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Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Got Yer' Sensitivity Training Right Here

I had refrained from commenting on the Missouri State fair rodeo clown who wore an Obama mask, citing a lack of importance. That is, until I saw this little nugget of outrage, compliments of Fox News:
The performer, meanwhile, has been permanently banned from future state fair events and subsequent performers must undergo sensitivity training.
Bloggers need sensitivity training too!
Sure, that paragraph is buried toward the bottom of the story. But that's typical for Fox News, as it's more important that any of the manufactured racial outrage surrounding this story.

That's right folks, parody of a political figure, regardless of his or her race, leads to "sensitivity training" to prevent such political statements in the future. This is no different in principle, if not in degree, than Vladamir Putin's silencing of his critics.

Whether or not the rodeo clown in question is a racist jerk is irrelevant. If we're still pretending this is a free country, we need to remember that criticism of a political figure, no matter how crude, is protected speech under the 1st Amendment.

It's protected speech, no matter how much we dislike the speaker, no matter how offensive the message is. Period.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Justice Department to Adopt Just Policy

The federal government will take the first tiny step to catch up to the people it governs.

From Reuters, Attorney General Eric Holder is set to announce today that the Justice Department is reconsidering its formerly-hard-line stance on mandatory sentencing for non-violent drug offenders.
Holder will outline the status of a broad, ongoing project intended to improve Justice Department sentencing policies across the country in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. 
"I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department's charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels, will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences," Holder is expected to say, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks provided by the Justice Department.
I suppose we'll see what he means by "low-level" but at least  it's a move toward saner policy. And it is refreshing to see a major news organization point out the problem in the next paragraph:
The United States imprisons a higher percentage of its population than other large countries, largely because of anti-drug laws passed in the 1980s and 1990s.
That problem, that violent and non-violent offenders are currently subject to the same "draconian" punishments, is a policy in direct contradiction with most definitions of justice and rather unnecessary since it takes away from judges the responsibility of making judgments.

And it's this failure to make distinctions on a case-by-case basis that leads to poor executions of justice, like the example I cited last week (although I've since found others had posted it perhaps a week earlier).

One should take caution to be too hopeful with the awful respect for civil rights demonstrated by the current and last few administrations. But, hey, it's a start...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Police Put Kid in Foster Care For Pot, Kid Dies

Warning. What follows is terribly upsetting but needs to be seen, especially by those who perpetuate the Prohibition:

Monday, August 5, 2013

The War on America

Just when you thought all these unprecedented disclosures didn't affect you (unless you were plotting a terrorist attack), Reuters has this:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.
I wonder what secret government wiretapping program this information came from?

And just remember, one can be investigated on drug charges for things as mundane as buying too much Sudafed.

 More as this develops...