Thursday, October 7, 2010

Freedom's just another word...

So a Mississippi Judge who obviously--like a few too many judges--thinks of himself as God, threw an attorney in jail for failure to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Although the attorney did respectfully stand while the courtroom came to attention.

In the 1995 Hurley decision the Supreme Court unanimously decided that the First Amendment also prevents an individual or group from saying something they do not wish to say. In this case a private parade committee; thus, as a private organization, the judges upheld the notion that they can select which messages are expressed to onlookers and which messages are not.

The town of Amherst already ran afoul of this clear-as-day decision when they tried to deny the privately run Amherst July 4 Parade Committee a permit due to restrictions on the signs that marching groups could carry. You know, the very same rules the town used when it organized a 350th Anniversary Parade.

The ACLU instantly set the People's Republic strait, and the Parade continues in the traditional old fashioned way.

The greatest freedom our flag represents is the right to burn it.

But I do indeed cringe when unbalanced individuals or groups push the envelope, such as a pastor threatening to burn the Koran on 9/11, or the KKK wanting to publicly dress up in their sheets or neo-nazis to march through Skokie, a heavily Jewish suburb of Chicago.

The Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments about whether a whacko religious group that should be ignored has the right to hold homophobic signs while picketing outside the funerals of American soldiers who died for their country in far off Iraq or Afghanistan. Icky. Icky. Icky!

But, that is the price we pay for our freedom. I remember once seeing my wife and another dear old friend wearing burkas, and it was not a pretty sight.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to hold up a sign across from town hall that reads "Fuck Amherst". How long before the APD is telling me to take a hike (or worse)?

Larry Kelley said...

The APD is well educated and well trained. They know the law. You would be ignored.

Anonymous said...

Larry, are you kidding me?

Are we talking about the same Amherst???

Larry Kelley said...

Spoken like a true (Cowardly Nitwit) Anon.

Anonymous said...

Despite what Mr. Franklin says, the Amherst PD is the daintiest police force in the state, if not the nation.

Anonymous said...

One of the best things about Amherst is its police department.

Larry Kelley said...

And Fire Department and my neighbors the DPW.

Anonymous said...

A guy stands on the street across from Town Hall with a sign that says Fuck Amherst.

He would be ignored by the Amherst PD. AND just about everyone else. It's Amherst, for God's sake. Craziness is what we do.

Not getting the rise he was looking for, he would get bored and quietly slink home with his stupid sign.

Our cops do know the law. Our cops know Amherst.

Anonymous said...

He would, however, get arrested if he threw his sign on the ground -- and littered.

Anonymous said...

Free speech does not include an unlimited right to yell obscenities. That's why they are called obscenities. A polite "F*ck Amherst" would be just fine.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, that was the funny part about Cohen V California where the obscenity was deemed protected under the First Amendment.

Newspapers had a hard time with that and I'm pretty sure none of them actually used the word in print.

The Gazette did a few lame editorials supporting the First Amendment rights of teens to use the C-word at the High School performance of 'Vagina Monologues' but never had the balls (pun intended) to use the word in print.

And although they did allow "vagina" in the body of the articles, they never allowed it in in a headline--always using the abbreviation 'VM' for the play.

Anonymous said...

"Spoken like a true (Cowardly Nitwit) Anon."

Sure Larry, sure. I hold up the sign and the TM calls the APD with a complaint and you don't think they'd respond?

God damn Larry what the hell is wrong with you?

Anonymous said...

A person yelling obscenities in Amherst would be viewed as an oddity, part of the charm of the place. Such a person would be welcome at public comment time at our various boards and committees.

We're tolerant, man.

Ed said...

The APD is well educated and well trained. They know the law. You would be ignored.

Well, I have personal knowledge that the UMPD is not and they would likely arrest you for "disorderly conduct" and/or "disturbing the peace."

So much for freedom...

Ed said...

Three religious issues:

The Ground Zero Mosque
The Minister Burning Korans
The Vet Funeral Protests

Which two has Obama spoken publicly about, and which one has he not?

Why is the Westboro Baptist Church not being subjected to the same sort of pressure that the minister & mosque protesters have been?

And what do we honestly think if the Westboro folk started protesting gay marriages? If they did what they do outside of the church when a gay couple were scheduled to be married - think that would be tolerated????