Monday, May 31, 2010

All hate speech is not equal

OK to demonize Jews but very bad to laugh at blacks??
"Consider this example: A recent off-campus party—the so-called "Compton Cookout"—was put on by students at the University of California San Diego and featured a black comedian, who calls himself Jiggaboo Jones. This party's marketing materials, which tastelessly parodied African-American stereotypes, not surprisingly created a firestorm of protest led by the school's ethnic studies department, which in its official blog called the stunt racist and complained such that expressions are "alienating" to minority students. Both characterizations are no doubt true.

But when members of the Muslim Student Association carry signs during on-campus protests that say "Jews = Nazis" and Palestinian students repeatedly and thuggishly disrupt Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech, as they did last month at UC Irvine, where are the complaints of racism and alienation of minority (i.e., Jewish and Israeli) students? Where is the defense of Mr. Oren's free speech?

Indeed the UC San Diego ethnic studies department blog roundly condemns Mr. Jones' party, but offers not a word of protest against the racism of the Muslim Student Association. It does, however, provide column-long string of links to articles condemning Israel—but again, not a word about alleged offenses of any other country—not Iran, not Somalia, not North Korea, not Sudan.


Black hate speech?

East New York is a crime-prone area inhabited overwhelmingly by blacks and Hispanics but, although the police have witnesses to the crime, they are saying nothing about ethnicity. Blacks however generally seem to get a pass over hate speech so maybe we can read between the lines here
"The family of a Muslim man beaten in Brooklyn over the weekend says his attackers spewed hate speech when they jumped him during his lunch break.

Kamal Uddin, 57, a construction worker from Bangladesh, was beaten so severely in the Saturday attack that he thinks it's August, his family said. He has told family from his hospital bed that the punks who jumped him in East New York targeted him because of his religion.

He was wearing a traditional Muslim prayer cap at the time, and was not robbed of valuables. "They asked him if he was Muslim, and after that he doesn't know what happened," said his daughter, Rohima Begum, 30, at a press conference last night outside Brookdale University Hospital.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating, but the case has not been classified as a hate crime because witnesses [other blacks?] have not backed up Uddin's claim that his attackers spouted hate speech, police said.


No doubt some people will criticize for mentioning the racial aspect of this matter but I view all censorship with a critical eye -- and censoring mentions of race just makes me try to fill in what we are not being told.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Court clears neo-Nazi of race hate speech

Surprising support for free speech in Latvia. They seem to be a lot more restrictive in nearby Finland. Both Latvia and Finland are "next door" to Russia. But, unlike Finland, Latvia has experienced being under Communism so they probably value liberty more.
"The so-called “Senate” or highest appeal level of the Latvian Supreme Court (Augstākā tiesa) has let stand a lower appeals court decision clearing Latvian neo-Nazi Andris Jordāns of charges of inciting race hatred. Jordāns was originally sentenced to an 18 month jail term for statements he made at a meeting of the Latvian Anti-Fascist Committee denouncing Jews and Roma (gypsies) as “not being human”. There were a number of Latvian Jews in the audience during Jordan’s remarks, which, as some video records show, were delivered in a normal, non-threatening tone of voice.

From news reports, it appears that the lower appeals court decision was based on a failure of prosecutors to prove that Jordāns’ speech was an incitement to racial hatred. It did not touch the issue of whether there should be hate speech laws (probably more of a question for Latvia’s Constitutional Court), simply that the prosecution failed to make its case.

Jordāns is precisely the kind of hard case (a racist, anti-semitic loony-tune) where it is necessary to separate principle from personality and stand by the broadest interpretation of free speech. Free expression applies to all speech and expression, regardless of its content and with some very, very narrow exceptions (had Jordān’s statement immediately been followed by an attack on Jews in the audience, there might be a case, similarly, there could be a case for diminished responsibility based on provocation if a Jewish person from the audience had taken a punch at Jordāns)


It sounds like tone of voice was important -- a statement of alleged fact was not seen as threatening. Makes sense, I suppose.

Wisconsin Army Veteran Allowed to Keep Flag on Display after all

The sunlight of publicity works its usual magic
"A Wisconsin Army veteran -- who faced eviction this week for flying the American flag -- will now be allowed to keep the flag up for as long as he wants.

Under mounting nationwide protest, Charlie Price, 28, of Oshkosh, Wis., and officials at Midwest Realty Management struck a "mutual agreement" that allows the veteran to continue displaying the patriotic symbol, according to a statement posted on the company's website on Thursday.

Price and his wife, Dawn, 27, were previously told they had to remove the flag -- which hangs in a window inside the couple's apartment -- by Saturday or face eviction due to a company policy that bans the display of flags, banners and political or religious materials.

"It means the world to me," Price told "The way it happened wasn't the right way because the staff members were getting threatened and we didn't want any violence out of this, but I'm glad we did come to a compromise."

Randy Rich, the apartment complex's property manager, told that Midwest Realty Management received nearly 4,000 e-mails and thousands of phone calls in connection to the controversy.

In a statement posted on its website on Thursday, Midwest Realty Management apologized to Price and all U.S. veterans. "It was never our intention to hurt the Prices or disrespect what Mr. Price and all veterans have sacrificed for each and every one of us," the statement reads.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Must not insult critic of Israel?

Muslims can shout insults at everyone day in and day out -- but they have special privileges, of course.
"Two ultranationalist Israeli activists have been arrested for shouting insults at White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

The two men approached Emanuel Thursday as he was touring Jerusalem's Old City with his family under heavy security. The protesters began shouting insults and slogans from afar, yelling, "Jerusalem is not for sale." They were referring to the White House pressure for Israel to halt construction in disputed east Jerusalem.


Illinois cross draws tourists, ire from atheist

We read:
"Farmers sold pigs to help raise money to build the towering cross on southern Illinois' highest point as a year-round testament to faith. The 11-story monument draws thousands of visitors each year, and supporters say it has promoted self-growth and reflection for nearly half a century.

But over the years, the once-glistening structure about 130 miles southeast of St. Louis began to show its age. The 650 or so white porcelain panels that cover the concrete and steel frame rusted or fell off. Some remained attached with only coat hangers and bailing wire.

A group cobbled together $360,000 of the $550,000 needed to restore the Bald Knob Cross of Peace, including a $20,000 grant from the state of Illinois. Now, a Chicago-area atheist who objects to the grant as a bit of unconstitutional pork has threatened to sue if the group doesn't return the money to the state.

That didn't deter the Friends of Bald Knob Cross. The money was used long ago as a down payment on the renovation of the monument near Alto Pass, Ill., said Bill Vandergraph, a minister and Friends board member.

His group applied for the money only after a state senator said they'd be eligible for it, he said. And, the landmark has proven versatile, housing federal government transmission equipment and used by Union County's conservation department.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Jewish blogger under fire for 'Leaving Islam?' bus ad

Pamela Geller is one of my favourite people -- and a lot of other conservative bloggers are on her side too. Her Atlas Shrugs blog is always lively and she is one lively lady in general
"The questions on the ads aren't subtle: Leaving Islam? Fatwa on your head? Is your family threatening you? A conservative activist and the organisations she leads have paid several thousand dollars for the ads to run on at least 30 New York City buses for a month.

