By Diane Macedo
A small Tennessee-based newspaper has become the center of a free speech firestorm after it was banned from a grocery store chain and a KFC for allegedly publishing “hate” speech.
The Rutherford Reader, a family owned and operated business, runs feature columns of local interest, many of which lately have related to controversy surrounding a mosque being built in Rutherford County.
The columns didn’t sit well with at least one patron who complained to several companies that they amounted to hate speech after a guest columnist in April referred to Islam as “evil.” One month later, the Reader was dropped from Kroger grocery stores, and soon after from a local KFC.
Now the paper is threatening to sue, saying this is a blatant breach of its First Amendment rights.
“When a group or individual can force a corporation to take something out of their store which is printed material and not offensive, then we’re headed in the wrong direction,” Pete Doughtie, the Rutherford Reader’s co-owner and publisher, told FoxNews.com.
But the Reader’s material was offensive, Kroger concluded.
“The free publication rack at Kroger is managed by a third party, Distributech. It was brought to their attention that The Rutherford Reader had developed a consistent pattern of hateful rhetoric,” Kroger spokeswoman Melissa Eads told FoxNews.com. “After both parties reviewed several issues of The Reader, it was determined that Distributech would no longer distribute the publication. We support them in this decision as neither of us support hate rhetoric of any kind.”
Doughtie says when he asked Distributech for examples of hate speech used in the paper, the company was unable to give him one.
“We shouldn’t be writing hate speech, but I can’t find anybody that can define hate speech in our product,” he said.
Anthony Mijares, who complained to Kroger about the Reader in April, said he saw examples of hate speech in an April “Guest Column.”
The column called Islam “evil” and called for an end to Muslim immigration.
“While I respect the works of moderate Muslims such as Irshad Manji (‘Faith Without Fear’) and Tarek Fatah (‘Chasing A Mirage’), I wholeheartedly, unfortunately, must assert that the U.S. must halt all future Muslim immigration, until Muslims acquiesce to living within the legal structures of their host nations rather than striving to restructure nations under an evil, de-humanizing, backward and defiling 12th century ideology, even should this take the next 50 years,” guest columnist Justin O. Smith wrote in the April 8-14 issue.
Mijares said the comment left him troubled.
“When The Rutherford Reader publishes the statement that Islam is evil, defiling and dehumanizing, all you have to do is substitute the word Judaism (in place of Islam) and you know what that kind of commentary is without question,” Mijares told the Tennessean. “People would get it immediately. That is hate speech.”
Doughtie says the paper’s “not out to hurt anybody” and has never called for violence against any person or group, but by publishing opinion pieces the Reader is bound to offend someone, and those who don’t like it can simply choose not to read it.
“I pick a lot of things up that I don’t like but I just put them back, I don’t try to have them removed,” he said.
Doughtie may not have a legal leg to stand on if he pursues a lawsuit, a First Amendment expert suggested to the Tennessean. Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center noted that censorship originates in government suppression, not a business decision.
“In terms of the spirit of the First Amendment, though, I think it is true that more voices are always better than fewer voices,” Policinski told the Tennessean.
Doughtie told FoxNews.com that as “the only conservative paper in the area,” it’s important that the Reader be allowed to show the “other side” of issues that affect Americans.
It appears Doughtie is not alone.
Protesters gathered outside at least one Kroger store Saturday with picket signs sporting messages like “1st Amendment Trashed by Kroger and Distributech.”
And a manager at the KFC that banned the Reader says the company has received dozens of complaints since the paper was taken off the shelves, including her own.
“I’ve made my opinion known,” Smyrna KFC Manager Sandy Stahr told FoxNews.com. “I just feel it’s wrong that out of all the people that enjoyed reading it when they came in to eat by themselves, and because one person complained they’re going to take it out.”
For Kroger’s part, Ead says the supermarket received several complaints, not just Mijares’.
Doughtie says his increased circulation numbers show the Reader’s supporters in this dispute far outweigh its critics.
“We’ve had a heck of a lot more new subscribers. We have 14 new distribution points where businesses have called us and said they want our paper in their store,” he said. “We’ve even had to increase our printing.”
