Tongue Tied: When Adults Act Like Children

U.S. Marine recruiters visiting the University of Nevada at Las Vegas were met with hooting, catcalls and other disruptive tactics by members of the law school's faculty and staff, reports columnist Ken Ward of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A student who witnessed the scene reported that Marine lawyers speaking at the UNLV Boyd Law School had their words drowned out by faculty who cranked up the volume on nearby televisions and talked and laughed among each other loudly. The student described the professors' actions as "not only disrespectful but immature."

The faculty is upset about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward homosexuals.

The Usual Demands

A professor at Colgate University in New York prompted sit-ins and demands for cultural sensitivity training when he suggested that minority students were underserved when they are encouraged to take easy courses, reports The New York Times.

In an e-mail response to a student who asked him to appear on a campus television show about race, political science professor Barry Shain said he was not an expert on "whether or not Colgate students, majority or minority, are overly sensitive concerning racial issues."

He said in the e-mail that he was concerned "too many students of color are seduced into taking exotic courses that make few demands on them rather than those courses that force them to grow emotionally and intellectually. It seems to me that if students of color graduate with inferior written and analytic skills to those of their white colleagues, Colgate faculty are certainly not serving the needs of all of their students."

Some students said they were insulted by the e-mail. They staged a sit-in at the main administration building and demanded, among other things, classes to be canceled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, more recruitment of minority students and faculty, and mandatory cultural sensitivity workshops for everyone.

Santa Ban Surmounted

Kensington, Md., rolled out the unwelcome mat for Santa Claus last week after a couple of families in town complained that his presence at a city event would make them feel uncomfortable because they do not celebrate the holidays, reports The Associated Press.

The town in Montgomery County initially banned St. Nick from its annual tree-lighting ceremony. In years past, the man in red would arrive on a fire truck and light the tree with the mayor, but this year the Town Council appointed a local firefighter, police officer and mail carrier to flip the switch.

However, fire department administrators told the mayor they would bring Kris Kringle along with them to the ceremony. Town officials approved, saying the ban never prohibited the fire department from bringing Santa along.

Santa Claus arrived as he traditionally had — on a fire truck — and waved to a cheering crowd. He helped light the tree and said he wasn't offended about initially being excluded.

Well Now, Those Are Much More Practical

The Oregon Geographic Names Board is thinking about renaming three places in the Willamette National Forest — Squaw Butte, Squaw Creek and Squaw Mountain — because the word squaw is viewed by many as denigrating to women, reports the AP.

The proposed new names are Kwiskwis Butte, Latiwi Creek and Latiwi Mountain. "Kwiskwis" is a word from the Molalla language meaning "double-striped little squirrel," and "Latiwi" means "our people" in the same language.

Nixing Xmas Stamps Too?

A debate that started about whether the U.S. Postal Service should issue a stamp commemorating a Muslim religious festival has expanded and now has some people wondering whether it should be releasing any holiday-themed stamps at all, reports The Palm Beach Post.

The post office has been issuing Christmas stamps since 1962, and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa stamps since the early 90s. This year, postal officials added the Eid stamp to commemorate a pair of Islamic religious feasts following the holy month of Ramadan.

"The feeling of a lot of dealers is that the Christmas stamps ought not be put out," said Arnold Zenker, treasurer of the Palm Beach County Stamp Club. "It's a violation of church and state."

But Faiz Rehman, a spokesman for the American Muslim Council, disagrees. The stamps have more to do with culture than anything else, he said. "Christmas is the dominant winter holiday in the United States," he said. "That is just a fact."

A Credit to His Profession

A California journalist whose dog was allegedly attacked by a library cat is suing the city of Escondido for violating his civil rights by creating a hostile environment for him and his "assistance dog."

Richard Espinosa, a former reporter for the North County Times, says he suffers from anxiety attacks and that his California-certified Labrador assistance dog accompanies him to help him deal with them. A sign at the library saying "No Animals" except guide dogs violated his right and those of others who use assistance dogs to enter the city library, he claims.

Espinosa claims that his dog was viciously mauled by L.C., the library cat, when he entered the building last year. The city was negligent, he believes, for allowing him "to come into an unknown and very dangerous and unsafe situation striking terror in [him] and causing him lasting physical and emotional injury" and permanent damage to his dog.

He wants $1.5 million in damages. His vet bill was $46.49.

Bad Analogies

A member of the Manhattan school board in New York City feels forcing schools to begin the day with the Pledge of Allegiance is no different than the Taliban forcing kids to recite the Koran, reports the New York Daily News.

Board member Larry Sauer and his colleagues on the board voted to ignore a Board of Education edict that requires all schools in the city to begin the day with the Pledge of Allegiance. They want individual schools to be able to decide whether to do so or not.

"Requiring students to blindly repeat the pledge is no different than the Taliban requiring children to memorize the Koran and repeat it by rote, without understanding why or what they are saying," Sauer said.

Kinder, Gentler Brian's Song

The movie described as the first TV tearjerker for men, Brian's Song, has been remade by ABC, but with a few alterations to account for the politically correct changes in society since it was first released 31 years ago, reports the AP.

The movie, which won five Emmys, is a story about the friendship between black and white teammates on the Chicago Bears football team. It starred Billy Dee Williams as Gale Sayers and James Caan as Brian Piccolo, who is diagnosed with a malignant tumor near his heart.

Some dialogue from the original script was used again, but what viewers won't hear this time around is the N-word that was the vernacular 31 years ago. Also gone is a line in which Piccolo, after receiving Sayers' donated blood, cracks, "I've had a craving for chitlins."

From the Central Servers:

Elizabeth H. in Mesa, Ariz., writes:

I agree with George Benge, of Gannett News Service, that we should strike the phrase "illegal alien" from the nation's vocabulary -- by correcting the situation immediately. Rather than demean the millions of "undocumented workers" who come to America every year, we should send the "illegal aliens" home to apply to become legal citizens.

Mr. Benge should himself try living in another country illegally. Or, let him apply for a green card elsewhere. When I applied for permanent residency in New Zealand, so that I could spend 3 years as a school principal, I had to send 25 pounds of documentation, including proof that I spoke English fluently. I did it, because I wanted to live in their country legally. I respected their laws.

Chris B. of Columbus, Ohio, writes:

I would imagine that some people would think that if they didn't want to get their feelings hurt by being called an illegal alien then they should either come here legally or not come at all.

Matthew O. from Topeka, Kan., writes:

When I told my little boy (age 7), the proud Commanding Officer of some two hundred WWII soldiers and approximately 150 Union Army soldiers about the nine soldiers that the NC PC police found reprehensible, he pondered the situation for a few moments. "Dad," he said? "How can you have a war fight with only nine soldiers? That's not even a Marine fire team!"

Frank C. in Abingdon, Md., writes:

Obviously, Katie Haselden and Anna Carter, of the N.C. Division of Child Development's Policy and Program Unit are the ones with a problem. They are assuming the green soldiers are being used in an aggressive mode and not as U.N. Peacekeepers.

Laura M. writes:

If a company is going to throw a holiday celebration for its employees then the company should provide food that all of its employees can eat. I wonder if the "Vegans Unite" piece would even have made it to the Tongue-Tied section if the memo in question, instead of asking people to remember the dietary restrictions of vegans, had been about providing Orthodox Jews with something to eat other than ham at a similar company luncheon?

M. Woods writes:

Has it hit the language clean up crowd that "goodbye" is an elided formation of "God be with you?" Spread the word and drive them wild.