Because It’s Not OK – OK Frat Boys & First Amendment

When the ACLU prevailed in National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie in 1977, it was to make a point that the protection of the First Amendment was for unpopular speech. After all, popular speech needed no protection. It was not to say that the speech was worthwhile, or acceptable, or even okay with them. But it was speech, and that was reason enough for it to be protected.

Now, some frat boys from SAE at the University of Oklahoma have disgraced themselves. It was caught on video and published, and the President of the University, David Boren, has expelled two students and threatened to shutter the fraternity, condemning the speech as creating a hostile educational environment. More sanctions may be coming.

On the one hand, this couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys. Post hoc explanations that they didn’t really mean it, aren’t really racists, don’t make it okay. There are lines one doesn’t cross, even in jest, and “only kidding” is so utterly inadequate as to offend again. There are no jokes to be had here.

And that’s what’s making people’s heads explode, because what happened here was so offensive, so unbearable, that there must be a way to punish it. And, indeed there is. Let the students who engaged in this speech be held accountable for it. The video is there for all to see who at the University of Oklahoma would do such a thing.

Let them be pariahs for their speech. Let them hear the counterspeech of their friends and classmates. Let them bear the consequences of the expression of twisted words.

Some law profs, like Eugene Volokh, Scott Lemieux and Howard Wasserman, have taken the position that, vile as this may be, it’s exactly what the First Amendment protects….

The speech was vile. The speech is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. And nothing about that changes the fact that the students who uttered this speech should endure the brutal opprobrium of their fellow students, their teachers, their friends, their parents, and everyone else in society who will hold them in infamy for their words.

This speech was not okay. This is why it is protected by the First Amendment.

From Simple Justice –

Student Debt Strike is Finally Happening!

The “Corinthian 15” have fired the opening salvo in a nationwide movement to strike student debt.

A group of courageous students, caught in the cruelest of debt traps, has decided they are done waiting for relief that will never come. Enough is enough. Today, the Corinthian 15 are going on debt strike.

Scammed from first to last by one of America’s most unscrupulous for-profit colleges and denied a rightful debt discharge by the Department of Education, they are saying “We Owe You Nothing.” In a gesture of solidarity with the strikers, the Rolling Jubilee has announced that it has erased more than $13 million of student debt owed by students of Everest College, a subsidiary of Corinthian….

Although the Corinthian 15 are fighting against some of the worst creditors in our predatory system, they are taking a stand for everyone who finds themselves saddled with decades of education debt. For-profits are only the most exploitative part of America’s debt-financed higher education system–public and private universities are little better. While the crushing burden of debt affects most students, those with the least resources are paying the highest price….

Student loan debt has tripled over the last decade, turning higher education into a pathway to poverty for all but the well-heeled. Everyone knows that huge chunks of U.S. student debt–more than $1.3 trillion and growing–cannot and never will be repaid. But, though nearly half of outstanding student debt is effectively in default or other forms of nonpayment, default on an individual basis is not leading to change; it is only causing misery, depression, and worse. Joining together to refuse repayment publicly and collectively is the only way to end the injustice of debt-financed education. The Corinthian 15 are the first to stand up and take collective action.

A strike is typically a last resort, when all other alternatives are exhausted. The Corinthian 15 certainly see it that way. State attorneys general, like California’s Kamala Harris, legislators, like Elizabeth Warren and Maxine Waters, and even government agencies, like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have all tried to secure justice for them. But the Department of Education has not listened. Instead of protecting the students, it has bailed out the college’s investors, acting like a debt collector for a predatory lender. The Corinthian 15 have concluded they have no other alternative….

From StrikeDebt.org –

Preview Obama’s State of the Union Speech

From calls for more infrastructure spending to a free community college push to another tax hike scheme, the highlight reel from President Obama’s looming State of the Union address shows him charging into his final two years in office with little heed for the results of the midterms.

The Republican takeover of the Senate last November — and the party’s historic gains in the House — for a short time fueled speculation that the president might entertain a more conciliatory approach with Congress.

But within weeks, the president announced sweeping changes to immigration policy via executive action. Then, he vowed to veto a slew of bills from the new Congress, including one to undo those executive actions. And now, his State of the Union address leaves little doubt that Obama, as he told Senate Democrats last week, plans to play “offense” against the GOP-led Congress.

The latest plank of his 2015 agenda was unveiled Saturday night, and calls for more than $300 billion in new tax increases over the next 10 years, to pay for middle class tax credits and his community college plan, among other programs.

Already, Republicans are describing the plan as a “non-starter” with the new Congress….

From Fox News & Associated Press –