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Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke

M.Ted 31 Jul 03 - 11:10 AM
Amos 31 Jul 03 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,MMario 31 Jul 03 - 12:25 PM
Maryrrf 31 Jul 03 - 12:31 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM
katlaughing 31 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM
open mike 31 Jul 03 - 12:42 PM
artbrooks 31 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM
M.Ted 31 Jul 03 - 01:24 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,guest 31 Jul 03 - 01:53 PM
M.Ted 31 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 02:23 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 02:45 PM
Don Firth 31 Jul 03 - 02:47 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 02:52 PM
kendall 31 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 02:58 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 03 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,MMario 31 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 03:42 PM
mike the knife 31 Jul 03 - 05:05 PM
Folkiedave 31 Jul 03 - 05:22 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM
SINSULL 31 Jul 03 - 08:22 PM
Barry Finn 31 Jul 03 - 08:27 PM
M.Ted 31 Jul 03 - 08:36 PM
Rapparee 31 Jul 03 - 09:42 PM
IvanB 31 Jul 03 - 11:59 PM
M.Ted 01 Aug 03 - 12:10 AM
GUEST 01 Aug 03 - 12:56 AM
Wilfried Schaum 01 Aug 03 - 03:11 AM
Maryrrf 01 Aug 03 - 09:14 AM
GUEST 01 Aug 03 - 09:19 AM
Blackcatter 01 Aug 03 - 09:38 AM
M.Ted 01 Aug 03 - 11:26 AM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 01 Aug 03 - 11:40 AM
Grab 01 Aug 03 - 12:00 PM
GUEST 01 Aug 03 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 01 Aug 03 - 12:48 PM
Frankham 01 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM
Kim C 01 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 01 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM
Mark Ross 01 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM
katlaughing 01 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 01 Aug 03 - 03:20 PM
M.Ted 01 Aug 03 - 03:29 PM
Kim C 01 Aug 03 - 03:33 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 01 Aug 03 - 04:43 PM
Maryrrf 01 Aug 03 - 05:01 PM
GUEST,Boyd 01 Aug 03 - 05:09 PM
katlaughing 01 Aug 03 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Boyd 01 Aug 03 - 05:24 PM
Mark Ross 01 Aug 03 - 06:48 PM
Amos 01 Aug 03 - 06:50 PM
M.Ted 01 Aug 03 - 06:51 PM
Clinton Hammond 01 Aug 03 - 07:02 PM
Mark Ross 01 Aug 03 - 07:25 PM
Barry Finn 01 Aug 03 - 07:38 PM
Frankham 01 Aug 03 - 07:41 PM
Kim C 01 Aug 03 - 07:47 PM
Barry Finn 01 Aug 03 - 07:54 PM
Beccy 02 Aug 03 - 08:27 AM
M.Ted 02 Aug 03 - 09:50 AM
M.Ted 02 Aug 03 - 10:56 AM
Kim C 02 Aug 03 - 12:51 PM
Amergin 02 Aug 03 - 01:28 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 02 Aug 03 - 07:40 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 02 Aug 03 - 08:17 PM
M.Ted 02 Aug 03 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,GUEST, michaelpdx 03 Aug 03 - 02:03 AM
Frankham 03 Aug 03 - 10:49 AM
Kim C 03 Aug 03 - 11:00 AM
Frankham 03 Aug 03 - 11:02 AM
Amos 03 Aug 03 - 12:27 PM
NicoleC 03 Aug 03 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,michaelpdx 03 Aug 03 - 02:09 PM
Rapparee 03 Aug 03 - 08:39 PM
Kaleea 04 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM
Rapparee 04 Aug 03 - 02:19 PM
Frankham 04 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM
NicoleC 04 Aug 03 - 03:15 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 04 Aug 03 - 03:58 PM
Maryrrf 04 Aug 03 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,michaelpdx 04 Aug 03 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 05 Aug 03 - 12:37 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 03 - 01:14 PM
katlaughing 05 Aug 03 - 01:58 PM
ToulouseCruise 06 Aug 03 - 02:15 PM
Kim C 06 Aug 03 - 03:36 PM
open mike 06 Aug 03 - 07:32 PM
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Subject: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 11:10 AM

Finally, a Bush related controversy that relates directly to Mudcatters. Check this out, from the Baltimore Sun Website:

>Bookstore ban on singer who mocked Bush's legs is silly
>Dan Rodricks
>July 27, 2003

>BORDERS Books & Music will have to ask itself: Was defending George Bush's skinny legs worth a >few days of bad publicity and criticism -- apparently even from some registered Republicans -- >for banning a young singer who made a harmless crack about the president?

The full article is here:
Bookstore ban on singer who mocked Bush's legs


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Amos
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:14 PM

That does it.

I am boycotting Borders' for being a Republican patsy organization.

I will never buy another book there.

(Actually I don't go there much anyway....)


A


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:25 PM

the only one close enough for me to get to doesn't have a much better selection then our local Wal-mart anyway...

But given that they had customer complaints regarding the singer and comments - they are certainly well within their rights to fire/ban the singer.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Maryrrf
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:31 PM

I've played in Borders in Richmond, VA and in Fredericksburg. I will never play again in Fredericksburg - not because they banned me but because the staff was rude and the manager clueless. They don't pay - but I figured since it was nearby and a nice quiet venue I'd play a bit and maybe sell some CD's. Richmond is pleasant enough, but in Fredericksburg not only did they have no sound system (Oh it's broken") but they flat out refused to help me bring mine in (which I had brought along just in case). The first time I played there I didn't get my free beverage coupon (you get four free beverages while you're playing - yipeee!) until after I'd taken my sound system down right before they closed. The second time I had to demand it before I started playing or the same thing would have happened. They used to give you a store credit when you played there but no more. YOu would think that at least the staff would be polite since the musicians are playing for free. They are very nice in Richmond, but forget Fredericksburg.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM

On the PBS news recently, they showed one of the Senate committee meetings on the new FCC rules. Republican Senator John McCain was grilling and severely admonishing the CEO of the radio station chain that led the boycott of the Dixie Chicks for Natalie Maines' comments about Bush.

He absolutely slammed the CEO for violating the free speech rights of an artist AND for interfering with their trade. McCain said he didn't like the remarks either, but that in the US, that is protected speech, and for an artist, impediments to free speech also blocks and restrains their trade, because of the nature of their work.

