Monday, March 31, 2014

BBC faces £1MILLION racism lawsuit over Jeremy Clarkson's 'slope' quip

I don't know why a South Asian (Indian) is making waves over this.  "Slope" is slang for East Asians (Chinese).  Clarkson will say that the racial reference is in the mind of the listener.  He was talking about a  bridge at the time

An actress is suing the BBC for up to £1million after Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson allegedly made a racist remark during the series finale of the show.

Indian-born Somi Guha, 36, has instructed lawyers after Clarkson used the word 'slope' - a derogatory term for people of Asian descent - in the Top Gear Burma special.

Ms Guha claims that broadcasting Clarkson's comment amounts to unlawful discrimination by a public body.

Clarkson used his Twitter account today to respond to the allegation, and said: 'I'm not a racist. I am currently sitting in a bar with a man who lives quite near Wales.'

In the series finale, the three hosts - Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson - are tasked with building a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.

After completion, Clarkson, 53, said: 'That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it', as a man walked towards him on a makeshift bridge.

Co-presenter Richard Hammond, 44, replied: 'You're right, it's definitely higher on that side.'

At the time, some viewers were left outraged by the 'slope' reference, described by Twitter users as 'not big, not clever, not funny' and 'a gag too far'.


Mozilla staff call for new CEO to stand down over donation to anti-gay marriage campaign

Employees and volunteers at open source organisation Mozilla, which creates the Firefox browser, have called for its new chief executive to stand down because of donations to anti-gay marriage campaigns

Employees and volunteers at Mozilla - the organisation which promotes open source software such as its Firefox browser - have called for new chief executive Brendan Eich to stand down because of his donations to political campaigns to ban gay marriage.

This week Mozilla named Brendan Eich as its new chief executive, following the resignation of Gary Kovacs which was announced in April last year. Eich was previously Mozilla's chief technology officer and has a long history with the group dating back to before its formation from Netscape, having worked on the Navigator browser in the 90s and creating JavaScript in a marathon, ten-day programming session in 1995.

The controversy stems from a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 to support California's Proposition 8, which opposed gay marriage. The donation was listed in a public database with Mozilla appearing next to Eich's name as his employer. It caused controversy in the technology industry when it was uncovered in 2012.

Eich posted on his own blog to "express my sorrow at having caused pain" and promised an "active commitment to equality" at Mozilla.

"I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion," he wrote.

But employees were unconvinced. Chris McAvoy, who leads Mozilla's Open Badges project, took to Twitter last night to call for the new chief executive to stand down and said that he had been "disapointed" by his promotion.


This is pretty rough stuff.  You can be hounded out of your job because of a political donation you make.  An attack on democracy

Sunday, March 30, 2014

British Airways says sorry for advert urging people to 'Discover the Indian Ocean'

Unintentionally funny

British Airways has been forced to apologise for an ill-timed advert encouraging commuters to fly to the Indian Ocean just days after it was revealed that is the location Malaysia flight MH370 is likely to have crashed.

The advert, which has a watery background, was running on the escalators at Euston Station in central London with the message: 'Escape the commute and discover the Indian Ocean'.

The airline later apologised on their Twitter page writing: 'Our Indian Ocean advert contained pre-scheduled content that we recognise is inappropriate at this time. We're sorry for any offence caused.'


More black racism

EBONY founder John H. Johnson once said that he created EBONY magazine with the intention to affirm a certain sense of "somebodiness" for African Americans. Nearly 70 years ago the magazine began on the principle that, as Black people, we are all somebody—we all count.

Yesterday, the spirit of this mission was disregarded by Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux in a personal Twitter exchange between herself and RNC Deputy Press Secretary Raffi Williams. In part of the exchange, Lemieux responded to an attempt at discourse from Williams with words that curtly dismissed him and his suggestion that she be interested in the "diversity of thought." She also misidentified him, unintentionally, as White. Williams is Black.

EBONY strongly believes in the marketplace of ideas. As the magazine of record for the African American community, Lemieux's tweets in question do not represent our journalistic standard, tradition or practice of celebrating diverse Black thought.

In a letter to EBONY from RNC President Reince Priebus, he suggests, "that we can use this unfortunate episode as a catalyst for greater understanding between the Republican Party and the black community."

EBONY acknowledges Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux's lack of judgment on her personal Twitter account and apologizes to Raffi Williams and the Black Republican community.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Alberta: U of R cheerleaders' cowboys-and-Indians photo was normal; politically correct reaction was extreme

Every age has its officious moralizers, people who try to assert their superiority by embracing the prevailing orthodoxy—whatever it happens to be—with exaggerated zeal. They want to feel righteous. So they hunt for transgressors at whom they can point an accusatory finger.

In the post-Christian West, the holier-than-thou types enforce the codes of political correctness. The proverbial witch whom these p-c Puritans long to prosecute is the white racist, who (in their minds) lurks around every corner. And since they believe the act of accusing others bestows virtue on the accuser, they cry "racism!" whenever they find a pretext for doing so.

They recently worked themselves into a lather of self-righteous indignation when they found out that the University of Regina cheer team, which happened to be all white, dressed up as cowboys and Indians for a costume party.

The outrage! The girls must be punished for their "racism," the Twitter mob demanded. The dean of kinesiology promptly ensured everyone that the team would be subjected to "cultural sensitivity training."

Now I'm not saying this is equivalent to "burn-the-witch!" hysteria. But the difference is only one of degree.


Australia: Truth telling teacher fired

A Darwin school teacher has been stood down after allegedly posting a Facebook rant the day after a student killed himself, in which he described the teenager as a "bully" and a "disrespectful little brat".

The Northern Territory Department of Education said the teacher's alleged actions were disrespectful and would not be tolerated, after his message was widely circulated and heavily criticised on social media this week.

The Facebook post reads: “You were a bully to kids smaller and younger than yourself, I saw you intimidate, stand over and beat up on younger kids (never anyone your own size).

“You made life hell for genuine students wanting to learn and teachers trying to teach.

"You were a moody, disrespectful little brat in and away from school who was always given excuses by your parents and soft people in authority. Your [sic] gone, good no sympathy or empathy from me ...”


Thursday, March 27, 2014

A Reader Alerts Us To A New Double Standard--Blackface An Atrocity, Whiteface Fine

Just a note to your readers about blackface. Blackface is demeaning, racist and terrible, especially when accompanied by a derogatory fake name. It's even worse when a fraternity at a Southern school does it at a party.

But when Nick Cannon a black actor and rap artist, does the reverse for public consumption, it's all good clean fun:

Nick Cannon Wears Whiteface, Calls Himself ‘Connor Smallnut’ for ‘White People Party Music’ (Video), By Jordan Zakarin, The Wrap, March 24, 2014

So much for "people of color" never being bigoted, according to progressive dogma. This would be a career killer for most people in the Hollywood industry (i.e. Ted Danson appearing in blackface). But look for Cannon to get a major pass and for the extreme left to excuse it.


NYT reporter: Obama administration ‘the greatest enemy of press freedom’ in a generation

New York Times reporter James Risen called the Obama administration “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation” on Friday, explaining that the White House seeks to control the flow of information and those who refuse to play along “will be punished.”

Poynter reports that Risen made the remarks while speaking at Sources and Secrets conference — a meeting of journalism , communication and government professionals held in New York City. The foreign policy reporter, who is currently fighting a fierce court battle with the federal government over his protection of a confidential source, warned that press freedom is under serious attack in today’s America.

In a speech kicking off the conference, Risen claimed that the Obama administration wants to “narrow the field of national security reporting” and “create a path for accepted reporting.” Those who stray from that path, he cautioned, “will be punished.”

The result is a “de facto Official Secrets Act,” Risen explained, making the current White House “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.” And the media has been “too timid” in pushing back against the onslaught.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Outrage as Belgian Paper Mocks American President

Belgian newspaper De Morgen has published pictures of US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama depicted as apes, days ahead of Obama's expected visit to the country this coming week.

