A Minneapolis atheist writing in support of Michael Newdow's case against the Pledge of Allegiance at the U.S. Supreme Court contends that the phrase "under God" in the pledge is a hate crime, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Writing in a brief in support of Newdow, Marie Alena Castle, a 77-year-old former Catholic, argues that Congress put the phrase into the pledge in the 1950s out of hostility toward atheists.

Castle cites a speech by Rep. Louis Rabaut, the Michigan Democrat who sponsored the addition of the two-word phrase. He said: "You may argue from dawn to dusk about differing political, economic and social systems, but the fundamental issue which is the unbridgeable gap between America and Communist Russia is a belief in Almighty God ..."

First Blackface. Now, Blacklegs?

A student's re-enactment of Janet Jackson's (search) infamous Super Bowl (search) dance at a sorority party in South Carolina sent waves of indignation through students of color in attendance, reports WIS-TV.

Justin Williams, president of the Association of African-American Students (search) at the University of South Carolina, said the performance "really offended a group of African-Americans at the event."

What drew their ire was the fact that the performer's legs were painted black during the performance. The student, Tim Tice, said his legs were painted black for the next skit he was due to perform, for which he'd had a tuxedo painted on his body. If he'd covered his legs by wearing pants in the Jackson skit, he said, the paint would have smeared.

"I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I wish, I'm not a racist, I have nothing like that," Tice stuttered.

Cooked

Australia's Daily Telegraph reports that a memorial to Captain James Cook may be removed from the coastline there because it serves as a reminder of European dominance in the region.

A large anchor, some pine trees and flagpoles marking the spot were Cook landed at Kurnell in 1778 face the axe because they fail to sufficiently address the area's aboriginal origins.

The trees, Norfolk Island pines, will be removed because they were introduced by the Europeans. The intent is to return the land to its original vegetation where possible.

"The pine trees in the open grassland are at odds with the more natural 'bush' up the hill," the plan says. "The message is one of European domination over the Australian landscape."

All Relative

The governor of West Virginia wants a popular line of T-shirts to be removed from the shelves and destroyed because they promote an "unfounded, negative stereotype" of his state, reports The Associated Press.

The shirts, selling briskly at $22.50 a pop by Abercrombie and Fitch, read, "It's All Relative in West Virginia."

Gov. Bob Wise is demanding that the shirts be removed from store shelves, catalogues and Web sites immediately. He also wants them destroyed to avoid any possibility of resale.

Civil Service

Los Angeles city workers who actually don't want to take a day off are being told their efforts are insensitive and insulting because the holiday they don't want to take is Cesar Chavez Day, reports the Los Angeles Times.

City Council members in Los Angeles say the effort by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 to drop Cesar Chavez Day as one of its members' paid holidays was an insult to the memory of the labor leader and to Latinos all over.

"I don't know if the Latino leadership of the union understands the insult I feel is being made by disregarding, through this action, the significance of Cesar Chavez," said Councilman Ed Reyes. "Do they really mean to say that Cesar Chavez didn't matter?"

Lotta Lip

Virgin Atlantic Airways was forced to ditch plans to offer hip, fun urinals in the men's rooms of its lounge at New York's JFK Airport after feminists complained that the designs were offensive to women, reports the New York Daily News.

The airline wanted to put bright-red urinals shaped like women's lips into the restrooms, but the National Organization for Women had a hissy fit.

"I don't know many men who think it's cool to pee in a woman's mouth, even a porcelain one," NOW President Kim Gandy wrote on the group's Web site.

The company said in a statement that it was "very sorry to hear of people's concerns about the design of the 'Kisses' urinals" and that "no offense was ever intended." The urinal, designed by a Dutch company, was the idea of a female designer.

Bummer

Reuters reports that a female receptionist at an office in Sweden was fired for sexual harassment because she complimented a male client of the company for his good looks.

"I joked with a client about how handsome he was," the receptionist told the daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet. The man said he had not been offended by the woman's remark.

For a daily dose of politically correct shenanigans, head over to the Tongue Tied Web site.

Mailbag:

Elizabeth F. says:

Not allowing the youth group to carry a cross in a parade celebrating St Patrick's Day is like not allowing the American Flag at a Fourth of July celebration. Yes, I know it will most likely happen this year, if it hasn't already (sic).

Being Irish-American myself, I find it sad and pathetic that the Irish-American Heritage Society so blatantly disregards its own history in the name of PC. They have shown themselves to be nothing more than a bunch of spineless lemmings afraid to stand up for what is right.

Ray P. says:

Regarding your piece about the California psychology professor who faked a hate crime by vandalizing her own car, your title "But of course!" implies that what she did is common. Unless you have sufficient facts and statistics to prove that most incidents reported as hate crimes are similarly phoney, your story heading is cynical and sarcastic, and irresponsible journalism.

Andrea W. writes:

I hope that the California professor who faked a hate crime is charged. Her irresponsibility ensured that local police as well as FBI officials wasted their precious time, time that can better be spent protecting her rights as a citizen of the U.S. Shame on your Professor Dunn!

Eric P. writes:

Let's have the person or persons who made the rule about not wearing stab-proof vests trade jobs with the officers who are not allowed to protect themselves against the possibility of an attack. This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.

Those prisoners gave up their rights by doing whatever landed them in prison. Who cares what they think? The officers should be allowed to protect themselves.

Stan G. writes:

I fully support Sondra Snowdow in her effort to get equal treatment for holiday displays in Bay Harbor Island, but she should not equate Kwanzaa with religious holidays.

Christmas, Hanukkah, and Ramadan are based upon religion, while Kwanzaa was created by a left coast college professor who felt Christmas was too "white."

She, and the public in general, should check the history of Kwanzaa and call this "celebration farce" what it truly is -- a racist event. This is the even twhich should be kept out of the public square!

David H. in Omaha writes:

To those who claim trivialization of the difference between civil sensibility and PC: Wake up and get over yourselves.

You are only angry because now you are the "evil establishment" engaged by a grass roots movement aimed at curtailing your ridiculous powers of social engineering. Your whiney victim culture is in danger of collapsing under it's own stagnant weight.

End PC censorship now. Power to the people!

Andrew G. writes:

Thank goodness your "Hero of the Week" is going to take us away from the distractions of diversity and bring us back to the good ole days of education like back in the 50's, when black people had no place in America's universities. I should probably tell you I'm being sarcastic, lest you make me your next Hero.

Lynn S. writes:

I don't blame the Colorado lawyers for being put out by the ad blaming them for stealing peoples' fortunes, as historically they only steal one third to one half.

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