You’ve Got to hand it to Obama, He knows how to learn from his mistakes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2009 by maestrofdissent

President Obama has in the past been criticized for his failure at giving thoughtful and meaningful presents. To admit, the giving of 25 DVDs  to Gordon Brown which likely would not work on a British DVD player was not exactly tactful. Gordon Brown’s present of a Pen Holder made from the wood of the sister ship of the HMS Resolute ( which makes up the oval office desk) was incredible and Obama’s clearly lackluster. At the April G-20 summit, Obama gave the Queen an Ipod with his speeches and videos of her visit to the United States. A bit more tactful to be sure, but lacking in that the Queen already had an Ipod. This gift was also widely panned in British media. But, not one to make the same mistake thrice, Obama has really stepped up his game for his meeting today with the Pope. Giving the pope the burial stole of the First American to be announced a saint is a pretty classy gift! You have got to hand it to the administration for finding something reverent and uniquely American to give to the world religious leader.

I think this represents a general pattern about the Obama Administration which distinguishes it from the previous administration. George W. Bush woul repeat the same mistakes time and again and never seemed willing to admit to any of his mistakes. In contrast, Obama seems prepared to learn from what tactics work well and to try new leadership techniques. Because  he saw that the stimulus package was muddled down by congressional folley and found that health care might be similarly mishandled without some involvement, Obama took a more involved stance in speaking out on the need for a public option. Even in areas where I disagree with him, such as his decision not to release torture photos but to release the torture memos, Obama has presented himself as both pragmatic and willing to pursue what works and abandon what seems to be failing. It seems to me that this is actually quite similar to the tactics of FDR during the depression. FDR offered something to all political voices. He negotiated with buisness to craft the NRA, reached out to the left in establishing social security and the origins of the social safety net and general governed in a pragmatic and resolute fashion. When he found himself in error, he quickly shifted to a more successful tact. Of course, those concerned with ensuring that we have a national health care plan or that we acheive progress on countless other issues have an obligation to continue to express their voices and to try to be heard by the administration, but we should not at all be surprised when Obama acts pragmatically and is able to learn from his flaws and mistakes

Anti-Defamation League Claims Free Speech does not extend to “Racist Groups”

Posted in 1st Amendment, Free Speech, I am mocking you with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2009 by Tim

I have heard it repeatedly.  “Free speech does not mean hate speech!”  I am calling shenanigans right now.  What the hell do these people mean?  Of course hate speech has the same protection as free speech requires in other areas.  If not, the idea that the earth was round or that it was not the center of the universe would have never been questioned!  Perhaps a ban on blasphemous speech?  Why not?

So why am I disgusted?  The Anti-Defamation League, which is apparently a Jewish nonprofit that exists for the purpose of opposing hateful, anti-Semitic groups.  The ADL’s website contains an “About the Anti-Defamation League” section where anyone can learn about its mission.  It says, in part: Continue reading

80,000 dollars per download!

Posted in 1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, Economics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2009 by maestrofdissent

This story really needs to be blogged about because I find it so outrageous that it has not been picked up in the mainstream media very much yet. This CNN article is the exception.

The RIAA ( Recording Industry of America) has just won a victory in the first suit relating to illegal music downloading to go to trial. The defendant Jammie Thomas-Rasset was found guilty by a federal judge for downloading 24 song illegally and fined $80,000 Per song totaling $1.9 million!

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FIRE’s CFN Conference Streamed Live

Posted in FIRE, Free Speech with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by Tim

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education‘s Campus Freedom Network is having a free speech conference starting tomorrow, June 17, 2009, and continuing through Saturday June 19.  The conference, which will bring students together from universities throughout the United States, is the organization’s second.  The conference will feature Harvey Silvergate, co-founder of the FIRE, civil rights attorney, and Chairman of the FIRE’s Board of Directors.

Luke Sheahan, Director of the Campus Freedom Network blogged about the contents of the conference (last week) here:

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Morning Cup of Joe II

Posted in I am mocking you, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by jbn16

“Uncle Joe” the gaffe machine is back!  He is the gift that keeps on giving.   Considering his poor academic standing at Delaware, where he was ranked 506 of 688 in his class, and his plagiarism of a law review article at Syracuse, he must have spent his time reading this .

“A man I’m proud to call my friend. A man who will be the next President of the United States — Barack America!” –Joe Biden, at his first campaign rally with Barack Obama after being announced as his running mate, Springfield, Ill., Aug. 23, 2008 (Watch video clip)

The Right Not to Speak

Posted in 1st Amendment, Constitutional Law, FIRE, Free Speech with tags , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by Tim

One of my coauthors on this blog commented on this issue last week indirectly.

I appears that what we had there is a matter of free speech, but for a reason not often discussed in the legal literature.  The right to free speech protects not only the right to express oneself, but also the right to refuse to speak.  The Court limited this right in Hibel v. Sixth Judicial District, but the holdings in that case were narrow and limited to the requirement to identify oneself to a police officer.  Cato commented on this issue while the Hibel was pending.

In this case, Emily was not just being expected to write for a particular viewpoint (which, considering that gay issues are in the minority position in America, I would support as the teacher’s method of making a challenging assignment), but rather to advocate a change in legislation that was contrary to her own political beliefs.  And just as the 1st Amendment  protects political speech (and other forms of expression), it also protects the freedom to not engage in political discourse.  Emily is protected not only if she would prefer to advocate for legislation in the opposite way, or even some other position not noted.

Teachers may (and often do) expect a student to learn an argument well enough to sufficiently defend it, or even argue the counter-position if necessary.  The assignment is perfectly acceptable given this premise.  The problem is being required to advocate publicly for a certain political position.  Worse than being told what to say, this assignment requires that the compelled speech be given in written form and to a state legislature.  When examined in this manner, it is quite obviously unacceptable, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education was right to intervene.

Symbolic but Meaningless Policy: A Democratic Tradition

Posted in 14th Amendment, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by N.

So I’m fully aware that The Match has been a bit of a one-issue blog as of late (or, rather, since the beginning). But some of this stuff just begs for blogging.

According to the Associated Press, Obama plans on signing an executive order to finally provide “benefits” for the same-sex partners of government workers. I’m not thrilled. To anyone who might hail this as evidence of Obama’s status as a “great advocate” for gay people in America, I call shenanigans. You should remember: this is in response only to the outrage of the gay community for the bigoted motion to dismiss his Justice Department filed in the Defense of Marriage Act case and his continued refusal to act on a repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. (You can read about it on this blog here and here.

Some of you might be wondering why I put the word “benefits” in quotation marks. I did that because…oh, wait for it, that’s right: “[Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s] promises left out financial benefits such as pensions. Obama’s move could make that shift.” I beg your pardon? It could make that change? As in, what, it’s a possibility?

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