If you were Ozzie Guillen you’d be fired

I like Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen. He’s an old school manager a la Billy Martin — hard-drinking, profane with a high baseball IQ. Politically, he’s not what you’d call bright.

The fracas started over the weekend, when Time magazine published an interview on its website in which the Marlins skipper said he “loved” Castro. “I respect Fidel Castro. You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.”

I’d argue that Ozzie wasn’t praising Castro’s policies, just his tenacity (of course it’s easy to be tenacious when you’re a brutal dictator). If I ran the world I wouldn’t fire Guillen because I think intent matters when it comes to controversies like these.

Unfortunately, most people disagree. Particularly, Miami’s Cuban community, many of whom live in Little Havana, site of the Marlins’ shiny new ballpark. They aren’t forgiving of Castro’s useful idiots, and with good reason.

They also make up a significant portion of the Marlins fan base. The team will pay dearly for Guillen’s remarks.

Imagine if you said something that alienated a large part of your company’s clientele. Would you keep your job?

Probably not.

It’s not a First Amendment issue — Guillen has the right to say whatever he wants. And businesses have the right to fire people who fuck with their bottom line.

It’s an imperfect reality, but consider the alternative. In Cuba Guillen would be exiled, tortured — maybe even killed.

Words matter, sometimes more than they should.

‘The most seriously professorial politician since Woodrow Wilson’ doesn’t understand the 1st Amendment

Professor Newt demonstrates a fundamentally profound misunderstanding of Amendment 1.

“We’re going to serve notice on future debates,” [Gingrich] told Fox. “We’re just not going to allow that to happen. That’s wrong. The media doesn’t control free speech. People ought to be allowed to applaud if they want to.”

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the media paid for those microphones and can impose whatever code of conduct they choose.

Republicans demand broader powers for Obama justice department

Omar Sharif- A close up shot from his movie &q...

Image via Wikipedia

You know the Republicans have lost their way when they vigorously argue in favor of something they warned against just two years ago.

Remember hearing conservatives insist that Obama was going to revive the Fairness Doctrine as part of his Marxist plot to give Omar Sharif his own show on government-run radio? I understand if you’ve forgotten, seeing as how the president hasn’t even raised the issue.

Now those same voices want Obama to order his justice department to prosecute any media outlet that facilitated the publication of leaked government secrets obtained by Bond villain Julian “you can’t spell ass without” Assange. They’re pissed that Obama hasn’t ignored all First Amendment precedents and prosecuted everyone from Amazon to the New York Times.

In order words, fear imaginary government overreach but cheer real threats to free speech, as long as the organizations targeted veer left. Hell, they must hate the Times more than Obama.

If there’s anything you don’t compromise on, it’s the First Amendment.

Prosecuting hate speech is more dangerous than hate speech

In the UK, it’s against the law to declare homosexuality a sin.

Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships.

The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Wokington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God.

Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act.

That first graph is so Orwell-ian it seems a parody. And who exactly are these homosexual police community support officers? I imagine if certain people held that title here I’d be charged with harassing, alarming or distressing Petty Queer Establishment types — or maybe with a hate crime against myself.

I typically eschew the “slippery slope” argument but this slope is covered by a sheet of Arctic ice.

(Anyone care to support this assault on free speech?)

fear and hypocrisy in the uk

A Dutch member of Parliament who compared the Koran to Mein Kampf was barred from entering Britain last week because his presence endangered public safety.

Seems the UK has quite the double standard.

Critics of the British action pointed to what they said were inconsistencies in the government’s handling of controversial visitors, notably in allowing the entry in recent years of several Muslim clerics from Arab countries with a history of inflammatory statements on terrorism, women’s rights and homosexuality. They said the Home Office approved a visa in 2004 for Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a Qatar-based cleric who had called suicide bombers “martyrs” and said husbands should be allowed to beat “disobedient” wives, before barring him last year from a second visit.

we have our first obama/monkey comparison

Well, probably not the first, and certainly not the last.

This story may actually evolve into an interesting test case of community standards and free speech, as Mulligan’s critics hope to eventually silence Mike Norman’s controversial musings.

In the meantime, I must say I’m surprised by these poll results:

What do you think of the Obama T-shirt?

It’s racist 45.75% 2721
It’s fine 54.25% 3227

Gotta stay mum on this one, for obvious reasons.

american cowards

Christopher Hitchens takes the American media to task for its continued cowardice in reporting on the Danish cartoon controversy.

In Denmark last week, the authorities detained three people in an alleged plot to murder a 72-year-old Dane named Kurt Westergaard. Westergaard is an illustrator who lives peacefully in a university town. Not very long ago, he joined with other cartoonists in an open society in drawing some caricatures of the alleged "prophet" Mohammed. The object of the satire was to break the largely self-imposed taboo on the criticism of Islam and its various icons. The satire was wildly successful, in that it resulted in hysterical Muslims making public idols out of images they had proclaimed to be unshowable lest they became idols. …

Anyway, last week, almost every Danish newspaper made a deliberate decision to reprint the offending cartoons. Perhaps, if you live in most of the countries where this column of mine is syndicated or reprinted, you wonder what all the fuss can have been about. Certainly, if you live in the United States or Britain, you will be wondering still. This is because your newspapers have decided for you that you must be shielded from the unpalatable truth. Or can it really be that? We live in the defining age of the image and the picture; how can it be that the whole point of an entirely visual story can be deliberately left out?

Islamic fundamentalists, avert your eyes:

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22 percent of gays favor censorship

Results for the following question: Do you think hate speech in the blogosphere should be censored?



Total Votes: 858

I’m glad the majority is opposed, but 29 percent of respondents either favoring or undeclared is beyond troubling. The Petty Queer Establishment is fueled by such reflexively indignant impulses. That influence should never be underestimated, or tolerated.

(via The Advocate)