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Whether or not today's SCOTUS decision concerning the Westboro Baptist "Church's" military funeral protest activities gets a mention in the show, this issue & decision are very important to me. So, since I'm "in charge" around here in at least this forum, I'm going to beg your patient indulgence while I get on my virtual soap box to offer some commentary after a reading of & note - taking of the decision. I'm going to begin by "creatively acquiring" a headline from FARK.com.

Two soldiers shot dead in Frankfurt airport. Westboro Baptist Church standing by.

Because, after today, if your a family member of these 2 soldiers who were killed today, the Phelps family & their ilk can say vile disgusting things about your loved one while you're trying to peacefully & privately lay them to rest, and there's not a damn thing you can do about it.

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I was 95% sure SCOTUS would decide this case how they did; it's the "margin of victory" that's GALLING to me. The "score" was 8 - 1! I was hoping it would be closer. AND, the most galling aspect of it all is that I find myself in agreement with SAMUEL ALITO! I've spent most of today in alternating cycles of retching, showering, delousing, eye gouging, and ear drum gouging in attempts to "clean myself up!"

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It seems to me the primary basis for today's decision was also something I predicted would happen at the time; the primary case they used to justify their decision was the Hustler Magazine VS. Jerry Falwell case. To refresh your memory, that decision was a 9 - 0 shut - out that said Jerry Falwell could not sue or claim "emotional distress" via Hustler because of what they said about his mother because what they said was satire/parody, and that because he was a public figure, he was not immune to that activity. HOWEVER, the family of Matt Snyder ARE NOT NOR EVER HAVE BEEN "PUBLIC FIGURES!"

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In a nutshell, because the Phelps signs did not call Matt Snyder specifically a "fag" or physically assault Matt Snyder's father that day, what they did there & what they do is protected speech. Whether or not you can mourn someone privately & in peace is now a public issue.

Another reason for today's decision was because, according to SCOTUS, what the Phelps say in their chants, signs, etc. cannot be proven false, so that's another reason it's protected by the 1st Amendment. Ya' know what? IT CAN'T BE PROVEN TRUE, EITHER!

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Some of the signs & chants that day also were directed at the fact that the Snyder family is Catholic; SCOTUS claimed the signs were addressing recent scandals in the Church. So, again, it's protected by the 1st Amendment. NONE of the signs specifically mentioned priest scandals or cover - ups. SCOTUS, if you're going to pick & choose facts to back up your decision, pick & choose ACTUAL FACTS.

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One of the most interesting & thought - provoking parts of the decision were in Justice Breyer's concurring opinion, so I'm going to repeat some of it exactly.

Does our decision leave the State powerless to protect the individual against invasions of, e.g., personal privacy, even in the most horrendous of such circumstances?
SOUNDS LIKE IT DOES TO ME!

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So, toss out all libel or slander laws because unless you physically beat the snot outta someone or verbally abuse someone by name, you can't claim any sort of physical or emotional distress because said laws are protected by the 1st Amendment!

Also, if you think today's decision was the correct one, you should also have no problem with Citizens United if you want to be "consistent" because, to me, it's the same damn exact thing. Anyone or anything can say or do anything that can be construed as "speech" (signs, chants, internet, money, etc.) about anything or anyone, and it's automatically protected by the 1st Amendment.

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Another area where I was pretty much right on the money is where Elena Kagen came down on this issue. While she was Solicitor General, IT WAS HER JOB to argue the government's side in Citizens United; however, based on my readings of her previous publications & speeches on 1st Amendment issues, I had her tagged as a "free speech absolutist." It's not about the quality or harmful or lying or incorrect information in the public domain; it's about quantity - getting it ALL out there no matter how sparked up it may be. She was/is probably personally in favor of how that decision came down, and that's how she voted today.

I'm just going to mention a couple FUN birthdays for today & put SPARK stuff in the diary comments. On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel, who wrote and illustrated the popular Dr. Seuss children's books, was born. My ABSOLUTE favorite is Oh! The Places You'll Go! And, can you pass the Acid Test? Tom Wolfe is 81 today! :D

On with The Rachel Maddow Show!

"The Reason the Democratic Party Exists" - It turns out "average" Americans might be pretty damn librul according to those poll results concerning how to reduce the deficit! ;D Tax millionaires, eliminate GWB tax cuts, cut oil & gas tax breaks, and let public unions collectively bargain. However, 36% of respondents claimed they were "conservative!" SAY WHAT?! What we have here, boys & girls, is economic populism. WI GOBPers in the state legislature want to cut off expense accounts for out - of - state Dems, fine them $100/day, and {insert shudder here} REVOKE THEIR PARKING PRIVILEGES!

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Get Cool Hand Luke on that parking stuff! ;D Even some of those state GOBPers might be tiring of Governor Walker's shenanigans. Hello?! The REAL Charles Koch came to Scotty's defense today. Lovely...

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Over a half million dollars has been raised in support of the WI DEM 14! Other "progressive" organizations are seeing an upturn in activity, too. MY FAIR STATE GETS ANOTHER MENTION TONIGHT! Yep, they're still in Urbana, IL. The Minority Leader's hair is MIA. ;D "Hoosiers" here hopefully get the joke! Look at President Obama campaigning in 2007. Where are his comfortable shoes? He's gotta have a pair of tennies around somewhere!

"It's Not About the Budget" - Finger puppets? Okee - dokee! :D I think the parrot puppet's kind of cute! Rachel should put those puppets on EBay & donate the proceeds to some worthy cause. Huh? HUH?! Cracking down on tax cheats would do wonders for deficits at the state or federal leval, but House GOBPers want to cut IRS funding. Here's David Cay Johnston! He gets "tax cheat duty." ;D It turns out the biggest tax cheats are big 'ol contributors to big 'ol politicos. Go sparkin' figure!

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Ugh...that income disparity Mr. Johnston talked about nearly made me retch - AGAIN. Man, I've wanted to retch a bunch today! *&^%$#@!

"Taking Care of Business" - Big oil companies have made big 'ol profits over the last 10 years. Some Dems on Capitol Hill want to put the kibosh on all the tax breaks & cuts that industry gets! Guess what? It lost - BADLY! Every single damn GOBPer just said "no."

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"'It Wouldn't be Just Telling People Not to Fly Airplanes'" - Did our Sobbin' Speaker Small Price to Pay Goldilocks say that? SOD Gates said we might just impose a no - fly zone, but that actually means bomb...bomb...bomb...bomb - bombing Libya. Well, that would please Senator McCentury! SOD Gates, however, is not in a real big hurry to send more American personnel to another Middle Eastern country. Richard Engel's IN TRIPOLI?! O...M...G...please be careful. The center of Tripoli is calm; that could be a good or bad thing. People are too scared to do anything; THAT'S why it's so calm. Richard calls what's going on in Libya a revolution - not a civil war of civilians killing each other to settle differences. The suburbs around Tripoli are wavering in their support of "their fearless leader."

"Cairo - Glyphics" - O...M...G...Houssani Mubarak's pin - striped suit had his name in his stripes! Do his underoos have his name, too? How 'bout what day to wear said underoos, too?! :D

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"The John Boehner is Bad at His Job Hypothesis" - His face is the "color not found in nature" face of the GOBP? ;D "Obamacare" is in the title of actual legislation or bill title?! CLASSY! Some IL GOBP Rep doesn't want funding for signs that designate that projects were paid under the stim bill? HA! He's also pro - styrofoam & plastic. Well duh?! That's what he's made of! SOS Clinton got interrupted A LOT; at least the GOBP was polite about it (?). EEK! I mean, I'm not crazy about her, but give her a little respect!

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