Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

January 31, 2005

ACLU Corrects First Amendment (Update #3)

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:49 pm

Never let it be said that Different River never gets results!

About three weeks ago, I posted this item noting that the ACLU had misquoted the first amendment to make it seem that freedom of speech was “freedom of speech is the first freedom mentioned in the First Amendment,” when in fact freedom of religion is. (Freedom of speech is the second.)

Well, this item made it from here to Clayton Cramer to The Smallest Minority to Stephen Rider at StriderWeb, who sent the ACLU an e-mail he posts here.

It’s not clear if the ACLU ever responded to Stephen Rider’s letter, but on January 27, he posted an update saying the ACLU has corrected their web page. (Hat tip: The Smallest Minority.)

Here’s how they changed it. Deletions are in {strikout text} and additions are in boldface.

It is {probably} no accident that freedom of speech is {the first freedom mentioned} protected in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law {…} respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Constitution’s framers believed that freedom of inquiry and liberty of expression were the hallmarks of a democratic society.

NASA readies possible space rescue

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:10 pm

Why didn’t they think of this 20 years ago?

Safeway Club Card Leads to Bogus Arrest

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:00 pm

From Richard M. Smith, via Slashdot: A firefighter was arrested for arson because purchases on tracked with his Safeway card indicated he bought some stuff that could have been used to start a fire that occurred at his house.

Of course, it’s pretty easy to fake purchases on someone else’s card if you know some information about them (with some stores, just the person’s phone number), and you claim to have forgotten your card.

Fortunately, the charges against the firefighter were dropped when somebody else admitted to the crime.

Mathias Döpfner on European Thinking

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:00 am

David Kaspar has a translation by Hartmut Lau of a article in Die Welt by Mathias Döpfner, head of the German publisher Axel Springer AG (English page), on the cowardice of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat.

Europe – Thy Name is Cowardice

Commentary by Mathias Döpfner

A few days ago Henryk M. Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, “Europe – your family name is appeasement.” It’s a phrase you can’t get out of your head because it’s so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to agreements. Appeasement stabilized communism in the Soviet Union and East Germany in that part of Europe where inhuman, suppressive governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities. Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo and we Europeans debated and debated until the Americans came in and did our work for us. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word “equidistance,” now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians. Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore 300,000 victims of Saddam’s torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, to issue bad grades to George Bush. A particularly grotesque form of appeasement is reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere by suggesting that we should really have a Muslim holiday in Germany.

While the alleged capitalistic robber barons in American know their priorities, we timidly defend our social welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive. We’d rather discuss the 35-hour workweek or our dental health plan coverage. Or listen to TV pastors preach about “reaching out to murderers.” These days, Europe reminds me of an elderly aunt who hides her last pieces of jewelry with shaking hands when she notices a robber has broken into a neighbor’s house. Europe, thy name is cowardice.

German government tries to force women into prostitution

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:30 am

No, I am not making this up! Libertarians often argue for legalizing prostitution on the grounds that it’s a “victimless crime,” and if some people want to pay for sex and others want to have sex for pay, why should anyone else object?

Here’s one reason.

Germany legalized prostitution in 2002. The idea was to cut back on “combat trafficking in women and cut links to organised crime.”

Now, if you are an unemployed woman, and a brothel lists an opening at the unemployment office, you can lose your unemployment benefits if you refuse to take a job as a prostitute.

The story is here, in the London Telegraph. Some excerpts:

A 25-year-old waitress who turned down a job providing “sexual services” at a brothel in Berlin faces possible cuts to her unemployment benefit under laws introduced this year.

Prostitution was legalised in Germany just over two years ago and brothel owners – who must pay tax and employee health insurance – were granted access to official databases of jobseekers.

Under Germany’s welfare reforms, any woman under 55 who has been out of work for more than a year can be forced to take an available job – including in the sex industry – or lose her unemployment benefit. Last month German unemployment rose for the 11th consecutive month to 4.5 million, taking the number out of work to its highest since reunification in 1990.

The government had considered making brothels an exception on moral grounds, but decided that it would be too difficult to distinguish them from bars. As a result, job centres must treat employers looking for a prostitute in the same way as those looking for a dental nurse.

When the waitress looked into suing the job centre, she found out that it had not broken the law. Job centres that refuse to penalise people who turn down a job by cutting their benefits face legal action from the potential employer.

“There is now nothing in the law to stop women from being sent into the sex industry,” said Merchthild Garweg, a lawyer from Hamburg who specialises in such cases. “The new regulations say that working in the sex industry is not immoral any more, and so jobs cannot be turned down without a risk to benefits.”

Tatiana Ulyanova, who owns a brothel in central Berlin, has been searching the online database of her local job centre for recruits.

“Why shouldn’t I look for employees through the job centre when I pay my taxes just like anybody else?” said Miss Ulyanova.

Why, indeed. Maybe because the point of legalizing prostitution was to prevent “trafficking in women,” not transfering that trafficking to government job centers? Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to legalize it in the first place…

London man jailed for using wrong browser

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:15 am

Apparently, if you don’t use Microsoft Windows and a well-known browser like Internet Explorer or Netscape or Firefox, you run the risk of getting arrested!

A fellow in London used a Sun computer running the Solaris operating system, lynx, a rather old text-based web browser for Unix-based systems like Solaris, to make a tsunami-relief donation.

Apparently, someone thought this was an attempt to breach security, so London police broke down his door and arrested him.

Hat tip: Wezzul via Slashdot.

Iran’s Killing Fields

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:21 am

Not for the faint of heart.

Will someone please explain to me why American feminists aren’t up in arms about this?

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