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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 28, 2013 / 18 Adar 5773

How dare you say that here!

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Americans give a lot of lip service to the principle of free speech. They have a harder time putting the principle into practice. Even the nation's founders, who granted the First Amendment primacy of place in the Bill of Rights, were, within just a few years, passing the Sedition Act — which made it illegal to "write, print, utter, or publish" anything that might bring the federal government "into contempt or disrepute." This was a good couple of decades at least before the Internet came along.

That disposition lives on today. Earlier this month, a state lawmaker in Georgia renewed his call for legislation making it a crime to alter a photo in a manner that "causes an unknowing person wrongfully to be identified as the person in an obscene depiction." (Some wiseacre had Photoshopped his head over a porn star's body.) Asked whether this might raise any constitutional issues, lawmaker Smith — whose first name, appropriately, is Earnest — solemnly declared, "No one has a right to make fun of anyone. It's not a First Amendment right."

Smith's comments are funny, but restrictions on panhandling are not. And they are especially unfunny in Charlottesville, a city sometimes referred to as "the People's Republic of" because of its liberal (for Virginia) leanings. Charlottesville is home to U.Va., the university founded by Thomas Jefferson (who was no fan of the Sedition Act). It is also home to the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. And it is home to the Downtown Mall — a quaint run of shops and cafes where you are not allowed to ask people for money within 50 feet of two cross-streets.

Five homeless gents took objection to that ordinance and, with the help of the ACLU, filed suit against it. A lower court sided with city, but last week a three-judge panel on the 4 th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision and sent the case back for further review.

Charlottesville is the latest in a long line of burgs from Medford, Ore., to Macon, Ga., that have tried to bring the hammer down on panhandlers. And like those other cities, Charlottesville has tried to defend its restrictions as purely neutral measures meant not to silence speech but to achieve some other legitimate government end. Richmond and its county neighbor Henrico, for instance, have tried to drape their repeated efforts at censorship in the cloak of public safety.

Which, as everyone knows, is bunk. Because the restrictions on soliciting never seem to apply to teenagers in bikini tops waving car-wash signs. Or to campaign canvassers seeking petition signatures to get political candidates on the ballot. Or to firefighters passing the boot for a local charity. Somehow it's only the homeless who aren't supposed to pester anybody.

Courts have struck down panhandling ordinances time and again. In 2011, an Arizona appeals court ruled that Phoenix could not ban panhandling after dark. Last March, a federal judge ruled against Utah's anti-panhandling law. In August, a federal judge ruled against Michigan's state law against panhandling in public places. Time and again the courts have found, as the 4th Circuit did last week, that "begging constitutes protected speech." But cities across the country keep passing anti-panhandling ordinances anyway.

And we all know why: The homeless are dirty and smelly and not the sort of folks the local Convention and Visitors' Bureau would put on a brochure. As Honolulu city councilman Charles Djou said a few years ago, he wanted "to make sure tourists are comfortable visiting Hawaii and are not constantly accosted for money." In short, cities are trying to afflict the afflicted in order to comfort the comfortable — especially those business owners who don't want their money-seeking endeavors affected by the money-seeking efforts of the homeless.

Concern for the needs of the local business community goes only so far, however. Just look at Chesterfield, where local planners are deliberating over whether to relax the county's banner ordinance. At present, a business can't put up a banner more than 60 days out of the year — and even then it has to get permission first. County leaders are pondering whether to let for-profits enjoy the same latitude as that currently enjoyed by nonprofits, which can put up banners 120 days a year.

(Pause for a moment to marinate in this irony: One of the most liberal cities in Virginia restricts the free-speech rights of the indigent, while one of the most conservative localities in Virginia severely restricts the free-speech rights of business owners.)

Not everyone in Chesterfield thinks a looser banner ordinance is a good idea, however. Russell Gulley, a member of the county planning commission, says he hasn't "seen any empirical data that shows that a change in the banner ordinance is going to have a positive economic impact on the county."

Hang on a sec. That's the test now? The right to free speech is contingent on "empirical data" about "economic impact"?

Sorry, that sounded sarcastic. Reminder to self: Must take more care not to write anything that could bring government into disrepute. No one has a right to make fun of anyone!

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




02/26/13: Eating Frito-Lay chips at gunpoint
02/20/13: Death Star petitions are just what we need
02/13/13: ObamaCare proves law correct --- deep down you knew it would
01/29/13: It's Time to Get Judgy About Incompetency
01/23/13: Look who's mocking fascist fear-mongering now
01/16/13: Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'
01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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