Monday, December 31, 2012

Light display is protected speech

Just in time for the holidays, a Louisiana judge ruled on Thursday that a woman had a right to offer her neighbors an unusual seasons greeting by hanging Christmas lights on her house shaped like a middle finger.

Sarah Childs was in a dispute with some of her neighbors in Denham Springs, just east of Baton Rouge, so she decided to send a message with her decorations.

Neighbors complained and police threatened to arrest her, so she teamed up with the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and sued the city.

Childs put up the lights on her roof last month. She has removed them twice since - once after a police officer told her she could be fined and again after another officer threatened to arrest her, her lawsuit said.

U.S. District Judge James Brady issued an order temporarily barring city officials from interfering with the display. The two-page order said the city's ‘continued efforts’ to prevent Childs from displaying her holiday lights will violate her rights to free speech and due process.

Denham Springs attorney Paeton Burkett said the city will comply with Brady's order, but she declined to comment on the lawsuit.


Ohio man’s lawyer argues Facebook post was free speech

The 20-year-old Columbia Station man accused of using social media to cheer on the gunman who killed 20 children and six adults at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school is asking that a criminal charge filed against him be dismissed, citing free-speech protections.

Medina police charged Joseph W. Resovsky with inducing panic after he posted “im so happy someone shot up all those little (expletives). VIVA LA SCHOOL SHOOTINGS!!!!” on Dec. 14, the day of the killings.

Resovsky filed a motion Wednesday in Medina Municipal Court asking Judge Dale Chase to dismiss the charge, a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

“This charge clearly abridges the Defendant’s freedom of speech and quite possibly freedom of the press as this post was published on Facebook,” Resovsky, who is representing himself in the case, wrote in the motion.

Resovsky argued that his Facebook post did not cause a panic, and therefore, did not violate Ohio law.

“This action, while in bad taste, in no way constitutes an offense,” he wrote.

“The Defendant is permitted to express his feelings publicly. This right is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution.”


This may have been a deliberate provocation.  He would seem to be within his rights anyway.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Loud music is free speech?

Stopped at a red light, the amplified sound emanating from the car next to you actually seems to rock the vehicle. For some motorists, that intrusive noise rises to the level of a public nuisance.

But Florida’s Supreme Court ruled last week that motorists can play their car stereos as loud as they want. They struck down parts of a state statute that barred drivers from blasting car radios at a volume “plainly audible” to someone 25 feet away.

A court majority called that overreach and struck down parts of the law, saying it “infringed on the freedom of expression.”

A Tampa lawyer who got a $73 ticket for violating the noise law brought the case. He was listening to Justin Timberlake on his way to work one morning when stopped and given the citation.

He took the case to court, challenging the law’s constitutionality, and it wound up going from circuit court to the 2nd District Court of Appeal, which also found the law overly broad.

Last week’s decision upholds the 2nd District opinion, although the Supreme Court justices didn’t cite the constitutionality argument. Instead, they focused on First Amendment rights that guarantee free speech.


I can't find any mention of the volume of "speech" in the First Amedment protection.  Presumably speech has to be audible but anything beyond that seems an over-reach

5,000 people investigated by British police for something they said on Facebook or Twitter as 'social network crime' soars 800%

Reports of crimes involving Facebook and Twitter - such as posting abusive messages, grooming and complaints of stalking - have increased eight-fold in four years.

The figures show 653 people were charged for social networking crime in 2011 alone.

Police forces said there has been a wide variety of offences via the social media platforms, with harassment and menacing messages among the most common.

Civil liberties campaigners said the statistics demonstrate how some police forces had 'lost all proportion' in dealing with social media complaints.

They added that the figures reveal how poorly some police forces have dealt with complaints about comments made online.

Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'These figures show just how badly some police forces had lost all proportion when dealing with social media.

'So many arrests was clearly undermining freedom of speech and while the new guidance should reduce the problem, hundreds of people now have criminal records for the rest of their lives when it is far from clear they should do.

'The law around speech crimes is still in need of a total overhaul as the legislation that led to some of the more absurd prosecutions remains in place.'

Chief Constable Andy Trotter, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ lead on communications, said forces must prioritise crimes which cause genuine harm, rather than attempting to curb freedom of expression.


Friday, December 28, 2012

WA decision:  The Bible is Not Harmful to Children

For six years, a Christian daycare, true to its mission, had a biblical poster on its walls depicting the “Tree of Good and Evil” along with the “Tree of Life” and a Bible verse from Proverbs. A government licensor demanded that the Christian daycare tear down the poster, claiming that it was “too negative” and could “intimidate” the children. The licensor went so far as to state that religious speech by a Christian daycare violated state law.

The ACLJ contacted the appropriate Washington state officials explaining that the state could not determine that the Bible was bad for children and that this type of censorship was in direct violation of the First Amendment. The state reversed the licensor’s decision and allowed the daycare to continue to operate with the biblical poster intact.


The ACLJ is The American Center for Law and Justice.

No respect for the presumption of innocence?

Some football players in an Ohio town have been accused of sexual assault by online writers and the police have now taken up the case and issued a prosecution against some of the players. The online writers have however exposed themselves to accusations of defamation and -- in the event of a failure of the case in court -- could be liable in a damages claim.  The ACLU has however defended the defamatory comnments as free speech, despite clear legal precedents that defamation and libel are not protected free speech

If all the football players at the party concerned either denied wrongdoing in court or simply "took the 5th", the lawsuit would almost certainly collapse -- so a defamation case against the commenters would be likely to succeed, ACLU or no ACLU.

There is the additional problem that extensive pre-trial allegations of guilt could well be held to be "prejudicial" to the sexual assault prosecution and cause the prosecution to be abandoned  -- which would again leave the commenters legally vulnerable.  Clearly, agitation for the alleged sexual assault to be investigated should not have named names.

 A Steubenville sexual assault case that divided the football-centric town this summer has also sparked a First Amendment debate over the sharp opinions shared online about some of the student athletes who were rumored to be involved.

Should people who comment online anonymously be held legally responsible for what they say? Or, are online comments protected free speech?

Steubenville football player Cody Saltsman and his parents, Johna and James, sued a blogger and up to 25 anonymous online commenters in October, saying they made false and defamatory statements about the teen on a website. The Saltsmans asked a local judge to prevent the blogger and others from making any more statements about them and to remove the ones already posted.

Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson has yet to decide on those issues but he did grant a motion to allow Internet service-providers to reveal the identities of the commenters, who only used screen names.

Regarding the matter of people speaking anonymously online, various free speech advocates, including the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, have stepped in to defend the rights of the commenters.

Scott Greenwood, a constitutional and civil rights lawyer who volunteers with the ACLU, said most of the unidentified commenters are taking the ACLU up on its offer for representation.

"In this case there has been a lot of public discussion of ugly stuff that happened in Steubenville earlier this year," Greenwood said. "This case is designed to shut down the discussion and criticism."

