Subaru of America last week pulled an ad from television networks after receiving complaints from rabbit advocates because it showed a helpless domestic bunny being released in a forest, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Subaru said it had intended to show a cottontail or wild rabbit, one with survival skills. But the animal it ended up showing was a domestic breed, which would quickly die in the wild.
"To anyone who cares about rabbits [the scenario for the ad] was tantamount to a death wish for a defenseless bunny," said rabbit lover Christy Laird.
The ad, for the Subaru Forester, shows a mother and daughter driving into a forest in search of an ideal area in which to release the animal. But what would seem like an act of kindness to normal people was seen as an act of unspeakable cruelty to bunny-huggers.
Death Row Dolpho
A Pennsylvania councilwoman has accused the lone police dog in McKee's Rocks, Pa., of racial profiling and wants him put to death for his crime, reports Fox News.
Councilwoman Wanda Jones Dixon says Dolpho, a 5-year-old German shepherd, can distinguish between blacks and whites and tends to bite blacks first. She said she has received six complaints from people in her district, three of them from drug dealers, about Dolpho's aggressive policing tactics.
More recently, the dog is accused of biting a 9-year-old boy who was watching police wrestle a drug dealer.
Officer Schawn Barger, who has worked with Dolpho for more than two years, said the dog has never gone after the wrong person before. This time, he said, Dolpho became confused during a tense situation.
"The dog saw movement. There was a lot of noise — a lot of screaming," Barger said. "It was basically just complete chaos and the dog, he just could not tell who the bad guy was and who the good people were."
Dolpho has been restricted to desk duty while the city investigates the charges.
Tag's Not It
A Santa Monica, Calif., elementary school principal has banned the game of tag during recess because it can create self-esteem problems for children who can't run very fast, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Pat Samarge, the principal of Franklin Elementary School, has become the butt of local talk radio jokes for suggesting that the game and others like it can be devastating to the children because big kids tend to do better than small or younger kids.
A notice to parents in the school newsletter said: "The running part of this activity is healthy and encouraged; however, in this game, there is a 'victim' or 'It,' which creates a self-esteem issue. The oldest or biggest child usually dominates."
But Samarge said self-esteem was only one of the reasons for the ban. She said it was also a matter of safety. Tag and other chase games have been responsible for countless bumps, bruises and scrapes among the students, she said.
Trouble With Vowels
The chairman of the Fire Commission in New Haven, Conn., was forced to step down following a furor over comments he made that some firefighters say were ethnic slurs, reports the New Haven Register.
In what was described as an off-the-cuff remark intended in jest, the Rev. Boise Kimber said while visiting a firehouse that candidates with "too many vowels in their names" might not get hired in the next recruit class for the fire academy.
Italian Americans called the comment an ethnic slur and filed a harassment and discrimination complaint to the city's affirmative action officer. An internal investigation by the city's director of human resources followed.
Kimber resigned as chairman, but says he'll remain as a member of the Fire Commission. Aggrieved people in the community, however, want him removed from the board entirely.
Tear Down This Wall!
A Confederate battle flag adorning a Crestview, Fla., memorial that honors Florida's last Civil War veteran is drawing the ire of the NAACP, which says its presence is racist and divisive, reports The Associated Press.
Sabu Williams, president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, likened the flag to the Berlin Wall, contending it represents a wall of terror, hatred, murder, bigotry, and shame.
"The heritage of the Confederate battle flag is that it was meant to divide," Williams said. "Today, we should be looking at things that bind us, not divide us."
But Martin Barker, of the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the flag is a sign of history, not hate.
"History is a fact," Barker said. "We can't change it, but we can learn from it. If we bury it, we will deprive our children and our grandchildren of that fact."
A group of French busybodies is seeking to have a book critical of Islamic fundamentalists legally banned in that country because they think it's racist, reports the AP.
The group, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship Between People, lodged a complaint with a Paris court alleging that Italian writer Oriana Fallaci's book, La Rabbia e L'orgoglio (Rage and Pride), is a "scathing Islamaphobe attack."
Mouloud Aounit, the Movement Against Racism's secretary general, said his group believes in freedom of expression but said the book incites racial violence. "It's racist delirium," he said.
Fallaci said she may sue MRAP in response.
"I remind Mister Mouloud Aounit that in France as in the West, there is freedom of thought and of opinion and of expression and of the press," she said.
Bill B. of Tucson, Ariz., writes:
I think I can help that reader of the Washington Post's "Dr. Gridlock" column, Joshua Sterns of Arlington, Va., who's so upset and "offended" at having to see armed U.S. Marines guarding the Pentagon as he drives to work each morning.
Sterns says he wants to complain to "someone. . .about this disruptive and disrespectful practice." Mr. Sterns, you can write a letter to the person responsible for this; your letter should begin like this: "Dear Usama..."
Ralph K. writes:
I think ABC just needs to be honest and admit that it was they who were offended by the word Jesus. Jesus represents some radical ideas that run counter to the ideals of ABC and His view is one they'd prefer to silence.
Nancy S. in Easley, S.C., writes:
I can only wonder about the sanity of the censors when they allow people to be shot, stabbed, immolated or mutilated onscreen, yet think someone thanking a higher power is going to be offensive. The convenience store chain 7-11 better watch out, since their commercial slogan is "Oh, thank heaven."
John F. in Dubuque, Iowa, writes:
My high school abolished class rank while I was a student, and two years later valedictorian and salutatorian were out the door, too. The school also practices "Outcomes Based Education,", and I've always thought it was in an effort to improve students' self esteem rather than their intellect. Now, most graduating seniors have a designation of "honors," "high honors," "highest honors," or "highest honors, most distinguished graduate" behind their names.
The result is that those without such designations are the ones standing out because they couldn't make the grade. How refreshing to see that we improve most peoples’ self esteem at the expense of making the not-so-intelligent look moronic. Why we can't recognize only the exceptional 5-10 percent is beyond me.
Clifton B. in Memphis, Tenn., writes:
Perhaps Youth Together activist Helena Fudge doesn't know enough about the history of the California Gold Rush (an ethnic mixing pot), the Emancipation Proclamation, or Martin Luther King after all if she thinks that teaching them supports a "European-American paradigm."
Dan S. Cherry Hill, N.J., writes:
Mr. Norvell's Tongue Tied piece poking fun at Richmond, Calif.'s, ethnic studies program would have been cute... On Sept. 10. However post-Sept. 11, we learned — the hard way — that cultures and places we don't even know about can come crashing down in our collective faces.
In a January speech at University of Maryland, Afghan Interim Leader Hamid Karzai talked about reading former CIA Director William Casey's book, and Casey's statement about not knowing where Nicaragua is, but it's important; and just as importantly, Karzai was making that same point about his own country. "Youth Together" activist Helena Fudge is pushing this for the wrong (P.C.) reasons; but even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Greg C. of Tucson, Ariz., writes:
The solution to satisfy the Canadian feminists who object to the "wife carrying" competition, is simply to change the name to "Husband Riding." That should make everyone happy.