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Back in my days at San Francisco State University in 2000, I took a course called, "Issues in Free Speech" (taught by Joseph Tuman, great teacher and active political commentator in the Bay Area) and remember analyzing a whole bunch of cases involving free speech.  A number of these issues did in fact take into account free speech that was used as a mean of expressing anger, as well as those which anger was taken further than just free speech: Actual death threats or even acts of violence.

For words like the N word, they are dispicable yet people do in fact use them.  Even after decades of Martin Luther King Jr. speeches, the Voting Rights Act and President Obama's first election and second re-election, usage of the word hasn't gone away.  Hell, even black people use them and they've been using the N word toward each other even back during the slavery years.  

I have a friend living in San Francisco, a black Muslim, probably one of the coolest and most nicest guys in the world with no racist bone, calling a fellow black a "N" although it's in a different context.  Hell, comedian Sarah Silverman of all people has used the "N" word but in a different tone and she hasn't been chastized all the time when she performs her shows.  Even in the movie "Shaun of the Dead," Shaun's friend Ed says "What's up my N***AZ?"  There are different ways people do in fact use the N word and as a result, they never get the short end of the stick.  Personally, I never use the N word and don't intend on using it PERIOD, no matter what the context is.

However, it is clear that 22 year old Denise Helms, a former worker at Coldstone Creamery, may have thought she was speaking her mind with the best of intentions and wanted to excercise her First Amendment rights.  In the end, she was making a fool out of herself and probably doesn't have an understanding of how complex the world is outside of her own prism.

I think I can sense where Ms. Helms is going with this.  First she says President Obama has done nothing for this country, which is completely BOGUS because he's done hundreds of improvements all for the better since he's been president.  In fact, since Ms. Helms's city of residence, Turlock, California, is not that far from the Bay Area (where I live), I'm sure people recognize the boom in the Bay Area known as the IT & Tech explosion, something comparable to the boom of the years.  

I suppose Ms. Helms is not lazy enough to post her "N" word rant on Twitter but too lazy to go onto the website, which as you guys are aware is the official website of the White House.  It's not filtered nor is it a junk news site.  It's got all the information you need to know about what's happening in the White House, the Oval Office and President Obama's accomplishments.  In fact, accessing and navigating the website can give you a lot of input (as Johnny Five from "Short Circuit" would say):

Obama's Executive Orders

Legislation Obama has signed into Law:

Presidential Actions Obama Has Done:

Instead of getting worked up about nonsense or making claims she can't back up, I would suggest Denise Helms take the time to read through the above links and digest some information.  It only takes 10-15 minutes and won't interrupt her day at all, unless she's at the moment trying to find a job.  I mean, Ms. Helms is only 22 years old, is young and still has time to wash the crap "critical thinking" out of her system like Samuel L. Jackson's Jules Winnfield washed the tasty Big Kahuna burger with soda in "Pulp Fiction."  Yes, I know it will be hard for her but she is still young.

In the meantime, there's a few things Ms. Helms needs to clear up (citation from Huffington Post):

“News keeps getting worse for Denise Helms, the 22-year-old California woman whose racist, threatening Facebook status about President Barack Obama went viral this week. Helms has since been fired from her job at a Turlock, Calif., Cold Stone Creamery, and the Secret Service is now looking into her comments.

“Another 4 years of this (N-word),” Helms wrote on her Facebook Tuesday night. “Maybe he will get assassinated this term.”

Yes.  Obama will definitely be "......"  There have in fact been attempts to attack Obama during his presidency.  I'm not sure how many although they were short lived and didn't at all get anywhere thanks to the efficiency of the Secret Service, FBI and Police Departments around Washington D.C.  Not that I'm ruling out the possibility but you know, I have my doubts Obama will in fact be "......"  See, I'm not saying the word because I don't want to incite to anyone to actually do it.
Sacramento's Fox 40 news crew caught up with an unapologetic Helms on Wednesday.

