Teacher’s Aide Says Huck Finn Is Racist, Gets Fired

A teacher’s aide in Iowa lost her job after insisting that The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn should not be read by students because the book is racist.

Naiya Galloway first became upset when the Ku Klux Klan was mentioned during a history discussion. Later in the year, she proclaimed that Mark Twain’s classic novel is racist and should not be read. The next day on the bus, she told students again that they should not read the book.

“So when I hear that ‘Huck Finn’ is racist, my immediate response — having studied literature and having studied that particular piece of literature and theory about it — is, ‘Of course it’s racist,’” said administrative law judge Jason Timberland. “Part of the idea was to point out, through that book, that it was racist. It’s about racism.”

Timberland, who has a master’s degree in English, denied Galloway’s request for unemployment benefits.

Allegedly, Galloway also interrupted a math class to inform students that she had been the victim of racism.

Galloway has denied her comments about The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but the 31-year-old teacher’s aide did admit to interrupting a discussion about the Ku Klux Klan because it triggered “flashbacks.”

 

The Bible Vs. The Building Code: Which Is More Important?

City officials in Phoenix arrived at the conclusion that Michael Salman was putting people’s lives in jeopardy by conducting a Bible study at his home. He was found guilty of 67 building code violations and sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years of probation. Plus, he was hit with a $12,180 fine.

It all started in 2007 when neighbors complained about the increase in traffic on the street. Salman, a restaurant owner and pastor, began having Bible studies in his home in 2005. After the neighbors’ complaint, Salman was harangued by local authorities on more than one occasion. According to Salman, city officials told him he would need a permit in order to have non-family members into his home for a spiritual purpose.

So in 2009, Salman constructed a building on their 4.6 acre lot and applied for all the permits he thought he would need. “At that point we took our Bible study from our living room — and we moved it into that building,” he recalled. “We started worshipping in that building every weekend.”

But according to Vicki Hill, the chief assistant city prosecutor, Salman fudged the facts. Hill claims that Salman was given a permit to convert his garage into a game room. Therefore, in Hill’s words, any other use for the building would be “expressly prohibited.”

A dozen police along with city inspectors raided Salman’s home on June 11, 2009. Police forced the couple and their five young girls to stay in the living room while the building used to seat 40 Bible students was searched. After thoroughly checking the area, inspectors cited 67 code violations.

“Imagine everything that a public building would have or a commercial building would have,” Salman remembered. “Anything we didn’t have was a violation.”

This included not having handicap parking, handicap ramps and exit signs over the doors.

Hill claims that Salman was operating a church; therefore, he must abide by building codes or face the consequences. But the part-time pastor sees it as an attack on his personal liberty.

“At what point does the government have the right to state that you cannot have family and friends over at your home three times a week? People have a right to gather on their property as long as parking is available, as long as they aren’t parking in the street, as long as they aren’t violating noise ordinances.”

So far, the courts have sided with Hill.

Salman has tried to point out the inconsistencies in the court’s logic.

“If I had people coming to my home on a regular basis for poker night or Monday Night Football, it would be permitted. But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes — that is when you have discrimination.”

Because Salman made an effort to abide by the law, he is being punished. Such is the situation we find ourselves in. Those who have no respect for laws and ordinances fly under the radar, while those who make an attempt to abide by them provide the totalitarian state with another name to put on file.

Restaurant Offers Discount For Church Bulletin, Atheist Files Discrimination Suit

It’s common practice in many small towns for a restaurant to offer a discount to the church crowd. Bring a bulletin; get a cheap lunch. Even Chick-fil-A has been known to get in on the action. But that all might change if a man in Pennsylvania gets his way.

John Wolff, an atheist, has filed a discrimination lawsuit with Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, Pa. The locally owned restaurant offers a 10 percent discount to patrons who bring in a church bulletin. Wolff doesn’t think it’s fair.

Wolff is claiming that he has been offered different service because of his religious beliefs.

“I did this not out of spite, but out of a feeling against the prevailing self-righteousness that stems from religion, particular in Lancaster County,” Wolff explained.

