Thursday, March 3, 2011


Check out these shanastas:

A sign in Soulard, MO may find itself at the heart of a Supreme Court decision. Freedom of Speech, as ruled by the Supreme Court recently, apparently is more important than decency or common sense as it was recently ruled (8-1) that a bunch of people from a "Christian Church" could "protest" a soldier's funeral by alerting the mourning family members that "God hates fags" and other relevant, constructive stuff like this. I wonder how they'll side when business, not a devastated, private family, has a stake in "free speech". I could see how anyone could start a business, but I can't see how anyone can just start a "Christian Church".

One of the main reasons we invaded Iraq was an informant source named "Curveball". Well, it turns out he was a liar as well. There was a great video about this on CNN, but they have since taken it down, since the 24 hour news cycle has expired. Here's a related link anyway. Again, I'm not into whining or pining, but let's not forget the past. As Stephen Colbert says, "There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good."

This link seems innocuous enough but indicates a couple of indirect, really important points: 1) Despite the misty eyed proclamations of Obama worshippers, GITMO is still alive and functioning, and 2) Despite some concern earlier, apparently the CIA now believes that Osama is still alive.

I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're going and hook up with them later.
- Mitch Hedberg

As of February 17th, Belgium has not had a government in 249 days, which they believe is some sort of record. It's sort of a reality check for us, as our governments -- state and federal -- face shutdowns behind claims that this would lead to disasters beyond our imaginations. But let's settle down a bit and realize that maybe we don't need our governments as much as they need us. How do the Belgians do it? Looooooots of syrup and beer.

St. Louis is again the most crime-ridden city in the nation. Where's Nelly when you need him? However, I heard today on the radio that Chicago was the fifth most miserable city to live in. [don't know how to link to radio]

A product of the evil corporation IBM, code-named "Watson", has defeated the equally evil Mormon Ken Jennings in a contest of Jeopardy that not even Alec Trebec, the evil Canadian, could ruin. Actually, none of them is evil, or comes from evil (though I wouldn't vote for a Canadian Mormon), and Watson represents a pretty incredible feat in a constrained problem in the field of computer science called Natural Language Processing. Deep Blue. Watson. If IBM can develop a machine that can hit a curve ball, I'll be worried.

Uh, you know how AT&T's phone network stinks? Isn't it awesome that Verizon now supports Apple products? Well, it appears that Verizon may have dropped approximately 10,000 emergency calls in one night in one area. Hmmmmm, makes me wonder how that network will handle the flood of users converting away from ATT, especially in big, dense cities.

Sometimes, famous guys get a bad rep. But aren't there those kinds of guys where you still think, Man, it would be fun to hang out and have a beer with that guy at least. Hank Steinbrenner is not one of those guys. In general, I don't want to transform baseball into a sea of equality like the NFL, and I'm not happy with teams like the Royals who pocket their welfare checks and are in the black by opening day rather than competing, but when the Yanks are spending more in luxury tax and revenue sharing than most teams in baseball spend on payroll, something is wrong there. And like I said, Hank doesn't exactly seem like a guy who's in any way decent to hang out with.

Thanks for tuning in. Be sure to come back soon, try not to be overwhelmed with all the choices out there on the web.


Kevin said...

Hilarious MH quote. Forgot all about that one.

Fred Phelps and crew has perplexed the hell out of me. Silver lining is that the Supreme Court don't play when Free Speech is involved, but I'm still amazed that common sense is trumped by highfalutin judge talk. I'm equally surprised that some Hell's Angels or some crew like that hasn't put a hit out on those kooky protesters. (I'm not endorsing that, just saying I'm surprised no one has gotten fed up with them and taken action).

(NPR did a whole story on the above with Supreme Court rundown, interviews for soldier's family, etc)

"I must say that some things some men are born to do. I think I was born to kick ass." - Ving Rhames

Kevin said...

PS. maybe next time make your links so when you click, it opens in new tab?

G. Smith said...

I can't stand this Felps guy, but I support the Supreme Court in deciding that everyone has a right to be a complete jerk.

I'm wondering about your comment about business having a stake in free speech - wasn't that what the Citizens United case was all about?

Ryan said...

Yeah, short of "hits", I think it would be far more appropriate for the family of the fallen soldier to buy one way bus tickets so those "Church" members can go to John Roberts house and yell at his wife and spit on her and tell his family how God hates fags since the Supreme Court surely endorses the military's stance on gays.

G, I don't understand all the details of all these cases, but my understanding is the court ruled about free speech in the context of "Church" members protesting a private family's funeral on public land. The Soulard sign, if my memory is right, is the result of a business owner making a sign on the side of his building that apparently Soulard has restrictions against. He is saying that's infringement of his right to "Free Speech", which I'm not so sure about. (I'm also not so sure I believe the Supreme Court should be allowed to rule on such local cases anyway, but then again I don't think the 14th Commandment has much merit. These rulings simultaneously centralize power in our country, while as you noted, whittle our public places down to the lowest common denominators. Is that what we really want out societies to be all about?) However, I think it's interesting to see the circumstances under which the court protects free speech and those when it doesn't. I'm not familiar with the Citizens United case.

Kev, the links already do pop up in a new tab, you just have to stick your finger in your eye when you click it to make it work.

G. Smith said...

the Citizens United vs FEC case was the recent Supreme Court case that decided restricting corporate donations to political candidates violated the free speech rights of corporations.

another free speech issue that is tough to reconcile with common sense...

not sure it's the same fit as the Soulard sign, but has to do with the complications involved with free speech rights, and business - in this case corporations, which are usually different that a privately owned business...but...

why's everyone so down on the 14th amendment?

Ryan said...

G Dirty Ditty Money, I think people could be against the 14th for many reasons. Its ratification was more than a little controversial, and the naturalization clause has led to an unforeseen incentive, etc. I'm not an expert in it but what I think was the really big harm of it was the language that allowed the federal government to go from being a purposefully weak body that minimally kept some republic of states together to being a super-governing body that has the preternatural ability to tell states what to do. This is very much against the original formation of the country and has led to a lot of (for example) SCOTUS cases where even though I agreed with the sentiment of the cases, it's unclear if the Supreme Court really had any jurisdiction over it in the first place. (Heller vs D.C.)

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States;"

This leads naturally to an environment in direct conflict with the 10th:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Clearly the 10th puts a final limit on U.S. power, in case there is doubt between State power and Federal.

I had forgotten about Citizen's United case, but yeah, that too was a shameful ruling.