It isn't just a question of too much of this sort of thing going on "right now." This sort of thing shouldn't be happening AT ALL. It is like Nazi Germany in the run up to Kristallnacht. It isn't "nonsense" or "silliness". These are very serious violations of people's constitutional, civil, and human rights by corporations who need to be taken to court for these violations.

These violations of artists' rights to free speech and free trade are now occurring with alarming frequency. Artists obviously need to organize, or make use of already existing organizations to take these cases to the proper venues of the judiciary, and to the court of public opinion, to educate people that it isn't OK for corporations to interfere with their constitutional rights to free speech and free trade.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:37 PM

That's ridiculous! Giving into a vocal minority will lose them more business then if they'd let it go and turned it into a positive thing about books and supporting the right to free speech.

Good article. I knew about Bill Maher's show losing out, but I hadn't seen this quote from Fleisher (my emphasis): Reacting to Maher's comments, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do." Apparently there's a lot of that spooky attitude going around these days.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: open mike
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:42 PM

JOHN MCCUTCHEON has a great song about the large
book store chains and how they cause the demise
of some of the locally owned independant shops.
(as in the movie "you've got mail" ) Just yesterday
I was saying how the larger bookstores usually
offer live music, and this was one of the positive
things about them. but i see they CONTROL the
content of the music, and that cancels out any
positive aspects. Support small, independant
book sellers, and live, free speach music!!


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: artbrooks
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM

Sounds like a stupid decision by a local manager to me. After talking to the manager of the Borders that just open up about 1.5 miles from me, I have the impression that the stores operate pretty independently...he had no interest in setting up a "new science fiction" section like the other Borders (and both Barnes&Nobles) in town have.

Like Starbucks, Borders seems to be an example of a small-scale operation that became a big success. This is from their corporate history (and should therefor not necessarily be considered as totally factual): Tom and Louis Borders, two brothers living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, opened a small used bookshop called Borders Books in 1971 and later expanded the operation to include several more stores in and outside of Michigan. Their success was due, in part, to their revolutionary inventory system that tailored each store's selection to the community it served..

If the local, independent, book stores want my business, they need to be competitive. To me, that means have a good selection of books and get the new releases as soon as they come out. Discounts and coffee are also a plus.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:24 PM

I used to shop at the original Borders--it was a cool bookstore, though oddly enough, not the biggest or the best at the time. I believe that it is now owned by K-Mart--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:36 PM

There is some serious thread creep going on here, that is rendering the original point and post irrelevant. The thread isn't about whether Borders sells coffee and someone's favorite genre of books, or even what their discount policy is.

This thread is about censorship of artists in Borders, and the interference with the artist's right to free trade.

If this is just going to a thread about how much we all love or hate Borders books, it doesn't belong in the music section, but in the BS section. So if the majority of posters want to trivialize a musician censorship issue by turning it into a AOL conversation about themselves and their bookstore preferences, then I think it is time to move the thread to the BS section.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:53 PM

Personally I can't understand why there's such a backlash in the US when somebody insults Bush. I can't ever remember when it wasn't okay to joke about the president until now (just look at the Clinton jokes). Regarding Borders - I think they overreacted.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:18 PM

There are lots of music related questions that we can discuss--like what kind of a precedent does it set to provide free musical entertainment for a huge reatail corporation when it is really a part of their ongoing promotional activities?

Or about when you play, what kind of control does the person paying the bill have over what you do? What about when you play for free?

We can also reflect on whether this thing actually does her a lot more good than harm, since the controversy is garnering a lot of newpaper ink, and is making a celebrity out of her--

We can also ruminate on the idea that celebrity status seems to be worth more to performers than talent--

Or, if those issued get played out we can also talk about whether Americans really have freedom of speech when you can be fired, investigated, detained, or even imprisoned if you say something that is negative in the eyes of the current administration--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:23 PM

legally if you accept ANYTHING (even free drink coupons) in exchange for your singing which puts you in a position of 'working for them' then free speech doesn't enter into it - as your right of free speech doesn't extend to when you are representing a corporate entity.

Likewise - though you are 'in public' at a Borders - it is NOT a public space - but a private one - and they are again within their right whether or not you are working for them to restrict what you say and or do.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:45 PM

Really, Guest 2:23? And on what laws and legal precedents are you basing your assumptions that corporate rights trump an individual's constitutional rights? Or that individuals lose their constitutional rights when they enter a business premises? Or the assumption that this artist might have actually had a contract with Borders, and that Borders may have been in violation of their contract for firing the musician and interfering with her trade?

Beyond the little legal technicalities as to whether corporate rights of free trade trump and individual's rights to free trade in disputes between a corporation and an individual, there is still this horrendous censorship issue.

It appears to me as if some of you are overlooking the importance of this act of censorship of an artist, and the interference of her trade, is a bookstore. Bookstores are considered to be bhavens and advocates


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Don Firth
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:47 PM

"George Bush has chicken legs. He needs to pump some iron."

That's IT? That's what she said that caused all the kerfuffle? But he does!

(Oh, God! Now they're gonna come and get me!)

Don Firth

Here, George, have another pretzel. . . .


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:52 PM

Sorry, I inadvertently launched that last post before I finished writing it.

As I was saying, bookstores have long been considered both havens for and advocates of free speech, so the effects of such a large chain of bookstores engaging in this sort of censorship could have long lasting and widespread effects upon free speech and open debate in our society. There is simply no other interpretation to put on this action, than to say that a musician was not just censored for telling a joke about the president, but was fired for it. If that doesn't scare musicians and artists about the current state of affairs in this country, especially in the wake of the censorship campaign against the Dixie Chicks for something they said about the president, then I guess nothing ever will.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: kendall
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:53 PM

Someone should tell Borders that only John Asscroft has the authority to take away anyone's first amendment rights.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:58 PM

Thanks for the link Don.

Well, it appears that it was the Borders in Fredericksburg, VA that fired her for the appearance on July 18th. However, she has a shitload of other appearances booked for Borders stores all over Virginia, so if she has in fact been fired by headquarters, and not just the Fredericksburg store, I would say that is a substantial interference with her trade.

Anyone know if it is just the local store, or the entire chain she was fired from?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:13 PM

If course, if this was in England, it'd be illegal for a bookstore to allow anyone to perform without a special licence.

But I can't imagine anyone anywhere over here having a problem because someone said, for example that Tony Blair had skinny legs.

