March 24, 2011

Civil disobedience event — at the Wisconsin Capitol, beginning in 10 minutes.

I received this Facebook invitation — "Take back Wisconsin's Constitution" — from Ben Masel, who writes:
Yesterday the police issued the first citations for holding signs on the first floor ring of the Capitol building, in contravention of the court order which directed the department of Administration to return speech options to January. individuals have been free to hold political signs in this area for at least 25 years.

It's particularly ironic thatbthe Departmet of Adminisration's sign announcing the ban on protest ias immediately adjacent to an originalcopy of our State's Constitution, open to the very section which guarantees our right to protest there.

It's tiome to reclain the public forum. Bring the largest copy of Article 1 sectionb 4 you can.
(Typos left uncorrected.)

The protest is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12 noon on the first floor, next to the Wisconsin Constitution, which says: "The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged."

ADDED: Masel is a Madison icon. Read more here. He says: "Life's a movie. Don't be an extra, star in your own." (With a Flip camera, everybody is a star.)

UPDATE: A new post, with video of the civil disobeyers not getting arrested.

48 comments:

Lincolntf said...

From the FB wall:

"Ben Masel :
Damn.All my Markers are dead. we need signage."


For want of a Sharpie, a beclowning was lost.

vbspurs said...

From Ben Masel's MySpace bio:

Heading to Miami to join the actions around Nixon's renomination Convention, I became the youngest person placed on the White House enemies list, a couple months shy of my 18th Birthday.

This comes off as being disbelieving, and I wouldn't like Mr Masel to think that since he seemed sincere in the Shankman thread, but unless he has changed his name, I didn't find him in the complete Nixon's Enemies List, located online.

I was just curious, is all.

Cheers,
Victoria

Aheitman said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNSvnUH-GiQ&feature=player_embedded#at=185

This video from the facebook page is particularly hilarious.

Speech isnt being abridged, its being relocated to the first floor. There is no change in the message being broadcast whether its on the first or ground floor.

Sofa King said...

Have they really never heard of time, place, and manner?

Or is this just another opportunity to play the victim?

vbspurs said...

Incidentally, a man running for the United States Senate, should perhaps not have a MySpace page. Facebook is one thing -- it has crossed the threshold from street corner hangout to a virtual Rolodex.

But whenever I think of MySpace, I think AOL or Friendster. Those who use that are harmless, but amateurish.

MadisonMan said...

I was saddened to read last week that Masel has lung cancer.

I know that everyone dies, eventually, and that graveyards are full of irreplaceable people, but Madison is more colorful and interesting because of Masel.

Ron said...

Vickers! What's for late breakfast, Mimosas and Omelettes? mmmmm...

Phil 3:14 said...

more colorful and interesting do not great candidates make.

vbspurs said...

Oh, how odd. I linked to the complete Nixon's Enemies List located here:

http://www.enemieslist.info/

And though I saw my post at one point, Blogger ate it up.

I had written that no disrespect is meant to Mr Masel, who claimed in his MySpace that he was the youngest person ever on the list, but I didn't find his name there. I was curious, is all.

traditionalguy said...

I want to know if there are any free pizzas. Chanting and drumming is hard work to do for nothing.

vnjagvet said...

From what I've seen MM, Ben is also one of the more polite and reasonable liberal commenters on Althouse. I don't think even our libertarian anarchist would claim that Ben is a toady to Meadehouse. I think Ben would agree as well that he gets respectful treatment from the regulars here.

My good thoughts and prayers go with him in his health struggles.

WV Procaux -- French for Tom Prokaw

chickelit said...

Will Ben Masel get the "Scoop" or will Meade?

DADvocate said...

The same Ben Masel who is an admin on I'm proud to say that LSD-25 has contributed positively to my live, I assume. That would have been cool 40 years ago. Now it's just sad and lame.

Does the Wisconsin Constitution say you can assemble any where you want? I doubt it.

shoutingthomas said...

Pony tail.

Figures.

Ann Althouse said...

"The same Ben Masel who is an admin on I'm proud to say that LSD-25 has contributed positively to my live, I assume. That would have been cool 40 years ago. Now it's just sad and lame."