"I didn't think it would be that big of a deal," she said. "The assassination part is kind of harsh. I'm not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don't think I'd care one bit."

Right Denise.  You didn't think it would be that big of a deal.  When you're on Facebook, your life is not private like you think it is.  In fact, online social mediums like Facebook and Twitter have the opportunity to spread your views across the wider reaches of the Internet faster than you can take a bite of your next Quesadilla.  Well, maybe not that fast.

So here's Ms. Helms acting as her own spokeswoman in addressing the controversy:

So apparently my post last night about Obama got onto Twitter and Fox 40 came and interviewed me cause apparently a lot of people in Sacramento think I'm crazy and racist. WOW is all I got to say!! I'm not racist and I'm not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!"
Um, Ms. Helms, when you say the N-Word, use it in the context of our own elected black U.S. President, then tell those perhaps he should get "......" this term and use Facebook to vent your frustrations (and I'm sure her profile isn't set to Private) and the message gets across to thousands of people across the country, it is quite possible you are a racist and crazy at the same time.  I don't know it but others might think you are.

And of COURSE Ms. Helms is simply stating her opinion.  However, isn't it wise she speaks her mind in front of her own family?  That would make it possible for her to get corrected, if by any chance her family was not in fact racist, and she wouldn't lose her job.

Well, it looks like there's no way in hell she'll get her job back:

Cold Stone Creamery@ColdStone

@poojababyy This employee is no longer w/the company. Her comments are outrageous, completely unacceptable & in no way reflect our views.

By the way, don't you guys sense there's an odd coincidence here with Denise Helms and what she's said about Barack Obama?  Isn't she a granddaughter or grand nephew of the late U.S. Senator from North Carolina Jesse Helms?  Wasn't he a racist at some point in his life?

This reminds me, Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unlimited" will be released in theatres December 25th.  Anyone a Tarantino fan?

By the way, I highly recommend reading Joseph Tuman's "Freedom of Expression in the Marketplace of Ideas."  It's the newest version of the book whereas I have the 1996 edition of it titled "Freedom of Speech."  You can find both versions available at


What should happen to Denise Helms?

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Comment Preferences

  •  People who scream about their 'free speech rights' (25+ / 0-)

    fairly frequently have no idea just what their First Amendment rights actually mean, and just assume they apply to everyone, everywhere, and are not simply protections specifically against the government, not against private employers.

    •  They also seem to think (18+ / 0-)

      it includes an immunity against publicity, criticism and snark.

    •  hairsplitting here... but in a Fascist state Biz (0+ / 0-)

      corporations, oligarchy members could suppress people's rights legally as veiled extensions of the government or even be the puppet masters of the government... and pretend that their actions were entirely constitutional....

      So hypothetically in the context of a different country, companies could fire people on the basis of what they say or write or do with or without direct or indirect communication with a government... and even be stochastic fascism... with complete deniability on collusion or information sharing with the government. Closer to home there was the apparent coordination between local governments and apparently arms of the federal govt. during the peak activities of the Occupy movement... and we have no input on just how many among Occupy participants lost their jobs due to their participation... probably not that many... and no way to know if any were due to local govt. passing the word on to local business owners or even corporations that an employee was persona non grata... That it happened even in just a small way is quite likely but the bigger question is would it lead to more of the same, more often and hurting more people in the future with the wrong people in power. Most of the country has employ or fire at will labor markets which means it is hard to prove that a federal civil rights law was broken.

      But the gray area of cooperation between conservative companies and corporations and any level of government is not communication and collusion-free by any means and self serving information passes between them all the time whether legal, questionable or plainly illegal... and from time to time the criminal nature could involve conspiracy to deprive citizens of constitutional rights... as well as more run of the mill corruption for personal gain. We know this because there are government officials and employees who are regularly charged and convicted for these kinds of things... and among conspiracy theories about a lot more are clear cases of malfeasance and collusion that the should be perps walk away from all too easily.