Freedom isn't all of a piece is it? You've got more in some ways and less in others whichever country you are in.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:16 PM

well - if the singer does any copyrighted material the venue needs to pay ascap and bmi fees...which is akin to getting a license.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:42 PM

In answer to my own question ;-) it appears from the musician's website that she was only fired from her gigs at the Fredericksburg store.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: mike the knife
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:05 PM

To quote Kendall: "Someone should tell Borders that only John Asscroft has the authority to take away anyone's first amendment rights. "

Don't worry, he's working on it...

The Ari Fleischer statement is chilling- was that a THREAT? Perhaps he thinks that Americans can't be trusted with free speech. Funny how Republicans are always nattering on about "less government", and then start in with the creepy, orwellian stuff...


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Folkiedave
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:22 PM

This is a bit of a thread creep I know but for our American friends the need for a licence referred to above is nothing to do with Performing Rights (as it is in the UK) but simply that a new law brought in on July 10th means that to perform anywhere (basically) the venue needs a licence.

This is in addition to performance rights. Try Licensing Bill in Mudcat if your computer has enough space and you can see the controversy this has caused.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 06:03 PM

Not strictly true - even before the new act there was a ban on live musical performances without a licence om amu place freely open to tey p8blic in England except in church - or in pubs, if there were only two people playing. The new law has just changed the arrangements for getting a licence, and removed the two-in-a-bar exemption.

There was a case a couple of years ago when a big bookshop arranged to have a string quartet play some Mozart - the authorities intervened and they couldn't play. So everyone sat and listened to a record of the quartet, which was legal!

But all this is drift, and this isn't the thread to pusue the matter. (Put PEL in the search engine if you wan tto fiund oput more, and stand back...)

So far as this US episode is concerned, the issue surely isn't that the bookshop might have the legal right to say who plays on theri premises and who doesn't - it's that there is something pretty weird about anyone who thinks that "Mr Bush has skinny legs" is a significant insult.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: SINSULL
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 08:22 PM

I myself have never seen a picture of Baby Bush's legs. Has one been published? If not, how did she and Don Firth know? More strange behavior in the Oval Office? And was the pretzel reference suggesting that his legs are not only skinny but also that something was twisted? Another presidential sex scandal? Oh, I hope so. I am so sick and tired of the news out of Iraq.

Get out of my way, Don. They are after me not you.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Barry Finn
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 08:27 PM

It is a bit ironic that a book store would dictate what an artists says or sings (probably not any more than a library having to keep records on what their patrons check out). Maybe Border Books is in the wrong business, they might fare well in politics, they do seem to be marching in fashion with the goosestep of the times. Barry


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 08:36 PM

Kevin, For what it's worth, Fredricksburg is both a college town and a tourist town--The townies tend to be a mix of artsy/hippy types(not a put down, just an easy description) and Virginia good ol' people-- The tourists are combination of affluent yuppies in search of overpriced antiques/junk and military history buffs who wander through the Civil War Battlefields and try to figure out where who slaughtered who--The town is a short drive from the Pentagon, plenty of both the yuppies and the history buffs are connected to the military, and some will do whatever it takes to show their loyalty--

Funny thing is that in Texas, both the loyal and the unloyal would have just gotten a big laugh out of the joke--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Rapparee
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 09:42 PM

I thing, but then I'm no lawyer, that if you accept an offer of a place to perform in public you are entering into a contract (offer, acceptance). That would mean that you, as a sort of contract employee, would have to abide by their rules regarding the use of the space. For instance, if a bar offered you a place to perform and thereby expose your talents to the public, and you accepted the offer, you would be bound to abide by their rules (e.g., you have to give us 10% of any CDs you sell on our premises).

They are offering you, in exchange for your talents, a place where you can showcase those talents. Of course, they hope that you'll attract customers who will buy beer, books, coffee -- something -- and help keep them profitable. In the best world both sides gain from the encounter.

The thing to do is to ask for the rules up front, obviously. If the manager or whoever's in charge says, "Keep it clean, but otherwise no problem" you'd have a gripe if you were "fired" for political humor. Most managers probably haven't thought even that far ahead.

But as I said, I'm not a lawyer.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: IvanB
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 11:59 PM

Unfortunately, I doubt that Borders offers a union gig, so the artist really has no protection - she can be fired for almost any reason they want to give (or, for that matter, for no reason at all, which would have been a wiser choice in this situation). Her 1st amendment rights weren't violated - she was allowed to make her statement, the store just decided not to give her a venue for making any more - entirely within their rights. It's also a fact that they get to bear the consequences of their action in terms of ill will, bad publicity and possibly decreased sales.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 12:10 AM

You have an interesting point, Rapaire--the musician is techincally a contractor--the contractor is different from an employee though, the agreement is more like selling a product--you get music for a certain amount of time at a certain place, I get money. The parties are on equal footing, and each is responsible for specifying to the other what they expect--The problem is that with gigs of this kind, not a lot is spelled out, and when there are problems, no one is really sure who was supposed to do what--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 12:56 AM

Uh, guys--you did read what the "offending statement" was, didn't you? If not, let me repeat it again for you:

"George Bush has chicken legs. He needs to pump some iron."

That's what got her fired. Now, you tell me how making an innocuous comment about the president gets put "off limits" in a contract, and you might be talking sense.

Also, as I have pointed out, it isn't just about free speech. The store is interfering with her trade, or in lay terms, her ability to make a living.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:11 AM

Big Brother is watching you again? In the home of the brave and the land of the free?
Raise, ye loyal citizens, and fight for your rights!

Wilfried


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Maryrrf
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 09:14 AM

While they may have legally had the right to fire her - and I'm pretty sure they did, it is inconceivable that customers would get so bent out of shape about hearing a silly but harmless comment like that to the point where they would complain - I can't imagine, and unbelievable that Borders fired her. What is happening to this country!!! Since when are we not allowed to criticize of poke fun at the president????


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 09:19 AM

no - the store is not interfering with her trade - not unless they go to OTHER venues and attempt (or succeed) in having her banned/fired. They are under no sort of obligation to allow her to perform in THEIR venue. who they hire or not hire is up to them - within the limitations that they can't dicriminate based on race, creed, sex , etc.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Blackcatter
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 09:38 AM

Finally peopel are making sense on this issue - it has nothing to do with free speech and trying to say so only causes confusion.

I'm sorry she was fired, but hopefully the press will casue some problems for the Borders. (has anyone here have the phone number of that particular Borders so we can all CALL them and complain?)

