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Gender: Male
Hometown: Delaware
Member since: Fri Jan 20, 2006, 08:14 PM
Number of posts: 62,444

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Christina Riverfront Walk

While I'm sure most folks who subscribe to the relatively moribund Delaware forum have been down there a bunch, I had managed to commute from the Amtrak station for years when they were building it, as well as visit some of the businesses at the Christina Riverfront without actually managing to get out and take a look at the riverfront walk.

It looks like it would be a lot nicer in warm weather, but with the storm coming, it was on my list of "why haven't I ever been there" places which I put together on a bike ride Sunday afternoon before the storm.

Wilmington DE to Philadelphia

With the storm coming, it was definitely time for a ride.

Satirist Charged With Violating French Speech Restrictions


The most prominent case now pending in the French courts is that of Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a provocative humorist who has been a longtime symbol in France of the battle between free speech and public safety. With nearly 40 previous arrests on suspicion of violating antihate laws, for statements usually directed at Jews, he was again arrested on Wednesday, this time for condoning terrorism.

He faces trial in early February in connection with a Facebook message he posted, declaring, “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly.” It was a reference to the popular slogan of solidarity for the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists — “Je suis Charlie” — and one of the attackers, Amedy Coulibaly, who killed a policewoman and later four people in a kosher supermarket last Friday.

Do you support laws against Holocaust denial?

France, of course, does not have the First Amendment that we do.

Free exercise of religion is one big difference between the US and France which, in general, restricts public expressions of religion. For example, we've had lively discussions of the French ban on religious headwear in schools and often the point was raised that "France is different", which it is.

Another area of difference is that France, like many European countries, has a criminal law which provides up to a year in jail for questioning the occurrence of the Holocaust:


"those who have disputed the existence of one or more crimes against humanity such as they are defined by Article 6 of the statute of the international tribunal military annexed in the agreement of London of August 8, 1945 and which were a carried out either by the members of an organization declared criminal pursuant to Article 9 of the aforementioned statute, or by a person found guilty such crimes by a French or international jurisdiction shall be punished by one month to one year's imprisonment or a fine."

The U.S. approach to these things is the maxim, "the answer to bad speech is more speech" while many other countries have taken the position that the discussion on certain topics is over and done.

I've seen the sentiment expressed here that one is either for free expression of all kinds or one is opposed to it.

Do restrictions against certain forms of speech and, I must say, a particularly idiotic and pernicious type of speech, pose a problem, or is it possible to define a specific topic to be off limits without falling into a slippery slope of creeping restrictions on speech.

Tangentially one thing I have noticed is that European lawyers consider our near absolutism on the topic of free speech to be a peculiar American fetish. My work is principally in internet trademark issues, and a recurring problem in international arbitrations in the subject are domain names of the form (trademark)sucks.com. European arbitrators nearly unanimously find that criticism of companies by use of such domain names is an unlawful use of the trademark, while US arbitrators find such domain names permissible on free speech grounds. The arguments in these cases invariably devolve into the Europeans essentially dismissing the U.S. position as some kind of paranoid obsession.

But before you go calling me a Nazi, I just want to point out that applying our approach to free speech issues to a European context is not always met with the enthusiastic agreement of Europeans.

As an example, I had to go to a US court in order to reverse this decision:


The dissent, written by the U.S. arbitrator on the panel, aptly states my continued irritation at the difference between Americans and Europeans on the entire subject.

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