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Current Topic: Politics and Law

Bong Hits 4 the Supreme Court - BBC News
Topic: Politics and Law 3:15 pm EDT, Jun 25, 2007

A former high school student has lost his case in what is the US Supreme Court's first major ruling on students' free speech rights in almost 20 years.

This is a terrible decision.

1) The student was not on school property at the time.
2) The banner "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is obviously humor.
3) The students property was destroyed with no compensation.
4) The decision is based on the fact that illegal drug use is illegal by definition, and therefore promotion of such is not protected speech.

So, what if the banner had read "I support Medical Marijuana" instead? What if it said "I support late term abortions" and was displayed off-campus at a planned parenthood rally - would that also be speech the school can legally suppress?

According to the Supreme Court, in a word, yes.

These are your right folks, slipping away...

Bong Hits 4 the Supreme Court - BBC News : The Abu Ghraib files
Topic: Politics and Law 3:03 am EST, Feb 16, 2006

"Human-rights and civil-liberties groups have been locked in a legal battle with the Department of Defense since mid-2004, demanding that it release the remaining visual documents from Abu Ghraib in its possession. It is not clear whether the material obtained by Salon is identical to that sought by these groups, although it seems highly likely that it is."

"The photographs we are showing in the accompanying gallery represent a small fraction of these visual materials. None, as far as we know, have been published elsewhere. They include: a naked, handcuffed prisoner in a contorted position; a dead prisoner who had been severely beaten; a prisoner apparently sodomizing himself with an object; and a naked, hooded prisoner standing next to an American officer who is blandly writing a report against a wall. Other photographs depict a bloody cell." : The Abu Ghraib files

Al Gore: Bush Policy Driven By Ideology Not Reality
Topic: Politics and Law 3:28 pm EDT, Oct 20, 2004

This is a long transcript of Al Gore's speech on the Bush presidency delivered at Georgetown on Monday. It's long and I couldn't find the text anywhere except on a forum site, so I include it here.

Whether or not you agree with his views, it's worth reading, and offers more analysis than Ron Suskind's NYT Magazine article on the "Faith based Presidency".


Al Gore: Bush Policy Driven By Ideology Not Reality

By: Al Gore
Published: Oct 19, 2004

I have made a series of speeches about the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration – with regard to Iraq, the war on terror, civil liberties, the environment and other issues – beginning more than two years ago with a speech at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco prior to the administration’s decision to invade Iraq. During this series of speeches, I have tried to understand what it is that gives so many Americans the uneasy feeling that something very basic has gone wrong with our democracy.

There are many people in both parties who have the uneasy feeling that there is something deeply troubling about President Bush’s relationship to reason, his disdain for facts, an incuriosity about new information that might produce a deeper understanding of the problems and policies that he wrestles with on behalf of the country. One group maligns the President as not being intelligent, or at least, not being smart enough to have a normal curiosity about separating fact from myth. A second group is convinced that his religious conversion experience was so profound that he relies on religious faith in place of logical analysis. But I disagree with both of those groups. I think he is plenty smart. And while I have no doubt that his religious belief is genuine, and that it is an important motivation for many things that he does in life, as it is for me and for many of you, most of the President’s frequent departures from fact-based analysis have much more to do with right-wing political and economic ideology than with the Bible. But it is crucially important to be precise in describing what it is he believes in so strongly and insulates from any logical challenge or even debate. It is ideology – and not his religious faith – that is the source of his inflexibility. Most of the problems he has caused for this country stem not from his belief in God, but from his belief in the infallibility of the right-wing Republican ideology that exalts the interests of the wealthy and of large corporations over the interests of the American people. Love of power for its own sake is the original sin of this presidency.

The surprising dominance of American politics by right-wing politicians whose core beliefs are often wildly at odds with the opinions of the majority of Americans has resulted from the careful building of a coalition of interests that have little in common with each other besides a desire for power devoted to the achievement of a narrow agenda. The two most... [ Read More (5.9k in body) ]

New Zealand News - Technology - Microsoft faces virus class action
Topic: Politics and Law 12:26 am EDT, Oct  8, 2003

Bout frickin time...

New Zealand News - Technology - Microsoft faces virus class action

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