The St. Cloud Times reports that a county commissioner in Minnesota is in hot water for referring to the local human rights commission as a "tar baby," a term some in town interpreted as racially insensitive.

During a discussion about the panel, Stearns County Commissioner Leigh Lenzmeier said of the human rights commission that the city of St. Cloud had "been wanting us to take over this tar baby for a while." Stearns said he used the term to describe a "sticky situation" and wasn't aware of its racial connotation.

But a former president of the local NAACP called the comments "bigoted and insulting," and St. Cloud's human rights director, Baba Odukale, demanded a formal apology.

"Your attempts to justify this reference by citing some Internet research doesn't change the stereotype you evoked. In my opinion, it would be more than appropriate for you to issue a formal apology for the negative stereotype presented by the reference," Odukale said.

Dhimmitude

The AP says Borders Group bookstores, including Waldenbooks, are refusing to sell a copy of a magazine because it contains an essay about the dreaded MoToons and some of the offending images.

The April-May issue of Free Inquiry magazine, published by the Council for Secular Humanism in Amherst, includes four of the cartoons, including the one depicting Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban with a lit fuse.

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," a Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman said.

Since All DC's Other Problems Have Been Solved

A city councilman in Washington D.C. has sponsored bills to replace the language in all city laws and publications with words more respectful of people with disabilities, according to the Washington Post.

Councilman Vincent C. Gray wants to eliminate words like "crippled" and "feebleminded" from the D.C. Code, and to force city officials to refer to people first and their disabilities second in all written communication. He also wants a task force to review use of the term "mental retardation."

"Many of the terms currently used to refer to people with disabilities diminish the humanity and natural condition of having a disability and create an invisible barrier to inclusion as equal community members," Gray said.

Inevitably

A task force formed in Maine two years ago to look into ways to improve the performance of young boys in state schools was quickly co-opted by feminist ideologues and devolved into a treatise on gender equity, according to a report in Maine's Press-Herald.

The 40-member task force was formed two years ago out of concerns about boys' test scores lagging those of girls. The suggestion was made that boys might be shortchanged by PC educators.

But the task force was quickly taken over by ideologues who renamed it from the Task Force on Gender Achievement Differences to Task Force on Gender Equity in Education and began delving into topics like sexual harassment of girls.

"The die was cast the minute we started," said Richard Robles, a father of two boys who was asked to participate because he had expressed concern about male classroom achievement. "The real hard-core feminists on the board essentially got the ball."

The report, due to be released in the next few weeks, is being written by Mary Madden, a University of Maine education professor who specializes in research on adolescent girls.

He Needs Counseling All Right

A recently unveiled mural in a ballroom at the University of Tennessee is so racist and offensive that people are coming away from it ill and in need of counseling, according to the student paper there, The Beacon.

Marion Greenwood's 30-foot mural, recently unveiled after 30 years in mothballs, features a man in overalls and other images of African-American people that some say promotes racist ideology.

Speaking at a panel discussion convened by the university to address the topic of the mural, panelist P. Eric Abercrumbie, director of the Office of Ethnic Programs and Services and the African-American Culture and Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, said the imagery made him sick to his stomach.

"I went immediately to a headache and immediately to almost thinking that I'm going to need some counseling before this thing is over," Abercrumbie said. "To me it is racism ... to me it is no more than a continuation, if you leave it [uncovered], of a perpetuation of white supremacy. It doesn't need to be here."

America's Most Tolerant City

City officials in San Francisco described as obnoxious, disgusting and unwelcome a group of young Christians who gathered there with the stated intention of steering youth away from a popular culture that glamorizes drugs, sex and violence, according to the AP.

Nevertheless, the rally by a Texas-based evangelical group lured some 25,000 to the city's AT&T park over the weekend. It's organizer, Run Luce, said it was the first time his efforts have been met with official condemnation in America.

The city's Board of Supervisors passed a resolution earlier in the week condemning the gathering as an "act of provocation" by an "anti-gay," "anti-choice" group aiming to "negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city."

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

Mailbag:

Dave D. writes:

Interesting how all those who tout the virtues of diversity only really want it on their terms. The Wisconsin high school, if really interested in diversity, should have proceeded without the gay couple that objected to the presence of former gays and Christians at Diversity Day.

The whole thing reminds me of what political correctness has become..."We welcome everyone, as long as they say what we want them to and think like we do!" or, "Of course we believe in free speech, as long as you think like we do and don't say anything with which we disagree." Rank hypocrites, all of them!

Gina W. writes:

I would like to know why it is homophobia if we are uncomfortable with gay speakers, but it is just uncomfortable if we are uncomfortable with reformed gay speakers. And, by the way, where does our constitution protect us from being uncomfortable!

George M. writes:

The cancellation of the exhibit wasn't so much about gun violence as it was about lack of funding. Apparently, the corporations that usually do sponsorships felt that the focus of the exhibit was offering too narrow of a viewpoint and thus wouldn't be viable to support either locally or on a tour.

Stanley B. writes:

Of course now it's all prophets. Soon it will be anything "demeaning to Muslims," which will mean anything that portrays non-Muslims in any sort of sympathetic light. The gross intolerance shown by these sorts of "scholars" is typical of immature religions that refuse to open their beliefs up to genuine discussion out of fear that they will lose the "Faithful."

When the price of "heresy" is death, it's not uncommon to find very few "heretics."

Mark H. in Indiana writes:

Has anyone considered that St. Paul itself might be considered too Christian of a name for a city? Maybe the human rights director needs to send a memo to the city counsel to begin the process of changing it. While he is at it, he should probably suggest a name that is gender neutral as well.

Kathi B. in Arizona writes:

I find it hilarious that the Easter bunny has been banned in a government office for being to 'close' to Christianity. Let's get it straight: the Easter bunny is a pagan/secular symbol of spring.

Perhaps the government officials have it right though--getting rid of the rabbit might help remake the holiday into a holy day as it is intended by all Christians.

Lesley-Ann writes:

This is from an 11-year-old. If other religions are offended because of the Easter eggs and all that other stuff, then they shouldn't celebrate it. You and only you have the choice whether you want to celebrate it or not. They shouldn't drag other people down because they celebrate a holiday.

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