Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

Twitter Logo200px-Codex_Gigas_devilSaudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh has announced that he has found “the source of all evil and devastation” in the world. It is no small achievement. The source you ask? Twitter. That’s right, Twitter is “the source of all evil and devastation.” This is one of top ranking Islamic cleric in the most powerful Muslim nation on Earth.

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Richard_Posner_at_Harvard_University

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor

I can still remember the first time I voted in a National election.  I was a young, 18-year-old student and I could finally have a say in who was going to run the country.  It was a proud day for me and the countless other 18 year olds who were also voting for the first time.  I can honestly say that I have not missed voting in any election since.  That includes both primary and general elections.  There wasn’t always a lot to vote for in some of those primaries over the years, but I consider voting a duty, so I made sure that I made it to the polls.

It hasn’t always been easy for all citizens to cast their vote.  Even in my lifetime, the Jim Crow laws of the South made it difficult, at best for African-Americans citizens to register and to cast their ballots.  After years of protests and legal battles, I thought the Jim Crow style of voter suppression was a thing of the past.  It turns out I was wrong.  Very wrong. (more…)

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1412627695611_wps_77_epa04193391_FILE_A_file_vThere is a sad story out of London that is a commentary on the mutating influence of anonymity on the Internet. Brenda Leyland killed herself after being confronted about her online abuse of the parents of the missing girl Madeleine McCann. Sky News tracked her down as the troll responsible for thousands of hate filled messages to Kate and Gerry McCann, whose three-year-old daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007. (more…)

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President_Barack_ObamaWhile President Barack Obama continues to assure the public that he is protecting privacy and the press, his Administration continues to do precisely the opposite in court with comprehensive attacks on civil liberties. A good example is the continued abuse of two-time Pulitzer prize winner and New York Times investigative reporter and author James Risen. Risen continues to be threatened by the Justice Department with arrest because he is protecting the identity of his sources. Risen spoke this weekend and observed simply that “Obama hates the press.”

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220px-Mumia03-1220px-Goddard_SealThere has been some predicable and understandable objections to the selection of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted killer of Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, as this year’s commencement speaker for Goddard College in Vermont. Faulkner’s widow and others have decried his recorded appearance from Mahanoy state prison in Frackville, Pennsylvania. However, as is all too often the case, politicians have responded to such good-faith objections with a highly questionable, poorly crafted law that allows victims to seek injunctions in future such cases.

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Screen Shot Youtube

Screen Shot Youtube

Recently I spoke at Utah Valley University about the private regulation of speech, particularly in businesses curtailing not just workplace speech but speech outside of the workplace. We have discussed such incidents where people were fired for YouTube videos or drunken scenes. This “little brother” problem falls outside of the first amendment which addresses government regulation of speech. As a result, businesses have wide latitude in punishing employees for private conduct, though some states have laws protecting some forms of speech and employment such as voting and political activities. We have a new such case involving a woman in Ontario who shot and posted a video of her berating a neighbor for flying a Mexican flag. The video caused many to be understandably angry with Tressy Capps, who didn’t seem to see how obnoxious she appeared in her own posted video. However, it has not escaped her employer, which proceeded to fire her.

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220px-Bonnat021966909_278774508978953_6179710600367701004_nVarious media outlets are reporting the latest outrage from Sharia courts. Iranian authorities have reportedly executed Mohsen Amir-Aslani, 37, for allegedly “insulting” the prophet Jonah and accused him of committing adultery. For that exercise of free speech and freedom of religion, a Sharia court had him hanged.

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