**Posted by Phineas
It’s a measure of how craven and corrupt our political culture has become that even the Dean of a journalism school in a nation founded on free speech and freedom of the press should say “there are limits, however:”
Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.
In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.
Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed — a repeat of the very action that is thought to have sparked the murderous attack on its office — predictably has given rise to widespread violence in nations with large Muslim populations. Its irreverence of Mohammed once moved the French tabloid to portray him naked in a pornographic pose. In another caricature, it showed Mohammed being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State.
While free speech is one of democracy’s most important pillars, it has its limits.
So says DeWayne Wickham, Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Wayne State University. In a very limited sense, he’s right: I cannot go yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater (1), for example (2). Nor can I incite to violence by, for example, standing before a crowd and telling them to go now and beat up a certain person or persons.
But that’s it. All other political speech is within bounds, regardless of whom it offends. You cannot have a free society unless the it includes the right to freely criticize those in authority — and not just criticize, but to satirize and mock, too. If I as a Catholic want to question Original Sin and the need for Divine Grace, or that Jesus was not Divine until adopted by God, then the Church might well denounce me as a heretic and excommunicate me, but the law cannot punish me for my beliefs, nor should I fear physical violence. If I want to be truly outrageous and place the Crucifix in a beaker of urine, I would be a jackass, but I still should not have to fear either legal sanction nor physical violence.
And the same is true of any religion. If I want to question Muhammad’s status as a prophet, or even if he existed at all; if I want to argue that his earliest biography shows he was a bandit, a warlord, and a torturer; and if I want to criticize Sharia, Islam’s divine law, for calling for the execution of homosexuals, that is my right as a free man — even if I want to draw questionably funny satirical cartoons.
This is the right of any human being and well-within the “limits” of free speech.
Let’s be honest. It’s not a regard for the proper limits of free speech that motivates Mr. Wickham. If he or one of his students offended some Amish who then complained, I’m willing to bet he’d be on his soapbox screaming about “free speech” and “freedom of the press.”
And that leads us to the truth. Amish might shun you. Catholics won’t invite you to Bingo Night. A Buddhist would probably just decide you’re an annoying illusion and don’t really exist.
But all too many Muslims would be quite willing to kill you for insulting their Muhammad. Just ask the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or Theo van Gogh.
The limit to Dean Wickham’s freedom of speech is his fear of punishment, and thus he is not free at all.
via Michael Walsh
PS: It’s great to see ST back in business.
(1) Popehat argues there are serious flaws with that particular justification for censorship.
(2) When it’s not true, that is.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Man shopping for coffee creamer at Walmart attacked by vigilante for carrying gun he was legally permitted to have
Clarence Daniels had just crossed the threshold of Walmart’s front doors on Tuesday, in search of coffee creamer for his wife, when the gun in hip holster gave a well-intentioned vigilante the idea he was up to something more sinister.
From the Walmart parking lot at 11110 Causeway Boulevard, Michael Foster, 43, of Lithia had watched Daniels, 62, take from his car the handgun — for which he holds a concealed carry permit — and place it on his hip underneath his coat, Hillsborough sheriff’s deputies reported.
As Daniels entered the store, a label for the coffee creamer in his pocket in case he forgot the brand, Foster tackled him to the ground and placed him in a choke hold, sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said.
“He’s got a gun!” deputies said Foster shouted.
“I have a permit!” Daniels yelled back multiple times, McKinnon said.
The men struggled and were separated until law enforcement arrived on scene just before noon. Foster was arrested and charged with battery.
Oh – and liberals have naturally latched on to the supposed “racial” angle in this story. The CCWP holder is black. The guy who tackled him in the Walmart is white.
Happened in Brandon, FL. Full story and video here.
It’s tax-filing time – are you ready?
Yours truly is now officially a contributor to the Independent Journal Review, and my first piece is on the NC tax reform laws that went into effect last year and how, as a result, some residents of this state might be perplexed on how to fill out their state tax returns come tax-filing time.
Very excited for the opportunity to write for the IJ Review! The NY Times did a surprisingly nice profile on them last November – make sure you read it to understand why the site has become a big deal for conservatives, and make sure to bookmark the site and visit back often.
Arsalan Iftikhar, Senior Editor for The Islamic Monthly.
For the very simple reason that most of the time it’s forced – and they really don’t mean them anyway. And making them rationalize their remarks in depth serves to expose them even more.
