" film that purported to show a Palestinian boy being killed by Israelis. Philippe Karsenty exposed the deception, based on seeing the whole, uncut, film.

But he was then sued for defamation by the TV channel.  He was acquitted but the French TV channel has appealed the acquittal. 

The French high court has now ruled that the lower court improperly viewed the whole film, and has ordered a retrial.  The journalist who presented the fake footage was the highly regarded Charles Enderlin

Meanwhile Charles’ employer, the state-owned media giant France2, appealed to the highest court, which, despite a strong opinion against from the “Parquet,” (which vigorously defended the value to civil society of allowing such criticisms), ruled that the appeals court had no right to demand the footage, nullified their opinion, and sent the case back to appeals court where it arrives today, same room, same “Palace of Justice” in Paris.


Must not upset Muslims, I guess. Truth be damned.  The French establishment is totally corrupt as far as I can see.

Are Britons now free to say insulting things?

It seems not.  The word "insulting" will be removed from the law but the word "abusive" will be retained.  So what was once called "insulting" will now be called "abusive" and nothing will change

Ministers agreed to scrap a law outlawing ‘insulting words or behaviour’ last night after a campaign led by comedian Rowan Atkinson.

Home Secretary Theresa May announced a dramatic U-turn yesterday saying the government would ditch the contentious words from the Public Order Act amid fears that they are strangling free speech.

The Blackadder and Mr Bean star led a coalition of campaign groups complaining that the legislation has been abused by over-zealous police and prosecutors to arrest Christian preachers, critics of Scientology, gay rights campaigners and even students making jokes.

Mrs May told the Commons that the word ‘insulting’ would be removed from Section 5 of the Public Order Act, as part of the Crime and Courts Bill.

She told MPs: ‘Looking at past cases, the Director of Public Prosecutions could not identify any where the behaviour leading to a conviction could not be described as “abusive” as well as “insulting”.

'He has stated that the word “insulting” could safely be removed without the risk of undermining the ability of the CPS to bring prosecutions.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Historic figurines incorrect

A site mainly into selling women's clothing got a bit adventurous and stubbed its toe on the American Left's hypersensitivity to anything to do with race. 

Here’s the thing, Anthropologie: If we’re going to shell out big bucks, say, $398 on an overpriced candlestick, we want it racism-free.

The company recently had a bit of mud on its face for selling “one of a kind” candlesticks, one of which happened to feature not one, but two racially insensitive figurines.

Anthropologie was selling the Trinket & Treasure Candlestick for almost $400 with a picture that showed a candlestick with a bunch of figurines stacked on top of each other. Let’s see, there’s JFK, and a picture of an Alaska house and… a Mammy figurine? Followed by a stereotypical Asian. Oof.

That item is now being listed as no longer available online after the media got its teeth into Anthroplogie last night


The candlestick is just old-fashioned,  which was presumably the idea. A "Mammy" image is a traditional part of American culture and the type of Asian depiction was also once common.

No comment on what sort of person would shell out so much for such junk.

UPDATE:  OK.  I'm a Philistine who knows nothing about art.  That candlestick will probably be worth a million dollars sometime in the future.  It's possible.

Must not mention the high rate of unemployment and welfare dependency among Australian minorities

Groups from a black and a brown race have been attacking one another in Brisbane in recent days, causing the police a lot of trouble

THE federal MP at the centre of a social media storm after he tweeted about the Logan racial tensions has sought to clarify his position.

On Monday night, Andrew Laming, the MP for Bowman, tweeted: "Mobs tearing up Logan. Did any of them do a day's work today, or was it business as usual and welfare on tap?"

At 9.45am today. Mr Laming tweeted: "To clarify: Working together to resolve these riots the priority. Training and a chance for jobs are key."

Earlier, the Federal Government condemned Mr Laming or posting inflammatory comments about racial tensions in Logan, south of Brisbane, on Twitter.

The opposition's spokesman for indigenous health posted remarks on the social networking site on Monday night, after clashes between Aboriginal and Pacific Islander communities at Logan.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Only blacks are lazy?  Only blacks are evasive?

Colin Powell seems to think so:

"There's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party," Powell said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "What do I mean by that?  What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities."