The mainstream paper, which was founded in 1978, published a section in its Saturday edition entitled 'The Obama Herald'.
The section was a satirical look at what translates roughly as 'the news even before it happened, unless it's already happened, of course'.

It features potential future tweets from the US President, as well as an 'interview' with Sasha Obama claiming that she "hates Beyonce" and "that ugly man of hers too".

But one section in particular may cause controversy for the paper: a picture of Barack and Michelle Obama with monkey faces. The picture was published under the 'Opinion' section of the paper under the guise of being sent in by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Users of the social networking site Reddit gave mixed responses when presented with the image, with some lauding the press freedom in Belgium, and others rightly noting the cartoon's vulgar and racist overtones.


OK to call GWB a chimp, though.

Man resigns because someone else used a fake Mexican accent

Go figure

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who is running for re-election, seemed to be scoring points with the state House passage last week of a measure that would let qualified Florida students pay in-state college tuition rates even if they are in the country illegally.

But barely a day after the Florida House passed the tuition bill, Scott’s re-election campaign found itself in the line of fire. The Miami Herald reported that the governor’s ranking campaign finance co-chairman, Mike Fernandez, had expressed concern in an email about campaign staffers who were joking around in exaggerated Mexican accents while on the way to a Mexican restaurant in Coral Gables.

Scott’s campaign manager, Melissa Sellers, dismissed the significance of the report, according to The Miami Herald, saying that “Mike was not in the van.”

“I spoke to every staffer in the van,” Sellers said, according to The Herald. “If something was said in an accent, no one remembers what it was. We are a diverse organization and we do not tolerate inappropriate comments.”

The Herald also said that Fernandez had been frustrated over the re-election campaign, and drove him to resign.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Australian Left backing censorship

Protecting people from prejudice and hate speech is part of the Australian citizenship contract, according to Bill Shorten, who strongly rebuffed comments by the attorney general, George Brandis, that “people have a right to be bigots”.

“No one has a right to bigotry and racism has no place in the modern Australia,” Shorten told an audience at the Migration Council award dinner.

“Protecting people from prejudice and hate speech is part of the contract Australian citizenship promises all its citizens,” he said. “In this debate we need to put ourselves in the shoes of those who have come here fleeing persecution and bigotry in their own country.”

The opposition leader was responding to comments by Brandis in the Senate that “people have a right to be bigots”.

Freedom of speech, Brandis said, was about defending the right of people to express opinions, no matter how offensive.

Brandis is in the process of drafting changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, after the conservative commentator Andrew Bolt was found to have breached section 18C which outlaws the right “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person or group because of their “race, colour or national or ethnic origin”.

The attorney general has yet to reveal the changes, which have already caused disquiet in his party room.

Asked about Brandis’s comments in the lower house on Monday, Tony Abbott said free speech could sometimes “upset” and “offend” but it was important to remember freedom and democracy rested on the right of free speech.


Hate speech best ignored?

Turns out there's a feelgood story to be had from people brandishing placards like "God Hates Fags" and "God Is America's Terror".

The so-called Westboro Baptist Church took its poisoned message to a Lorde concert in Kansas City, just days after the death of the movement's earthly leader Fred Phelps.

The grace that the Lorde fans showed in the face of the protesters became the story.  They unfurled their own banner that said, simply, "Sorry for your loss".

It wasn't sneering. That was the beauty of it.

Lorde had encouraged concert-goers to wear rainbow colours and even to kiss a same-sex member of the protest group.

That last idea was, we grant you, ill considered. The tweet was deleted and the fans had the good sense to eschew what would have been, technically, an assault.

Instead the group's breathtakingly ugly messages flapped around on the ground while the stronger message that travelled the world was one of generosity of spirit - by a group of predominantly young people showing poise in the face of what they perhaps saw as a fairly empty provocation.

There's a case to be put that Westboro receives more attention than it should, given its boutique size - it's largely comprised of members of Phelps' own kin - and increasing irrelevance.

It calls itself Baptist although its embrace of the ugliest rhetoric in the Bible has long since alienated it from the Baptist church, much as that one is, itself, one of Christianity's more fiery outfits.

Every group has its extremists. Even those extremist groups have their own extremists. And somewhere out there, those extremists must be asking themselves what they're going to do about those nutjobs in Westboro Baptist.

It's a hate group. Unabashedly so. The god it upholds is a hateful one, imposing judgment on an ever-darkening world. And it dismisses media inquiry into who leads it following Phelps' death by contending that it had not had a defined leader for a long time.

Whatever. The question does arise, of course, whether this is just an outfit best ignored.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Must not ask for fewer Muslims

The Netherlands:  The party of Geert Wilders has just done well in local elections

Over the years, Wilders has gained himself a reputation as a committed Islamophobe who takes pleasure in trying to find out how far he can go in stretching the limits of free speech. According to many politicians and commentators, he crossed the line on election night when he spoke to a crowd of supporters at The Hague and asked them, "Do you want more or fewer Moroccans in this city?" They chanted "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" Wilders smiled and responded "I will take care of that."

Wilders' anti-Moroccan rhetoric is nothing new, but never before have the condemnatory reactions been so strong and widely supported. The deputy editor-in-chief of a major television network known for its editorial neutrality published an open letter telling Wilders: "Shame on you." The Association for Dutch Moroccans, representing over 350,000 people of Moroccan origin in the Netherlands, announced it would file charges of discrimination against Wilders and, one day after his widely-discussed remarks, more than 100 people had already requested prosecutors to investigate him for hate-speech.


Must not praise whiteness

An African singer behind a skin-bleaching cream called 'Whitenicious' has tried to justify the name of her product in a TV interview, saying: 'white means pure.'

Asked what the product's name meant to her, Nigerian and Cameroonian singer Dancia appeared to contradict herself by saying: 'White means pure, not necessarily skin, but in general.'

She insisted that the cream is only for covering blemishes, despite an advertising campaign showing her entire body appearing lighter, adding: 'Some people they don't feel confident, they don't feel pure, they don't feel clean with dark spots.'

The Nigerian and Cameroonian singer insist that the cream is only intended as a dark spot remover, despite an advertising campaign featuring her looking several skin tones lighter

Critics have branded the product an 'abomination' saying it teaches young 'girls of colour' to be ashamed of their skin.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nipples not allowed on British cakes

Facebook has removed a cake decorator's pictures of a mermaid from her company profile because the drawings showed the mermaid's nipples.

Rhu Strand, 52, of Waterlooville, Hampshire, blasted the social networking site for removing the pictures, saying she was shocked to receive the e-mail from the site condemning her drawings.

According to Strand,Facebook removed the pictures after receiving a complaint from an angry member who had reported the drawing which was posted on her 'Pimp my Cake with Mama Rhu' page for being too explicit.

Only hours after, Strand received a second email saying Facebook had deemed the picture inappropriate, her picture had been taken down and she was banned from her company page for 24 hours.

The sugar paste teacher said: 'I had a new logo made for my business of a topless mermaid similar to the one I had made as a cake figurine.

'It represents an iconic old sailor tattoo as I was a REN in the Navy 30 years ago, I live in Portsmouth, the home of the Royal Navy and I met my partner while sailing.

'I posted the picture on my company Facebook page at the weekend to promote my business and I received an email less than 48 hours later saying it had been reported for nudity.

'I think it was because she was topless and it was explicit imagery.

'I have now been banned from Facebook for 24 hours, which is a bit overdramatic.


Another license plate controversy

Republicans have perfected the dark art of exploiting racial divisions in the South. In the late 1960s, Richard Nixon and the GOP’s “Southern Strategy” capitalized onwhite resentment of civil rights legislation and school desegregation, along with anxiety about violence in the streets, to attract white Southern voters.

