Thursday, January 31, 2019

This professor is being forced to use female pronouns for a male student

When Shawnee State University professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether responded to a male student’s question with, “yes, sir,” he didn’t think anything of it.

Dr. Meriwether has long referred to his students as “sir” or “ma’am” or by a title (Mr. or Miss, for example) followed by their last name. He does this to create an environment of seriousness and mutual respect in the classroom.

But this time was different. This time, that student approached Dr. Meriwether after class, informed him that he identified as transgender, and demanded that Dr. Meriwether refer to him as a woman, with feminine titles and pronouns. When Dr. Meriwether did not agree, the student became aggressive, circling around him, getting in his face, and even threatening to get Dr. Meriwether fired.

The student then filed a formal complaint with the university, which launched a formal investigation.

Dr. Meriwether is a Christian. He believes that God creates every person as male or female—and God does not make mistakes. To call a man a woman or vice versa would violate his conscience. So Dr. Meriwether offered a compromise. He would refer to this particular student by a first or last name only in an effort to accommodate the student.

This was a perfectly reasonable compromise that respects the freedoms of everyone involved. But it was not good enough for the student—or university officials.

They formally charged Dr. Meriwether—claiming he “created a hostile environment” for the student—and told Dr. Meriwether that he must refer to students with the pronouns of their self-asserted gender identity. Otherwise, Dr. Meriwether would be in violation of the university’s non-discrimination policy.

University officials are trying to force Dr. Meriwether to embrace and communicate their ideology, even if that means violating his religious beliefs. John, how would you feel if someone tried to force you to speak a message that violated your conscience? Or if someone tried to force you to speak something other than truth?

Dr. Meriwether refuses to be bullied. That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against Shawnee State University on his behalf.

Unfortunately, Dr. Meriwether’s story is not rare.

Across the country, activists are trying to force people of faith to embrace their radical ideas on gender identity or face punishment. And on public university campuses in particular, the very same administrators are restricting the speech of students, faculty, and other people faith.

Via email from Alliance Defending Freedom --  Website here

Survey: Tepid Support for Free Speech Among Students

College students support free expression generally, but their appreciation wavers when they are questioned on more specific issues, according to the results of a new survey.

Civil liberties watchdog group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed 2,225 college students at two- and four-year institution about their opinions on free speech.

Almost all of them -- 96 percent -- believe that their civil rights should be protected. When asked which civil liberty is most important, 30 percent of the students indicated “free speech.”

But about 57 percent of the students said that they believe colleges and universities should be able to restrict expression of political views that are hurtful or offensive to others.

“These viewpoints are troubling from FIRE’s perspective,” the organization wrote in a summary of the survey. “They suggest only a surface-level understanding of free expression and association protections that underlie the First Amendment and an unwillingness to see them applied to the protection of expression most often censored on campus.”

FIRE also asked questions about the riots in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017. About 35 percent of the students said that the white nationalists’ protests and the counterdemonstrations changed how they felt about free expression on campus. About 52 percent of students said that white supremacists should be allowed to protest peacefully.


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Model train club refuses to apologise for photo showing members doing the Nazi salute and emulating Hitler's moustache

A model train club has come under fire for sharing a photo of its members appearing to do the Nazi salute - but they're adamant they've done nothing wrong.

The Greater Geelong Model Railway/Rail Club posted the photo to the group's Facebook page on Australia Day, showing 14 men and women with their arms outstretched.

Some of the members had their fingers across their upper lip, appearing to emulate Adolf Hitler's moustache.

But the group maintains that the post was 'just a bit of fun' and they have nothing to apologise for.

Mr Drew later told Daily Mail Australia the photo was taken out of context.

He claims the shot is a still image of people waving and the Facebook post was removed because 'no one looked at history before commenting on the photo'.

Mr Drew also told Daily Mail Australia the waving motion was a 'Hail Caesar' movement, in which early Romans would slap their chest and outstretch their arms chest-high.

Regardless, the page has since been deleted and a slew of posts referencing easily offended people were uploaded to Mr Drew's personal Facebook profile.

'I miss the good old days... When you could actually have an opinion without offending somebody,' one of the posts reads.

On the since-deleted post of the model railway club members, Mr Drew labelled his critics 'keyboard warriors'.'

The page, post and reference to Mr Drew as the page's administrator have since been deleted.


Kerri-Anne Kennerley accused of racism

Australian TV host Kerri-Anne Kennerley spoke the plain truth about life in Aboriginal communities but was accused of racism for saying it.  She asked  a critic of Australia day "whether any of the protesters had “been out to the Outback, where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped? Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. What have you done?”

Interestingly, the rejoinder below admits all that but says that Aborigines have been hard done by in other ways.  The things she lists, however, mostly trace back to Aboriginal irresponsibility. For instance, they are not given welfare payments in cash because they tend to spend the money on booze and leave their children to go hungry or be fed by others.

Dear Kerri-Anne Kennerley,

I must say, I have always enjoyed seeing your warm face on TV but your Studio 10 segment yesterday confirmed something I was unaware of — Yumi Stynes called it — you sound like a racist.

So just in case you ever read this, let’s start by debunking your word vomit.

I in no way am de-legitimising sexual assault and violence in Aboriginal communities. Of course it occurs in indigenous communities as it does in the wider community.

However, when it comes to indigenous people, I can’t get past the fact that people like you perceive violence as something ingrained in Aboriginal culture.

Violence is a part of Australian culture. To prescribe it as a characteristic of one race is narrow-minded and rooted in the racist ideology that labelled Aboriginal people “savages”.

After all in Australia, one woman a week and one man a month are murdered by current or former partners.

Now, let’s get back to statistics. According to the federal government’s report Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia 2018, 14 per cent of indigenous women experienced physical violence in 2014-2015 with 28 per cent of those women reporting “their most recent incident was perpetrated by a cohabiting partner”.

“In 2014–15, indigenous women were 32 times as likely to be hospitalised due to family violence as non-indigenous women, while indigenous men were 23 times as likely to be hospitalised as non-indigenous men,” the report said.

“In 2015–16, indigenous children were seven times as likely to be the subject of substantiated child abuse or neglect as non-indigenous children.”

I agree, these statistics are grim, however society holds this assumption that all violence upon indigenous people is perpetrated by other indigenous people.

The fact is, 74 per cent of married indigenous people are married to a non-indigenous person. Don’t you think holding the assumption that indigenous women only have indigenous partners is more than a little ludicrous and probably racist?

As for indigenous children suffering child abuse and neglect, we must remember: Indigenous children are removed from their homes at an alarming rate and in many cases are placed into non-indigenous homes, where they also suffer violence.

Maybe people should do more research into statistics before making a correlation between culture, race and violence.

Kerri-Anne, what do I say on this? I’m kind of speechless but here it goes: Do you honestly think Aboriginal people exist in this bubble in the outback?

The largest Aboriginal population exists just one hour away from your eastern suburbs home, in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, and trust me, we are suffering too.

The media may report we are being raped but we are also being incarcerated for not paying parking fines, we are dying up to 20 years younger than non-indigenous people, we are being targeted by police, we are dying in custody, we aren’t being employed, we aren’t being allowed to participate in a cash economy, our autonomy is being taken away from us, we are micromanaged in our government jobs, we are committing suicide at alarming rates because our peoples feel hopeless.

How can you be so offended at being called a racist? Imagine being called an Abo, petrol-sniffer, government bludger, 75 IQ, pretty for an Aboriginal?

It sucks being called a racist but what is worse is experiencing racism.

It’s exacerbated when we realise the government is on your side when they reinforce this “unconscious bias” BS, which ultimately protects you and not us, the people who suffer as a result of your ignorance.

Those 50,000 “Invasion Day” protesters in Sydney who you imply are idle and lazy, were protesting much more than changing the date.

People have been protesting before Australia Day was even Australia Day for a future for indigenous people which seems to be much more than what you are doing.


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Should colleges have less say over student free speech? SC lawmakers think so

South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that requires colleges to not interfere with students’ freedom of speech and the speakers they invite.

The Campus Free Expression Act would prevent any four-year, two-year or technical school from blocking student-invited speakers from visiting campus, allow for civil penalties for those who interfere with freedom of speech and and require colleges to create a formal free expression policy.

“There’s a trend around the country to create free-speech zones,” said bill co-sponsor Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley. “This bill is an attempt to head that off.”

