Sunday, February 06, 2005


***Blogmeister's note: darned if I can figure out why AOL won't accept this story with all the links. It's rich with links to more info, so click on the title, above, to view the page in its natural setting***


If You Can Read This, You’re Too Damn Close

A cop in Denver threatens to arrest a woman who is driving a car that displays a bumper sticker that carries the pithy message "Fuck Bush". This becomes a mid-level issue among the radio talk shows. The consensus seems to be that even if the woman had a right to display such a message "she should have known better" and "what happened to common decency?" The cop is disciplined by the Chief.

I Always Thought The Prime Minister Had A Real Way With Words - Oh, Wrong Churchill

Three years after he wrote it, a lot more people get upset over words that a professor uses in an essay about the 9/11 attack. Many of the upset people have, in the past, decried the abuse of what they term “political correctness” to censor someone’s right to free speech, especially on campus. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? Post columnist Diane Carman has written an excellent column that reminds the University of Colorado that it can demonstrate its expressed commitment to academic and intellectual freedom. Or not, as she says.

For Some Reason This Pissed Me Off

The superintendent of schools in the town of Norwood, 33 miles west of Telluride, bans, yes, bans, Bless Me, Ultima because of “obscene language and paganistic practices.” According to the Denver Post, the superintendent admits that he hasn’t read the book “in its entirety,” and that “there weren’t so many parents who were concerned, but when it was brought to my attention I was concerned”, and that his main concern was the “filthy” language. The teacher who ordered the book apologized for her “error in judgment”. The editor of the Norwood newspaper comments that she believes that “most people and certainly school employees are too afraid to speak on the record.” This is the same book that Laura Bush (Laura Bush!) listed as ninth on a list of 12 books that she highly recommends. Rudolfo Anaya’s response: “Read the book.”

It’s Only The First Amendment So How Important Can It Be?

They say that two is a coincidence, three is a fad, but four is a trend. Do we have a trend yet?

Here are a few more recent situations in Colorado to think about as you ponder the state of free speech in the grand state of Colorado:

Do Italians have the right to have a Columbus Day parade?

Does a public school teacher have the right to display a Mexican flag in her classroom where many of the students are of Mexican heritage?

Do the police have the right to seize bookstore customer purchase records in the interest of protecting neighborhoods from the dangers of illegal meth labs if they are looking for corroboration that a suspect bought a how-to book on manufacturing illegal drugs?

In a high-profile celebrity criminal case, does a newspaper have the right to obtain transcripts of hearings in the case even though such transcripts contain acutely embarrassing details about the victim?

Enough of that.

American Tableau – 2005

I'm walking along a major Denver street on a cool but pleasant day, surrounded by skyscrapers. The wall of a bank provides some protection from a chilly breeze. It's lunch time. Two well-dressed women are haranguing an official-looking Chicano who just placed a parking ticket on their Jaguar. They are quite angry. I check the scene - they are parked in a NO PARKING space. The signs are obvious. The driver screams something about the guy not knowing who her daddy is. Then she asks if the guy is "from here?" I walk away because it can't get any better.

A couple of days later I’m on the same street, same block, same bank. Two guys are pushing a stalled vehicle out of the way of traffic. At least I think that is what they are doing. It gets a little confusing because the apparent driver can’t make up his mind about which direction the other guy should push. One of the guys is an African-American, the other might be Latino. This car definitely is not a Jaguar.

Manuel Ramos

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