This year, the strategy has taken the form of a debate about custom license plates — in particular, a Georgia license plate sporting a broad, bold display of the Confederate battle flag. Democrats have traditionally struggled to counter such race-baiting. And Republicans are wasting no time in running Southern pride and prejudice up the flagpole against the two most promising Democrats to run for statewide office in Georgia in a decade: Jason Carter, grandson of President Jimmy Carter and a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination; and Michelle Nunn, daughter of the popular Democratic senator Sam Nunn and a candidate for the U.S. Senate.


The author just can't accept that Southerners might be proud of  ancestors who resisted the unconstitutional refusal by Lincoln to allow secession

Friday, March 21, 2014

Suicide voyeur acquitted on free speech grounds

The conviction of an American ‘‘suicide voyeur’’ who encouraged a British man and Canadian woman to take their own lives in an internet chat room has been overturned on free speech grounds.

After the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, a lower court must now decide whether to bring fresh charges against William Melchert-Dinkel, a former male nurse who was convicted on two rare counts of assisted suicide in 2011.

He was found guilty of aiding the suicide of Mark Dryborough, 32, who died in Coventry, UK, in 2005, and of Nadia Kajouji, 18, who took her own life in 2008.

In the original trial, the court was told that Mr Melchert-Dinkel, who is married with two children, posed online as a compassionate female nurse to prey on depressed individuals, but then gave them advice on how to suicide.

He allegedly told police that he acted for the ‘‘thrill of the chase’’ and wanted to watch his targets die via a computer webcam.

But in a ruling eagerly awaited across the United States by both sides in the assisted suicide debate, the state supreme court has ruled that a state law prohibiting ‘‘advising’’ and ‘‘encouraging’’ suicide broke the constitution by restricting freedom of speech.

However, it upheld the part of the statute that outlaws ‘‘assisting’’ suicide and sent Mr Melchert-Dinkel’s case back to a lower court.

County prosecutors must now decide whether to appeal against the ruling in the US Supreme Court or to bring fresh charges against Mr Melchert-Dinkel for assisting suicide.


While I am pleased that free speech was supported, I am a little surprised.  Incitement to violence is normally held not to be free speech yet suicide is surely violence.

"They" is a bad word in Britain

The Conservatives were under fire last night over a ‘condescending’ pitch for the working class vote - after launching an Internet advert which highlighted Budget cuts to beer and bingo duty.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps took to Twitter last night to launch an advert devised by Tory HQ to highlight Budget measures supposedly aimed at ‘hardworking people’.

The advert - which was immediately dubbed a ‘PR disaster’ - read: ‘Bingo! Cutting the bingo tax and beer duty to help hardworking people do more of the things they enjoy.’

Mr Shapps urged Conservative supporters to ‘spread the word’.

But the advert was immediately criticised for its patronising tone by both political opponents and Twitter users and risked underminging George Osborne’s carefully crafted pitch to win over the skilled manual workers who backed Margaret Thatcher in their droves.

Last night Stewart Wood, a senior aide to Labour leader Ed Miliband, described the advert as ‘ill-conceived’ and ‘condescending’.  He said: ‘Of all the ill-conceived aspects of this Tory ad, it’s the condescending use of the word “they” that grates the most.’


That certainly was a blunder.  An us and them mentality is chronic in Britain but to exhibit it is undoubtedly bad manners.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Must not mention black food preferences

Park Tudor High School apologized earlier today, Thursday, Feb. 27, over a school lunch menu that was viewed as reinforcing negative stereotypes in African-American culture.

The "soul food bar" menu, as reported on the school's official website, was to serve fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens during lunch hours on Wednesday, Feb. 26, and was touted as way for students of the mostly white private school to "Celebrate Black History Month".

However, as soon as users of social media saw the website, the tweets poured in about the racially intolerant menu. With many users seeing the menu mishap as an example of a more global issue in private schools: the lack of diversity and diversity education.

While the outraged tweets were mostly directed at the students and administrators of Park Tudor, school officials noted that the food service contractors that serve Park Tudor created the menu; not the students.

Still, school spokeswoman, Cathy Chapelle, called the menu "misguided" and sought to use the incident as a learning experience for the students:


Restaurant DEFENDS its Nazi-themed dinner party where guests dined in SS uniforms amidst swastika flags

Surely one has a right to choose one's own clothing and interior decor

A German restaurant in Minneapolis defending hosting a party of diners dressed up in Nazi uniforms after photos of the meal leaked to an outraged public.

The controversy started last week when an anonymous tipster sent photos of the event at Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit to weekly newspaper City Pages.

The pictures show men dressed up in Nazi SS uniforms sitting in the restaurant's main dining room with Nazi flags hanging from the walls.

At least one person who did attend the event has called it harmless.

Jon Boorom is the owner of the Lakeville Barbers and a member of a WWII Historical Re-enactment Society Inc.. He admitted to attending the dinner in December and compared it to 'a Star Trek convention but for WWII enthusiasts.'

'All of the German [re-enactment] groups in Minnesota have a Christmas party because we don't typically have events going on in the winter,' Boorom says. 'It's just like any club that has a party. Because they dress up like Germans from World War II, it's cool to go to a German restaurant, eat German food, and drink German beer.'

Boorom said the Christmas party has been celebrated annually for 16 years with the last six events held at Gasthof's.

He also said that members took part in educational activities like weekend re-enactments and films.

Boorom said each member must undergo a background check to ensure there are no neo-Nazis or 'political racists' in the ranks.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Police must not say they like their work

Millions of posts hit social media sites each day, but a few from a Minneapolis police officer are getting a lot of attention after he wrote: "3 murders in 3 days and it's not even warm yet. This could be a busy year finally."

"Racism and glorifying murders is not the thing that I want my kids to look up to," Alicia Lucio admitted.

When Lucio commented that it seemed like Klimmek might be praising the murder rate, he simply responded, "The last few years were slow."

"The last few years have not been 'slow,'" she insisted. "I have, unfortunately, attended many funerals myself. To see them feel as though they need more to do when there's plenty of things they could be doing is really disconcerting."

Another mother who wishes to remain anonymous told Fox 9 News she was also concerned after seeing some of Klimmek's posts.

"It's not the kind of field where you would hope for a busy time," she said.


Surveillance of Muslims incorrect

Ray Kelly is a former NYPD Commissioner who organized surveillance of some NJ Muslims.  A court ruled that his actions were justified.  I assume that was the problem below but the words could also be a reference to a NYPD policy of extensive frisking of people encountered in high-crime (black) areas

In preparation for Spring Weekend, student entrepreneurs are marketing a colorful array of festive tank tops. Most make reference to the headlining artists slated to perform in April. There is one, however, that has seemingly caught everyone’s attention. Its plain white background sports a bright purple image of former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with the words “Gettin’ Frisky” written underneath.

While wearing such a top certainly isn’t legally contentious — we fortunately have yet to completely demolish free speech — many were quick to announce their outrage, using words such as “racist,” “insensitive” and “offensive.” Others defended the design, noting that, given the context, it was only a joke and should not deserve such condemnation.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Belgium to ban sexist comments

It's not mentioned below so I guess I had better let the cat out of the bag:  The law is mainly aimed at curbing street harassment of white women by black males.  Blacks can be very insistent in their advances, even if ignored

A new Belgian law expected to come into effect in early April will make sexual harassment a criminal offence punishable by fines of up to $1500 or a prison sentence of up to one year. The law will not only cover harassment on the streets, but also in the workplace and on social media. The legislation was announced on March 13 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior and Equal Opportunities, Joelle Milquet.

While Belgium already has laws against sexual discrimination, Milquet felt there was a need for further legislation to protect against harassment. According to Belgian newspaper Flanders Today, the bill will outlaw making ‘a gesture or statement that is clearly intended to express contempt for one or more people of a different gender on the basis of their gender or to make them appear inferior or reduce them to their sexual dimension in a way that constitutes a serious attack on their dignity’.

