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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 26, 2010 / 12 Iyar 5770

Congress should quickly counter court's animal abuse ruling

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Some things are too horrific to consider, and yet consider them we must.

"Crush videos," for instance.

Somehow I missed the 1999 law, recently nullified by the U.S. Supreme Court, that attempted to outlaw crush videos — definition forthcoming pending recovery from horror-induced swoon. Thus, for the past 11 years, I have been blissfully ignorant of a level of depravity I haven't the imagination to invent.

No children beyond this point:

Crush videos feature small animals (kittens, puppies and others) being slowly crushed or impaled by a woman wearing stiletto heels, ostensibly for the sexual pleasure of those so attracted.

And yes, the Supreme Court decided that such videos are protected by free speech. Or, rather, that the law prohibiting such videos was too broad. As written, for example, the law could be construed to prohibit a deer-hunting video, which, though some might find cruel, relates to a legal activity.

Though many experts and scholars defend the 8-to-1 ruling as legally correct, the high court's opinion is surely of a kind that prompted Mr. Bumble in "Oliver Twist" to assert: "The law is a [sic] ass — a [sic] idiot."

Obviously, no one ever intended that the free-speech provision of the Constitution protect the rights of deviants to torture animals and then to market videos for the sexual satisfaction of people who, by their tastes, are a probable threat to society.

The case in question stemmed from the 2005 conviction of Robert J. Stevens of Pittsville, Va., who was charged with marketing videos of dog fighting. Stevens, who identifies himself as a journalist and documentary filmmaker (who doesn't these days?), claimed that he was merely trying to provide a historical perspective of dog fighting. Some of the images included pit bulls tearing at the jaw of a domestic pig.

Letter from JWR publisher

Some things transcend "to each his own," and animal cruelty is one. Dog fighting, in fact, is illegal in all 50 states. But whether the filming of dog fighting is criminal isn't always clear. Animal rights organizations provide videos of cruelty, after all, though the difference should be obvious. One is reporting on cruelty; the other is setting up an event for the sole purpose of profiting from cruelty.

Although the federal government never prosecuted anyone for making crush videos — the market shriveled significantly after Congress passed the 1999 legislation — prosecutors used the law to convict Stevens, who was sentenced to 37 months in prison. Alas, an appellate court ruled that Stevens's conviction violated his free-speech rights, and the Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

The high court noted that dog fighting remains illegal but that there was no compelling reason to create a special category of exemption from First Amendment protections, as is the case with child pornography. The court's reasoning was that child porn necessarily means the abuse of children in the production of such films.

This is logic that escapes the layman, burdened as he is with common sense. Aren't animals necessarily harmed in the creation of crush videos and in the course of filming dogfights? The natural question follows: How can an act be illegal, but the filming and marketing of the illegal act be legal?

In law, it seems, the answer is never simple. These things are not open and shut but are "a matter of grappling," as PETA President Ingrid Newkirk put it to me during an interview of shared despair.

At least one justice, Samuel Alito, applied the common-sense standard in his dissent.

"The videos record the commission of violent criminal acts, and it appears that these crimes are committed for the sole purpose of creating the videos."

Voilą.

In effect, the high court has revived the crush-video industry, if only for a short time. A day after the ruling, Reps. Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.), co-chairs of the Animal Protection Caucus, introduced a bipartisan bill (H.R. 5092) to narrowly focus the 1999 bill to deal with crush videos.

Even this bill may be imperfect, however. Although it specifically exempts hunting videos, animal rights advocates worry that it leaves a loophole. Hypothetically, a crush video could be built around a legitimate hunting scene and thus be protected from prosecution.

Grappling, indeed.

The challenge to Congress is at once daunting and uncomplicated: There is no argument ever to justify torturing animals and no defense — ever — for selling videos created to profit from that torture. Figure it out. Fix it.

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