Powell, who endorsed Obama, pointed to a number of statements that were directed at Obama as evidence that there is still racism within the party.

"When I see a former governor say that the president is 'shuckin' and jivin'.' That's a racial-era slave term," Powell said, referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin using the term to describe Obama's response to the attacks in Libya.

Powell also pointed to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who was an aggressive surrogate for Mitt Romney, for calling Obama "lazy" after the first debate during the campaign.

"He didn't say he was slow, he was tired, he didn't do well; he said he was 'lazy,'" Powell said "Now, it may not mean anything to most Americans, but to those of us who are African Americans, the second word is "shiftless," and then there's a third word that goes along with it."


In the absence of real racism, it has to be sniffed out where it is not, apparently.  According to Wikipedia, "Shuckin' and jivin' (or shucking and jiving) is a slang term for the behavior of joking and acting evasively".  And Obama's response to the Libya attack has certainly been evasive. Or am I racist to say that?

Must not diss transsexuals, no matter how they behave

Apparently, British transsexuals have become so aggressive that even some Leftist writers (which Burchill certainly is) have become fed-up with them

Julie Burchill wrote a column in the Observer yesterday defending her friend and fellow columnist Suzanne Moore who came under fire on Twitter for an article that said women were under pressure to have bodies like 'Brazilian transsexuals'.

Liberal Democrat minister Lynne Featherstone called for Miss Burchill to be sacked for attacking transsexuals as ‘bed-wetters in bad wigs’.  The former Equalities Minister, a staunch supporter of transsexual rights, said she should be fired and her newspaper’s editor John Mulholland should also go.

Miss Burchill wrote the article in defence of fellow columnist Suzanne Moore, who became the target of transsexuals’ fury over what seemed to be a throw-away comment in a previous article.

Miss Moore, describing the challenges faced by modern women in an article for the New Statesman, had written that modern women were expected to look like ‘Brazilian transsexuals’.

She had said: '(Women]) are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.'

Miss Burchill ranted: 'Though I imagine (Twitter) to be something akin to being savaged by a dead sheep, as Denis Healey had it of Geoffrey Howe, I nevertheless felt indignant that a woman of such style and substance should be driven from her chosen mode of time-wasting by a bunch of d**** in chicks' clothing.

She added that the reaction of ‘the very vociferous transsexual lobby and their grim groupies’ reminded her ‘of those wretched inner-city kids who shoot another inner-city kid dead in a fast-food shop for not showing them enough “respect”.’

She added: ‘I must say that my only experience of the trans lobby thus far was hearing about the vile way they have persecuted another of my friends, the veteran women’s rights and anti-domestic violence activist Julie Bindel – picketing events where she is speaking about such minor issues as the rape of children and the trafficking of women just because she refuses to accept that their relationship with their phantom limb is the most pressing problem that women – real and imagined – are facing right now.’

Miss Burchill was supported on Twitter by Miss Bindel, who writes for the Observer’s sister paper the Guardian.  She said of her article: ‘This has been a long time coming, the bullying has to stop.’


Monday, January 14, 2013

Must not speak any ill of homosexuality

An evangelical pastor from Atlanta announced Thursday that he would not give the benediction at President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony after a sermon he gave on homosexuality in the mid-1990s resurfaced earlier this week.

In that sermon, the Rev. Louie Giglio called for Christians to “firmly respond to the aggressive agenda” of some in the gay community and warns that widespread gay marriage ”would run the risk of absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.”

In a statement, Giglio said that his participation “will be dwarfed by those seeking to make their agenda the focal point of the inauguration.”

Giglio pastors the Passion City Church in Atlanta, where many of his sermons present a traditional view of gender roles and marriage. On Faith has more on Giglio and the sermon, including excerpts of the most inflammatory passages.

The pastor was selected for the benediction because of the work he has done to raise awareness of human trafficking,


A comment I saw on Facebook:

"Giglio has been my pastor for the last few months, since my husband and I discovered Passion City Church. I believe the man is incapable of hating anyone. Once again, the militant, intolerant homosexual community is trying to bring down a good man just because he believes God's word and is not politically correct. Obama does not deserve such a fine man praying at his inauguration."