The bill was in part prompted by Sofie Peeters’s 2012 student documentary, Femme de la Rue, which showed hidden camera footage of unwanted sexual comments [by blacks] on the streets of Brussels and interviews with Belgian women on their experience of public sexual harassment. The film caused controversy and incited public debate in Belgium on the topic of street harassment with its startling depictions of suggestive language, sexist comments and downright insults flung at women as they went about their daily business.


Distinguished Australian Army officer to be dismissed over truth telling

Criticising Islam, gays sets army major up for a fall

Major Bernie Gaynor jnr has served three tours of duty in Iraq but he is going to be thrown out of the army this week, or next, or very soon. And he is not going quietly.

In his blog, Gaynor describes himself as "a conservative Catholic who writes what normal men dare not speak out loud". I put it to him that his commentary online and on Twitter had evolved into a provocation to the army.

"Absolutely," he replied.

Everyone listening to his speech in Melbourne quickly understood why, and I quote: "It is my unpleasant duty to inform you that the Australian Defence Force has a fundamentally broken approach to religion, an approach shaped partly by the triumph of bureaucratic administration over battlefield considerations but mostly by plain old political correctness.

"Political correctness has cost lives on the battlefield and resulted in completely flawed campaign strategies …

"Just look at Iraq. I was one of the last Australians to serve there. All the politicians and military hierarchy were saying the withdrawal of Western military force was based on success. And yet al-Qaeda today controls more of Iraq than it ever did while Western forces were in the country, or while Saddam Hussein was in power.

"The Iraq war was a failure because no one can say why we were there, who the enemy was or what the mission was … This has cost lives and wasted a decade and a half of war. In a strategic sense, Iraq and Afghanistan are no better for the blood shed by Australian soldiers.

"In Afghanistan, the government has a constitution based on Islamic law and teaching, just as the Taliban's regime was. So the efforts of the last decade to remove the threat in Afghanistan from Islamic groups has directly led to the creation of an Islamic state."

While this is fire and brimstone, what got him into career-ending trouble in the army was his run-in with the gay community within the military. In early last year, Gaynor criticised a law that would prevent Christian schools from barring gay teachers. He lodged a formal complaint about ADF personnel being allowed to take part in uniform in the Sydney Mardi Gras. He cited the military's ban on engaging in political activity while in uniform.

He quoted references to political activism in the constitution of the Mardi Gras. He referred to a tradition of "religious and political vilification" at the Mardi Gras, especially of the Catholic Church. He pointed out that Catholics made up almost 40 per cent of Australian military personnel.

Although internal investigations dismissed the complaints and charges against him, largely because he was expressing personal views while serving in the reserves, the army has moved, in the absence of his resignation, to terminate his commission.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Hate crime or freedom of speech?

As three freshmen kicked out of their fraternity await a ruling from the University of Mississippi’s judicial council, a public debate has arisen as to whether the act of hanging a noose and an old Georgia flag on the James Meredith statue on campus is protected by the First Amendment.

Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity kicked the three out, and the national headquarters has suspended the chapter pending a full investigation of how such members made it through the recruitment process.

The line between free speech and hate speech is blurry in places, according to some legal experts.

“There’ve been volumes written by judges about where that line is, and there’s not a hard and fast line to say, ‘This is protected and this is not,’” said former Supreme Court Justice George Carlson of Batesville.

Last week, officials said there didn’t seem to be a law that would categorize the act as a crime. On Friday, the FBI said it would be taking over the investigation to see if there were any grounds for a federal charge.


Australia:  Conservative  candidate for Elder, Carolyn Habib, labels State Election campaign material 'filthy and racist'

Her own surname is 'filthy and racist'?  She should change it in that case

LIBERAL [party] candidate for the seat of Elder Carolyn Habib says campaign material authorised by the Labor Party is a "filthy and racist" attack on her surname.

The flyer cover has the words "can you trust Habib" set against what appears to be an old wall.

Ms Habib is a Marion city councillor, and the flyer says rates have increased since Ms Habib was elected to the council.

In an interview on ABC 891 radio this morning, Ms Habib said she thought the flyer was very offensive and un-Australian.

"I think it is a very thinly veiled racist attack against my surname," she said.  "It's a new low and a very, very filthy campaign in what has already been a dirty campaign over the past few weeks."

Ms Habib said she was born in Alice Springs, her father is from Lebanon and her mother is from Canada.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rutgers president not backing off decision to have Condoleezza Rice speak at graduation

Rutgers University President Robert Barchi reaffirmed the decision to make former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice commencement speaker in a letter to the Rutgers community Friday that addressed the “spirited discussions” surrounding her invitation.

“Whatever your personal feelings or political views about our commencement speaker, there can be no doubt that Condoleezza Rice is one of the most influential intellectual and political figures of the last 50 years,” Barchi said in his first public statement since a faculty group passed a resolution calling for Rice’s invitation to be rescinded.

Rutgers Prof. Rudolph Bell, one of the authors of the resolution, said more than 350 tenured faculty members signed the petition objecting to the Board of Governors’ decision.

Bell said that Rice played a prominent role in advancing the Iraq War by misleading the American people into believing that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Further, Bell said that Rice supported enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, a human rights violation the faculty council does not endorse.

But not everyone at Rutgers shares the same views about the first female African-American national security advisor and secretary of state speaking at the 2014 commencement.

Joe Cashin, Rutgers University senior and student representative to the Board of Governors, said those in opposition to Rice represent a vocal minority.  “Most of the graduating seniors that I’ve talked to are very excited that she’s coming,” he said. “She definitely embodies Rutgers’ mission of diversity.”


No free speech in Ireland

Last week, I was invited by a group of students to speak at the National University of Ireland Galway to make the case for a “No” vote in a looming referendum on boycotting the State of Israel.

I accepted the offer. What happened next was not pretty. Watch this 40-second video, but be warned: as they say, explicit language from the start.

Galway’s President Browne – no doubt horrified that the You Tube video has been seen by 41,000 people so far and has associated the university with thuggery – is appalled. He has promised an immediate investigation followed by action to ensure the campus public square is protected for all.

Perhaps some of those students at Galway will be disciplined. Perhaps one of them deserves to be. But I blame the parents; the intellectual parents, that is.

The real culprits are the anti-Israel intellectuals who are driving those students mad. They tell the students that Zionism is racism, while its creation, Israel, has “ethnically cleansed” the Arabs, built an “apartheid state” and is now carrying out a slow “genocide” in Gaza. Stuff a young idealist's head with that kind of rubbish and do not be surprised if the result is hatred and thuggery.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Let the irrepressible Ezra Levant tell you himself about his recent trial

Ezra is having fun  here

Bossy women Seek to Ban the Word "Bossy"

A new campaign sponsored by Girl Scouts, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and dozens of female celebrities seeks to ban the term "bossy." The term apparently is used to demean women.  Girls are not seeking out leadership positions due to a fear of being disliked or being called bossy.

When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy"

What everyone seems to have missed is that the term "bossy" is not exclusive to females. Plenty of boys and men have been referred to as "bossy" or worse. This victim mentality isn't going to do anything to empower women.

Instead of banning words like "bossy," perhaps a more effective strategy would be to teach girls ways to exhibit leadership without being, well, bossy. "Leadership" isn't a synonym for bossy--but "dictatorial," "overbearing," and "abrasive" are. There's a huge difference between being a leader and being abrasive.

Also, for what it's worth, demanding that a word be banned is quite bossy in and of itself.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Must not be pleased at the death of Muslims

In Britain the term "Paki" is deemed highly offensive, even though it is just a straightforward abbreviation of "Pakistani".  Hence the "p***" below

A young soldier has avoided jail over a ‘disgusting’ Facebook post about the death of three-year-old Mikaeel Kular because he was ‘brought up in a racist family’.

Warren Butler, 19, of Carlisle, Cumbria, admitted to posting: ‘F****** LOL to that P*** found dead, One down many more to go,’ as his Facebook status on January 18, the day after Mikaeel was found dead in Fife, Scotland.