The ads point to a website called, which offers information to those wishing to leave Islam, but some Muslims are calling the ads a smoke screen for an anti-Muslim agenda.

Pamela Geller, who leads an organisation called Stop Islamisation of America, said the ads were meant to help provide resources for Muslims who are fearful of leaving the faith. "It's not offensive to Muslims, it's religious freedom," she said. "It's not targeted at practicing Muslims. It doesn't say 'leave,' it says 'leaving' with a question mark."

Faiza Ali, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the ads were based on a false premise that people face coercion to remain with Islam. She said Muslims believe faith that is forced is not true belief. [A barefaced lie. Very Islamic]


An Army veteran in Wisconsin will be allowed to display an American flag only until Memorial Day

It's "likely to offend"
"Dawn Price, 27, of Oshkosh, Wis., said she received a call from officials at Midwest Realty Management early Wednesday indicating that she and her husband, Charlie, would be allowed to continue flying the American flag they've had in their window for months through the holiday weekend. The couple had previously been told they had to remove the flag by Saturday or face eviction due to a company policy that bans the display of flags, banners and political or religious materials.

"It's basically an extension so we can fly the flag on Memorial Day," Price told "It does need to come down after that."

Charlie Price, 28, served tours of duty as a combat engineer in Iraq and Kosovo, his wife said. To honor his eight years of service, she began decorating their apartment during Veterans Day in November. An American flag topped off the display, she said.

Veterans' groups were furious at the realtors' refusal to allow the flag to fly. "As a veteran, it sickens me that the Dawn and Charlie Price's building management company would imply that the American flag could be construed as offensive by their residents," said Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AmVets.

Officials at Midwest Realty Management, which manages Brookside Apartments, where the Prices live, did not return several messages seeking comment. In a statement to the Oshkosh Northwestern, company officials said the policy was established to provide a consistent living environment for all residents.

"This policy was developed to insure that we are fair to everyone as we have many residents from diverse backgrounds," the statement read. "By having a blanket policy of neutrality we have found that we are less likely to offend anyone and the aesthetic qualities of our apartment communities are maintained."


Anybody who is offended by the American flag in America shouldn't be in America. Try Canada.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law -- A Big Free Speech Win in the Ninth Circuit

This case gets a bit long and technical so I will try to summarize:

A math professor by the name of Kehowski sent out a few emails proclaiming the superiority of Western civilization. He sent them to everybody in the internal mail system of his college. He was particularly scornful of official Mexican racism (The "La Raza" concept)

Lots of Hispanics got peeved by that and sued the college for letting Kehowski do it. They had a bit of a win initially but when it went to the 9th circus on appeal, they lost in spades, with the judge saying some rather amazingly pro-free-speech things.

How come? Pretty surprising for the 9th Circus. Color me an old cynic but I am inclined to think that a Polish-American judge might have felt more than usually sympathetic to a Polish-American "offender". Bad of me, I know. We all know how impartial 9th circus judges are.

A few good excerpts from the judgment:

"Their objection to Kehowski's speech is based entirely on his point of view, and it is axiomatic that the government may not silence speech because the ideas it promotes are thought to be offensive"

"The right to provoke, offend and shock lies at the core of the First Amendment.

"We therefore doubt that a college professor's expression on a matter of public concern, directed to the college community, could ever constitute unlawful harassment and justify the judicial intervention that plaintiffs seek"

"It's easy enough to assert that Kehowski's ideas contribute nothing to academic debate, and that the expression of his point of view does more harm than good. But the First Amendment doesn't allow us to weigh the pros and cons of certain types of speech. Those offended by Kehowski's ideas should engage him in debate or hit the "delete" button when they receive his emails. They may not invoke the power of the government to shut him up."

Details here

Student Suspended for Wearing Rosary beads

We read:
"Raymond Hosier, a 13-year-old Schenectady, New York, boy, is gearing up to file a federal suit against his middle school after he was repeatedly suspended for wearing a rosary, which he says is in memory of his older brother who died in a bike accident.

Hosier said he has worn the rosary since September, but in the last week was suspended three times, most recently on Monday, when he arrived at school with the beads outside his shirt.

"When I wear the rosary beads," Hosier says, "my brother's memory is alive." His brother, Joey Hosier, was holding the rosary when he died.

But officials at Oneida Middle School say the district's code of conduct clearly states that beads worn outside of the shirt are forbidden.

"Beads are often identifiers for gangs," says Karen Corona, who handles communications for the Schenectady City School District. "The code of conduct is entirely about keeping students safe....

Hosier is being represented by the conservative American Center for Law & Justice, which has argued several cases nationally involving freedom of speech and religion.

The lawyers are planning to file a suit in federal court claiming the school violated Hosier's constitutional rights to free speech.


There was a similar case in February, also in NY. In that case the ACLU were defending the kid. This time the kid gets conservative defenders!

I don't have much sympathy for the kid. The rosary is an aid to prayer, nothing else. Using it as a necklace seems rather poor taste to me. It is certainly not a form of religious expression in such a usage. I think the conservative lawyers in this case are simply showing their ignorance of what rosary beads are for.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

No freedom to sculpt?

Sculpting is surely a form of self expression and many forms of self-expression have been held to be covered as protected free speech
"In suburban St. Louis County, Missouri, a judge has sentenced Lewis Greenberg, 66, to 20 days in jail. Greenberg’s crime? Well, it would be silly to describe his offense as a ‘crime.’ He’s in legal hot water because his neighbors don’t like his art, because a judge agrees with them, and because he refuses to modify that art to the specifications of his critics.

Greenberg calls his yard sculpture installations a ’statement on the Holocaust.’ Local bureaucrats cite ’safety’ concerns and characterize their demands as being made on behalf of ‘the children’ who live near, but not on, Greenberg’s property.”


They sure look odd but most modern sculpture looks fit only for the rubbish tip to me. But it's his yard they are "adorning". What was that bit about a "free country"?

Considering the rubbish that passes as art these days, his problem must be that he is not anti-Christian enough. Anything anti-Christian is sure to be defended as "legitimate" art.

Conservative radio talkers opposed by Leftists for "hate"

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
"There's a new speech sheriff in the town of Fresno, California, and they want to silence conservative talk radio. And they'll say or do whatever it takes to get it done.

New "community group" Citizens for Civility & Accountability in Media (CCAM) is super-peeved at Fresno, California radio station KMJ for having the temerity to broadcast (on their two stations) conservative talk radio hosts to whom people want to listen.

Because, you see, it's "hate speech" - according to CCAM. And therefore, KMJ should "alter their programming" (read: change their content by silencing conservatives) "in order to curtail practices that we believe to be damaging to our social fabric and to civility in public discourse."

It would seem the residents of Fresno do not believe that Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and others on KMJ are "damaging to our social fabric and to civility in public discourse." But that could not matter less to CCAM.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Afghans accuse British defence boss of racism and disrespect

Must not say that Afghans are primitive and backward, even though they are
"Liam Fox was under attack last night for damaging Britain’s relations with Kabul after he described Afghanistan as a “broken 13th-century country”.

