The Court strikes down a California law that prohibits the sale or rental of [gory] "violent video games" to minors. The statute defined violent games in a way that "mimics the New York statute regulating obscenity-for-minors that we upheld in Ginsberg v. New York." But sex and violence are different: "obscenity is not protected expression" under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. California was trying "to create a wholly new category of content-based regulation that is permissible only for speech directed at children." "That is unprecedented and mistaken," the Court says today.
In comments I reacted:
I was dumbfounded when I heard the news on the radio [on ABC Radio News]. I couldn't imagine how a 7-2 ruling could come out of such a case. I couldn't figure out how the Constitution could be spun to be made relevant to such a case.
It never occurred me to think of it as a Free Speech case. "It's expression, so it's speech per the First Amendment." Hell, everything is expression. Playing "Glenn Reynolds vs. the Zombie Apocalypse" is expression. Banning "Glenn Reynolds vs. the Zombie Apocalypse" is expression. Killing real zombies is expression. Drinking zombies is expression.
Weapons and video games and mixed drinks are not forms of verbalization. What in the hell makes video games a type of speech?
I have just read Thomas' dissent (ruling here). He puts a lot of effort in detailing the long history of legal restrictions placed exclusively on children - more effort than he should have.
He should have limited himself to laws directly relevant to First Amendment liberties and upheld by the courts. One item touches on the right to peaceable assembly: "In the Massachusetts Colony, forexample, it was unlawful for tavern keepers (or anyone else) to entertain children without their parents’ consent." Did similar laws persist after the Bill of Rights was ratified? If so, did anyone ever challenge them?
What about laws restricting the press from selling its wares to minors? It seems to be that's the likeliest place to look for precedent.
My Father's Day post of 2007 is now an annual blog tradition. It has applications for the relationships revolving around both our earthly fathers and our heavenly Father.
Most Christians have no problem getting along with non-Christians. This may seem confusing to some; after all, Christianity teaches that those who are not reconciled with God will not receive salvation. Why care about people who aren't going to Heaven?
One could say that while a particular non-Christian is alive we really don't know that that person's eternal destination won't make a course change at a later date. That's a valid observation, but not the real reason.
Christianity makes a radical claim about the relationship between believers, nonbelievers and God: we're all family. God created the souls of all, thus he is the father of all, believers and nonbelievers alike. All of the children have gone astray - but some have reconciled with him while others have not.
When one is faced with the earthly parallel - being in good standing with Dad while some of the other siblings aren't - one is charged with three tasks: to build and maintain the relationship with Dad, to build and maintain the relationships with the wayward siblings without doing anything that interferes with the paternal relationship, and to act as a bridge between the wayward siblings and Dad. That third task is tricky; there will be occasions to discuss the rift outright, but most of the time it involves nothing more than being a positive influence to that sibling.
Christianity works the same way. Loving God doesn't mean giving up on non-Christian friends. We may have to reassess what kinds of "fun" we pursue with them, though. (Heck, sometimes we have to reassess the "fun" we pursue with fellow Christians.) Witnessing to nonbelievers isn't all Amway sales presentations. Most of the time it's just bringing good to someone's life.
The hardest part of doing good to others is when it requres criticism. We see them doing something destructive, and we want to help. We need to effectively communicate what the problem is, how it hurts that person, and how the future can be better when that problem is dealth with.
Most Christians grasp all this, even if they haven't thought it out as thoroughly as outlined here. They care about both believers and nonbelievers out of the same human motivations that drive us all, and because they believe in a God who values everyone.
Our Teleprompter-Enhanced President Disses Automation
Barack Obama recently suggested that the proliferation of ATMs has ultimately cost jobs.
Jeffry Bartash at MarketWatch notes that over the past 40 years the number of bank teller jobs - the ones supposedly getting squeezed out by ATMs - has actually grown.
He notes also that "new technologies also create new jobs, many of them better-paying." ATMs interface with banks and credit card issuers through EFT (electronic funds transfer) networks, which would process far fewer transactions (and thus have far smaller workforces) without ATM traffic. Technicians service the ATMs. Armored car companies replenish ATMs with cash.
As an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies, African American customers are now required to pay an additional fee of $1.50 per transaction .
Dead giveaway: the term "African American" - racists don't use that term :-) Heck, a lot of non-racists avoid it.
But seriously...while there may be nutcases that might suspect an international corporation of having inherently racist leanings, I doubt that even that kind of whackjob would suspect that a corporation would put up a sign like that. Everyone knows that such a sign would be an instantaneous lawsuit invitation.
When people discover that they are terminally ill and death is on the near horizon, hospice serves as a vehicle for the dying to find meaning in their final days. Jack Kevorkian was the very antithesis of hospice - instead of a final embrace of life, he led people to the despair of suicide. Many of his victims weren't even terminally ill. Kevorkian wasn't punished enough during his lifetime.
Seems the Klan doesn't like WBC's "thank God for dead soldiers" proitests. Fred Phelps' gang never actually killed anyone, so the Klan's moral authority is shakier than Charlie Sheen on a cocaine binge.