He made the comment about three-year-old Mikaeel Kular whose body was found in Fife on January 17, one day after he was reported missing from his home in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh.

Butler pleaded guilty last month to sending by public electronic communications network a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.

A judge today branded Butler’s comments ‘despicable’ and ‘appalling’ and handed the guardsman a 16 week suspended prison sentence.


Marcia Langton:  Elderly "black" hate-speaker in Australia

Andrew Bolt writes:

Professor Marcia Langton recently apologised to me privately for publicly claiming in an Age article I believed in a “master race” and “racial hygiene”.

That false and foul claim was made in response to a Federal Court declaring unlawful columns in which I actually argued the very opposite - that we should not divide ourselves by “race”, and especially not by trivial inflections of it. Why couldn’t we simply judge each other as individuals?

I never got that public apology.

Instead, last night on Q&A Langton again vilified me as a racist, to the applause and sniggers of some in the audience. Talking of articles in “the Bolt case”, in which I was taken to court and ordered not to repeat what I’d written, Langton claimed they just racially abused people. She claimed one person, Misty Jenkins, had been racially abused by me so badly- had been so bullied - that she withdrew from the Aboriginal community. We needed laws against this kind of thing, she claimed.


Bolt goes on both to show the falsity of Langton's claims and to document how she seems to hate just about everybody.  Hate defines her.  No wonder she is popular on the Left.  Karl Marx hated just about everybody too.  Even a Left-leaning newspaper refers to her as "Langton disagreeing with everyone about everything"

It seems to me that only her claim to being Aboriginal gets her  any attention -- and not many Aborigines have blue eyes, pink skin and fair hair.  But we are not allowed to question claims of Aboriginality in Australia:  No free speech on that matter at all.  You could be hauled before the egregious judge Mordecai Bromberg for doing so  -- As Andrew Bolt was.

There is no disputing that these people are Aborigines

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Greenie hate speech in Australia

A West Australian Green Senator recently delivered a speech in parliament house Canberra which has become a favourite of the Green/Left.  Some excerpts from the poisonous diatribe:

Mr Prime Minister, at your next press conference we invite you to leave your excruciatingly boring three-word slogans at home.

Western Australians are a generous and welcoming lot, but if you arrive and start talking proudly about your attempts to bankrupt the renewable energy sector, cripple the independence of the ABC and privatise SBS, if you show up waving your homophobia in people's faces and start boasting about your ever-more insidious attacks on the trade union movement and all working people, you can expect a very different kind of welcome.

Just as the reign of the dinosaurs was cut short to their great surprise, it may be that the Abbott government will appear as nothing more than a thin, greasy layer in the core sample of future political scientists drilling back into the early years of the 21st century.

People have been keeping a record of every time you have been given the opportunity to choose between predator capitalism and the public interest, and it is bitterly obvious whose side you are on.

And, perhaps most profoundly, your determined campaign to provoke fear in our community-fear of innocent families fleeing war and violence in our region-in the hope that it would bring out the worst in Australians is instead bringing out the best in us. Prime Minister, you are welcome to take your heartless racist exploitation of people's fears and ram it as far from Western Australia as your taxpayer funded travel entitlements can take you.


The "racist" accusation had to get a trot of course  -- a confession that abuse was all he had to offer.  Abbott is in fact famed for his personal work with Aborigines so is no racist.  That Ludlam was basically lying is set out here.  The truth never deters the Green/Left.

By  "innocent families fleeing war and violence in our region" Ludlam means illegal immigrants from middle class backgrounds in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan who are simply seeking a higher standard of living.  Australia's conservative government has stopped such illegal immigration stone dead.  Australia has an extensive program for genuine refugees.

Ludlam is a 44 year old artist born in New Zealand. I suspect that he sees himself as a young man in a hurry.

Update on the Levant trial

The day was devoted to more cross-examination of Levant by Brian Shiller, the lawyer for the plaintiff, Khurrum Awan, and not for the first time in this trial, events transpired that one rarely sees in a Canadian courtroom.

Mr. Shiller is a partner in the high-profile firm of Ruby, Shiller, Chan, Hasan, and to be the name after Clayton Ruby's in his firm, one can reasonably expect that such a lawyer would be highly skilled. I've always said that if I ever murder someone and get caught, I'd want Clayton Ruby to defend me, as he is probably the best criminal defense lawyer in Canada.

Throughout the course of the trial until today, Shiller lived up to his reputation, with his skillful questioning of witnesses and adept procedural tactics. But today he made what could be a critical error by doing what a trail lawyer should only do under the most desperate of circumstances. A creed among lawyers is that during a trial, never ask a witness a question unless you already know the answer.

But in response to one significant question posed by Mr. Shiller, not only was he obviously unprepared for Ezra Levant's answer, but he looked positively rattled by it.

There is the distinct impression of personal tension, that could even be described as having the appearance of animosity, between Shiller and Levant. Levant noted on Friday during his cross-examination that Mr. Shiller is representing a number of clients who are bringing lawsuits and legal action against him. Levant implied that the current case is part of a political campaign against him by Mr. Shiller's firm, one highly active in left-wing political causes, including unsuccessful suits brought against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in which Shiller's partner Clayton Ruby acted as counsel.

Today Mr. Shiller questioned Levant about that assertion as well as other of his statements, with the apparent intent of trying to establish that the Sun News commentator made reckless and frequently false allegations. To support that, among other examples, Shiller referenced a defamation suit successfully launched against Levant by an attorney named Giacomo Vigna.

In reply to one of Mr. Shiller's questions about the Vigna suit, Levant suggested Mr. Shiller should be well acquainted with the facts as he was one of Mr. Vigna's attorneys. An argument ensued between the witness and the plaintiff's attorney in which at first, Shiller denied he was Vigna's lawyer, but Levant insisted that he knew Shiller had been involved with the case. When Levant asserted that a second time, the attorney backed off his denial and became irate with Levant, insisting that the defendant cease referencing the other cases in which Shiller has acted as counsel against him.

Seemingly sensitive to the charge of being part of a political vendetta, Shiller's clear irritation only increased as Levant referenced those other cases on a number of occasions. It became a running joke to the point where the trial judge, Madam Justice Matheson, had to caution the spectators in court to keep quiet because of the laughter.

Shiller introduced as evidence a number of writings that he attributed to Levant. Upon examining them, Levant was adamant that he had not written the pieces in question and the plaintiff's attorney seems to have confused Levant's writing with other Internet commentary about his client. Following that, Levant refused to accept anything that Shiller said about his writing unless it was produced for him to see. Then Levant accused the plaintiff's attorney of "embroidering" statements that he had made.

But a pivotal occurrence came when Shiller asked about claims Levant made that the plaintiff, Khurrum Awan, was being bankrolled for the current lawsuit. Evidently thinking he had the smoking gun of an example of an outrageous, untrue accusation, Awan's attorney asked what the basis was for Levant making that claim.

In a moment of exceptional courtroom drama, Levant replied that he would answer the question, but wanted to make sure that Mr. Shiller understood that he was willing to answer the question, and how he knew the answer. Shiller repeated the question and Levant's response was a shock. Levant replied that Shiller himself had provided that information in a conversation with his lawyer.

Shiller became flustered, almost stuttering, and backed away from that line of question immediately, muttering about his unwillingness to be a witness in the case he was conducting as an attorney. But the damage was done.

It is difficult to predict what the outcome of the trial might be. While there is compelling testimony to support Levant's description of Awan as a liar, an inordinate amount of time has been spent on describing the seating arrangements at a British Columbia Human Rights Commission hearing in which Mr. Awan participated. It was Levant's contention that Awan was in conflict of interest by acting as both complainant, witness and attorney that has been the subject of a great deal of conflicting testimony. It remains to be seen whether the judge finds that Awan's conduct at the hearing could give an observer the reasonable impression that he was acting as a co-counsel, and whether that conclusion is supported by the near-identical similarity between that complain and one Awan was involved with launching in Ontario.