Talking about this is fine, but are any of you who are righteously upset, gonna do anything about it?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 11:26 AM

I've been thinking about this, and IvanB and Blackcatter, I believe that you are both mistaken--for this reason--

I have had some experience in dealing with employment law, and, while it is true that you can terminate someone for no reason, it is also true that if there is a reason given, it can't be an illegal reason, such as race, creed, sex--I think that terminating someone for the excercising the freedom of expression , particularly an artist, who you have actually contracted with to express themselves, falls under the catagory of an illegal reason--

That is if this is an employment situation, but it isn't--it is a contract tor service, which would means that neither party can unilaterally terminate "at will" , like you can for employment--There are a lot of standard, customary reasons that are acceptable for terminating a performance contract, but it seems to me that you would have a hard time convincing a judge that it was reasonable to terminate a contract(that is, cancel the upcoming gigs) because someone objected to political/topical joke, particularly when you knew that the performer did political/topical material--

I am not a lawyer, but I have read a number of court decisions on freedom of expression issues, and the court is very, very, concerned about protecting these rights, and takes a very dim view of any actions, particulary arbitrary and capricious actions, that curtail them--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 11:40 AM

Rapaire's post makes the most sense here to me.

The Border's near me is a fine store, has the biggest bluegrass CD selection around, brings in bluegrass acts, and is a well run business. They serve the community well. I will continue to support them.

All the whining about the comments. More then likely there were other issues that some found offensive and casued Borders to react.

They are a business, and their best interests are their business.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Grab
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 12:00 PM

MTed, it depends if she's employed. Doesn't sound like she's signed a contract or anything, Borders are just allowing her to play there.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 12:15 PM

Well, none of us knows if she had a contract with each of the Borders she performs at or not. But MTed is the only one here who seems to know what he is talking about.

As I said, if this is a situation where a contract was signed between the Fredericksburg Borders store and the artist in question, then it is Borders who has violated that contract, not the artist. I agree with MTed that the artist may well have a case, perhaps an employment law case if she was legally an employee (unlikely), or perhaps an impingement of trade case, if a contract existed. It is clear that the artist's repertoire was known to the Borders managment, as they helped to promote her in-store appearances. One can't just break a contract because an artist does what they are contracted to do, because someone complains about the political speech content of the performance.

Considering all the positive attention the firing has garnered for her, if she did have a contract, I would hope that she would help others as well as herself, and hire a good attorney to sue Borders over the action, whether it be a contract or employment action. The action most certainly does have profound First Amendment implications, and that is what any lawsuit brought by her should focus upon, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 12:48 PM

You can bet that if she makes trouble, no one will hire her again, if she was even hired. I've played before at Borders in groups and there is no pay, no formal contract.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Frankham
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 02:08 PM

Hi Kat,

In response to Ari Fleischer (a thread creep..belongs below) it seems to me that they (administration) are operating on an antequated view of the world popular in WWII. (Loose lips sink ships). This is their coatrack, so to speak. Also, "Clear and Present Danger". Can't forget that old warhorse.

Mudcatters, where the issue doesn't belong below is clearly this.
Ari Fleischer might be telling you "Be careful what you sing" as well.

Fredricksburg impresses me as being a very Conservative part of the US. The reality of this is that civil liberties has always taken a back seat to cultural bias. There is a myth about the US that it is a free country. There are still places in the South where you have to watch what you say or instigate violence. This is not freedom.
Some of you might remember the lesson at Peekskill.

It's the height of hypocrisy to allow songs about Clinton and Monica and to denounce a song about George's skinny legs. I believe that in censoring any negative reference in a song about the (P)resident is trashing the Bill of Rights. But this is a new wrinkle. Ike played golf. JFK was called "Jack the Zipper". "LBJ, how many did you kill today?" Ronnie's famous "war career" and now Borders has taken it on themselves to get upset with George's skinny legs? I think that the ACLU should become involved.

Be careful what you sing and play. Loose strings sink ships. :)

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 02:25 PM

Chicken legs. Big deal.

Maybe the store manager already had something against this artist and was just looking for an excuse to get rid of her.

I enjoy Borders. I won't let the actions of one stupid store manager influence my decision to patronize the chain. In a chain situation, there are lots of stupid things that go on, that have nothing at all to do with corporate policy.

I have to say, though, that while I really enjoy visiting the state of Virginia - Fredericksburg is probably my least favorite place. I went into a shop there, looked around for several minutes, and left, without anyone saying hello, goodbye, kiss my ass. And yes, the shopkeeper knew I was there, because she was sitting right by the door. There were only two establishments in Fredericksburg that didn't treat Mister and me like we had lobsters crawling out our ears - one relic shop, and one coffeehouse. (not a Starbucks, either, by the way)


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM

Kim C. said:

"Maybe the store manager already had something against this artist and was just looking for an excuse to get rid of her.

I enjoy Borders. I won't let the actions of one stupid store manager influence my decision to patronize the chain. In a chain situation, there are lots of stupid things that go on, that have nothing at all to do with corporate policy."


You have a lot of common sense. Your common sense approach is so refreshing compared to all the political posturing, constitution babbling, and lawyer wannabees.

Take Care!


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM

Borders is definitely an anti-union shop! See Michael Moore's THE BIG ONE. The IWW tried to organize in Philly 10 years or so ago, and they fired the organizer. This doesn't surprise me at all, it's corporate fascism and I refuse to shop there.

In Solidarity,

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM

My first impression of a brand new Borders here was very negative. They were new and I did try to be patient, but none of them knoew how to look up a book on the database, didn't know where the section was that said book might be shelved in, etc. I finally left after 10 minutes of fraying patience. Went down the street to Barnes & Noble had the book fetched and in hand and was out of there within 5 minutes. Borders should not have opened until they were well trained in operating!

Hi, Frank,

Bit more thread creep. You may be right about the way they meant it, but I think if you read it in context from the above linked article, it seems a bit more sinister. Sorry, I probably should have posted the whole paragraph before. Referring to the chicken legs comment:

That seems to be the comment that got Rose in trouble, though she also sang a tribute to Bill Maher, the liberal comedian and former host of ABC's Politically Incorrect who after the 9/11 attacks made comments condemned as supportive of terrorist zealotry and critical of U.S. military tactics. Maher apologized but still suffered the wrath of viewers, advertisers and, eventually, the network that killed his show.

Reacting to Maher's comments, then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said, "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do."


kat


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:20 PM

Too bad Mark Ross.

Borders Blend is a fine coffee. They probably also have that CD you can't get anywhere else.

