A member of the Kansas City Star's editorial board is criticizing a billboard campaign by a local brewing company that uses the rhyme "eenie, meenie, minie, moe" because he says the phrase has racist origins.

Writing on the paper's op-ed pages, Lewis Diuguid called use of the phrase offensive. He said it may be eye-catching, but its "awful history" is far from cute.

The Boulevard Brewing Co. uses the words under four glasses of beer on the billboard. Boulevard VP Bob Sullivan said it's meant to be about choice.

"It has nothing to do with race, color or creed," he said. "You would be the first person who's brought that to our attention," he told the columnist.

Welker, Part II

A Colorado state representative who provoked outrage months ago by distributing an essay by black conservatives critical of residents in Katrina-stricken New Orleans is in trouble again for sending another email, according to the Rocky Mountain News, this one about an upcoming conference in Washington on the same topic.

The article from cnsnews.com quotes black political conservatives as saying that residents in New Orleans depend too much on government aid. Colorado legislative leaders said State Rep. Jim Welker's choice of reading material makes him a racist. They implored him to stop forwarding emails that they said fostered racism.

Welker is refusing to apologize, saying the article merely reflects conservative values which encourage hurricane victims to pull themselves up by their own boot straps.

Faith Crime

Members of the public in Britain are accusing the Gay Police Association of a "faith crime" for publishing an advertisement that attributes rising levels of homophobic attacks to religious beliefs, according the BBC.

The advertisement, showing a Bible next to a pool of blood under the heading "in the name of the father," appeared in a diversity supplement of the British daily The Independent. It said: "In the last 12 months, the GPA has recorded a 74 percent increase in homophobic incidents, where the sole or primary motivating factor was the religious belief of the perpetrator."

Scotland Yard said it had received a complaint from a member of the public and was centering its inquiry on the question of the whether the language in the ad "constitutes a faith crime."

Imagine

The BBC also tells us that a church school in Southern England opted to remove John Lennon's song 'Imagine' from an end-of-year program at the last minute because its lyrics were deemed anti-religious.

Students at St Leonard's Primary in Exeter were said to have spent weeks rehearsing the song before being told that lyrics such as "Imagine there's no heaven... and no religion too" were unsuitable.

The Rev. David Harris from the nearby St Leonard's Church, who is a school governor, supported the head teacher's decision, saying, "The song expresses longing for a different world and for eternal happiness but it says you can have this without religion."

More Email Trouble

A city councilman in Springfield, Ore. is catching hell from his colleagues in city government and local activists for an email he sent that included a tirade against illegal immigration some have labeled 'negative' and borderline racist, according to the Eugene Register Guard.

In his email, councilman Dave Ralston said he supports local legislation to crack down on illegal immigration.

"We cannot continue to absorb the flow of illegal immigrants, many of whom benefit from government services that our citizens provide ... They want to invade and not assimilate ... Mark my words, this is a serious problem that we will have to deal with sooner or later and I am tired of being politically correct in order to not offend anyone," Ralston wrote.

After the email began circulating through the community, Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken issued a public rebuke of Ralston and apologized lest a "vital segment of our community was left to question their place in Springfield."

Mailbag:

Alicia T.W. writes:

When I first started reading your column, I laughed at all of the PC complaints going on. (Forcing someone to say "Happy Holidays"? How ridiculous!!!) Now, I'm finding myself agreeing with what you consider "PC Nuttiness." It could be because I have the wild and crazy belief that racism is bad.

Naming a street (Penny Lane) after a slave trader, someone who degraded and murdered other humans, is bad. Renaming the street after someone who actually helped society is good.

How is that PC?

David M. in Toronto writes:

I have read of a number of efforts to rename streets, schools, canals and now Penny Lane because the name relates to slavery. Would it not be more constructive to acknowledge the history that slavery played in the area and how deplorable it was, perhaps with a historical plaque, rather than trying to erase all memories of it?

After all, those who are ignorant of history are often destined to repeat it. We don't need to ignore or repeat slavery; we need to tell the truth about it so that it doesn't happen again.

The IARC writes:

The Indian American Republican Council asks that you please remove the headline "Angry Apu" as this only furthers the stereotype we were trying to avoid in the first place with the statement on Sen. Biden. Perhaps you can simply change it to "Angry Indian Americans."

K.K. in Columbus, Ohio writes:

Gay people in Provincetown and anywhere else, for that matter, should remember that without "breeders" (a term which gays are trying to turn into an insult) they wouldn't exist.

Ed in Hobe Sound, Fla. writes:

Try checking into some of the nicer hotels in Key West as a heterosexual couple. Let me save you the trouble--you can't. There are "gay-only" hotels doing businss there that are breaking the law every day.

They blatantly discriminate against heterosexuals which violates the sexual preference discrimination laws. But nobody wants to take them on for fear of being lableled homophobic or some other nonsense label.

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