An extremely unusual aspect of this trial is the self-inflicted damage both the plaintiff and his counsel seem to be doing to themselves during the course of the trial. Mr. Levant's old blog posts about Awan would probably have been long forgotten and if seen, regarded as bluster had this suit not been launched. But by moving forward with it, even if Awan wins on the basis of the conflict-of-interest allegation, his reputation has already been significantly tarnished by these proceedings.

The trial is serving as a reminder that Awan was the Youth President of the antisemitic Canadian Islamic Congress. Awan denies that he is antisemitic and claimed he was unacquainted with the antisemitic nature and political policies of the organization in which he served as a leader whose role, according to his testimony, was to encourage political advocacy. Awan has most certainly not explicitly called for the killing of Jews or discrimination against them. But the analogy that springs to mind is if Hitler Youth leader Baldur von Schirach had claimed he was unaware of the antisemitism of the Nazi party. Levant testified that while he is unaware whether Awan, truly in his heart, hates Jews, the plaintiff through his activities and associations demonstrates antisemitism.

Mr. Shiller asked Levant if he was aware that Awan, as Youth President of the Canadian Islamic Congress, was serving in a "non-member" role.  Levant appropriately noted it was a distinction without a difference. Indeed, it is hard to conceive how it isn't thoroughly self-discrediting to imply that as the Youth President of the national organization, but not specifically having a membership card, it somehow insulates Mr Awan from the policies of the organization of which he served as a representative.

More remarkably, the agitated responses that Mr. Shiller gave to Levant's accusation that the plaintiff's lawyer and his firm have a political agenda against him did nothing to dispel that idea.

Tomorrow, the trial will most likely conclude. Levant will be re-examined by his own attorney, and the judge has indicated that she will have some questions of clarification before the testimony component concludes. Madam Justice Matheson has conducted the trial with extreme conscientiousness and capability. She has ushered the process along when the attorneys have become contentious and excursive, and she has been able to zero in on salient points when the lawyers and witnesses themselves have lost track of their submissions.

On the basis of what I have seen, the only outcome of the trial that I would predict with confidence is that the judgement will be fair and well thought out.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It’s Not an Obamacare Tax: It’s an “Individual Shared Responsibility Payment”

Here’s your Orwellian Phrase for the Week: Individual shared responsibility payment. Yeah… Go ahead and try to wrap your brain around that amalgamation of contradictory concepts. The phrase is not gleaned from some glossy DNC spin-office, or a Harvard professor’s latest psychobabble posing as an academic paper. Apparently the phrase is the IRS’s fancy (new) term for the Obamacare Mandate tax that individuals will have to pay if they fail to get health insurance this year.

As reported by Americans for Tax Reform:

If you (or any of your dependents) do not maintain coverage and do not qualify for an exemption, you will need to make an individual shared responsibility payment with your return.


Australia: Cheeky rain celebration too rude for Facebook

A farmer who bared his bottom to celebrate much-needed rain says being blocked on Facebook will not stop his nude salutes to the sky.  And he and his partner hope it will highlight how much rain means to drought-stricken farmers, particularly in Queensland.

James Rogers and Jody Fraser were thrilled at receiving the first solid downpour in eight months at their property near Cobar in central New South Wales last Friday.

When Mr Rogers decided to go for a celebratory scamper in nothing but his cowboy hat, Ms Fraser snapped a picture of the moment on her phone.  "It was just a random thing James decided it would be funny to do," she said.

Ms Fraser uploaded the photo to Facebook, and posted it on the Station Photos community page, which features pictures of life on the land from all over Australia.

The shot of the happy nude farmer immediately went viral, attracting thousands of shares and likes for its joyful expression and cheeky sense of humour.

But Mr Rogers soon found himself the butt of Facebook fury, with users reporting the image for graphic content or nudity.

The picture was taken down, and Station Photos was issued a warning and a subsequent 24-hour Facebook ban.

Ms Fraser said perhaps those who hit the 'report' button did not understand just how difficult life without water was.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Ezra Levant's libel trial underway

Sun News Network host Ezra Levant caused "tremendous" damage to a Saskatchewan lawyer with blog posts labelling him a jihadist and a liar, the lawyer alleged Monday as his defamation lawsuit against the controversial media personality went to trial.

Khurrum Awan was completing his articling and looking for work as a lawyer when he alleges the most egregious libels were posted. He is seeking $100,000 in damages.

Levant's posts on his personal blog centred around Awan's testimony at a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal case about a complaint over an article in Maclean's magazine from 2006, titled "The future belongs to Islam." Awan was a law student when the article was published and was one of a group of students who said they were concerned the article was Islamophobic.

Awan testified Monday that seeing Levant's posts under the headline "Awan the liar" was "very upsetting."

Levant's lawyer, Iain MacKinnon, said the defence is primarily one of fair comment.

The blog posts were based upon what Levant observed over two days of Awan's testimony at the human rights tribunal in 2008 and there is a factual basis for his comments, MacKinnon said in his opening statement.

"There's no doubt Mr. Levant sometimes uses colourful language or sometimes a derisive tone," MacKinnon said. "That is perfectly allowed under the defence of fair comment."

Levant was commenting on a matter of public interest, MacKinnon said, noting Awan never asked Levant for a correction.

Source.  More details here

Facebook “Likes” Freedom Of Speech, REFUSES Censorship Demanded by Gun Control Cults

Gun prohibitionist groups badgering Facebook and Instagram to censor firearms-related pages have been politely invited to mind their own business and leave the social networks alone.

In a post titled “Facebook, Instagram Announce New Educational and Enforcement Measures for Commercial Activity,” the social networking giant announced that they would enforce existing policies and remind users to follow existing laws on both Facebook and Instagram.

The company will introduce “new educational and enforcement efforts” that comport with their existing policies.

Today, we are introducing a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items:

Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.

We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.

We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.

While Facebook may be left-leaning, they recognize that they have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors, and a moral imperative to respect the First Amendment and Second Amendment rights of all Americans.

They refuse to censor free speech as Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts demanded.

All of the fan pages that are currently used to buy/sell/trade firearms will remain on both Facebook and Instagram. Anyone violating the terms of service or the law with be dealt with on a case by case basis, as they were before.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) concurs that Facebook’s policies were merely reclarifying their existing policies, but wishes that the social media company would have directly included them in discussions.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Tolerant Academics Trying to Block Condoleezza Rice From Speaking at Rutgers

Liberal tolerance has struck again in academia, this time at Rutgers University.

Former Secretary of State and Stanford University Professor Condoleezza Rice was invited to speak at the 2014 Rutgers commencement ceremony. Now, a faculty board at the university is demanding the invitation be revoked. Tolerant liberal students are demanding the same.

Rutgers' New Brunswick Faculty Council passed a resolution last week calling on the university's board of governors to rescind its invitation to Rice, who will receive $35,000 and an honorary doctorate for the speech, The Star-Ledger reported.

The resolution said Rutgers should not honor Rice because of her role in the war in Iraq and the Bush administration’s policy of "enhanced interrogation techniques," such as waterboarding, the report said.



Friday, March 07, 2014

Must not gamble on a trial outcome

Paddy Power is a bookmaker

Paddy Power's controversial Oscar Pistorius advert has become the most complained about UK advert of all time with more than 5,200 complaints so far, the Advertising Standards Authority said today.

The advert, which offered 'money back if he walks' or Pistorius is found not guilty of killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, is to be withdrawn with immediate effect after it received an 'unprecedented number of complaints'.

An ASA spokesman said: 'We consider the ad may be seriously prejudicial to the general public on the ground of the likely further serious and/or widespread offence it may cause.

The advert featured a photograph of Pistorius, a double amputee Olympic racer and a Paralympic gold medallist, mocked up as an Academy Award statuette.

The ASA had previously said it was investigating whether the advert was offensive for trivialising several issues, including the fact it is a murder trial, Ms Steenkamp’s death and Pistorius’s disability.


