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06 Feb 2012 10:16


U.S.: Georgia court strikes down assisted suicide law on free-speech grounds

  • The State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights.
  • The Georgia Supreme Court • In a unanimous ruling on a 1994 assisted suicide law that said two things — one, it didn’t fully make assisted suicides illegal, and two, it blocked legal forms of free speech, meaning that the law ran smack-first into the First Amendment. As a result of the incident, members of the Final Exit Network, who were facing charges over allegedly helping a cancer-stricken man die, won’t face trial for the incident. The 1994 law, passed in the wake of Jack Kevorkian, made it a felony for anyone who “publicly advertises, offers or holds himself or herself out as offering that he or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose.” source

27 Dec 2011 23:54


World: “Horrible things were happening before my eyes”

  • Police brutality that’s not “Occupy”-related: It’s been ignored by most Western media, but a police crackdown on a labor strike in Kazakhstan earlier this month resulted in 16 deaths (officially reported; protesters say the number is much higher), one truly disturbing video of protesters getting shot and beaten as they run away, and now, charges of a torture basement beneath a Kazakh police station. Here’s what’s being reported.
  • DETAINED FOR NO REASON Asem Kenzhebaeva says that on the day of the protests, police detained her, for no reason, while she was searching the streets of Zhanaozen for her father, who had gone missing earlier that day. “That day, police were arresting anyone they saw in the street,” Kenzhebaeva said.
  • TORTURE BASEMENTPolice brought her to a dark, dirty basement under the station, filled with other detainees. According to Kenzhebaeva, women were being stripped naked, dragged by the hair, and beaten by “people in masks.” Kenzhabaeva was beaten and strangled–but ultimately released by the police.
  • WHAT TORTURE? When she returned to the scene with government officials later that week, the basement had been completely cleaned up, and looked “white like a hospital.” Her father, meanwhile, turned up two days later, having been severely beaten by police. He died of his wounds the day before Christmas (Photo: AFP)source

26 Jul 2010 20:57


Politics: The Fairness Doctrine: Why you should miss the broadcast balancer

  • Imagine a world where you didn’t hear only what you wanted to hear. In the age of the Fairness Doctrine, broadcasters were actually required to give time to the voices they might otherwise choose to shut out.
  • AOL News opinion guy Barry Weintraub • Lamenting the long-lost Fairness Doctrine, which created boring TV but led to a much more well-informed electorate. Now, let’s face it – in the age of blogging, we could never realistically go back to this, because technology has become more customized in the 20-odd years since the FCC took it away. But it’s probably important to note how it ended. Basically, Reagan staffer Mark S. Fowler, claiming that it violated the First Amendment, started tearing apart the long-standing policy as FCC chairman. Just seeing how television – let alone talk radio, that quickly-budding bastion of angry politics – has changed in the last 20 years suggests how necessary it or something like it just might be. source

14 Dec 2009 10:36


U.S.: Cyber-bullying constitutional, which means we can make fun of you

  • People don’t appreciate how much the First Amendment protects not only political and ideological speech, but also personal nastiness and chatter. … If all cruel teasing led to suicide, the human race would be extinct.
  • UCLA law professor and First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh • On his criticism of cyber-bullying laws. It was an issue that reared its ugly head in a court case involving a YouTube video that made fun of a middle-school aged girl. The court ruled in favor of the girl that posted it, saying that the school violated her First Amendment rights by suspending her. We totally support the First Amendment, Eugene, but you’ve apparently never dealt with 14-year-old girls. Just sayin’ dude. source