Despite the rise in business Doughtie says the paper has hired a lawyer and plans to fight in whatever capacity it can in hopes of sending a message.
“I’ve never sued anyone in my life but I think American people are getting tired of being pushed around and having stuff forced on us that we don’t want,” he said. “As long as we can print and as long as I’m breathing we’re going to continue on the course that we are on and I couldn’t care less who doesn’t like it.”
Distributech and the Smyrna KFC’s franchise owner did not respond to requests for commentary on this story.
By Michael McAuliff
Vice President Biden is out with an alarmed e-mail cash appeal warning that the GOP will mount a “blitzkrieg” against Democrats in the fall.
Comparing GOP tactics to the fast-striking forces of Nazi Germany, Biden warns in a message sent by the DCCC today: “As things heat up, you can expect House Democrats will be hit with a GOP blitzkrieg of vicious Swift-Boat-style attack ads, Karl Rove-inspired knockout tactics, thinly veiled attempts at character assassination and tea party disruptions.”
And while the GOP is mounting a blitzkrieg, Democrats are the allies.
“Our Democratic allies in the House need your help, and the President and I hope we can count on you to come to their defense so we can hold onto our Democratic Majority and continue moving American forward in a new direction,” Biden writes in the appeal.
Subtle? Not so much.
Update: Republicans were not amused by the implications of the e-mail.
Kevin Smith, spokesman for Minority Leader John Boehner, e-mailed a comment that seems sure to get under Democrats’ skins: “When will Democrats learn that invoking the Nazis’ crimes against humanity in a political debate is simply inappropriate?”
by Brian Alexander
In college, I lived next door to an agonizingly pretty cocktail waitress. Late at night, after she’d come home from work, her boyfriend — he drove a Porsche, naturally — would arrive for his nightly booty call. The walls were thin. Soon, like clockwork, her voice would pierce the drywall like a steam locomotive’s whistle: “hehehehehe” followed by “yesyesyes!” and then an explosion of high-pitched “ohmigodohmigodohmigod!”
While I was envious at the time, now it seems that all her ecstatic vocals might have been just the female equivalent of “Your butt looks great in those jeans, Babe. Honest.” A study released last month in the Archives of Sexual Behavior shows that those seemingly uncontrollable “ohmigods” during apparent orgasm are often play-acting meant to “manipulate” men.
The scientists, Gayle Brewer of the University of Central Lancashire and Colin Hendrie of the University of Leeds, asked 71 women between the ages of 18 and 48 a series of questions. They broke down the vocalizations into categories that included “silence,” “moan/groan,” “scream/shriek/squeal,” “words” (such as “Yes!” or the partner’s name, and “instructional commands” like “more.” Other questions asked why the women made the vocalizations and at what point they themselves had an orgasm, if they had an orgasm at all, and, if not, why they were doing all that shouting.
Well, it turned out that “women were making conscious vocalizations in order to influence their partner rather than as a direct expression of sexual arousal,” Brewer told me.
Women seek to speed things up
In the paper revealing these results, Brewer and Hendrie use the phrase “manipulate male behavior to [the women’s] advantage” which sounds like the women were trying to wrangle a pair of diamond earrings out of the guy.
But that’s not really what they meant. For example, “women reported using these vocalizations to ‘speed up’ their partner’s ejaculation due to boredom, fatigue, discomfort, time limitations,” Brewer said.
In other words, the sounds the women emitted were not because they were out-of-control excited. Indeed, when they were most excited, say during oral sex when they were more likely to have an orgasm, they didn’t do much of the old scream-n-shout.
By Claude Sandroff
Obama’s poorly coded message to investors is to take your money out of America and keep it out. Whether through excessive taxation, suffocating over-regulation, or thuggish confiscation, the lesson to be drawn by anyone with excess capital is to look for friendlier places to put it to work.
The list of friendlier places excludes North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran for the time being, but almost everywhere else qualifies. Russia’s president spent several days in Silicon Valley recently looking for adventurous investors and came away with a $1B commitment from Cisco Systems. For Cisco, sitting on a cash hoard of $30B, with years of experience partnering with the burgeoning Russian venture capital industry, the decision was probably not a very tortured one. And what a perfect opportunity for Cisco’s CEO John Chambers to keep his cash as far from Obama’s collection agencies as possible.
