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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Freedom of Idiocy 

Do any of you all remember when that nutjob Woody Harrelson portrayed the sexual predator Larry Flynt (timmai) in the early 90s? The People v. Larry Flynt was supposedly a story about how a brave pervert protected the First Amendment against fundementalist Christian Jerry Falwell, who took offense at a fake interview where he was portrayed as losing his virginity to his mother in an outhouse, or some such nonsense. The feel-good story of the year.

For some reason, we seem to think that people who test the limits of Freedom of Speech are the people who we should thank foremost for protecting it. I personally disagree. I think that every time someone frivolously invokes the First Amendment, they put it in danger, and weaken it.

Let us fast forward to today. In the last couple weeks, there have been two seperate stories about nutjobs endangering Free Speech.

First, we have Ward Churchill, the Native American activist who turned out to not really be a Native American. Ward (I will refer to him by his first name, rather than by the surname he shares with Britain's greatest Prime Minister) was a university professor who made headlines by saying that those who died on 9/11 all deserved it. Their capitalistic ways made them no better than Adolph Eichmann, leader of Hitler's Gustapo.

Now, did he have the right to say this? Of course he did. But obviously such comments will make people angry.

Ward was scheduled to speak at a number of universities. These speeches were largely cancelled after the hooplah that followed. The school administrators claimed that Right-Wing wackos were threatening violence. Ward claimed that the Bush administration was trying to stifle his speech.

Realistically, alumni donors probably threatened to withhold donations if they let this dumbass speak. Politicians, who often sit on the governing boards of universities, probably received calls from voters asking why their tax dollars meant for educational purposes, were going to finance some dude who thought they, the taxpayers, were equivolent to Nazis. Also, the more radical colleges are starting to come under stronger scrutiny and are finding it more difficult to attract students.

Ward's response? He has a Freedom of Speech! We HAVE to let him lecture for profit!

But he is wrong. We have Freedom of Speech, but we do not have an automatic right to a forum.
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Even worse than Ward, however, is the horrible prank some New York teacher pulled.

This 6th Grade teacher, Alex Kunhardt, told his students to write a letter to a fictitious soldier about how they felt about the current War in Iraq and War on Terror. Presumedly, Kundhart was militantly anti-war, because every single letter written by these students garbled up various anti-war, anti-military sentiments. They uniformly accused the American forces of arson, murder, and war crimes.

After the Bush electoral victory, Kunhardt was apparantly bitter and wanted a way to vent his frustrations. His solution? Mailing the letters, meant for a fictitious soldier, to a REAL one. Some poor kid on the North Korean border, Pfc. Rob Jacobs, received these evil letters.

How does Kunhardt defend his actions? You guessed it! He invokes Freedom of Speech. The New York City school system's only disciplinary action is putting a letter in his file.
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Now, Ward Churchill's offense was idiotic, but it definitely falls under the category of protected speech. But one has to wonder, does it strengthen the idea of Free Speech, or does it invoke cynicism?

Kundhardt, on the other hand, probably does not fall under the protection of the First Amendment. What he did was at the very least fraud (in that he told his students that the letters would not be sent to a real soldier), probably slanderous, definitely ideologically motivated (when educators are supposed to try to steer clear of enforcing ideology), and possibly treasonous. His actions hurt the morale of that soldier, who probably showed it to other soldiers.

Both of these men (using the term loosely) should be removed from their positions. Neither deserve our tax dollars. Neither deserve our respect. And, like Larry Flynt, neither deserve the mantle of Champions of Free Speech. Those who invoke Free Speech frivilously only serve to endanger it.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005

Auntie Virginia's Gone Senile 

The good news is that the Virginia Senate has killed the underwear bill. Wannabe thugs statewide rejoice!

The not-so good news is that the Toll Road is about to double its price. And the worst part is, I don't really object. The money supposedly will go toward extending Metro to a greater part of Northern Virginia, albeit this claim was made about the money coming from the toll road previously, and the only stop that opened in my life time was the New York Avenue stop in DC, which I would only use if I was ready to end it all.

So why do I support the toll increase? Because we DESPERATELY need more money for transportation in NoVA. The only alternative would be to raise taxes statewide, and then you have the central and southern Virginians paying for roads and Metro stops they'll never use. They will rightly wonder why the money raised doesn't go toward things they need, such as greater access to broadband, incentives for businesses to move in, and I dunno, whatever else it is that Southern Virginians need.
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Of course, the most ill-conceived plan to end congestion in Virginia was the HOV Lanes, based on the brilliant idea that if we have four lanes in the road, most drivers should only be allowed to use three of them. Now, the environmentalists lobbied to make exceptions to the HOV rule, saying that people who drive Hybrids should be allowed to use the HOV lanes, and for once, they succeeded. And even more amazingly, it worked! People all over NoVA bought those dippy looking Priuses and Insights in order to cut upwards to 45 minutes off their commute to and from work. And when Honda and Ford actually began making real cars with Hybrid engines, so much the better!

So how did the Liberals react to this massive political and moral victory? They have freaked! They have united to eliminate the Hybrid exception.

Let this be a moral to you all. Liberals do not want their programs to succeed.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Panty Problems 

In her infinite wisdom, the ever-visionary Commonwealth of Virginia has decided to outlaw underwear being worn outside of their pants. The idea is to stop teenage boys from trying to look like mini-thugs. This brings two concerns to my mind.

First of all, I envision that as I type this, the ACLU and every Latino Rights group in the hemisphere are coordinating a massive blitzkreig response for the first time some poor cop or judge tries to enforce this law.

Second, and much MORE concerning, is that some asshole judge or cop is going to apply this law to women, aged 18 - 25, who wear thongs in a fashion that you can tell they are wearing a thong when they bend over. Now, can we really live in a world where that is illegal? I, for one, think that is hardly living at all.

Of course, the simple solution is to not wear underwear at all.
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Oh, and now gay marriage is on its way to be Constitutionally banned in Virginia. I, for one, think that both these stories show that Virginia lawmakers need to mind their own business.

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Oh, and we are raising taxes despite the fact we have a billion dollar surplus. My theory: the "Republicans" in the Virginia House of Delegates are actually Democrats who hate gays.

Ok, I'm done now.

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