Europeans Outlaw Net Hate Speech.

The Council of Europe has adopted a measure that would criminalize Internet hate speech, including hyperlinks to pages that contain offensive content.

The provision, which was passed by the council’s decision-making body (the Committee of Ministers), updates the European Convention on Cybercrime.

Specifically, the amendment bans “any written material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual or group of individuals, based on race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as pretext for any of these factors.”

Reading that last paragraph carefully, I am forced to include that if a European writes in favor of invading Iraq – no matter how sad, reluctant or well-reasoned that essay might be – then that European is guilty of felonious hate speech. How convenient for the Europeans to pass a law that makes criticism of government policy illegal. If you’re in the states, folks don’t understand this sort of dilemma. The Finn didn’t follow my arguments about free speech being so severely hindered overseas… I’ll have to point her that direction. The best way to see that an idea is foolish or evil is to see it in the light of day, so that a clear thinker can refute it… not hide it under the bed and make it forbidden fruit.

Bill Frist gives me the creeps.

Frist earned his medical degree from Harvard. As a student, he adopted stray cats from Boston-area shelters — and then dissected them. He later confessed that it had been “a heinous and dishonest thing to do.”

Maybe this is just the animal lover part of me, but I find this absolutely hideous. The idea that a person who is old enough and smart enough to get into Harvard would think that it is ok to go to animal shelters… where people take stray animals expecting them to be cared for and adopted out to new and loving homes… and adopt cats so that you can kill and dissect them is something that strikes me as horrid and amoral.

Much has been made of Frist’s potential conflict of interest since his family founded HCA, the largest for-profit chain of hospitals, and he and his wife earn a great deal of their wealth from investments in the company. The fact that he did not vote prior to 1989 has also been raised as an issue, and it does seem odd that someone who now feels he is qualified to run the Senate is also someone who just over a decade ago didn’t even bother to vote.

Now, I’ll grant that the fact that someone’s in Congress is generally sufficient reason for me to be a bit skeptical about him or her, so Frist already has a ways to go to convince me that he’s trustworthy. None of this is going to help him much. It says that the governing of this country wasn’t important to him until he decided to become part of it, that he will willingly put himself in a place where his decisions may have a direct impact on his own pocketbook (especially since he plans to make health care a significant issue), and he was willing to lie to an animal shelter so that he could get cats to kill. There’s a selfishness and arrogance that runs through all of these issues, and it does not seem to bode well for the Senate or the country in general.

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