Colleges throughout the country have drawn criticism for limiting freedom of expression to “free-speech zones” and limiting protests or demonstrations outside those areas.

Grooms cited the 2018 vandalism of a pro-life display at Clemson University, and the university’s response to the reports, as an example of free speech being threatened on the state’s college campuses.

The pro-life group Young Americans for Freedom filed a complaint with Clemson University Police Department, but no arrests were made, according to The Tiger.

“I’m all for colleges having a plan in place for free speech,” said Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw. However, “I’m a little concerned about ... micromanaging what’s going on.”

The legislation is modeled on a 2017 proposal by the Goldwater Institute, the Arizona-based conservative think-tank named for the late U.S. senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, Grooms said. The bill would still allow universities to regulate the time, location and method of a demonstration or protest.

The secondary goal of the bill is to make sure speakers of all political leanings can attend S.C. college campuses without being deterred by administrative hassles such as high security costs.

“(It) has to be the same guidelines,” Grooms said. “You can’t say we don’t want Donald Trump to come so it’s gonna be a million-dollar bond someone has to put up for security.”

Security costs for controversial speakers have caused problems at other universities in the country. In 2017, when University of California Berkeley invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to campus, security costs reached $600,000, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“At the end of the day, this is going to allow a student to invite an outside group no matter what the university says,” said Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington.


Ontario conservatives hit Leftist speech at colleges with a one-two punch

Why should ALL students be forced to support Leftist publications?

During the 2018 election campaign, Doug Ford made a bold promise to protect free speech on university campuses. “We will ensure that publicly funded universities defend free speech for everybody,” Ford said at a campaign event in May 2018. Schools, he said, were placing too many limits on free speech.

In August 2018, Ford, by then Ontario’s premier, followed through on that promise: according to a directive from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, all post-secondary institutions had to introduce free-speech policies by January 1, 2019 — or face funding cuts.

Last week, the Progressive Conservatives announced another big change: a 10 per cent tuition reduction and the option for students to opt out of so-called non-essential fees, which include the levies that support many student newspapers and campus radio stations — important vehicles for free speech.

A reduction in student-generated revenue would come as a major blow to publications such as the Varsity, an award-winning University of Toronto newspaper that has a weekly circulation of 18,000 and has been around since 1880.

“The money we get from a student levy is instrumental for us to be able to not only produce and distribute a newspaper but also fairly pay the people that work for us,” says Jack O. Denton, the paper’s editor-in-chief. Revenue from student fees, he notes, accounts for the majority of its yearly budget and covers the salaries of 27 part-time employees and Denton himself, who is the sole full-time staffer during the school year.

Stephanie Rea, communications director for Merrilee Fullerton, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities, said in an email to that “post-secondary students are capable adults who deserve the right to decide what initiatives and services they wish to support.” She added that all student organizations will remain protected by the Ontario Campus Free Speech Policy.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Notre Dame to cover up murals of Columbus in the New World

The University of Notre Dame will cover murals in a campus building that depict Christopher Columbus in America, the school’s president said, following criticism that the images depict Native Americans in stereotypical submissive poses before white European explorers.

The 12 murals created in the 1880s by Luis Gregori were intended to encourage immigrants who had come to the United States during a period of anti-Catholic sentiment. But they conceal another side of Columbus: the exploitation and repression of Native Americans, said the Rev. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame.

It is a ‘‘darker side of this story, a side we must acknowledge,’’ Jenkins said in a letter Sunday.

The murals in the Catholic university’s Main Building are painted directly on walls. Jenkins said they will be covered, although they still could be occasionally displayed. A permanent display of photos of the paintings will be created elsewhere with an explanation of their context.

‘‘We wish to preserve artistic works originally intended to celebrate immigrant Catholics who were marginalized at the time in society, but do so in a way that avoids unintentionally marginalizing others,’’ Jenkins said.

In 2017, more than 300 students, employees, and Notre Dame alumni signed a letter in the campus newspaper that called for the removal of the murals.

But Notre Dame law student Grant Strobl said the decision was disappointing. ‘‘If we adopt the standard of judging previous generations by current standards, we may reach a point where there are no longer accomplishments to celebrate,’’ Strobl said.


Google Employees Fret That ‘Family Friendly’ Is a ‘Homophobic’ Term

A Google vice president had to address employees’ “concerns” after many of them supported the idea that the phrase “family friendly” was “offensive” and “homophobic.”

According to an article in The Daily Caller, the trouble started when a Google executive used the phrase “family friendly” when discussing a product for children during a company-wide presentation. One employee reportedly became so upset that he stormed out, later explaining in an internal thread that using the word “family” to mean “household with children” was “offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong.”

The thread added that using the phrase “family friendly” was “a diminishing and disrespectful way to speak.”

“If you mean ‘children,’ say ‘children;’ we have a perfectly good word for it,” the thread began. “‘Family friendly’ used as a synonym for ‘kid friendly’ means, to me, ‘you and yours don’t count as a family unless you have children.’

“The use of ‘family’ as a synonym for ‘with children’ has a long-standing association with deeply homophobic organizations. This does not mean we should not use the word ‘family’ to refer to families, but it mean[s] we must doggedly insist that family does not imply children.”

The thread also clarified that the phrase is offensive “even in the sense, ‘suitable for the whole family,’” because it “is almost always used to mean a household with two adults, of opposite sex, in a romantic/sexual relationship, with two or more children.”


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Politicians Can't Silence a Voice They Can't See, So Democrats Want to Ban Anonymous Speech

Anonymous speech is deeply ingrained in our American democratic tradition. American democracy not only permits anonymous speech, it depends upon it.

Anonymous speech was critical to the establishment of our democracy. Thomas Paine wrote “Common Sense” anonymously; the pamphlet reached and influenced a greater percentage of the population than the TV ads we see in our election seasons today — and certainly with greater impact.

Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison anonymously wrote the Federalist Papers, the influential articles advocating adoption of the Constitution.

Anonymous speech also has been important in ensuring that the benefits of our democracy extend to all Americans. In the 20th century, civil-rights opponents often sought to deprive civil-rights advocates of anonymity in order to bring commercial and social pressure upon them.

Recognizing that the real purpose of identifying those who associate with political advocacy groups is often to chill their free expression, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that anonymous speech is essential to our freedom. In NAACP vs. Patterson, the court wrote: “It is hardly a novel perception that compelled disclosure of affiliation with groups engaged in advocacy may constitute … a restraint on freedom of association. … Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.”

We do, of course, require disclosure of direct donations to candidates. But courts have held that a core reason those laws pass constitutional muster is that a contributor is free to contribute to advocacy groups not controlled by the candidate. Compelled-identification laws would, therefore, deprive current campaign-finance laws of an important part of their constitutional foundation.

History teaches that broadly accepted ideas that are held dear, and even taken for granted, in one generation often could only be espoused under the protection of anonymity in a previous generation.

Let’s protect anonymous speech, not weaken a fundamental freedom on which our democracy has been based.


BBC host 'told to stay off social media to protect herself from online hate' after aggressive interview of black Leftist

Question Time’s new host Fiona Bruce has been warned to avoid social media and remove herself from the electoral roll to protect herself from hate online, according to reports.

The 54-year-old BBC presenter was told to take the action by colleagues to avoid “the online hate mob” following a row over Diane Abbott's recent appearance on the programme, according to the Telegraph.

The shadow home secretary said she was picked on and interrupted more than any other panellist when she appeared on Question Time last week.

Expletive ridden comments have since been made about Ms Bruce after Momentum set up a petition calling for her to apologise after the row.

Hundreds commented on the petition, with some accusing Ms Bruce of being a "racist" following the incident.

Ms Abbott claimed she was repeatedly interrupted on the programme and said she had also been told Ms Bruce made unpleasant remarks about her before the recording began.

A BBC source reportedly told the Telegraph that there was an essence of “predictability” about comments made towards Ms Bruce which was why she was told to remove herself from social media.

In a statement, the BBC denied that any of panellists on the programme had been treated unfairly.

A spokesman said they were "sorry" to hear of Ms Abbott's concerns and had sought to reassure her team that social media claims about the warm-up were "inaccurate and misleading".


Friday, January 25, 2019

Owner of ‘The Battered Wife’ fish and chip shop closing down after ‘abusive witch hunt’

You must treat feminist causes with deadly seriousness. Any jokey mention of such causes brings vicious attacks from the "sisters" -- even if it is a "sister" they are attacking

When Carolyn Kerr named her Far North Queensland fish and chip shop “The Battered Wife”, the former cop was trying to start a dialogue around domestic violence. Instead an “abusive witch hunt” has killed her small business.