The Defence Secretary’s comments, made in an interview with The Times published on Saturday, provoked fury from the Afghan Government and media with officials calling the claims racist.

In his interview Dr Fox said that there must be a distinction between military and humanitarian goals. “We are not in Afghanistan for the sake of the education policy in a broken 13th-century country. We are there so the people of Britain and our global interests are not threatened.”

A senior Afghan government source said: “His view appears to be that Afghanistan has not changed since the 13th century and it implies that Afghanistan is a tribal and medieval society.

“Despite the sacrifices of British soldiers and the massive support of the British Government we do not feel that there is a mutual respect. His remarks show a lack of trust.”


Mustn't wear faith-based T-shirt on camera?

Apology after Congressman raises the issue
"The top officer for FEMA said one of the agency's videographers was "absolutely wrong" to ask Mississippi church volunteers not to wear religious T-shirts for a video about tornado cleanup.

Angelia Lott and Pamela Wedgeworth, who are sisters, told The Associated Press that the FEMA worker videotaping the cleanup on Saturday in the small town of Ebenezer asked them to do on-camera interviews but requested that they change out of their T-shirts because of a Salvation Army logo.

"He said, 'We would like to ask you to change your shirt because we don't want anything faith-based,'" Lott said Tuesday.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said in a statement issued Monday that the man's actions "in no way reflect FEMA's policies or priorities." "The photographer in question was absolutely wrong," Fugate said.

Fugate also apologized to Crossgates Baptist and to the Salvation Army.

U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., is a member of Crossgates Baptist and said he was distressed to hear volunteers had been asked to hide expressions of their faith. Harper said Fugate called to assure him that FEMA does not discriminate against religious groups.

Harper said Fugate told him the photographer had been fired.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Must not write in opposition to "diversity"

Washington University physics professor Jonathan Katz, one of five scientists appointed by the Obama administration to oversee the oil 'spill' mess in the gulf has been decommissioned.

He was fired, not because of incompetence, but because his online compositions question the value of diversity. Specifically, he wrote that the diversity movement is innately racist stating that "race matters only to racists."

Sad that politcal correctness trumps expert scientific contribution. Some of his scholarly writings have been posted at Scientific Commons

Katz sounds like a fairly mainstream conservative -- and that will never do in a U.S. government employee during the Obama regime

The truth is liable to prosecution in Sweden

We read:
"Several newspapers reported that Skånepartiets party chairman Carl P Herslow is being charged with ”incitement to racial hatred” after he was on the town square in Malmö with a picture of Muhammad and 6-year-old Aisha.

The image stems from the generally accepted fact in Islam that Muhammad married a 6-year-old girl and raped her at 9-years old. The image is therefore something that is described in the Islamic texts about Muhammad – the Muslims' primary role model. How this ”prophet” lived is something that Muslims strive to live by, as he is ”the perfect man” according to their beliefs.

That Mohammed sexually assaulted young children is therefore no secret (read the hadith on jihad in Malmö). Yet JK chooses to prosecute him for incitement to racial hatred (”hets mot folkgrupp”).

Put that in relation to what went down in the mosque at "Medborgarplatsen” in Stockholm. The mosque sold anti-Semitic tapes in 2005 – Jews were compared to monkeys, pigs and diseases, and that the ”Final Solution” for Jews was a ”jihad” – holy war.

”O Allah, annihilate the Jews, O Allah, annihilate the Jews! O Allah curse them and expulsions them and let them whipped with suffering. O Allah, of heaven and earth! ”

Then Justice Chancellor at the time, Göran Lambertz, began a preliminary investigation on the incitement of hatred, but decided to close the case on the grounds that the ties were ”very critical of the Jews” but otherwise there was no violation of Swedish law.

So, in Sweden today, you can prosecute a man for telling an established truth that is openly described in Islamic texts, but to prosecute Muslims call for the murder of Jews is not hate speech according to the Chancellor.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Muslim intimidation triumphs again, it seems

We read:
"A Facebook page considered offensive to Islam that led to a Pakistani ban on the site has been removed, possibly by its creator.

Facebook said on Friday it had not taken any action on the page, which had attracted more than 100,000 users and encouraged users to post images of the prophet Mohammed, purportedly in support of freedom of speech.

Most Muslims regard any depiction of the prophet, even favourable ones, as blasphemous...

The Facebook page, called "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!," had declared Thursday as the day to draw Mohammed, so it was possible the creator took it down Friday because the page had served its purpose.

The page encouraged users to post images of the prophet in protest against threats made by a radical Muslim group against the creators of the American TV series South Park for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit during an episode earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris, whose satirical cartoon calling for an "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" inspired the Facebook page, said in a post on her website that she meant her work only to be a commentary on the South Park controversy.


Pink Hitler posters provoke fury

Although they were allied with Hitler in WWII, Italians have fewer hangups about it all because Italian Fascism was not antisemitic. When the Germans came looking for Jews people all over Italy hid them -- church institutions particularly. At one stage Castel Gandolfo -- the summer retreat of the Pope -- was full of Jews being kept out of sight of the Germans
"Giant posters of Hitler dressed in bright pink, with a love heart in place of a swastika, have provoked a furious debate in Italy. The 18ft high posters of the Nazi leader advertise a line of clothing for young people and adorn street corners and bus stops in Palermo, Sicily's biggest city.

The ads show the Fuhrer in a lurid pink uniform, with his swastika armband replaced with one bearing a bright red heart, above the slogan "Change Style – Don't Follow Your Leader".

Many local people say the advertising campaign is offensive and have called for the posters to be taken down.

But the advertising agency which came up with the idea said critics of the campaign were over-reacting. The Hitler poster was a tongue-in-cheek way of encouraging young people not to follow the crowd in their fashion choices.

"We have ridiculed Hitler in a way that invites young people to create their own style and not to be influenced by their peers," said the agency's Daniele Manno.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Judge not allowed to tell criminals what he thought of them

Only in Britain:
"The dad of a teenage vandal branded "absolute scum" by a magistrate today backed the JP's bid to win back his job — saying: "I totally agree with him."

Austin Molloy, 57, was axed from his job as chairman of the bench when a court clerk complained after he branded two 16-year-old boys who vandalised Blackburn Cathedral "scum".

He made the remarks at Blackburn Magistrates Court while sentencing the yobs for scrawling obscene graffiti on prayer books and damaging a priceless John The Baptist cross — causing £3,000 of damage.

But now the father of one of the boys, who along with his son cannot be named for legal reasons, has backed the magistrate's choice of words. He said: "I totally agree with what Mr Molloy said and I've not got a problem with him whatsoever. "I back him 100 per cent. As far as I am concerned Mr Molloy should get his job back...

Mr Molloy, a managing director at an engineering firm, told the teens, from Darwen, Lancs, while sentencing them: "Normal people would consider you absolute scum." But he was immediately reprimanded by court clerk Christine Dean for his "inappropriate language".

Grandad-of-one Mr Molloy, also from Darwen — chairman of the bench for 14 years and a magistrate for 18 — has received widespread support from local politicians and residents.

More than 2,000 people have joined a Facebook campaign in support of the JP, while others have begun a group saying the clerk who reported Mr Molloy should be sacked instead.


