In the annals of comedy history, Fawlty Towers is considered one of the greatest television programs ever produced. And from among its episodes, The Germans, in which hotelier Basil Fawlty clashes with visiting German tourists, is one of its most-loved.
And yet in an act which many will see as political correctness gone mad, if not actual cultural vandalism, the venerable BBC has censored a scene in which racist language is used.
In the scene, a hotel regular, the elderly Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley), relates a conversation in which he corrected someone for using a particular racist slur, by suggesting they use another, equally racist, slur.
In the context of the episode, the line is clearly intended to mock the old-school British upper class for their inherent racism. In that sense, the joke is on Major Gowen, as it were, and not aimed at racial minorities.
In a curious twist, though, other culturally insensitive jokes in the episode - such as Basil Fawlty goose-stepping in front of the German tourists, saying ''sieg heil'' while using a finger to simulate the moustache of German dictator Adolf Hitler and referring to a German tourist as ''a stupid Kraut'' - were not cut.
A perceived sensitivity to potentially offensive material has seen some classic British comedies and comedians effectively shelved. Love Thy Neighbour, which ran from 1972 to 1976 and focused on the feuding husbands of a black and white couple who lived next door to each other, is rarely seen in Britain.
This episode and TV show is considered Britain's funniest it made fun of aristocracy and anyone else.... shame on the BBC.
For six years, Democrats in the Senate have chafed at an unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by Republicans, who have used the practice to hold up nominees high and low and require a supermajority for virtually every bill. But now that they finally have an opportunity to end much of this delay and abuse, Democrats are instead considering only a few half-measures.
When the Senate returns on Tuesday, it will still technically be in the first legislative day of the session, which means only a simple majority is necessary to change the rules for the rest of the session.
With the support of 51 senators, the rules could be changed to require a talking filibuster, forcing those objecting to a bill to stand and explain their reasons, at length. The current practice of routinely requiring a 60-vote majority for a bill through a silent objection would end, breaking the logjam that has made the chamber a well of inefficiency and frustration.
Several younger senators, led by Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico, say that if pressed, a majority of the Senate would support their plan for the talking filibuster. But older senators arent so sure, and have reportedly persuaded Harry Reid, the majority leader, to back off the idea. With the experience of having been in the minority themselves, these Democrats are fearful of losing a powerful tool should Republicans ever return to power in the chamber.
That would squander a moment for change. Supermajorities were never intended to be a routine legislative barrier; they should be reserved for the most momentous bills, and the best way to make that happen is to require that objectors work hard for their filibuster, assembling a like-minded coalition and being forthright about their concerns rather than hiding in the shadows or holding up a bill with an e-mailed note.
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)Congressional Republicans heaped fulsome praise on President Obamas second Inaugural Address today, saying that it had given them a detailed list of things to thwart over the next four years.
My big fear was that the speech would be full of vague platitudes that wouldnt be helpful to us in plotting against him, said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). Once he started offering details of what he actually hoped to accomplish, though, I realized we had hit the mother lode.
Speaker Boehner praised the President for citing such specifics as hiring math and science teachers, building roads, and reducing health-care costs: Now that we know thats what hes got in mind for his second term, we can hit the ground running to stop him.
My takeaway from the speech was, if we work hard enough, theres nothing we cant keep him from doing, he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised Mr. Obama for injecting humor into a usually somber address: I loved that joke about ending political name-calling.
Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2013/01/republicans-praise-obama-for-offering-bold-vision-to-thwart.html#ixzz2Ih9Tb6OU
Who else asks these questions in court except your favorite lawyer, dentist, real estate agent?
Here's how the latest "Oh, Orly" moment rolled: Chief Justice Morrison C. England of the U.S. District Court for the East District of California Wednesday rejected a temporary restraining order (TRO) request Taitz filed to essentially prevent California's share of Electoral College votes from being certified because, she claims, Obama is not a natural born U.S. citizen as required of presidents under the U.S. Constitution. Click here for James Grinols, et al. v. Electoral College, et al.
Judge Morrison also denied Taitz's emergency appeal of his TRO ruling. This is where you'll find her "evidence" of Double Obama (or 00O for all you Ian Fleming fans):
Security guard leaves gun unattended in restroom at Lapeer charter school
The security officer "made a breach in security protocol" and left an unloaded weapon in a restroom "for a few moments," said Chatfield School Director Matt Young.
Young said the school has been in contact with local authorities about the matter and wouldn't discuss any possible repercussion for the officer, calling it "a personnel matter." Young also declined to name the security officer.
"The school has put additional security procedures in place that follow local law enforcement practices and guidelines," Young said in a statement. "At no time was any student involved in this breach of protocol. We will continue to work on improving school security."
Young stressed that no children were exposed to the handgun or put in danger, and declined to comment more on specifics of the incident.
The school recently hired the officer, who is retired from the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office, as a means to bolster school security. The effort had recently received attention in Lapeer and Genesee county media outlets.
Hidden Security Camera
of the officer
Dear Abby, Dear Abby ...
My feet are too long
My hair's falling out and my rights are all wrong
My friends they all tell me that I've no friends at all
Won't you write me a letter, Won't you give me a call
You have no complaint
You are what your are and you ain't what you ain't
So listen up Buster, and listen up good
Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood
Dear Abby, Dear Abby...
My fountain pen leaks
My wife hollers at me and my kids are all freaks
Every side I get up on is the wrong side of bed
If it weren't so expensive I'd wish I were dead
Dear Abby' Writer Pauline Phillips Dead at 94
Pauline Phillips, best known as the beloved advice columnist Dear Abby, died on Wednesday at age 94.
TMZ reports that Pauline was suffering from Alzheimers disease, but no cause of death was given.
Phillips daughter Jeanne, who took over the column, told the site, "I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend. My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change. I will honor her memory every day by continuing this legacy."
Pauline founded the syndicated "Dear Abby" column in 1956 under the penname Abigail Van Buren. Her twin sister, Eppie Lederer, had a similar advice series called Ask Ann Landers. Eppie died in 2002 after battling bone cancer.
The vanished Inca civilisation of the Andes, long thought to have no writing, invented a seven-bit binary code to store information more than 500 years before the invention of the computer, argues an American anthropologist.
Begun in the Andean highlands of Chile and Colombia around 1200 AD, the Inca ruled the largest empire on Earth by the time their last emperor, Atahualpa, was garroted by Spanish conquistadors in 1533.
But the voice of the Inca has never been heard; it has long been considered the only major Bronze Age civilisation without a written language.
Professor Gary Urton, an anthropologist at Harvard University in Boston and a specialist in Pre-Columbian studies, is now challenging that assumption in a new book, Signs of the Inka Khipu. He argues the Incas had a written language disguised in the form of elaborate knotted strings known as khipu.
Derived from the word for 'knot' in the Quechuan language of the Inca - still widely spoken in the the Andes highlands - these decorative objects consist of one main cord to which are attached several pendant strings. These, which can carry subsidiary or tertiary strings, bear clusters of knots.
In 1923, science historian L. Leland Locke proved that the khipu were more than decorative; they were a sort of textile abacus, their knots used to record calculations.
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