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State Loses Two Respected Former Lawmakers

This week, two former members of the Tennessee General Assembly passed away.

Retired Rep. Charles Sargent (R-Franklin) died at 73 after battling cancer. Sargent first began his service in the Legislature in 1996 and chaired the House Finance, Ways, and Means Committee for the last eight years.

Former Sen. Ben Atchley, age 88, retired from the Senate in 2003. He served in the Legislature for 32 years, the last 16 as the Senate’s top-ranking Republican. He served under the terms of six governors.

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Dutchman Wants to Legally Change His Age

The expression “you are only as old as you feel” has taken on a whole new level of meaning in the Netherlands as 69-year-old motivational speaker Emile Ratelband is trying to legally change his age on his Dutch birth certificate and other official documents.

He wants to change it to 20 years younger because he says he “feels” around 49. Ratelband believes the younger age will help him avoid age discrimination so that he can succeed in his career, his dating life, and even father more children. So convinced is Ratelband that he really is years younger, he is even willing to delay his pension benefits for 20 years just so he can be 49 again.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Ratelband said, “[I]n Europe and in the United States, we are free people. We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age.”

In a legal environment in which there are no absolutes, we can expect these kinds of claims to become the new normal. A ruling is expected by the end of the month.

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Colorado State Admin Suggests Students Avoid Certain ‘Non-Inclusive’ Terms

Zahra Al-Saloom, director of diversity and inclusion at Colorado State University (CSU), shared with one of the school’s student journalists, Katrina Leibee, a list of terms and phrases considered by the university to be off limits because they are non-inclusive.

On that list is the phrase “long time, no see” because it could be considered derogatory to those of Asian descent. Also, the university advises that the term “you guys” should be replaced with “y’all” and the word “freshman” should be nixed in favor of “first year.”

Writes Leibee in CSU’s The Rocky Mountain Collegian, “A countless amount of words and phrases have been marked with a big, red X and defined as non-inclusive. It has gotten to the point where students should carry around a dictionary of words they cannot say.”

Leibee believes that it should be up to individual students and not the school administration to decide which words should be off limits and adds, “We should all consider the possibility that these words were not a problem until we made them a problem. These phrases were not exclusive until we decided they were.”

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Scouts Honor Questioned in Trademark Lawsuit

What happens when girls start being included in clubs that were once exclusively for boys? Progressives might think more opportunities are being offered to previously excluded girls.

But when the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) not only opened its doors to girls, but also started to use the terms “scout” and “scouting” instead of “Boy Scout,” the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA or Girl Scouts) quickly responded by filing a lawsuit in federal court claiming trademark infringement, unfair competition, and dilution.

“BSA does not have the right under either federal or New York law to use terms like SCOUTS or SCOUTING by themselves in connection with services offered to girls, or to rebrand itself as ‘the Scouts’ and thereby falsely communicate to the American public that it is now the organization exclusively associated with leadership development services offered under that mark to girls,” the lawsuit says.

The Girl Scouts believes BSA has confused the public and harmed the goodwill of the Girl Scouts’ trademark through the unauthorized use of the Girl Scouts’ logo and quotations from GSUSA’s founder to promote BSA’s newly launched services.

BSA is reviewing the lawsuit with the hope that both groups can come to an amicable conclusion.

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Ohio Professor Confronted for Using Wrong Pronoun With Student

All it took was one complaint from a gender-confused male student to skewer Shawnee State University philosophy professor Dr. Nicholas Meriwether because he addressed him by the biologically-correct appellation “sir.”

Meriwether, who had an esteemed 20-plus-year career, had been respectfully addressing all his students as either “sir” or “ma’am” for years. However, he received formal notification from the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences threatening an investigation if he did not refer to the student by his/her preferred pronoun.

As a compromise, Meriwether suggested he call this particular student by either his first name or last name, but the student threatened to file a Title IX complaint, which then prompted the school administration to reject the proposal. Meriwether also was told he could not add a note in his syllabus that he was forced to go against his conscience and use non-biologically based pronouns.

For this professor’s attempt to show dignity to all students, the school administration labeled his classroom a “hostile environment.”

The professor’s internal grievance alleging that the incident violated his First Amendment rights fell on deaf ears, so he teamed up with Alliance Defending Freedom to file a federal lawsuit against the school.

Meriwether is seeking an injunction against the enforcement of the university’s non-discrimination policy should he refer to a student by his or her biological sex. “This isn’t just about a pronoun; this is about endorsing an ideology,” says Tyson Langhofer, the director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom. “The university favors certain beliefs, and it wants to force Dr. Meriwether to cry uncle and endorse them as well. That’s neither legal nor constitutional.”

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