Greenwood said if the commenters' identities are revealed their speech would be "chilled."

Saltsman, a high school junior, has not been charged with a crime. But blogger Alexandria Goddard and regular visitors to her website seized on photos Saltsman posted from the night of the reported attack and vulgar jokes he made about it afterward.

In August, Goddard told The Plain Dealer that she started her own investigation because she didn't trust local authorities to do the right thing.

Eventually, state prosecutors took over the case and two 16-year-old football players are set for trial in juvenile court on rape charges in February. One also faces a charge related to nude photos of the 16-year-old victim found on his phone.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Black hate speech now blatant

Here is actor Jamie Foxx joking recently about his new movie role: “I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?” Reverse white and black in the relevant ways and even a comedian would hear national outrage. Instead, his hip Saturday Night Live audience even gave Foxx applause.

Race-obsessed comedian Chris Rock tweeted on the Fourth of July, “Happy white peoples [sic] independence day . . . ”

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, in a recent interview, sounded about as unapologetically reactionary as you can get: “I voted for Barack because he was black. . . . I hope Obama gets scary in the next four years.”


Mockery of Obama policies is "Racist"?

Commissioner John Sims publicly apologized Tuesday night for a racially charged comment he posted on his Facebook page that angered commissioners and residents.

The comment Sims posted Nov. 30 read: "Just wanted to let you know ... today I received my 2013 Social Security Stimulus Package. It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, two discount coupons to KFC, an 'Obama Hope & Change' bumper sticker, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my ass and a 'Blame it on Bush' poster for the front yard. The directions were in Spanish. Yours should arrive soon."

Newly elected Mayor Greg Ross made a last-minute decision to add the item to the city's workshop meeting after he received an outpouring of email from outraged residents. 

Sims said he did not come up with the post on his own; rather, he reposted it from another site.  "The post was done as a humorous commentary," he said. "I deeply regret that I failed to consider that some might find it offensive."

Another resident, Christine Timmons, defended Sims, saying he should not be humiliated for exercising his right to free speech.  "Every time a white person opens his mouth, people say, 'Oh, he's a racist,'" said Timmons, who is black. "He can say what he wants to say. He's got a right to free speech like anyone else."


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lone American Indian woman gets educational poster taken down

Amherst college is named after a British army General:  Jeffery Amherst, who certainly despised American Indians and did consider sending them smallpox-infected blankets.  There is no evidence that he or anyone else did so, however.  Indians died of smallpox in droves anyway.  That was before the American revolution and during the French/Indian wars. 

But apparently any mention of that is taboo.  The poster appears to have been meant to promote caution about the spread of bacteria

Amherst College is apologizing for a poster some students considered racist and insensitive that was displayed December 5 on a wall in a biology classroom.

The poster is a depiction of Lord Jeffery Amherst, commanding general of British forces in North America during the final battles of the French and Indian War. He is the mascot of this exclusive and prestigious liberal arts school.

Historical accounts point to Lord Jeffery as a pioneer in biological warfare. He is credited with requesting that smallpox-infected blankets be sent to the American Indians, starting an epidemic among them.

The poster, titled “A gift from Lord Jeffrey Amherst,” shows Lord Jeffery gifting a stack of blankets to an American Indian man dressed in leather and fringe, with feathers clinging to a headband. An American Indian woman and child are in the background; a baby is strapped to a cradle board.

 An autoclave is a device used to sanitize equipment with hot steam.


Thai hate speech?

Asians generally do well in America so this is a bit surprising.  They also generally keep a low profile.  His surname is a Thai one but I am guessing that this guy is of mixed ancestry and is blaming others for his own lack of economic success

A restaurant manager’s controversial response to the deadly Connecticut school shootings has caused an uproar on the Web.

While details about the massacre spread on Friday, Eddie Nimibutr, who runs Thai Noodles Etc. in Austin, Texas took to his Facebook page to post this message:

“I’m failing to give a damn about the CT shooting. I don’t care if a bunch of white kids got killed,” he wrote, according to the Huffington Post.

Nimibutr’s remarks went viral and sparked an online attack against both him and his business. A Facebook page dedicated to the incident called for a boycott and has gathered more than 500 likes.

“You took this horrible tragedy and made it about yourself,” the curators of the page wrote. “You pressed narcissism, racism, contempt, and hatred. It is time to make it about the children.”

But after receiving multiple death threats, Nimibutr tried to make amends during an interview with KEYE-TV news.

“Maybe it was a little insensitive to write something like that on the day of the shooting,” he said, refusing to turn his face to the camera. “It was not my intention to piss anyone off. It was my way to cope and decompress from the event that just happened.”

Nimibutr has deleted his Facebook page as of Tuesday.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hate speech against Christianity from bigoted atheist Dawkins

Recently Richard Dawkins, a leading British "intellectual" ramped up his abuse of Christianity by claiming that a Catholic upbringing was a form of child abuse.

I was appalled by such offensive speech but was at a loss about what to say in commentary about it, seeing I am myself an atheist. I did however give my son a Catholic education which he greatly enjoyed.  And even though he too has arrived at atheism in his adulthood (without any urging from me) he was recently pleased to go as godfather to a little boy at a Catholic Christening -- so he still has respect for the religion.

I rather regretted being stuck for how to respond to Dawkins as I have seen no reponse from anybody else to his disgusting claims.   That deficiency has now, however,  been more than made up by an excellent response from Melanie Phillips, who is a Jew.  I have just headlined her commentary on my  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH blog.  That it should be left to an atheist and a Jew to respond to Dawkins would however seem to be a sad commentary on how battered British Christians now feel.

Herman Cain: New York Times is 'racist,' 'deserves widespread censure'

Objects to liberal paternalism

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain makes a return to the world of media criticism today with a column accusing The New York Times of racism.

Cain cites an opinion piece by University of Pennsylvania political science professor Adolph L. Reed Jr., himself an African-American, in which Reed refers to African-American Republicans as "tokens" and "a puzzle."

"Any newspaper that would publish a piece denigrating blacks as needing the benevolence of big government in order to serve their interests is obviously racist and deserves widespread censure for making such an insensitive and racially biased editorial decision," Cain writes on his website,

"It’s a shame The New York Times is such a racist newspaper," he writes.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Must  not be frank about Canadian Indians

Indigenous Canadians are heavily welfare-dependent but mentioning that in plain English is a no-no

One of the biggest news stories in Manitoba this week was that of now former Conservative youth-wing president Braydon Mazurkiewich.

Last Friday, Mazurkiewich wrote a Twitter and Facebook post saying that a planned urban First Nations reserve on a former military base was designed for "hard-working men and women of the military, not free-loading Indians."

Mazurkiewich resigned his post almost immediately and offered a somewhat veiled apology. Manitoba Tory leader Brian Pallister finally spoke out against the comments on Thursday, but rejected a call from aboriginal leaders to apologize on behalf of the party.