Ms Kerr made headlines in November when a photo of her Innisfail shopfront, depicting the words “The Battered Wife … The only battering anyone need know”, was posted on social media.

The words divided Australia after domestic violence groups [i.e. feminists] accused Ms Kerr of making light of men hitting women. A number of Queensland politicians also condemned the name.

But less than three months after the uproar, Ms Kerr has taken to social media to post a tearful video explaining why she’s shutting up shop. “It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that The Battered Wife will cease trading on Monday,” Ms Kerr, a survivor of domestic violence herself, wrote.

Through tears, Ms Kerr said her decision to close was one made with “deep, deep sadness”.

“I’ve been the subject of an abusive witch hunt by a not-for-profit organisation who are anti-abuse however they threatened to throw bricks through my window, they complained to ASIC to have my business name revoked but I got through that one,” she said.

Since opening her shop in 2017, Ms Kerr was forced to regularly defend the business’s name but an upcoming audit from Fair Work has left the Queenslander unable to stay open.

“I don’t know how much the accountant is going to cost me to get the information together just to get through the hoops,” she said.  “I just can’t see any way that I can trade my way through it.”

The Innisfail business is being sold for $69,000 however Ms Kerr has offered up the entire property, including a house behind the shop, for $330,000. “Virtually everything you see is for sale,” Ms Kerr said.

“My biggest disappointment is informing my team that they no longer have a job.”

Ms Kerr was interviewed by Today last year and labelled suggestions her shop name was promoting domestic violence as “ludicrous”.

“There is a lot of beautiful, intelligent women out there in really bad situations and to assume that I was making light of the subject, that I was promoting it … No-one is going to walk past my shop and say, ‘The Battered Wife. Hey, how about we take some advice on this?’” Ms Kerr said.

“It is just ludicrous. The way it has been misconstrued is quite offensive. “It is disappointing that the mentality of the people who have thrown this at me [feminists] is that they condemn the violence. They condemn domestic violence but they are using that same intimidation and abusive tactics … They are no better than anyone else.”

She explained on Today how she came up with the name. “Originally it was suggested to me as a little bit of a joke. But it seemed, yeah, like an interesting option with a bit of spark, you know,” she said.

“Something that could provoke questions, could provoke curiosity. But also the play on words for the shop itself, being a fish and chip shop.”


CA State Senator Enforces Gender Neutrality, Bans Committee Use of ‘He’ and ‘She’

If you’re a legislator on California’s Senate Judiciary Committee, you can no longer use the personal pronouns used to refer to members of the male and female genders. At all. Instead, thanks to the chair of the committee, all members will be referred to as a faceless, grey “they.”

According to the Daily Wire, California Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a Santa Barbara Democrat, announced the change during the first session of committee on Thursday.

“Our first order of business is to approve the committee rules. I’d like to note — in respecting the fact that we are now a state recognizing the non-binary designation as a gender — he and she, we are now merging them so we are using what my grammar teacher would have had a heart attack over: we are using the phrase ‘they’ and replacing other designations so it’s a gender neutral designation: ‘they,’” Jackson announced.

“Basically, that’s the primary reforms and revisions to the committee rules.”

“In the spirit of gender neutrality for the rules of this committee, we now designate the chair as ‘they,’” she added. “The world is a different place. My grammar teacher is long gone and we won’t be hearing from her.”

She continued on until laughter from the room forced her to correct herself: “From them! From they!”.


Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dutch surgeon who was suspended for medical negligence wins 'right to be forgotten' case against Google

What about the public's right to know?

A Dutch surgeon who was disciplined for medical negligence has won a landmark 'right to be forgotten' case against Google.

The decision means search results for the negligence case will be removed after it emerged patients found her on an 'unofficial blacklist' after typing in her name to the search engine. 

The district court of Amsterdam ruled in July last year that the surgeon had 'an interest in not indicating that every time someone enters their full name in Google's search engine (almost) immediately the mention of her name appears on the "blacklist of doctors".

'And this importance adds more weight than the public's interest in finding this information in this way.'

The doctor's was initially suspended by a disciplinary panel because of her postoperative care of a patient. After an appeal, she was given a conditional suspension under which she was allowed to continue to practise.

But Dutch courts heard how patients had found the blacklist on Google and discussed the case on a web forum - suggesting she was unfit to practise.

The surgeon's lawyer, Willem van Lynden, from the Amsterdam firm MediaMaze, said: 'Now they will have to bring down thousands of pages: that is what will happen, in my view.

The judge said that while the information on the website with reference to the failings of the doctor in 2014 was correct, the pejorative name of the blacklist site suggested she was unfit to treat people, and that was not supported by the disciplinary panel's findings.

The court further rejected Google's claim that most people would have difficulty in finding the relevant information on the medical board's Big-register, where the records are publicly held.

Google and the Dutch data privacy watchdog, Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens, initially rejected attempts to have the links removed on the basis that the doctor was still on probation and the information remained relevant.

The case was concluded in July but only made public in recent days after a dispute over whether the court's judgment itself should be published.


Give in and the crybullies win

Tim Blair gets it right:

Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight and wife Sophie last year attended an awards night in Canberra. A cartoon cop encounter ensued:

They bumped into Fairfax cartoonist Cathy Wilcox, one of a very few women in this game, who serves on the [Australian Cartoonists’ Association’s] committee.

She’d joined the Guardian’s Andrew Marlton in killing off a motion of support for Knight because of their reservations about the Serena cartoon. Her encounter with Knight grew testy

What irked her when she met Knight on the stairwell was how he stood his ground. “I thought there would’ve been some room to say, ‘I can see how it came across’ but he’s not budged an inch.”

They hate it when their targets refuse to back down. As Lionel Shriver once observed:

These people aren’t frightened. They want you to be frightened of them. And we’re not talking ‘microaggression’. PC police often prefer macroaggression, the kind that can get people sacked …

Bullies on the left ply weakness to conceal aggression, and today’s torrent of touchiness is bogus. No one’s truly in distress. No one’s feelings are hurt really.

This stuff is all about pushing other people around.


Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Federal judge: Robin Vos, top Republicans violated liberal group's free speech rights

Maybe I am missing something here but blocking stops someone from READING your twitter posts as far as I can see.  Is there now such a thing as reading rights?

A federal judge Friday ruled state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and other top Republicans violated a liberal group’s constitutional rights when they blocked it from following them on Twitter.

The decision from U.S. District Judge William Conley siding with One Wisconsin Now is the latest indicator of the American legal system’s emerging views on social media’s role in democracy and to what extent political speech is protected there.

OWN sued Republican lawmakers in 2017 after three of them — Vos, R-Rochester; Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, who leads the state’s powerful budget-writing committee; and former Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum — blocked the group on Twitter.

Conley’s ruling, which found OWN’s free speech on a public forum was violated, follows a similar case involving President Donald Trump, who has previously blocked followers on Twitter. In that case the court found the president had violated the blocked users’ constitutional rights and ordered him to unblock them.


Is harassment free speech?

It depends on what is harassment.  Apparently the woman below was insulted, not threatened so there was no cause for action.  Nobody seems to be saying what the insults were but they would apparently be of the "dumb n*gger" kind

Kiah Morris was the only black woman in the Vermont legislature - until she quit in September after two years of abuse.

This week, the state's attorney general agreed that the former Democratic representative had been subjected to racial and gender harassment, but he ruled against criminal charges, citing free speech.

The First Amendment of the US Constitution protects free speech, even racist speech. But is it applicable to threats and harassment? And how would a similar case have unfolded in the UK - where there are more applicable hate speech laws?

Attorney General TJ Donovan presented a 10-page report of his investigation at Monday's news conference.

"The online communications that were sent to Ms Morris by Max Misch and others were clearly racist and extremely offensive," it concluded. "However, the First Amendment does not make speech sanctionable merely because its content is objectionable."


Monday, January 21, 2019

Swimming pool public health sign slammed as racist

When being inclusive backfired

A public health sign at a New Zealand swimming pool has been slammed as racist for depicting a coloured child being instructed not to urinate in the pool.

The poster, displayed at a public swimming pool in Auckland, features a cartoon of a young white girl telling a dark-skinned boy not to pee in the pool.

“Hemi, stop! Make sure you visit the toilet before you swim!” the sign reads.