      But the constitutional danger is not so much that it is already happening in an semi-organized way however large or small here or there (as it always has been) ... it is that from now on too many clear violations may be ignored or not followed up on in our modern context. The precedents of Letting these kinds of abuses become much more entrenched routine and larger only sets the stage for bigger criminals to take advantage of the evolving machinery and knit it together into a bigger corrupt political entity that introduces totalitarianism by stealth cloaked in all the existing structures and neutralized safeguards. A canary in the mine leading indicator is how whistleblowers are treated... and what is allowed now that wouldn't have been 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.

      In many ways it is nothing new in the USA... old style political machines, corporations and organized crime overlapped many times whether in company towns, corrupt rural counties or corrupt big city style environments... but they came and went, rose and fell as politics and the public changed and it was all before the information age. The internet and all the extensions of data collecting and sharing leverages everyone's power... the public as well as those who would use it for their own anti democratic corporate purposes... So it is an arms race as it has always been. The printing press equipped the Church and the state to more efficiently impose its agenda and views but it also was a mass information revolution that gave equal and ultimately stronger power to entire populations via literacy, knowledge, communication...

      But mostly, each new step in information "weapons" or tools lead to a new uncertain balance, a new stand off. So we are not automatically doomed by the way technology is going but at the same time the potential for a truly powerful "Orwellian-lite" state from developing is still there... and lite only in the outward trappings and stealthy evolution to. Can a Baathist/Nazi/Junta/Fascist/Oligarchy-Think Tank & Foundation-ALEC-militarized police force combination come into being built on religion, Gerrymandering, Media monopoly, Internet control, vote suppression etc?

      The "free speech zones" would be a lot smaller if all these things link up with say a Republican administration and the Judiciary and Civil Service all populated preferentially with biddable plants... (and we have already had several tastes of that combination with each edition a bit more extreme than the previous)

      But of course these strands or potential undemocratic trends all have a hodge podge of public counter forces opposing them... and quite effectively in the end so far... but being less organized with less focused money behind them they are always going to have some disadvantages... slow to build popular push back too. So the stand off continues as it always has... but is there reason to fear going too far in an anti-democratic direction to the point that recovery to more democracy again just never quite comes about because of the new leverages on information that corporations and the government already have and will soon have...

      Transparency laws that should protect us from collusion between corporations and the government to indirectly punish people for their political views are only as good as the custodians of them... the ones we hope are working for us and not for themselves. FitzWalkerstan is one more obvious example but more worrisome are all the other places that are not much different and are doing the same things without much notice...

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:02:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And then there's this: (11+ / 0-)

    Spoiled children of billionaires threaten assassination. Oh, and they joke about women's rights.


    Chaos. It's not just a theory.

    by PBnJ on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:59:40 PM PST

    •  That ought to earn them a Secret Service visit. (9+ / 0-)

      And oddly enough, that's something that not even Mummy & Poppy can fix for them.

    •  Sooner or later (7+ / 0-)

      can we please start referring to this sort of thing as "ANTIsocial media?"

      Those who do not understand history are condemned to repeat it... in summer school.

      by cassandracarolina on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:30:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stephanie Seymour must be proud (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, PBnJ


      "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

      by jazzence on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:05:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  what happens to most of these cases: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      They get the official visit, they have to answer a lot of uncomfortable questions, and they get put on a permanent watch list to make sure they can never commit a violent act against a president or VP or other public officials.  (No doubt there's info-sharing between the Secret Service and the US Marshals, the latter being responsible for protecting other public officials.)

      The ones who appear to be overt threats (e.g. stockpiling weapons or explosives) get prosecuted: quietly and with zero fanfare so as to avoid stirring up copycats.

      The ones who don't appear to be overt threats are still watched as far as keywords in their communications are concerned, and travel to places where public officials will be appearing.  