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Washington mayor calls for city's Redskins team to change their name as it's offensive to Native Americans

Mayor trying to upend a Supreme Court decision

The mayor of Washington D.C. is demanding that the city’s major football team, the Washington Redskins, change its name as it is offensive to Native Americans.

Mayor Vincent Gray said if the team wants to move from its current playing field outside the capital inside the borders of the District of Columbia they need to consider a new moniker.

The word ‘redskin’ is considered a racial slur against Native Americans and the name has seen the football team face decades of legal battles.

A legal case against the club’s name was filed in 1992 by a group of Native Americans headed by Dr Susan Shown Harjo, founder of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Although lower courts held up that the word ‘redskin’ was an offensive term towards Native Americans the case was thrown out by the Supreme court in 2009.

‘The term ‘redskins’ is the most vile and offensive term used to describe Native Americans,’ Dr Harjo told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs in 2011.


SCOTUS threw out the case because the name was of long standing.  The Redskins orginally got that name  in honor of their head coach, William "Lone Star" Dietz, a Native American.

Must not wish ill on car thieves in Britain

When Lesley Ross’s car was stolen she reported the theft to the police but didn’t hold out much hope of them finding it. So she decided to turn detective herself.

Her boyfriend took to the streets of Aberdeen in search of the top-of-the-range Audi and Lesley went on Facebook to appeal for help.  Soon, sightings were flooding in every 15 minutes. The Audi was still in the city and one report had it being followed by a police car.

Lesley kept up a running commentary online.

As the hunt progressed, Lesley wrote: ‘Why can’t the cops catch them? They (the thieves) must have been keeping an eye on my house. They have stolen my Range Rover spare keys, too. Are they planning on coming back?

‘Feel sick thinking about it. Hope they wrap the car round a lamp-post and maim themselves.’

At 10.30pm that night, while her boyfriend Ricky Strachan was still scouring the streets, two police officers knocked on the door.  Had they found the car? No, they had come to give her ‘words of advice’ about the way she was ‘handling things on Facebook’.

Lesley admits she may have been a little intemperate, but can’t believe that the police appeared to be more concerned about her remarks on a social network than finding her car.

It does seem extraordinary that while the police could find time to warn Lesley about her ‘offensive’ comments on Facebook, they couldn’t actually track down a stolen car which was being driven at high speed through the streets of Aberdeen.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Twitter refuses to hand details of racist and anti-Semitic users to French lawyers unless forced by a judge

I think they have struck the right balance here.  Lots of speech that would not be criminal in America IS criminal elsewhere so handing over data on speech to foreign governments should only ever be done as a last resort

Twitter dug its heels in yesterday after French prosecutors demanded the details of users who have posted racist or anti-Semitic comments.

In what could prove a significant test case for the micro-blogging site, lawyer Alexandre Neri argued that the company is only subject to US law and only a judge in America could force it to release the information.

In October, Jewish student bodies asked Twitter to remove a number of messages which appeared under the hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew), with some users posting examples such as: ‘#agoodjew is a dead Jew.’

France has a number of strict laws aimed at combating hate crimes.

The Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and three other similar groups took Twitter to a French court asking them to hand over the names of all those responsible so they can be prosecuted.

But Mr Neri told the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris that Twitter ‘data is collected and stored in the United States’ – namely in San Francisco, where the site is based.

He added that the differences between French and US laws on freedom of speech have created a ‘huge void, a question mark’.

A spokesman for Twitter said it always suspends accounts when they are illegal, or in breach of its rules, but would not hand over details of account holders unless ordered by a judge.


White House cites free speech in Piers Morgan petition reply

There's always free speech for Leftists but it is perfectly correct that Morgan was free to say what he did.  Nobody would have expected Obama to act on the petition anyway so it was just an expression of disapproval rather than anything more serious

The White House has officially weighed in on a ballooning petition to deport U.S-based British television host Piers Morgan back to the U.K.  Morgan's anti-gun stance had raised the ire of over 100,000 people who wanted to boot him for "targeting the Second Amendment." 

In a response posted below the petition on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wrote:   “Let’s not let arguments over the Constitution’s Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First.

President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press — fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Must not mention that a woman is attractive?

A US sports network has issued an apology for comments made by one of its commentators during a championship college football match on Tuesday.