The sign sparked a polarising response. “I am an older female of European descent and I don’t like the sign. I very much doubt a little girl would running around saying this kind of thing to other kids,” one person responded.

“So it is not realistic and horribly drawn. If a sign is really necessary it should be one that reminds everyone to use the toilet before going in the pool.”

Another said, “It’s funny at first glance. But then you realise the racial profiling. And it’s not funny anymore.

But others disagreed. “If it stops kids crapping in the pool it’s a good thing,” said one.

“Why is this culturally insensitive? Are people that precious? If it was the other way round I don’t think a single ‘white’ person would be offended. Stop being so bloody precious,” said another.

Auckland Council general manager of parks sports and recreation, Mace Ward, said he would be removing the signs and re-examining the whole campaign.

“The characters Hemi and Molly are used across Auckland Council’s marketing materials and were designed to appeal to young Aucklanders,” he told The New Zealand Herald.


Allah not popular in Switzerland

It's true that Musims use "Allah Akhbar" as simply an exclamation, much as we would say "Oh God!"

Police in Switzerland have defended fining a Muslim man the equivalent of £178 for saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ in public. They argued that people who overheard him could have mistaken him for a terrorist.

The phrase, meaning ‘God is greatest’ in Arabic, may be infamous as a jihadist war cry, but among ordinary Muslims it has a far more mundane meaning, used in the way we might say ‘oh my God’ when we are surprised or shocked. It is uttered thousands of times a day throughout the peaceful Muslim world. Say it in Switzerland, however, and you may find yourself in trouble with the police.

The Swiss-born man, who has been identified only as Orhan E, used the phrase to express his surprise after unexpectedly seeing a friend in the town of Schaffhausen. He was then approached by a plain-clothed police officer who had overheard him. Orhan says he tried to explain to the officer that he had meant nothing by it, but she called for armed back-up anyway. He says he was manhandled by gun-toting police, before being slapped with the fine for causing a public nuisance.

The confrontation took place in May last year. Orhan only recently decided to go public after seeing reports that another Muslim man was allegedly punched by a Swiss border guard after he said ‘Allahu Akbar’. Orhan told local media that a typical Muslim will use the innocuous phrase ‘almost every second sentence’. ‘Just because terrorists misuse these two words doesn’t mean I have bad intentions when I say them’, he added.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Freedom of art?

What if had been called "McMohammed"?

Israel's Department of Justice was forced to intervene Tuesday in the controversy around a sculpture of "McJesus" — Jesus modeled as Ronald McDonald — that angered Christians in the Holy Land.

The Ministry of Culture threatened to defund the Haifa Museum of Art, where "McJesus" is displayed and where violent protests broke out last week.

"This work does not belong in a cultural institution supported by state funds," Culture Minister Miri Regev wrote in a letter to the museum, adding that the sculpture, which is part of the "Sacred Goods" show that opened in August, makes a “mockery of the crucifix, the most important religious symbol for Christians around the world,” and could not be protected under freedom of speech.

But the Department of Justice disagreed.

“It is forbidden to block funding to cultural institutions because of the content they exhibit,” Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber wrote in a letter to Regev Tuesday, reminding the minister that the government could not interfere with the contents presented at cultural institutions because it provides financial support.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel contacted the Department of Justice on behalf of the museum.

“The Minister of Culture seems to have made a quantum leap,” wrote ACRI’s legal advisor, Dan Yakir. He said that while in the past the minister had instructed mayors or other elected officials to prevent cultural events when she did not like their content, it was beyond acceptable bounds to reach out directly to the museum. He said the move violated freedom of speech and expression.

Nissim Tal, the museum's director, told The Associated Press they "will be defending freedom of speech, freedom of art, and freedom of culture" by keeping the artwork right where it is.


'They wished I was dead': Illustrator who was slammed for his "racist" cartoon of Serena Williams was in fear for his life during the backlash

It is a cartoon, not a photo and, as such, it is a reasonable caricature.  Plenty of caricatures are more extreme

The Australian cartoonist who was on the receiving end of worldwide condemnation for his racist depiction of tennis star Serena Williams said he received death threats after the drawing was published.

Cartoonist Mark Knight was called a 'white supremacist' and 'c**ksucker of the day' after his cartoon featuring Serena Williams at the US Open was published in the Herald Sun newspaper in September.

Knight defended himself by saying he simply made the drawing after he witnessed 'the world's greatest tennis player spit the dummy'.

The artist initially thought the mess would blow over, but for weeks both he and his family were brutally terrorised.

'They traced my wife and children through Facebook. Our son's a pilot. There were messages that said, "I hope your son's plane crashes into your house and kills you all",' Knight told The Australian.

'They wished I was dead, there were threats, aggressive horrible stuff against the kids, like 'We hope someone gets you, gets your family'. I was a 'racist a**hole'. I work in the media, I know what to expect, but my family doesn't and it hit them really hard.'

The abuse was so bad, Knight had to organise for security guards to stand around his property for a week.

The cartoon was in the publication's Monday paper for more than 12 hours without anyone taking notice, but Knight then chose to post it to Twitter. Once the cartoon was in front of a global audience, it wasn't long until the artist began to be attacked.

The cartoon depicts Williams, 36, as a baby having a tantrum on the court.

In the illustration, Williams is shown with an enlarged lips and nose, and her cheekbones have been emphasised. A dummy lies next to her feet and she is shown jumping in the air, her fists clenched in frustration like a petulant child.

In the background is Naomi Osaka, the 20-year-old Haitian-Japanese athlete who won the match. She is depicted as slender, white and blonde, looking up hopefully towards umpire Carlos Ramos.

The cartoon was slammed by critics around the world who compared the image to a Jim Crow-era representation of black women. 

Author J.K. Rowling and rapper Nicki Minaj were among those who criticised Knight, while America's National Association of Black Journalists said the illustration was 'unnecessarily sambo-like'.

The cartoon was compared to the 'slavery era' and many noted how Williams resembled a gorilla.

'In 100 years time this cartoon will be viewed no differently than old images of Jim Crow, or the newspaper cartoons drawn of Jack Johnson. Mark Knight has just drawn his way into the history books,' said one critic.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Gillette ad backlash: "An attack on all men"

America’s government remains shut down, Britain is in crisis over the Brexit saga and Australia is in the grips of a relentless heatwave.

But the issue gripping the world this week, prompting an outpouring of anger and calls for a boycott of a men’s grooming brand, is a new advertising campaign.

Gillette released a two-minute video on Tuesday surrounding the contentious topic of ‘toxic masculinity’, calling for men to be the best they can be.

The clip, attacked by male rights activists, media commentators and even a Hollywood actor, encourages men to shrug off expectations of manhood, from not showing emotion to being aggressive or violent.

A number of people are unhappy and have taken to social media in recent days.

British journalist Piers Morgan responded with anger, saying the ad made a generalisation that all men are bad, and led calls for a boycott of Gillette shaving products.

“I’ve used Gillette razors my entire adult life but this absurd virtue-signalling PC guff may drive me away to a company less eager to fuel the current pathetic global assault on masculinity,” Morgan wrote. “Let boys be damn boys. Let men be damn men.”

On Good Morning Britain this week, he said the only people who would enjoy the ad were likely to be “radical feminists who love it because it portrays men as bad”.

Morgan’s fierce criticism prompted a wave of social media declarations from the company’s customers that they would discontinue purchasing their razors, with some even videoing and photographing themselves destroying their shavers.

“It’s hideous, ridiculous and disgusting,” one user wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “Gillette will never receive a damn cent from me. Absolutely dead to me as a company.”

It was one of thousands of angry responses. One man even snapped himself attempting to flush his razor down the toilet, while another smashed his in a kitchen sink disposal unit.

Conservative commentator Paul Joseph Watson accused Gillette of “insulting most of your customers by insinuating they’re all would-be sexual abusers (and) creeps.”

The official YouTube clip has been viewed more than 14 million times, with 726,000 downvotes far outnumbering the 345,000 upvotes received.


Gillette ad: Newtown firemen forced to douse signs of being proud men

A Sydney fire station has been forced to apologise for a sign defending their masculinity, after social media users accused it of pushing “personal and political agendas”.

The inner-city Newtown Fire Station posted a public sign outside its base that read “House fires are toxic, our masculinity isn’t” in response to Gillette’s ad calling out toxic masculinity.

