One weird trick to show support for leftist civil liberties

The last couple of months have seen a lot of intra-left argument about the ACLU. And the last couple of years have seen a lot of argument, all over the place, about “free speech” – what should be included under that banner, what exceptions there should be, what the priorities of people who care about […]

Hitting people is not “soft”: Reporting and police tactics

I became infuriated, during the RNC, when someone showed me this NPR piece referring to what the police were doing there, particularly the tactic of hitting people with bikes, as “soft force tactics.” The first time the police did this, I was nearly knocked to the ground, as the person in front of me was […]

A brief legal update: Two down, one to go

Well that was a week! This week I went to trial on charges of trespassing on state property, and (aiding and abetting of) disorderly conduct, and was acquitted! A thing I had never thought about before – how the rubbery-legged-ness and lightheadedness of of a major adrenaline surge, on top of anxiety, can make it […]

Anti-Trump protests and the free speech argument

There’s a lot of interesting arguments going around in the wake of the cancelled Donald Trump rally in Chicago. One of them is that the protesters violated Trump’s First Amendment rights to free speech, or his supporters’ First Amendment rights to free assembly. These arguments are wrong, and I want to take a look at […]

Environmentalists win on Keystone XL. Don’t forget what went into that.

By now, many of you have seen the news that President Obama rejected a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. While TransCanada is reviewing its options to keep the project alive, but experts are dubious. This is a major victory for environmentalists – as a friend commented upon hearing the news, five years ago it […]

What’s going on with all these campus ideological battles?

A note: I am aware that freedom of speech as described under the First Amendment only applies to the government. I’m talking more in this post about norms of academic freedom and campuses as a place where ideas are exchanged. Though sometimes, at public colleges and universities, the latter overlaps with the former.

I’ve been […]

Baltimore officials thought medical info for protesters was rebellion and a threat – and they aren’t the only ones

It was September 2012, and I was in Manhattan, acting as a street medic at the Occupy Wall Street first anniversary protests. They’d been happening all weekend but the biggest ones were going to happen next morning. Meanwhile, a bunch of protesters were crowding into Zuccotti Park, which was ringed by barricades and NYPD […]

Scattered notes from Baltimore

Hi readers! I’m sorry I have not posted anything here in forever! Life got in the way for a while.

I spent three days last week street medicking in Baltimore. It was an odd time to be there. There was a lull in protest activity, with almost no actions going on. There were, however, plenty […]

Charlie Hebdo, solidarity, bigotry, and protecting cartoonists’ freedom

I divided this post into two parts. I suspect that some people will feel very differently about those two parts. I would request that if the first part really bothers you and you want to stop reading it, please at least check out the second part, because the cartoonists’ rights group that I’m trying to […]