President Medvedev promises Cisco a capital gains tax rate of zero; President Obama promises to retire the evil George Bush capital gains rate of 15% and increase it to 20% in 2011. Cisco is merely telecasting to anyone who wants to tune in that Russia is taking advantage of Obama’s lurch towards socialism (or worse). While Russia is portraying itself as a stable bastion for capitalists, America is increasingly seen as the land that mauled Chrysler and GM bondholders. While erstwhile command economies are liberalizing, America under Obama is nationalizing. The lesson is clear: Don’t leave cash within the American financial system, earning minimal returns, with the fear that at any moment your assets can be confiscated or redistributed by a lawless and capricious federal government.
When will Obama decide that Cisco (or Wal-Mart, or Apple, or Google, or any other successful enterprise) is not paying its “fair share”? Aren’t the profit margins earned by Cisco on its routers — sometimes approaching 70% — too rich, or even obscene? Aren’t these gains, in essence, nothing but windfall profits resulting in the eventual gouging of the average American internet subscriber? Cisco might not drill in the Gulf of Mexico for its profits, but man-made disasters could await it too, in the form of arbitrary, BP-like shakedowns of its hard-earned wealth. Why risk shakedowns in gangland Obama when a much more competent criminal like Putin will guarantee your investments?
Cisco is not the only company sitting on a gigantic cash cushion. All told, the balance sheet cash for the non-financial segment of the S&P 500 totals around $1 trillion. Businesses sit on these huge asset cushions and accept earning virtually nothing in real terms because risks are too high to consider anything else.
In 2011, one of the largest tax increases in American history goes into effect. Not only do capital gains rise, but so too does the payroll tax, the income tax, and the estate tax. And even then, businesses large and small, while in their final financial death throes, will have nothing to look forward to other than the doom of ObamaCare and the unknown costs that Obama will attempt to afflict via cap-and-trade and a European-style value-added tax.
Fears are also emerging about the eventual burden imposed on all of us by dozens of states virtually bankrupt, especially if the federal government structures bailouts for those states deemed too big to fail. Unfortunately, the biggest and most likely to fail — California, New York, and Illinois — are Democrat and union fortresses that Obama will not let topple.
These and many other states have already been thrown a life jacket during the last near-trillion dollar stimulus in the form of unemployment insurance and other transfer payments. But the effects of those financial stimulants are beginning to wear off, and the federal drug dealer has little inventory left — except for massive money-printing.
Inflation is almost the last strategy left for the Federal Reserve, having driven short-term interest to zero and purchased all the treasuries, agency, and mortgage debt thrown its way.
Fears of excessive taxation and unpredictable costs are muting American entrepreneurial animal spirits. These fears are likely at the root of our persistently high unemployment. The issue too often is not lack of loan supply to launch a new enterprise, but a lack of demand for the loans to get started. Strangling business creation translates into no new job creation. If you launch a business today and organize as an S-Corporation, how can you be even reasonably sure will you take home enough in profits to justify the initial risk of the undertaking? And if you were successful enough to reach the revenue heights of $250K, Obama would target you as a capitalist predator and promote you to the highest tax bracket.
In contrast to Jefferson’s goal of preserving “a model of government, securing to man his rights and the fruits of his labor, by an organization constantly subject to his own will,” our current administration is brutally determined to transform government into an organ that redistributes those fruits to its cronies. The reaction of sane, rational Americans to these perverse incentives is not to create or hire or produce. Instead, existing businesses and potential founders of new ones are hunkering down, hoping to wake up from this national nightmare in 2010 and 2012 with some of their wealth still intact.
By Robert Eugene Simmons Jr
The southern border of the USA is no longer something that we can ignore or use as a political tool. Successive presidents have failed to control this border for one reason or another, but the escalation of drug cartel violence on the southern side of the border is making the issue of illegal immigration almost an afterthought. It seems that if something doesn’t change, we could be looking at an all-out war with Mexican drug cartels.