In a Facebook post apologising for the sign, Newtown Fire Station said: “Masculinity comes in different forms. Different for everyone. We are constantly redefining what it means to be a man. We strive to be proud men.

“To achieve this, we try and spread the message about helping others. This may be achieved in many ways. Being inclusive, standing up for minorities or those less fortunate, we stand against bullying and unfair labels.

“The sign was for those concerned there is way too much toxic out there. To show there are groups that fight it … Every man needs to be in touch with their feminine side, every woman needs to be in touch with their masculine side.”

While some social media users were dismayed with the sign, others were more upset about the fire station being forced to take it down.

“Why did you give in, Newtown Fire Station? You should’ve kept it up! The ones who complained about your signs are the very kind of folk who laughed at those who complained at that dumb Gillette ad. Pushing your agenda? Er, so Gillette isn’t? Pfft!” one commenter said in response to the fire station’s apology.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ex-WA Firefighter Settles in Free Speech Case

A former firefighter in Washington state who was locked in a lengthy legal battle over a string of religious emails has reached a nearly $1 million settlement with his old department before the case reached court next month.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department agreed to pay Jon Sprague $900,000, along with retirement benefits, after he claimed he was fired in October 2012 for emails he sent in connection with his work restarting a local chapter of the Christian Firefighter Fellowship, KXLY-TV reports. He gave his attention to the group beginning in 2010 as a way to address a national increase in suicides among firefighters.

For about a year, Sprague would arrange meet-ups and discuss suicide prevention with colleagues in the emails, but an issue was raised about the emails by his captain in late 2011.

"As (the captain) said, mentioning God or Jesus was a problem," Sprague told KXLY.

A court battle ensued for around six years, with Sprague arguing that he didn't lose his free speech protections to talk about religion just because he was a public employee. The case eventually made it to the Washington State Supreme Court in 2017, and the justices agreed with Sprague, KREM-TV reports.


Twitter Suspends Conservative Radio Host for Defending Portland, Oregon Police

In its latest punishment of a conservative, Twitter suspended nationally-syndicated, Portland, Oregon-based radio host Lars Larson for defending a police officer.

Larson was responding to a tweet by a former mayoral candidate tweeting a recount of a story about police shooting of a local man, NewsBusters reports:

"A former Portland mayoral candidate, Sarah Iannarone, tweeted her condemnation of the police after an incident where a man was shot and killed by the police. When conservative radio host Lars Larson, based in Portland, responded in defense of the police, he was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for 'hate speech.'”

In her tweet, Iannarone called for the defunding of “this deadly paramilitary force” (Portland’s police):

“The headline kinda says it all, doesn't it? We know the police kill. Question is whether we will ever stop funding this deadly paramilitary force and start funding things that actually keep the people of Portland safe.”

In his reply, Larson noted that, as the story she referenced states, the man killed was a paranoid schizophrenic home invader who attacked police with a deadly weapon:

“Gee @sarahforpdx you think the cops make PDX dangerous? Read the story and you find the dead man was 1) paranoid schizophrenic 2) invaded a stranger's home 3) fought with the officer 4) pulled a knife. What's your millennial snowflake solution to that situation without the cops?”

Larson isn’t the only conservative to be punished by Twitter recently for espousing his values, NewsBusters reports:

"In the past week, two other accounts were suspended for 'hate speech.' One of them was suspended for referring to Chelsea/Bradley Manning as a 'guy,' while the other was nuked for promoting the border wall."


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Is wearing wool sweaters unethical now? I can’t keep up...

Quintin McEwen spotted the tag on a Lucky Brand men’s polyester sweater and decided he had had enough. “Shearless Fleece,” it read next to a picture of a sheep heavy with wool. “Not a single sheep was sheared in the making of this garment.”

The sixth-generation sheep farmer in Monkton, Ontario, logged on to his farm’s Facebook page to lash out at Lucky. Not only is shearing not inhumane, he wrote, it helps sheep fend off disease and move around more comfortably. “I am absolutely shocked by your blatant disregard for my industry,” Mr. McEwen wrote in the post, eliciting more than 1,000 comments.

News of the perceived offense spread quickly through a growing and increasingly snippy group of knitters, wool enthusiasts and sheep farmers who say wool criticism is social activism gone awry. Wool proponents say they have been unfairly lumped in with crocodile hunters and mink farmers by overzealous do-gooders who fundamentally misunderstand what goes into sheep farming, not to mention the superior properties of wool.

To the dismay of wool proponents who tout their ecofriendly credentials, they have landed on the wrong side of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The animalrights group recently erected billboards in Boston and New York’s Times Square that display a nude picture of actress Alicia Silverstone with the phrase “Leave Wool Behind” across her backside.

Lucky Brand stopped using the antiwool tag after speaking with some critics, said Chief Executive Carlos Alberini. “It was never our intention to offend anyone with this hangtag,” he said.

After clothing retailer Duluth Trading Co. recently advertised a fleece-lined shirt with the tagline, “No smelly animal fur here, just soft, furnace- warm 200-gram polyester fleece,” retribution was swift.

“I beg of you, please stop throwing wool under the bus,” Ms. Parkes wrote in an Instagram post. “You know as well as I do that commercial wool has no scent at all, and that it comes from a living animal who goes on living a very good life,” said the 49-year-old who lives in Portland, Maine.

The company has taken antiwool statements out of future catalogs after hearing concerns, said a spokeswoman. “We have a deep appreciation of the wool industry,” she said.


Is criticism of Israel antisemitic?

I reproduce below the conclusion of a long-winded article from a far-Leftist source that objects to most criticism of Israel being called antisemitic.  The body of the article is a long list of things that Israel has done which the peacenik writer regards as wrong and worthy of condemnation.  That everything he lists is part of Israel's desperate defence of itself against the boiling hostility of over a billion Muslim neighbours he completely ignores. If he were any more unbalanced he would fall over.

But his conclusion is not wholly unreasonable.  Nobody claims that all criticism of Israel is wrong.  It must be open to the same criticism that can be levied at any nation state. 

What does rise to the level of antisemitism, however, is criticism of Israel that is merely hate-speech -- criticism that is unmoored from the historic and present reality of Israel and the Jews.  There is a lot of that, going so far in the case of the Palestinians as actually denying the historic connection of Jews to the land of Israel.  It is in the context of attitudes as irrational as that that Israel's recent declaration of itself as a Jewish state must be seen.

Something that always amuses me is talk about Israel denying "human rights" to Palestinians.  Does that include a right for Palestinians to attack and kill Israeli Jews at random -- something they still frequently do?  No wonder Israel abridges their "rights" by using fences etc to control them!

Perhaps the most amusing thing about our peacenik author is that he would be up in arms about all other forms of alleged hate speech but cannot recognize any hate speech about Israel

We face a time when conformity to authoritarian attitudes are said to show respect for security, when fear of dissent is bolstered by warnings about the presence of allegedly illegal others. Free speech is stifled by US legislators in order to prevent criticism of the human rights abuses of a significant ally, and all this in a country whose First Amendment of the constitution says, inter alia, “Congress shall make no law …abridging the freedom of speech or of the press….”

A reported rise of anti-Semitism across Europe and the United States has been fueled by widening definitions of this prejudice, as in attempts by authoritarian governments to outlaw almost any criticism of Israeli government policies.

Anti-Semitism remains a dangerous and illegal act but in relation to Israeli policies, it needs to be addressed with a certain subtlety, not by bullying to disallow criticism of a powerful country. In Open Democracy, Antony Lerman displayed such subtlety by insisting on the need to distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israeli policies and criticism which spills over into anti-Semitic hate speech.

If the principle of free speech is to be maintained, the world needs neither the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, nor the Anti-Defamation Awareness Act let alone the racism legitimated by the Jewish Nation State Law. Lerman argues that citizens in all democracies should simply keep the obligation to abide by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights which protects freedom of speech.

Support for freedom of speech must remain central to the values of western democracies and not be eroded by false claims about anti-Semitism.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The rage against John Finnis

Unfortunately, last week an unpleasant campaign hit Oxford University, and took aim at a professor for his academic work. John Finnis, emeritus professor of law and legal philosophy at University College, is the subject of a petition, signed (at time of writing) by over 400 people, demanding his removal. Why? Because in his previous writings he has argued against the morality of gay sex, gay adoption and mass immigration, views deemed by the petitioners as ‘hateful’ and ‘discriminatory’.

