In a major embarrassment for the Chicago mayor’s office, all the charges against Occupy Chicago were dropped a few minutes ago.  The opinion has not been released yet, but it reportedly upholds the fundamental first amendment right to free speech and assembly as trumping the Chicago Park District ordinances about closing hours.  I attended the hearing on Chicago Occupy last spring, and the judge seemed to dismiss the constitutional arguments as nothing but “interesting theories.”  Meanwhile, the Occupy Chicago protestors who had been arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted, and compelled to post bail were prohibited from travelling outside the state of Illinois while their case was pending.

Critical Inquiry will be hosting further comments on this development as the opinion becomes available.   WJTM

1 Comment

Filed under Bill of Rights, Consitution


  1. Shaul Ben-Yimini

    Not sure if ‘consitution’ is a pun on ‘sit-ins,’ and that, in the time of Blackstone, the ‘constitution’ referred to the ‘constitution’ of the ‘body politic,’ say — how matters were ‘arranged.’

    Not sure if you take submissions. Given that you WRITE on the Occupy Movement (favourably) at WORST what I’d add would be like an ‘occupy’ bit, and that should hardly be derided, then, in-light of the topic.

    So, here’s my bit…which I could share if we WERE in an Occupy setting:

    This didn’t start (or so I think) with ‘The Raw and the Cook,’ though at a certain point (once food seemed to inform on the matter) it did ‘arise on the mind’ to consider.

    Now in Jewish Law we don’t cook on Shabbat. What qualifies as cooking is a separate discussion, and, among the Orthodox there is wide consensus, but, there are still peripheral areas inflected on (practise wise) by other considerations.

    So, for instance, whereas tea may or may not be ‘kali bishul’ (something easily cooked, and, the conceptual framework of what would be connoted by ‘kali bishul’ is fathomed (even if dissented from in application), simply put, the parole is that Modern Orthodox accept that Rav Moshe Feinstein ruled that ‘ein bishul be kli shlishi’ (there is no cooking in tertiary vessels) and so tea might be made in a certain way on Shabbat.)

    Thus, to consider the other practise, making ‘essence,’ is extremely unfashionable (I make as much only as that I like STRONG tea — like in England, where they then add milk to it) but I make as-much on Shabbat — I don’t ‘make essence,’ so to speak.

    In other words, non-Modern Orthodox will make a super-concentrate of tea before Shabbat, and then dilute as much with hot water on Shabbat and thereby reform tea at potable strength.

    My train of thought in considering, therefore, ‘essence’ (tea essence) — aside from that, as I don’t make it, AS SUCH (as essence, but, as what I drink, not as a concentrate, in other words) I don’t often consider it — and with an epistemological bent I’m not likely to ponder ‘essences’ — led me to recall that in the Talmud, when they made wine, they did not drink wine as we now do, but, again, made it from a concentrate, adding water to it to constitute the strength of what was consumed. As others note, that’s why the verb is to ‘mix’ wine.

    So, whereas ‘essences,’ in ontological senses, get considered, problematically, in what I’d term homeopathic terms — as if there is some SMALL, ‘chaos-theory,’ scale-tipping decisive inflection point which something hitherto as unperceived as cheese mites contributes to.

    (Given that quantum mechanics — and our more general derision of homeopathy — has debunked our wish for claims to authority for an atomic theory perhaps we can revisit these dynamics?)

    What I’m trying to suggest, then, is that we consider ‘essences,’ but, that we consider them NOT in terms of what IS, but as a CONCENTRATE, magnifying, in other words (through distortion) a characteristic, for apprehension, but, with that characteristic, through such distortion, underscored as offset from its application.

    (That every probing results in a ‘funhouse mirror’ effect might be another viewpoint, though, while RETAINING, that SOMETHING of what is represented is thereby accentuated.)

    Aside from distortion-components (of perception) consider the very dynamic of presentation.

    What do I mean?

    Well, we are accustomed to consider that a microscope MAGNIFIES what is represented, and, in being magnified, that conveys that something small (otherwise unseen) nonetheless is, and is decisive.

    (But, absent that magnified one-off that existence is otherwise NOT perceived, even in an indirect way?)

