Anyone who seeks to diminish the attention the death of Robin Williams is receiving by claiming there is some sort of media-distraction conspiracy is not only a kook but is also a genuinely bad human being.
South Park has to be one of the worst shows on television. It comes across as a cartoon written by a kid who just read Ayn Rand for the first time. If it isn’t fart jokes or Cartman speaking in an ever higher pitched voice, then it’s preachy libertarianism written for the sort of person who actively dislikes philosophy; Matt Stone and Trey Parker are little more than toddler philosophers.
From narrowing the application of the Fifth Amendment to allowing police to take DNA without due process, the Supreme Court hasn’t exactly been friendly about our civil rights. Today, however, we saw a rare victory for those rights in a 9-0 decision:
The Supreme Court unequivocally ruled Wednesday that privacy rights are not sacrificed to 21st- century technology, saying unanimously that police generally must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphone of someone they arrest.
While the specific protection may not affect the average American, the court made a bold statement that the same concern about government prying that animated the nation’s birth applies to the abundance of digital information about an individual in the modern world.
Modern cellphones “hold for many Americans the privacies of life,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for a court united behind the opinion’s expansive language. “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought.”
Most cell phones on the market today essentially double as a computer we’re able to take with us everywhere we go. And for most of us we’re constantly logged into a number of essential and private applications, from email to texts to Facebook to whatever the latest trend happens to be. Allowing free wheeling access to these things is hardly different from giving over our mail, bank account information, and phone conversations. (Not that the illegal arm of the government, the NSA, doesn’t already have most or all of this stuff on file.)
This case was one of those rare no brainers where the only people against the inevitable decision were those with an interest in actively disregarding and violating individual rights.
I’ve lost track of how many states have gained more freedom over the past year. Idaho is one of the latest:
A federal judge who struck down Idaho’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional denied a bid by the conservative state’s governor on Wednesday for a stay of the decision while Idaho pursues an appeal of the case.
The governor, Republican C.L. “Butch” Otter, called the ruling “regrettable” and vowed to petition a higher court to keep the state’s gay marriage prohibition intact until the case has run its course through the judicial system.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale overturned Idaho’s ban on same-sex matrimony on Tuesday, saying it relegated gay and lesbian couples to second-class status in violation of constitutional guarantees of equal protection under the law.
Her decision was the latest in a recent flurry of opinions by federal judges striking down restrictions on same-sex marriage in states across the country – from Utah to Virginia.
It’s only a matter of time.
It looks like Monica Lewinsky is back in the news for some reason. I can only be thankful that the worst offender when it comes to bad Clinton-sex jokes – Jay Leno – has retired.
(By the way, there are no good Clinton-sex jokes. They stopped being funny after about a month. So now that we’re 15 years after the fact, can we please stop?)