Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

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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dJZiSXft_400x400There is a controversy at the University of Illinois over the right of faculty to express views on social media outside of their positions. Steven Salaita had already been offered a tenured position in the American Indian studies program on the Champaign-Urbana campus and was just waiting for approval by the university’s Board of Trustees, usually a perfunctory stage. However, Salaita posted strongly anti-Israeli sentiments after the start of the recent war in Gaza. After those postings, he was informed that the university was rescinding its offer due to opposition on the board.

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milleryoungWe recently discussed the controversy surrounding a confrontation between Thrin Short, 16, and her sister Joan, 21, and Feminist Studies Associate Professor Mireille Miller-Young. Miller-Young was then charged with criminal conduct including Theft of Person; Battery; and Vandalism. While initially pleading not guilty, Miller-Young has now entered a no contest plea to charges to the three misdemeanors. Despite the videotape of the incident and violation of both criminal law and presumably university regulations, Miller-Young remains employed at the university.

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bio_yakiThere is a disturbing story how this week concerning the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and specifically Commissioner Michael Yaki, a Democratic appointee who was a former senior adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Yaki spoke on sexual harassment law in education, a subject on which I have previously written to express my concerns over the loss of due process rights for accused students. Yaki’s comments however seem to threaten core free speech principles as he laid out his view of the need to curtail harmful speech. Yaki spoke of the need to outlaw unpopular or what he considers degrading speech because college students are too impressionable.

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NYC_Top_of_the_Rock_Pano

Warning: the image above may get you sued by the New York Port Authority. We have long discussed the insane evolution of trademark and copyright laws. Now, Fishs Eddy, a housewares store in Manhattan, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) over dishes that merely show the skyline of the city. The MTA claims that the common silhouette of the city includes some of its “assets” and that the store must destroy all of its products with the images and promise never again to sell images of the skyline. It is reminiscent of the English decision finding that taking photographs of London icons are also violations. Here the authority is claiming ownership to skyline images and 9-11 images even in silhouette.

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Submitted by Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Russian FlagThe Russian Parliament passed worrying laws that will certainly have a chilling effect on free speech in Russia. Now these laws are in effect and certainly prove to be useful to the government in stamping out dissent and non-sanctioned information.

BBC news reports bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers must register with the mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, and conform to the regulations that govern the country’s larger media outlets.

Internet companies will also be required to allow Russian authorities access to users’ information.

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