Sunday, December 16, 2007

What's a public nuisance, Spotty?

Is it sort of like of like a common scold?

Why yes, grasshopper, it is.

It sounds like they are both people who can annoy and embarrass other people, including political and business elites.

Well, that's right.

But don't you make fun of people you call common scolds, Spotty?

Yes, grasshopper, but Spot doesn't have the power to lock them up, put them out of business, or even give 'em a good dunking. Well, metaphorically, maybe. What's the interest, grasshopper?

There was an op-ed piece in the Strib today about the case of Near v. Minnesota.

Ah, yes, a story well told by a local attorney, Max Heerman. In it, a muckraking Minneapolis newspaper was judged to be a public nuisance.

Isn't is worthy of a Spotty™ award, Spotty?

Well, maybe, but Heerman isn't going to get one. Spot has already awarded two Spottys™ this week.

That doesn't seem fair.

Where is it written that it would be fair, grasshopper? Spot admires your sense of justice, though.

Near v. Minnesota is a very important U.S. Supreme Court precedent holding that prior restraint—that is trying to prevent publication—is an unconstitutional abridgement of freedom of the press. It has echoed down through the years, including in the Pentagon Papers case during the Vietnam war. Go read the linked article; it is most definitely worth a read. In fact, Spot may post it when it's no longer available on the Strib site.

It is fascinating because, among other things, the beloved governor Floyd B. Olson makes a appearance as a villainous prosecutor.

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