      Either way, the violence potential of these people is neutralized, and while they're still free to rant obnoxiously, it's also amply clear to them that they are no longer free to make threats, and if they try to commit a violent act, they will get pounced and dealt with by the law.  

      Now we've got our future back.

      by G2geek on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:33:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  She can probably find work (4+ / 0-)

    at a McDonalds in West Virginia.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -Benjamin Franklin

    by hotdamn on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:03:15 PM PST

  •  Northern California is brimming with stupid white (4+ / 0-)


    I grew up there. The area was populated by people from Oklahoma and Missouri during the dust bowl, including my family. It's like a mini-bible-belt full of stupid low-income white people who vote against their own interests.

    •  it it also brimming with Liberals (7+ / 0-)

      I live in Sacramento and although we are nowhere as metropolitan as San Francisco, we tend to vote very Democratic.  Too bad the same can't be said for Placer County right next door.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:20:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are, fortunately (12+ / 0-)

        I grew up in Yuba/Sutter area in a tiny rural community completely sheltered from the outside world. I was fortunate to take a summer college class with a black, gay professor who totally changed my view of the world. Everyone else in my family is still locked inside a very scary, racist evangelical world-view. I am so grateful that I was liberated.

      •  It's brimming with both (10+ / 0-)

        I live here. It's a weird mix of very Democratic and Progressive voters, some moderate Conservatives, and a fair shake of hardcore racists who came over during the Depression. And then, of course, different ethnic groups also dominant various regions offering yet further subtle permutations of politics.

        It's diverse and stratified in a way that Blue States in the East Coast, where I've also lived, are not.

        I wouldn't say it's overly full of fundamentalist Christians though, or if it is, they're very quiet about it.

        It's one of the most racially tense places I've ever been, FWIW.

        •  Sounds a little like Ann Arbor 40 years ago. (4+ / 0-)

          I had student jobs in the University of Michigan Hospital which brought me into contact with lots of people of various political bents, but a sizeable portion of them were from Appalachia. I like to think succeeding generations have assimilated, so to speak.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:43:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  most racially tense: ohboy, what's it going to... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          ... take, to cure that?  

          Kids growing up listening to music from each others' cultures?  Multi-lingualism?  Something else?  

          Now we've got our future back.

          by G2geek on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:36:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Getting the neo-nazi hate groups out of area (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This area is, unfortunately, a racially diverse area with a high Latino population, many of whom are undocumented; actually, while there was so much hullabaloo over Arizona's high % of undocumented persons during the SB1070 flap, I had to groan a bit because California has a higher rate of undocumented folks, a group of people whose rights I strongly and vociferously support.

            So you take that, and then you combine this with a major SPLC-ranked hate group (I can't remember the name of the main one I'm thinking of, but here's an example of what I'm talking about) which has a huge number of MinuteMen in this area, as well as other quasi-militia types, then you add "rural districts" to the mix, and then you float enough methamphetamine down from Clear Lake/Grass Valley, and you have a very bad scene. These groups were one of the most active recruiting groups for white pride type groups in the Country.

            California contains 84 designated "hate groups" compared with just 17 in Arizona.

            I've been in some serious shouting matches with these people at immigration rallies, Cinco de Mayo Marches, and Cesar Chavez marches.

            Additionally, we have had instances of violent antisemitism from groups of self-proclaimed neo-nazi skinheads like the really charming American Front which still has a presence, and allied groups, in the Bay Area. We don't have a very high minority population otherwise outside of the East Bay area, but that area has a significant number of African-Americans who have had tension with the police force since the 1960's with the Black Panthers there, which is probably what caused the dramatic violence of Oakland Occupy as compared with other areas. Did I mention that the police force here are more paramilitarized than in other areas? That is an odd tidbit of trivia. I have seen tanks in my old neighborhood for fairly routine issues.

            So there's that too.

            There is a high % of Asians in San Francisco and a large East Indian population in the South and East Bay, but I don't know much about racial tensions in these subgroups.  

