Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Abridging the freedom of speech



I don’t like attending choreographed “PR events,” and when I do it’s like the person who has no great love for NASCAR or the Indy 500 but grudgingly goes simply hoping for a spectacular car crash.

But I do indeed love, respect and will fight to the death to protect the First Amendment. And this staged event at Umass was, after all, a rally to support our rights to say whatever the Hell we want.

It brought together the student Democratic and Republican Clubs who normally mix like fire and gasoline. And of course the same nitwits who shut down Don Feder’s speech three weeks ago attended with their signs and banners--but a lot less vocal this time around. (The bright glare of national publicity will do that).

Last week Sheila Bair, former Umass professor and now Chair of the FDIC (and “second most powerful woman in the world”) spoke at the Isenberg School of Management about the financial meltdown and the resulting federal bailout. Not a peep out of the standing-room-only overflow audience.

If I had the time (which most protesters obviously do) I would have attended with a large sign reading “Are you out of your mind!” Bailout the poor schmucks who need it, but put all the other idiots in jail.

Ahhh but she’s a middle aged white woman—and a very successful one at that. Don Feder is this aging Jewish guy who used to write a column for—gasp—The Boston Herald.

After all, this is Umass--located in the People’s Republic of Amherst.

This student is probably thinking if he knew Ch 40 TV was coming with such a cute reporter he would have dressed better. Or maybe not.

The burly guy with a beard gets around. But they could have used another volunteer or two on the bottom corners.

(March 11 at the Don Feder speech fiasco.) Hey at least they believe in recycling.

22 comments:

Ed said...

It got a whole lot worse after you left. It was another of the infamous "newspaper theft" things that plague academia today.

Short version - just because I don't hit girls, particularly girls that look like they might be pregnant, it doesn't me that you can physically yank 200 copies of a newspaper out of my hands.

http://www.thefire.org/index.php/torch/#10388

Disgusting....

S.P. Sullivan said...

Hey that's me talkin' with the protesters. I didn't know the event brought out the entire Valley blogosphere.

And Ed, what's also disgusting is the personal attack of that young woman in The Minuteman. Aren't you the same guy who demanded The Collegian take down a 'discriminant' comment from our site because somebody called you "old?"

Notwithstanding, I don't like to see any newspapers get ripped up. The papers are having a rough year as it is.

Ed said...

SP:

First, why exactly am I responsible for everything that the Minuteman prints? I am not an editor, don't want to be, wasn't even there when they laid it out.

Second, would this be the young woman who physically assaulted me today? Physically assaulted me in front of Det Lisa Kidwell of the UMPD, to my total and utter surprise?

(Yes, charges have been filed.)

Third, yes Brad's comment was over the edge but that is Brad. As to the Student Bridges, you gotta admit that it is a slush fund to buy lots of food in violation of lots of regulations and a couple of state laws.

Imagine if it was Larry Kelly going after the Student Bridges crew and not who it is....

And women are always going after other women, if I am not mistaken the Jackass piece was written by a woman who was "fired" from the Collegian because she writes for the MMan (and that is a violation of CSD policies...).

Fourth, I think that Ms. Snow should be glad that they ran the picture they did and not the other one that I would have run.

Ed said...

One other thing Sean -- If I remember correctly, the comment I objected to stated that I was a child molester. That is libelous.

Ed

Anonymous said...

I like this quote because it applies to so many situations both in Town, at the University, and in our nation as a whole:

"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."--Justice Louis Brandeis

Rich Morse

Anonymous said...

So Ed was beaten up by a girl? What did she do? Steal your lunch money?

Ed said...

So Ed was beaten up by a girl? What did she do? Steal your lunch money?

No, $600 worth of newspapers. Which I just realized is over $250 which makes it a felony if I am not mistaken.

And sexist that I am, I was always taught not to hit girls, particularly girls that look like they are pregnant. That doesn't mean that said pregnant-looking woman can rip $600 worth of property out of my hands with impunity....

Anonymous said...