Finnis has defended his writings, telling the Oxford Student that ‘there is not a “phobic” sentence in them’. A Catholic convert, he describes his work on gay sex, the focus of the protests, as offering a ‘classical and strictly philosophical moral critique of all non-marital sex acts’.

These writings were not the work of some Bible Belt pamphleteer, they were tightly reasoned and meticulously constructed, whatever you think of the content of the views expressed. But the fact Finnis ever made these arguments at all should, according to the protesters, be enough to sack him.

These attacks are a misguided denigration of an eminent scholar. Reasoned criticism of certain sexual behaviours from a religious point of view is not the same thing as promoting hatred of the people who engage in them, nor evidence of any discriminatory attitude – if by discrimination we mean treating one person worse for no other reason than that they are different. Nor is taking a reasoned look at the effects of immigration in any sense xenophobic.


Indian cricket players are suspended ahead of the national team's one-day international with Australia over sexist remarks

India is a puritanical country

India's historic cricket tour of Australia has been marred by controversy with two players suspended from duties over sexist comments on a TV chat show.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya and batsman Lokesh (KL) Rahul were handed the bans by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Friday.

'The CoA in accordance with the BCCI has decided to suspend Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul from playing any form of cricket after their comments on a TV show,' a statement said.

Both Pandya and Rahul appeared on Koffee with Karan a show which encourages stars to open up about their personal lives, which aired on January 6, as India wrapped up a convincing Test victory over Australia in Sydney.

Pandya bragged about his prowess with women, saying, 'You are just watching and observing how they move… I have to see how they move first,' he said.

He also told a story about an incident where he was out with his parents at a party and told them about a woman he had previously had a 'scene' with.

'And I actually had to tell them. This one. This one. This one,' he said, before revealing how he boasted to his parents about losing his virginity.

While Rahul did not make comments as seemingly crude, he found himself caught up in the backlash on social media and is left to explain himself to the BCCI.

The BCCI statement said both offending players were initially hit with a notice which led them to respond with an apology.


Monday, January 14, 2019

PragerU Lawsuit Claims Google, YouTube Violated Calif. Law on Free Speech, Discrimination

On Tuesday, the conservative video nonprofit PragerU filed a new lawsuit against Google and YouTube in Santa Clara, Calif. superior court, to bring state charges against Google and YouTube in addition to the federal case currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Both PragerU and Google are based in California.

"YouTube was built on the backs of users like PragerU who were promised 'give us your videos because we are a 'public forum,' a place where the public is invited to engage in 'freedom of expression' and where everyone is 'treated equally,'" PragerU attorney Peter Obstler declared in a statement. "We expect that to be the truth."

Obstler noted that PragerU originally filed a lawsuit with two federal claims and five state claims under California law. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the state law claims without prejudice, encouraging the nonprofit to bring them up in state law. "Today we've come full circle by filing a state law action, as the judge requested we do, in state court to litigate those issues there."

This makes the PragerU lawsuit against Google and YouTube a "two-track litigation."

In the California case, PragerU brought four separate claims against Google and YouTube: that the companies violated the free speech protections of Article 1 Section 2 of the California Constitution; that they violated the Unruh Civil Rights Act by engaging in political and viewpoint discrimination against PragerU; that they violated the state's business code through unfair competition; and that they breached the implied terms of their contract.

YouTube has placed at least 80 PragerU videos off limits to users in restricted mode, and it has pulled ads from at least 43 videos, demonetizing them. The video nonprofit has found similar videos on similar topics which have not been restricted or demonetized. In some cases, restricted PragerU video content has been reposted by other accounts and the resulting videos have not been restricted.


Hardware store's awkward ‘f**k it’ sign

STAFF at a Bunnings Warehouse store in north Brisbane, have learnt an important lesson after an innocent handwriting error — which looked like 'f**k it’ had been written on a sign — went viral online.

The Bunnings’ handwritten sign promoting a range of $3.99 LED light switches attracted more attention than they bargained for on Friday.

The phrase ‘FLICK IT’ appeared innocent enough until store-goer Adrian ChanChan spotted the accidental combination of two letters, producing a markedly different meaning.

The sign proudly announcing ‘F*** IT’ and sent social media into stitches.

Commenter Chris Fenwick asked “Do they also sell f*** it sausages at Bunnings?”

“Even when read as ‘flick it’ my mind still heads straight for the gutter,” commented Astrid Freebird.

Bunnings QLD North Operations Manager Kent Payne said: ‘Given the nature of our hand written signs, it is unfortunate that this Flick It switch label was misinterpreted. Once we were alerted, we removed it immediately and it was rewritten in clearer text’.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Amazon removes bath mats, doormats after reports that products were offensive to Muslims

Amazon yanked certain products from its online marketplace after the Council on American-Islamic Relations pointed out that the merchandise was offensive to people within the Muslim community.

What's this merchandise?

The organization issued a statement Thursday asking Amazon to remove the offending merchandise, which included bath mats, doormats, and other similar merchandise that featured references to Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

A portion of the statement said, "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today asked online retailer Amazon to remove a number of doormats and bath mats imprinted with Islamic calligraphy, references to the Prophet Muhammad and verses from the Quran, Islam's holy text."


Weatherman fired for allegedly using racial slur on-air

The word is a short form of "raccoon".  I have heard it often enough in the bad old days as a reference to the Rev. King that I run the risk of falling into that usage myself if I am not alert. I expect that the meteorologist was in a similar situation

A chief meteorologist at an NBC station in Rochester was fired on Monday for allegedly using a racial slur during a live broadcast.

Jeremy Kappell, of WHEC-TV, was describing a photo showing Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park when he allegedly uttered the offensive phrase. “Martin Luther C–n King Jr.,” he said, according to viewers and local officials.

Kappell has been trying his best to do damage control, referring to the incident as a “verbal slip” — much like the one that ESPN’s Mike Greenberg had in 2010, though he was allowed to keep his job.

“As a result of that broadcast meteorologist Jeremy Kappell is no longer with News10NBC,” said station vice president and general manager Richard A. Reingold.


Friday, January 11, 2019

A real Kinder surprise

Kinder eggs are an egg-shaped candy with a small toy inside.  One of the toys included a figure holding three plastic balloons, with each balloon bearing the letter "K" for "Kinder".  But three Ks in a line  can be a problem

The popular chocolate was meant to be a treat for Kimberley's little boy. Kimberley's first reaction to the tiny plastic toy was to burst into fits of laughter.  That a giant confectionary company could somehow send out hundreds of thousands of toys labelled with the initials of one of the most notorious white supremacists groups in the world.

“As soon as you open the package the toy comes in two parts,” she says. “One is the egg and the other is the balloons with 'KKK' written on them. “As soon as you see them - you notice it.”

Even though the white supremacists group is based in the United States, with no official links to Australia, Kimberley  feels that most Australian adults are aware of the group’s actions. “Even to this day, the KKK do exist,” she says.

The chocolate company immediately apologised, making it clear they never meant to offend anyone with the design.

“To offer some explanation of how this toy came to be, initially it was designed with one balloon with a K on it,” Kinder exlained to her via Facebook. "However, two more were added to provide a more robust structure.”

"Please be assured that we had absolutely no intention to make any association with the acronym.”  "We never intended for this toy to be offensive"

They went on to add that the toy, which was part of the limited edition 50th birthday celebration collection, had been discontinued. “In addition, stock from this toy range has been withheld from the market and destroyed,” they said.

“Rest assured, we are revisiting our internal processes to ensure something like this cannot happen again.

“It was never intended for this toy to be offensive and we would like to extend our sincerest apologies.”


But is he right?

Facts not needed?

A football boss insists he didn’t mean to offend anyone when he described the women’s game as unviable and full of lesbian alcoholics.

The president of Colombian football team Deportes Tolima has apologised for describing women’s football as “a tremendous lesbian breeding ground.”

Gabriel Camargo, whose team won the Colombian Apertura title in 2018, also branded female players alcoholics and women’s football as a whole, economically unviable.

“I declare it wasn’t my intention to offend women footballers, let alone undermine their fundamental rights of equality, non-discrimination, dignity, honour and good name,” he wrote in a letter posted on the club’s social media accounts.

He retracted his previous comments and insisted that Deportes Tolima had always respected the personal rights of its female players.

Those comments brought a stinging rebuke from some notable women players, such as Yoreli Rincon, a midfielder with Atletico Huila, the Colombian women champions and Deportes Tolima’s traditional rivals. “President Camargo, don’t forget where your sons come from... A woman or do you want a woman footballer to iron clothes and bring you the club’s plates? Respect,” she wrote on Twitter.

