It seems like there's a new court case every week or so that could help determine where the lines of free speech fall online—and a decision last week by a Virginia court should have a chilling effect on anyone who uses Facebook.
A local sheriff fired one of his employees essentially for "liking" his boss' opponent in an upcoming election. That probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, so it's possible the employee should have been fired for sheer stupidity, but what's interesting is that the court ruled that while employees are protected by free-speech provisions in political matters, a "like" on Facebook doesn't count, since it's not actually an expression of speech.
It's just a click of a button, nothing more—so the Constitution apparently isn't all that concerned with it. As one of the Founding Fathers said to me in a dream the other night, "I like a bunch of stuff on Facebook to try to win contests, but that doesn't mean I actually eat at the Cheesecake Factory, bro."
A "like" really doesn't mean all that much, but anyone should realize that there could be some sort of lingering effect to even the most seemingly banal action online, so even a mouse click informing others that you "like" something has some value in a free-speech context. I assume the court would have protected the same employee for signing a political petition, an act that also doesn't take all that much effort; perhaps "likes" should be equally protected.
The week on The Range
We introduced you to Mitt Romney's (imaginary) new mascot; wrapped up a painful session of the Arizona Legislature; laughed away the idea of Jan Brewer becoming a vice presidential candidate; prepared ourselves for the Carmona vs. Flake showdown; tried to think of something nice to say about the Tucson Unified School District's customer-service survey; watched the latest batch of ads in the Congressional District 8 race; thanked casino gamblers for financially supporting our state; surveyed the state of the union regarding medical-marijuana law; reviewed an upcoming documentary about the perils of border-crossing; let you know that Oro Valley is trying to resolve its truck issues; listened in as Garret Lewis confronted Tom Danehy; and discussed the highlights of the week's political events with Jeff Rogers and Sam Stone on Arizona Illustrated's Political Roundtable, with your host, Jim Nintzel.
We noted El Charro's appearance in two national publications; drooled over fancy piñata-shaped cookies; noted that Bella D'Auria has opened its doors, and that a Firehouse Subs is coming to the Marana Marketplace; and opened up the Food Truck Diaries again.
We giggled at the unfortunate case of the "hot dog hooker"; acknowledged the 10th anniversary of the greatest sports press conference ever; shared one of our stranger comments; mourned the death of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and shared a mixtape celebrating the group's music; interviewed local author Adam Rex; asked teachers to keep their hands off their students; went to see Allo Darlin' at Club Congress; made our dreams come true in video-game form with the help of Balki from Perfect Strangers; cleaned off the malicious code we got on our computers from surfing religious websites; listened to a new Bobby Womack song; and measured our Klouchebag score. (The Tucson Weekly is "quite a nice person," apparently.)
Comment of the week
"Count your blessings, tucsonenses. I recently moved to Colorado Springs, where people will swear that such-and-such place has "Great margaritas!" and then when you get there, the bartender pulls out the MARGARITA MIX."
Best of WWW
We've mentioned the forthcoming Freestyle Explosion show at the Tucson Convention Center Arena a few times on The Range, partially because we're always somewhat surprised when any concert comes to the crumbling downtown venue, but also because the lineup is the most amazing collection of musical performers ever assembled. Lisa Lisa and Debbie Deb? Unbelievable, right?
This week, we're thrilled to preview the show by presenting an interview with Ann Curless, one of the members of Exposé, who has some connections to our fair city. (If we can track down Stacey Q, we'll interview her as well, mainly focusing on her appearance on Facts of Life, but that might be a tougher journalistic feat.)
Once More, Without Feeling