Baseball economics 101, science fiction meets science reality, the death of the ash tree, no outcry over $4 gasoline, and is it too soon for Christmas decorations?
Posted at 11:24 AM on September 13, 2012
by Bob Collins
MnDOT's latest video of the great bridge move in Hastings...
Officials had hoped to have the bridge in place on the new Highway 61 span by tomorrow. But they're not sure the bridge center span's new barge home is solid enough to float it down the Mississippi to its new location.
The controversy over the statement from the U.S. embassy in Egypt, hours before a mob invaded the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. and killed four people, including the U.S. ambassador, continues to fester, and more than a few people aren't sure why.
"I think most Americans would look at that and say this is not the appropriate response when your embassy was assaulted when the American flag is taken down and two Islamic flags put up over American territory," Sen Rob Portman of Ohio told CBS this morning in an appearance that had to leave people wondering if politicians have the ability to say, "whoops, my bad."?
Give some credit to the questioner for CBS News who pointedly said, "as you know," before pointing out that Portman's timetable was completely wrong -- the statement from the embassy came before there were any attacks.
That's when Portman said he didn't know that, which brings up the question, "why not?" How can a U.S. senator, more than 24 hours after the statement was released, still not know what he's talking about?
He could've read the Wall Street Journal's website, which published the timeline of events at noon yesterday. So did NBC. So did The Atlantic. And so did the National Journal.
Roger Ebert asks on his blog today, "which parts (of the statement) would you disagree with? Why?"
Sentence One: One-quarter of the earth's population is Muslim, including many Americans. Yes, their feelings can be hurt by a crude attack on the Prophet. I would go so far as to suggest those who made the trailer hoped to hurt their feelings. Why else, when their original effort failed to attract attention, did they pay to have it translated into Arabic, so it could be understood in nations where the box office appeal of the so-called film would be non-existent? The only purpose must have been to hurt feelings.
Sentence Two: True. Sincere. Heartfelt.
Sentence Three: I'll repeat it. "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy." This expresses one of the fundamental founding principles of our nation.
Sentence Four: The statement rejects the actions of the mysterious people responsible for posting the trailer and the having it translated into Arabic.
"The statement said, at its start, 'we apologize,'" Portman told CBS this morning.
Shockingly, no journalist on the set stopped him to say, "no, it doesn't say any such thing."
Here's the statement:
"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."
"It's not all that complicated," Portman insisted.
That one he got right.(15 Comments)
Is the term "illegal immigrants" hate speech?
In a press release today, the National Hispanic Media Coalition released a poll that it says shows media portrayals of Latinos and immigrants "are fueling rampant negative stereotypes among the general population that are diminishing perceptions of these groups throughout the United States."
The group is asking the FCC -- again -- to study the "impacts of hate speech in media."
The group said...
...after viewing just one minute of media content, poll respondents changed the way they view Latinos. When asked if Latinos were intelligent, those who consumed negative news and entertainment pieces were much more likely to rate Latinos as unintelligent, while those who consumed positive pieces were much more likely to rate Latinos as intelligent.
It doesn't define what qualifies as "hate speech" in this context, however. It does say that one of the terms it says leads to the negative perception is the phrase, "illegal aliens."
But does that make it "hate speech?"
Eugene Volokh, the legal scholar who writes The Volokh Conspiracy, doesn't think so.
Now if people want to study how media affects people's perceptions of Hispanics, Southerners, Muslims, evangelical Christians, gays, conservatives, or whomever else, that's just fine, and can indeed be quite interesting. The media, and the formation of public opinion, are eminently reasonable topics for research.
But when (1) not just an advocacy group but Congressmen as well (2) ask the federal government entity that has the power to give and withdraw licenses, including based on media content, (3) to "study" "hate speech," (4) with no definition but with examples broad enough to cover a vast range of commentary (express and implied), that strikes me as especially dangerous. And it ties in to leading international law scholars' views about how restrictions on "hate speech" could be justified using international law norms (see the posts about the views of Prof. Peter Spiro and Dean Harold Koh).
Indeed, Peter Spiro, who writes at Opinio Juris, says that hate speech should be banned, as it is in European countries...
Call me a relativist. We have some pretty good empirical data from the scores of other countries that ban hate speech (in part through signing on to article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) that a permissive approach to hate speech is not a prerequisite to functioning democracy. On the contrary, our European friends would argue that democracy is better served by banning such material. Either way, our exceptionalism on this score doesn't serve us very well.
Spiro writes his post in the aftermath of the embassy/consulate attacks over the film that spawned them. Others argue, however, that there is a difference between "offensive speech" and "hate speech."
Discussion point: Where is that line?(5 Comments)
Posted at 3:10 PM on September 13, 2012
by Bob Collins
After more than a year, the Minnesota Twins have finally jumped into the effort to stop bullying.
It did so, without referencing gays and lesbians, the underpinning of the It Gets Better videos spawned by the suicides of several young gay people.
The Bible says that if your daughter's not a virgin on her wedding night -- if a woman isn't a virgin on her wedding night, she shall be dragged to her father's doorstep and stoned to death. Callista Gingrich lives. And there is no effort to amend state constitutions to make it legal to stone women to death on their wedding night if they're not virgins. At least not yet. We don't know where the GOP is going these days.
People are dying because people can't clear this one last hurdle. They can't get past this one last thing in the Bible about homosexuality.
Um, one other thing I wanna talk about is -- [chuckles] -- so, you can tell the Bible guys in the hall that they can come back now, because I'm done beating up the Bible. It's funny, as someone who's on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible, how pansy-assed some people react when you push back.
I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings. But. I have a right to defend myself. And to point out the hypocrisy of people who justify anti-gay bigotry by pointing to the Bible, and insisting we must live by the code of Leviticus on this one issue and no other.
The Twins decided to take a different approach, a comparably safer approach, in the video released today.
The power of the original It Gets Better videos, was the courage it took for professional athletes to voice their support for gays and lesbian kids.
As for the It Gets Better campaign, a football team has now broken through the barrier, and acknowledged the message is aimed at LGBT youth.