July 4, 2010
It's the nation's 234th, and cartoonists exercised their 1st Amendment rights. Rob Rogers shot off his mouth (malicious about militias!) and answered the timeless question: "Boxers or legal briefs?" Nick Anderson, lamenting a lack of confirmation fireworks, voiced a low opinion of a high court nominee's right to remain silent. And Matt Bors, displaying his constitutionally protected dark irony, energetically reminded us that freedom of speech isn't free, even if you gift-wrap it in the flag.
January 24, 2011 |
"The King's Speech" and "Black Swan" are indie hits in the U.S., but in Great Britain, they're just plain hits. The two low-budget specialty pictures took the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively, at the British box office this weekend, beating such bigger-budget and seemingly more mainstream fare as "The Green Hornet" and "The Dilemma. " "The King's Speech," which stars Colin Firth as King George VI and Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist, took the top spot for the third weekend in a row in the nation where the story takes place.
March 26, 2012 |
Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage. But unlike the proverbial broken window, which urban police departments and criminologists urge us to repair to maintain the aura of social order, nobody seems to be in much of a hurry to nip hate speech in the bud. That's because since the ill-fated attempt by several universities to regulate hate speech in the 1980s and '90s, any discussion of reining in racist taunts inevitably degrades into charges of political correctness and ends abruptly with the invocation of the 1st Amendment.
August 9, 2009 |
In March 2008, Barack Obama gave himself an extended audition for president with "A More Perfect Union," his now-famous speech on race delivered in Philadelphia. It was not something Obama wanted to do; up to that point, race was something the black candidate had avoided talking about in any terms other than hopeful and optimistic.
September 22, 2012
Re "Free speech or incitement?," Opinion, Sept. 18 Sarah Chayes falsely equates shouting "fire" in a crowded theater with producing and distributing a film that "satirically" criticizes a religion. Free speech is supposed to be challenging, provoking and, at times, distasteful. For example, some Americans have for years tried (in vain) to secure a constitutional amendment making it a crime to desecrate the country's flag. Most clear-thinking politicians would have nothing to do with this.
May 17, 2011 |
It looks like Osama bin Laden has dropped out of Obama's campaign speech. In his speech Monday night at a DNC fund-raising event, Obama mentioned that his administration has made progress against Al Qaeda, but he doesn't mention Bin Laden specifically. "We have gone after Al Qaeda relentlessly — and made America safer in the process," he said to applause, according to the White House transcript. Contrast that to his speech on May 10 at a fundraiser in Austin, Texas, where he said: "And because of the extraordinary bravery of the men and women who wear this nation's uniform and the outstanding work of our intelligence agencies, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America.