The Center for Constitutional Rights sent me an alert calling for the repeal of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, and it rang a bell -- I advocated against it in December 2006 (second paragraph). While the law states that "(n)othing in this section shall be construed...to prohibit any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibition by the First Amendment to the Constitution," the law also demands punishment for anyone who "intentionally damages or causes the loss of any real or personal property (including animals or records) used by an animal enterprise." Well, anyone who peacefully pickets an animal enterprise does "intentionally damage or cause the loss of any real of personal property," don't they? The "animal enterprise" in question is supposed to lose money in the short term due to the bad publicity, isn't it? The AETA implicitly suggests that even, say, the folks who advocated for divestment in South Africa in the late '80s could be counted as "terrorists" because they caused, intentionally, some corporations to lose money -- and you can just see John Roberts noting the inherent contradiction in the law and siding with the corporations against the First Amendment here, can't you? And n.b. the definition of "animal enterprise" is vague enough that it could encompass almost any enterprise, including a supermarket. CCR helps you demand repeal of AETA.
Meanwhile, the New York Times "reported" that, according to the Pentagon, 1 in 7 Guantánamo detainees "returned to the battlefield." Look what they were able to accomplish in just four words! First, they want you to think those folks in Guantánamo were all "on the battlefield" to begin with -- versus being sold there by bounty hunters or neighbors with grievances -- when most of them couldn't be charged with anything after being held all those years. Then you're supposed to be afraid that a full 14% of them are going "back," when any reasonable person would wonder why that figure isn't much higher, given the mere fact of their years-long detainment. And that's before we get to the numerous folks who've long questioned the Pentagon's figures, whom the NYT either ignored or cited in passing. The NYT did a tiny bit of mopping up on the story in its online incarnation, but not much; FAIR still encourages you to contact Times public editor Clark Hoyt (either 212.556.7652 or public at nytimes dot com) and ask him to examine the way the Times handled the story.
In other news, I've read the speech by Judge Sotomayor that got Newt Gingrich's shorts in a bunch yesterday, and I agree with most lefties that he's taking That Sentence out of context, possibly even on purpose. And yet I also think Ms. Sotomayor could have said it better in the speech -- or, more to the point, written it better. I think her intended audience, a live group of listeners, would have understood the context (decisions involving race and sex discrimination, not all decisions) better than anyone who read the speech after-the-fact would. But people gotta be aware of what they say, and they also gotta be aware of how what they say is gonna look on the page. Just ask Joe Biden.
(I'll be out of town for a few days, so I won't post again until Tuesday, most likely. Please patronize the excellent blogs on my blogroll until then. Also, please patronize the excellent blogs not on my blogroll.)