Veteran ESPN commentator Brent Musburger sparked controversy in the US after the camera homed in on the girlfriend of star Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron - a former Miss Alabama.

The 73-year-old took a fancy to the beauty, with his co-commentator joining in.

"We always try to capture interesting storylines and the relationship between an Auburn grad who is Miss Alabama and the current Alabama quarterback certainly met that test. However, we apologize that the commentary in this instance went too far and Brent understands that," ESPN's statement read.


What he said:

"You see that lovely lady there, she does go to Auburn, but she's also Miss Alabama and that's AJ McCarron's girlfriend. You quarterbacks, you get all the good looking women. What a beautiful woman. Wow."


If natural reactions like that are demonized we are in a sick society.

White House petitioned to label Catholic Church a 'hate group'

An online petition asking the White House to designate the Catholic Church as a "hate group" for its views on marriage is drawing criticism for generating unjust animosity.

The petition reveals an "underlying agenda," which is not simply to prevent violent crimes, but to "stigmatize any disapproval of homosexuality at all and essentially to silence us," said Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

He explained to CNA on Jan. 3 that applying the "hate group" label to organizations that are morally opposed to redefining marriage is simply "name-calling designed to cut us out of the public debate."

Initiated on Christmas Day, a petition on the White House website had collected 1,640 signatures by Jan. 3.

The petition - which is aiming for 25,000 signatures by Jan. 24 - argued that Pope Benedict XVI's 2012 Christmas address to the College of Cardinals "demeaned and belittled homosexual people around the world."

In his address to the cardinals, the Pope did not directly reference "gay marriage" or "homosexuality" at all. Rather, he defended the Church's understanding of sexuality and "the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child." 


It's pretty clear who is doing the hating there

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The childish horror of black faces again

A fun tradition under attack for no good reason

German chancellor Angela Merkel raised eyebrows when she was pictured alongside children with blacked-up faces on the steps of the chancellery in Berlin earlier today.

Fortunately for the CDU leader, the visiting children were not part of a political stunt but carol singers dressed up as the three wise men for the German Twelfth night, known as Three Kings' Day.

Although the costumes of the children may appear controversial, the blacked-up faces of the children joining the Chancellor today is part of the Sternsinger, or star singer, tradition of Dreik├Ânigstag, the Three Kings' Day, when children go from house to house in groups of four and sing carols for charity.

It is tradition that one of the kings are black and it is not seen as racist, but part of the traditional costume.

This is a predominantly Catholic practice where three children dress up as the wise men who visited baby Jesus and one child carries a star on a stick for the three wise men to follow.

The three kings and their star ‘bless’ houses with magi as their raise money for an annual good cause. This year’s cause in Germany is Tanzanian hospitals.

Three Kings' Day is celebrated in the 6th of January which is a public holiday in three German states, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt, and marks the end of the Christmas celebrations.


Footballer sparks racism row after 'blacking up' for Three Kings Day as he visits children in Spanish hospital

A fun tradition under attack for no good reason

Retired Dutch footballer Ruud Van Nistelrooy has been accused of racism after visiting a hospital dressed as a King with a 'blacked-up' face.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, who was taking part in the Parade of the Three Kings in Marbella, Spain, dressed up as Middle Eastern king Balthazar.

Wearing black face make-up, a jewelled head dress and a robe with a leopard print trim, the Dutchman entertained the crowds at the weekend.

Along with the two other 'Kings', Van Nistelrooy visited a hospital where he gave gifts to staff and handed out sweets to children.

He posted several photos of his costume on Twitter writing: 'In hospital with presents for the young and old.'

But many fans were outraged and Twitter user Ian Harding tweeted: 'What the sweet Jesus is Rudd Van Nistelrooy doing? And yes, that's actually him!!'

McAllyn wrote: 'Nistelrooy Is A Huge Racist Piece of S***'

Kris Maher ‏wrote: 'So this what Ruud Van Nistelrooy has been up to since he retired!?'


Note whom the hate speech is coming from

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Attempts to censor medical information

Arrogant swine!  And that's an insult to swine! People are too dumb to be given information about their own bodies??

FOR Carole Kushnir, a test that she took out of simple curiosity about her genetic make-up revealed a double risk of cancer. And for Karen Durrett, it led to her meeting a father she had never known - and brought to light a potentially fatal condition.