“I don’t consider it an earth-shaking affair, but in this area in particular, we seem to have so many self-righteous religious people, so it just annoys me.”

Wolff has never been to the restaurant. He just saw the promotion advertised on Lost Cajun Kitchen’s website. He then informed the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization that is “committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.”

Co-owner Sharon Prudhomme received two letters from the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 2011, but she blew them off. Wolff then contacted the Human Relations Commission.

Prudhomme can’t ignore the objections any longer. The State of Pennsylvania has written a 16-page complaint, accusing the restaurant of discrimination.

“It’s not a big deal in itself and I have no animosity towards Prudhomme’s, but I do bear a grudge against a religious right that seems to intrude on our civil rights,” said Wolff.

Prudhomme claims that she doesn’t go to church. The tactic is just a marketing ploy. The restaurant has also been known to offer discounts to children and senior citizens.

“I’m an American. This is an independent restaurant. I can do as I wish and I’m going to continue to offer the church-bulletin discount,” says Prudhomme.

Housing Complex Bans The Display Of American Flag

If you live in Wrentham, Mass., you might have to take your flag inside. It’s no longer the Fourth of July, so the flag has to go. At least that’s what the Garden Lane public housing complex told its tenants.

Those living in the complex found a taped note on their door Wednesday morning. The note read: “Wrentham Housing Authority has been informed that the public display of the American flag in common areas is not permitted. …Flags may be visible through the apartment windows, but may not be displayed on the exterior of the buildings or on the ground around the buildings.”

Allegedly, a tenant complained about the display of flags on July 4. So the housing complex took action.

Barbara Marshall, an 82-year-old resident displaying a flag, was devastated. “I’ve always had a flag. I’m very upset. All my family is indebted to the veterans, to that flag,” she said through tears.

Marshall, who has no intention of taking down her flag, is planning to contact Scott Brown, a U.S. Senator and Wrentham resident.

“I don’t care about the gardening, but don’t take my flag,” she asserted.

School Is Too Easy In The U.S.

America was once a Nation that prided itself on its educational standards. It was a country that stayed ahead of the pack through its ongoing quest for knowledge. It was a place to which people from all over the world would come in order to sit at the feet of elite teachers. But those days are a thing of the past, according to a new report.

The report, issued by the Center for American Progress, found that many students think school is too easy. Nearly 30 percent of eighth-graders surveyed said their math curriculum is “often or always too easy.” Almost 40 percent of fourth-graders said the same. Close to 60 percent of eighth-graders said their history work is “often or always too easy.” And about 30 percent of eighth-graders reported reading less than five pages a day.

The findings were consistent at higher grades. About 40 percent of high school seniors said that they “hardly ever or only once or twice a month” write about the things they read during class.

The survey revealed that America is not keeping up with the rest of the world in regard to engineering and technology; 72 percent of eighth-graders are taught nothing about the subjects.

Some of the fault can be placed on the teachers. One out of every four middle school math students does not understand his teacher’s questions. And 36 percent of high school seniors “sometimes or hardly ever clearly understand” the questions posed by math teachers.

It is clear that the United States is no longer a place of educational excellence, especially when compared to other parts of the world. Students in other countries have been known to commit suicide when they don’t get the grade they want. School officials in the U.S. should come to grips with the fact that the image of students lugging around books and pouring over homework in the wee hours is a thing of the past.

Google Plans To ‘Legalize Love’ All Over The Globe

Google is attempting to use its power to “Legalize Love.” The Internet giant plans to change the way social conservatives view gay marriage, starting in Singapore and Poland.

The primary focus of the Legalize Love campaign, which will eventually be launched everywhere that Google has employees, is to promote safer working conditions for those within the LGBT community.

“We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work,” explained Google’s Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe.

The initiative seems to be as much about business as it is humanity. In some countries, Google claims it has been unable to hire the best person for the job. “We operate in many countries and have a very globally mobile workforce. We have had a number of instances where we have been trying to hire people into countries where there are these issues and have been unable to put the best person into a job in that country,” said Palmer-Edgecumbe.

