DOUGLAS OLSON — Freak show #4

Reprint rights


Freak show #4



Opportunist of the Year

John Hainkel (Rep.), president of the Louisiana state Senate, is an alleged "conservative" who was a Democrat in the 1980s, when that party was in power in his state, and became a Republican with the GOP's ascendancy of the '90s. Governor-elect Kathleen Blanco (Dem.) makes no secret that she wants the next Senate president to be a Democrat. Hainkel told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that keeping his job is the most important thing: "Maybe I'll be [a] Democrat.... If that is the biggest freakin' thing ... to [Blanco], I'd change my party affiliation. It doesn't make any difference to me. I could be an independent or a Libertarian or a Tory."

If Blanco wanted a woman in the post, would this shameless opportunist emasculate himself? Actually, it sounds as if it's already too late for that.

Dis heah computah ain' no fiel' han'!

In an effort to "ensure a work environment that is free from any discriminatory influence[,] be it actual or perceived," Los Angeles County has ordered its computer suppliers to stop using the standard terms "master" and "slave" in identifying equipment, and to re-designate all existing systems. "Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angles County, this is not an acceptable identification label," a memorandum declared.

But what is this nonsense doing in the courts?

An Austrian appeals court struck a blow for free speech recently by ruling that to be called "nigger sh*t" is not an attack on one's right to exist. The decision came in the case of a traffic cop who used the epithet against an African "refugee." The public prosecutor in Linz filed a case in 2002, which was dismissed. On appeal by the state, a regional court affirmed the dismissal, finding the slur an offense to the individual's honor but not grounds for prosecution. If someone's "right to existence were denied either directly or indirectly" with phrases such as "subhumans," "gas them all," or "kill them all," the speaker would be in trouble, said the court.

But what is this nonsense doing in the courts? [part two]

A British plumber was prosecuted in November for a "racist" remark at a monument to Stephen Lawrence, a black youth killed by a white gang; Lawrence is the UK's most famous martyr to "intolerance." According to a news report, Nicholas Atkins, 36, commented, "best thing that could have happened," in front of a group of idolators as he passed the site on the tenth anniversary of Lawrence's death. Atkins told the jury that he may have made the comment but that it was not meant in a racial context; and that it was said to a companion rather than to the crowd. The jury took less than an hour to acquit Atkins on a charge of causing racially aggravated alarm or distress.

Not to mention, it wouldn't be Kosher

Two student groups at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts were denied permission to sponsor a pig roast — because school authorities feared it might offend vegetarians.

Silence — Totalitarian Nut Zone!

A New York City policeman issued a ticket for "unreasonable noise" to a Queens man when a balloon being carried by the man's 9-year-old son popped on a public street.

Diversity of opinion in Maine

After a complaint by the father of a 6-year-old, a Maine school district is considering banning distribution of Boy Scout flyers because the group "discriminates" against homosexuals. "Young gay and lesbian persons growing up in America ... have a high rate of depression," said whiner David Hilton. "To start in elementary school hearing of this unwritten message that it's not OK to be gay, well, that's really upsetting."

It's not nearly as upsetting, though, as hearing the message that it's not OK to have opinions differing from yours, Mr. Hilton.

Another weirdo for Washington

The father of actor George Clooney intends to run for Congress in 2004, to succeed Rep. Ken Lucas (D-Ky.). Nick Clooney, 69, a Cincinnati newspaper columnist and TV personality, is considered "liberal," although he is not as outspoken as his George W. Bush-bashing son. The senior Clooney himself has described Bush as "dim," which isn't all that controversial here in The Ditch; but he also thinks former New York Governor Mario Cuomo should be president. Moreover, he keeps a picture of Jimmy Carter in his bathroom — a fitting place for such an icon.

Sanity upheld (but what is this nonsense doing ... oh, never mind)

A Denver fertility clinic has beaten a discrimination suit filed by a blind black lesbian whom it denied services because it feared she could not care for the baby. After another clinic did help her conceive and bear a daughter, Kijuana Chambers, 33, then sued the first clinic, saying, "I've got to get the rest of them to do the same." During the trial, Chambers said that she had always wanted a child but had to turn to artificial insemination because she is a lesbian.

December 22, 2003

© 2003 Douglas Olson. All rights reserved.
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