NH: American flag may fly again outside home

We read:
"A Navy veteran in Hillsborough will now be allowed to fly his U.S. flag outside his apartment building. Hillsborough police said an agreement has been reached to allow residents of the Maple Leaf Village complex to fly flags.

Joe LeVangie, 88, and his neighbors had been told to take down the flags because they were displayed in violation of a policy set by the management company.

LeVangie is a World War II veteran and said he flew his flag to honor troops serving overseas. … Police said all parties are in agreement, and the details will be worked out with the property custodian.”


Friday, May 21, 2010

Sometime today, the winners of ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ will be announced on

We read:
"‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ is a show of solidarity with both Vilks and “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who received their own death threats for a Muhammad unveiling attempt in Episode 200. Revolution Muslim, which can claim Jihad Jane as a follower, issued the fatwa against Stone and Parker.

The aim of Draw Mohammed Day is to showcase too many Muhammad artists for radical Muslims to head-butt or murder. The Facebook group is 35,000 strong. To compare, the anti-Draw Mohammed Day group is almost 30,000 strong. Both are gaining members rapidly.

The reason to take crayons to the prophet is to plumb not the tolerance of Islam but the limits of artistic freedom. To the mind of an artist, or to students bombarded since preschool with the First Amendment, it must seem peculiar that the vast universe contains but one thing that cannot be represented visually. Especially when that one thing is off-limits because, somewhere in the distant past, someone settled on one unshakable interpretation of a few lines in the Koran.

Even Molly Norris, the Seattle artist responsible for Draw Mohammed Day, has disowned it. Why? In a Los Angeles Times interview, Norris explained that her cartoons “struck a gigantic nerve.” She should feel artistically validated for riling the masses, but because radicals have decided to impose an Islamic belief on non-Muslims, she can only cringe and hide.


Canadian hate speech law still in contention

Federal court to decide whether it conflicts with Canada's Charter of Rights
"The upcoming appeal of Section 13, Canada's online hate speech law, "pits one set of rights -- human rights -- against another set of rights -- charter-guaranteed rights," according to a request for intervenor status by the African Canadian Legal Clinic.

The hate speech case against webmaster Marc Lemire, brought to the Canadian Human Rights Commission by activist lawyer Richard Warman, is to be reviewed in Federal Court, after a tribunal last year decided that Mr. Lemire did violate Section 13, but that the law itself is an unconstitutional limit on free speech.

The Federal Court's decision "will seriously impact the ability of African Canadians to seek recourse for this type of offensive and damaging yet non-violent speech. Because of the potential for a far-reaching, negative impact on the African Canadian community, the ACLC ought to be present at the judicial review to protect the community's interests."


Freedom of expression is a "fundamental freedom" according to the Charter so there SHOULD be no doubt about the verdict but if Canadian courts are as irresponsible as SCOTUS, they should have no trouble driving a horse and cart through that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From banning books to banning blogs

Amazing -- and disturbing:
"The Obama administration has announced plans to regulate the Internet through the Federal Communications Commission, extending its authority over broadband providers to police web traffic, enforcing ‘net neutrality.’

Last week, a congressional hearing exposed an effort to give another agency — the Federal Election Commission — unprecedented power to regulate political speech online.

At a House Administration Committee hearing last Tuesday, Patton Boggs attorney William McGinley explained that the sloppy statutory language in the ‘DISCLOSE Act’ would extend the FEC’s control over broadcast communications to all ‘covered communications,’ including the blogosphere.”


Getting after the devil: Obama and civil liberties

We read:
"What we are grappling with today is a government that is cutting great roads through the very foundations of freedom in order to get after its modern devils.

Yet the government can only go as far as “we the people” allow. Therein lies the problem. Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives.

The hour grows late in terms of restoring the balance of power and reclaiming our freedoms, but it may not be too late.”


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PA: US rights group sues to protect right to swear

I think the ACLU have the law right on this:
“An American rights group is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets, which carry a jail sentence, to people for swearing.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuits earlier, argues that the right to use profanity is protected by the U.S. Constitution. ‘Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime,’ said Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

‘The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech.’ Obscenity, under the Supreme Court’s definition, refers to speech that mainly appeals to the ‘prurient interest’ in sex, according to the ACLU.”


TN: Online review of condo triggers libel suit

We read:
"A Murfreesboro man thought his involvement with a Florida vacation condo would end with his scathing review of it, posted on an online forum. But those words could end up costing him $15,000.

Three years later, the owner is suing for damages, saying Jonathan Nicholls’ comments weren’t true and resulted in lost business. Nicholls and his wife were served the libel lawsuit last week over his post on, reviewing their September 2007 stay at Gumbo Limbo Vacation Rentals in Siesta Key, Fla.

The suit also names Tripadvisor as a defendant. ‘Tripadvisor is an open forum for reviews, and that’s what I did,’ said Nicholls, 29. ‘I feel like I’m being bullied for my opinion.’”


This is a fairly ambitious lawsuit. The condo owner would have to prove that the man did not give an accurate account of his experiences

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The paradox of hating America whilst choosing to live there

Another comment on the disgraceful events at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif. on "Cinco de Mayo"
"Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez, at said youth propaganda camp on May 5, told a group of Anglo kids they had to turn their American-flag T-shirts inside-out or be sent home.

One of the boys' mothers told NBC Bay Area, "They said we could wear it on any other day, but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday, so we were not allowed to wear it."

It’s hard to imagine any other nation on Earth whose populace would be so patient, for so long, at such in-your-face outrages to their national pride and sovereignty.

Not the ‘Mexican colors’ thing. That was fine, like wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m talking about the notion that showing the Stars and Stripes might offend anyone who has chosen to come to America.”


I personally would think it appropriate for the "offended" ones to be sent back to Mexico, family and all.

But of course it is not really the fault of the Mexican kids. It is the fault of the Left-run educational system which told them that they SHOULD be offended and that it is OK to despise America, as Leftists themselves do.

No free speech for supporters of terrorism

We read:
"As everyone knows, the First Amendment guarantees the fundamental right of freedom of speech from infringement at the hands of U.S. officials. But ever since 9/11, there has been an important limitation placed on such freedom. While Americans are still free to condemn U.S. aggression abroad, the U.S. Empire does not permit Americans to exhort foreign citizens to resist U.S. foreign aggression with violence. If U.S. officials suspect that an American citizen is exhorting foreigners to resist U.S. aggression abroad, they wield the power to do one of three things to that citizen:

1. Treat him as a criminal defendant by indicting and prosecuting him in U.S. District Court for supporting terrorism. If they can establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant encouraged foreigners to resist U.S. aggression with violence, they can secure a criminal conviction that will result in a mandatory life sentence in a federal penitentiary.


The above is written by a libertarian who opposes U.S. wars abroad, as the majority of libertarians do and as American conservatives traditionally did. So the language is a bit inflammatory. But he does point out an important truth: That SOME limits on free speech have always been accepted. You are not free to libel people for instance.

And all countries that I know of do not allow support for the enemy in time of war. And America is clearly at war with fundamentalist Muslims, even if Eric Holder refuses to say so. As with Pearl Harbor, America did not seek the war but the 9/11 attacks clearly were a declaration of war and the continuing hostility is clearly limited only by Muslim stupidity and limited ability to wage hostilities.

