isn't this unconstitutional?

Joel Fritz
Sat Jan 24 16:10:46 EST 2004

In fact, the free speech clause of the first amendment protects it
absolutely.  A lot of first amendment precedents have resulted from people
insisting on inflicting their bad taste and/or stupid ideas on others.  You
gotta be tough to live in a free society.  <g>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jay Watterworth" <>
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2004 12:23 PM
Subject: Re: isn't this unconstitutional?

> Unfortunately, bad taste is not unconstitutional.  Either is Ashcroft.
> On Sat, 24 Jan 2004, Fred Dabney wrote:
> > Isn't it a bit ironic that the attorney general, who is in charge of
> > stuff
> > should be able to get away with this crap?  This puts him at direct odds
> > with the Supreme Court
> >
> > Every morning lately at the Justice Department, John Ashcroft, the
> > archconservative Attorney General, has been gathering his staff and
> > requiring them to begin the day by singing patriotic songs he has penned
> > himself. But instead of ditties like his "The Eagle Soars," many of his
> > employees wish he would sing, as the old joke goes, far, far away.
> > (John Achcroft, second from left, with the Singing Senators)
> >
> >       The nation's top lawyer has long accompanied his baritone pipes on
> > piano, and also harmonizes with Trent Lott, Larry Craig, and James
> > in The Singing Senators, the Congressional barbershop quartet. He has
> > made tapes of his originals, including a 1995 release modestly entitled
> > Gospel (Music) According to John (a sample can be heard on the Web here:
> >, and is known to
> > into song at the drop of a hat
> >
> >       The staunchly fundamentalist Ashcroft had already been holding
> > prayer meetings at Justice, but has now found a new venue - and a
> > audience- there for his musical ambitions. Staffers arriving for work
> > receiving printouts with the lyrics to his songs so they can take part
> > the daily singalongs. And lest no one be left out, Spanish speakers have
> > even been pressed into service to translate the words.
> >
> >       Ashcroft's latest effort, the country-flavored "The Eagle Soars,"
> > starts out like this:
> >
> >       "Oh she's far to young to die
> >                    You can see it in her eye
> >                    She's not yet begun to fly".
> >
> >       Sour notes are being heard in the choir, though. One worker, when
> > asked by the BBC why she wasn't thrilled about singing "The Eagle
> > put it bluntly. "Have you heard the song? It really sucks." And some
> > employees hate it so much they won't sing it at all.
> >
> >       It turns out Ashcroft has a long history of treating, or
> > his employees to his music, depending on their appetite for corn. When
> > was Missouri's attorney general, he gave out copies of an earlier tape,
> > the Spirit of Life and Liberty, to his staff. (a cut from this, Keep the
> > Bells of Freedom Ringing, can be heard on the NPR website).
> >
> >       For the unwilling musical conscripts at the Justice Department,
> > grousing over "The Eagle Soars " and Ashcroft's other originals isn't
> > to end soon.
> >
> > Archives & web interface:
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> >
> Jay Watterworth
> Department of Sociology
> University of Colorado at Boulder
> Nora Ephron said (about Washington politics, but apropos here), "No
> matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."
> "If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of that."
> William Shakespeare, "Twelfth Night"
> Archives & web interface:
> NetSpace LISTSERV(R) software donated by L-Soft, Inc.

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