bestnom1000x50
  • December 20, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By
    Wendy Kaminer

    One lesson of baseball’s latest doping scandal sure to be overlooked is the utter ineffectiveness of prohibition in curbing drug abuse. Indeed, compelling evidence that “widespread” use of steroids and other performance enhancers has been undeterred by their illegality has persuaded Congress to pass more laws against them.


    Read More

  • December 19, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By James F. Tierney

    In a story we missed when it first broke a month ago, a federal appellate court upheld a Texas school's decision to suspend the high school sophomore for writing a violent fictional short story that school administrators interpreted to be a "terroristic threat." According to the Student Press Law Center, the Fifth Circuit decision "relied heavily on Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's opinion" in the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" case that came down this summer -- Morse v.

    Read More

  • December 18, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By Harvey Silverglate

    One of the more silly pieces that I’ve read in recent years appeared in, of all places, the usually polished and interesting "Ideas" section of The Boston Globe, to which I invariably turn every Sunday. In an opinion piece on the first page of that section, Darius Rejali, a political science professor at Reed College and the author of a forthcoming book (Torture and Democracy) argues that while we like to think of torture as “mainly the province of dictators and juntas – the kind of thing that happens behind the iron doors of repressive regimes,” in fact, “it is the democracies that have been the real innovators in 20th century torture,” modern torture “is mainly a democratic innovation,” and we have “exported [new torture techniques] to more authoritarian regimes.

    Read More

  • December 14, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By James F. Tierney

    You may have heard about the Pennsylvania woman who was charged with disorderly conduct for "loudly cursing at her overflowing toilet," which a neighbor -- an off-duty police officer, no less -- heard. The Boston Globe reports that the judge threw out the charges against her because her speech was "protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment."

    Read More

  • December 14, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By Harvey Silverglate

    For quite some time, I’ve been griping about what I call “the corporatization of the American university” – the trend in which our colleges and universities have prioritized their role as businesses over their role as educational institutions. This transition has led to all manner and kind of mischief, including an administrative culture that is willing to sacrifice such basic values as academic freedom and rational processes in order that there be “no trouble on the watch” of the current president, whoever he or she might be.

    Read More

  • December 12, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    I shouldn't bother critiquing anything penned by the Dinesh D’Souza, but his latest screed on atheism is hard to resist. Extrapolating from some intemperate comments posted by one anonymous, self-identified atheist who claims that he slapped his mother “the last time that she tried telling me that god existed,” D’Souza concludes that “atheism sometimes produces so much bitterness that even the natural human sentiments become distorted and warped

    Read More



  • December 11, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By James F. Tierney

    Yesterday, the Supreme Court released its decisions in two important cases about how judges sentence federal criminals: Kimbrough v. United States and Gall v. United States. Taken together, the cases increase individual judges’ discretion in how to sentence crimes, by allowing them to depart from the federal sentencing guidelines, which are “advisory” rather than binding on judges.

    Read More

  • December 11, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Once college students risked their lives challenging segregation and participating in voter registration drives in the deep South. Today, on many campuses, students fight for the right not to be offended, with the support and encouragement of college and university administrators. The hysteria about racial or ethnic slights and presumptively offensive speech that reigns on so many campuses is explored and exemplified by a recent article in the Boston Globe

    Read More

  • December 06, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate

    By Harvey Silverglate

    Sometimes, as Sigmund Freud put it, a cigar is just a cigar. And, likewise, sometimes words in the Constitution actually mean what they say. Much brainpower, however, has been expended trying to argue that the First Amendment, which admonishes that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” [emphasis added], actually doesn’t mean what it appears to say.

    Read More

  • December 06, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Thank god for religious minorities: when members of minority faiths run for office they have little choice but to defend religious liberty and give at least a nod to separation of church and state. Appealing to our tradition of pluralism and, like John Kennedy, promising that as president he would not take direction from his church, even Mitt Romney occasionally sounded a little like a civil libertarian in his virtually obligatory speech on faith.

    Read More

  • December 05, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Governor Patrick’s decision to abort the removal of banners and flags from highway overpasses, following protests by people anxious to announce their support and concern for the troops, provides an interesting opportunity to test his and our commitment to free speech. If he does not eventually order the signs removed, he will effectively declare that the overpasses are public forums on which anyone can post any message, however provocative or arguably offensive (so long as it isn’t legally obscene or otherwise unprotected by the First Amendment.

    Read More



  • December 04, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate
    By Jan Wolfe

    According to e-mails obtained by Media Matters, the Fox News Channel refused to air an advertisement produced by the Center for Constitutional Rights that accuses President Bush of "destroying the constitution."

    I'm not sure what's more troubling: the fact that the top-ranked cable news channel would refuse to air a political ad, or the fact that restoring the constitution has now become a politicized issue.
  • December 03, 2007
    By Harvey Silverglate
    By Jan Wolfe

    According an article in today's Sunday Times, a Department of Justice lawyer is arguing in British court that the U.S. has a right to "kidnap" foreign citizens who are charged with crimes in American court. The case at hand does not involve the rendition of terrorist suspects, as one might presume, but rather three bankers wanted on fraud charges.

  • December 03, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Not surprisingly, right and left wing partisans share a penchant for censorship: each side has a de facto list of taboo subjects and ideas, discussions of which expose people to formal and informal punishments. Consider these two cases:

    On the right: The Texas Education Agency’s director of science, Christine Castillo Comer, was forced to resign last month because she forwarded an email from the National Center for Science Education about a talk on evolution and creationism.



    Read More

  • December 02, 2007
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Friendly, occasionally funny, less doctrinaire than many of his fellow conservatives and more approachable than the authoritarian Rudy Giuliani and robotic Mitt Romney, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is the right wing preacher/politician/presidential hopeful that some liberals are learning to like.

    Read More

ADVERTISEMENT
 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
ADVERTISEMENT
Latest Comments
ADVERTISEMENT
Search Blogs
 
Free For All Archives