Don't you think spouting "corporate fascism" is a bit dated?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:29 PM

I am curious, Martin Gibson, why you find it necessary to insult people--it doesn't seem to me that you really want this discussion to take place--curious to why that is--

Also, in the larger sense, why is the world's largest bookstore entitled to engage musicians but not pay them? I isn't a charitable event, in fact, it is a promotional effort intended to increase revenues for the store--musicians, like other skilled tradespersons, ought to be paid--People would be outraged if they tried to get masons to lay tile for free, or glazers to put in those big glass windows for free--if they demanded electricians to rewire those annoying fluorescent fixtures for free, they would be enormous outrage--

Don't tell me that it is the exposure--how much is that exposure worth when the main opportunity is playing for them?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:33 PM

Thanks Martin. :-)

The truth is...... we have several fine bookstores in Nashville, and rarely do ANY of them have everything I'm looking for. B&N has no books on belly dancing, and while they have a great selection of books in Spanish, they don't have anything in any other foreign language (aside from the usual language reference books). Which is strange, because Bookstar (which is owned by B&N) has a shelf of foreign language books. But neither of them have many foreign language magazines - usually Spanish, sometimes French, but little else.

Davis-Kidd (which used to be locally-owned, but got sold to a company based in Tennessee) usually has some German magazines, but no books.

All of them have crappy history sections, and fairly poor art sections.

Borders has a GREAT bargain table.

Anymore, I get most of my books online, either from Amazon, or Alibris.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 04:43 PM

Well, M. Ted

Why the hell would I not want something like this discussion to take place? Who cares?

No one is forcing anyone to play for free at Borders. No one has to if they don't want to. They DO play there for exposure or for the fun of it. I did. Just like an open mike night in some gin mill sells beer, performers in the Border's Cafe sells books and CDs.

I'll take Borders. At least there are no drunks. Also, the lighting's better.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Maryrrf
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:01 PM

The way it works at Borders is that you do have a contract and it is given to you by the regional manager. In this case, Fredericksburg is under the same regional manager as Richmond and some other stores in Virginia. You get the "free drinks" and an opportunity to play "for exposure". I occasionally play at Borders in Richmond and enjoy it, the people who work there are nice and friendly, it's usually a nice, attentive audience that enables me to experiment with some of my quieter material, and I sell CD's and promote my other upcoming performances. As I said before, the two times I played in Fredericksburg I didn't enjoy it and I won't play there again. I was rudely treated the first time but I did play a second time because I had a contract and decided to honor it. Although Borders is a chain I guess the individual management at each store is different and the "atmosphere" is different. The one in Richmond is very pleasant and they have a very good selection of music - at least I'd say it's the best selection around here. I also enjoy browsing the the books and magazines. Having said that I'm now debating if I'll play there again. They could at least offer the store credits, like they used to.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Boyd
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:09 PM

I don't shop at Borders either because of their anti-union tactics, because they site their stores in neighborhoods where highly successful independent bookstores existed for decades, and drive them out of business. But if I did shop at Borders, after hearing about this, I wouldn't shop there anymore, even if my chain seemed progressive.

Once the Borders and Barnes and Nobles drive all the independent booksellers out of business, the book world will be one depressing place in the US. Independent booksellers specialize, focus on customer service (because they can't carry the inventory of the book superstores, they special order books for you and usually do it free of charge, without any money from the customer up front), and usually have truly knowledgeable book people as staff, who work for a pittance (and a generous discount!) because they love books and literature, and are eager to share their knowledge with others.

Give me an indie bookseller any day of the week. I have a Borders and Barnes and Noble both in my area, and I never shop at either store. Ever. I'm blessed to live in a good size city where there are plenty of good independent bookstores to choose from, and as an avid reader, I am always grateful for such an embarrasment of riches in this regard.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:19 PM

Lots of good used books to be had from indies online, too such as BookFinder, ABE Books, etc.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Boyd
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:24 PM

Agreed katlaughing. I've ordered books a couple of times online. But online ordering will never replace the bookstore for me. I love the book people and the ability to browse the shelves, leaf through the books--it's the whole experience I treasure.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 06:48 PM

Exposure? Feh! You can die of exposure in this trade. And you'd think they could afford to pay performers, which is why we need a union. Anyway, the whole thing stinks. If it looks like a duck.............


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Amos
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 06:50 PM

Let me just go on record as saying that I also think the President of the United States has skinny legs and needs to pump some iron.

A


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 06:51 PM

Just the somewhat testy sort of edge to your comments, MG--couldn't figure out if you were curt and dismissive because you objected to the things that people were saying, or were just one of those charmingly crusty sorts and I just wasn't reading you right--

Anyway, according to maryf, you sign a contract with Borders that essentially obliges you to play for free, so after you've signed the contract, in essence, you are compelled to play for free--

There has always been a cottage industry based aspiring performers "for exposure"--they are easy marks, because it is hard to get started, they've invested a lot in their craft, and they are always a little bit desperate for opportunities--very disturbing to see that it(like so many other scams) has been appropriated by large corporations--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:02 PM

"they site their stores in neighborhoods where highly successful independent bookstores existed for decades, and drive them out of business."

That's called Capitalism... and near as I recall, it's the American Dream...


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Mark Ross
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:25 PM

More like the American Nightmare!

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:38 PM

I did a couple gigs at Borders Books when Captain Linda Greenlaw (see The Perfect Storm) was promoting her books, the Lobster Chronicles & the Hungry Ocean (both great books). I believe they (the store) or Linda wanted music that would go with the subject matter of the books.
There was money & there were contracts. The contracts were simple, only dealing with time, date, store & money, the allowing of selling your CD's while preforming & amount of time preforming. Nothing about staying away from any types of subjects or behavior etc. As far as I was concerned it was a cut & dry deal. At the first preformence I teamed up with Jerry Bryant, they bought some of his CD's to sell to boot. I believe there's a good bit of leeway locally given to the individual stores. That all said I think they should have told any tight assed commentators that the artist was contracted to preform & that as a store that premotes the printed word they could not turn 180% & premote the censorship of the spoken word.

You can contact them through their web site if you wish to complain (yes I did).

Barry


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Frankham
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:41 PM

I think it's sufficient that Fredricksburg Borders has received it's share of criticism. I guess all Borders aren't the same. The ones here in Georgia seem to be OK but there hasn't been the "test case" of whether to sing about the (P)resident's skinny legs. I can't see it would be an issue in the Atlanta area.

Mr.Gibson, you wrote: "Your common sense approach is so refreshing compared to all the political posturing, constitution babbling, and lawyer wannabees."