You were carrying $600 worth of newspapers? What were they, $10 a piece?

Greg Saulmon said...

While I don't agree with what happened in that video, it seems worth noting: if you're paying $3/copy (seriously, $600 for 200 copies?), you're getting approximately the Worst Deal Ever on printing.

That was probably not a felony. Immature, but not a felony.

LarryK4 said...

Hey Greg,

But isn't that why you guys at the Local Buzz went completely cyber (to avoid those nasty print charges)?

Yeah, the unit cost is not important.

It's the very idea that in our 'Land of the Free' some Nitwits would engage in the equivalent of book burning.

Anonymous said...

I hate speech. STFU

Ed said...

Look, if the Communist Newspaper is worth $2 (and they actually sell it for that) then a patriotic newspaper has got to be worth $3.

And the whole thing is to prevent exactly what happened - people taking large stacks to discard/destroy them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1JZNoDVcj8

I draw an analogy to the Vagina Monologues. Lets say they were handing out programs and physically rip a couple hundred out of the hands of the high school kid distributing them. Would the APD nonchalantly ignore this?

Greg Saulmon said...

OK, I think I misunderstood -- I thought the $600 referred to the printing cost of 200 copies, but perhaps we're talking about the retail value. I was under the impression that The Minuteman was a free pub.

You're right, Larry -- printing / delivery costs were a big reason Local Buzz went online only (although, those costs were only a problem because we weren't all that good at selling ads). But, we weren't paying anywhere close to $3 / a copy to print.

I agree that quibbling over the cost, though, misses the real point. That's actually why I started quibbling in the first place -- I think there's a strong enough argument against that behavior simply because it's anti-democratic, immature, and ignorant. To me, trying to make it out to be a felony seems to trivialize it. I guess I just chafe at attaching a value of a couple hundred bucks to the free exchange of ideas. I know that wasn't Ed's intent, but that's how it came across.

LarryK4 said...

These kids are all still pretty young so I can kind of excuse their childish behavior.

What I found appalling is a Holyoke Community College professor suggesting that it is just fine to drown out a speaker such as Don Feder because you are using your free speech to drown out his.

And I suppose if it is Bill O'Reilly on his own show shouting down a guest (or any of the other Fox shows famous for that) one-on-one, that is one thing.

But it is quite different when you get an unruly mob doing it (as we saw at the Feder Fiasco)

Even the ‘Justice For Jason’ crowd crossed the line by trying to intimidate a female DA.

The First Amendment guarantees the right to "peaceable assembly," but that does not include an unruly, disrupting mob.

Ed said...

I was under the impression that The Minuteman was a free pub.

Nothing is "free." The MMan is paid for by donors and advertisers with the assumption that the paper will be distributed to the public (without additional charge) and not tossed into the trash en masse.

Although there are other costs, printing an issue costs $700/$800 and if anyone wants to see it come out more frequently, advertisements, donations & grants can be sent to the MMan care of the UMass CSD (see http://www.umassminuteman.com/contact-us)

But, we weren't paying anywhere close to $3 / a copy to print.

No more than the record companies loose the vast sums of money they claim in the music piracy suits. The principle is that if we claim a value to something, then it is theft to take it without compensation (which, of course, we will refuse to accept).

Kidwell/UMPD doesn't recognize this so I have legal counsel reviewing an interlectual property licensing agreement. We want you to have ONE copy (reading it or no is your choice) we do NOT want you to have HUNDREDS of copies that, with our limited resources, are needed to give to others.

I guess I just chafe at attaching a value of a couple hundred bucks to the free exchange of ideas. I know that wasn't Ed's intent, but that's how it came across.

The "first copy free, each additional copy $$$" was developed by student newspaper foundations (I think it was Leadership Institute) in response to campus police nonchalantly ignoring thefts of entire paper press runs. The cops said "it is free, they can take it" so the newspapers then responded "OK, it is not free, it has a retail property value, they stole it, NOW will you do something?" Lisa Kidwell said "no."

