Activists say a greeting card hanging in the Florida governor's office bearing the image of the American flag with a cross instead of stars in the blue field is divisive and offensive and should be removed, reports the Palm Beach Post.

The card hangs on a bulletin board near the receptionist's desk. It is among a group of family photos and other personal mementos. Officials with the Office of General Counsel for Gov. Jeb Bush (search) say it was created by a Tallahassee photographer in remembrance of the Sept. 11 victims.

But the paper found some folks to get offended about it and call it an inappropriate promotion of Christianity.

Judith Schaeffer, deputy legal director of the People for the American Way Foundation (search), said a lawyer who is Muslim, Jewish or some other faith "might well feel like a second-class citizen" because of the display.

Hate Crime?

One of the pair arrested at a Florida movie theater for verbally assaulting an off-duty police officer used hateful racial epithets during the altercation, according to police reports posted by the Smoking Gun.

The pair, Warronnica Harris and Terrell "KC" Tolson, claimed the officer pepper-sprayed them without provocation. But the police report, filed by officer John Douglas, paints a different story.

Harris was talking loudly on a mobile phone and disturbing other movie-goers when Douglas approached her and asked her to pipe down. She refused, and came at Douglas with a clenched fist, threatening to "hit this cracker upside his head."

Harris was charged only with disorderly conduct, however. Hate crime charges are apparently not pending.

No Politicking Allowed

Black activists in Kansas City are calling a white congressional candidate's attacks on his incumbent black opponent's business deals a "subtle smear campaign" motivated by racism, reports the Kansas City Star.

Jamie Metzl has been attacking Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on everything from his old business loans and back taxes to his record at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (search) and his refusal to release his income tax records.

Metzl says the campaign is about accountability.

But the Rev. Nelson Thompson says the attacks amount to racism.

"In the African-American community, we're really upset about the way Metzl's campaign is being run, the emphasis on buzz words and buzz themes that have racial overtones. ... They're trying to make it seem that Reverend Cleaver is part of the negative imagery often associated with black politicians, being involved in underhanded kind of stuff, maybe not totally illegal, but improper."

Accent Outrage

Christie Vilsack, a speaker at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, is accused of disrespecting African-Americans, Southern-Americans and New England-Americans by writing a column in the mid-1990s complaining that she couldn't understand regional dialects, reports the Chicago Tribune.

The Boston Herald called the newspaper column she wrote "inflammatory."

"I am fascinated at the way some African-Americans speak to each other in an English I struggle to understand, then switch to standard English when the situation requires," the Herald quoted Vilsack as writing in a 1994 column while her husband, Tom Vilsack, was a state senator.

In the column, she also complained about Southern, New Jersey and West Virginia dialects.

Resurrecting Slavery

A mobile phone company that used "non-standard English" and a wide-eyed black male in its billboard advertisements is accused of perpetuating offensive racist stereotypes, reports the Reno Gazette Journal.

Nextel Communications apologized for the ads for its Boost Mobile service geared toward teens, which featured a black male asking "Where you at?" The ad drew complaints from folks who said it exploits black youths and resurrects an ethnic form of slavery.

Community activist Onie Cooper said the sign was offensive to him. "It brings back memories of traumatic experiences I had growing up as a young boy in Louisiana," he said.

Bulls***

Animal rights activists in the U.K. are seeking to scupper the performance of a Spanish folk dance at a festival in Kent because the aluminum bulls and swordless dancer glorify a sport they consider gruesome, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Protesters likened the show to staging a mock rape as entertainment. Ivan Darch of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the performance should be stopped because "it only needs one child to see bullfighting as a dance" to result in his or her eventually wanting to see the real thing.

The beach dance and firework display were to be part of the climax of a "fiesta" in Margate, Kent, to celebrate Spanish culture.

For more doses of politically correct nuttiness, head on over the TongueTied daily edition.

Mailbag:

Tim D. in Columbus, Ohio, writes:

I am a little amused that anyone took offense to Arnold's "girlie men" comment. It reminded me of a time when SNL was actually funny and relevant. I had no clue that it was a reference to male homosexuality.

I thought it meant men who couldn't live up to the ridiculous standards of strength contrived by two ridiculous characters--all the while, poking fun at Arnold. Maybe an effeminate man it implied, but a gay man I did not infer. Give me a break. Call me naive, but I must be living on a different planet.

Charles H. in Lewisville, Texas, writes:

I was appalled to read in your column of the cartoon about Dr. Rice. As an educator, I do not condone racial comments in class, but apparently it is OK to use such a derogatory term when discussing politics.

If I had used it to describe one of my students, the NAACP would have caused a ruckus, I would have been fired, and probably would have been sued. I guess the NAACP is only going to attack people who use racial slurs when they like the target of the slur.

Mel B. in Phoenix, Ariz., writes:

I am a single, 20-something, moderate-believing, gay Irish-American woman, and even I feel insulted by Ted Rall's use of terminology in describing Condoleeza Rice. But because the ilk of the NAACP view her as an "Uncle Tom," she (in their opinion) doesn't deserve the same respect or protection from such outrages.

I don't normally pay attention to Ted Rall, but even from him this is unbelievable. It just goes to prove that race only matters if you're playing the right political game. If Dr. King were alive today, he'd be sick over this. As it is, I think he just turned over in his grave.

Stanley H. writes:

I sincerely doubt that more that 10 blacks even know who Ted Rall is. Even after hearing of this cartoon, most will agree that Dr. Rice is a house-nigger. 

That's what Harry Belafonte called Gen. Colin Powell. You should never ask why blacks, or liberals, are so selective about their outrage. Anyone who has any sense at all knows the answer to that question.

Tom B. in Austin, Texas, writes:

It must be remembered that many blacks are ultra sensitive about their hair, and care should be taken to not remind them by comparing it to 'brillo pad' or 'rough surface' etc. It was very bad form for the unfortunate tour guide at the Getty Museum to refer to the child's hair as he did. Evidently they do not practice sensitivity at Getty.

Brittany S. writes:

As a Southerner from Mississippi, I feel it is important to remind people that the Confederate flag and the Mississippi state flag are still important symbols to good, non-racist people. Many friends of mine can still trace family members that served and died in the Civil War and the flag is a way to honor history. Pretending the Civil War never happened is silly. Honoring America's history should be acceptable.

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