A Muslim leader in Oregon is demanding an apology from a state lobbyist who used the term "jihad" in a statement about a political dispute, the Associated Press reports.

Shahriar Ahmed, president of a mosque in Beaverton, said use of the term perpetuates negative stereotypes about Muslims.

"The term 'jihad' here was used intentionally to aggravate the situation," he said in a news conference.

In a July 15 e-mail to about 500 farmers and foresters, the lobbyist wrote that "the Senate Democrats have declared 'JIHAD' against the Republicans" over a pesticide use bill.

Democratic State Sen. Frank Shields called use of the word in that context "racist and religionist."

Imagine the Outrage

The Miami Herald is in a lather about plans by the City of Miami Parks Department to hold a ''Ghetto Style Talent Show'' and a ''Watermelon Eating Contest'' during a summer camp picnic in the heart of the city's black community.

A press release by the department promised fun for all during the event -- the grand finale in a program that provides affordable summer camps for thousands of pre-teen children citywide.

About an hour after being questioned about the event by the Herald, though, Parks Director Ernest Burkeen issued a formal written apology for the talent show. But he said the watermelon eating contest will stay.

''It's the summer, it's hot and watermelons are eaten on a regular basis by kids in our parks,'' City spokesperson Kelly Penton told the paper.

The Herald said no one was using the R-word, however, "in large part due to one fact: Burkeen, the parks director, is black."

Cartoon Controversy

An editorial cartoon taking aim at the amount of public spending directed toward illegal immigrants has been denounced as derogatory, divisive and worthy of a boycott against the Michigan newspaper that published it, reports WDIV-TV.

The cartoon, published in the Dearborn Press & Guide, depicted a man wearing a sombrero coming out a hole in the border with his hand held out to a character labeled "taxpayer." The man with the sombrero is portrayed saying, "No amigo, I'm not interested in the immigration office. Just the welfare office!"

Ethnic groups across Detroit were described as flabbergasted.

"We are shocked that any newspaper, let alone one that serves a community as diverse as the one served by the Press & Guide, would publish a cartoon purveying the blatantly bigoted attitude reflected in the one that ran in that paper on June 19," said Shirley Stancato, of New Detroit Inc., a coalition of civil rights and other organizations.

Threatening E-mail

A New Jersey computer programmer who sent a private email describing lesbianism as a "perversion" has been formally reprimanded by the university where he works for violating the school's discrimination policy, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports.

Jihad Daniel, a programmer at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., made his comments in response to an e-mail he received that had been sent university-wide inviting people to a film about lesbian relationships titled "Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House."

Daniel responded to the professor who sent it, saying he did not want to receive such messages about "perversions," writing in a one-paragraph response that "the absence of God in higher education brings on confusion. That is why in these classes the Creator of the heavens and the [E]arth is never mentioned."

The professor, Arlene Holpp Scala of the Women's Studies department, complained that the email was threatening and went against the school's anti-discrimination policy.

Et Tu?

The Washington Post's Ombudsman, Michael Getler, says the paper left out crucial descriptive information about on-the-lam murder suspects because it wanted to avoid a "mass of innocent black men being 'suspects.'"

The Post's version of a story about a murder spree in Prince George's County read: "Police are looking for the gunmen, described as being in their late teens or early twenties, driving a newer-model tan or light-colored sedan."

But the news release put out by the local police department read: "The four suspects are described as black males, possibly late teens or early twenties. One of the suspects is about 5''7," 22-25 years old, wearing a gray long sleeve T-shirt and cornrow hairstyle. The suspect's vehicle is described as a newer model tan or beige/light colored sedan."

"There is something about withholding information that the police make public that is troubling in a case such as this," Getler writes.

Balanced View?

Lula's minions in Brazil have demanded that a telephone company stop selling a phone card that depicts ex-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein under arrest because it might incite racial intolerance, according to the BBC.

Prosecutors in Sao Paulo said the image of a scruffy and bedraggled Saddam Hussein with two soldiers, one of whom is pointing a gun at him (part of its World History series of cards) "failed to present a balanced view" of the former dictator.

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

Mailbag:

Michael S. writes:

Failure should be demoralizing to students. That is what spurs them to do better. A term like "deferred success'" will give them the false belief that they're doing fine.

Denise D. writes:

Did the Board not remember that they have the USS Pampanito located at Pier 45, Fisherman's Wharf, which was also used during WWII. Are they going to get rid of the submarine if they are so against the military's policies and the war?

Ryan D. writes:

I read the article about changing "fail" to "deferred success," as proposed in the U.K. to avoid demoralizing pupils. This only hurts those students who are failing by giving them the false sense that under-performance brings steadfast support and empathy. Unfortunately, the real world, as we all know, will not offer up such charity for these children. They will slide through school believing that failure is an acceptable attribute, only to get knocked over by the accountability that surely awaits them when they leave the halls of their protective school confines.

Judi W. writes:

When I was in high school in the late '60s, the confederate flag was used as a symbol for protest. People working for Civil Rights and integration causes were using the confederate flag as a symbol FOR them. I was really surprised when it was turned around and made a racist statement. The Civil War was not about slavery; it was about secession. Freeing the slaves was not the cause of the war; it was the by-product. I believe slavery is intolerable, I believe the South should not have been allowed to secede, but I do not see the flag as racist. I do not use the flag in any way personally, but I do not assume everyone who does is a racist.

Tom S. writes:

I am getting very tired of liberals and immigrant activists telling us that our laws and morals are wrong, that we must change our way of life to accommodate immigrants. The immigrant population (legal and otherwise) needs to understand that they came here, that they are no longer living in their country of origin, that we will do our best to accommodate them, but not at the expense of others.

In exchange, they are going to have to learn to speak English and modify their behavior to conform to our laws and accepted norms of behavior. If they do not do this, then they will never be accepted. By creating ethic enclaves, they are insuring that they and their descendants are not accepted.

Respond to Writer