OK, as much as I hate the Digital Milleinum Copyright Act, we can go that way if we have to. (And then Det. Kidwell doesn't have a choice....)

Ed said...

These kids are all still pretty young so I can kind of excuse their childish behavior.

Two problems with this logic.
First, they are every bit as young as the kids at Hobart and elsewhere. The 102 arrested last weekend and all of that. And hence, where do we draw the line?

And for what it is worth, I wasn't the initial person attempting to get the stack of newspapers back. It was just me who said "well, *I* will do something about this then...

You have young people on both sides and the university administration EXISTS to set some standards of what is and is not acceptable for people to do. Which leads to my second point - the absolute license they give to those advocating "approved" causes.

It is a total exemption from all criminal laws, university rules and basic expectations of civil behavior -- if you advocate an approved cause, you can do ANYTHING you want with TOTAL IMPUNITY and that is a damn dangerous thing. Wiemar Republic anyone????

What I found appalling is a Holyoke Community College professor suggesting that it is just fine to drown out a speaker such as Don Feder because you are using your free speech to drown out his.

What I found even more appalling is that he is permitted to teach Political Science. After you left, he was up there with an unlicensed PA system (do we or do we not have rules?) saying that the First Amendment only applies to the US Congress. (SCOTUS has interpreted the 14th to apply the 1st to the states, otherwise Roe would be moot.)

This is "Critical Race Theory" - a totally discredited circa-1990 legal theory except that this twit couldn't even explain it well.

And how many more idiots like him are down there????

And I suppose if it is Bill O'Reilly on his own show shouting down a guest Fox News is private property, and you don't have to go down there (even though I seem to remember you once did).
UMass is PUBLIC property and the university a Subdivision of the Commonwealth.

But it is quite different when you get an unruly mob doing it (as we saw at the Feder Fiasco)

Only difference between this and the Patriot/RedSox "riots" are the speech of the mob. Time, place & manner - there are things that are NOT ACCEPTABLE regardless of the content of your speech. For example, the last arrests were kids expressng support for a New York team.

Even the ‘Justice For Jason’ crowd crossed the line by trying to intimidate a female DA.
What about it being a criminal offense to "picket" a courthouse or abortion clinic? That law could be enforced - or at least mentioned....

The First Amendment guarantees the right to "peaceable assembly," but that does not include an unruly, disrupting mob.

A student mob is a student mob. I just ask that all student mobs be treated the same way. If the authorities can bring in a SWAT team to deal with some, then they can (and legally should) for all....

Anonymous said...

"A student mob is a student mob."

Wait a minute, that sounds pretty undefined. So they have the right to peacefully assemble just don't be a mob? Which is defined how? If there is criminal activity going on (rioting) that's one thing, but having banners and shouting slogans doesn't fit that category.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's a parade!

LarryK4 said...

As that famous quote about Porn from a Supreme Court Justice stated: You will know it when you see it.

The Feder Fiasco was over the line, clear and simple.

And only a Nitwit professor from Holyoke Community College seems to defend the "rights" on an unruly mob to shout down and intimidate an aging Jewish guy.

And I'm sure that Nitwit would say the same if it had been younger (ever so much hotter) folks like Michelle Malkin or Anne Coulter

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute, that sounds pretty undefined. So they have the right to peacefully assemble just don't be a mob? Which is defined how? If there is criminal activity going on (rioting) that's one thing, but having banners and shouting slogans doesn't fit that category.

Well, waving banners and screaming "Yankess Suck" is my description of what 99% of the alleged "rioters" in Southwest were doing.

The statute which is used to arrest "rioters" is having ten or more people assembled in a tumultious manner -- unconstitutional but enforced. And we either enforce it equally or we stop.

Anonymous said...

Um, I think they were also breaking thousands of dollars of windows.

Ed said...

Um, I think they were also breaking thousands of dollars of windows.

That only happened AFTER the police started to act - and the police themselves didn't want to, they were ordered to do so by Gargano, who wasn't even in the state.