The women are among 180,000 people who have paid to have their DNA analysed by 23andMe, the world's biggest private genomics company, to assess more than 200 genetic traits and health risks.

That number of customers is expected to soar after the Californian company - which takes its name from the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a normal human cell - cut the cost of a testing kit to $US99 ($94) last month.

The company, co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, the wife of the Google entrepreneur Sergey Brin, plans to reach 1 million clients by the end of this year.

But the boom in business and interest in genomes and genetics has led to controversy about the commercial use of one the most crucial medical breakthroughs of recent years.

For the price of a night out, individuals can learn key elements of their genetic composition and take treatment, or protect their children from hereditary health risks.

Critics, including doctors, bioethicists and geneticists, are concerned people will be overloaded with information that is difficult for them to interpret, and that the test will raise unnecessary health fears or false reassurances, lead to unneeded procedures, or cause stress about conditions that cannot be cured.

"It is unregulated. Much of the information people get is misleading or unreliable and genetic tests are a poor predictor of the big killer diseases," said Helen Wallace, of GeneWatch UK, a genetic watchdog group. "There is also the danger of people receiving scary surprises, without the presence of a doctor, for which they are not prepared."

But recent focus group findings and professional surveys illustrate the diverging opinions about how to use these new weapons.

Almost all the parents surveyed said they wanted to be informed of every risk of disease for their children, even if the condition was untreatable. Most doctors, geneticists and bioethicists believe that only information that could lead to action should be shared.

In an effort to provide guidelines the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics is drawing up a list of major conditions to search for.


If I were writing in Australian idiom, I would call the would-be censors "bastards" but I gather that is not well understood in America and I don't know of an American equivalent.  Australian slang is very rich in derogatory terms: Drongo, nong, galah etc.

Sensitive football fans in Britain!

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has attempted to smooth things over with the Newcastle fans by telling them they are "up there with the best supporters in the game".

Ferguson caused outrage among the Toon Army when he described Newcastle as a "wee club in the North East" during his recent spat with Alan Pardew.

But he told the Mail on Sunday: "It was never my intention to belittle Newcastle fans.

"I want to clear up any misunderstanding that may have arisen over what I said. I have nothing but the highest regard for Newcastle fans and I always have had.

"They are up there with the best supporters in the game.  "Their passion, commitment and fervour have never wavered, even though they have had little to celebrate.


In Scottish and Northern usage "wee" means small but it can be derogatory, meaning insignificant.  And if something is "toty wee", that's real scorn.

Monday, January 07, 2013

France's censorship demands to Twitter are more dangerous than 'hate speech'

I rarely agree with Glenn Greenwald.  His attacks on Israel are particularly hateful.  I guess he hates being a Jew.  But he absolutely hits the bullseye below

Writing in the Guardian today, Jason Farago praises France's women's rights minister, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, for demanding that Twitter help the French government criminalize ideas it dislikes. Decreeing that "hateful tweets are illegal", Farago excitingly explains how the French minister is going beyond mere prosecution for those who post such tweets and now "wants Twitter to take steps to help prosecute hate speech" by "reform[ing] the whole system by which Twitter operates", including her demand that the company "put in place alerts and security measures" to prevent tweets which French officials deem hateful. This, Farago argues, is fantastic, because - using the same argument employed by censors and tyrants of every age and every culture - new technology makes free speech far too dangerous to permit:
"If only this were still the 18th century! We can't delude ourselves any longer that free speech is the privilege of pure citizens in some perfect Enlightenment salon, where all sides of an argument are heard and the most noble view will naturally rise to the top. Speech now takes place in a digital mixing chamber, in which the most outrageous messages are instantly amplified, with sometimes violent effects . . .

"We keep thinking that the solution to bad speech is more speech. But even in the widest and most robust network, common sense and liberal-democratic moderation are not going to win the day, and it's foolhardy to imagine that, say, homophobic tweets are best mitigated with gay-friendly ones.

