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Snow Days, Gay Relationships, Berkeley's Priorities

Thousands of fourth graders in Boston will be re-taking the state’s standardized MCAS test because a question involving snow days on the original was perceived as culturally biased against kids from warmer climates who have never seen snow, reports the New York Times.

The question, on the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, asked students to "write a story about a snow day off from school that you remember."

Educators said students who have emigrated from countries with warm climates were put at a disadvantage by the question. Wilfredo T. Laboy, superintendent of the predominantly Spanish-speaking Lawrence district, said: "I believe it is culturally biased. For kids from Santo Domingo, Southeast Asia or other warm climates, what do they say about snow?"

'Two-Spirited???'

A Christian secondary school teacher in Canada is being punished for a letter he wrote to a local newspaper criticizing homosexual promiscuity, reports the Vancouver Sun.

Chris Kempling, a teacher at Correlieu secondary school in Quesnel, B.C., may have his license suspended by the B.C. College of Teachers for "poisoning" the atmosphere of his classroom by publishing comments containing "discriminatory and derogatory statements against homosexuals."

Specifically, the college objected to his statements that homosexual relationships are unstable, gay sex poses health risks and many religions consider homosexuality immoral.

Neil Worboys, president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation, wouldn't comment on the case. But he said Kempling's "views are antithetical to our position about the inclusion of gays, lesbians, transgendered and two-spirited people in our society," he added.

Kempling, who did not make the comments anywhere near the school, said he would appeal the decision.

Berkeley's Priorities

A group of teachers and parents at a California elementary school named for Thomas Jefferson want to change the name of the school because he owned slaves, reports the Berkeley Daily Planet.

The agitators at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley say it is insensitive to have African-American students attending a school named for Jefferson.

“We’re not saying [Jefferson] can’t be people’s hero,” said First-grade teacher Marguerite Hughes. “All we’re saying is you can have that viewpoint with your life experiences, but I can’t do that, as an African American, with my life experience.”

If the name were changed, it wouldn’t be a first for Berkeley. A few years ago, Columbus Elementary School was renamed, but only after a heated battle over whether to name the largely black and Hispanic school after Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez. Rosa Parks won out.

What Goes Around ...

Graphic references to a woman's body plastered all over an inside wall of the Women's Center at Florida State University are meant to "empower" but are instead offensive to some, reports the Tallahassee Democrat.

In addition to such slogans as "Start a Revolution, Stop Hating Your Body" and "We Are Here to Be Heard, Not Patronized," the wall contains what are described as graphic descriptions reminding women to reclaim themselves and their sexuality from a patriarchal society.

Women's Center supporters say it's about free speech.

"It's not fair for anyone to tell women what they can and cannot say," said Karen Price, the center's former director and creator of the wall. "That's the point of the wall."

University officials say they just want to avoid creating a hostile work environment which could lead to lawsuits. "My biggest concern is that there are students who are offended and feel uncomfortable in the Women's Center because of the wall," said Michael Kramer, the university's deputy general counsel.

Party-Poopers

Black student leaders at the University of Maryland are seizing on an off-campus "thug-themed" party as proof of a climate of racial hostility on campus and the need for more sensitivity indoctrination, reports the Diamondback.

The party, at which attendees drew mock tattoos on their bodies and wore headbands and baggy jeans, was organized by white students but attended by students of all races.

Black Student Union President Michael-Sean Spence said the incident is proof of a need for "institutionalized change" on campus.

Vice President for Student Affairs Linda Clement concurred: "I think there's pretty much the feeling that we need to do more to help people to do more to be sensitive, to help anybody who feels they're in an environment that does not support their culture or identity," she said. "If we can use incidents like this to further elevate people's sensitivity, so that the environment feels good, that's a good thing."

Tomahawk Chop

Indian leaders in Wisconsin are accusing the state Republican Party there of using racist images in a cartoon criticizing Gov. Jim Doyle’s gambling deals with tribal leaders, reports the Associated Press.

A cartoon published on the GOP Web site depicts a tomahawk flying through the air at a Wisconsin taxpayer. The voice-over says: "As taxpayers, we got scalped."

Forest County Potawatomi Attorney General Jeff Crawford called the cartoon "racist and derogatory."

The Republicans later removed the cartoon from the Web site, saying they did not intend to offend anyone.

