No Bong Hits 4 Jesus!

The Bong Hits 4 Jesus case has been decided. The Supreme Court found that the student was in the wrong, 5-4.

Quick recap: in 2002, when the Olympic torch was passing through Juneau, Joseph Frederick’s High School class went across the street to watch. Frederick unfurled a sign that said “BONG HiTS 4 JESUS”. The principal confiscated the sign, and later suspended Frederick, for encouraging students to use drugs.

Obviously, easy cases don’t make it to the Supreme Court, but I thought this one was particularly hairy: yes, the banner was silly. But the First Amendment gives you the right to say silly things. Except that Frederick was a student, and students’ First Amendment rights are limited. Except that this wasn’t done on school property. Except that it was done during a school-sponsored event (effectively a field trip across the street). Except that political speech has strong protection (so that a school with a no-drug policy can’t punish you for arguing that marijuana should be legalized). Except that “Bong hits 4 Jesus” isn’t obviously political speech.

Roberts’s majority opinion says that this isn’t about free speech, but really about advocating drug use. So there you have it.

Update: In other legal news, Court finds missing pants not worth $54M.

Civil Unions in New Hampshire

The Washington Post is reporting
that New Hampshire is about to institute civil unions for gay couples.
No word on how these civil unions differ from marriage, but there were
some interesting bits in the article:

Advocates of gay rights say the latest milestone is especially significant because it comes in comparatively conservative New Hampshire, where polls have shown locals becoming more tolerant of same-sex unions after watching neighboring states pass similar laws without major social fallout.

“I just don’t think it’s a major issue anymore,” said Jim Lupien, 40, a lifelong Republican and owner of the Cool Moose Creamery & Candy Store on Concord’s old-style Main Street. “Vermont did it, and then Massachusetts, and people around here just started thinking, ‘Okay, what’s the big deal?’ I’m not pro-gay, but that’s no reason to deny them their rights.”

which is pretty much what I’ve been saying all along.

Also interesting are the comments by those who still think the number
of tuxes should equal the number of bridal gowns:

Nevertheless, opponents of same-sex marriage look at what is going on in New England and express growing concern. “The more states that do this, the less radical and more plausible the idea may appear in others,” said Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council.

Damn right, the idea may appear less radical. And this would be a bad thing because…?

The Catholic Church and other religious groups have come out against the legislation, arguing that it effectively sanctions homosexuality, to which they are opposed.

The article doesn’t say why the Catholic church is opposed to
teh gay (officially, at least). But of course, this is the same group
that thinks that a cookie turns into God when you eat it, and feels
that it is vitally important that a woman had a child without ever
having sex, so how seriously can you take their opinions?

A more interesting objection is this one:

But much of the political opposition has instead focused on what some feel is a “gay exclusive” law that should be expanded to include other types of same-sex couples.</p

“We haven’t really gotten into the morality of the argument,” said Republican state Rep. Maureen C. Mooney, an outspoken critic of the bill. “What I’m opposed to is carving out a chapter in our laws for a special interest group. Why can’t two sisters enjoy these rights, or a boyfriend and girlfriend who don’t want to get married?”

Those are good questions. Why can’t they? Why shouldn’t they?

Hovind on Hold

The Pensacola News Journal reports:

An appeal by Pensacola creationist Kent Hovind and his wife, Jo Hovind, seeking acquittal on tax-fraud charges was denied.

U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers upheld the Hovinds’ November 2006 conviction on 44 counts of bank-structuring — the withdrawal of bank funds under the $10,000 threshold that triggers bank reports to the Internal Revenue Service.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that showed the couple routinely withdrew $9,500 and $9,600, from their bank.

In November, a jury found Kent Hovind guilty on 58 federal counts, including failure to pay $845,000 in employee-related taxes. In January, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Jo Hovind was convicted of 44 counts of evading bank-reporting requirements. Her sentencing was delayed pending the appeal and should soon be set.

Is anyone surprised by this? If so, I have some lovely oceanfront property in Oklahoma to sell you. As I recall, Hovind started by screwing with the judge, by pleading “Subornation of false muster”, whatever that means; then hired a lawyer with a long history of involvement with tax evasion; then didn’t even mount a defense.

And now, like a kid who has finally realized that there’s only so much he can get away with before mommy gets mad and really punishes him, he wants a mulligan.

Criswell predicts!
Allow me to predict that he’ll continue claiming that he hasn’t done anything wrong (unless he thinks that repentance will play well with the parole board); he’ll rationalize his problems by saying that God wants him in prison, spreading the Word™ through his prison ministry; and his followers will continue to defend him.

(Thanks to for the headline. Better than what I could come up with: “God to Hovind: HA-ha!”)

Kurt Is Up in Heaven now

For those who haven’t heard yet, Kurt Vonnegut has passed away. And so it goes.

So this might be a good time to repost his list of liberal crap he’ll never have to listen to again:

  • Give us this day our daily bread.
    Oh sure.
  • Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those wh trespass against us.
    Nobody better trespass against me. I’ll tell you that.
  • Blessed are the meek.
  • Blessed are the merciful.
    You mean we can’t use torture?
  • Blessed are the peacemakers.
    Jane Fonda?
  • Love your enemies
    Arabs?
  • Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.
    The hell I can’t! Look at the Reverend Pat Robertson. And he is as happy as a pig in shit.

(See

Whith-arrrrrr Freedom of Religion?

The Asheville, NC Citizen-Times tells the tragic story of a High School student whose religion is being persecuted:

being kicked out of school for a day?

Bryan Killian doesn’t think that’s a fair reaction to his decision to come to North Buncombe High School wearing an eye patch and an inflatable cutlass.

“I feel like my First Amendment was violated,” Killian, 16, said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That’s what I tried to do, and I got shot down.”

Freedom of religion?

Yes, Killian says, his “pirate regalia” is part of his faith — the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

And as if that weren’t bad enough, even those who love him won’t support him:

Killian’s mother, Vanessa, agreed with the school’s decision despite sympathizing with her son.

“I think Bryan should be able to voice his opinion,” she said, “but he kind of got carried away.”

First Newsweek, Now Time

Remember the fall of 2006, when the cover of Newsweek featured a story about Annie Leibowitz… except in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, where the cover story was Losing Afghanistan??

See if you can tell what Time learned from that:

(In case you can’t read it, the European, Asian, and South Pacific editions say “Talibanistan” and the US edition says “Why We Should Teach The Bible In Public School“)

Hovind Figures Out the Whole “Defense” Thing

Kent and Jo Hovind were back in the news last week:

Kent and Jo Hovind were back in federal court this week seeking acquittal on charges of bank structuring.

The couple’s attorneys argued there was no intent to defraud the government by making large deposits just under the $10,000 threshold that triggers bank-reporting requirements.

I can’t help wondering why they didn’t make these arguments the last time they were in court. It could have saved everyone a world of bother.

Frankly, Hovind comes across as a child who’s finally learned out that mommy really means it this time.

The article also notes:

He remains in the Escambia County Jail awaiting transfer.

Hurm. I’d’ve thought the state of Florida would’ve managed to transfer him by now.

A date for Jo Hovind’s sentencing has been delayed pending a ruling by U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers on the request for acquittal on the bank structuring conviction.

No date has been set for her ruling.

This was originally set for this coming Thursday, but I guess it’s been postponed.