Author: kmcrae

This Month in the Law: The First Amendment

Welcome back to This Month in the Law! This marks our two month anniversary, which is a fancy way of saying I actually wrote something before July ended. I am pretty proud of this because it means This Month in The Law remains a valid title for at least another month! Last month I ended with the comment – “maybe we can even find something to talk about besides the First Amendment.” In hindsight, that was a mistake. The First Amendment is always going to pop up, it seems. First Amendment First Up: Sacha Baron Cohen For example, there...

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This Month in the Law: Free Speech

“This Month in the Law” Begins Publication Growing up, I loved This Week in Baseball (TWIB). Every Saturday I could tune in to get a snapshot of everything happening around major league baseball. This was the era before ESPN, so there were no nightly highlight shows on cable TV. I listened to the Royals on the radio because they were not on TV more than once or twice a week. If I wanted to see the plays I heard on the radio or find out how other teams were doing, I had to watch TWIB. It was short, informative,...

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Civil Conversations Step Four: Make The Argument

Several months ago my sister recommended a TED Talk to me. The Talk was given by Megan Phelps-Roper, formerly of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. In her TED Talk, Ms. Phelps-Roper explains how she was encouraged to change her worldview as a result of several conversations she had with people outside the church and family that compromised her entire universe. She identified four specific steps the people she talked to used to help her change her mind. Those four steps became the basis for the four-part series I have been writing on how to have difficult conversations. We...

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Civil Conversations Step Three: Stay Calm

I have been exploring a four-step process for difficult conversations. The idea behind the process is that there is a way to discuss even the most difficult of subjects and, potentially, find consensus. Megan Phelps-Roper presented this method in a TED Talk.  She is a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka (and the granddaughter of its founder, Fred Phelps). The TED Talk reflects her journey from being the online spokesperson for the church’s hate fueled message to leaving the church. Along the way she interacted with lots of people who opposed her, and the Westboro Baptist...

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Step Two for Civil Conversation

In my last article, I discussed a four-step process for having better conversations on difficult matters. Megan Phelps-Roper, a granddaughter of Fred Phelps and former member of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, suggested this process in a TED Talk. The four steps she suggests are most effective for having conversations even on tough topics or in heated moments, are: Don’t assume the other side has a bad intent. Ask questions. Stay calm. Make the argument. I discussed the first step in my prior article; this article is about the second step—Ask Questions. Questions Must be Open-Ended It is...

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