"Digital speech is new territory, and it calls for fresh thinking, not the mindless reapplication of centuries-out-of-date principles that equate a smartphone to a Gutenberg press. As Vallaud-Belkacem notes, homophobic violence – 'verbal and otherwise' – is the No 1 cause of suicide among French teenagers. In the face of an epidemic like that, free speech absolutism rings a little hollow, and keeping a hateful hashtag from popping up is not exactly the same as book-burning."

Before getting to the merits of all this, I must say: I simply do not understand how someone who decides to become a journalist then devotes his energy to urging that the government be empowered to ban and criminalize certain ideas and imprison those who express them. Of all people who would want the state empowered to criminalize ideas, wouldn't you think people who enter journalism would be the last ones advocating that?

I've written many, many times about the odiousness and dangers of empowering the state to criminalize ideas - including the progressive version of that quest, especially in Europe and Canada but also (less so) in the US - and won't rehash all those arguments here. But there is a glaring omission in Farago's column that I do want to highlight because it underscores one key point: as always, it is overwhelming hubris and self-love that drives this desire for state suppression of ideas.

Nowhere in Farago's pro-censorship argument does he address, or even fleetingly consider, the possibility that the ideas that the state will forcibly suppress will be ideas that he likes, rather than ideas that he dislikes. People who want the state to punish the expression of certain ideas are so convinced of their core goodness, the unchallengeable rightness of their views, that they cannot even conceive that the ideas they like will, at some point, end up on the Prohibited List.

That's what always astounds and bothers me most about censorship advocates: their unbelievable hubris. There are all sorts of views I hold that I am absolutely convinced I am right about, and even many that I believe cannot be reasonably challenged.

But there are no views that I hold which I think are so sacred, so objectively superior, that I would want the state to bar any challenge to them and put in prison those who express dissent. How do people get so convinced of their own infallibility that they want to arrogate to themselves the power not merely to decree which views are wrong, but to use the force of the state to suppress those views and punish people for expressing them?

The history of human knowledge is nothing more than the realization that yesterday's pieties are actually shameful errors. It is constantly the case that human beings of the prior generation enshrined a belief as objectively, unchallengably true which the current generation came to see as wildly irrational or worse. All of the most cherished human dogmas - deemed so true and undeniable that dissent should be barred by the force of law - have been subsequently debunked, or at least discredited.

How do you get yourself to believe that you're exempt from this evolutionary process, that you reside so far above it that your ideas are entitled to be shielded from contradiction upon pain of imprisonment? The amount of self-regard required for that is staggering to me.


Australian State Premier told to man up and quit the 'sexist slurs'

Imaginary slurs

PREMIER Barry O'Farrell is under fire from the state's female Labor MPs who claim he repeatedly undermines women by making snide and sexist remarks.

Acting Opposition Leader Linda Burney said Mr O'Farrell continually singled out women for abuse during parliament and had referred to her as a "witch" and a "hooker" during a series of stinging personal attacks.

The Canterbury MP said Mr O'Farrell had also called fellow Labor MP Carmel Tebbutt a "puppy" and that it was time for Mr O'Farrell to "behave like a Premier" and treat women with greater respect.

But a spokesman for the Premier dismissed Ms Burney's claims.   "Debate in the NSW Parliament has always been robust," he said.   "It is a shame Linda Burney doesn't put the same effort into policy development that she seems to put into trying to find issues to take offence at when there are none."

On October 24, the Premier told parliament Ms Burney could "keep casting her spells; they will have no effect".

In June, 2011, Mr O'Farrell said there had been some criticism of the NSW rugby league team's front row and said the team could use a new hooker "perhaps the member for Canterbury".

"He said it in reference to rugby league, but everyone knows what kind of hooker he was really referring to," Ms Burney said.

She said his attacks on former premier Kristina Keneally as the "Kim Kardashian" of NSW politics had been equally offensive to the state's women.

"To imply that Kristina Keneally was somehow vacuous and superficial is offensive; she is a highly accomplished woman and the state's first female premier," she said.  [She also presided over the biggest electoral landslide against her party for many years.  An amusing example of a "highly accomplished woman"!]