            Just to explain what the culture's like here once you get away from Wine Country, the Castro, or Muir Woods.

            •  That reads poorly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I'm quite glad the area is racially diverse. The unfortunate part, in my first sentence, is meant to refer to all of these factors coming together.

            •  hmm... OK, then let's start with... (0+ / 0-)

              ... going after the meth, the drug of choice among violent criminals because it gives them extra energy to commit crimes.  

              This could be done with the aid of small drones equipped with sensors for the chemicals used in meth labs.  "Olfactory surveillance" is useless against political dissidents, pot is already quasi-legal here, so the signal/noise ratio is favorable, the upside is good and the downside isn't bad.  

              Taking out meth labs will also remove money-flows that notoriously support right-wing hate groups.  

              I'm inclined to believe that drug subcultures being what they are, drug-using members of hate groups who lose access to meth will tend to switch over to pot, which really does tend to make people passive.  So this entire combination of events adds up to taking the wind out of the sails of the haters, and reducing their critical mass.

              From there, the next step would be to develop a number of youth subcultures whose combined effects will further weaken the haters.  Here we need two things:   One, a subculture directed toward the "achievers," people who want to "go somewhere" or think of themselves as "going somewhere."  Two, a subculture directed toward the "rebels," those who feel persecuted or shut-out from opportunity, who are rebelling against the dominant culture whether they know it or not.  

              Here I'm inclined to think that each of these subcultures needs to address two things:  One, reclaiming the childhood that these youths wanted but for whatever reason missed (or the childhood for which they are nostalgic).  Two, reclaiming the adulthood that these youths want but for whatever reason feel has become much harder to achieve (or at minimum an optimistic attitude toward the future).  The "achiever" and "rebel" subcultures need to go about this in different ways, with different sets of activities that none the less speak to the same needs.

              OK, how much of this seems useful so far, and how much seems useless or "not even wrong"?

              We got the future back.

              by G2geek on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 10:34:41 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  You're both right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sychotic1, mahakali overdrive

        I went to high school in Turlock.  It's about 50/50.

    •  Earth is brimming with stupid people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, IndieGuy

      Humans are incredibly smart. We've modeled most of the universe's physical laws. OTOH humans (no sorting necessary) are pretty damn stupid too. Perhaps we only work well in aggregate? No... we just came off an American Presidential campaign. that blows that idea out of the water...

  •  well, perhaps (7+ / 0-)

    Ms Helms should support unions as opposed to being dedicated to the Republican "employed at will" concept.  

    As for firing someone for being an asshole outside of work, I don't support it.  But it's life under free market rules, I guess.  Ms Helm might want to think about that.  I wonder if she will apply for unemployment benefits - or would that make her a "taker" - something else she is presumably opposed to.

    I think your title is a little off - I'm guessing she was sacked for more or less supporting the murder of the president as opposed to the racial slur.  

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:07:27 PM PST

    •  speaking as a former employer (7+ / 0-)

      I used to tell employees to park their political beliefs and personal biases at the door; the only color in business is green

      •  But wouldn't this be such a case? (0+ / 0-)

        It sounds to me like she didn't bring her political belief to work, she brought them to facebook.

        I'm not saying what she did was right, it was most certainly a racist rant. Only that from the report it doesn't appear that she did it in on company time or property.

        In the real world you can loose your job for what you do on your own time. In some cases that seems far more reasonable than in other cases.

        A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by notrouble on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:34:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  if they are the public face of the company (0+ / 0-)

          then their private lives matter.  We fired an employee for drug use though it happened off work and on her own time

          •  You actually bring up an interesting one there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            So in the future should Washington state employers be able to fire employees for marijuana use when the use doesn't happen at work and the employee doesn't come to work under its influence? We just legalized it in this state.

            A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by notrouble on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:19:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  in theory they could fire 'em for drinking coffee (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              .... but in practice what happens is that lawful drug use becomes moot as far as employment is concerned.