But Google also wants to help “Gayglers” (gay Google users) by quashing homophobia around the world.

Harry Gaskell, an advisory managing partner for Ernst & Young and LGBT advocate, said: “The fact that Google is so virtual and its appeal is very wide and young demographically means it can help spread messaging very, very quickly.”

Google’s “Legalize Love” strategy has resulted in the American Family Association urging people to boycott the company. The organization recently boycotted Oreo cookies. Buster Wilson, a spokesman for the American Family Association, admits that the Google boycott will be difficult.

This is going to be hard for a lot of us. A lot of us are so integrated into Google and Google products. This is going to be a tough one. This is more than just a search engine. Many of us have Android phones. …many of us use Google Calendar, Google Tasks, and Gmail… YouTube, and all the other things, it’s not just the search engine. …I guess we’ll test the meat of our convictions.

Governor Chris Christie Has A Message For Obama

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, known for his willingness to speak his mind, relayed a message to the President on Monday.

“Please don’t send me any more money to hire more public employees. Please don’t,” begged Christie. “I’ve got plenty as it is, and I don’t need any more, and they’re expensive.”

Despite failing the first time around, the government has been planning another round of stimulus spending which would include hiring more teachers, firefighters and police officers.

Christie argues that employing people in that fashion causes long-term harm and the money would be better spent building up infrastructure. “Where’s this money going to come from to pay these folks afterwards?”

Some believe the Governor’s most recent speech is another way to increase his presence on the national scene and get his name on the ticket in November.

Christie also said that he will wait until after the election to decide whether his State will accept the Obamacare expansion to Medicaid.

Miami School Says ‘No’ To Michelle Obama Visit

The first lady is the last person that some Florida school board members want to see. Obama has become well-known for her stops that are intended to educate the young on healthy living and her husband’s politics.

But conservative school board members are asking that Barbara Goleman Senior High in Miami close its doors to Obama. Reneir Diaz de la Portilla is a school board member who is also running for State House as a Republican. Another board member, Carlos Curbelo, has worked as a Republican strategist.

“Allowing the first lady of the United States to use one of our schools explicitly to benefit the president’s reelection campaign is inappropriate and sends the wrong message to our students, employees, and to taxpayers — even if the president’s campaign is willing to pay for all costs resulting from the event,” said Curbelo. “There’s a difference between official visits to schools by elected leaders and events that are for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of a political campaign.”

Some don’t see what the fuss is all about. School is out for summer, so the kids don’t have to attend.

Essentially, the Obama campaign is renting the facility.

“I could not be more proud that first lady Michelle Obama has chosen to speak at Barbara Goleman Senior High School, and believe that our schools should encourage students to debate ideas and become engaged in our democratic process,” said board member Wilbert Holloway.

The Democrats Are Watching

It’s not unusual for campaigns to keep tabs on their opponents, but Democrats are taking the tactic to a new level. Several videos have surfaced online that show the homes of Republicans. The videos have some candidates feeling as though their life is becoming a real-life version of George Orwell’s novel 1984.

In the minds of some, the privacy invasion is not as bad as the safety risk that presents itself when everyone knows where a politician lives.

“I feel it’s totally inappropriate,” said Representative Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). A silent clip featuring Reid’s home appeared on the Internet on June 18. “It was disturbing to me that they would put that online. I don’t understand any political benefit that can be achieved with that.”

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32WTp-c9W2E&w=560&h=315]

 

“I’m more creeped out about this than Reid is, just because I’m home more,” said the Congressman’s wife, DeaNa Ribble.

Representative Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) was informed by a neighbor that someone had been hiding in his bushes and filming his house.

“I think your family or your personal life should be off-limits unless it enters the campaign. It’s hard for my neighbors or my family to get comfortable when someone is in the bushes,” he said.

Couple Arrested For Dancing While On Date

Prison is a hop, skip and a jump away. Just ask a New York City couple. George Hess, 54, and Caroline Stern, 55, were arrested after dancing while waiting on a train.

