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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

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 July 3, 2014 / 5 Tammuz, 5774

Is the Medium the Menace?

By Froma Harrop



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | An aspiring rapper posts his lyrics on Facebook, suggesting a Halloween costume with his estranged wife's "head on a stick."

He goes on: "I'm not going to rest until your body is a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts. Hurry up and die, bitch, so I can..." and so on and so forth.

Anthony Elonis insists that he was merely engaging in artistic expression per his right to free speech. His wife disagreed. She saw his writings as a real threat of bodily harm, a crime not protected by the First Amendment.

Courts sided with the wife, and Anthony spent 44 months behind bars.

But the case won't hurry up and die. It's now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the fall.

A core issue will be Elonis' intent in writing those words. Did he mean it?

His defenders say that social media make the job of getting into anyone's head so much harder. And that's what makes this case interesting.

"In social media, you're deprived of interaction" with the author, Elonis' lawyer, John Elwood, told me. "People can't see your face, can't hear your voice."

The Facebook audience is crowded with strangers who don't know the writer. They're not well-equipped to judge whether he's the type to follow through on a threat or merely prancing on his stage. Miscommunication is easy in these circumstances.

But, you may say, his wife knows him and insists she's terrified. That brings up a long-running debate in such cases over whether to be a crime, a threat has to look real in unbiased eyes or simply strike fear in the target.

Elwood believes that the lower courts ignored the cues in Elonis' Facebook posts suggesting, "I don't mean anything by this."

For example, Elonis quoted and linked to a comedy group called The Whitest Kids U' Know. He also wrote in the middle of a post, "Me thinks the judge needs an education on true threat jurisprudence."

"These things indicate this is not intended to intimidate anybody," Elwood said, "but that he is blowing off steam."

Clearly, not everyone has caught the yuk-yuk-yuk disclaimers. And not everyone appreciates Elonis' brand of wit or, more to the point, identifies it as such.

Many of today's threat prosecutions are based on things said on social media platforms, a reason the Supreme Court has taken up the case. No easy task labeling impermissible speech on the Internet, where fantasies run amok alongside sober opinions, insanity, stupidity, irrationality and just plain bad writing.

Recent history shows not all of these online threats are idle. Elliot Rodger posted warnings on YouTube and online forums before stabbing and shooting several people to death in Santa Barbara, California. Jerad and Amanda Miller wrote of their "coming sacrifices" on Facebook before embarking on a murderous rampage in Las Vegas.

Some worry that the nine justices have not shown themselves to be keenly aware of communications technology. Questions such as these will arise:

Elonis didn't tag his wife on the Facebook threats. Does that mean that they weren't directly aimed at her?

He put an emoticon with a tongue sticking out at the end of the Halloween reference. Is this evidence that he was only kidding around?

Do the Supreme Court justices know what an emoticon is?

"Art is about pushing limits," Elonis has posted. But if a threat is written as rap lyrics — or in iambic pentameter, for that matter — does it get a pass as art?

Heaven knows we don't want to lose the sacred right to say moronic things online. And yet...

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