              There was a time when IBM forbade its employees from even being seen in bars.   That puritanical horseshit got thrown overboard years ago.  

              The same thing will happen about pot.  

              Now we've got our future back.

              by G2geek on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:38:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  spot on (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                in our case it was an active cocaine user working in a health clinic.  If we had not fired her, DHEC would have been down our throats.
                What will be very interesting to see if weed is legalized on the state level if federal agencies will continue to enforce their regulations that treat weed as illegal.  Based on this administration's track record it seems the feds will continue to fight against state legalization

              •  In some states they could fire them for being gay (0+ / 0-)

                and that is not right. I think some reasonable limits need to be explored, even beyond who we place into protected groups. Is donating money to a democratic campaign a reason for an employer to fire someone?

                A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

                by notrouble on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:09:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  on one hand, most of us support... (0+ / 0-)

      ... the right of employees to exercise all of their civil and legal rights outside the workplace, free of any fear of interference or retaliation by their employers.

      But on the other hand, we can also recognize that there are limits to all things, and employers have a legitimate interest when:

      = An employee's conduct outside of work brings substantial disrepute to the company, or has direct consequences such as leading to a boycott.

      = An employee's conduct outside of work includes criminal behavior or the encouragement of others to engage in criminal behavior (in this case including making a statement that encourages assassination).  

      In a practical sense that translates to policies such as:

      = Legislation forbidding employers from retaliating against employees on the basis of support for or opposition to candidates for public office.

      = Legislation protecting employers who fire workers for engaging in criminal conduct or urging others to do so.  

      Now we've got our future back.

      by G2geek on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:46:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where's the "She should be given a couple of (2+ / 0-)

    years in a quiet place (like a prison cell) to contemplate her actions" poll option?

  •  Maybe it's me... (13+ / 0-)

    But I think the assassination part had a little more to do with her firing than the N word.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

    by paulitics on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:13:54 PM PST

  •  I think the (5+ / 0-)

    Assassination part had a little more to do with her firing than the "N" Word.

    "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -- George Eliot

    by paulitics on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:16:25 PM PST

  •  It sounds like her firing was over the "A" word... (6+ / 0-) in " assassinated" and not what's in your title.

    Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

    by kck on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:17:14 PM PST

  •  What's this about Jessie Helms? (5+ / 0-)

    Are you making that up? If you are, you should edit it out of the diary. That serves no purpose.

  •  cracker please........... (0+ / 0-)

    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:37:19 PM PST

  •  Is this in defense of her right to use (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, ZenTrainer, IndieGuy, jan4insight

    the word?
    Btw, it seems to me that her firing had more to do with her calling for the assassination of the prez.
    Re the use of the N word, I would fire her ass if she worked for me and used the word in that context. Free speech or no free speech.

    866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

    by JoanMar on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:40:40 PM PST

    •  I note employees have been fired for social (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      media postings even when done on their own time and on their home computers

      •  If, as an employer, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        this were brought to your attention, what would you do?
        An employee represents the company and as such her conduct is a reflection on her employers.

        866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

        by JoanMar on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 03:52:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  my last business enjoyed serving a 70% (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          minority population; two of my children are biracial and I am a Life member of the NAACP.  My reaction would be the same as when my Confederate cousin made a comment about Obama and a woodpile

          •  You can't fire your cousin and he really (0+ / 0-)

            doesn't represent you.
            I have members who say disgusting stuff but they know they'll get a good dressing down when they spout off around me.
            That applies especially to my (soon-to-be-ex) husband (and his sycophantic friends) who is a non-conformist, anti-establishment sort.
            An employee is different, I am thinking.

            866-OUR-VOTE!!(866-687-8683) Lyndon Johnson: The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.

            by JoanMar on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:38:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  you can fire relatives (0+ / 0-)

              and in running a small business you will find that the face employees present to the public is seen by the community as you; unless you are running a KKK laundry (extra starch around the eyeholes), having racist employees is a nonstarter  

    •  Not in defense of her right to use the N Word (0+ / 0-)

      Re-read my diary again and you'll find out that right from the get-go I'm pointing out that saying the N Word is in fact protected in the First Amendment.  It's still free speech.