Can't wait until next Monday for more snippets of politically correct nonsense? Head over to the daily edition of Tongue Tied at the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Marshall M. in West Point, N.Y., writes:

How can Anzac Day be construed as offensive to Muslims? It is a day to remember courageous Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have died fighting the World Wars and other conflicts. They are most remembered for their attempts to capture the Turkish stronghold at Gallipoli. Yes, they died fighting against an Army that had a Muslim majority. But that doesn't they wear fighting the Turks because of their faith.

The Ottoman Empire was allied with the Central Powers of Germany and Austro-Hungary during WWI. They were the common enemy of the free world. To think that remembering these brave soldiers is would offend Islam is ridiculous.

Joe R. in Houston, Texas, writes:

The item labeled "Bad Call" intrigued me, so I did a little research. It turns out that the word licentious is a synonym of the word gay. According to Webster, licentious can mean "marked by disregard for strict rules of correctness." Therefore, if the call was incorrect, could it not be called "gay?"

The child was not referring to the call maker's sexuality just the call maker's call. Why do we penalize people for using words correctly just because some group finds the word offensive? The term "niggardly" comes immediately to mind.

David K. writes:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation should look more closely at the life of the woman whose picture they want removed. Mother Theresa was a model of humility, service, and love for fellow human beings. She went into areas none of us would even dream of and cared for people no one else would care for. If these Freedom From Religion Foundation people were more like her, I might listen to their agenda, but they have shown themselves to be self-absorbed, agenda-toting hypocrites who want to impose their views on the rest of us. No wonder they hate Mother Theresa -- she is everything they are not. Mother Theresa 1, Freedom From Religion Foundation 0.

A.J.L. in Jackson, Miss., writes:

In response to the call for U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige’s resignation because he states he would prefer “Christian Values” taught in schools, one must wonder which Christian Values his detractors wish to abstain from. Is it the personal accountability of being held responsible for one’s actions and accepting the consequences? Is it the willingness to sacrifice for others? Is it the willingness to forgive transgressions? Or maybe it is the simple code of ethics whereby murder, adultery, stealing, and lying are wrong. Which Christian values do they have a problem with?

Irwin R. writes regarding the Rod Paige/C-word item:

This isn't a "Political Correctness" controversy. A pronouncement of this type, coming from a high ranking government official, is a case of "Constitutional Correctness" being shattered, and that should never be tolerated!

Peter H. in Houston writes:

As a conservative gay male in Houston, it never ceases to amaze me how the "enlightened" and "diverse" liberals paint things in respect to their own inflated egos. Take for example the poor Bronx councilmember in NYC who used the phrase "you people" and was excoriated.

I remember vividly on Halloween in 1996 when Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) appeared at what was ostensibly a "costume party" in Houston's Montrose district and brought along fellow Dem John Conyers of Michigan, who I suppose had (a) never been down South or (b) ever seen a gay costume party or (c) all of the above.

Rather than give politics a rest for the day (and God forbid that Ms. Lee should avoid any publicity), she got on stage at a local gay bar and urged everyone to vote because in HER words: "If the Republicans take over the White House like they did the Congress, it would mean the end of diversity celebrations like this for YOU PEOPLE." (Capitalizations mine)

Even though it is seven years later, I am personally offended that Ms. Lee should refer to me as "you people" and demand an apology for all of us non-liberal, non-minority, non-heterosexual conservatives who had to endure this ignominy. She should be held accountable for her actions just as anyone else would be in that situation.

Judy T. in Antioch, Tenn., writes:

I think Fox News should just over itself. Most of the tongue-tied reports are not actually reports, they are propaganda for Fox to decide what is right and what is wrong based on its own agenda.

Does Fox now think it is the arbiter for which things are politically correct and gone amok? I think Fox's "fair and balanced, we report, you decide" is political correctness gone amok.

Fox claims it is fair and balanced when actually, it promotes its own agenda of attack and destroy.

Fox claims it reports and lets the viewers decide, yet categorizing something as "political correctness gone amok" is deciding in itself, not reporting and letting viewers decide.

I couldn't care less about any of the things reported in this ludicrous section. I do care that major media seeks to influence the public into its way of thinking, whether it be left-wing, right-wing or any-wing.

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