Sunday, January 06, 2013

France: Magazine publishes comic-book biography of Prophet Mohammed

The comic book is apparently a straight history of the life of Mohammed, but depicting Mohammed at all is "haram" and Muslims might not be able to stand straight history anyway

"A satirical magazine in France once firebombed for its portrayal of radical Muslims has published a 65-page cartoon biography of the Prophet Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo, whose offices were attacked last November just hours before its 'Sharia Hebdo' edition hit the stands, says its latest publication is 'halal' and describes it as an attempt to teach non-Muslims about the prophet's life, the Financial Times reports."


 Denial of Free speech at  Southern Louisiana University

Its "Free Speech Alley" - comprising 1,000 square feet on a 650-acre campus - faces a lawsuit brought by a pro-life plaintiff last month. The University of Cincinnati recently lost a similar case involving that school's attempt to restrict the time and place where the U.S. Constitution held sway.

Among Louisiana's scofflaw schools, SLU is perhaps the worst offender. There, those wishing to express an opinion publicly must be cleared by the thought police 7 days in advance, and even then may have only one 2-hour period every 7 days to speak.

Absurd, yes. Outrageous, too, coming as it does from the very places out of which the next generation of Louisiana's social, economic and political leaders will likely emerge. Those operating, willingly or otherwise, within a cocoon will have a much harder time succeeding in the brighter world where ideas good and bad will be on the final exam.

The real impetus for this - why on earth is it required? - change must come from the students, though. There is no reason they should allow themselves to be shortchanged intellectually, particularly given the higher and higher prices these insulated thought bubble palaces charge.


Friday, January 04, 2013

Governing body of British soccer  to tackle racism  by giving ‘cultural lessons’ to dumb, un-PC foreign players

Try to get your head around this: the FA has announced that it plans to fight racism in British football by re-educating the game's foreign players and inculcating them with "British cultural values". Yes, that's right – the FA's big idea for tackling prejudice in footie is to declare war on the allegedly prejudicial mindsets of those bloody foreigners coming over here and ruining our national sport with their un-PC, racially tinged outlooks.

I'll say it one more time to ensure that everyone is as struck dumb by this daft idea as I was: the FA believes that racism in British football is in part a spin-off of the backward attitudes of footballers from other, non-British races – which of course is itself a borderline racist belief. My head hurts.

Clearly the FA's irony checker was on holiday when it was drawing up its 93-point document, English Football's Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan. The document contains various proposals for tackling the alleged scourge of racism in football, including having a mandatory anti-racism clause in all players' contracts and introducing fixed-term bans for players found guilty of using racist language.

But the proposal to introduce "cultural lessons" for foreign-born players is the most startling of all. According to the BBC, the aim of these lessons is to "induct" foreign players, who obviously come from less enlightened, less racially aware countries than our own, into a "British cultural environment" of fair play and tolerance.

In essence, then, the FA's contribution to anti-racism in football is to further fuel the prejudicial belief that foreigners are uncouth, uneducated, intolerant. This is one of those moments when one feels tempted to reach for that hackneyed tabloid phrase, "You couldn't make it up".


British boy engulfed in race storm for blacking up his face to look like his favourite soccer player

Must not look black -- again!

A ten-year-old Leeds United fan has become embroiled in an online race row after he blacked up to pose with his hero El Hadji Diouf.

The child posted a series of pictures on his Twitter account provoking a backlash from users who said he was racist.

But the primary school child said he did not realise it would be offensive and did it as a tribute to his footballing hero.

The boy's father was forced to take to his son's Twitter account to defend him from accusations of racism.

'He asked to dress up as Diouf so we let him for a bit of fun. We completely underestimated the response it would get. Hes only 10 and likes the banter so lay off please thanks for positive comments'.

The fan met his favourite player outside Elland Road ahead of his team's home game against Bolton Wanderers on New Year's Day.

He said Diouf and other Leeds players found the 'costume' - a blacked up face and head, Leeds kit and white mohican - funny.


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Baseball star: I would be ‘uncomfortable’ with having a gay teammate

Torii Hunter, who plays as a slugger for the Detroit Tigers, says he would find it “difficult and uncomfortable” to accept openly gay baseball players.  The 37-year-old claims it’s because of his Christian beliefs.

In an interview to the LA Times, which published an article about the lack of openly gay baseball players, Hunter said:  “For me, as a Christian … I will be uncomfortable because in all my teachings and all my learning, biblically, it’s not right,” he added: “It will be difficult and uncomfortable.”