      On the other hand, Denise Helms's usage of the word did in fact cross the line because the context of the usage of the word did in fact play out in a situation where more than Ms. Helms's own inner circle paid attention to what she was saying.  As a result, Ms. Helms has undergone serious damage control, which she's not handling very well.

      However, I don't like the N word and don't promote it and whenever I hear it, it makes me uncomfortable.  I grew up in Berkeley so racism isn't in my bone nor is it amongst any of my friends.  In fact, when we were growing up, we never even met friends on the basis of chosing who was white or black.  We didn't even really give a damn.

      I think I'm going to see about adding "assassination to the title."

  •  bringing up that African Americans use the N word (5+ / 0-)

    ignores that language exists in context and the context both personal and social is different when used by Chris Rock and by Rush.  The sooner we discard discussion of this the better because it has been an ersatz controversy for wingers for years who continue to quibble over the name of the NAACP

    •  We can't discard discussion if we don't discuss (0+ / 0-)

      I understand your sentiment but the problem is, until we create a dialog that serves as a way of educating people and understanding they need to understand the context of what they say before they say it, we're never going to get anywhere and allow minorities like the African Americans to be in peace.

      And when I brought up my Black Muslim friend using the N Word, it has nothing to do with him being racist.  He uses it towards another black friend he knows.  It's happened more than once.  However, you are right it is in a different context than say Rush Limbaugh or other nuts using the word.

      I mean, this is Daily Kos for crying out loud.  It's not as if any of our discussion on these diaries is going to change anything as far as the controversy that's already happened with Denise Helms.  When this Huffington Post story was published, the news was already in the headlines so Huffington Post didn't really expose the controversy from the get-go.  Ms. Helms was already spoken to by local news stations and videos of her were already on You Tube.

  •  When I first read this story and saw (7+ / 0-)

    her statement

    I'm not racist and I'm not crazy. just simply stating my opinion.!!!"
    I thought yeah, you're just simply stating your racist opinion and making a threat crazy enough to get you a visit from the secret service.
    •  I live in Philly. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I hear The N Word several times a week. Usually said by a black or brown person. I am indifferent.  

      Ice Cream is a service occupation. I would give an employee that rude and dumb a warning. I really do not like rude and dumb. Three warnings you get fired.

      I got rid of my Facebook. I like privacy more than I like company.

      I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

      by CherryTheTart on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:06:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  people tend to misinterpret (0+ / 0-)

    "first amendment rights"

    She has the right to say what she wants, to a point.  And anyway, she also cannot expect to say whatever she wants, and for there to be absolutely no consequences.

    Her employer is well within its rights to fire her, as long as they can prove that she violated their rules, and that she was aware of these rules.  If they can't prove that, then she may be entitled to some money, through civil suit, for wrongful termination.

    "A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and me?" - Don Van Vliet

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:14:05 PM PST

    •  She has become a distraction (0+ / 0-)

      and is bringing unwelcome negative attention to her employer. They have every cause to fire her.

      Did you remember to water the fuchsia?

      by jayden on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:29:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A company fire fire a person for almost any reason (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jayden, notrouble

        Yes she has first amendment rights but the company also has rights if employees do things the company doesn't like. If she had posted America died or that Obama is an asshat. I doubt she would've got canned. But the n-word and talking about assasination- she was toast. People don't realize that posting raunchy photos or ignorant rants can come back to haunt you. Wish I could feel for her but she's a nasty piece of work.

        •  Don't we need to work on the limits of the reasons (0+ / 0-)

          To give an example that could be highly offensive to a conservative christian business owner who caters to a conservative cliental...

          If an employee at a christian book store marches in an area gay pride parade should her employer have the right to fire her?

