bestnom1000x50
  • February 07, 2008
    By James Tierney
    The New York Times is reporting that Wikipedia is getting flak -- in the form of angry emails and a 80,000-signature petition -- over its entry on the life and times of Muhammad. The website contains several images of the face of Muhammad taken from ancient Persian manuscripts -- images created centuries ago by Persian Muslims -- which the protesters claim violate Islam's prohibition on displaying images of Muhammad.

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  • February 05, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Racism in its most virulent and violent form relies in part on an obsession with bloodlines. Think of the 1935 Nuremberg laws that codified the de-naturalization and de-humanization of Jews, in the interests of maintaining “the purity of the German blood,” which was “the basis for survival of the German people.

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  • February 04, 2008
    By James Tierney
    In response to Juvenal's maxim "quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" -- "Who will watch the watchmen?" -- comes the apparent reply, no one. Think Progress reports that the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, established on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, is now "officially vacant. The terms of the original members expired on Jan.

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  • February 01, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    MYSpace may be going to hell: it has reportedly restored, or sort of restored, the atheist and agnostic group recenty deleted, as reported below.



  • February 01, 2008
    By James Tierney
    A few days ago we blogged about the motions hearing for Commonwealth v. Glik, the case in which a local lawyer was charged with wiretapping (among other charges) for videotaping Boston police making an arrest. (The op-ed Harvey and I wrote about the case, for the Massachusetts Lawyer's Weekly, is available here.) After hearing arguments, Justice Mark Summerville of the Boston Municipal Court took the motion under advisement and said he would decide the motion within a week's time.

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  • February 01, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    MYSpace has deleted the 35,000 member “Atheist and Agnostic Group” in response to complaints from people who are offended by atheism, according to a press release posted by the Secular Student Alliance. Group Moderator Bryan Pesta stressed that the atheist and agnostic group had not violated any terms of service, adding, “when the largest Christian group was hacked, MYSpace’s founder, Tom Anderson, personally restored the group, and promised to protect it from future deletions.

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  • February 01, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    The New York Times reported this morning that its Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author, James Risen, was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury sitting in Alexandria, Virginia, which seeks the reporter’s sources for a chapter of his 2006 book, State of War. The grand jury seems most concerned about information that was in one of the book's chapters, but which had not previously been reported in the Times' earlier reporting of the super-secret NSA warrantless wiretapping program.

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  • January 31, 2008
    By James Tierney
    One year ago today, Boston was sent into a panic by some cartoon characters. Boston municipal and state officials were fooled by light-up displays that local artists Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky made of the mooninites Ignignokt and Ur -- characters from the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force -- as part of a guerilla marketing campaign for the Aqua Teen movie.

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  • January 31, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate

    This past weekend, my research assistant James Tierney and I published an op-ed in the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly about the dubious arrest and prosecution of local attorney Simon Glik under the state "wiretapping" statute. The op-ed (and the news article that David Frank of the Lawyers Weekly wrote to accompany our piece) lays out the facts in some detail, but here's a summary:

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  • January 31, 2008
    By webteam

    By Jan Wolfe


    University Presidents have developed a strange knack for lauding the First Amendment even as they dispense with it. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see Gene Nichol, President of The College of William & Mary, match his anti-censorship rhetoric with action.

    According to The Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia, Nichol has permitted students to bring to campus the Sex Workers' Art Show, a sort-of X-rated Vagina Monologues in which strippers, prostitutes, and porn stars apparently rave about how much they love their jobs (much to the dismay of campus feminists of the anti-pornography school, I’m sure).


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  • January 31, 2008
    By Jan Wolfe

    By Jan Wolfe


    University Presidents have developed a strange knack for lauding the First Amendment even as they dispense with it. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see Gene Nichol, President of The College of William & Mary, match his anti-censorship rhetoric with action.

    According to The Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia, Nichol has permitted students to bring to campus the Sex Workers' Art Show, a sort-of X-rated Vagina Monologues in which strippers, prostitutes, and porn stars apparently rave about how much they love their jobs (much to the dismay of campus feminists of the anti-pornography school, I’m sure).


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  • January 30, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Last year, high school senior Heidi Zamecnik sued her school for prohibiting her from wearing a t-shirt expressing her preference for heterosexuality. “BE HAPPY, NOT GAY,” her shirt read. According to the complaint in her case (filed by the Alliance Defense Fund,) the Dean of Students pulled her out of the lunchroom, complained that the message on her shirt was offensive, and prohibited her from wearing it in school.

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  • January 25, 2008
    By Harvey Silverglate
    A new battle has commenced in the war over suppression of free speech and due process at Brandeis, the institution named (ironically and inappropriately, it would seem) after the late Supreme Court Justice and champion of individual liberty.

    As my colleague Wendy Kaminer wrote in this space on Wednesday, the school opened an investigation into Professor Donald Hindley, a 40-year veteran of the Politics Department, last October after two students complained about comments he made in class.

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  • January 23, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    In a 2007 episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David’s troubles started when he expressed outrage at someone else’s use of the word “nigger.” Where did Larry go wrong? In decrying the perjorative use of the word “nigger,” he repeated the word “nigger.” His sin was not referring to it as the “N-word,” I guess.

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  • January 21, 2008
    By Wendy Kaminer
    By Wendy Kaminer

    Last year, Governor Patrick signed a law mandating expanded no speech and no loitering zones around the entrances to abortion clinics; members of the general public are now prohibited from approaching within 35 feet of clinics unless they're entering or exiting or simply passing by. Last week, the Alliance Defense Fund, (ADF) a conservative advocacy group, challenged this law in federal district court, arguing that it’s vague and vests too much discretion in police officers, encouraging discriminatory enforcement, and that it privatizes a public sidewalk and public forum, banning peaceful anti-abortion protests where they are most likely to matter.

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