Police Chief Jeff Kirkham of the border town Nogales, Arizona, told Tucson Channel 9 (ABC) news that he has received threats that the Mexican drug cartels will start using snipers to target on- and off-duty police officers from across the border.
Given the fact that Nogales sits right on the border with the town of Heroica Nogales on the other side, the threat is entirely credible and feasible. Heroica Nogales would provide ample places to hide within sniper range of many parts of Nogales. With an effective range of over one mile, modern rifles could easily target U.S. citizens and police in an eerie echo of the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war.
If snipers start setting up shop in Heroica Nogales, we certainly won’t be able to count on the Mexican military to take care of the problem. The cartels clearly don’t fear the Mexican military, given the enormous intimidation and bribery that they are able to bring to the table. Leaked stories of massive Mexican military corruption and intimidation are commonplace in the border regions.
Given that the Mexican military would be of dubious worth, what options are left for the Obama administration to deal with the problem? Would Obama fire predator missiles into Mexico from drones to take out snipers, or would the risk of a real military conflict with the regular Mexican army and civilian casualties make that option out of the question? Would counter-snipers be employed to take out drug cartel snipers? Given Obama’s reluctance to deploy anything more than logistic personnel from the National Guard to the border, the answer is likely “no.” If Obama will not authorize return fire, what is the game plan for the police and civilians being shot at from across the border? If Obama did authorize return fire across the border, how would Mexico react to military snipers from our side shooting drug cartel snipers from theirs? Finally, what would the rules of engagement be? Would American military snipers be authorized to take out anyone deemed a threat, or would the life of a police officer or civilian have to be taken before they can fire back? Even the military will admit that counter-sniper operations are complex and fraught with risk.
However dismal the sniper scenario sounds, the problem doesn’t stop there. The Mexican drug cartels are exceptionally well-manned and armed with fully automatic AK-47 rifles, RPGs, and standard grenades, none of which are available for sale in the USA. How long before the cartels realize that they have far more men and armament than a border crossing and outright attack the police manning the crossing? It could start with the Mexican border control agents abandoning their post to avoid certain death and end with the cartels attacking a border crossing, thus opening up a floodgate through which tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, narcotics traffickers, criminals, and terrorists could flood into the USA in a matter of hours.
If the Mexican drug cartels stop fighting each other and unite, this scenario could rapidly become a catastrophe. Imagine a wave of violent drug cartels overrunning the border, crossing in Nogales and then the entire town. The most frightening thing is that the scenario is entirely plausible. With a foothold in the USA, the flood of people and narcotics would be virtually unstoppable, and we would end up with an urban war in our own borders.
Make no mistake that America is under an invasion. The army is not that of the Mexican government, but it is an invasion nonetheless. If we continue to turn a blind eye to the situation, it could easily escalate out of control into an international and human catastrophe. We can no longer wait and see what happens on the border and then react to it. Any military strategist will tell you that if you are merely reacting, you are losing.
It’s time that we send the American military, not just the National Guard, to the border to defend the USA, as is the responsibility of the federal government. This suggestion is not meant to disparage the Arizona National Guard, but they are simply not built for large-scale combat operations, and this is no longer just a simple law enforcement situation. We need to secure the border with combat troops and convince the Mexican drug cartels that they are better off squabbling with each other than fighting the USA. In fact, if the border becomes so secure that nothing can get through, the cartels will have to find other routes for their drug trade, leave the border area, and improve the lives of law-abiding Mexicans on the other side of the border as well.
In addition to securing the border, it is time for Mexican President Calderón and Obama to meet to discuss the possibilities of worsening assaults on the border and our possible responses to these events before they actually happen. If protocols and understandings are there beforehand, the likelihood of any incident spinning out of control into a war is greatly reduced.
Finally, Obama needs to reprioritize his administration away from attempting to sue Arizona and toward addressing the problem that prompted Arizona to pass the law in the first place. Only after the border is secure should we talk about what to do about illegal immigrants still in the USA and expanding work permit programs for law-abiding Mexicans to make a living here.