X Mars the Spot
When a Malcolm X mural went up at S.F. State last spring and Jewish students objected to its anti-Semitic imagery (Stars of David juxtaposed with dollar signs, skulls and crossbones), the artist and his supporters disingenuously portrayed the outrage as censorship. The mural was eventually removed, but the spin lives on. This month, People for the American Way released its 1995 censorship report, titled "Artistic Freedom Under Attack," and listed the mural controversy as an example of squelched expression. Jewish civil rights groups are naturally upset by the group's decision to defend a purveyor of bigotry and to equate them with Christian fundamentalists who censor lesbian and gay art. "It's terribly wrong to lump us in with culture wars of the right wing," said Marty Potrop, executive director of the S.F. Hillel Foundation.
A federal judge in San Francisco handed the tiny threatened seabird called the marbled murrelet a major victory February 24 in the battle to save its Humboldt County nesting sites in old-growth redwoods. But the judge's permanent injunction against logging could lose the war for environmentalists struggling to preserve trees. That's because Texas S&L tycoon Charles Hurwitz's Pacific Lumber Co. immediately vowed chain saws will roar on other Headwaters Forest land not covered by the ruling. And Contract With America types threatened to use the decision to blast the Endangered Species Act for seizing private property. "Given Hurwitz's history of ripping off taxpayers, I hope they try that ploy," shot back Garberville green activist Cecelia Lanman. "The murrelet is a perfect poster child for the ESA. Extinction is coming quickly for this bird."
John Sullivan, George Cothran, John Roemer