Where There's Smoke, There's FIRE

College administrators at San Francisco State University (STFU, oops, SFSU) are about to get a tutorial in First Amendment Law 101, courtesy of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

Why?

Well, the College Republicans at SFSU held an anti-terrorism rally last October, in which they stomped on Hezbollah and Hamas flags. These flags "allegedly" bore the name of Allah in Arabic script. Complaints resulted, and the College Republicans have been summoned to appear before a review panel, a first step in possible disciplinary action.

Observes FIRE:

Now, it's well-known to just about everyone with any knowledge of the First Amendment that burning an American flag is protected political expression. We have to assume that SFSU knows this too, and has managed to reason out that if you can cause whatever damage you like to an American flag, you can certainly do the same to the flags of Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other country or organization. So, when Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle asked SFSU spokesperson Ellen Griffin why the complaint was being pursued, she got this answer: "I don't believe the complaint is about the desecration of the flag. I believe that the complaint is the desecration of Allah."

It's not recorded whether Ms. Griffin also admitted that just about anyone with half a brain would find that distinction ludicrous. Here's hoping for a quick resolution to this that somehow involves a maximal amount of well-deserved ridicule directed at the SFSU administration.


Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:42 PM EDT

I Blame Speaker Pelosi

  • If you've ever wanted to read a news story containing a sentence beginning "The state has ordered 500 talking urinal cakes…," you may click here.

  • In what seems to be the briefest blink of an eye, Return Shopping Carts to the Supermarket Month is nearly half over.

  • My own sympathy for drugged-out moms who die leaving behind five-month-old daughters of dubious paternity is limited. But nevertheless, I found Larry Miller's article on his Anna Nicole Smith encounters more interesting than anything else I've read about her.

Schneier Swings Away

I don't always agree with Bruce Schneier, but his recent Forbes article on Microsoft Vista is an over-the-Green-Monster-seats home run*:

Windows Vista includes an array of "features" that you don't want. These features will make your computer less reliable and less secure. They'll make your computer less stable and run slower. They will cause technical support problems. They may even require you to upgrade some of your peripheral hardware and existing software. And these features won't do anything useful. In fact, they're working against you. They're digital rights management (DRM) features built into Vista at the behest of the entertainment industry.

And you need to pay a decent amount of money for all that, too. "Other than that, though, it's fine!"

It would be a real good idea for people in IT decision-making positions to start thinking real hard about how to move their enterprises away from Microsoft domination.


* Why, yes, I am looking forward to baseball season. Today was Truck Day.

Last Modified 2012-10-19 3:08 PM EDT

Laura

[Amazon Link] [3.5
stars] [IMDb Link]

The TV gods have inundated us with fresh episodes of 24, House, Bones, Lost, Monk, and those Thursday-night NBC comedies, which puts DVD-watching on the back burner most evenings. But we did manage to squeeze this one in.

Laura is billed as a film noir, but I think that's a pretty uneasy fit. It stars Dana Andrews as a tough police detective; Gene Tierney as Laura, the ostensible murder victim; Vincent Price, Clifton Webb, and (the Vulcan High Priestess herself) Judith Anderson as suspects. The twist here—I guess, more accurately, the initial twist here—is that the detective falls in love with Laura, just from seeing her portrait hanging in her apartment.

The acting and dialog is stagy; I refuse to believe anyone in the real world says those things that way, not even in the Forties. Dana Andrews is low-key throughout; it's a good thing other people keep pointing out that he's obsessed with Laura, because I never picked it up from him. The plot offers enough red herrings to stock a fish market, and there's not a lot of detective work going on; eventually, it's time to pin the murder on someone, and they do that kind of arbitrarily.

Still, it's clever and flashy and fun. The DVD includes A&E Biography episodes covering the lives of Gene Tierney and Vincent Price, both pretty interesting.


Last Modified 2012-10-19 2:41 PM EDT