A yoga program at an elementary school in Aspen, Colo., was axed when some parents complained that allowing the meditation would be bringing religion into the classroom, reports the Aspen Times.

Twelve classes of children, totaling 220 students in grades one through four, were scheduled to begin a children's yoga program in early September but the program was put on hold when some parents complained that the chanting involved in some techniques constitutes an unlawful endorsement of religion by the state.

Principal Barb Pitchford said the program was proposed as a way to help kids cope with the return to classes. Rowdy students could be calmed and readied for classwork after recess using a series of relaxing breathing and stretching techniques, he said.

Just in Case

A statue of the founder of Portland, Maine, will go up after all, despite protests from city officials and others that the man is unworthy of memorializing because he may have owned a slave nearly 400 years ago, reports the Portland Press Herald.

But instead of going on city property, the seven-foot likeness of George Cleeve will go on private property owned by a descendant of the man who settled Portland around 1633.

Initially, the $50,000 statue -- donated to the city by a private group -- was to be installed at the Maine State Pier, but officials changed their mind when word leaked that Cleeve had a servant named Oliver Weeks who may have been a slave. Credible evidence that Weeks was black or a slave never surfaced.

The city's Public Art Committee said the city should "respectfully decline" the statue because, in part, it wanted to avoid offending African-Americans who have long been excluded from Eurocentric, white-male accounts of U.S. history.

Adventures in Etymology (cont.)

A board member of the Houston Independent School District was formally accused of using a racial slur after he referred to "our neighbors to the south" as "parasites," reports the Houston Chronicle.

During a school board retreat last year, Lawrence Marshall was discussing the taxing arrangement between a local community college and the Houston school district when he said, "parasites, parasites, parasites, just like our neighbors to the south."

A colleague who overheard the comment, Esther Campos, complained about the remark in a letter earlier this month to the president of the school board.

Scared Pregnant 

A Washington, D.C., advertising campaign intended to educate people in their twenties and thirties about how to prevent infertility has run afoul of feminists who say it leaves women with the impression that they should opt for child-rearing over careers, reports The Washington Post

The ads -- developed for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine -- use provocative baby bottle images to highlight four major causes of infertility: cigarette smoking, unhealthy body weight, sexually transmitted diseases, and advancing age.

The offending ad shows a baby bottle in the shape of an hourglass with the words "Advancing age decreases your ability to have children."

The National Organization for Women says the ads use "scare tactics" that send a negative message to women who might want to delay or skip childbearing in favor of career pursuits.

Hillbilly Sensitivity 

ESPN was forced to pull an ad that depicted University of Tennessee fans as rabid after some people in that state complained they used stereotypical images of hillbillies, reports the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

The promotional ad for College GameDay on the sports network features an announcer in an elevator next to a heavyset woman in curlers carrying a pig she called "Rocky Top."

ESPN publicist Michael C. Humes said the ad was intended "to show the passion college football fans have."

"The intent was to show that Tennessee people will do just about anything to get to the game," he said. "It was never our intention to offend anyone, and we are sorry if we did in this case."

Evil Daughters 

A middle school principal in North Carolina has informed the United Daughters of the Confederacy that students from her school will no longer be allowed to enter the group's historical essay contest, reports the Greensboro News-Record.

Melissa Harrelson, principal of Aycock Middle School in Greensboro, called the UDC a "modern day version of the Ku Klux Klan" and the group's aims "against the basic goals" of the school.

The 20,000-member organization is an "educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic" society open to women who are blood descendants of men and women who served honorably in the Army, Navy or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America.

The UDC chapter's annual historical essay and art contest is open to students throughout the county. Winners are forwarded to divisional and statewide competitions.

Humorless Kiwis 

A New Zealand woman says a sign in a bar saying "We don't serve women here, you have to bring your own" is offensive and should be removed, writes the New Zealand Press Association.

After finding it difficult to get a drink because of the men lined up at the bar, the woman complained to the Human Rights Commission that the Charleston Cavern was not being accommodating enough to women.

The owner of the bar, Michael Moss said he was nonplussed when he received a call last Friday from someone claiming to represent the commission.

"I thought it was someone taking the piss out of me. On Monday I rang them and said, was it really them that rang me? They said 'Yes, have you taken the sign down yet?'"

Mr. Moss said he told the commission he had no intention of removing it.


Patrick A. in Texas writes:

After reading your article about the "Calaveras County Jumping Frog Jubilee" I was quick to ask my pet frog his thoughts on the matter. His reply: "It would be a tremendous honor for me to display my impressive backflip to the many attendees at the jubilee -- sign me up!"

Summary -- perhaps these so called animal rights advocates should consult the frogs themselves before they jump (pun intended) to conclusions about the animals' well-being.

Carl K. of Warsaw, Va., writes:

Why must the United States and other western countries such as England bend over backwards to accommodate every alien ideology in the world when this accommodation is not shown to us?

When I was unfortunate enough to live in Saudi Arabia, Christian churches or symbols were strictly forbidden, yet we have mosques in Washington D.C. It was a death penalty for a Moslem to convert to Christianity, yet we allow them to espouse their pagan religion at will here in the West?

If Mr. M'hammed Azzaoui doesn't like the symbols of England on his badge he can find another job, or better yet go back to the home of his ancestors where he won't be corrupted by western ideology.

Kim N. in Blue Rapids, Kan., writes:

I am responding to the article posted on Fox News regarding the hunting signs in Kittery, Maine. I must agree with Mark Sousa that the signs are in poor taste and certainly don't reflect well on hunters. However, Nancy Bogenberger and her blanket statement that hunters are not responsible people clearly shows her ignorance on the subject.

Hunters and fisherman are the people who are paying for conservation in the form of licenses, taxes on firearms, ammo, fishing tackle etc. It's time those radical animal activist wacko's such as Nancy, get the facts straight. I they are so concerned about wildlife, then they need to put their money where their mouth is ... like hunters and fisherman have for decades.

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