The women’s football league in Colombia, consisting of 23 teams, was created in 2017, with the third season due to be played in the second half of 2019.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Students urge Oxford University to sack Roman Catholic law professor for 'criticising homosexuality'

Students are demanding Oxford University sacks a Roman Catholic professor for allegedly criticising homosexuality. They claim essays published by John Finnis, 77, emeritus professor of law and legal philosophy, attack same-sex relations and are ‘discriminatory’.

Campaigners say his presence on campus threatens gay people, and a petition demanding his removal from his academic position has 350 backers so far.

However, Oxford has supported his right to academic freedom.

Students claim that the professor attacked homosexuality in essays published in 1994 and 2011.

He is said to have compared it to bestiality, which, he wrote, ‘treats human bodily life, in one of its most intense activities, as appropriately lived as merely animal’.

The essay adds: ‘The deliberate genital coupling of persons of the same sex is repudiated for a very similar reason.’

The petition said his role ‘puts a hugely prejudiced man in a position of authority’. But he told The Oxford Student newspaper: ‘I stand by all these writings. There is not a phobic sentence in them.

‘The 1994 essay promotes a classical and strictly philosophical moral critique of all non-marital sex acts.’

The university said: ‘Vigorous academic debate does not amount to harassment when conducted respectfully and without violating the dignity of others.’


Despite Losing Its Copyright Case, The State Of Georgia Still Trying To Stop Carl Malamud From Posting Its Laws

When we last checked in with Carl Malamud and his Public.Resource.Org, they were celebrating a huge victory in Georgia, where the 11th Circuit had ruled that of course Malamud was not infringing on anyone's copyrights in posting the "Official Code of Georgia Annotated" (OCGA) because there could be no copyright in the law. As we explained at length in previous posts, Georgia has a somewhat bizarre system in which the only official version of their law is the "officially" annotated version, in which the annotations (with citations to caselaw and further explanations) are written by a private company, LexisNexis, which then transfers the copyright (should one exist) on those annotations to the state.

Malamud, of course, has spent years, trying to make it easier for people to access the law -- and that means all of the law, not just some of it. So when he posted a much more accessible version of the OCGA, the state sued him for copyright infringement. While the lower court ruled that the OCGA could have copyright, that the State of Georgia could hold it and that Malamud's work was not fair use, the 11th Circuit tossed that out entirely, saying that since the OCGA was clearly the only official version of the law, there could be no valid copyright in it.

It was a pretty thorough and complete win. And, if the state of Georgia were mature and reasonable, you'd think that they'd (perhaps grudgingly) admit that anyone should have access to its laws and move on. But, this is the state of Georgia we're talking about. And, it appears that the state has decided that rather than taking the high road, it's going to act like a petty asshole.

Last week Malamud sent a letter describing how the state is now trying to block him from purchasing a copy of the OCGA. He's not looking for a discount or any special deal. He wants to buy the OCGA just like anyone else can. And the state is refusing to sell it to him, knowing that he's going to digitize it, put it online and (gasp) make it easier for the residents of Georgia to read their own damn laws:

No matter how you look at this, it appears that LexisNexis, together with the State of Georgia, are acting like petty tyrants, ignoring a court order -- but even worse, they are refusing to sell a copy of their legal code (already a bizarre stance) out of fear that Malamud will make it easier for the public to read the laws. If you happen to be a Georgia citizen, maybe ask why your own government is trying to hide its laws from you...


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

‘Grabher’: A war over a surname

Canadian man Lorne Grabher was proud of his personalised number plate bearing with his last name in bold capital letters: “GRABHER”. He bought the plate as a gift for his late father in 1991 and kept the family tradition alive by placing the plate on his own vehicle.

On December 9, 2016, Grabher received a letter from the Office of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles stating that, following a complaint from the public, his personalised number plate was cancelled.

Suddenly, in the context of 2016, Mr Grabher’s German last name sounded like an endorsement of sexual assault. In their letter cancelling the number plate, the office said “GRABHER” could be misinterpreted as a “socially unacceptable slogan”.

Frustrated, Mr Grabher applied to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court claiming the number plate’s cancellation unjustifiably infringed on his freedom of expression and equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court is to decide whether it causes enough harm to justify infringing Mr Grabher’s right to freedom of expression.


Scots Guardsman quits army over controversial ‘snow flakes’ recruitment poster

A Scots Guardsman says he is planning to quit the army after his picture was used below the words “snow flake” in a controversial ad campaign.

Stephen McWhirter, 28, slammed the army advertisement posters and told colleagues he was not told his photo would be used in this way.

According to friends, the guardsman, based at Wellington Barracks in Westminster, has been inundated with mocking messages and left open to ridicule, the Daily Mail reported.

The soldier expressed his fury on Facebook while speaking to other troops about the £1.5 million ($A2.68 million) campaign.

One soldier wrote: “Imagine the army taking a photo of you and writing “snow flake” in massive letters above your head. I’d be signed straight off.”

Guardsman McWhirter responded: “Don’t f***ing worry mate, I am.” He added that he would formally submit his resignation as soon as he could.


Monday, January 07, 2019

A devious Attack on  Free Expression from Nancy Pelosi

One of Nancy Pelosi’s first projects as the new speaker of the House will be passing a government overhaul of campaign finance and ethics rules that would, among other things, “expand voting rights.” One of the new bills — specifics are still cloudy — reportedly would allocate a pool of taxpayer money to match small-dollar donations 6-to-1, as a way of encouraging “grass-roots campaigning,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

The package, fortunately, wouldn’t pass the Senate. But creating government-financed campaigns — empowering the state to allocate money to preferred donors and dissuading non-preferred donors — has been something of a hobbyhorse in progressive circles. Setting aside the many constitutional concerns, the recent abuses by the IRS when tasked with regulating political speech demonstrate just how easy it is for bureaucrats to manipulate rules meant to govern speech. These are rules that shouldn’t exist, period.

Some big cities have already begun handing out tax-funded “democracy vouchers.” In other words, politicians have passed legislation that subsidizes the speech of people who will, for the most part, support them. It’s quite the racket. Pelosi wants to take this corruption national.

Democrats will also include a provision in their package that would make tax-exempt 501(c)(4) charitable groups disclose donors who’ve given $10,000 or more during an election cycle. As I’ve written elsewhere, this obsession with eliminating anonymity is also a transparent attempt to chill speech and undermine minority opinions.


A Grindr harassment suit could change the legal landscape for tech — and free speech

This claim runs against existing precedents and is a poor substitute for a libel action against the perpetrator.  A court could order the perp to delete the defamatory profiles

Matthew Herrick, a restaurant worker and aspiring actor in New York, claimed that for months an ex-boyfriend used the dating app Grindr to harass him.

His former partner created fake profiles on the app to impersonate Herrick and then direct men to show up at Herrick’s home and the restaurant where he worked asking for sex, sometimes more than a dozen times per day. Herrick took action against his ex, filing 14 police reports.

He also filed a lawsuit against Grindr in 2017. The alleged harassment continued for months, even after Herrick obtained a temporary restraining order against Grindr that required the company to disable the impersonating profiles.

Herrick’s story echoes the online harassment that many people have experienced, often with little to no legal consequences for the companies that created the technology in question. A 1996 law designed to foster free speech online generally protects companies from liability.

But Herrick is pursuing an unusual legal theory as he continues to push back against Grindr, arguing that tech companies should face greater accountability for what happens on their platforms. His lawsuit alleges that the software developers who write code for Grindr have been negligent, producing an app that’s defective in its design and that is “fundamentally unsafe” and “unreasonably dangerous” — echoing language that’s more typically used in lawsuits about, say, a faulty kitchen appliance or a defective car part.

If successful, the lawsuit could bring about a significant legal change to the risks tech companies face for what happens on their platforms, adding to growing public and political pressure for change.


Sunday, January 06, 2019

Video: Rubin and Peterson Leave Patreon Over Free Speech

Popular YouTubers Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson discuss their frustrations with the platform.

Patreon is solidly Leftist

Conservatives should use other fundraisers. Patreon uses the invented category of "hate speech" to oppose free speech for conservatives.  Even "negative generalizations" about some topics are called hate speech and are not allowed

Patreon, a popular crowdfunding platform published a post yesterday in defense of its removal of Sargon of Akkad or Carl Benjamin, an English YouTuber famous for his anti-feminist content, last week, over the concerns of him violating its policies on hate speech. Patreon has been receiving backlash ever since from the users and patrons of the website who are calling for a boycott.

“Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms. We stand by our policies against hate speech. We believe it’s essential for Patreon to have strong policies against hate speech to build a safe community for our creators and their patrons”, says the Patreon team.

Patreon mentioned that it reviews the creations posted by the content creators on other platforms that are funded via Patreon. Since Benjamin is quite popular for his collaborations with other creators, Patreon’s community guidelines, which strictly prohibits hate speech also get applied to those collaborations.

According to Patreon’s community guidelines, “Hate speech includes serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, of people based on their race [and] sexual orientation.” Benjamin in one of his interviews on another YouTuber’s channel used racial slurs linked with “negative generalizations of behavior” quite contrasting to how people of those races actually act, to insult others. Apart from using racial slurs, he also used sexual orientation related slurs which violates Patreon’s community guidelines.

However, a lot of people are not happy with Patreon’s decision. For instance, Sam Harris, a popular American author, podcast host, and neuroscientist, who had one of the top-grossing accounts (with nearly 9,000 paying patrons at the end of November) on Patreon deleted his account earlier this week, accusing the platform of “political bias”. He wrote “the crowdfunding site Patreon has banned several prominent content creators from its platform. While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias. I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s ‘Trust and Safety” committee’”.   


Friday, January 04, 2019

Ontario: Campus free speech policy a necessity

Premier Doug Ford’s new policy to ensure free speech on university and college campuses — which he ran on in last year’s election — may have unintended consequences.

Any decision to revoke public funding from such institutions, or student groups, if they do not practice the free speech they claim to value will be controversial.

But the policy is necessary because we are passed the point where there’s any reasonable expectation taxpayer-funded universities and colleges will counter, on their own, the most intolerant aspects of so-called “progressive” ideology, promoted by activist professors and student groups, that are increasingly undermining students’ right to free expression.

This new policy came into effect across Ontario Jan. 1, based on the University of Chicago Statement on Principles of Free Expression, including:

(1) Universities and colleges should be places for open discussion and free inquiry.

(2) They should not attempt to shield students from ideas they disagree with or find offensive.

(3) While members of the university/college are free to criticize views expressed on campus, they cannot interfere with the freedom of others to express their views.

(4) Speech violating the law is not allowed.

As the outrageous Lindsay Shepherd case at Wilfrid Laurier University illustrated, students now face censure by professors and university bureaucrats, even for encouraging a balanced debate about controversial issues like the use of gender-neutral pronouns, which is what universities are supposed to do.

Students across Ontario have reported they self-censor class assignments to conform to the political perspectives of their professors, out of fear of getting low marks and being ostracized for holding views deemed questionable.

Universities and colleges, intended to teach students how to be critical thinkers, have done little to discourage the radicalization of their campuses, and have even been complicit by charging student groups excessive security fees to discourage controversial speakers from appearing.

At the same time, many have permitted hate to take root on campus by giving free rein to the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement — condemned by the Ontario legislature and the Parliament of Canada for demonizing and delegitimizing the world’s only Jewish state, Israel.

Enough is enough. The Ford government has taken a necessary step to protect free speech on campus.


Strange definitions of free speech

Earlier this year, the Defense Department limited the right of the transgendered to serve in the military. Three federal courts blocked the policy for infringing the constitutional rights of the transgender individuals. One of the judges relied on the same clause of the Constitution as the cake maker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay marriage. The Supreme Court has invoked that same clause to defend the right to burn the American flag, dance in the nude, and make unlimited campaign contributions.

What is this constitutional catch-all? The free-speech clause.

The Supreme Court’s current law of free speech will perplex the ordinary American. After all, changing sex, making a cake, burning the flag, dancing nude, and contributing money have little in common, least of all speech.

The imperialistic expansion of free speech would not just surprise most 21st-century Americans; it would also make little sense to the 18th-century Americans who ratified the First Amendment. They would find it astounding that the courts have not just read speech to include many forms of conduct, but also have failed to establish any objective test for what constitutes speech. The Supreme Court appears to apply the perpetually malleable standard that emerged when it has sought to identify obscenity: It knows it when it sees it.

When the Court agrees that something is speech, however, it gives it the highest of protections known to constitutional law

The Court’s failure to apply a consistent test for conduct-as-speech is not really the problem. Rather, the problem is that its First Amendment standards are judicial inventions. The Court’s definition of speech is unmoored from the Constitution’s text and original understanding, which should set the only lodestar for the Roberts Court, now up to full conservative strength with the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.


Thursday, January 03, 2019

UCCS refuses to recognize Christian group, so the group sues

A Christian student organization is suing the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for allegedly dragging its feet on giving the group official university recognition.

Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Ratio Christi in the lawsuit, which asserts that the student group has tried to become a recognized student organization at UCCS for nearly three years.

“The First Amendment dictates that the 'marketplace of ideas' on a public university cannot prefer some viewpoints and cannot exile or denigrate others," Ratio Christi states in the lawsuit. "It also dictates that the government cannot force a religious organization to appoint as a leader someone who does not share that organization’s beliefs or to accept as a member someone who does not support its mission.”

“As this student organization seeks to advance, teach, and defend Christian beliefs, it requires that its officers must share and personally hold those Christian beliefs," the group explains. "And it requires that its members, those who influence its overall direction, generally support its mission.”

ADF said in a news release that students of any faith can attend Ratio Christi events and become a member of the group, so long as they are on board with the group's mission. But Ratio Christi mandates that its leaders are Christian.

The nonprofit said that, because of this restriction, UCCS has denied to register Ratio Christi, curbing its access to funds, help from administrators, and space to host events.


'English Only Warning Signs' Trigger Lawsuit Against Universal Orlando Theme Park

I gather that English is still the only official language in the USA so that should be a defence

Two years after their 38-year-old father sustained a deadly heart attack after going on the "Skull Island: Reign of Kong" ride at the Universal Orlando theme park, the family has decided to file a lawsuit against Universal Orlando Resort in a Florida court.

The Guatemalan family, who speaks predominantly Spanish, claims that their father, Jose Calderon Arana, didn’t speak English and had prior heart problems. They filed suit in the name of a "wrongful death lawsuit," which claimed in part that Universal was negligent and careless by "not displaying warning signs in Spanish."

The lawsuit goes on to state that, “Universal was aware of the great number of tourists on their premises who do not speak English.”

The lawsuit and reports indicate that Calderon Arana, the father, wasn't feeling great prior to lining up for the ride and his wife believed he had an "upset stomach."

While the father sat on a bench after the ride, he became faint, collapsed, and was taken to the hospital where he later died. The family in the lawsuit states there was a delayed response to their father passing out from medical personnel at the theme park.

According to the lawsuit, a sign at the entrance of the "Skull Island: Reign of Kong" ride states in English, "Warning! This ride is an expedition through the rough terrain of King Kong’s natural habitat. The movement of the truck is dynamic with sudden accelerations, dramatic tilting, and jarring actions."

The ride has a sign posted in English with accompanying diagrams that warns riders that “people with heart conditions or abnormal blood pressure, back or neck conditions, and expectant mothers” should not go on the ride, according to the report.

The lawsuit contends that the signs with warnings on them should be in multiple languages due to Universal's vast draw of vacationers from around the globe.

The now popular Universal ride, "Skull Island" was opened half of the year prior to the death of Calderon Arana in 2016.


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Apple REMOVES Christian Ministry App After Complaints From LGBT

Apple has removed an App from its store after LGBT advocates made a claim it portrayed being gay as a “sickness,” a claim the ministry says is not true.

As reported by NBC News, that the tech giant removed the App created by Living Hope Ministries, a Texas-based organization, following a petition from gay rights group Truth Wins Out. The petition called the “ex-gay” app “dangerous,” “bigoted” and “hateful.”

“The app falsely portrays being gay as an ‘addiction’, ‘sickness’, and ‘sin,'” the petition claims.

Living Hope Ministries of Arlington, Texas, told The Christian Post in an email that it was disappointed, but will continue its work.

“We are saddened by Apple’s and Microsoft’s removal of our app because of a single person’s false accusations. Regardless of their decision we will continue to make the app and our services available to those who seek them,” said Ricky Chalette, executive director of the ministry.

He added, “In a day when diversity and tolerance is celebrated I would hope it would be extended to issues of faith and practice.”