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The Pennsylvania State University

The Pennsylvania State University
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  • Wandering Eye: Hypocrisy on free speech, 'The Lemon Cake Male Objectification Experiment,' and more

    Wandering Eye: Hypocrisy on free speech, 'The Lemon Cake Male Objectification Experiment,' and more
    Glen Greenwald holds up British hypocrisy on free speech to the light, detailing how Muslims who post things on Facebook are getting thrown in the slammer for their views—and for inciting terrorism. And he doesn't let the USA off: "Despite frequent national boasting of free speech protections, the U.S. has joined, and sometimes led, the trend to monitor and criminalize online political speech. The DOJ in 2011 prosecuted a 24-year-old Pakistani resident of the United States, Jubair Ahmad, on terrorism charges for uploading a 5-minute video to YouTube featuring photographs of Abu Ghraib abuses, video of American armored trucks exploding, and prayer messages about 'jihad' from the leader of a designated terror group; he was convicted and sent to prison for 12 years. The same year, the DOJ indicted a 22-year-old Penn State student for, among other things, posting justifications of attacks on the U.S. to a 'jihadi forum'; the speech offender, Emerson Winfield Begolly, was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison." (He also throws in some examples of people allegedly "threatening" cops on Twitter—an issue near and dear to the hearts of several Baltimore Twitizens.) As with anything by Greenwald, readers would do well to consult other sources for broader detail and context in these cases. But he's right on the law; the controlling case is Brandenburg v. Ohio and it sets a very high bar for prosecuting speech: You have to be inciting a riot and there have to be people right there ready and willing to act. The term of art is "imminent lawless action." In Brandenburg's context it meant you could advocate violent revolution so long as you did not have a keyed-up crowd at your direct command when you did it. So Greenwald does not explore the important point his piece raises. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube's value as propaganda instruments lies precisely in their ability to incite large crowds of people remotely. This really is a game-changer, socially and legally. The pity is that Western democracies show so little faith in the power of their purported ideals. (Edward Ericson Jr.)
  • The Undercard: Handshakes are for suckers

    With the Orioles heading into hot stove season, let’s now direct our attention to where most  of America has been directing theirs since September: football. But not—at least not yet—the Baltimore Ravens, who are in the middle of the...

    Shipping News

    Shipping News
    As Pride of Baltimore II motors out of the Inner Harbor to set sail near Fort McHenry, Captain Jamie Trost jokes, “If we abandon ship today, you can keep your Pride of Baltimore II lifejacket as a souvenir.” Passengers sitting on the shining...

    A new book argues that it's a mistake to assume education alone can fix our society

      Class Dismissed by John Marsh Monthly Review Press, paperback As Baltimore schoolteachers and students return to their classrooms later this month, the enduring tale of America as a land of opportunity will resound again with great fervor. All...

    Penn State cuts ties with fraternity that posted nude photos of women, some passed out

    Pennsylvania State University is cutting ties with a campus fraternity for three years after the fraternity's members uploaded nude and semi-nude photos of women, some of whom appeared to be passed out, on an invitation-only Facebook page. Kappa Delta...