Be Careful What You Wish For (Why I Hate Hate Crimes Legislation, But I Love Hate Speech)

By Sarah Jane Braasch-JoyIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 - 02/02/10)I saw a woman in niqab on the UC Berkeley campus the other week. I was shocked. I didn't approach her. I didn't speak to her. She was with two other women in hijab, on the opposite side of a wide walkway.But, I was shocked. And, appalled. Here was a woman (or, at least, I assume she was a woman), in the heart of what is arguably the most politically liberal university campus and city in … [Read more...]

Religious Gas-Lighting

By Sarah Jane Braasch-JoyIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)Religionists are those who wish to make religious law the law of the land and impose their personal interpretations of religious law upon others. They come in many flavors, be they Christianists, Islamists, or what have you. The Republican Christianists in the US are a particularly vile sort of religionist.See, we have a little thing called the First Amendment to the US C … [Read more...]

An Atheist’s Confession

By Sarah Jane Braasch-JoyIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)My beloved baby brother, Jacob, hung himself last year in my parents' basement. I wouldn't wish my pain on my worst enemy. It's been a year and a half, and, sometimes, I still can't get out of bed or stop crying. I'll be in public, and I'll inexplicably, to anyone else, burst into sobbing, jagged tears. I blame a lot of people for his death, especially my parents. But, mostly, I blame m … [Read more...]

Walk Like An Egyptian

No Simo to be seen in Cairo, and God's Son has no place in MadisonBy Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)I am sure that most of you are aware of the massive grassroots demonstrations that have been taking place at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison in response to Governor Scott Walker's emergency budget repair bill. I have been demonstrating all week on behalf of workers' rights and public employees and unions, alongside p … [Read more...]

Morality Has No Place in the Law

By Sarah Braasch"Surely if we have learned anything from the history of morals it is that the thing to do with a moral quandary is not to hide it." —H.L.A. Hart"This lesson is that the distinguishing characteristics of true law must be sought for somewhere else than in the nature of the authority from whence it proceeds, and in the certainty of the punishment by which its infraction is attended." —Sheldon AmosIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 … [Read more...]

Gender Desegregation Wednesdays

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)Kat and I were working on an English translation of a section of the French website for the women's rights organization, Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives). We were struggling with the word mixité. We toyed with "the mixing of the sexes". But, that sounded like one of those speed-dating events. We settled on "desegregation". But, then we included the antecedent "ge … [Read more...]

Simo Says

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)The other night I fled for my life. I fled a brawl in Paris. No, I didn't get entangled in a drunken bar fight. Again. Actually, I was in an elementary school.Ni Putes Ni Soumises (NPNS – Neither Whores Nor Submissives), the women's rights organization in Paris where I have been working as a human rights fellow, organized a public debate on the issue of the anticipated public burqa ban in Fra … [Read more...]

Yes, That’s Me in the Burqa

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)I am an incipient First Amendment lawyer and a staunch church-state separatist. I surpass even my most progressive friends and colleagues in my unflinching and unwavering support of the freedom of speech and expression, including religious expression. I am pretty much the only person I know who hates hate crime legislation as little more than bald-faced thought crime legislation. I am not i … [Read more...]

Magister Ludi Magisteria

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (1/28/86 – 02/02/10)Masters of the shell game have been swindling and duping the overconfident and the ignorant for millennia. The game operator places a "pea" beneath one of three "shells". The operator then shuffles the shells in front of the player before asking the player to guess at the pea's location. Unbeknownst to the player, the operator has removed the pea via a sleight-of-hand technique. It is impossible f … [Read more...]

I Hate You

By Sarah BraaschIn loving memory of my baby brother, Jacob Michael Braasch (01/28/86 – 02/02/10)In an internet café in downtown Rabat in Morocco, a middle-aged, middle-class Muslim woman told me that her fondest wish would be to have all of the Arab nations rise up as one and slaughter every Jew on the planet. A young and brilliant male Chinese engineer and co-worker at a small high-tech firm in the San Fernando Valley in California told me that the Japanese are vastly inferior to t … [Read more...]


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