The Council has Spoken 051410


Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again

The Times they are a-changing – Bob Dylan

The times are changing at the Watcher’s Council and not in a good way. We bid farewell to American Digest after an all to short stint on the Council. It was an honor to have him on the council and we wish him all the best. If you are a blogger and think you have what it takes, follow the instructions here and we will consider you for membership.

One other change is that the National Journal that had hosted a bloggers poll for the past year and a half has now discontinued the poll as a regular feature. A number of council members were consulted for these weekly polls. The final poll is here.

This week’s winning entry Rhymes With Right’s Didn’t These Administrators Read Tinker v. Des Moines? was a fortunate confluence. First was the incomprehensible decision of a California school to suspend a group of students for wearing American flag logos. This was followed by the post by Rhymes with Right who is both a teacher and well versed in the Constitution.

What needs to happen now is that the district needs to discipline – harshly – the two campus administrators involved in this clear violation of student rights, and retrain school staff so that they will respect the civil liberties of ALL students. Especially since, as Eugene Volokh points out, even if a case can be made that the speech can be banned under Tinker (and that would be a pretty weak one), California has statutory law that would protect the right of the kids to wear these shirts.

However, we as Americans need to make something really clear – the display of the American flag is ALWAYS appropriate in this country, regardless of the day and regardless of the feelings of some hyphenated Americans who place ethnic and racial solidarity above love of country. Those offended by such patriotic displays can simply suck it up, as they have no right to stop the display of patriotic speech by Americans who love this country.

A few years ago the Supreme Court ruled that burning an American flag was protected speech. It’s pretty incredible that destroying our national symbol is protected by displaying it respectfully is not.

On the non-council we had a tie. I get paid the big bucks by the council to make the tough decisions. In this case I cast my tie-breaking vote for The Palestinian Leader (Who Actually Isn’t) Got Approval (Not Really) For Peace Talks by Daled Amos. Read the whole thing and I’m sure you’ll conclude as Daled Amos does:

I get the impression that Abbas is not the kind of person I’d want to sign agreements with.
I also get the impression that Obama doesn’t care.

As I noted on my blog, the administration has made it clear that it will hold any side it deems responsible for derailing the proximity talks. Not getting political approval to participate would strike me as a display of particularly bad faith. But as Daled Amos notes, I don’t think that the President cares.

Council Winners

Non Council Winners