Attempt to squelch dissent in France

The news became public only a few days ago - French authorities asking the European Parliament to lift the immunity of far-right leader Marine Le Pen so that she can be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred.

In 2010, the president of the National Front party likened Muslim street prayers in France to the Nazi occupation, sparking widespread condemnation.

Many Muslim leaders have blamed Le Pen’s fiery rhetoric on Islam and immigration for a  rise in Islamic intolerance and xenophobia in France. But she insists she is neither a racist nor xenophobic, but simply a patriot.

"I want you to understand that there is no reason to ask the French to accept things that no other people in the world would accept. It's as simple as that,” she tells Al Jazeera's Folly Bah Thibault.

“I feel hatred towards nobody, but I have immense love for my people and for my country that I will defend in all circumstances."


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Hate speech against the English in Scotland

Scots do have ancient grievances against the English but you would think they would have managed to grow up by now

When the founding director of the National Theatre of Scotland arrived in Edinburgh she did not realise that her background would cause her problems. Now, after a triumphant six years, Surrey-born Vicky Featherstone has admitted she was almost forced out by anti-English bullying. It was not the audiences, though, who were bothered by an “outsider” running one of Scotland’s major arts institutions. Her successful productions, such as Black Watch and Macbeth, were played to packed houses, and the many fans of the theatre will be sorry to see her go to the Royal Court in London.

The bullies came from a cantankerous old guard within the Scottish arts establishment, a group that should have offered the talented Featherstone their unstinting support. Alasdair Gray, the author and painter, describes English people appointed to top jobs north of the border as “settlers” and “colonists” who come to advance their careers. He singled out Featherstone as someone who took on a role that should have gone to a Scot.

In countries with less democratic traditions than Scotland, the arts often reflect the ugly soul of society, with intolerant regimes seeking to control cultural output. In apartheid South Africa it was commonplace for the Nationalist government to try to silence British “colonists” – my father among them.

Now I find it shocking to hear in Scotland one of the pillars of the arts community speaking the same odious language. Gray is a Scottish nationalist whose views are offensive even to some SNP politicians. But anti-English sentiment in Scotland is not confined to a few grizzled bears of the arts world and the fear that it is being stoked by nationalist extremists is not a fanciful one.

Last week it was reported that racist incidents against English people living in Scotland were up 50 per cent in the last seven years – prompting Unionist politicians to warn against the anti-English rhetoric that is creeping into Scottish society. The SNP, which won an overall majority in last year’s Scottish elections and is campaigning for independence in the 2014 referendum, has challenged the claims.


West Point Prayers Under Attack‏

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is calling for an end to Christian prayers at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  “West Point cadets should be able to train for service in our nation’s military without having religion forced upon them,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United. “Academy officials must respect the religious liberty rights of all cadets who should be free to make their own decisions about prayer without government coercion.”

The church-state watchdog group gave the academy 30 days to
respond to the letter – calling for an end to all prayers at official events because the prayers violate the U.S. Constitution.

A spokesman for West Point told Fox News they had received the letter. The spokesman said that all prayers at West Point are voluntary.

Ron Crews, of Chaplain Alliance, told Fox News he was disturbed by the letter.  “Any form of religion is under attack in the military – from Nativity scenes on military chapels to prayers at events,” Crews said. “We need to respect our plurality instead of trying to quash those who do have faith.”


Friday, December 21, 2012

Texas Town Removes Christmas Banners‏

The utility company in New Braunfels, Texas removed two giant ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ banners after they received complaints about the nature of the signs

The banners are owned by the Knights of Columbus and were installed by New Braunfels Utilities several weeks ago. But a spokesperson for the company said it was a mistake and the signs have since been removed.

“Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with the message, NBU is a municipal utility and cannot lawfully display a religious message,” said Gretchen Reuwer, the utility’s communications manager.  She said their policy does not allow any signs or banners promoting a specific religious message.

The removal of the signs has sparked outrage in the community – especially among members of the Knights of Columbus.  “The bottom line is Christ is the reason for the Christmas season,” Joe Hernandez told Fox News. “He’s the reason for the special holiday – his birthday.”

Hernandez, and other members of the Knights of Columbus, said they want to know who complained – and why they took issue with the banner.
“All we were doing was voicing our opinion – that Christ should be kept in Christmas,” Hernandez said.


Some opinions are less equal than others. apparently

Australia: Radio jock Alan Jones makes apology on air over Lebanese comments

The comments were of course too sweeping and extreme to be universally true but they were clearly just a statement of opinion, not an academic thesis, so deserved free speech protection.  But there is little such protection in Australia, particularly where that most sanctified of groups  -- Muslims -- is concerned, of course

What is not in  doubt is that Sydney police have a Middle Eastern  Organised Crime squad, with Lebanon being the particular part of the Middle East principally concerned.  So Jones had some basis for his views, to put it cautiously.  Some very recent shooting deaths  would appear to involve the Lebanese Muslim community

Controversial broadcaster Alan Jones has apologised on air over comments he made in April 2005 describing Lebanese Muslims as "vermin" and "mongrels".

The Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT) had ordered Jones to apologise on his 2GB radio show between 8am and 8.30am (AEDT) any day this week.

On Wednesday just after 8am he did so, saying his comments were in breach of the Anti-Discrimination Act.

The apology comes two months after Jones lost a lengthy legal bid to overturn the 2009 decision, which found he "incited hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule of Lebanese Muslims".

The case was taken against him by Sydney-based Lebanese-born Muslim leader, Keysar Trad.

The complaint related to comments Jones made on April 28 about a Nine Network current affairs story reportedly showing young men of Lebanese origin taunting police.

"If ever there was a clear example that Lebanese males in their vast numbers not only hate our country and our heritage, this was it," Jones said.

Referring to the men as "vermin" and "mongrels", he added: "They simply rape, pillage and plunder a nation that's taken them in."


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pat Condell on homosexuality in Saudi Arabia

"Rancid old closet homosexuals".  He's right but is just about the only one now saying so.  I am old enough to remember when Saudi homosexuality WAS commonly mentioned

Must not mention Muslim attacks on Christians in the Holy Land

The Israeli embassy in Dublin has apologised for a post on its Facebook page which said if Mary and Jesus were alive in Bethlehem today Palestinians would probably lynch them.

The post, which was made on the Israel in Ireland Facebook page, showed a picture of Mary and Jesus.

It was accompanied by the comment: 'A thought for Christmas... If Jesus and mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians.

After going up around midday, by 3pm it had 20 'likes', though several comments expressed distaste for the post.

Among them was one saying: 'Have you no regard for honesty whatsoever? If Jesus & Mary were alive today, they would be protesting against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, along with all the Palestinian Christians currently living in Bethlehem.'

The post was reported in the major Israeli on-line news site, Haaretz as well as on the Washington Post site today.

When contacted a spokesman for the embassy confirmed the page was an official embassy site. Asked who posted to it he said: 'Different members of staff at the embassy post to it.'