It's about looking back on our lives. For many of that it does go back more than 40 years. I remember when I first read in Life magazine about Harvard professor Timothy Leary, back when the drug was not illegal and it seemed to have fascinating artistic, philosophical, and artistic potential. Its cultural impact was great, and you could benefit from it whether you took it or not. The music alone...

edutcher said...

Is this just in conjunction with signs as such or taping them to the marble, strewing them on the floor, etc.?

vbspurs said...

Incidentally, a man running for the United States Senate, should perhaps not have a MySpace page. Facebook is one thing -- it has crossed the threshold from street corner hangout to a virtual Rolodex.

But whenever I think of MySpace, I think AOL or Friendster. Those who use that are harmless, but amateurish.


Agree with you, mum, but with an exception (that should tickle Ann's little gizzard).

Just as AOL was the starter for most of us in terms of ISPs, so was MySpace in terms of social media. I agree it's passe, but someone who doesn't have a good IS staff (or one at all) may not be aware.

All he may know is his daughter has/had one.

I know this is how campaigns are won and lost these days, but some people don't get the New Meadia.

MadisonMan said...

I was saddened to read last week that Masel has lung cancer.

I know that everyone dies, eventually, and that graveyards are full of irreplaceable people, but Madison is more colorful and interesting because of Masel.


You're a good man.

While we all go, age and method filter our view. Any cancer is bad, but lung involves not being able to catch that breath we all take for granted and will scare the Hell out anyone who can't get it. It's a very bad way to go.

vbspurs said...

I am such a numpty. That is all.

wv: curex (the prescription for numptiness?)

vbspurs said...

Edutcher wrote:

All he may know is his daughter has/had one.

Don't you think that I never had an AOL account, Edu! I surely did. That was yearsssss ago, though.

But, my point is that a man who intends to run for such an important office as US Senator, should have a more professional site than just a MySpace page.

This tells me that he is not serious about running for office. This, in turn, tells the world why bother voting for him.

Harsh indictment just based on one aspect of his campaign (his site), but don't you think, understandable?

Incidentally, darling Edutcher, I replied to your Mrs Slocombe joke in the original post! I note you posted it again, so just in case you missed it...teehee, thanks!

Cheers,
Victoria

shoutingthomas said...

It's about looking back on our lives. For many of that it does go back more than 40 years.

This goes to the insularity of your community.

In most environments, whether or not you've taken LSD, you keep your mouth shut about it.

Kevin said...

Oh Ben Masel...

Kid you not, during the Feingold-Johnson race he had an open wager on Twitter that not only would Feingold win, but he's win by double-digits. Can't remember the odds he was giving.

He stopped taking offers when October came around.

Drew said...

Masel is a Madison icon.

Don't they teach spelling in Madison?

PatCA said...

Will the Shankman be there, or has he succumbed to the siren call of the dishwashing sirens?

Lincolntf said...

"Masel is a Madison icon."

That's what they said about the Capitol Building and Christian Heg.

MadisonMan said...

How can sign-holding in the Capitol possibly not be a Constitutionally-guaranteed expression of Speech?

Do the people working in the Capitol actually read the Constitution that they are sworn to uphold to the best of their ability, or is the best of their ability just pathetically weak?

DADvocate said...

It's about looking back on our lives. For many of that it does go back more than 40 years.

I'm familiar with Leary, Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) and such. In the 1970s I wasn't that far removed from guys like Masel. But, I wouldn't say I'm proud the influence or feel any drugs or alcohol a positive affect on my life, nor of anyone I've known.

Your point about music may be legitimate although a lot of those musicians died an early death while Gene Simmons, who claims he does no drugs and has never been drunk, is still with us.

DADvocate said...

Additionally, I certainly don't believe it's a good idea to give today's kids the idea that doing drugs can be a positive influence on your life.

DADvocate said...

How can sign-holding in the Capitol possibly not be a Constitutionally-guaranteed expression of Speech?

Go to the U.S. Capitol Building and demand to be able to prostest and hold a sign inside the rotunda and see what happens. It's the same principle as needing a parade permit. Are you really that uninformed?

Sofa King said...

How can sign-holding in the Capitol possibly not be a Constitutionally-guaranteed expression of Speech?

Free speech, done in a disorderly manner, is still disorderly conduct.

Maybe the restriction on signs in certain areas is overly broad, I don't know. But it is a facially neutral time/place/manner restriction.

TMink said...