Brought this up after reading the story of an MSNBC contributor who made a despicable remark about Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA), which prompted a wave of demands for an apology. Via CNN media guy Brian Stelter (hat tip):
MSNBC is distancing itself from a guest who asserted on Monday that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal “might be trying to scrub some of the brown off his skin.”
Arsalan Iftikhar, a human rights attorney and commentator, made the racially-tinged remark on MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner.” It immediately prompted criticism.
An MSNBC spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday morning that Iftikhar won’t be appearing on the channel again.
“We found this guest’s comments offensive and unacceptable, and we don’t plan on inviting him back,” the spokeswoman said.
Iftikhar didn’t immediately respond to a request for further comment. But on Monday night, he told CNN, “I will apologize to Bobby Jindal when he apologizes to seven million American Muslims for advancing the debunked ‘Muslim no-go zones’ myth.”
Jindal did no such thing on Tuesday. Instead, he faulted MSNBC for giving Iftikhar a platform in the first place. The governor compared Iftikhar’s criticism to liberal filmmaker Michael Moore’s recent assertion that “snipers aren’t heroes.”
[Iftikhar] laid low on social media after Monday’s MSNBC appearance, choosing not to respond to tweets like this one from conservative political strategist Matt Mackowiak: “Your outrageous, racist, bigoted, disgusting attack on @BobbyJindal requires an immediate, public apology.”
Nah – forget the apology. We ought to let stuff like this stand, and instead of demanding an apology, ask the offending idiot (in this case, Iftikhar – an Obama donor) to explain their comments in depth. They won’t be able to, and will usually instead dig themselves into a deeper whole and be unable to get out.’
Seriously, don’t ask them to take it back. Invite them to expand on it at length. Expose them for the bigoted fools that they are. Forcing them into an apology seems, well, forced most of the time, and even at that most apologies from public figures are of the “I’m sorry you were offended” variety, anyway.
Don’t help them look better in the eyes of the masses by pushing them into an insincere “I’m sorry.” Call ’em out, put them in the position where they have to go into detail about what they mean. By the time they’re done, their “credibility” will take a serious dive. And deservedly so.
New England’s hottie QB Tom Brady.
Fox News reports on a developing story regarding the New England Patriots – decisive 45-7 winners over the Indianapolis Colts last night in the AFC championship battle – and allegations that deflated balls were in use during the game:
The NFL has confirmed it is looking into charges the New England Patriots cheated Sunday night when they clinched a trip to the Super Bowl Sunday night by using deflated footballs.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the probe Monday, following the AFC championship game, in which the Patriots demolished the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7. The charge was first made Sunday night, when an Indianapolis reporter that the NFL had seized at least one game ball from the AFC championship game to examine whether pigskins were intentionally deflated to make them easier to throw and catch.
“The NFL is investigating the possibility,” Bob Kravitz, of WTHR, tweeted, adding that, “at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it.”
If the Patriots did cheat, it would not be the first time. The team was penalized a first-round draft pick, fined $250,000 and head coach Belichick was personally fined $500,000 after an investigation by the NFL determined the team had illegally videotaped their opponents hand signals during a 2007 game.
NE QB Tom Brady said the allegations of deflated balls were “ridiculous”
Tom Brady dismissed allegations that the New England Patriots under-inflated footballs in a morning interview with Boston radio station WEEI, calling the accusations “ridiculous”.
When asked if he had heard the story, Brady said: “No.”
The radio hosts then asked if he felt like the Patriots had an easier time gripping their footballs than the Colts did on Sunday night.
“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” he said on the Dennis and Callahan Morning Show.
“That’s the least of my worries,” he added later. “I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
1) It’s highly unlikely “properly inflated balls” would have changed the outcome of the game. In other words, deflated balls or not, the Colts played a bad game all around and still would have lost – in my humble opinion. Whether you like the Patriots or not – and I know there is a lot of Patriot dislike out there, for various reasons – I don’t think saying they still would have won is disputable.
2) It’ll be interesting to see what the results are of the investigation – and whether they will be announced before or after the Super Bowl, assuming the investigation is completed before the big game, which will be played on February 1st in Glendale, AZ, with defending champs the Seattle Seahawks as the Patriots’ opposition.
3) I dunno about “deflated balls” at this point, but I know a lot of egos are deflated this morning – like within the entire Green Bay Packers organization. Out of respect for Packers fans, I won’t rehash what happened yesterday outside of declaring it one of the biggest “WTH HAPPENED??” moments in NFC championship game history.
What say you?
ST Command Central.
After taking an unintentionally long hiatus, yours truly is back to blogging.
