New York Times Struggles With Stoning

Some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Sign of the Times

Over the weekend, The New York Times home page linked to an article about the increasing frequency of and controversy surrounding, stoning punishment in Muslim societies. The tease read: "A particularly hard-to-grasp form of execution speaks to the distance between societies."

However, the president of the non-partisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies took issue with the Times' language: "Stoning is not a 'hard-to-grasp form of execution.' It is a barbaric form of execution. What is hard to grasp is the kind of political correctness that now prevents such truths from being said in polite company."

In a Class By Itself

Even as the Los Angeles school district faces a $640 million budget gap, the Robert F. Kennedy Community School will open next month with a whopping $578 million price tag.

The K-through-12 complex will house 4,200 students and is being called a "Taj Mahal" school with deluxe amenities.

Not everyone is pleased though; one member who sits on the state's board of education says, "New buildings are nice, but when they're run by the same people who've given us a 50 percent dropout rate, they're a big waste of taxpayer money."

Officials maintain the new facility and two other costly schools, were planned before the economic downturn and don't affect the educational budget.

Bare in Mind

Protesters across the country took to the streets over the weekend to fight for gender equality when it comes to being topless. Organized by Gotopless.org, men donned bikini tops and women wore pasties and band-aids demanding equal rights to go bare-chested in public.

One man wearing a bikini top reasoned, "If women can't go topless, why should guys be able to? I mean it's only fair."