He then asked if The Irish Times was doing a piece on it and was told it was a possibility.

The post was removed about half an hour later and replaced with a statement:  'To whom it may concern: An image of Jesus and Mary with a derogatory comment about Palestinians was posted without the consent of the administrator of the Facebook page. We have removed the post in question immediately. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended. Merry Christmas!'


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

TX: Hays Consolidated ISD votes to ban confederate flag

At Hays High, history runs deep. Founded in 1968, the district's oldest high school offers a glimpse even further into the past. Until 12 years ago, the rebel mascot came with a confederate flag, before officials banned it for district use.

"You can debate it endlessly as to what the meaning of the confederate flag is," said Superintendent Jeremy Lyon, who says arguments fall short of the present picture. "I do have a great respect for history, but the reality is that it's a racially insensitive symbol."

Which is why Monday night, school board members voted to extend the ban to students. No flags on clothing, cars, anywhere on district property.

"Can I not be proud of my southern heritage," said one parent.

"I am proud to be an American," said another. "I am honored to be a southerner. You can be both without regret."

The flag conversation started in earnest following a student prank last May. An African-American teacher found her door covered in racial slurs. For both sides, the focus wasn't on race, but rights.

"One of the key principles that I think we're getting into with the way this recommendation is worded is freedom of expression," said one student's mother.


No tolerance for Southern history, apparently.  Abraham Lincoln himself said that the war was not about slavery  -- in his famous letter to Horace Greeley

RNC finance chairman Ron Weiser taking flak over Detroit comments

He said that Democrat "get out the vote" efforts in Detroit were feeble.  But because most Detroiters are black you must not say that apparently

The finance chairman of the Republican National Committee Ron Weiser is under fire for telling a Milford tea party gathering in August that there's no longer a political machine to get Detroiters out of "pool halls and the barber shops," where they are bused from "precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times."

The comments, called racist by a top Democratic Party official, were videotaped by a Democratic Party operative and posted on YouTube this week.

Weiser, the former Michigan Republican Party chair, also said few non-Detroiters would show up at the polls "without a sidearm." His comments came as he told his audience why he believed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had a chance at stealing Michigan away in November's presidential election.

"Well, let's look at Wayne County. Two big groups. The first one's Detroit. Population's now shrunk under 700,000," Weiser, an Ann Arbor businessman, said. "Secondly, no Coleman Young machine. No Kwame Kilpatrick machine. There is no Dave Bing machine. There's no machine to go to the pool halls and the barber shops and put those people on buses and then bus them from precinct to precinct where they vote multiple times. And there's no machine to get 'em to stop playing pool and drinking beer in the pool hall. And it does make a difference."

Weiser explained his remarks in a statement: "I was asked to address whether the GOP candidate could win in Michigan. My 'political machine' comments referred to past Democrat Party political machines that, among other things, helped get as many votes out as possible in prior elections."

Daniel Baxter, the city's director of elections, said he's worked for the department since 1985 and has never heard allegations of people voting multiple times. [He must be deaf]


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Accurate statements about Islam not permitted in Denmark

Danish law is obnoxious and makes a mockery of free speech.  An Iranian refugee has deliberately defied it so the prosecutors had to act.  They know that they are defending the indefensible, however, as they are asking only for a $500 fine

On Thursday December 13th 2012, Danish-Iranian artist Firoozeh Bazrafkan was in the court of Århus, Denmark, suspected for having violated Article 266b of the Danish penal code, which criminalizes derogative or threatening statements against a variety of minorities. This is a report from her day in court.

On one side stood this statement from Firoozeh, published on her blog in Jyllands-Posten on December 6th 2011:

"For I am also deeply convinced that Muslim men to a great extent and everywhere in the world rape, mistreat and kill their daughters. It is my opinion, being an Iranian-born Dane, that we are here facing a defective and inhuman culture – if this can be considered 'culture' at all. But one may say, according to my opinion, this is a defective and inhuman culture, whose manual the Quran is even more immoral, objectionable and insane than the manuals of the two other world religions combined."

In the other side of the courtroom was article 266b of the Danish penal code, represented by the public prosecutor PM:

"Any person who publicly or with the intention of dissemination to a wide circle of people makes a statement or imparts other information threatening, insulting or degrading a group of persons on account of their race, color, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation, shall be liable to a fine, simple detention or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years."

The defence referred to the fact that Firoozeh herself is a refugee from Iran. Her published statement did not have the intention to mock Muslims, but rather to create public debate about article 266b and its harmful implications against public debate of public issues.


Islamic hate speech thriving

PLANS to bring a controversial Saudi imam, famous for spouting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hate speech, to Australia, have provoked an angry response from communal leaders.

Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, who has reportedly called for Jews to be “terminated” and labelled Jews “monkeys”, “pigs” and “the scum of the earth”, is scheduled to appear at the Australian Islamic Peace Conference (AIPC) in March.

“They are killers of prophets and the scum of the earth,” Al-Sudais is reported to have said on Saudi television in 2002. “These are the Jews, a continuous lineage of meanness, cunning, obstinacy, tyranny, evil, and corruption. They sew corruption on earth.”

Nina Bassat of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria said the AIPC had “failed abysmally” in its efforts to promote peace.

“If the aim of the Australian Islamic Peace Conference is to create publicity and divisiveness by bringing to Australia a man who is known for his intemperate and corrosive language, then the organiser has ­succeeded,” Bassat said.

“If the aim is to ‘build bridges between the Muslim community and mainstream Australia’, … then he has failed abysmally.”


How would it be if the Jews said the same thing about Muslims?

Monday, December 17, 2012

FL.: Threats to Christian ministry close it down

Vigilante justice and widespread confusion comprised public debate following the Main Street Crestview Association’s unusually negative Christmas parade. A preacher who denied Santa Claus’ existence and shouted anti-gay slurs and eternal damnation from a megaphone drew the public’s outrage.

Hundreds passionately expressed their views — and search for truth on how to prevent similar occurrences — on the News Bulletin’s Facebook page.

But while some sought answers, others picked fights.  Well meaning parents posted various scenarios of how they would “handle” the ministers if they returned next year. Threats of vigilante justice rivaled the ministry’s own in-your-face style and ultimately undercut their purpose.

Then the fallout really began.  Save Me from the Fire’s website,, states that it’s “currently undergoing scheduled maintenance” — for several days now. James Forrester, the street preacher, deactivated his Facebook account.

Despite overwhelming support for First Amendment rights, several supposedly free-speech advocates — a number invoking mama and papa bear privileges — publicly expressed violent scenarios they’d initiate if the ministers return. 

But any speech that theoretically threatens another person’s freedom of speech negates such sentiments, doesn’t it? In this case, it seems, the overwhelming negativity that ensued, doubtlessly hastened by the numerous threats, led to these sites’ closures. After all, firebrand fundamentalists like this ministry live to spread their message, not squelch it.