Last year saw a lot of changes for me on many fronts, and “real life” got a whole lot busier. And in the summer when the race for the NC US Senate seat between then-Senator Hagan and now-Senator Thom Tillis began to heat up, I had to make some choices to make and decided that my offline responsibilities and the Senate race would be my top priorities – so I didn’t get to blog much, as social media became my main front for getting the message out about Kay Hagan, the bias of the North Carolina press, and how important it was that North Carolina do its part in changing control of the US Senate. Thankfully, we did! In fact, Roll Call did a nice piece talking about how NC conservatives/activists really stepped up their Twitter game in the final weeks before the election, which may have helped carry Thom Tillis to victory.
Since the election, offline life has continued to be busy both personally and professionally, which kept me away not only from my site but social media as well. In fact, this weekend has been the first real “me time” breather I’ve had since the week of Christmas, and my goal as it has been for quite some time was to change the theme and make it a more “back to basics” type format where the content was the main focus, not all the links and fancy bells and whistles – which I don’t have time to maintain anymore, anyway. So the new them is “live” – and I hope everyone likes it. Still have a bit of tweaking to do here and there, but for the most part, this is how everything will look.
It will be nice to (slowly) get back into the blogging and social media groove, even though now it will be infrequent and not as often as I once could do. But what’s important – and you learn this once you don’t have the time on your hands you’d like to! – is the quality of content and not so much the quantity, although if you can go doth quantity AND quality, that’s a definite bonus! Also, I plan to expand my topic range to incorporate things I didn’t talk about much here before – things like fashion, movies, home decorating, and other topics of general interest that go beyond politics and current events. I feel like I limited myself a bit before, and don’t want to do that anymore.
As always, the one and only Phineas, who has been my co-blogger here for many years and who has done an outstanding job, is welcome to blog here whenever he wants to. The door is always open!
Thanks for listening/reading.
Headline from the Greensboro (NC) News and Record, 11-5-14
Yeah, so this happened – and it wasn’t even supposed to.
I didn’t have much time to spend at the blog writing about my experiences the last few months of the US Senate campaign battle between (outgoing) Senator Kay Hagan (D) and (now-Senator-Elect) NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R). But suffice it to say – if you weren’t paying attention to social media prior to the election – that new media had a LOT to do with driving the narrative and focus of the local and national press in the final couple of months of the campaign, and I was proud to be a part of it alongside some fantastic, never-say-quit people here in NC and elsewhere.
One of these days when I get an extended amount of free time to organize everything (links, etc), I’ll try to write about it here just for the record. It was truly one of the most stressful things I’ve ever been a part of and – in the end – extraordinarily rewarding. As the headline above notes.
**Posted by Phineas
If you’re a conservative, or just someone who thinks everyone should be treated equally, you’ve probably been called a racist at one point or another. And if, like most people, you’re a decent person, you’ve probably been taken aback and left wondering if maybe, subconsciously, you did hold beliefs and attitudes that were racist.
Stop wondering. You’re not. In fact, as Derryck Green of Project 21 explains in this Prager University video, it’s the American Left that harbors the racist attitudes, rooted in the assumption that Blacks just can’t compete, the infamous “soft bigotry of low expectations:”
So, relax. You’re not racist for believing we can all be held to the same standards. Far from it.
via Legal Insurrection
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)
Apparently House of Commons Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers wasn’t the only badass on Parliament Hill that day. Conservative MPs taking shelter in a caucus room while a Muslim gunman stalked the halls of parliament were determined to fight for their lives:
After they heard gunfire outside their meeting room door Wednesday, members of Parliament snapped close to 15 flagpoles to make weapons.
Some positioned themselves on risers that flanked doors, ready to attack an assailant.
“There were 15 flags up at caucus and all but two were taken down,” one MP recalled.
“These guys were up there holding these spears ready to impale anyone who came in,” the source said.
“It was that or get mowed down,” the member of Parliament said of the threat posed by a gunman who was ultimately shot dead by Parliament Hill security.
The article also reports that Prime Minister Harper was “whisked” into a closet where he hid for about 15 minutes. But, before anyone thinks harshly of him, remember that he was the most important person in Canada, the head of its government, and his safety was his security detail’s responsibility. Just as President Bush’s safety was a top priority on 9/11, thus forcing a delay in his return to Washington, it would have been gravely irresponsible of him to place himself at risk by joining those manning the barricade, given his responsibilities to the nation.
That said, hats off to the MPs willing to lay their lives on the line. Let no one ever say Canadians are wimps.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)