And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine.
Some folks in Louisiana flew into a Cajun rage after various news media described a terrorism detainee as the "Cajun Taliban." Yasser Esam Hamdi was born in Baton Rouge, La., to Saudi parents. U.S. troops captured Hamdi in Afghanistan, where he was fighting with the Taliban. Among those taking offense at the term "Cajun Taliban" was Shane Bernard, a spokesman for the McIlhenny Co. — maker of the Tabasco Sauce that flavors many a crawfish etouffe. Bernard said, "This guy is not a Cajun simply by virtue of being born in Louisiana." And he notes that Cajuns are a federally recognized ethnic group.
A federal judge in Utica, NY, today began hearing arguments from a local school board seeking to block a kindergartner from saying grace at snack time. The case began in January when the kindergarten teacher hushed 5-year-old Kayla Broadus for praying aloud over her cupcakes and milk. The girl's mother sued the Saratoga Springs School District after it declared the child could not pray aloud in school. The school district claimed the prayer violated the constitutional separation of church and state. The Broadus family argued that the prayer is protected by the First Amendment.
A fraternity at Louisiana's Centenary College moved its annual formal gathering off campus following complaints about its Civil War-era dress code. Men attending the event – called "Old South" — wear either tuxedos with tails or Confederate uniforms. The Kappa Alpha fraternity moved "Old South" off campus, even though the college's dean of student life said the frat had both free speech and free assembly rights to use a school facility. One supporter said the gray-clad cotillion is not about slavery; it celebrates chivalry and Southern hospitality.