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Nuts for Squirrels, But Not in Pope's Park

California activists are demanding that a mayor apologize for using the word "illegal" to describe people who come across the border in violation of the law, according to the Fresno Bee.

They are demanding that he use the word "undocumented" in the future.

Fresno Mayor Alan Autry used the term in his State of the City speech, in which he called for a two-year moratorium on immigration because of the strain on city services, hospitals and schools.

Advocacy groups said use of the term "illegal" fuels hatred.

Nuts

A restaurant in the U.K. offering squirrel pate on its menu was forced to remove it after animal rights nutters threatened to firebomb the place, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Protesters threatened to firebomb the Hadley Bowling Green Inn and to smash up the staff's cars.

"We've never had to take something off the menu before because of threats from protesters," said the restaurant's spokesman, Barney Reynolds. "I don't know why squirrel meat is so controversial. In the past we've sold meat from fluffy little lambs and it's not been a problem."

Diverse, Multi-Faith Society ...

Local officials in western England have removed a cross from a city-run crematorium and started calling the facility a "ceremony hall" instead of a chapel for fear of offending non-Christians, reports the Times of London.

Torbay Council in Devon removed a five-foot gilt cross from the wall of the old chapel in the municipal crematorium after receiving complaints.

"We live in a diverse, multi-faith society and many people have no specific beliefs at all," said Alan Faulkner, Torbay Council's executive member for Environmental Services. "The facility at Torquay Crematorium is a ceremony hall, it is not a chapel."

Papal Problems

The ACLU is objecting to plans by Harris County officials in Texas to name a new park after the late John Paul II, according to the Houston Chronicle, claiming that to do so would be insensitive to other faiths.

County Commissioner Steve Radack wants to build an 865-acre park in his district near Houston and name it in honor of the late pontiff.

But ACLU officials questioned whether taxpayer money should be used to promote a particular faith.

"I would not want to name some park the Dalai Lama Park because some people might not be Buddhists," said Randall Kallinen, president of the ACLU Houston chapter. "It is insensitive to other religions."

Discriminatory Environments

A teachers' union in Seattle wants the school district to stop renting its facilities to a local pastor because his views on homosexuality create an "environment of discrimination," according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Some 3,500 people regularly attend services by the Rev. Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland.

The district rents facilities to about 10 local churches, and makes $140,000 a year from the arrangement with Antioch.

But the teachers union wants the deal to end, saying the district shouldn't associate with Hutcherson because he opposed a gay rights bill in the state Legislature.

The union says Hutcherson's presence at the school implies that his beliefs are condoned by the district, goes against the district's human dignity policy, brings unwanted attention to the school and promotes intolerance.

Coming Soon: Lithuanian History for Everyone!

Philadelphia will soon require all graduates of its public schools to take a one-year course on African and African-American history before they can graduate, according to Knight-Ridder.

The move, described as unique nationally, makes the one-year course one of four required social studies courses, just as important as American history, geography and world history.

"Given the history of this country and still given our problems of discrimination and racism, for all of our children to have a more accurate picture of history, a more complete picture of history, is important," said Sandra Dungee Glenn, a member of the School Reform Commission that voted to put the requirement in place.

But some local parents wondered why Latinos, Asians and other ethnic groups aren't getting the same treatment.

"There are other races in this city," said Miriam Foltz, president of the Home and School Association at Baldi Middle School. "There are other cultures that will be very offended by this. How can you just mandate a course like this?"

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

Mailbox:

Chris C. writes:

Regarding the "dethroning" of Thomas Jefferson and the renaming of the "Berserkly" school Sequoia: I hope that the officials involved, in between hilarious back slaps and gleeful high fives for their cultural sensitivity, remembered to confer with the Sequoia Nation as to its perspective on the name change. Oh, and pity the poor school official silly enough to imagine a Native American mascot for the school.

Clr. David B. in London writes:

I think your report on Westminster Council's ban on rainbow flags has become a bit mangled in the trip. Many American tourists must have seen businesses in Bond Street in Westminster flying company flags. It was the gay business (a shop, not a bar) in this case that was being treated differently. Under the present policy it ought to have been granted permission to fly a flag because it's still a 'cultural institution' even though it's a business (there are lots of privately-owned theatres that are 'cultural institutions', after all).

Surely the real point here is why a killjoy council should stop anyone from flying a pretty flag. I mean, what harm does it do?

Adam C. in Oregon writes:

Just wanted to let you know that the U. Oregon diversity plan is in draft form and not finalized. Thus, hiring decisions will not necessarily be based on cultural competency, although this scenario is possible and printed in the draft.

David H. in Tempe writes:

That graduate student at Oregon clearly didn't take any literature courses during her many years of post-secondary education. Just because "Dances With Wolves" contains some historically accurate depictions of racism does not make it a racist movie. By her logic, "Saving Private Ryan" would have to be considered racist against Germans.

It is the knee-jerk P.C. reactions like hers that are responsible for the very divisions that she subsequently complains about. Fair depictions of historical racism are valuable to us as a society because they help give us a context for things that we otherwise didn't experience directly — but some people are apparently unwilling or unable to distinguish between this and actual racism.

Stacey C. writes:

I attended the University of Oregon for two years in the early nineties and it was crazy then, but the recent articles you have published just astound me at how crazy U of O has become. The math and English classes that were for minority students only was infuriating, but the "culturally-aware" based salaries for the faculty is absurd. What the heck are they smoking in Oregon now?!

Jim L. writes:

I'm amused by the criticism of Tongue Tied and it's value to society. It's under Views, therefore a source of editorial comments, no different than the editorial page of the New York Times, a page that predominantly caters to Blue State voters.

Mike F. in Boston tells us:

The last time I checked Moe also used the word 'nimrod' as a put down for his fellow stooges. This would be at least as early as any Bugs cartoon, if not pre-dating it. For this use to have happened in the media at that time, it would have to have long been in the vernacular.

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