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Dec 20, 201308:47 AMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Merry Christmas and free speech to all, from our Stately Manor to yours

(page 1 of 2)

Merry Christmas from the indentured servants at Blaska’s Stately Manor. The anonymous white lab coats at the Blaska Policy Research Werkes and Tanning Salon have programmed Old Sparky to chime Silent Night. Aide de camp Ruben Mamoulian is deep into the cream sherry. The lovely chatelaine is arrayed in her finery. Number One Son is checking his list and reloading. The Squire himself is piling the sleigh high with consumer goods for the snow-covered journey to brother Mike-boy and Peg’s survivalist compound hidden deep within Grandma’s Woods.

All right, enough of that mush! On to politics, rubbed and raw, the way I likes it!

“If the state bans speech that is offensive to some, where does it stop? A person or persons’ right to speak does not end just because what they say or how they say it is offensive.” Thus spake Gov. Scott Walker, Unintimidated author, in a letter to Wisconsin tribal officials explaining why he signed into law a reformed procedure for challenging school nicknames. Had he not done so, Blaska’s undercover operatives would have found someone in DeForest to challenge their schools’ Norsemen moniker, and Stoughton’s offensive Vikings. Two can play.

Are the good people of Mukwonago racists for naming their kids’ sports teams the “Indians”? (The local weekly newspaper calls itself the Chief.) Now, instead of one unelected Madison bureaucrat making that determination, the community itself can debate. Is anyone being denied a seat at the lunch counter? Turned away from the schoolhouse door? Or someone far off declaring their thin-skinned offense? Didn’t UW-Madison try to prohibit “offensive” speech.

In any event, the new law retains a path for adjudication: 10% of the local citizenry can force the issue. That mechanism replaces the single, solitary busybody who could initiate the Doyle star chamber proceeding in Madison.

I do give Rob Thomas of The Capital Times great credit for synthesizing the issue with other developments along the free speech line. Rob writes:

Between this and the “Duck Dynasty” guy, conservatives have been awfully big on free speech this week. Less so when somebody says something they disagree with, such as when MSNBC host Martin Bashir resigned after saying something offensive about Sarah Palin.

Blaska is offended by that comment, Rob. Don’t worry, you don’t have to cower; it is easily corrected. Conservatives didn’t fire Martin Bashir; MSNBC did. Furthermore, the Duck Dynasty guy did not threaten or suggest any harm to gay people, as Bashir did. The Duck Dynasty guy merely expressed his personal sexual preference — “that’s just me.” He did use the word “sin — it’s not logical, my man.” (Full quote here.) I hope that remains permissible in America. Compare that with Bashir’s loathsome revenge fantasy — expressed on air, not in a third-party interview.

Of course, the A&E cable channel is under no more obligation than MSNBC to provide a platform for anyone. Nor is the State Journal obligated to give The Squire a twice-weekly, Page One opinion column complete with flattering mug shot — no matter how much marketing sense that would make. It is as much a violation of the First Amendment for the state to require speech as it is to deny it. The FCC’s little-lamented (outside of progressive circles) Fairness Doctrine only suppressed free political speech.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin remains free to indulge its own revenge fantasies. Beats an actual, you know, platform. Until Wednesday, its website declared — with no hard evidence — that its hated nemesis, Scott Walker, was kicked out of Marquette University as a student.


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Jan 6, 2014 08:31 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Yeah, the conservative gun crowd is ALL about free speech. Oh, and liberty! Don't forget liberty!

Jan 6, 2014 03:51 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

anon 08:31:

You are oh so correct. Take a look at what Guns and Ammo magazine did to Dick Metcalf and Jim Bequette. Fired Metcalf for speculating on the idea that some types of guns should have control. Made Bequette resign. That's free speech for ya.

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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