Grant Hill, who plays for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was also quoted in the article saying: “It’s still taboo in the locker room” for a player to be openly gay.


The criticism of him has been fairly muted, probably because he is black

Lewd Facebook confessions 'making students unemployable'

Whether or not they contravene any official rules, these boasts are extremely foolish

Students who make Facebook confessions about boozing and bed-hopping have been warned it could leave them unemployable. The craze for online confession pages has swept the country with thousands using them to brag about boozing and bonking.

But academic chiefs have warned students that their racy anecdotes could damage their future job prospects.

One Facebook site, Swansea Uni Confessions, has been slammed by the university and its student union.  In a joint statement, registrar Raymond Ciborowski and Students' Union president Tom Upton said: "We are seriously concerned about the nature and content of these pages.

"Irresponsible use of social media can damage their future employment prospects as companies are increasingly searching for information on job applicants."


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Charlie Sheen's homosexual slur

I think he said what he meant and if people want to put up with that so be it

Charlie Sheen just can't help himself.  The 47-year-old actor greeted guests at his new bar in Mexico with a homophobic slur, putting himself back in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

"How we doing? ... Lying bunch of faggot assholes, how we doing?" Sheen told the crowd at El Ganzo hotel in Cabo San Lucas, the Daily Mail reported.

The former star of Two and a Half Men was quick to apologise for the ugly remark.  "I meant no ill will and intended to hurt no one and I apologise if I offended anyone. I meant to say maggot but I have a lisp," Sheen told TMZ.

Sheen is a partner in the rooftop bar, whose opening was attended by a bunch of celebrities including Guns n' Roses guitarist Slash.


Maybe it was a poor joke

Connecticut State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance’s comments about “misinformation.”

In a news conference Dec. 16, he said that anyone who posts misleading information online on social media sites about the Newtown case would be “investigated, statewide and federally, and prosecution will take place when people perpetrating this information are identified.”

He added: “All information relative to this case is coming from these microphones.”

It’s horrible that anyone would consider posing as 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, try to disrupt the investigation of the murders or cause further heartbreak for the victims’ families.

But what kind of precedent does it set if the government gets to determine what is “misinformation”?

We already know what happened after Lt. Vance spoke. Social media website Facebook suspended accounts of those whose versions of the Newtown massacre did not match the government one, officially because users violated company policies but more likely to avert criminal prosecution. Facebook is a public company and can set its own user rules, but its actions are a reminder of how little it takes to diminish free speech, which is constantly under threat.


Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Extensive speech campaign at University of Maryland

A public university in Maryland is spending thousands of dollars on a “diversity” campaign targeted at students to stop them from using “insensitive” phrases such as “illegal alien,” “that’s so retarded” and “no homo.”

The University of Maryland, or UMD, has spent $15,000 just this year on its “inclusive language campaign,” reports.

The following poster tells students to reconsider using the term “illegal alien” and opt instead for “undocumented immigrants” and “undocumented citizens”:

Yet another entry warns students against stating that another person “looks like a terrorist” because “the phrase may offend people who are of Arab decent, Muslim, and people who phenotypically look like the stereotype of a terrorist”:

UMD’s “words have power” campaign seeks to post and distribute posters, buttons and promotional materials to create an atmosphere on campus that doesn’t offend illegal aliens, homosexuals and other minority groups.


What if a student said he has reconsidered but still intends to use the most straightforward speech?

Obama must not eat watermelon

What if he likes it?

Anyone driving by Danny Hafley’s home in Casey County, Kentucky recently has probably done a double take over his choice of lawn ornaments. Rather than a plastic flamingo or ceramic gnome, Mr. Hafley has erected a life-sized mannequin in President Obama’s likeness. The figure is wearing a suit over jeans, and an Obama mask that was purchased after Halloween.

The statue is holding a giant slice of watermelon, but Hafley assured a local television station that it wasn’t about racial stereotyping, but because he “might get hungry standing out there.” He also claimed, “The way I look at it, it’s freedom of speech.”

Newsflash: Just because you can say something doesn’t mean you should say it. Otherwise you’ll come off like a racist jerk like this guy. This is incredibly offensive and frustrating on so many levels, not the least of which is racism.