"Broward commissioners will order up Tuesday the ethics code they really wanted on their plates. And they'll ask for a free bottle of water with it. They'll direct the county attorney's office to write a new ethics law they can vote on in the fall. Looking at the list of potential changes, nearly all of them could be classified as weakening, loosening, or narrowing the code's effects. For one thing, politicians finally would be able to accept that free bottle of water they talk about frequently. In fact, they could accept a $10 case of water from a lobbyist, under what's proposed below."
Saturday, June 6, 2015
Brittany Wallman, Sun Sentinel; Watering down of ethics code on county agenda Tuesday:
A.O. Scott, New York Times; Adjusting to a World That Won’t Laugh With You:
"It’s hard to ponder these issues without thinking about Charlie Hebdo. While the murder of editors and cartoonists is the kind of event that defeats comparison — a Tweetstorm of shaming is in no way similar to automatic-weapons fire — the aftermath of the January attack on that satirical magazine’s Paris offices has reignited longstanding quarrels in Europe and America about the limits of free expression and the ethics of humor. In the months following the killings, after the initial outpouring of horror and the international expressions of “Je suis Charlie” solidarity, attention turned to the content of the magazine itself, not only to cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed but also to what seemed to some to be a pattern of racist and anti-Muslim bigotry. Nobody was excusing violence or suggesting that free speech be curtailed. But Charlie Hebdo found critics where it had also found champions, among the legions of Europeans and Americans who had long been content to ignore its existence. In a widely reported April lecture, Garry Trudeau, the creator of “Doonesbury” and as such the dean of American satirical cartoonists, took Charlie to task for “punching down,” for aiming its mockery at the vulnerable and the powerless, in particular France’s Muslims and immigrants. Mr. Trudeau’s remarks were echoed later in the spring when a group of writers, including Peter Carey and Francine Prose, boycotted a PEN gala at which the magazine’s surviving staff members were given an award for freedom of expression... Does this mean we should shut up, and either insist that our comedy give no offense or that no one ever take any? That “It’s just a joke” or “You just didn’t get it” should end the discussion? Not at all. It just means that laughter is something we should all take seriously. And also that we should all lighten up."
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Editorial Board, New York Times; The Court and Online Threats:
"If you post violent thoughts about someone on Facebook, does it matter what you intended to convey when you wrote the words? In a 8-1 decision issued on Monday morning, the Supreme Court said yes. If the government wants to criminally prosecute someone for his or her words, the court ruled, it must do more than show that a reasonable person would have interpreted those words as threats. “Wrongdoing must be conscious to be criminal,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote for a seven-member majority. In the age of the Internet, when anyone can post anything for the world to see, it was an important affirmation of the need to protect speech, and to require the government to meet a stricter legal standard when trying to punish people for their words alone."
Adam Liptak, New York Times; Supreme Court Overturns Conviction in Online Threats Case, Citing Intent:
"The Supreme Court on Monday made it harder to prosecute people for threats made on Facebook and other social media, reversing the conviction of a Pennsylvania man who directed brutally violent language against his estranged wife. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said prosecutors must do more than prove that reasonable people would view statements as threats. The defendant’s state of mind matters, the chief justice wrote, though he declined to say just where the legal line is drawn. Chief Justice Roberts wrote for seven justices, grounding his opinion in criminal-law principles concerning intent rather than the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority opinion was modest, even cryptic."
Fifa Ethics Chief Says Will Continue Work Following Blatter Exit; Reuters via New York Times, 6/2/15
Reuters via New York Times; Fifa Ethics Chief Says Will Continue Work Following Blatter Exit:
"The chief ethics investigator of FIFA said he would keep working at world soccer's governing body to secure compliance with its ethics code, after the organization's president Sepp Blatter announced he was stepping down. "The (investigatory) chamber will continue its mandate along with the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee of consistently ensuring compliance with FIFA's Code of Ethics and will make this its highest priority, regardless of who is president," Cornel Borbely, FIFA's chief ethics investigator, said in a statement on Tuesday."