You can’t fight hate with hate and expect constructive debates or positive strides.

We have no reason to believe Save Me from the Fire’s ministry is not genuine. We may disagree on members’ methods of delivering the Gospel, but no current evidence suggests ministers see themselves as anything other than prayer warriors.


One-sided condemnation of Israel from Europe

Hatred of the Jews is slowly making a comeback

Four European Union member states reportedly opposed an official condemnation of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s incitement-filled speech last weekend, leading to harsh responses from Israeli leaders that Europe was being one-sided.

According to an Israel Radio report Wednesday, Denmark, Finland, Portugal and Ireland pressured European foreign ministers to condemn Israel solely for its E1 settlement construction plan at a meeting of the body’s foreign council Monday.

In the end, the statement included a brief rebuke of Hamas’s call for Israel’s destruction, after an 11th-hour intervention by Germany and the Czech Republic, Israel Radio reported.

Israeli leaders slammed the EU statement, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that Europe’s lack of a strong condemnation of Hamas was a “deafening silence.”

“We can’t accept that, when Jews build homes in [Israel's] ancient capital, the international community has no problem finding its voice, but when Palestinian leaders openly call for the destruction of Israel, the one and only Jewish state, the world is silent,” Netanyahu said.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Soccer  fan who made 'monkey gesture' at  match  in Britain to face no further action from police

Looks like the public outrage over speech bans might be having an effect

Police are to take no further action against a man arrested after being pictured making an alleged racist gesture during a League Cup match between Chelsea and Manchester United

A spectator in the Chelsea supporters' end, Gavin Kirkham, was pictured making a monkey gesture during the home side's 5-4 extra-time victory over United last month.

At the time of his arrest Scotland Yard said the 28-year-old man, photographed in the Matthew Harding stand apparently raising his hands to his armpits in a gesture aimed at United's black striker Danny Welbeck, was spoken to after attending a west London police station by appointment.

The Metropolitan Police said that "following an investigation which included taking witness statements from those around him in the crowd and viewing CCTV footage, a decision was taken with the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with no further action."

Police did not explain the decision to drop the case against the 28-year-old man, who Chelsea had banned from Stamford Bridge pending the outcome of the investigation.


Jail for Spanish politician who posted video on local party's website showing 20 ways to kill women

This guy was  obviously pretty unpleasant but jailing him over cartoons seems excessive

A politician who posted a video on his local party's website detailing 20 gruesome ways to end a woman's life has been jailed for 18 months.

Joaquín Rabasco was found guilty of uploading the sick animation - which included a woman dying while riding her bike, in the lava of a volcano and being chopped into pieces by an industrial fan.

A judge in Mallorca, Spain, yesterday said the 60-year-old had promoted 'clearly contemptuous images of women' which tried to demonstrate 'the uselessness of women'.

Rabasco, also a former policeman, was fined €18,000 for inciting gender violence. His secretary Claudia Falleman was handed the same sentence.

The court heard that the cartoons were uploaded in 2005 and remained online for more than two months.

Judge Francisco José Pérez said the pair deserved such harsh sentences because the uploading of the animation was 'of such gravity'.

Diario de Mallorca reported he said it 'presented women as banal, whose death was funny and whose intelligence is so low that they will do nothing to try to save their lives.'

The animation, called The Naked Woman, showed 20 ways to end the life of a woman riding a bicycle.

The character was nude, and drawn with oversized breasts.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Must not imitate a black

Tennis pro Caroline Wozniacki deviated from her regular tennis routine in Sao Paulo recently, highlighting her backside more than her backhand.  Following in the tradition of Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic, Wozniacki took aim at her opponent (Maria Sharipova) by pretending to be a much more formidable player– Serena Williams, to be exact.

Stuffing her top and bottom with towels, Wozniacki strutted onto the court pretending to be her curvier, more successful rival.

Reactions have been surprisingly mixed.  Yahoo Sports called it “hilarious,” adding that Wozniacki’s impersonation was “uncanny.”

The Huffington Post, on the other hand, seems very convinced that Wozniacki’s stunt was racist.  They posted an excerpt from a tumblr page reading:

   " …this isn’t “harmless fun” as one article described it. its racist. out and outright racism. mocking and making fun of the bodies of black women for a laugh? real funny, stupid white girl. real real funny."

They also re-posted this tweet: “Even as champions, all that matters is the deviation of our sexual organs from the white standard and that we are hot to trot.”


Must not summarize MLK

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed a plan Tuesday to remove a disputed inscription from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, rather than cut into the granite to replace it with a fuller quotation.

Salazar said he had reached an agreement with King's family, the group that built the memorial and the National Park Service to remove a paraphrase from King's "Drum Major" speech by carving grooves over the lettering to match existing scratch marks in the sculpture. Memorial sculptor Lei Yixin recommended removing the inscription this way to avoid harming the monument's structural integrity.

Critics including poet Maya Angelou complained after the memorial opened in 2011 that the paraphrased quotation took King's words out of context, making him sound arrogant. The paraphrase reads: "I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness."

The full quotation was taken from a 1968 sermon about two months before King was assassinated. It reads: "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter."


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The ACLU trying again to suppress public prayer

In George Orwell’s futuristic novel 1984, a tyrannical government masks its activities through the use of Newspeak — saying or doing something opposite of what the word means.

The operative slogans are: War Is Peace; Freedom Is Slavery, and Ignorance Is Strength.

A current variant comes to mind, courtesy of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Florida branch, which is threatening to sue the Miami-Dade government for voting to replace a moment of silence before County Commission meetings with a prayer.

In other words, the ACLU, self-proclaimed defender of the constitutional freedom of speech, prefers silence, which the formerly cowed commission had required for the past several years.

Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition, which had lobbied for the change, praised the County Commission for “moving into the 21st century,” and described the vote as ending “8½ years of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, stuck in 1984, the ACLU will monitor the next few meetings, and work up some outrage. Then they will file a lawsuit.

“If prayers are sectarian in nature, the county will be sued … ’’ Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in the Miami Herald. “Moving away from a moment of silence is a no-win situation for the county.”

Nonsense. Even Congress opens its sessions with prayers. By the way, “sectarian” is Newspeak for mentioning the name of Jesus. The ACLU can’t actually say they despise Christianity, so they use the blanket term. Occasionally, they’ll pick on a publicly displayed Menorah, just to pretend that this isn’t about eradicating America’s Christian heritage from the growing government sector.


Australian Federal police raid a critical blogger

There's clearly a free speech defence here.  Opinions are not threats  -- not outside Communist countries, anyway. 

Looks like he is going to be charged under Federal law, which is very restrictive, though rarely used.  If it gets as far as the High Court, the law could get knocked on the head.  But they have picked on a little guy so that is unlikely

A Sunshine Coast man whose home was raided by at least 12 federal police yesterday denies he is a terrorist or has links to outlaw bikies.

