making it a somewhat less frostbitten 12 degrees, I am still staying inside. Which gives me time to look at some things and yell about them. Like the call to police your speech by the Chancellor of UC Berkeley,Robert J. Birgeneau; I'll let the response from FIRE speak to this:
Chancellor Birgeneau's e-mail is very ill-considered for a variety of reasons.
First of all, there is so far no evidence that a "climate of demonization," "mean-spririted xenophobia," or "hateful speech" had anything to do with alleged killer Jared Loughner's apparent decision to try to assassinate Giffords and kill or injure many others. The supposition that political expression created a climate that led Loughner to his choice is an idea that seems to have sprung from whole cloth out of the minds of people who likely were upset beforehand about "rhetoric" and "hateful" speech, including, apparently, Chancellor Birgeneau. Nevertheless, it has quickly become the driving force in the national discussion about the shooting.
Finally, Birgeneau's e-mail, if taken to its logical conclusion, seems to imply that minority groups and undocumented students at UC Berkeley might become violent if people in the campus community do not support the DREAM Act and if other examples of "hateful speech" go unchallenged on campus. While he avoids an outright call for censorship of certain opinions—such as opposition to the DREAM Act—he makes it clear that he would not be surprised if the voicing of these opinions led to another incident like that in Arizona. Birgenau thus implies that such expression is therefore both morally wrong and likely to endanger people's lives through its very utterance.
It is within the Chancellor's rights to officially encourage people at Berkeley to act and speak in accordance with the university's officially sponsored moral principles. Yet, does the Chancellor really think students on his campus are so fragile, psychologically weak, and prone to violence that the campus is less "safe" when they see mean graffiti, experience racism, or hear "virulent" language against Israel? Even if someone on campus is truly so unstable and unsafe—a possibility in any institution as large as UC Berkeley—taking the steps necessary to ensure that such a person is never "set off" by speech he or she finds offensive would result in a campus that one would not even recognize as a part of America.
Adopting the logical if unstated conclusion of the Chancellor's argument here (as some lawmakers and commentators appear to be ready to do) would result in the imposition of a variation on the "heckler's veto," where the most violent person in the community gets to decide who may speak and what they may say, on threat of violence. As UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wrote yesterday for The Volokh Conspiracy, there is no First Amendment exception that would leave speech unprotected when "the concern is simply that a few kooks or extremists might be moved to commit a crime at some indefinite time as a result of seeing the speech." If we are to have a free society, the boundaries of acceptable speech must not be determined by what might spark the murderous rage of the craziest and/or most violent person.
What I can add is that to a lot of 'higher' education people would LOVE to be able to shut down whatever they personally label 'incendiary' or 'hate' or 'divisive' speech; they do not WANT open, free speech on all subjects, they want people conditioned(for the public good, of course) to only speak in the approved PC ways. And they're using the actions of a demented human in AZ to push that on people.
Speaking of the desire for speech codes,
A “McKinley moment”? Meaning what? An occasion for self-censorship because of the insinuations and false allegations raised against them in the aftermath of the shootings in Tucson–much as false allegations were raised against Hearst following McKinley’s slaying?
Not only is “McKinley moment” an imprecise construct: It suggests that using smears to batter foes into silence is somehow worthy or admirable.
In globular warmering news,
In an almighty battle to salvage credibility three British government institutions are embroiled in a new global warming scandal with the BBC mounting a legal challenge to force ministers to admit the truth. Sceptics ask: Is the UK government’s climate propaganda machine finally falling apart?
Last week the weather service caused a sensation by making the startling claim that it was gagged by government ministers from issuing a cold winter forecast. Instead, a milder than average prediction was made that has been resoundingly ridiculed in one of the worst winters in a century.
Speaking of the sorry excuse for a lawman running Pima County,
Sheriff's Department and community-college officials in Pima County are refusing to release a wide range of public documents about the man charged in Saturday's shooting rampage that left six dead and more than a dozen wounded.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department and Pima Community College have declined to release documents that could shed light on run-ins they had with 22-year-old Jared Loughner in the months prior to the shooting.
The Arizona Public Records Law requires that records be "open to inspection by any person at all times" unless officials can prove releasing the information would violate rights of privacy or confidentiality or otherwise harm the best interests of the state.
Yeah, does make you think he doesn't want the information getting out, doesn't it?
Courtesy of Theo,
On a personal note, dogs are nuts. The Security Staff have a doghouse made nice & warm, they have a garage. Where are they? Snoozing in the back yard in the sun. At bloody 12 F.
And that's it for now. Stay warm.