In response I would like to say that this is a political issue. It has to do with the right of free speech. To defend this aspect of the Bill of Rights is not political posturing in the way I understand that description. There are those that take the right of free speech for granted. I agree however that the decision made in Fredricksburg may not have been corporate policy. But ultimately, the corporation is responsible for taking action to see that it doesn't happen again. As to the Constitution babbling, I take that document (including the Bill of Rights) very seriously as a responsible American citizen. This issue is not a minor infraction but goes to the heart of the hysteria being created today by perhaps well-meaning folks who are overreacting. This is a byproduct of the level of hysteria that has been escalated for political purposes (that's political posturing. 911 doesn't give anyone the right to trample on the right of free speech.

As to the legal wannabees, what's wrong with that? Most Americans could benefit from a good civics lesson. I know the role of lawyers is being denegrated today by militant right-wing pundits but without an advocacy system, we would not have a great government. The idea that all lawyers are base liars and immoral is a propaganda mechanism that is being fostered by some of the right-wing diehards.

Kat,
There have always been sinister times in our history. I lived through the McCarthy era and you're right, I am seeing a replay of it. I've enjoyed Bill Maher and don't like to see him censored by Ari Fleischer who is basically a Bush apparachik. I think it's appropriate the Fleischer watches what he says as well. The voters may be able to see to that.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:47 PM

Nashville never had many indie bookstores, at least not by the late 70s. There was one where we used to get all our school workbooks - it closed several years ago because the owners retired. There are a couple of small new age shops that sell books, and a Catholic shop, but that's about it, for new books, anyway. We do have several used bookshops, and they don't appear to be going anywhere. Their numbers have actually increased in the last five years. There are a couple of them that have been around for as long as I can remember - Elder's on Elliston Place, and Dad's Old Books in Green Hills. Both excellent shops.

I don't know anything about Borders and the Union - is there a retail union? I worked in retail for awhile and never knew such a thing.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Barry Finn
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 07:54 PM

I just read the last few posts. When I agreed to play there was no mention of playing for free. It came down to they offered me a certain amount I wouldn't take it, I told them what I wanted they didn't take it so we split the difference & agreed, both times. They paid promptly by check at the end of the gigs & gave me a pretty fair discount on her books, both times. All in all it was a good experience
that I would repeat, the staff was very nice & the managers gave us free reign to set up how we saw fit & use whatever they had on hand that we wanted. The food & drink was also at no cost to us. Still I don't agree with how they handled the national Chicken Leg scandle.
Barry


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Beccy
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 08:27 AM

Excuse me, but I guess I don't see this as a "Bush-related" scandal. I see it more as a super-sensitive, over-worried bookstore owner type deal. Yeesh. What the owner/manager did was perfectly legal, but pretty stupid.
I cannot imagine that he got enough complaints about the comments on Bush's legs to be really concerned about his clientelle. I would imagine that he probably got more complaints 'bout the Maher song (even though THAT's reactionary, too...) As my younger sibs would say, "WhutEVER!" I just wish people would think before reacting a bit more or less depending upon the histrionics on display.

Beccy


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 09:50 AM

Just for discussion's sake, Beccy, assuming that the performer had her bookings cancelled due to the Bush remarks, and given reasons posted above for it being illegal, why do you think that was legal?

For those of you still following this, check back in a little while, because I am following up some information that may provide illumination--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 10:56 AM

The manager who appears to have been the manager who was working on the night she performed has his own blog, where he was in the habit of setting forth his views well before this happened. He has annotated one of the articles on it with his rebutal, and told his situation from his own point of view--

Martin Gibson seems to have guessed his perspective--basically, he says that she was awful and the customers walked out on her:

>....If I haven't made it clear, and I haven't, my store has been accused of 'banning' this singer from >performing at our store based on a single stupid unfunny comment that she made comparing >Bush43's legs to chicken legs. This is not the case at all. She was asked not to return to torture our >customers anymore with her non-lively banter and non-compelling music. People were standing >up and leaving her performance! The asses in the seats are the reason we have music in our cafe in >the first place! Dammit, I am a champion of Free Speech, I have the fucking First Amendment to the >right there, permanently placed to thumb my nose at the degredation of our civil liberties put >forth as national security by the aforementioned Bush43 and his evil band of merry, merry men. >The irony abounds. But aside from the fatigue-driven maniacal giggles, I'm not laughing.


He also says:

>...her contract does mention content, that said content will be appropriate to a 'general-interest' >shopping atmosphere. Ms. Rose also performed a song called "Clouded by Hormones" about a teenage >boy and his blow-up doll. Does that sound appropriate to you?]

For his whole story, check Banzai's Blog of Fantastic Terror!


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 12:51 PM

So, maybe she wasn't very good, and wasn't appealing to the shoppers.

It also sounds to me like ths store manager has a corncob up his ass or something. I don't think I'd want to play at his Borders.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Amergin
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 01:28 PM

I order my books from the local independant bookshop...one I know the people...two I know they will try hard to locate what I want...three it has a better atmosphere than most book chains i have ever been in..especially in those chains that have people coming up to you every five minutes asking if you need anything...that can be annoying...four..I would rather support a little business than a big busniness...


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 07:40 PM

Thanks to M Ted, my wisdon and perception stands firm.

She sucked.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 08:17 PM

Well that piece of censorship should not be a problem for the Mind Police here at the Mudcat; apparently there are some topics which are simply deleted without a word or warning. It seems as if they have one rule for a certain set of people and another for the rest of the long suffering contributers/visitors - since Muddie ceased to be a Blues site.

I have seen perfectly normal Folky threads remvoved from the regular list and shoved down to BS - which contained folksongs! - seen irrelevant twaddle about TV personalities stuck in our faces for days and endless BS from a certain UK city shoved down our throats for years at a time - about which the selfappointed thought police of Mudcat do absolutely nuttin.

So the poor lady of Virginia is not something the members or contributors of this site should be in the least bit- since it is by the same abuse that Mudcat attempts to squish those it disapproves of.

Funny thing - Muddie is losing people weekly because of the mental monsters who delete, remove, etc If you don't believe me go see how Maestronet is falling apart from the same kind of bovine waste; and if the original format was still followed the place would be hopping with interesting debates, ideas and folksongs instead of boring, depressing unoriginal twaddle ripped off of other more sucessful sites.

Talk about people in glass houses and rocks, Oh yeah!