Glenn Dirix admitted he regularly sent confronting emails to federal and state MPs, including one where he apparently wrote "I wish (Prime Minister) Julia Gillard was dead", but he said he did not believe he was a security threat.

Mr Dirix considers himself a blogger who merely makes comments about Australian politics. He sends the emails using his own name to the public email accounts of the politicians.

He said among the emails, for example, were pictures of politicians with clown hats on, a picture that described Treasurer Wayne Swan as an "economics illiterate", and a picture of Ms Gillard and Mr Swan in a parody of Custer's last stand, a commentary on the 2013 federal election.

Mr Dirix has been charged with seven counts of using a carriage service to "menace, harass or cause offence" and one charge of assaulting police.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mustn't call fatties fat


Christine Duran, Christina Huerta and Isabel Robles were having a good time at the Cameo Club Casino restaurant in Stockton but when they asked for the check they couldn't believe their eyes.

'I got the bill, and I was like, why does the receipt say, "fat girls?"' Duran told News 10.

The ladies quizzed their waiter when he returned to their table but he denied any involvement.

He said that Jeff, whose name was on the receipt, must have typed the offensive slur into the computer as he was taking their order. But he said Jeff had gone for the night.

The three women, upset and outraged, demanded to see a manager.

Cameo Club Casino bar manager Jimmy Seimers said he was disgusted at the staff member's joke.  He said the waiter has been suspended as management continues to investigate the incident.


Looks like a fat club to me  -- JR

NC: Judge rules “Choose Life” license plates unconstitutional

"A federal judge ruled on Friday that North Carolina’s anti-abortion 'Choose Life' license plates violated the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In his 21-page opinion, U.S. District Court Judge James C. Fox said that the state Legislature’s decision to offer a 'Choose Life' license plate, while refusing to offer a pro-choice alternative 'constitutes viewpoint discrimination in violation of the First Amendment.'

North Carolina began offering the plates in 2011 as one of 79 specialty plates approved by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue."


Another perversion of the "establishment" clause

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Rally responds to incidents of female jealousy at UCLA

"Honkie" is a word used by blacks for whites so is this an anti-black rally?  Blacks are usually allowed to be as racist as they like.  Check Farrakhan. 

Such mysteries aside, everybody seems to be ignoring the fact that there is a real underlying grievance here.  On campuses where there are lot of Asians it is notable that the big Caucasian men rather often have a little Asian lady on their arms.  This frustrates other women who would themselves like some of the men concerned.  In the Ivy league, I believe that the non-Asian women refer to this problem (most "incorrectly") as the Yellow Peril.

The same thing is very obvious in Australia.  Australia is about 5% Asian so there a lot of clever little Chinese-origin  ladies around.  And there is no doubt that they go all-out for tall  Caucasian men.  Where I live it is totally routine to see tall Caucasian young men with Asian girlfriends.  It is more surprising to see an Asian lady with an Asian boyfriend.

I of course see nothing wrong with any of that but it must be frustrating at times for Caucasian (and black?) women to see so many desirable men already "taken".  Tallness is something women generally like in men.  Short men complain bitterly about their "invisibility"

About a hundred people rallied outside Kerckhoff Hall earlier today, following acts of vandalism involving racial and sexist slurs that were reported to police earlier this week.

On Tuesday, a student found a piece of paper with the words “asian women R Honkie white-boy worshipping Whores” attached to a Vietnamese Student Union sign in Kerckhoff Hall. Wednesday, a similar phrase was found handwritten on the door of a bathroom stall in Powell Library. University police are currently investigating both incidents.

Amid chants of “hey, hey, ho, ho; Racism has got to go” and people holding colorful signs, speakers from various campus groups expressed their disappointment with the occurrences at the rally, which was hosted by the Vietnamese Student Union.


The young man below is 6' tall.  He is my son.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. says that Conservatives Have “Divided Our Country"

Mr. Kennedy seems unaware that it takes two to tango.  To him, only liberal views should be allowed

    Robert F. Kennedy Jr told HuffPost Live host Josh Zepps in an interview Friday that he believes conservative media outlets such as Fox News are damaging the country.

    Asked how he thought things have changed in the political landscape, Kennedy pointed to "big money" and "the right wing control of the American media, starting with Fox News" as hurtful to collaboration between differing political interests.

    "Twenty-two percent of Americans say their primary news source is Fox News," Kennedy told HuffPost Live. "It's divided our country in a way that we haven't been divided probably since the Civil War, and its [sic] empowered large corporations to get certain kinds of politicians and ideologues who are in the United State Congress elected -- the Tea Party ideologues who control the Republican Party."

Kennedy’s comments are both hysterical and ahistorical, of course, but they’re also completely misleading. (By the way, does he really believe that the United States was less polarized during the heady days of, say, the 1960s, when racial segregation and the war in Vietnam threatened to tear the nation asunder?)

Nonetheless, he gleefully suggests that Fox News is endangering the country, and yet conveniently leaves out the fact that during the home stretch of the 2012 election cycle, MSNBC -- the flagship and most widely watched left-leaning network -- didn’t do a single negative story about Barack Obama. Yes, that’s correct. Zero negative stories. How on earth is this good for the nation?

Yes, Fox News has a right-leaning tilt, but the day to day national news cycle is clearly overwhelmingly controlled by -- and favorable to -- Democrats. And so for Kennedy to proclaim that “the right wing” controls the American media is -- at best -- a gross distortion


Monday, December 10, 2012

How awful!  Sorority Photo Features Sombreros, Mustaches etc.

Why is it wrong to imitate Mexicans?  Are they inferior?  The reaction seems to show that as the hidden assumption

The girls in the Chi Omega sorority at Penn State are in a little bit of trouble for posting a racist photo on the internet.

The racist sorority photo, which was apparently taken on Halloween, features several girls dressed up in sombreros and ponchos for a Mexican-themed party. The costumes would probably be enough to get the girls in trouble on their own but a few sorority members are also holding up drug related signs. One reads”Will mow lawn for weed + beer” and the other says “I don’t cut grass I smoke it.”

Jessica Riccardi, the president of the Nu Gamma chapter of Chi Omega, said that the photo was under investigation.

Riccardi told told the Daily Collegian:  “Our chapter of Chi Omega sincerely apologizes for portraying inappropriate and untrue stereotypes. The picture in question does not support any of Chi Omega’s values or reflect what the organization aspires to be.”

Director of Penn State’s Public Information, Lisa Powers, said that the photo was protected by the girls’ First Amendment rights but added that she was extremely disappointed that they chose to have a racist party.

Fury over pop star's tweet on domestic violence

He's got a point but you must not say that, apparently.  It's "complex"

THE Irish singer Brian McFadden has enraged anti-domestic violence campaigners with a tweet saying women who stayed in violent relationships were "pathetic".