And America is in fact fighting on behalf of the developed world generally. Many Britons, Australians and Spaniards have also been killed by Jihadi bombs. Those who propose to let the Jihadis run riot simply lack cojones or live in their own delusory version of reality, as most Leftists and some libertarians do.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Australia's most complained-about TV ad

We read:
"A Nando's commercial featuring a topless, pole-dancing mum who serves a chicken dinner to her children is the most complained about Australian commercial of the decade.

The advertisement drew more than 350 complaints to the Advertising Standards Bureau when it first aired in 2007, more than any other commercial since 1998.

The Nando's commercial, which shows a stripper in a nightclub wiggling her bottom in the face of a male patron before she sits down to dinner with her family at a Nando's restaurant, was one of many commercials complained about for portraying sex, nudity or gender discrimination.

Despite the wave of condemnation the ASB dismissed all complaints against the ads.

(Video at link)

Must not mention a cannibal past

We read:
"New Zealand's Prime Minister has apologised for making a joke about a Maori tribe eating him for dinner. John Key was addressing a tourism conference when he made a reference to a tribal land dispute involving the Tuhoe people, and joked about having a meal with leaders of a tribe [a tribe is called an "iwi" in NZ] - that are Tuhoe's neighbours.

"The good news was that I was having dinner with Ngati Porou as opposed to their neighbouring iwi, which is Tuhoe - in which case I would have been the dinner," Mr Key said.

His quip further soured relations with the Tuhoe people that are already strained over their bid to win back ownership of tribal lands confiscated by a settler government 150 years ago....

Before European settlement, Maori tribes regularly raided other tribal groups, seizing some as slaves and indulging in cannibal feasts to sow fear among their enemies. Scholars believe the practice ended 200 years ago.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Must not portray Obama as a Communist

We read:
"A painting depicting President Barack Obama next to a hammer and sickle symbol hung for nearly two weeks at Hallsville High School. It was taken down Monday after complaints.

Art teacher Brittany Williamson said her student simply wanted to “get a reaction” with his painting that depicted President Barack Obama with a hammer and sickle symbolizing communism. “That’s the whole purpose of art — to get a reaction,” Williamson said.

Although Williamson thought the Hallsville High School sophomore’s painting was “an amazing piece,” it received not-so-amazing critiques from some school staff and visitors who complained to Williamson and Superintendent John Robertson. The painting was taken down Monday after being displayed for nearly two weeks.

Robertson said the piece was removed because it could have been construed to reflect an official position of the school district...

Supreme Court rulings seem to side with the school district on whether to abridge a student’s First Amendment right to freedom of expression.

Doug Abrams, an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, said the courts have determined that students have First Amendment rights, “but if the administration believes that exercise of those rights would disrupt the school’s learning environment, then the administration can abridge the exercise of those rights.” [But it was NOT disrupting anything]


SCOTUS nominee Kagan has her own version of the First Amendment

We read:
"Elena Kagan's explanation of the First Amendment: It's perfectly OK, she wrote in the University of Chicago Law Review, for the government to restrict free speech as long as it means well and calls it something else. The word "restrictions" sounds bad, like a leather restraint, but Mzz Kagan's "redistribution of speech" can sound benign, like free cheese. Who doesn't like cheese? She argued that the government can employ Orwellian restrictions on speech if it thinks such speech might "harm" others, either by direct action or inciting someone else to take direct action. Who gets to decide when such restrictions are imposed for the greater good? Why, the government, of course.

She does not identify, exactly, what speech the government could regard as inflicting such "harm" as to justify suspending the Constitution, but she offers as examples incitement to violence, "hate speech" and "fighting words." Since certain friends of the White House have suggested that "tea party" activists may have already been guilty of sedition, we can imagine what some of the violations might one day be.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Australian Tourism body sorry over using abbreviation

The word "Abo" is the normal term in use to describe an Australian black. Australians are great abbreviators and very few bother to use the full (Latin) word "aborigine" in normal conversation.

Even blacks themselves rarely use the word. They normally refer to themselves either by a tribal name or as "blackfellas" -- so it took holier-than-thou whites to make a fuss about the usage
"A Northern Territory Government agency has apologised after it was caught out paying for a sponsored Google link to the racial slur "Abo".

Right up until yesterday afternoon, if an internet user typed "Abo" into Google, a sponsored Tourism NT advertisement popped up. It even used the word as the headline for its ad.

Underneath "Abo" it said: "An experience you will never forget. Experience Aboriginal culture in NT". The ad linked to the Travel NT website, run by Tourism NT.

Tourism NT late this afternoon released a three-sentence statement, which said it had alerted its online search provider and the link had been taken down.

"Tourism NT has been alerted to the use of an inappropriate search term to promote Tourism NT's consumer website, and has taken immediate and appropriate action to rectify this problem," the statement said.


The First Amendment doesn’t need a bailout

We read:
"The FCC’s proceeding is premised on the assumption that the news media in the United States faces a bleak future unless government acts to save it from disruptive market forces. In reality, however, the marketplace of ideas and information has never been more vibrant, diverse or accessible. The only fundamental threat to the future of media is an overreaching federal government that attempts to dictate winners and losers in the journalistic enterprise.

“A ‘bailout for the First Amendment’ is inappropriate policy, even if its advocates' purported goals are merely to make us all enlightened citizens,” wrote Crews. “FCC calls this project It would more appropriately be when it comes to an obsolete FCC grasping for a role to play. Appropriations for these counter-democratic campaigns should be revoked.”


Friday, May 14, 2010

Schumer’s hypocritical assault on Facebook

We read:
"Hypocrisy in politics is nothing new. But Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) set a new standard for it last week when he and three of his colleagues attacked social networking giant Facebook over its privacy practices. In a scathing letter, the senators demanded that Facebook change certain features to give users greater “control over their information.” The real threat to privacy, however, comes not from innovative companies like Facebook, but from posturing politicians.

One moment, Sen. Schumer implores Facebook to change its privacy policies. The next, he’s leading the push in Congress to require all Americans to have national ID cards. Unlike social networking sites, which are entirely voluntary, Americans will not be able to “opt out” of Schumer’s national ID scheme. (Schumer’s proposal even requires citizens’ biometric information, like an iris scan or fingerprint.) Perhaps Sen. Schumer could use a dose of his own privacy medicine.

But when politicians threaten innovative Internet companies with government mandates, they undermine the experimentation that has been so crucial to America’s incredible high-tech achievements. The United States is home to innovators like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo! precisely because our government has largely avoided regulating the Internet.

The information age is still in its infancy. Most digital frontiers remain unexplored. They will stay that way if politicians deny companies like Facebook the freedom to experiment with novel approaches to sharing information online. If Sen. Schumer and his colleagues really want to safeguard Americans’ privacy, they should focus on reforming the federal government’s own invasive policies.


Obama's Internet nanny

FCC regulations not needed to 'protect' the Web
"The Obama administration refuses to take no for an answer in its desire to control the Internet.

Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals Court for the District of Columbia delivered a unanimous and unambiguous repudiation of the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to dictate how a cable company should run its business as an Internet-service provider. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski responded last week by proposing a "third way" around the court decision: He will redefine the Internet as if it were a telephone.

The FCC, a New Deal relic, derives its current authority from the Telecommunications Act of 1996. At the time the law was enacted, Congress wisely decided to take a hands-off approach to the Internet by creating a new "information service" category explicitly designed to remain free from the tangle of red tape that the agency layers on top of telephone service, cable, broadcast television and radio.

Mr. Genachowski, however, is upset that this plain reading of the statute deprives him of the authority to "safeguard privacy," "empower consumers" and "lower the costs of investment." He seeks to remedy this by imposing new rules on the Internet's network infrastructure. In a rather Orwellian fashion, he claims these regulations would not involve regulating the Internet itself. Mr. Genachowski insists that he has no intention of meddling with online content.

Even if that's true, his proposal remains deeply troubling. If a federal agency is allowed to ignore court rulings and erase laws with which it disagrees, there would be no restraint on what a future chairman might do.

Neither President Obama nor his appointees have the authority to unilaterally rewrite the law when it suits their convenience. If Mr. Obama wants to impose controls on the Internet, he must go to Congress and ask for the new power - a request not likely to be granted.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

CA: Mojave cross at center of court fight reported stolen

Leftists will stop at nothing to get their way
"A war memorial shaped like a cross that has been at the center of a Supreme Court fight has been torn down by vandals from its remote perch in a California desert.

The 6-foot-tall metal structure was removed Sunday night from Sunrise Rock in a lonely stretch of the Mojave National Preserve, said government officials and veterans groups that have been fighting for years to keep the cross on national park land.”


The religion of peace again

Muslims disrupt speech about free speech
"A Swedish artist who angered Muslims by depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a dog was assaulted as furious protesters interrupted his university lecture about the limits of free speech.

Lars Vilks told The Associated Press that a man leaped from the front row and head-butted him Tuesday as he was delivering his lecture at Uppsala University, breaking Vilks' glasses but leaving him uninjured.

Police later said the attacker was stopped before he could reach Vilks and that the artist may have bumped into plain-clothes officers who briskly evacuated him from the room. Three people were detained, but it wasn't immediately clear whether the attacker was among them.

A video clip of the incident by a Swedish newspaper showed police using pepper spray and batons to hold off an angry crowd shouting "God is great" in Arabic after Vilks was escorted out of the lecture hall....


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Seniors not allowed to give thanks before meals

We read:
"Senior citizens are no longer allowed to pray before meals at the Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center near Savannah, Georgia. Local officials say the meals are now provided with federal money and therefore the seniors are not allowed to pray before meals.
WSBTV reported:

On Thursday, the usual open prayer before meals at the center was traded in for a moment of silence.

Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc. vice president, said some of his staff recently visited the center and noticed people praying shortly before lunch was served. Rutherford said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and rice and salads at a cost of about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill, Rutherford said.

“We can’t scoff at their rules,” he said of federal authorities. “It’s a part of the operational guidelines.”


Religion is often a great comfort to the elderly so this is quite vicious


The light of publicity has worked its usual magic. Center managers have backed down. Port Wentworth Mayor Glenn "Pig" Jones made a fuss and the seniors can now pray out loud before meals. See here

"Dishy" Sullivan wants to "out" the "unmarried" Elena Kagan

Anonymous White House spokespeople have denied that Obama's latest SCOTUS nominee is a lesbian but many observers detect a Nixonian ring to such denials. Andrew Sullivan is apparently one of them:
"And yet we have been told by many that she is gay ... and no one will ask directly if this is true and no one in the administration will tell us definitively.

In a word, this is preposterous - a function of liberal cowardice and conservative discomfort. It should mean nothing either way. Since the issue of this tiny minority - and the right of the huge majority to determine its rights and equality - is a live issue for the court in the next generation, and since it would be bizarre to argue that a Justice's sexual orientation will not in some way affect his or her judgment of the issue, it is only logical that this question should be clarified.


She has certainly been vigorous in her defence of homosexuality and cases upcoming will involve it so she should recuse herself from such cases if she really is a lesbian. Is she staying in the closet so she will NOT have to recuse herself? For once, I think I agree with Sullivan.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Big-league sport in America very selective about "hate speech"

We read:
"Conservative radio maven Rush Limbaugh was denied a piece of the NFL St. Louis Rams last year when complaints about his racial opinions made him unacceptable as an owner. Now, website is wondering why the same sports leagues that rejected Limbaugh are employing liberal agitprop meister Keith Olbermann-- whose blog appears on the website and who hosts NBC’s NFL coverage on Sunday nights.

They point out that Olbermann (who features a Worst Person In The World segment) regularly demonized former U.S. president George Bush with Nazi references, has objectified women “a big, mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it” and described Massachusetts senator Scott Brown as “an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees.”

Is it sarcasm when Olbermann says it but hate speech when Limbaugh tweaks the icons of the left?


Polish pop star faces two years’ prison for blasphemy

Under Communism for many years, Poles got used to criminalizing speech. They have some catching up to do.
"Under Poland’s blasphemy law, a Polish pop singer is facing two years in jail for interview comments about the Bible.

26-year-old Dorota Rabczewska, known as “Doda”, is a Polish pop star. Generally not much different from American pop stars — other than being a member of MENSA — Doda likes to speak her mind. That’s gotten her into some hot water this time around.

In a television interview last year, Doda explained that she found it far easier to believe in dinosaurs than the Bible; “it is hard to believe in something written by people who drank too much wine and smoked herbal cigarettes.”

Polish Catholics weren’t too pleased. Under Poland’s draconian blasphemy law, simply offending someone’s religious sensibilities can earn you hefty fines and even imprisonment.


Monday, May 10, 2010

FCC doesn't have to be right -- just "substantially justified"

A new standard in law!
"Last week, an administrative law judge for the Federal Trade Commission held the agency was not liable under federal law for the attorney fees and expenses of William Isely, an 84-year-old retiree falsely accused of disseminating false advertising on the Internet.

Although the same judge held last year that the evidence clearly demonstrated Mr. Isely was not responsible for the challenged advertising — which was produced by a foreign company outside the FTC’s jurisdiction — the Commission was nevertheless ’substantially justified’ in its prosecution, thereby negating Mr. Isely’s right to recover attorney fees.

If the judge’s decision stands, it would effectively exempt the FTC from the Equal Access to Justice Act, which was designed to help combat government abuses of the adjudicatory process.”


This predatory organization is a deadly enemy of free speech and now they seem to be immune from paying for their attacks on it if they lose in the courts.

Congressional grandstanding over terrorism

If this is the best they can do about terrorism, America is in a bad way:
"A bipartisan group of legislators on Thursday introduced legislation in Congress to strip citizenship from any American found to be involved in terrorism.

If the Terrorist Expatriation Act passes, an American would lose citizenship if found to have provided material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization — as designated by the secretary of state — or participated in actions against the United States.

Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, and Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, co-sponsored the bill. An identical bill is being introduced in the House by Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pennsylvania, and Charlie Dent, R-Pennsylvania.”