Me, I am off back to the Rap sites where real musicians belong these days and take the piss out of dead Bob and his nazi family all the day long.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: M.Ted
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 11:29 PM

The thing that amazes me in all this is that since both the active principles in this story are on the net(and were before any of this ever happened) it is possible for us, who were once only able to hear what the news media had to say, to get the story direct from the people involved themselves--

I take your point, Sorefingers, and will be sorry to see you go, but rather than subjecting yourself to the vagraries of what are now somewhat moderated discussion threads(not a new thing, there have always been groups that where ever post is reviewed before being added to the threads) , maybe you should consider setting up a blog of your own--it looks like it is the next wave--


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,GUEST, michaelpdx
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 02:03 AM

Well, the Borders manager may very well have been a censorious fascist with a corncob up his ass. Or the singer – and her jokes – may very well have been atrocious and deserving of the hook. But – and I post this in the spirit of focusing the discussion – as far as constitutional issues go (and, yes, I'm a lawyer, and litigating First Amendment issues is among the things that I've been doing for a living for a lot of years), the short answer is that this has nothing at all to do with the First Amendment. It must be remembered the First Amendment provides: "Congress shall make no law * * * abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." The Fourteenth Amendment makes that applicable to the state (and local) governements. A Borders store is simply not the Congress, nor is it a state or local government; it is privately owned premises, and as a result Borders gets to pretty much control what goes on inside – within certain limits, of course, typically set by, among other things, the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause and by public accomodations laws, relating to prevention of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, disability, etc., as well as public health and criminal laws. They can prohibit all singing in the store, or they can prohibit singing of everything but "Dixie." Or "Memories." It's their store. De gustibus, and all. The federal constitutional guarantees, as well as most state constitutional provisions, are directed against government impingement on the rights of free expression. Since Borders is neither a government entity nor (as a legal matter) an agent of the government, nor is it even arguably the functional equivalent of the town square (see PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 US 74, 83 (1980)), the situation simply doesn't involve any rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. There may be an issue here, but the issue is not one of free speech, at least not in a First Amendment sense.

And for what it's worth, suggesting that W. has "chicken legs" is an insult to poultry everywhere. IMHO.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Frankham
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 10:49 AM

I thank Micheapdx for his clarification of the legal issue. It seems reasonable that any corporation can arbitrarilly suppress whatever speech it desires. This certainly makes a case for caution when it comes to the privatization of such elements of the government such as Social Security or the Post Office.

But wait a minute. Doesn't the government have something to do with this? I give you that the ruling cited took place in 1980 but perhaps this ruling needs to be challenged again. Can it not be argued that the suppression of free speech is still the issue since Borders operates within the confines of the US Government and Virginia State and is not in itself a state or a country? If "Congress shall make no law * * * abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." could this be interpreted to include the right to sue Borders for abridging the freedom of speech since they exist at the beneficence of the national and state governments? In this way, arent they are a part of the US government and subject to it's laws? Not that the case would be won under the present political climate, wouldn't there be a valid reason for it to brought?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 11:00 AM

It still sounds to me, though, like it was the last straw for someone who already was on pretty thin ice.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Frankham
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 11:02 AM

'nother thing. Is this suppression of free speech corporate policy or is it confined to the store in Fredericksburg? What is the corporate policy re: songs about Bush's chicken legs? What does Borders say about this?

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Amos
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 12:27 PM

I'm baffled by sorefingers' tirade -- there must be a lot of evil suppression floating around so elegantly disguised as to be invisible to me in my naivete. Sad.
I wish, sorefingers et cie, that you would provide specifics when you make accusations. To do otherwise is most unhelpful.

As to Borders, I take back my decision to boycott them, in light of further evidence and clarification. Singing badly is a public burden which Borden's is not obliged to support or be identified with. One manager canning one performer for the reasons mentioned is a different story.

A


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: NicoleC
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 01:05 PM

I see your point, Frankham, but that court case would set up a precendent where one kind of free speech was protected, and another kind wasn't. You're talking about removing any editorial rights. Freedom of speech goes both ways. Freedom of speech isn't just about what one says verbally, it's about being able to express one's political (and other) thoughts safely.

If said singer can say whatever she wants about Bush's legs, doesn't the proprietor of an establishment have as much right to show THEIR freedom of speech but not having it said on their premises by someone who appears be acting in an official capacity and speaking FOR them? Freedom of speech has never meant that someone HAS to pay for your space and aid you in the effort to express yourself. The New York Times doesn't have to allow just anyone column space in the name of free speech.

I (fortunately) am not forced to listen to Aryan Nation "free speech" -- just because you're free to say it doesn't mean anyone has to listen. If your court case was passed, the Aryan Nation could then sue & argue that their freedom of speech was interfered with when they weren't allowed to give a regular speech to elementary school kids every Tueday at 2pm. After all -- if they want to say it, the school can't stop them AND has to allow them the use of the space in the name of free speech, right?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,michaelpdx
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 02:09 PM

Frank raises a very fair question, to which there is – fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint – a fairly unambiguous answer: The question is one of "government action," and the law at present is clear that merely being organized as a corporate entity under the laws of the United States – or otherwise existing "at the beneficence of the national and state governments" – doesn't make a private entity a part of the government (sorry, but I'm at home and don't have the cases handy), any more than does my paying taxes. There may a case to be made that a corporation should be treated differently from a private citizen in this regard, but, except in certain rare circumstances (e.g., the PruneYard case dealt with free speech rights in the public areas – not within the shops themselves – at a large suburban shopping mall, which had essentially taken over the traditional public-meeting-place function of the public town square), the courts haven't done so. The issue comes up quite regularly in the context of gathering signatures on electoral petitions, and the almost-uniform trend is for the court to uphold the private property owner's right to control what gets expressed on private property (surprise), except in the PruneYard-type setting. At least under the First Amendment, and most state constitutions. There may be some states – California, perhaps? – in which the rule under the state constitution is more relaxed in favor of free speech, but it's hard to see a Borders store fitting into that category. This is probably one to take to your state legislators – the Supreme Court is unlikely to agree within our collective lifetimes.

On the other hand, the singer at Borders may have some kind of breach of contract action available (about which I know next to nothing and glad to admit it)

michael


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Aug 03 - 08:39 PM

Were I the woman involved and I wanted to press it, I'd go for the breach of contract. Assuming that I could find a lawyer to take the case.

It comes as a shock to most that a business can do (within legal limits) pretty much anything it wants. It can come as a greater shock to learn that an employee should have no expectation of privacy when working; again, within certain limits (like a general televising of the bathrooms).