On Friday night the former Westlife singer tweeted to more than 230,000 followers: "Men who hit women are pathetic. Women who make excuses and stay with the guy are just as bad."

The feminist and sociologist Eva Cox berated the axed Australia's Got Talent judge, saying the tweet was "very immature" and "silly".

"Domestic violence is very complex and women in those circumstances are told it's their own fault, they get convinced they're inadequate, ugly, and made to feel guilty," she said. "We need to support the women and say it's not right and you're not the cause of it."

By Saturday afternoon the post had been repeatedly retweeted and attracted replies from upset fans, such as: "That shows a complete lack of understanding of the intricacies of domestic violence."


Sunday, December 09, 2012

A comparison

The usual suspects have mocked and criticized distinguished NFL player Tim Tebow for his practice of going down on one knee and praying during football matches.  Tebow is an evangelical Christian

But the same people seem to have been mute about annual Muslim prayers in the streets of NYC.  Tebow doesn't hold up or obstruct anybody by his devotions but Muslims seem to think they have a right to do just that -- and Mayor Bloomberg permits it, of course.

Court voids drug rep’s conviction, cites free speech

"A divided federal appeals court on Monday threw out the conviction of a sales representative for promoting off-label use of a prescription drug, a ruling that could make it harder for the government to police how drugs are marketed and sold.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found that the sales representative's free speech rights under the First Amendment had been violated."


Once the FDA has certified that a drug is safe, it seems petty for the FDA to forbid use of it in new applications.  But it is all about bureaucratic power rather than anything that helps the public. So it is good that the 1st Amendment again comes to the rescue.  There is no doubt that discussing uses for a drug is speech.

The usual way for medical reps to operate is in fact to give doctors a copy of a scientific journal article that reports or discusses an "off-label" usage of a drug. Doctors are not going to be impressed by much else. It takes a bureaucrat to believe that scientific information should not be circulated.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans’ text messages

"AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans' private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress."


Is America a police state?  On the way to it apparently.  Will there soon be no right to private speech at all?  Various agencies already bug some people so ALL speech is undoubtedly under threat.

CA: Judge temporarily blocks “gay therapy” ban

"A federal judge on Monday temporarily blocked California from enforcing a first-of-its-kind law that bars licensed psychotherapists from working to change the sexual orientations of gay minors, but he limited the scope of his order to just the three providers who have appealed to him to overturn the measure.

U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb made a decision just hours after a hearing on the issue, ruling that the First Amendment rights of psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals who engage in 'reparative' or 'conversion' therapy outweigh concern that the practice poses a danger to young people."


Ever since Freud, talking therapy has indeed been big among psychiatrists and among some psychologists.  It probably does no good but there is no doubt that it is speech.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ohio College said ‘Men Working’ Sign Was Too Sexist

There used to be a lot of warning signs on country roads in Australia saying "Men at work".  In response to complaints that  there were in fact usually no workmen in sight, that was changed to "Workmen ahead".  There still usually weren't any, though

Following an election where the alleged “War on Women” was a major incentive to vote for a number of citizens, an Ohio community college asked a construction crew to remove the common “Men Working” sign after an administrator reportedly found it sexist and non-inclusive.

The construction crew at Sinclair Community College in Dayton was forced to stop working until the sign had been removed.

A spokesman for the college told Fox News that they have a deep commitment to diversity and take it quite seriously.

One Fox News commenter joked about the next step: “Men and Women restrooms seems divisive also…in fact, ‘no dogs allowed’ seems unfair to everyone except the cat.”


British rap music fan who shouted n***** at a black man is CLEARED of racism as magistrates accept he was using 'street slang'

He would probably not have gotten away with it in America, where the word triggers a national neurosis

A rap-mad music fan who shouted n***** at a black man has walked free from court after magistrates agreed he had just been using 'street slang'.

Christopher Jones was arrested after he was overheard aiming the offensive word at a group of men in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on September 10.

But the sign-writer claimed he couldn’t be racist because he listened to hip-hop music, had 'more black friends than white friends' and this is what he called everyone.

Police charged him with using racially-aggravated words or behaviour and Jones was hauled before magistrates last week.

And he was cleared of racist abuse after successfully arguing that he regularly uses the word n****r as 'a term of endearment' on the streets around his home.

North Staffordshire Magistrates ruled he had used the phrase without hostility - and dismissed the case.  'This word has crept into the English language and is used on a regular basis,' he said.  'His use of the word is popular culture.

However anti-race campaigners yesterday condemned the court ruling saying the word had too many negative connotations and should not be used in any circumstances.


Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Must not dress like a Red Indian?

There is an old proverb:  "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."  So imitating American Indians should be a compliment to them and their way of life.  I have read a lot on the subject but still have no idea why Leftists  consider it an insult.  I must be very thick

Charlotte Casiraghi has become the latest public figure to spark anger for wearing a Native American costume.

The Monaco royal, 26, who chose the ensemble to participate in the Gucci-sponsored Paris Masters International Jumping Competition this weekend, was branded 'ignorant' and 'racist' by Tumblr users, many of whom appeared to be royal fans, judging by their usernames.

Royalwatcher wrote on the site: 'I don’t know who told her it was cute to dress in traditonal [sic] clothing of Native American but gurlll, I’m judging you and not in the good way.'

Another, named Prin-ses-ka-ro-leen, added: 'Dear Charlotte Casiraghi, American Indians still endure racism, ignorance and abuse on a regular basis simply because they are Native. You displayed terribly poor judgment in your choice of "outfit."'

'Other riders dressed up as Roman warriors, donkeys, angels, and Flintstones - you know, costumes - while Casiraghi opted for an outfit that has been publicly denounced as racist time and time again,' reporter Hilary George-Parkin wrote.


If you are pretty and a member of European Royalty I guess that the neuroses of the American Left don't really matter to you

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Australian Leftist government fights internet regulation as being a threat to free speech

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy arrives in Dubai on Monday to lobby against proposed changes to internet regulation that web giants such as Google warn "could permit governments to censor legitimate speech – or even cut off internet access altogether".

From December 3-14 representatives of 193 governments and other telecommunications stakeholders will gather in Dubai for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) to update global telecom rules.

Last updated 24 years ago in Melbourne, the treaty sets out regulations on how international voice, data and video traffic is handled. US officials, European Parliament, internet companies and activists have expressed concern at proposals from some countries including Russia and China that seek to extend the regulations to cover the internet.

Now Senator Conroy, who will lead the Australian delegation, has entered the fray, saying “Australia does not believe a case has been made for change”.

Senator Conroy believes the existing multi-stakeholder regulatory model administered by ICANN is “essential for ensuring that the internet remains a central point for innovation and a driver of economic growth”. He said he would formally meet the heads of other delegations in Dubai and hold bilateral meetings with a range of countries to seek their support for Australia's position.


