The Big One, Part Two

Snowing again! Last night another eight or ten inches fell and this morning it's still coming down. It's quite pretty. The mess will come soon enough. One of the funny things about Carlisle is how people who live in the downtown area become extremely possessive of parking spaces after they have shoveled out their cars. The most common technique is to leave a plastic chair or two in the newly created space, but one finds all kinds of objects left as signs that are equally clear in meaning: "mine". The semiotics of winter parking is really quite simple. In an article in the local paper our borough manager pointed out that there are no municipal ordinances that deal specifically with this issue. It is assumed that neighbors will work it out. Good! Steve added that, legally speaking, any objects left on the street are considered abandoned property. Except cars! Well, there could be lots of room for interpretation here. Speaking of interpretation, I recommend Stanley Fish's most recent NY Times column on the supreme court's most recent ruling regarding campaign financing and the first amendment. The link is here. It's mainly Fish being Fish, but he does offer a wonderful example of what I think I'd call "antifoundationalist reasoning". To sum up briefly, Fish argues that first amendment law is oriented on a basic divide between speech and action, and that determining where that divide lies cannot, ultimately, be based on any objective principle. It's kind of like winter parking in Carlisle: what is the principle by which we determine when property in the street is really abandoned?