Links for 2010-02-19: ACLJ on Free Speech and Teachers’ Mailboxes, a Poor Critique of Austrian Economics, others….

February 20, 2010
  1. ACLJ | Content based discrimination Vodpod videos no longer available.

    A careless misstatement of First Amendment law from the ACLJ. Perry Educ. Ass’n v. Perry Educators’ Ass’n, 460 U.S. 37 (1983), ruled specifically that teachers mailboxes are not public fora for speech. The school may allow certain people to use the mailboxes for limited speech purposes and exclude others. The question is whether the caller’s religious message falls within the limited purpose intended by the school. Jay won in Lamb’s Chapel only because the Court held the Church’s message in that case fell within the school’s limited purpose for opening the forum.  A similar case out of the 9th Circuit: Edward Diloreto v. Downey Unified School District Board of Education, 196 F.3d 958 (9th Cir. 1999), in which the fence around a school’s baseball field was held not to be a public forum open to all advertisers, The school did not violate the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by rejecting an ad displaying the 10 Commandments. This is settled law.

    Update: Time to correct my own misstatement. It is true that the school may not discriminate against the church simply because it is a church. It may, however, discriminate against the church’s message if that message is not within the limited purpose for which the forum was opened. The church is not entitled to put whatever it wants in the mailboxes merely because the school allows other groups to use the mailboxes.

  2. YouTube | A Critique of the Austrian School of Economics


    The critic misstates why Austrians do not rely on facts and experimentation. Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-16

February 17, 2010
  1. World Socialist Party (US) | Labor Theory of Value

    Looking for a simple, concise explanation of the theory, I find instead this litany of apologetics. Written almost entirely on the defensive, the article explains nothing about the Labor Theory of Value except why Marx scoffed at requests to explain it: — “if one wanted to ‘explain’ from the outset all phenomena that apparently contradict the law, one would have to provide the science before the science” (Collected Works vol. 43, p. 68). I don’t know if that explanation satisfies you, but I find it wanting. I think, ultimately, Marx uses the word “VALUE” as a term of art that means simply that part of an item’s existence attributable to the labor required to produce it. So, if I spent 50 man-hours making 50,000 turd sandwiches, Marx would “VALUE” those turd sandwiches at the going rate for 50 man-hours of labor. Sure, the labor theory of value makes sense in THAT context, but what about real life, in which we don’t always have the luxury of defining words as we please?

    Update: It has come to my attention after listening to a lecture on the opening chapter of Marx’s Capital that Marx believed that useless items had no value. He actually employed three terms of art, and what he saw as the relationships between them, to describe what a layman would call “value”. The terms are: use value, exchange value, and value. An explanation of this in the linked article would have been helpful.

  2. reason.tv | Don’t Get Hurt

    Fear of addiction and other harms resulting from prescription pain-killers is overblown, argues Ted Balaker at Reason. Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-04

February 5, 2010
  1. Huffington Post | Mark Green: Why Citizen’s United Is a Fraud: A Guide for Non-Lawyers

    I commented earlier that the parties must have wanted to talk about the First Amendment because it played such a prominent role in the oral arguments. Here it is clarified that this was not an issue in lower courts and it was not an issue during an earlier trip to the Supreme Court. So it looks like I need to go back a little further to research the origins.

  2. PBS | Bill Moyers Journal: Monica Youn and Zephyr Teachout

    The errors of thought: 1) Corporations all speak with the same voice. 2) They speak in opposition to “the people”. It just might be the case that some corporations may agree with some of “the people” on some of the issues. If you save money at Wal-mart, or if you buy a Ford automobile that enriches your life, then, in at least one sense, your interests are in line with those of the corporations. You will cheer for those corporations when they spend gobs of money to speak in your interest in opposition to other corporations who disagree. As to the judicial over-reaching, Youn and Teachout claim that the parties stipulated that this case would not be about a narrow issue and not the First Amendment. For what it’s worth, the oral argument available at SCOTUSWiki speaks of nothing but the First Amendment for at least the first ten pages of its transcript (all I’ve listened to so far: http://is.gd/7F0Kw). Somebody other than the justices was interested in discussing the issue.

    Update: I’m interested in reviewing the “activism” question. See the above link for more info. I need to review the case thoroughly and come to my own conclusion. Read the rest of this entry »


links for 2010-02-03

February 4, 2010
  1. Freedom From Religion Foundation | Freethought Radio, Podcast Will Continue

    Air America has folded, but, the show will still air on Madison, Wisconsin’s local radio, among others, and, thanks to the Interwebs, we can all still enjoy a little Freethought Radio.

  2. reason.tv | 3 Reasons Not To Sweat The Citizens United Ruling

    To be completely fair about campaign finance law, my understanding was that it limits what corporations could spend, not what they could say. Still, the effect of the law was to censor a political film—based on its political message—right in the middle of election season. I don’t see how the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedom can permit that to happen.

  3. Information Is Beautiful | Climate Change Deniers vs The Consensus

    Well, it looks like the “Denier” position is now popular enough to merit rebuttal. Read the rest of this entry »