Gambling on something "trivializes" it -- and that is bad??

The tweet that cost $105,000

Libel has never been free speech so it is good when speech cases are strong enough to be prosecuted as libel

In the first Twitter defamation battle in Australia to proceed to a full trial, District Court judge Michael Elkaim ruled that former Orange High School student Andrew Farley should pay compensatory and aggravated damages for making false allegations about music teacher Christine Mickle.

Judge Elkaim said the comments had had a "devastating effect" on the popular teacher, who immediately took sick leave and only returned to work on a limited basis late last year.

"When defamatory publications are made on social media it is common knowledge that they spread," Judge Elkaim said in an unreported judgment in November.

"They are spread easily by the simple manipulation of mobile phones and computers. Their evil lies in the grapevine effect that stems from the use of this type of communication."

Mr Farley, who was 20 at the time of the judgment, is the son of the school's former head of music and arts, who was described as a "gentle man who had a number of health issues". Young Mr Farley graduated from high school in 2011 and had never been taught by Ms Mickle.

In November 2012, he posted a series of defamatory comments on Twitter and Facebook about Ms Mickle, who took over his father's job on an acting basis after the senior teacher left in 2008 for health reasons.

"For some reason it seems that the defendant bears a grudge against the plaintiff, apparently based on a belief that she had something to do with his father leaving the school," Judge Elkaim said.  "There is absolutely no evidence to substantiate that belief."

Judge Elkaim ordered Mr Farley to pay $85,000 in compensatory damages.  He also ruled that the young man's conduct in response to the case warranted an additional $20,000 in aggravated damages.


Thursday, March 06, 2014

The trigger warning epidemic

A "trigger warning" is a disclaimer to alert you that a document or speech  contains potentially traumatic subject matter

Such warnings, which are most commonly applied to discussions about rape, sexual abuse, and mental illness, have appeared on message boards since the early days of the Web. Some consider them an irksome tic of the blogosphere’s most hypersensitive fringes, and yet they've spread from feminist forums and social media to sites as large as the The Huffington Post. Now, the trigger warning is gaining momentum beyond the Internet—at some of the nation's most prestigious universities.

Last week, student leaders at the University of California, Santa Barbara, passed a resolution urging officials to institute mandatory trigger warnings on class syllabi. Professors who present "content that may trigger the onset of symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" would be required to issue advance alerts and allow students to skip those classes.

According to UCSB newspaper The Daily Nexus, Bailey Loverin, the student who sponsored the proposal, decided to push the issue after attending a class in which she “felt forced” to sit through a film that featured an “insinuation” of sexual assault and a graphic depiction of rape. A victim of sexual abuse, she did not want to remain in the room, but she feared she would only draw attention to herself by walking out.

On college campuses across the country, a growing number of students are demanding trigger warnings on class content. Many instructors are obliging with alerts in handouts and before presentations, even emailing notes of caution ahead of class. At Scripps College, lecturers give warnings before presenting a core curriculum class, the “Histories of the Present: Violence," although some have questioned the value of such alerts when students are still required to attend class.

Oberlin College has published an official document on triggers, advising faculty members to "be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism, and other issues of privilege and oppression," to remove triggering material when it doesn't "directly" contribute to learning goals and "strongly consider" developing a policy to make "triggering material" optional. Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, it states, is a novel that may "trigger readers who have experienced racism, colonialism, religious persecution, violence, suicide and more."

Warnings have been proposed even for books long considered suitable material for high-schoolers: Last month, a Rutgers University sophomore suggested that an alert for F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby say, "TW: suicide, domestic abuse and graphic violence."

What began as a way of moderating Internet forums for the vulnerable and mentally ill now threatens to define public discussion both online and off. The trigger warning signals not only the growing precautionary approach to words and ideas in the university, but a wider cultural hypersensitivity to harm and a paranoia about giving offense.


Must not joke about burkas in Britain

Not a bad joke, actually

A Conservative councillor has been kicked out of the party after a picture comparing burkas to binbags was posted on his Facebook page.

Chris Joannides has been expelled for a year following an investigation over the image which showed a woman and child in traditional Muslim dress standing between two black rubbish sacks.

A caption underneath the photograph said: ‘I saw her standing there and I told her she had three beautiful children. She didn’t have to get all p***ed off and threaten me. It was an honest mistake!’

The councillor, who did not compose the words on the caption, said it was posted on his page by a friend but he admitted having ‘shared’ it in what he described as ‘blokeish banter’. He said he then deleted it from his page.

Mr Joannides was initially suspended by the Enfield Conservative Group in North London last year when complaints emerged over the picture.  Both the police and his local party investigated the matter but decided to take no action.

But Conservative Central Office took a harsher view of his social networking behaviour.

A spokesman said: ‘Chris Joannides is not endorsed as a candidate in the forthcoming local government elections. No appeal is permitted under party rules. Furthermore, Mr Joannides is expelled from the party for a period of 12 months.  ‘He may appeal against this decision and it is our understanding he intends to do so.’

Mr Joannides, who is of Greek-Cypriot origin and represents the Grange Ward in Enfield, has courted controversy before.


Greek-Cypriots tend to loathe Muslims because of the Turkish occupation of the Northern part of their island

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Dove forced to cancel new deodorant ad calling New Jersey the 'Armpit of America'

Dove has been forced to cancel an upcoming billboard ad directed at New Jersey women - and their armpits - in light of an angry backlash from consumers and residents of the Garden State.

The billboard ad, which was previewed last Thursday and was set to launch this July, reads: 'Dear New Jersey, when people call you the "Armpit of America," take it as a compliment, sincerely, Dove.'

Consumers took to Dove's Facebook page to boycott Dove products altogether as a result of the ad, and after a weekend of silence from Unilever, Dove's parent company, a representative revealed it would not be going ahead with the ad after all..'

The ad, which promotes Dove's new Advanced Care line, features a confident looking blonde, one of Dove's quintessential 'real women,' proudly displaying her flawlessly smooth - and very clearly Photoshopped - underarm.

The message, according to senior marketing director Matthew McCarthy, is meant to be positive: 'The armpit is not a bad thing,' he told The New York Times last Thursday, 'and we stand for caring for the armpit.'

But many have slammed the ad for its tasteless nature and insensitive timing, given New Jersey's recent bout of misfortune - most notably the Bridgegate scandal last September and the state's continuing struggles following Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Eighty-one-year-old Joan Gazello, a lifelong New Jersey resident was less than impressed. She told CBS 2: 'It’s insulting. That we stink? We don’t stink. We’re a great state. In fact, everyone wants to live in this state.'


LOL.  NJ does seem to get a lot of mockery.  A bit silly of a firm to risk that, though.

I remember an old ad for "Old Spice" deodorant:  "Make your armpits your charmpits".  That was at least amusing.

Ezra Levant libel trial kicks off as Canada’s noisy hate-speech debate enters new chapter

A libel trial begins this morning in Toronto nearly six years after it was launched in the heat of Canada’s first online culture war.

Pitting a Regina lawyer against a nationally known television personality who describes himself as “one of Canada’s premier advocates of free expression,” Khurrum Awan v. Ezra Levant is one of several defamation suits that arose from the fight over hate speech bans in human rights law. But as one of the last to come to trial, it marks a kind of bookend on Canada’s noisy hate debate.

Court documents indicate this week’s trial will turn on Mr. Awan’s claim that Mr. Levant, on his blog in 2009, “variously described [him] as “Khurrum Awan the liar,” “stupid,” a “fool,” a “serial, malicious, money-grubbing liar,” and “unequivocally implied that he was an anti-Semite and perjurer.”

Back then, Mr. Awan was a law student, and the public face of an Ontario hate speech complaint against Maclean’s magazine, citing columnist Mark Steyn, who is in attendance Monday, and Barbara Amiel among others, and backed by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Now Mr. Awan is a lawyer in Saskatchewan who has recently acted for plaintiffs against drug companies.