The company bought the computers, etc. etc. etc. for the company's purposes, and though they let you use one the understanding is that your use should further the company's ends and not your own. Yes, you might be allowed to receive some personal emails, but! More, try sending out some emails using the company's servers that are critical of the company and see what happens. In fact, you might find yourself up the ol' crick if you sent out critical emails from your home account on your own time.

Same sort of thing here: Borders owned the ball, didn't like the player, and removed her from the game. It's not a free speech issue any more than my asking you to stop singing "The Bastard King of England" in MY living room when in MY opinion it would offend someone.

Were you to sing the "Horst Weisel Lieder" in a public park outside a synagogue I wouldn't stop you, but you'd be responsible for the resulting damage to yourself.

Free speech, like all freedoms, carries with it responsibilities.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kaleea
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM

If Mr. Bush's legs are all that some poor Musician can find to joke about concerning the president, Mr. Bush is quite fortunate.
    For those of you who suffer from the delusion that you have "Freedom of Speech" merely because you are an American, I daresay I wish that I were that naive again. You have the freedom to speak of things your listeners desire to hear. If you speak otherwise, you must be prepared to pay the consequences. While it may be true that you won't be imprisoned for each infraction, there are often rather undemocratic consequences. You may have the freedom to speak your mind behind closed doors, or in the company of a handful of caring friends, but in larger numbers of persons, you must expect that there will be those who will condemn you, tell others of your obvious errs, & make your life miserable if at all possible, & above all, they will never treat you as an equal.
    If the same Musician had made a joke about legs, arms, nose or whatever of the former President immediately before bush, likely nothing would ever have been made of it by Borders.
    Borders is about big $$, and big $$ rules. Bush is for big $$, so he currently rules. Those who are not for big $$ or little bush had best learn to whom they speak for fear of BIG BROTHER WATCHING & listening, too!
    Freedom of . . .?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Rapparee
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 02:19 PM

Okay, then.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Frankham
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 03:04 PM

Hi Nicole,

The proprietor may have the right to censor any objectionable material as defined as being obscene, inciteful to violence, causing mass hysteria or anything that could be construed as harmful to the public good. George's chicken legs does not qualify.

People have the right to walk out, boycott or just never go back to a performance they find objectionable. But they don't have the right to censor it unless it meets the above criteria.

Newspaper articles are a different story than live musical performances. Articles are printed or rejected at the behest of the editors. Newspapers however are sued for slander and sometimes for ommission. Also they occasionally mislead. However, the Aryan Nation does publish it's own newspaper and we have the right to toss it in the trash or ignore it.

The Aryan Nation could be construed to be inciteful, harmful to the public good and promoting violence. Itt would be appropriate to throw them out of Borders. This again is not George's chicken legs.

The school is a different proposition than the public concert or coffehouse. Here, there are strict rules that are protected ostensibly for the good of the children who can't handle all kinds of information. I, for one, hypothetically, wouldn't sing about George's chicken legs for most school assemblies. I might at a high school, depending on the liberality of the teaching staff. Possibly a private school.

(In reality,not hypothetically, I don't find the subject matter very interesting. :) And not enough weight can be given to it to provoke this arbitrary action by Borders.

It's a sad day when the (P)resident must be deified and unblemished in order to block out the criticims of his administration. Those who react (reactionaries) are probably overreacting because they know that Bush has messed up and don't want to admit it. That's really what this "chicken legs" is all about.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: NicoleC
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 03:15 PM

I believe you are incorrect, Frank. A proprieter of a privately owned establishment legally has the right to sell, display or show whatever material they choose to provided it's legal under the law. They are NOT required to sell, display or show absolutely everything that is lawful.

It's why Wal-Mart doesn't sell porn and porn shops don't sell Christian literature and country bars don't book punk acts. It's illegal for them to choose why they present, although you might make an argument for self-censorship.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 03:58 PM

Good answer Nicole C.

Right on for Corporate America!


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Maryrrf
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 04:23 PM

I don't think this is necessarily a "corporate America" thing. I tend to think that any pub/restaurant owner, if he didn't like the music presented or more importantly if his audience didn't like it and told him so, would probably get rid of the singer. I've been fired before because an owner thought the audience wanted something more contemporary and/or more rock/pop style (i.e. not traditional folk). There may be more to it than just the "chicken legs" comment.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,michaelpdx
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 04:46 PM

I think NicoleC -- among others -- has articulated it pretty accurately. And, with all due respect to some other observers, I don't think that recognizing the legal limitations of what the First Amendment protects is the same as giving a rousing cheer for the Corporatization of America.

michael


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 12:37 PM

I think you have a problem pal because the first amendment so called limitations as you call it does not fit your agenda.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 01:14 PM

I'm not totally convinced of the account given by the store manager, or the artist. I think some truth likely lies between the two accounts given, and that we may not have heard the last of this case yet.

As to whether or not a First Amendment action could be taken in this case, I disagree with the poster who said he was a lawyer. There have been cases involving corporate workplace environments which are perceived as being discriminatory and harrassing (ie sexual harrassment) by a worker, where management has claimed their employees have a First Amendment right to tell lewd jokes, etc.

There is also a case I heard about recently where a corporate employer tried to discipline an employee for posting political cartoons on the company bulletin board. The employee, who wasn't the only employee posting things on the company bulletin board without company permission, brought an employment action against the employer for selective prosecution based on said employee's First Amendment rights. Because the company was selectively prosecuting the employee for his political speech, and because the employer had no written policy regarding employee posting on the bulletin board, the company lost the case.

So to say that there can be no First Amendment issues involved in employment or contract law cases is absurd.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: katlaughing
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 01:58 PM

Nicole, your bit about WalMart etc. made me curious, so...take a look at this...may not be too long before porn shops start selling Christian Porn! Paragraph 6 on down...I guess the outcome will keep them from popping up in most porn stores, though.:-)


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: ToulouseCruise
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 02:15 PM

I think someone should defend the poor chicken's reputation... defamation of character and all that... compared to a chicken? No.

Compared to an ass? well, I'll let you make the correlation. I'm already on the US Govt's hate list anyways, being Canadian and all...

Brian.


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: Kim C
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 03:36 PM

Where do we draw the line between censorship and canning a bad act?


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Subject: RE: Borders Fires Singer for Bush Joke
From: open mike
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 07:32 PM

www.bordersgroupinc.com/about/contact.htm
is the home page and there is a comment
place there...so go for it. we are sending
a critisism form the house here....please do..also


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