Incarcerating the Innocent

Let’s say you were accused of a serious crime you did not commit.  You have no witnesses for your alibi, but the police have several eyewitnesses against you.  You vow to fight the charges in court even though you have no money and will have to rely on a public defender.  The day before you are to head to trial and face a possible 10-year conviction, the prosecution offers you a deal.  Plead to a lesser charge and you’ll be out of prison in 6 months with good time credit and parole.  You’ll be a convicted felon, but you’ll be incarcerated for less than a year.  Do you take the deal and plead to a crime you did not commit?  Or do you risk losing it all in a jury trial and facing a mandatory decade stretch in the can if you lose?

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Google SMS Answers on Your iPhone

If you aren’t texting the questions in your life to “GOOGLE” (466-453) on your iPhone, or other smart phone, then you aren’t really living an untethered life.  GOOGLE SMS is a free service — though other carrier charges may apply to your SMS phone plan — that instantly answers your questions and helps you win arguments and wager bar bets.  As you can see in the shot below, I was able to get an instant response from Google when I asked for “Weather Los Angeles.”  I was not successful in getting Google to tell me Julie Chen’s age or what year Hawaii gained statehood.

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Rise of the Disenfranchised: Shooting Free Speech

Does carrying a gun indemnify free speech or condemn it?  Recently, in New Hampshire, a citizen appeared at an Obama Town Hall wearing a sidearm and wielding a Thomas Jefferson quote about “Watering the Tree of Liberty” — a favorite quote of Oklahoma City Bomber and homegrown domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh.  Is the man with a gun and a protest sign suggesting a living semiotic that supports President Obama or is he really there to actively chop down the first Black president?

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Should Hate Speech Be Free?

I have always been of the mind that all speech should be free. One should always feel free to express the worst in us, out loud, in public, where the speech can be tested against community standards and either be excoriated or accepted.
There are two events, recently published in The New York Times, that force me to wonder if there is a reason why some expressions should never be made public.
The first example concerns the murder trial of Ronell Wilson — who allegedly shot two undercover detectives in the back of the head — when he was arrested, handwritten scraps of a Rap song were found in his pocket describing the killings before they happened.

Hate Speech

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Predestiny or Free Will?

We have nibbled around the idea of predestiny here before but I have never formally asked you outright — as I shall now — for your official answer to this inquiry:

Are our lives predestined from the moment of conception or are we creatures of free will from birth where every decision we make is ours and ours alone?

Beating Free Speech in Kansas

In the ongoing debate over Intelligent Design, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported today:

The University of Kansas religion professor whose proposed course on the “mythology” of intelligent design sparked an uproar last month said he was beaten up early Monday morning by two men who were angry over his disparaging remarks about Christians…..

Paul Mirecki, who is chairman of the religious-studies department at Kansas, had proposed a course called “Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism, and Other Religious Mythologies.” The title itself angered intelligent-design proponents, who objected to being lumped in with “other religious mythologies.”

Professor Mirecki canceled the class last week and his dissent from the majority was silenced.

Throw it Away, it's Free!

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

Mercy, mercy! How many brochures do you get in your e-mail box and traditional mail box? You know, the kind that you have to get out of your house in order to get and check your mail. Math doesn’t help in this situation since this is an infinite number! Take note: Infinite + infinite = Waste of time. Where are all of the people that we know like friends and family? All we get is a giant pile of UNDELIVERED e-mail and paper mail, and from that pile a friend or a nice invitation may pop.

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