          Clearly we believe not. In fact, sexual orientation may not be a protected group within the state where such a thing happens. Furthermore, the employee in question may very well not be gay, many heterosexual persons (myself included) strongly support gay rights as a basic component of human rights.

          A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by notrouble on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:52:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Right. And context matters. (0+ / 0-)

      You can't expect everyone to be dictated how to speak or how to speak their mind.  You can, however, tell them they need to think about what they say before they say it.

  •  Turlock (0+ / 0-)

    Turlock is in California's version of Appalachia. Poor, rural, did not boom and bust, because it was too far away from anywhere to have a real estate boom. Not that many blacks, a lot of hispanics, a lot of undocumenteds. Meth is the drug of choice. Most of the farms are large with absentee owners. It's about three hours SE of San Francisco.

    This is "Grapes of Wrath" country; the gentry still sneer at the poor whites as "Okies" and "Arkies".

  •  Here's A Further Follow-up Interview With Denise (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, notrouble, Hastur

    Helms where she wonders why the police are not protecting her.

    Says she is not a racist.

    Says she would not really do that to Obama "since he has two kids".

    She is actually a manager of Coldstone Creamery, not just an employee as popularly reported.  She complains she was fired.

    The Republican Party is Simply a Coalition of Greed and Hate

    by kerplunk on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:28:01 PM PST

    •  Wow. A manager? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kerplunk, notrouble, Hastur

      That's even worse!  Gee, imagine what kind of morale her employees felt when their own manager was on the news.

      I really would hate Turlock to be the butt of all jokes.  I mean, I've been there before.  I visited California State University Stanislaus.  Not a bad campus but it's just too remote for me to want to consider it a place for study.

    •  At least where I work (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      management are salaried and considered to be company representatives at all times. That does change the case.

      I still think the larger idea of what away from work activities can be held against your employment needs to be considered. In the modern world of nearly instant electronic communications anything we do online, or off line in public, could be published and seen by employers and their customers.

      A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by notrouble on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 07:57:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sure, she has all the free speech she wants (4+ / 0-)

    However, in California an employer has the right to fire her at any time, no reason required. (At will, they call it) In this case, I would have fired her, that's for sure.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 04:30:04 PM PST

    •  I think I know why she was fired now (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Denise Helms was probably fired because Coldstone Creamery was dealing with serious damage control after the news broke about her comment about the N Word and assassination in the same sentence.  Coldstone Creamery wanted to protect their reputation and I completely understand where they're coming from.  Their response was quick, to the point and I commend them for acting fast.  

  •  I'm all for Naming and Shaming (3+ / 0-)

    words have consequences

    "It strikes me as gruesome and comical that in our culture we have an expectation that a man can always solve his problems" - Kurt Vonnegut

    by jazzence on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 05:16:16 PM PST

  •  The Internet is Forever, Too.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't feel sorry for this silly person, but it might be instructive to remind your teens about the permanence of the internet.

    Ms.Helms had best hope her future employers don't turn to Google.....

  •  As to the firing thing. (0+ / 0-)

    Not only does it reflect badly on her employer, but it potentially could cause problems with fellow employees who might have a deeper tan than she does.

    In this case I do agree that the employer has a right to get her out of their work place.

  •  I was in a grocery store election night. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A very diverse grocery store. I was very charged about the election and at one point was overwhelmed by the urge to yell "fired Up".

    In my head the whole store would say "Ready to go".

    But something stopped me. Some inner voice that apparantly Denise Helms doesn't have.

    Leaving the store I had a few friendly words with the security guard the way I always do. I told him of my urge and he laughed and said good thing I didn't yell.

    Fired up is juat a bit too close to "fire".

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 06:41:47 PM PST

  •  Leave it to theFBI and secret service. I am (0+ / 0-)

    Making even oblique threats against the prez can get one in lots of trouble.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 08:26:45 PM PST


    Enough of this bullshit.

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