Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

17282445-mmmain20150318_inq_rrxpsu18-aPennsylvania State University Associate Professor Karen Bettez Halnon, 52, took her students on a memorable field trip this month to Nicaragua that ended in witnessing her reported meltdown and arrest on an American Airlines flight that landed in Miami. In addition to reportedly raving about how the United States was setting up Venezuela for “military aggression,” she also lit up a cigarette to reportedly show symbolize the United States as a “smoking gun.” She was charged with disorderly-conduct and breach-of-peace. She has accused the FBI and airport security of abusing her after her arrest. Her two research assistants reportedly made it home safely.

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150px-GWUlogoGeorge Washington University President Steven Knapp last night sent an urgent message to all students and faculty and employees regarding the disturbing discovery of swastikas at the International House, which houses 176 Greek students. The first appearance of swastikas appeared a few weeks ago and then again yesterday on the bulletin board of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. It is clearly a hateful demonstration and the university has worked with the campus Rabbi to counsel students who might have been traumatized by the postings. However, the letter below indicates that the University is treating the posting as a possible hate crime and seeking assistance from the police. A colleague wrote me last night after receiving the email to ask if the posting of such an image is really a hate crime now. It is a good question, though one that some faculty or students might not feel comfortable in raising in fear of being viewed as insensitive.

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

The Obama Administration has been pressuring members of Congress to pass the bill that will give President Obama the “fast track”  authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership(TPP) agreement without any debate in Congress.  Fast track authority would not allow for any amendments and the bill would remain secret until just before it is voted on.

“President Obama is currently pressing members of Congress to pass Fast-Track authority for a trade and investment agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). If Fast Track passes, it means that Congress must approve or deny the TPP with minimal debate and no amendments. Astonishingly, our lawmakers have not seen the agreement they are being asked to expedite.” Nation of Change (more…)

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The_University_of_California_Irvine.svg200px-flag_of_the_united_statessvgLike many people, I was disappointed by the effort at University of California at Irvine to ban the American flag. Yet, as a university professor, I have seen some senseless efforts by students who can bring more heat than light to some issues. The response has been a bit overblown, including a call for a state constitutional amendment, when the ill-conceived and insulting resolution was vetoed by a later school board. Moreover, the resolution never involved a ban on the American flag from the school but just from one area of the school. However, the report of a letter from some UC faculty has left me baffled in its suggested support in among academics for the premise of the resolution. While we all have different political and philosophical viewpoints, the flag represents first and foremost the protection of such differing viewpoints and the right to express them. We clearly have our problems and historical regrets, but the flag is a unifying symbol of our values, including the free speech rights that allow us to criticize our government and our history.

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

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the massive cuts to education and programs for the poor by the new Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner. In that article, I mentioned that Gov. Rauner seemed to be parroting the budget methods of Governor Brownback in Kansas and Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, both of whose state economies have been floundering under their respective austerity programs.

Well, it seems that in Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has gone even farther in his attempts to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class by proposing massive cuts to the Department of Natural Resources, while attempting to wrest control of  various agencies from the public domain and capturing them in the Executive branch of government. (more…)

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fifty-shades-posterBy Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Idaho Liquor Licensees who show movies have been served with notice demanding that they not show the blockbuster Hollywood hit “Fifty Shades of Grey” while serving alcoholic beverages. The agency claims that doing so violates Idaho law prohibiting the display of sexually explicit movies while serving alcohol.

Many are wondering why the ABC singled out Fifty Shades of Grey and not various other R-Rated movies having sexual situations that dominate the movie industry.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The Bank of Canada moved to protect its economy from a sudden spike spock in its currency.

The Canadian Dollar spocked in value following the death of Actor Leonard Nimoy a week ago. Currency traders marked the five dollar notes and in turn succeeded in initially increasing its value. This was then followed by a run on the bank notes prompting the Bank of Canada to intervene to protect the dollar’s value.

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