Ben is dyslexic and needs a better spell checker. It is easy for me to recognize as I have the same problem, just not to the same extent.

Trey

MadisonMan said...

All I read was that people were ticketed for holding signs.

Nothing more. Why embellish that to infer that they are disorderly?

DADvocate, perhaps you misunderstand: I'm talking about the State of Wisconsin Capitol and the Wisconsin Constitution here. Because we're talking about the state of Wisconsin.

Sofa King said...

Nothing more. Why embellish that to infer that they are disorderly?

If there is a viewpoint-neutral and reasonable time/place/manner rule, then willfully violating is per se disorderly.

Would it be better if they just closed the Capitol? The legislature is not in session, so I don't believe they have any obligation to keep it open to the public.

MadisonMan said...

I don't believe they have any obligation to keep it open to the public.

If they want horrific PR, that's a path they should go down.

All you 4th graders on field trips to Madison this year? Sorry, the Capitol is closed by order of the Governor and you can't see it. Have a nice bus ride back to Crivitz.

Sofa King said...

Sorry, the Capitol is closed by order of the Governor and you can't see it.

They could certainly keep it open for registered tour groups, the way the U.S. Capitol does it.

My point is, if it is *legal* to completely close the building to all speech, it is very likely to be legal to close part of the building to some speech, provided it is done in a viewpoint-neutral manner.

Aheitman said...

I think we arent answering the real question- does asking someone to switch floors change the scope and scale of the intended free speech?

I get the feeling there is a lot of anger and protestors are bating the administration into a fight under the guise of free speech rights.

MadisonMan said...

The problem is that the mind set that the Capitol will be open if you go to Madison and want to take a peek at it is pretty much ingrained.

That's very different from the US Capitol.

Is it the same in other states? I don't know. I never tried to get into the Capitol in Harrisburg when I lived in PA, but I don't think any other state Capitol is quite as beautiful as the one in Madison.

Sofa King said...

The problem is that the mind set that the Capitol will be open if you go to Madison and want to take a peek at it is pretty much ingrained.

You started off with a constitutional argument. That is what I am addressing. I'm talking about legality, not wisdom. My example was to argue that the power to levy the greater restriction implies the power to levy the lesser. I was not arguing it was a good idea.

Do you still beleive this rule is unconstituional?

MadisonMan said...

Do you still beleive this rule is unconstituional?

If by this rule you mean the one used to arrest people inside the Capitol for carrying signs, then Yes I do. I also think it's a foolish politician who tries to enforce it -- but that's not a statement on Constitutionality.

From the Constitution: Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right, and no laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.

MayBee said...

but I don't think any other state Capitol is quite as beautiful as the one in Madison.


The ugly protesters and their ugly signs very much detract from that.
So maybe asking them to stay in one area protects the experience of people you seem to be concerned about. The visitors.

MadisonMan said...

I have been unable to find any news reports of the citation-issuance. Has anyone else?

Sofa King said...

MadisonMan: Are you arguing that reasonable, viewpoint-neutral time/place/manner restrictions are unconstitutional? Can you point to a court case supporting this view?

MadisonMan said...

I'm suggesting that the restrictions are not reasonable.

(IANAL)

Sofa King said...

I think they are reasonable.

PaulV said...

Some lung cancers are not related to smoking. I have a dear friend who never smoked or had friends who smoke. She dies much too young from lung cancer.

DADvocate said...

Is it the same in other states? I don't know.

I mentioned this the other day, but in Tennessee they have an armed State Trooper plus metal detectors at the only entrance open to the general public. If I remember correctlly, the employee entrance has a guard at it too and you can't open the door without a pass card.

Ben Masel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Masel said...

Even content neutral time, place, and manner restrictions are subject to intermediate scrutiny. Since this one's brand new, as signs HAVE been allowed in the area without permits for at least 25 years, it's still presumed inadequate until a judicial test.

There's already been an injunction issues staying enforcement, with a temporary restraining order to the Department of Administration to restore the status quo ante, which has until now been ignored.

Mike Heubsch MUST PAY.

Ben Masel said...

The Myspace page remains as an archive of my 2006 campaign. At the time, it was perhaps my most effective tool of a nearly no-budget campaign. $662, for 51,000 votes in the Democratic primary vs Herb Kohl, who spent $3.4 million out of pocket to net 310,000 votes.

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