The failure of his hate speech complaint, and similar ones in British Columbia and federally, became the primary example for the argument that human rights tribunals had run amok as would-be censors, and the fiasco of their failure after a public hearing in Vancouver was a key motivation for the government’s repeal last year of Section 13, the federal Internet hate law.

This massive national pivot on hate laws, which leaves rare criminal prosecution as the only legal response to hate speech, was in response to a blog-based campaign led by Mr. Levant


Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Must not mention black mobs

According to conservative news site WorldNetDaily, Google notified site administrators of plans to block Google ads on WND content.

Google representatives objected to WND’s repeated use of the phrase “black mobs” during a two-year run of articles focused on black-on-white crime. The phrase “black mobs” appeared in more than 670 WND stories.

Google cited its AdSense policies, which prohibit discriminatory statements and hate speech based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age or veteran status.

According to the official Google policy on hate speech, “while Google believes strongly in the freedom of expression, we also recognize the need to protect the quality of the AdSense network for users, advertisers and publishers. As such, Google does not allow the monetization of hate speech or any other content that is intended to insult, offend or intimidate an individual or group.”

Google policies also protect against content that makes “sweeping generalizations about a group.”

WND Editor Joseph Farah published an editorial defending WND against hate speech claims and accusing Google of censorship of “First Amendment-protected media.”

According to Farah, the phrase “black mobs” as used in WND content was not hate speech. In his editorial, he said the use of “black mobs” was “not hate speech (but) the reporting of facts.”


Strange ruling in Canada

Law already repealed by parliament ruled to have been OK constitutionally

Though it is slated for official repeal in June, Canada’s defunct and much maligned hate speech law, Section 13, is not going gently.

The latest twist in the long running legal saga of the human rights law that governs hate on the Internet in Canada is a Federal Court of Appeal ruling, issued Friday, that finds Section 13 is constitutionally valid, and does not violate freedom of expression.

Coming as it does at the tail end of a vicious national debate about hate speech and censorship, the ruling leaves a bizarre impression, like something out of Monty Python.

Like the Norwegian Blue parrot, Section 13 is just resting. Like the Black Knight, its repeal by Parliament is just a flesh wound. Though it has been hoisted on the cross, its supporters may still, like Brian, always look on the bright side of life. Section 13 might be doomed, but it is good law. So sayeth the courts.


Monday, March 03, 2014

"Why, Yes. Yes, We do",  said the person who posted this picture

9th Circus Upholds Ban on American Flag Shirts in Schools

On Wednesday, a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that California high school administrators are well within their rights to prohibit students from wearing American flag t-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

That’s right… the Court ruled that because the sight of an American flag might infuriate Hispanic students and potentially lead to violence, a school has the authority to ask students to change their patriotic attire.

This is what our country has come to. A citizen can be forced to cover up his or her American flag attire because it might make immigrants angry!

On May 5, 2010, during the school’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, a few Caucasian students chose to wear an American flag t-shirt to school. When they started receiving threats of violence from Hispanic students, school administrators ordered the students to change their clothing or turn their shirts inside-out, for fear that the American flag apparel would cause a violent outbreak. Instead of punishing the students who threatened violence, administrators blamed the Caucasian students for instigating the altercation with their patriotic apparel!

Administrators told the students that they could wear the American flag shirts on any other day, except for Cinco de Mayo. Even though Mexican-American students were adorned with Mexican flags – some even painted it on their faces – it was apparently unacceptable for students to wear an American flag instead. The students were forced to change their clothes.

Remember when Michelle Obama infamously said that for the first time in her ‘adult’ life, she was actually “proud” of her country? Remember when Reverend Wright said “not God Bless America, God Damn America”? These weren’t just slips of the tongue or poor word choices… This is actually what liberals are teaching our children.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

UK: Dangerous to debate new supermarket developments

Police might survey your comments for "harassment"

There’s nothing like the prospect of a new Tesco store to inspire a little healthy – and often heated – debate in a community.

However, things took a downright sinister turn in one town after locals had their say online.

Comments made on a blog run by one Tory councillor and on the Facebook page of another have been the subject of a criminal investigation.

Police even questioned a third councillor who merely ‘liked’ a post – the act of clicking a thumbs up icon to show approval.

Now senior officers have warned the three men they could be prosecuted for harassment over their involvement in  the debate.

One councillor accused Kent Police of acting like ‘North Korea’ and said their behaviour could stifle legitimate debate over other controversial proposals.

The inquiry was prompted after a bed and breakfast owner accused the men of targeting her over her outspoken opposition to the supermarket in Margate, Kent.

Now councillor Dr Simon Moores, who was interviewed over comments made by third parties on his Thanet Life blog, is worried he will end up with a criminal record.

‘My fear is if members of the public start using criminal law to go after councillors because they disagree with something – then what is the point of public service?’ he said.

‘It is very Orwellian. Frankly it is like something out of North Korea because the police have yet to come to grips with social media.

‘There is the danger of veering on the heavy side when dealing with a complaint and not being able to clearly define where the law stands.’

The saga over the 82,000sq ft supermarket, a stone’s throw from the seafront, dates back several years.

The ‘yes’ campaign say it will bring jobs and revitalise the area, while those in the ‘no’ camp said it will damage the town’s revival and high street stores.

Progress came to a halt after an appeal was lodged at the High Court against a green light given by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles last year.

Entrepreneur Louise Oldfield, who also runs a B&B, complained she was being harassed over her persistent opposition to the plans.

She claimed she was the victim of online comments, some of which were made using pseudonyms.

Police visited Dr Moores, former Margate mayor Mick Tomlinson and a third councillor and interviewed them all under caution on suspicion of harassment.

They examined comments posted by third parties on Dr Moores’s blog.

These included claims Miss Oldfield had been ‘blinkered’ and referred to her ‘humiliating’ defeat after she stood as an independent in a county council election.

Police also looked at the Facebook pages of Mr Tomlinson, on which he suggested Miss Oldfield exaggerated the size and position of the supermarket.

The third councillor, who has not been identified, was questioned after he ‘liked’ Mr Tomlinson’s post.

Dr Moores, a computer expert who has advised the National Crime Agency, said the inquiry is a ‘huge waste of police time and money’.

He said two inspectors have been assigned to the case and suggested a victim of robbery or assault was unlikely to receive similar attention.

A Kent Police spokesman said: ‘We are undertaking an inquiry into a claim of harassment and while that is ongoing we will not be making any further comment.’


Are Google's doodles racist and sexist? Campaigners call for more diversity in search engine's choice of people

I always thought that they were just a lot of nonsense  -- JR

Activists have accused Google of being racist and sexist in their choice of figures to create the firm's much loved Google Doodles for.

Spark, which describes itself as a 'girl-fueled activist movement', said its analysis found the majority of Google's doodles were of white males.

It said the accolade was the modern equivalent of being put on a stamp, and said 'it’s uncommon for Google to celebrate historical women of color.'

In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert.

They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd 'o' in the word, Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were 'out of office.'

While the first doodle was relatively simple, the idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born.

Google Doodles range from drawings and animations to full games that replace the Google logo on holidays or birthdays of historical figures.

Sometimes the Doodles are seen worldwide, but mostly they’re reserved for the country in which the holiday or individual is best known, as was the case with Hurston—her Doodle was only visible on Google’s U.S. homepage.

Spark also said there hasn’t been a single Asian, Latina, or indigenous woman featured in a Global Doodle as of February 2014.

'We’re demanding that Google make a concerted effort to change such a blatant imbalance.

'We want them to acknowledge the problem, but we also want more: we want Google to publicly commit to improving these numbers.'

'Google Doodles may seem lighthearted, especially when accompanied by quirky games and animation, but in reality they have emerged as a new manifestation of who we value as a society, a sign of who “matters.”

Google said it already is working to improve the doodle gender balance.