In some ways Australian Leftists are to the Right of the GOP. They budget for a SURPLUS, for instance -- spending LESS than they raise in taxes

No freedom to chime in Britain

Westminster chimes do tend to distract people who are not used to them but you get used to them pretty quickly and hardly notice them after that

A church bell which was silenced for the first time in a century following a complaint by village newcomers will continue to chime after a threat of legal action was lifted.

The old bell, which survived two world wars, had been marking the passing of each quarter of an hour in the quaint 15th Century All Saints Church since being installed 100 years ago.

But stunned clergy were served with a council 'noise abatement notice' - prohibiting the bell chiming between 11pm and 7am after a complaint from new residents.

This was issued after village newcomers Jonathan Apps and Tina Hallett complained to North Somerset Council that the chimes kept them awake at night.

All Saints Church in Wrington, north Somerset, was forced to silence the clock chimes completely, as the mechanism could not be turned off just at night.

Residents in the picturesque village were left furious at the decision, saying they relied on the chimes to tell the time as the church does not have a clock face.

Mr Apps and Ms Hallett - who live opposite the church - withdrew their complaint and stated that they did not wish to pursue the abatement notice.  But the notice had already been issued - meaning that the church was forced to comply with it or appeal against it through the courts.

Today, a spokesman for North Somerset Council said an agreement had been reached with the Parochial Church Council to limit the church to chiming hourly overnight.

The All Saints' tower was influenced by the design of the Victoria Tower at the Houses of Parliament, which stands opposite the most famous chiming clock in the world - Big Ben.


OK: "Freedom to chime" is not serious.  But pole dancing has been held as protected speech in the USA -- so if this had happened in America, there might have been a case.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Mocking the First Amendment in Ohio

30 days in jail for play-acting?

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending this idiot. I’m simply defending his constitutional right to express himself as an idiot.

He and his 9-year-old son were filmed in front of a school bus imitating the limping gait of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy. The two reportedly made a habit of imitating the girl’s limp at the school bus stop in full view of she and her classmates.

Yes, they were cruelly mocking her.  Apparently there is some sort of ongoing feud between the two families involving their children. The disabled girl’s family members it seems were in the habit of calling the man’s 9-year-old son, who suffers from seizures and ADHD, a ‘retard.’

The man, William Bailey, 43, pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and aggravated menacing at a municipal court in Canton, Ohio. The judge gave the man the maximum sentence for his “crime.” His son won’t face any charges because of his young age and because prosecutors thought he was acting under the influence of his father.

Am I missing something here? Imitating someone’s limp is disorderly conduct? Mockery of this sort is aggravated menacing? If that is so, surely the cast and crew of Saturday Night Live are going to have to turn themselves in.

Limping is not a crime. Imitating a limp is not a crime. This guy was not thrown in jail for limping. He was jailed for his thoughts! He was convicted for expressing his mind! He was persecuted for exercising his rights of free speech!


Must not disrespect Obama

If the mockery had been directed at GWB, it would have been just fine

A US firefighter has been sacked for putting toilet paper imprinted with President Barack Obama's face in a fire station bathroom

It was the third time Clint Pierce had posted political paraphernalia on city property and a violation of a direct order to cease and desist from such behaviour, according to city records.  He had until 5pm on Friday to turn in his badge.

"It was clearly a case of insubordination," said Sandra King, a spokeswoman for the city of Pompano Beach.  "He had a similar situation of posting political messages on city property, and he was given a free pass at that time and told to cease and desist, and he did it again and really exacerbated the situation."

Pierce, 50, had been with the department since November 1993. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

The incident exhibited "tasteless and disrespectful treatment" of the President, "caused significant divisiveness within the department and community", and led to "a community outcry" and "negative national news coverage", fire chief Harry  Small wrote in a November 29 order calling for Pierce's termination.

After investigating the toilet paper stunt, Small "found no evidence to indicate that Pierce's actions were racially motivated, but rather they were politically motivated".

But black activists in the city saw it differently, appearing in force at Tuesday's City Commission meeting to express dismay at what they saw as Pierce's disrespectful, offensive and racist actions, and to call for his dismissal.

"If you don't know what it means, I'm going to break it down to you very gently and very nice," Carlene Duncan said.  "It means 'we will wipe our butt with your face,' and that's not very nice. That's very disrespectful to our president.  [How awful!  Were they respectful towards GWB?]

The toilet paper appeared in a Pompano Beach Fire Station restroom on October 19 and Pierce admitted putting it there as a "gag", city records show.

He had earlier placed a bumper sticker that "did not cast the President in a positive light" [Shocking!] on his locker and had a coffee mug with a picture of the President portrayed as a clown.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

First Amendment Scores Major Victory in Seattle

Attempt to control phone directories rejected

The courts reason that commercial speech can be regulated more than noncommercial speech because government has an interest in preventing commercial harm. That’s why advertisers are not allowed to make false product claims, for example.

The Seattle ordinance, which the court overturned in mid-October, banned the distribution of “Yellow Pages phone books” in the city unless the publishers satisfied certain rules. First, the publisher had to obtain a special license.

Second, the publisher was required to pay the city 14 cents for each Yellow Pages phone book distributed within Seattle’s jurisdiction.

Finally, publishers had to comply with an opt-out registry, permitting residents to decline receipt of future phone books from the publisher.

Seattle defended its regulation by characterizing the phone books as pure commercial speech with little value to society. (Tell that to the homeowner who needs a 24-hour plumber.) Because of the high advertising content in such directories, the city asserted that the books were only entitled to a modicum of protection.

The Ninth Circuit rejected Seattle’s commercial-speech argument, concluding that phone books were not that much different than newspapers and other publications that attempt to create positive cash flow from publishing.

“The First Amendment does not make protection contingent on the perceived value of certain speech,” the court wrote, reaffirming that speech intertwined with commercial activity, such as advertising, enjoys fundamental constitutional protections.

Fortunately, the court could not find “a principled reason to treat telephone directories differently from newspapers, magazines, television programs, radio shows, and similar media that does not turn on an evaluation of their contents.”

The Ninth Circuit should be applauded for rejecting Seattle’s program of speech restrictions. If First Amendment guarantees are not applied fairly and uniformly, governments could too easily characterize unfavorable speech as “commercial” and subject it to myriad restrictions.


'Provocative' Playboy truck advert banned in Britain

Pretty mild stuff, it seems to me -- JR

Few people are likely to be surprised by Playboy using provocative images in its advertising.

But when those images are plastered across the side of a truck  that is then parked outside hotels frequented by the elderly, it is likely to raise a few eyebrows.

The van, which appeared in the picturesque seaside town of Ilfracombe in Devon in May, featured pictures of semi-naked women in seductive poses to advertise Playboy TV Chat.

It was deliberately stationed outside The Imperial and The Osborne hotel as, the channel said, most of its calls came from North Devon and many were from elderly people.

Playboy was, however, deemed to have overstepped the mark by the advertising watchdog, which branded the advert sexually provocative and irresponsible and banned it from appearing in public.