Monday, December 24, 2012

What Freedom of Speech means

Recently, Piers Morgan interviewed a gun rights advocate Larry Pratt [1]. In this interview, he does call the interviewee "an unbelievably stupid man" which is admittedly a rather odd turn of phrase to use on national television as an interviewer. The conversation continues and it's clear neither man has much respect for the opinions of the other.

Even so, we see that, in response, gun rights advocates (lead by [2]) have created a petition to deport Mr. Morgan. [3] This is utter nonsense. For anyone who holds the second amendment in such high regard, one could expect that other amendments to the constitution would be deemed of great import, as well.

Take, for instance, the first amendment. It protects not just free speech but also freedom of the press. [4] To be precise, it also protects the freedom to "petition the Government for a redress of grievances" which, in theory, protects the right of those offended to petition. At the very same time, it does not protect them from making fools of themselves with their ignorance of the rest of the first amendment.

Piers Morgan is in no way inciting to riot, calling "fire" in a crowded theater, advocating violence, esposing any form of treason, or performing any number of other violiations of the reasonable limits on free speech or freedom of the press. To deport him would be create a new precedent which has never existed - the right to not hear opinions you disagree with.

For anyone who is baffled by the desire to deport a journalist for sharing his views, please consider signing and sharing a different petition to remind the gun-rights advocates of the first amendment. Than you for your time.

[1] Larry Pratt interview
[2] "The Law Says Deport Piers Morgan"
[3] Petition to deport Piers Morgan
[4] First Amendment to the US Constitution

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Another year, another campaign

As summer begins, the reality of another presidential election year campaign is setting in on me. I'm seeing more and more ads from both Romney and President Obama harping on the other's record. Each tingles my skeptic nerve, though I do appreciate that the latter's ads includes graphs to help show there is some data and numerical processing behind their claims. That's not to say the claims themselves aren't distortions or partial truths, of course. In contrast, the Romney ads have generally only spoken numbers and didn't put them in greater context.

I'll be relying a great deal on and similar sources to help sift through the sound bites to the true data. Please do the same, or at least take what you hear with a grain of salt. If any particularly glaring examples come to my attention, I'll write up the results of my research here.

Stay tuned - this blog isn't abandoned, just hibernating through the long primary season winter.

Update at 3:45 PM: Here's and example of a misleading graphic from the Obama camp. Outsourcing jobs. Romney himself didn't outsource jobs, companies owned by the venture capital firm he headed did so, perhaps at his firm's directive. Did the outsourcing occur while he we still working there? We don't know from the graphic.