Some people have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade, even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world, and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another. And the reason is, that’s freedom. Freedom of speech. In America, you have the right to be stupid. If you want to be. …Now, I think that’s a virtue. That’s something worth fighting for.Secretary of State John Kerry • Speaking to a group of German students, on the first overseas trip of his tenure as head of the State Department. Kerry’s allusion to Supreme Court precedent defending the right to offensive parades is no doubt a reference to cases like NSPA v. Skokie, which in 1977 upheld the right of Nazis to hold a march in Skokie, Illinois, where 1 in 6 residents were holocaust survivors. That right, Kerry argued, is virtuous and quintessentially American, despite the terrible emotional toll that may result from such offensive expressions — “the right to be stupid.” source
How did it happen that our performance, which was a small and clumsy stunt, brought so much trouble? How can this happen in a healthy society? And now it takes thousands of people around the world to prove the obvious, to prove that the three of us are innocent.Maria Alekhina, member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot • Expressing disbelief that Pussy Riot’s decision to stage an anti-Putin protest on the alter of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral has created such an uproar. While Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a lenient sentencing by the court, some believe that his statements reveal a hidden presumption of guilt which they worry will be shared by jurors. In addition to Alekhina, co-defendants Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich stood by their decision to protest, and said they were more free behind bars than prosecutors who can “only say what political censorship allows.” A verdict is expected to be delivered on August 17. source (via • follow)
Last we checked, the movie is a comedy. Maybe more to the point is that it’s laughable to take political guidance or moral instruction from a guy who makes obscene gestures with a monkey on a bus in Bangkok.Phillip Ellender, spokesman for Charles and David Koch • Responding to comments made by actor and comedian Zach Galifianakis, who recently told the New York Daily News that he disagreed with “everything” the brothers do politically. “It’s not freedom what they are doing,” added Galifianakis. In response, Ellender said the comedian’s statements “appear to be based on false attacks made by our political opponents, [and] demonstrate a lack of understanding of our longstanding support of individual freedom, freedom of expression and constitutional rights.” Sounds like a showdown in the making … between two ferns. source (via • follow)
We need a candidate who’s going to be a fighter for freedom. Who’s going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race. I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. Doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It’s something more foundational that’s going on.Rick Santorum • Misjudging what the central theme of the race is.
» This means there were 41% fewer websites accessible to China’s residents at the end of last year, compared to a year earlier. And the statistic comes directly from the Chinese government itself (well, a government-run think tank, at least), so it’s probably not an overstatement.
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[It is my] understanding the public security authorities are investigating Ai Weiwei according to law on suspicion of economic crimes… This has nothing to do with human rights or freedom of expression.Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei • Seeking to dismiss claims that his government arrested famed artist and dissident Ai Weiwei for political reasons, at a news conference. Weiwei’s family (in addition, frankly, to most everyone else) isn’t buying it. Chinese law states that officials must notify the family of an arrested citizen within 24 hours of the detention, and Ai’s wife has heard nothing: “As of 8 A.M. today, it has been 96 hours since Ai Weiwei was taken away from Beijing airport, and I haven’t heard a single word about him.” source (via • follow)