The couple was at the Columbus Circle subway station, along with a musician playing the steel drums. The couple, who were on their way back from Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra: A Midsummer Night’s Swing, decided to pass the time by dancing.

“We were doing the Charleston,” Stern said.

According to Stern, two cops arrived on the scene and wanted an explanation.

“They said, ‘What are you doing?’ and we said, ‘We’re dancing,’ ” remembered Stern. “And they said, ‘You can’t do that on the platform.’”

According to the couple, the police asked for ID, but Stern had only a credit card. Hess began to record the incident; but the cops became hostile, called for backup and tackled Hess.

The couple was arrested and taken to jail, where they spent 23 hours.

Obama Refuses To Arm Wrestle For Vote

President Barack Obama walked away from a challenge to arm wrestle at Ziggy’s Pub and Restaurant in Amherst, Ohio. The President’s stop at the bar, whose WiFi code is “DRINKBEER,” was not announced on his public schedule.

New York Times reporter Mark Landler was at Ziggy’s and detailed the action.

According to Landler, Jeff Hawks, a patron of Ziggy’s, entered the bar and noticed that Fox News was on TV. “You’re in a building that has Fox News on,” Hawks said to Obama.

Obama told Hawks he could ask for the channel to be changed, noting: “The customer is always right.”

It was then that Hawks challenged Obama to an arm-wrestling match for his vote. “No,” Obama responded. “I’ll play basketball for your vote.” Landler noted that Obama’s response was made in jest.

Obama, the self-proclaimed basketball junkie, has come under scrutiny for his seeming lack of expertise about the game. In March, during an appearance on CBS, he said that Western Kentucky does not normally get into the NCAA tournament. The Hilltoppers have made 22 appearances in school history, and have gotten in three times in the past five years. In June, he referred to the Miami Heat as the “Miami Heats.”

Morgan Freeman Says Obama Is Not First Black President

In an interview with NPR, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman expressed dislike for the fact that most Americans consider President Barack Obama the first black President.

During his appearance on “Tell Me More,” Freeman said, “Barack had a mama, and she was white — very white American, Kansas, middle of America. There was no argument about who he is or what he is. America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president — he’s America’s first mixed-race president.”

Obama has proudly worn the mantle of America’s first black President. In 2010, the White House confirmed that Obama opted to check the census box that says “Black, African Am., or Negro.”

In 2009, comedian Wanda Sykes made an apt observation during a dinner at the White House. “The first black president! I’m proud to be able to say that. That’s unless you screw up. And then it’s going to be, ‘What’s up with the half-white guy?’”

Freeman conveyed that he is unhappy with the reluctance of Republicans and Democrats to work together, and he is disheartened by the current state of the country.

The Fight Against Frosting: Classroom Celebrations Must Be Healthy

Kids in Easton, Mass., might have to celebrate their birthdays with a cracker or a raisin. The public school system is proposing a policy that will eliminate cupcakes, frosted cookies and candy from classroom celebrations. The policy-makers want the traditional celebration fare to be replaced with fruit, applesauce, crackers or raisins — items that will be on a list of “safe foods.”

The proposal is part of an effort to update an existing wellness program that is connected to food allergy policies.

“We want to get the focus off junk food,” said policy-maker Lori Han. “You can celebrate a birthday without a cupcake.”

Students will still be allowed to have homemade sweets in a packed lunch, but the policy-makers would prefer that classrooms avoid food altogether during celebrations.

“The healthiest foods to eat are foods from the earth,” added Food Service Director Penny Spellberg. “Our goal is to make our community healthy.”

Atheists Claim ‘Religion Is Unpatriotic’

Fireworks weren’t the only thing in the sky on Independence Day. The American Atheists flew a banner over New York City that read, “Atheism is Patriotic — atheists.org.”

The organization wanted people to take a picture of the banner as it flew by New York City landmarks, such as the Statue of Liberty, Freedom Tower and the Empire State Building. The best photo will be used on the cover of American Atheist Magazine.

Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, said in a press release: “Religion is unpatriotic at its core, because it places its law above the law of the land. Indeed, religion abhors civil law, which is why we see attacks against science and privacy coming from our religious politicians. Religion asserts itself on the population at large by infiltrating the political system with true believers who will then use the political system to do the church’s bidding.”

Last year, “American Atheists attempted to fly a banner in all fifty states on July 4th, but ran into discrimination from companies that refused to fly the banner.”

The group cites the First Amendment in its defense: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

“Since Patriotism is loyalty to one’s country, which is much more about its laws than its geography, religion is at its core unpatriotic to the American Way,” wrote Blair Scott on atheists.org.

New Poll: Americans Believe Obama Can Handle Aliens

Most U.S. citizens believe President Barack Obama has what it takes to protect us from aliens: the little green ones, that is. According to the poll, 65 percent believe Obama could handle an alien invasion.

“We wanted the pulse on people’s opinions,” said Brad Dancer, senior vice president of research and digital media for National Geographic, who conducted the survey for the new series “Chasing UFOs.” “We wanted to get a sense of how Americans view UFOs, what people believe and how mainstream pop culture may or may not be playing into their opinions on it.”

The survey also revealed that more than 80 million Americans believe aliens exist. Many of those think the government has covered up past invasions.

In May, Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, asked the President about the existence of aliens during a visit to the White House.

“OK. I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of extraterrestrials,” answered the President.

Governor Christie Calls Reporter An 'Idiot'

This summer is setting record high temperatures, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is experiencing a different kind of heat. During a press conference Saturday, the Governor asked a reporter, “Are you stupid?” Liberals are pointing to the outburst as further proof that Christie is not disciplined.

Christie addressed a water issue and asked that questions remain on topic; but, as the press conference was winding down, a reporter asked about a legislative session.

“Did I say on topic? Are you stupid? On topic. On topic,” the Governor responded. “Thank you all very much, and I’m sorry for the idiot over there.”

The response has resulted in the outspoken Governor being berated by some and praised by others.

“Mr. ‘Jersey Shore Beached Whale’ Christie suffers from the same weakness as do [Sarah] Palin, [Newt] Gingrich, [Michele] Bachmann, [Herman] Cain, and other self-righteous, bombastic conservative politicians and pundits,” posted one commenter in response to MSNBC’s coverage of the story. “Based on this pattern of behavior, it would appear to be a Republican rite of passage to treat journalists (or non-fawning constituents) with contempt.”

“Forget about it!! lol Love the Soprano attitude. Go Gov. Christie,” posted another.

Christie’s name continues to come up in conversations about the Vice Presidency. The Governor says he would “listen at least,” if asked to join Mitt Romney.

Texas Town Reconsiders Flag Ban

The Mineral Wells City Council was flagged by the families of veterans after the Texas city decided to ban people from placing flags on graves.

In late June, the council decided that flags could not be in the cemetery other than during the two weeks before and after Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It also determined that teddy bears have to be removed 21 days after a funeral, and flowers cannot be on a grave unless they are in a vase.

The town says no disrespect is meant.

“This community has had a very long history — tradition — with the military, with Camp Wolters and then Fort Wolters for many, many years,” said City Manager Lance Howerton. “As a result of that, we have a heritage of military involvement in our community. I think they were trying not to be insensitive at all.”

The families of veterans have put up a fight, arguing that the deceased would want their graves donned with the flag they served.

“When a veteran tells you they love the flag more than life itself, they mean it,” said Robert Veach, an Army veteran whose father is buried at Woodland Park Cemetery in Mineral Wells. “It’s a symbol of the country; we can’t let it go without a fight. We can’t.”

The town will meet on July 10 to discuss the issue again.

Satanists Feel Persecuted

A Satanist couple in the Denver-area are claiming to be the victims of a hate crime after a sign reading “VOTE SATAN” was removed from their front porch. Satan’s endorsement was hung next to the American flag.