    My point would be that if something so small to be unseen by the naked eye IS nonetheless killing people (a microbe) then it IS, in-fact, SEEN — indirectly, through those deaths, and IS a macro factor.

    Rather, I’m considering where something small is ONLY perceived through being magnified.

    It’s thus our conditioning to consider that it MUST then be decisive (since magnified) even though small?

    I’m suggesting that’s bias.

    I’m suggesting that the process of magnification (and the RECEPTION of what’s magnified) is what has inertia, but shouldn’t induce us to adopt a homeopathic stance.

    To use a pedagogic example of how we might approach ‘essences,’ then (as concentrations) and recuperate the concept while having a ‘Copernican revolution’ in our orientation, consider that, heretofore, we might consider a boulder, magnify a mere pebble as part of that boulder, and, when visually equivalent, then ‘conclude’ that a pebble contains the ‘essence’ of the boulder.

    RATHER, I’m suggesting that through magnification of the pebble to the scale of the boulder we see that (when SO ‘concentrated’ — so enlarged) that it is the BOULDER which contains the ESSENCE of the pebble.

    Instead of thinking of ‘essences’ as subtle, but form-setting, we should think of essences as GROSS, and corollaries.

    Essences AREN’T then analogous to ‘active ingredients’ but to TAUTOLOGIES, and OVER-DETERMINATIONS.

    The ‘essential’ aspect of the Iraq Invasion is NOT whether Iraq had or didn’t have any WMD. The ESSENTIAL aspect of the Iraq War is how troped the conflict is in cliches of propaganda.

    Indeed (not to be inconsistent) since I would say that a boulder essentializes what gravity is, for a pebble (yes, I have Galileo’s equalities in-mind, but I’m talking about a demonstration of the effect — wind-resistance is negligible with a boulder — and hence it’s not even a factor in our consideration — put another way, how to explain why one would even THINK that a feather COULD be less heavy — because they are perceived to fall less quickly, hence, to dramatize the essence of gravity, use a boulder, not a feather (?)) one might then note that since gravity seems to NOT operate the same way in the quantum realm it implicates that the quantum realm is not one which lends itself to essentializing — otherwise it would lend itself seemlessly to large-order correspondence.)

    Whereas we have been habituated to want to find ‘natural’ analogs (hierarchies) to our own social order, the fact that the small-scale isn’t explained by the large scale implicates that while we do have these large-scale hierarchies to consider, that they can’t be justified by appeal to a small scale order.

    In a nutshell, whereas what’s ‘essential’ has been a trope of a part standing for a whole, I’m suggesting that what’s ‘essential’ needs to be considered in terms of a whole in which a part would fit.

    It’s not that there is some small component in a pebble which essentially explains a boulder, but, that in a pebble being translatable to an exaggerated (concentrated), magnified, large-scale (of a boulder) and equivalency is perceived, that we consider that there’s something essential involved — only, it’s not something essential IN a pebble (and then to be found in a boulder, too) but that there’s something ‘essential’ in both boulders and pebbles (they’re rocks) but that that conclusion (that there IS a commonality) is a PREDICATE — a COROLLORY — of being able to fit that small bit (that pebble) into the scale of the boulder (through the concentration/magnification) of ‘essentializing.’

    In possibly, FORMERLY, understanding these things, but, losing sight of them, are we not like those who feel it’s macho to drink whisky ‘neat,’ and not understanding that you are SUPPOSED to water it down, as you go?

    So, ‘essences’ can be used, by all means, as CONCENTRATED forms, but to not reconstitute is to miss the point?

    Yes, yes, yes, Rav Aharon Lichtenstein has an analog about the mesorah and reconstituted frozen orange juice, as well…and then Nixon was in the frozen orange-juice business…did he then have views about reconstitutions and what he might try to justify, though that turned out to be more a pulp-fiction than the Madison papers?

    (And in the ‘Kennedy’ mini with Martin Sheen, Joe Kennedy lambasts Nixon for selling ice cream — how would Joe go-down with Dolly Madison?)

    Copyright Shaul Ben-Yimini December 13, 2012

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