It seems reasonable to make support for terrorism a crime but what if the person's family have been in America for generations? Where are they going to be sent to? Or they just continue to live on in the USA as non-citizens?

All quite crazy and totally contrary to the 14th Amendment. The 14th Amendment protects even naturalized citizens, not only native born Americans. So the whole nonsense would almost certainly be knocked over by SCOTUS. It's all just for show -- to show that they are tough on terrorism! It in fact shows how weak and impotent they are

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Controversial cartoon

The cartoon depicts a Nazi storm trooper in Berlin of 1943 buying "Jew free soap". It was published in Finland and caused a lot of controversy -- for various reasons. You can read the discussion here.

Finland was allied with Germany in WWII so Finns know the history of Nazism better than most and I think that part of the disquiet in Finland over the cartoon was an awareness that Nazis were a lot like modern-day Leftists -- and modern Leftists (particularly obesity warriors and Greenies) are very keen on products being "free" of various demonized components. So it could be seen as a mockery of the modern-day Left. And later comments by the cartoon author tend in that direction

The Nazis were in fact nature freaks so the comparison is a fair one.

The cartoon has been taken down from its original source in a major Finnish daily. Once again, certain topics are not supposed to be even thought about.

Jail for using word "pussy"

"Meet Jennifer LaPenta. The Illinois woman, 19, was jailed Monday after a judge was offended by the t-shirt she wore to a friend's court hearing. LaPenta, wearing a black shirt with the message, "I Have The Pussy, So I Make The Rules," ran afoul of Judge Helen Rozenberg, a Circuit Court jurist who handles misdemeanor and traffic cases.

A miffed Rozenberg, 56, summoned LaPenta from the gallery, and cited her for contempt of court. The judge then immediately sentenced LaPenta to 48 hours in jail, and had her removed from the courtroom in handcuffs.


Sounds like a stupid woman meets a bitchy judge. The speech was almost certainly entitled to 1st Amendment protection, though, so the judge could be in some trouble if the matter is taken any further.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Should the American flag ever be incorrect in America?

You can bet that the Mexican flag is never incorrect in Mexico
"On May 5, five students at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., were sent home for wearing clothing featuring the American flag. Their offense: trespassing on Mexican heritage during Cinco de Mayo. Administrators called the flag-wearing "incendiary" and likely to cause violence.

The school district overrode the decision, and the boys were allowed to return to school. In response yesterday, about 200 students staged a walkout carrying Mexican flags. The question is: Who taught these kids to hate America so much?

There should be nothing disrespectful about the U.S. flag to Americans of Mexican descent or to any other immigrant group. Teaching children that their heritage is at odds with their citizenship promotes disunity and divisiveness. While the high school's administrators may have been responding to a real public-safety threat, that threat was the product of their failure to instill a sense of national pride in their students.

Identity politics has become such a staple of public life and education in recent decades that incidents like this illustrate the poisonous effects it has on the nation. In the past, immigrant groups would attempt to outdo each other in demonstrating their patriotic attachment to the country that gave them safety, opportunity and freedom. Today, immigrant activist groups think patriotism is at best an inconvenience, at worst a sellout. They have replaced the melting pot with hardening battle lines in a struggle for power.

Not all flags are created equal. Some flags may be fashion statements, but the American flag is the patriotic symbol of the nation in which we live. This is why the American flag flies outside schools as opposed to, say, Zimbabwe's.

Schools should spend less time telling patriotic students not to cause a ruckus simply by wearing the national colors and more time teaching the kids who are offended by the American flag how wrongheaded their views are.


Internet Police: London Signs Warn Against Accessing “Extremist” Material

We read:
"Police signs have begun springing up in internet cafes in London warning users that they could be reported to the police and face criminal charges if they access “extremist”, “offensive” or “inappropriate” material.

The signs, which state that the owners of the premises are actively working with the Metropolitan police, have drawn criticism due to their vagueness and questionable legality.

Equally, by what authority do they co-opt, whether by persuasion, bullying (“You aren’t refusing to cooperate with the police are you Mr Internet Cafe Owner, are you?”) Internet cafes into joining such a self defined and vague scheme?

We have previously reported on filtering and blocking of all kinds of political websites including in public domains in both the UK and the US. This type of catch all censorship creep is part of an ongoing agenda to use legitimate concerns such child pornography to regulate and control the internet as a whole.


I am an extremist. On my FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC blog I ridicule practically all the conventional wisdom about diet. I point to the research showing that eating vegetables does you no good and that eating fatty food does you no harm. That would DEFINITELY be "extremist" in Britain. So I'd better be careful if ever I go to Britain again.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Florida cops no longer shielded from public shaming

We read:
"Forget Consumer Reports — the Internet bypasses professional reviewers.and lets regular people share their experiences with everything from cars to hotels to police officers.

But not everybody likes to have bad reviews of their performance available to the public. In Florida, cops got their pet politicians to pass a law making it legally perilous to get too specific when giving thumbs-down to uniformed arm-twisters.

That law is now a thing of the past, tossed out as a First amendment violation by a federal judge.”


FCC announces plan to seize control of Internet

A new maneuver:
"U.S. regulators will claim authority over companies offering Internet access in a setback for AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. and a win for Web content providers such as Google Inc., Inc. and EBay Inc.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski plans to say tomorrow that the agency will extend rules used for telephone service to Internet providers, a commission official, who declined to be identified, said today in an e-mailed statement.

The agency will pledge to stop short of provisions such as the authority to control rates.” [Good of them!]


No doubt this too will end up going to SCOTUS

Thursday, May 06, 2010

SCOTUS to rule on violent video games

We read:
"The Supreme Court will decide whether free speech rights are more important than helping parents keep violent material away from children.

The justices agreed yesterday to consider reinstating California’s ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, a law the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco threw out last year on grounds that it violated minors’ constitutional rights.


The kids just get pirate copies of the games anyway

School must not educate foreign child about expected Western manners

The kid needed to hear that his manners would be perceived as "eating like a pig"
"In April, 2006, Luc Cagadoc, then a seven-year-old Filipino boy, was allegedly told by a lunch-room monitor at his Montreal elementary school that he ate “like a pig” and was ordered to sit at a table by himself.

The boy ate with a fork and spoon, in the Filipino tradition, and his slurping noises, as well as the spilling of food, disturbed the other kids.

In any case, Maria-Theresa Gallardo, the mother of the boy, was furious when her son reported the incident. She argued that eating with a fork and spoon was an integral part of the Filipino cultural identity and that any attempt to force her child to use another set of cutlery amounted to discrimination, if not racism.

However, in Quebec, under certain circumstances, people can apply directly to the Human Rights Tribunal, even if the commission previously rejected their complaint. And so the tribunal agreed to hear the Cagadoc family’s case, even though the evidence was murkier than what would have been deemed acceptable by a small-claims court. Last week, that tribunal ruled against the school board, arguing the boy had been discriminated against because of his ethnicity.

Ms. Gallardo had asked for $24,000 in damages, but she’s satisfied with the $17,000 award.


Wednesday, May 05, 2010

AL: School denies band prayer charge

We read:
"A group that promotes the separation of church and state claims Oxford High School’s band director routinely leads his symphonic band class in prayer, a charge school officials deny.

