Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

mclawpatrick-mclaw-investigation-book-coverThere is a bizarre case out of Maryland where school officials sent teacher and novelist Patrick McLaw, 23, to an emergency medical evaluation for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. That’s it. A language-arts eight grade teacher at Lane Middle School writes a book about a school shooting and he is put on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, and sent away for evaluation. “The Insurrectionist” happens to be set 900 years in the future but the board couldn’t just wait for the shooting to occur and had to act. What is striking is that all of these steps have been taken and McLaw has been effectively treated as a danger to children but no one has said a thing beyond the novel that is the basis for the actions. Was there something else that raise the danger of a violent act by McLaw? Officials have not been shy about distributing McLaw’s picture, assuring parents that they will protect their children (presumably from McLaw), and generally portraying him as a possible threat to children. Yet, when it comes to the basis for these actions, no one is saying a thing.

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screenshot (YouTube)

screenshot (YouTube)

Many people have now watched the touching tribute giving by Billy Crystal to Robin Williams at the Emmy Awards ceremony (I actually detest awards shows and show the clip below after the controversy arose). It appears that there has been a torrent of criticism of one of the clips as racist. We have been discussing the rising limits on speech deemed racist or hateful, including cases brought against comedians (here and here). This controversy highlights the subjectivity over the meaning of such a joke in my view.

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Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 9.04.11 AMThere is an interesting controversy out of Winooski, Vermont over a sign for Sneakers diner. As part of a city program, Sneakers helped beautify its street with flower beds and in return was allowed to put up a sign. The diner featured its favorite dish with a sign that read: “Yield For Sneakers Bacon.” However, a Muslim woman who was also a vegan objected that a sign with the word bacon was offensive to her due to her religion’s ban on eating pork products. The diner responded by immediately taking down the sign and personally apologizing to the woman. That accommodation has led to a backlash from others who feel that the diner is yielding to ultra-sensitive individuals and encouraging such demands from others who may be offended by any number of food references and dishes.

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300px-Microsoft_building_17_front_door

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

We have read in recent weeks and months about the continued movement of corporate profits by US corporations to their overseas subsidiaries in order to avoid paying taxes here on those profits.  Walgreens almost went that route recently but they decided to not do what is called an “inversion” to avoid taxes.  At least for now.

You may be wondering what the picture is all about.  The building in the attached photo is one of the main buildings on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington.  And Microsoft has also been busy working on their taxes.

Microsoft, made news recently, by admitting that they have stashed $92 Billion dollars overseas in an attempt to avoid paying $29 Billions in taxes!  While Microsoft has not officially “inverted” its profits, they have done the next best thing.

Many large US corporations have complained that they have to move profits overseas because they cannot be competitive in the world market without a lower tax base.  Just how true is that claim? (more…)

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By Mark Esposito, Weekend Contributor

Watching the waves roll in here in Duck, NC, I have to admit things seem pretty peaceful and serene. It got me wondering why the folks in Ferguson, Mo. are demonstrating on a daily basis about their policing. Wonderment stopped last evening when I came across this video by 35-year veteran of the St. Louis County Police Department, Sgt. Major Dan Page.  Former Green Beret and supervising cop, Dan’s vaguely known to most  CNN viewers as the enlightened peace officer who shoved reporter Don Lemon from a Ferguson street corner as he tried reporting on the mass protest of 17-year-old Michael Brown’s police-facilitated killing. Lemon was shoved and then was herded to some “Free Speech Zone” in a remote parking lot. Now street-savvy Page is back … and with a right-wing philosophy and blood thirsty vengeance that you’d have to go to 1970s Cambodia to match — “We can kill you anyway we want!”

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By Charlton S. Stanley, Weekend writer

We should have seen this coming. I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better, if ever. At some point there is going to be a “pitchforks and torches” backlash.

Ferguson MO logoIt may be starting in Ferguson, MO. Take a look at one of the latest stories to come out of there. It’s sad that we have to look overseas to get reliable and up to date news about what is happening in the good ol’ US of A. Because of the great sucking sound that is the US corporate mainstream media, people who want to get a more balanced read on the news check sites such as Al Jazerra, The Guardian, RT, The Epoch Times, and Der Spiegel.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

rembrandt-ten-commandmentsU.S. District Court Judge James Parker of the New Mexico District ruled a monument displaying the Ten Commandments must be removed from the Bloomfield, New Mexico City Hall.

A lawsuit was filed in the district on behalf of two members of the Wicca Religion by the American Civil Liberties Union against the city. Judge Parker’s ruling stated the city had violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to United States Constitution.

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