Luigi and Angie Bellaviste, members of the Church of Satan, decorate their property with black items, skulls and the number 666.

“I know of many people who have the Virgin Mary and tons of Jesus memorabilia ‘I Love Jesus’ and what is the difference?” said Mrs. Bellaviste.

But some of the neighbors see a difference.

“Everybody that sees that sign says, ‘What is going on with those people?’” said neighbor Mary Morasco.

The couple believes that the person who cut down their sign should be charged with a hate crime.

“Had that been the Star of David or a verse from the Koran, or something like that got damaged by somebody against those beliefs that would certainly be considered a hate crime,” said Mr. Bellaviste.

The Mountain View Police Department is planning to file the incident as a theft.

New Study: Spanking Causes Mental Illness

Those who were spanked as children may take a real hit later in life, according to new research. Lead author Tracie Afifi suggests that spanking can cause children to have mood and anxiety disorders and suffer from drug and alcohol abuse. The study appears in Pediatrics.

“There is a significant link between the two,” says Afifi. “Individuals who are physically punished have an increased likelihood of having mental health disorders.” Afifi advises parents that any sort of physical punishment “should not be used on any child, at any age.”

But not everyone in the academic community agrees. Robert Larzelere, a psychologist at Oklahoma State University says, “Certainly, overly severe physical punishment is going to have adverse effects on children. But for younger kids, if spanking is used in the most appropriate way and the child perceives it as being motivated by concern for their behavior and welfare, then I don’t think it has a detrimental effect.”

Larzelere, who published a study in 2005 in defense of spanking, believes the latest study doesn’t actually prove what it claims. “The motivation that the child perceives and when and how and why the parent uses (spanking) makes a big difference. All of that is more important than whether it was used or not.”

Spanking is illegal in 32 countries.

 

Google Bans Sale Of Weapons

This summer, Google will launch Google Shopping, which promises to be a new online shopping experience. But if you’re looking to buy guns, ammo or accessories, you’ll have to hunt elsewhere. Google won’t allow weapons or related products to be sold.

Previously known as Google Product Search, Google Shopping vows to deliver “the best answers for people searching for products and helping connect merchants with the right customers.” Companies must pay Google in order for their product to come up, but Google is making it clear that weapon suppliers are not allowed.

“We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center,” the site said in an email to HamLund Tactical.

Google added: “Our policies are often more restrictive than the law, because we need to be sure we can offer services that are legal and safe for all users.”

 

Palin Vs. Moore: Where Is The Country Headed?

The polarization of the country continues after the Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare. The ruling resulted in some conservatives encouraging their countrymen to throw the tea overboard, while liberals used the decision as an opportunity to send out obnoxious tweets.

The thoughts of the two sides are well summed up by Sarah Palin and Michael Moore.

In one corner there’s Palin, who says, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” She warned voters on Fox News that “if Obama is reelected, well, America, you will no longer recognize the country that today you truly love and can enjoy all of its freedom and prosperity and security if Obama is reelected because this ‘ObamaCare’ is a harbinger of things yet to come.”

She also said, “It’s time, again, for patriotic Americans to rise up to protest this obvious infringement on our economic and personal freedom.”

Across the ring is Moore, who believes the decision sets the world on the much-needed path to universal health care. While appearing on MSNBC’s “Last Word,” Moore said: “Now let’s move forward and get the next piece and the next piece. There’s no going back, though. We’re on the path leading toward this universal health care.

“And Republicans and conservatives who are sitting around thinking tonight, ‘Yeah, we’re going to turn this thing around.’ I’m telling you friends, this is a huge locomotive. And as the American public experiences the parts of the bill that are really great, they’re not going to want to turn that train around.”

The question remains: Which side will take the wheel and steer the direction of the country? Perhaps future generations of Americans will prize fairness over work ethic and view the Constitution as an outdated document in a changing world. Or maybe those who claim to be freedom fighters will get out from behind their desks, jump onto a steel horse and proclaim, “The socialists are coming.”

Time will tell.