Journalist Andrew Meyer Tasered and Cuffed for asking a question in America?

UFstudent tasered at Kerry speechUniversity of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, is the latest Youtube insta-celeb.

Video of him being restrained and telling a police officer, “don’t tase me bro!” before screaming in pain after a Taser shock, has been viewed over 400,000 times already.

Mr. Meyer was handcuffed and tasered after asking Senator John Kerry some questions during a structured Q and A session following Kerry’s speech in Gainesville this week.

Wire Services report that Senator Kerry released a statement about the event on Tuesday, saying:

β€œIn 37 years of public appearances, through wars, protests and highly emotional events, I have never had a dialogue end this way.” Kerry said. β€œI hope that neither the student nor any of the police were injured. I regret enormously that a good healthy discussion was interrupted.” See Video by pressing play here:

I think Mr. Kerry was understandably embarased by the police officers’ use of excessive force at his event and I would hope most Americans would agree that what happened should never happen to a journalist in the United States.

I could be wrong, but I can’t believe that there is anything really illegal about a journalist asking hard questions (Click to hear Dan Rather’s view concerning the need for “spine transplants” in American Journalism.), or being a jerk , or even swearing during an interview question. If you know of some precidents that support these officers (click here to see one!) actions please send them my way, thanks. It will be interesting to hear why these officers thought they were doing the right thing. (ever heard of “The First Amendment?”)

The officers involved have been placed on paid suspension while an investigation is carried out.

Patriots and Belichik fined. lose draft picks for cheating.

NFL Commissioner, Roger Goddell finally handed down the punishment for the New England Patriot’s cheating against the Jets last Sunday. The New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick were fined a total of $750,000 and the team might lose a first-round draft pick for spying on New York Jets coaches during a game. Good for Mr. Goddell, he has once again done the right thing. Refreshing….does this taint the Patriot dynasty? They probably woudn’t have won a single super bowl were it not for stealing signs…or at least that’s what I heard. πŸ™‚ …but then again, Keyshawn Johnson said that, although the league rules specifically banned video taping signs (as described here), he considers what was done “advanced scouting” that doesn’t give them an edge over any other team, and is not really cheating.

When you think about Keyshawn said, I want you to also consider this point made by an e-mailer to Colin Cowherd today: It is “legal” to count cards in your head at a blackjack tabel in Vegas, but as soon as you introduce any sort of video equipment and outside analysis in your counting, you are immediately banned from the casino….interesting point….good job Roger. πŸ™‚

Fine line between absurd megalomania and “actionable” slander…or not?

After reading the discussion going on at the WordPress Wank blog, here, I am rethinking my opinion about the whole “WordPress banned in Turkey” thing. I think some of the replies concerning WordPress Wank’s post(see above link), are right:

When you are running a large publishing venture as Matt is doing, and the attorney for a minor celebrity (or major religious leader, depending on who you ask…) mails you multiple letters asking you to uphold applicable US and international laws regarding slander and defamation of their client (see “cease and desist,” explained here.), the smart thing to do is to at least reply to one of their myriad attempts to warn you that they think they might have grounds to sue you, and if you’re really smart you might even request that the offending writers take corrective action or risk having their blog removed for “ACTIONABLE” (VERY IMPORTANT DISTINCTION HERE) SLANDER AND/OR DEFAMATION.

Failing to respond to what may be very serious charges that could cost your company large sums of money in defense fees and damages is just not a good plan. –While this Turkish stooge may not be the one that takes down WordPress for its failure to respond to actionable legal claims concerning it’s content providers, it’s a pretty safe bet that there is an attorney or 2 out there taking note of what has transpired here and he or she is probably more than a little sure that he just might squeeze a golden egg out of this place for him and his client with a little effort.

WordPress turns 2!

wordpresslogoFollow this link to read Matt’s post about his baby’s (WordPress’s) second birthday; it’s a nice little synopsis of what has been accomplished here in 2 short years and reading it I think helped me to appreciate how lucky we all are to be able to share our opinions with the world through this wonderful service.

All WordPress sites Blocked (Censored) in Turkey thanks to Adnan Oktar.

censorship hereMost Americans cannot even imagine the US government granting requests from individual citizens to block “slanderous” blogs from public view in the US, and yet the Turkish government has granted just such a request this week, resulting in the whole sale censorship of every page hosted on WordPress’ blog-filled servers.

Click here to read Matt’s post tracking this development and to see many great responses from within Turkey where he says Turkish citizens had been reading wordpress sites to the tune of 12 million page views a month prior to the ban.

Yep, it’s true, Turkish book author Adnan Oktar, who writes under the pen name, Harun Yahya, had his lawyer write one whiney letter to the Turkish government stating that a few bloggers on wordpress were “slandering” him, and now each of the over 1.3 million bloggers who publish through wordpress can no longer be read in the entire country of Turkey. That is ridiculous.

Also, If you missed the link above, click here to read a highly entertaining, but very real letter from that Turkish book author’s lawyer.