Tongue Tied

The Newton County, Ga., school board voted last week to remove references to Christmas from its Web site and school calendars beginning next year.

The move — approved by a vote of 4-1 — came under pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union, which said such wording constituted "an endorsement of a particular religion," reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. From now on, the Christmas holidays will be referred to simply as the "semester break" by the school system. 

Founding Fathers: Role Models No More 

The Toledo Blade reports that students attending the annual Jefferson-Madison Leadership Camp sponsored by Toledo Public Schools have voted to change the gathering’s name, in part because Jefferson and Madison were slave owners and "some people might not view them as leaders," as one student put it. The camp, attended by students with polished academic records from throughout the district, focuses on teaching kids responsibility, moral courage, loyalty and citizenship. A new name for the camp will be chosen later this school year. 

No Thanks Being Given Here 

Relations between the state of Virginia and Native Americans are strained this Thanksgiving, reports the Associated Press, in part because of plans there to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of the founding of Jamestown seven years from now. The state wants to commemorate the anniversary with the slogan "Celebration 2007." Indian groups say the arrival of the English settlers is no reason to celebrate, and have forced the state to remove the word from any official references to the event. 

Alphabert the Racist Toy 

Alphabert, a talking toy by V-tech intended to teach kids their ABC's, will be redesigned so it doesn’t also teach kids to be racists. The old version of the toy taught kids that "a" is for ape, "b" is for black, and "c" is for crack. A company spokeswoman says the words were selected for their phonetic blends and rhyming qualities, which are said to maximize the learning process. Some found the juxtaposition offensive, though, so the new Alphabert will tell kids that "b" is for "block" and "c" is for "clock." 

History Under Assault at EPA 

After weeks of wrangling and meetings and talk of lawsuits, the EPA is asking the landlord for its new headquarters in the Federal Triangle Complex in Washington — the General Services Administration — to remove a 1930s-era mural depicting graphic scenes of an Indian attack. Native American staffers say the images of Indians attacking white women and stabbing a man in the back on "Dangers of the Mail" are insulting and degrading, according to the Washington Post. "The images in these murals should have gone the way of lawn jockeys and segregated lunch counters and the Frito Bandito," Vernon Bellecourt, a Chippewa who heads the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, told the Post. The GSA, however, is standing its ground, insisting that the paintings are part of the history of the building and should remain on display with more explanation of the context in which they were made. 

Confederate Air Force Considers Changing Name 

A group of vintage airplane buffs who called themselves the Confederate Air Force for no other reason than "it was funny" in the 1950s is now considering changing the name. The Associated Press reports that the group's 9,000 members, who fly about 140 World War II airplanes at shows around the country, will vote next October on what to change the name to. They said the old name has come to hurt business lately. 

Mail from the Central Servers: 

From Jodi E.: 

It seems that in the midst of "protecting a person's rights" the rights of another is stripped from them. 

For the Christmas carols article — what happens to a person’s right to hear the traditional songs one grew up without it being muddied with the modern definition of "all inclusive" — what it should be called is "all exclusive." 

What happens to the parents' rights to teach their children what their convictions are when transvestites are allowed to work in any public setting and are exposing their confusing lifestyle before the child? 

Example after example could be given. Just remember this: Before you go on a rampage of rights wrangling ask yourself this question: Will my rights cause others to lose theirs? If so, what makes my rights more important than theirs? 

From David S.: 

Why don't we see this in the mainstream news? Some of these are absolutely outrageous and, I suspect, if the tables were turned, would make front-page news if the "victims" were the usual suspects. 

From Vickie B.: 

What if all of us with a modicum of common sense remaining to us simply decided to ignore all these foolish decrees and go on with our lives? They couldn't jail all of us (or are there really so few of us left?) 

From Mike K.: 

Thought you'd be happy to know that Sparkle Season has arrived once again in the city of Pittsburgh, Penn. 

Our fearless leaders decided several years ago that Christmas was too offensive, so they replaced it with Sparkle Season. 

They also banished the Creche and the Menorah from being displayed at the City/County building. 

I sure hope that that Jolly Senior in the red suit will visit this year. You know the guy, he's that fellow who hangs out with vertically-challenged assistants and suffers from an overactive gland. Unfortunately, I still haven't put a handicapped parking space in my driveway, so I don't know where he'll park his sleigh. Of course, there are obvious problems with the way he has those reindeer brutally lashed to his vehicle, so I'm not sure if I want him there anyway. 

Oh well, maybe I'll wait for Eas ... Oh, never mind. 

Following in an outraged Scot Chuck’s footsteps, Cliff P. writes: 

As a Swedish-American (don't call me a Swede if you know what's good for you), I'm incensed by the insensitivity shown to my ethnic heritage by the cartoon Hagar the Horrible

Contrary to the mainstream history that I was taught in school, Swedes didn't invade, attack or pillage anyone. We have always been peaceful, pastoral people with a penchant for saunas and recycling. To suggest in an obviously racist cartoon that we're otherwise violates our, er, our right to our own opinion! 

And don't EVEN get me started on The 13th Warrior ...