In a letter faxed to Oxford Superintendent Jeff Goodwin April 23, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation claims band director Chris Pennington violates students’ First Amendment religious freedoms and demanded the problem be corrected immediately. The group also alleged Pennington threatened a failing grade for band students who did not show up for a concert at a Baptist church.

Principal Trey Holladay said during a phone interview Monday that Pennington has not led prayers and the church concert was not mandatory. He said any prayers are led by students.”


FCC Chairman Genachowski expected to leave broadband services deregulated

Sounds good
"The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission has indicated he wants to keep broadband services deregulated, according to sources, even as a federal court decision has exposed weaknesses in the agency's ability to be a strong watchdog over the companies that provide access to the Web.

The FCC currently has "ancillary" authority over broadband providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon and must adequately justify actions over those providers. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the agency had exceeded its authority in 2008 when it applied sanctions against Comcast.

The ruling cast doubt over the FCC's ability to create a "net neutrality" rule that would force Internet service providers to treat all services and applications on the Web equally.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to respond soon to the court ruling. Three sources at the agency said Genachowski has not made a final decision but has indicated in recent discussions that he is leaning toward keeping in place the current regulatory framework for broadband services but making some changes that would still bolster the FCC's chances of overseeing some broadband policies.


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cheeky new Hertz commercial

Support for Arizona? The open borders crowd will probably go ballistic!
"The television commercial features an obviously-in-love 20-somethings couple renting a Volvo C70 convertible, climbing into the car, and then encountering a number of potential travel destinations from which to choose on the screen of the car’s NeverLost® navigation system. Then, at the 19-second mark of the video, the couple selects Arizona — not Alabama, Alaska, Alberta or Arkansas — as their destination of choice.

Once word gets out about the ever-so-subtle message of this commercial, I expect members of the pro-illegal immigration crowd will demand Hertz officials pull the it (i.e., succumb to political correctness). Conversely, I hope Hertz® officials will decide to support the governor of the Grand Canyon State for taking decisive action after the federal government would not.


Red white and blue colors are "racist" in insane Britain

We read:
"A pensioner who put up a red, white and blue election poster telling voters to kick out MPs was accused of racism by police.

After being inundated by canvassing politcians, Roy Newman, 74, decided to tell other voters: ‘GET THE LOT OUT.’

But 90 minutes after he put up the homemade sign up in an upstairs room at his house, two police officers arrived and threatened with arrest.

They said the Union Jack-coloured lettering on a white background could be considered 'racist'. He was told there had been a single complaint and he was ordered to remove it or change it otherwise he would end up in court.

And the furious pensioner , chairman of his local history society and a former Samaritan , slammed police for wasting their time. He said : ‘Three years ago vandals put a brick through my window and when I called the police all they offered me was a crime reference number.

‘Put up a poster and a police car with two uniformed officers arrives quick as a flash - it's unbelievable.’


Monday, May 03, 2010

A wicked cross again

We read:
"A religious watchdog group says a cross and motto on the emblem of an Army hospital in Colorado violate the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state and should be removed.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation asked the Army this week to change the emblem of Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, outside Colorado Springs.

The emblem says "Pro deo et humanitate" or "For God and humanity."

Fort Carson commanders will review the complaint, Lt. Col. Steve Wollman said. He said the emblem had been approved by the Army Institute of Heraldry and has been in use since 1969.

Wollman said references to doctors serving God and humanity date to the time of Hippocrates, a pre-Christianity Greek physician.

Wollman said the cross, which has a pointed base, is both an emblem of mercy and a symbol dating to the Middle Ages, when pilgrims carried a cross with a spiked base to mark the site of a camp.

British Christian preacher on hooligan charge after saying he believes that homosexuality is a sin

We read:
"A Christian street preacher has been arrested and charged with a public-order offence after saying that homosexuality was sinful.

Dale Mcalpine was handing out leaflets to shoppers when he told a passer-by and a gay police community support officer that, as a Christian, he believed homosexuality was one of a number of sins that go against the word of God.

Mr Mcalpine said that he did not repeat his remarks on homosexuality when he preached from the top of a stepladder after his leafleting.

But he has been told that police officers are alleging they heard him making his remarks to a member of the public in a loud voice that could be overheard by others.

Mr Mcalpine, 42, who earns about £40,000 a year in the energy industry, was arrested and taken to the local police station in the back of a police van after preaching in the Cumbrian town of Workington on April 20. After seven hours locked up in a cell, he was charged with using abusive or insulting words or behaviour contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.

Christian campaigners said last night they were alarmed that the police seemed to be using legislation originally introduced to deal with violent and abusive rioters and football hooligans to curb free speech.

Neil Addison, a barrister and expert on religious law, said: ‘People should be able to express their opinions freely as long as their conduct is reasonable. In fact, it is part of the duty of the police to protect free speech.’


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Free speech for us

We read:
"From reading New York Times editorials, I gather that the First Amendment protects celebrities who curse on TV and pit bull enthusiasts who sell dogfighting videos.

Yet somehow it does not protect conservative activists who hate Hillary Clinton, Christian student groups that exclude people who engage in extramarital sex, or petition signers who fear harassment if they are publicly identified as opponents of gay marriage.”

Hate speech OK in Britain -- for Muslims

The prosecutors wimped out:
"A Muslim protester who daubed a war memorial with graffiti glorifying Osama Bin Laden and proclaiming 'Islam will dominate the world' walked free from court after prosecutors ruled his actions were not motivated by religion.

Tohseef Shah, 21, could have faced a tougher sentence if the court had accepted that the insults - which included a threat to kill the Prime Minister - were inspired by religious hatred.

But - citing a loophole in the law - the Crown Prosecution Service chose not to charge him with that offence and he escaped with only a two-year conditional discharge and an order to pay the council £500 compensation after admitting causing criminal damage.

Yesterday the decision was attacked by politicians and veterans who were shocked by the desecration of the memorial in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.


By contrast, a white holocaust denier recently got 4 years in jail

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Clash at Brandeis U. over Israeli speaker

Apparently both Muslims and self-hating Jews are behind this censorship attempt
"Despite attending a historically Jewish university named after one of America's earliest Zionists, students at Brandeis University are protesting having Israel's U.S. ambassador as their commencement speaker, arguing that the school is biased against Palestinians.

The selection of Michael Oren to give the graduation speech has prompted the founding of competing Facebook groups, charges of the politicization of graduation, vows of protests, and claims that Mr. Oren does not represent Brandeis' values and is a "rogue-state apologist."


Tintin in trouble again

Tintin in the Congo accused of racism in Belgian court
"He was, perhaps, Belgium's greatest 20th-century figure; a globe-trotting reporter who earned worldwide recognition for his adventures in the company of a faithful dog and a drunken sailor.

But Tintin faced ignominy yesterday as he was dragged before a court in his native land to be accused of racism and xenophobia. Lawyers told a judge in a Brussels civil court that “Tintin in the Congo” _ the second book in the series _ should be banned in Belgium or at least sold with a warning that it contains material likely to shock readers.

The case was brought by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, 41, a Congolese accountant who says that the work, first published between 1930 and 1931, perpetuates colonial stereotypes.