Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Picture Worth A 10-Day Suspension

Jaime Pereira and her boyfriend, Tito Velez of Taunton, Massachusetts
The world has gone crazy in Massachusetts.  These two kids took this picture at Ms. Pereira's house, left the airsoft guns there, went to homecoming, came back, and then posted the picture on Facebook.  Note that the airsoft rifles never went either to homecoming or the school, or even close to school property.

The school system's response?

A 10-day suspension for each student, because...

“What it's about is a couple of students engaging in an activity that created a total destruction of the school day,” Superintendent Richard W. Gross said. "They're juniors in High School, and it's proactive and they should know better and it scared students."

How exactly does a picture posted on Facebook destroy a school day?  Does it spawn little Facebook soldiers that march into the building with air-powered pellet rifles?  Does it magically remove time from the clock?  And what kind of people are scared of this picture?    Are you scared of it, Mr. Gross?  Because if you are, maybe you need to get some professional help.

Just sayin'.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day - Please Vote


Today is the national election day.  Everywhere, the fate of our country is being decided by people who take the time to go and vote.

I hope you are one of the deciders.

If you are uncertain as to where to vote, go here and enter your address.

Just please go vote.  We need all the deciders that we can get.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ebola Hysteria: The New Socially-Acceptable, Least-Helpful Trend in Politics

Oh, no!  It's Ebola!!
This morning I started reading the news and learned that New York and New Jersey want everyone who travel to West Africa to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon coming to the United States.

Everyone.  Not just people showing possible symptoms, or people at risk, such as a nurse or doctor accidentally stuck with a needle that had been in an Ebola patient.

Everyone.

I cringed reading this.  We have become such cowards, such worry-warts, so concerned with appearances and appearing to care that we hurt more people that we help.  I mean, the United States is not the only country outside of West Africa facing the possible spread of Ebola, but we certainly are the only country acting as if a major outbreak is merely around the corner, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Let me be clear - no one is contagious before showing symptoms.  That means that even if someone returning from West Africa somehow contracted Ebola, they are not contagious - meaning that he or she cannot pass on the virus - until they have symptoms.

To quote Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, "When you start getting the viral load that is enough to be able to be transmitted, you're feeling very, very poorly."

Basically, you are even contagious when the very first symptoms appear.  You have to be getting rather ill before you can spread the disease.

And still, Americans and American media seem to be intent on making Ebola into the next zombie apocalypse, despite the fact that out of the over 10,000 cases of Ebola worldwide, only four people on American soil have been diagnosed with Ebola, of which only one person died. Mind you, as of 2011 approximately 6,884 people die every day due to a variety of causes.  So why get so upset over one singular death that might have been prevented had the hospital followed the proper procedures?

In the end, all we are doing is looking foolish and hurting the people who have the courage to go to West Africa in the first place. If we really want to prevent an Ebola outbreak, than we need to invest the time and money into either finding a cure, finding a vaccine, or helping rid West Africa of the virus. But standing around and acting hysterical accomplishes nothing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

A New Type of Obscenity? I Hope Not.

Earlier this month, Adam Lamparello from the Indiana Tech - Law School published a research paper titled "'God Hates Fags' is not the same as 'Fuck the Draft': Introducing the Non-Sexual Obscenity Doctrine".  Basically, Mr. Lamparello wants to create a new class of obscene language out of hate speech.

On the surface, this doesn't sound too bad.  I mean, everyone is against hate speech, right?  I can hear some people now, thinking to themselves that they would like statements like that to be illegal.  Everyone knows what hate speech sounds like, why don't we call it obscene and be done with it?

The problem comes from the fact that obscene language is legally not protected by the First Amendment.  So expanding the definition of obscenity restricts everyone's right to free speech.

If I never hear the words 'God hates fags' again, I will be quite happy.  But that doesn't mean I consider the words obscene, just obnoxious. But we need an example that explains my position better.

Let's say the words "<person> hates <object of hatred>" is considered obscene.  Then every kid who in a moment of anger shouts "I hate you!" to her parents is now using obscene language.  Or saying "God hates Marry Poppins" becomes obscene language.

Really, KatFrog, aren't you being a bit ridiculous?  After all, Mr. Lamparello only means phrases that we all consider obscene.  He even says, "In short, we not only know obscenity when we see it. We know where we see it as well.".

I can hear you saying this now.  But a quick look at history shows that that relying on the general public's common sense is a slippery slope down to witch trials, book burning, sterilization of innocent people, and other shameful events.  

In other words, give the general public an inch, and it turns into a raging mob that tries to one-up itself in how restrictive it can be.