Seattle Police Action Against Sign Warning Motorists Of Oncoming Speed Trap Likely A Violation Of Free Speech Rights

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

From screen shot: KOMO News
From screen shot: KOMO News

While this might seem to some as a Tempest in a Tea Pot involving only a traffic infraction, the actions of a Seattle Police Department Motor Traffic Unit could put the city into a legal liability for a violation of free speech rights.

Several days ago, Daniel Gehlke saw motorcycle officers set up near the intersection of 14th Avenue South and South Washington and begin enforcing stop sign and speed laws. Mr. Gehlke then obtained a Rubbermaid container lid and wrote thereon the words “COPS AHEAD! Stop at sign and light!” He stood nearby the intersection displaying the lid to warn drivers of the traffic unit’s presence and recommend compliance with the law.

Unfortunately for Mr. Gehlke the traffic unit took exception to this and cited him under a Seattle Municipal Ordinance making the display of a sign “bearing any such words as ‘danger,’ ‘stop,’ ‘slow,'” and more… [with] Directions likely to be construed as giving warning to or regulating traffic.”

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Pennsylvania Politicians Seeks To Impose Registry and Other Limitations In Strip Clubs

2350px-poledsc325We have previously discussed efforts of politicians to add costs or otherwise harass owners and customers of strip joints for moral, social, or political reasons. Both feminists and religious right advocates have targeted the businesses. The latest such effort is being spearheaded by Pennsylvania state Rep. Matthew Baker, R-Tioga, who admits that he has introduced a new draconian measure to respond to faith-based groups. His bill would force strippers to register with the state, ban alcohol in strip joints and create a buffer zone between dancers and patrons (effectively barring “lap dances.”).

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Controversial Filmmaker O’Keefe Detained At Border By Customs

CIHe_UEUEAA7r4YConservative filmmaker James O’Keefe has reported that he was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents Monday when attempting to reenter the country. The reason appears his widely published video showing him crossing the border repeatedly from United States and Mexico while dressed as Osama bin Laden. The video succeeded in capturing what critics have complained about for years: that the border remain wide open and that the Administration is misleading the public on the ease with which potential terrorists could cross into the United States illegally. Whatever the merits of that video, it does seem to me to be either a form of journalism or political speech. It was also very embarrassing for Customs and the Administration. That makes the action troubling if O’Keefe was told, as he states, that he will be detained from now on whenever he tries to reenter the United States.

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Berkeley Holds Seminars To Discourage Use Of Terms Like “Melting Pot” As Racial “Microaggressions”

200px-University_of_California_Seal.svgI have written columns and blogs through the years about the disturbing trend on U.S. campuses toward free regulation and controls. In the name of diversities and tolerance, college administrators and professors are enforcing greater and greater controls on speech –declaring certain views or terms to be forms of racism or more commonly “microaggressions.” The latter term is gaining support to expand the range of controls over speech and conduct to include things that are indirect or minor forms of perceived intolerance. The crackdown seems most prevalent in California where lists of “micro aggressions” seems to be mounting as a macroaggression on free speech. The new list of verboten terms out of University of California (Berkeley), headed by Janet Napolitano, captures the insatiable appetite for speech regulation. The school has asked faculty to stop using terms like “melting pot” or statements like “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” They are now all microaggressions. Not only are school buying into the concept of microaggressions and speech regulation, but they are shaping a generation of students who seem to look for any possible interpretation of terms to take offensive at.

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Kuwait Sentences Female Activist and 21 Others For Reading From Speech Critical Of Emir

PrisonCell220px-Sheikh_Sabah_IVIn 1991, President Bush announced the start of military operations to free Kuwait from the ravages of dictatorship after the invasion of Iraqi forces. He promised to restore Kuwait and its people to freedom. In the years following the liberation however Kuwait’s government has repeatedly shown that real freedom was confined to its ruling family and not average Kuwaitis. The sentencing in absentia of Rana Jassem al-Saadun is only the latest example. The female rights activist was given three years in jail for simply repeating parts of a speech by an opposition leader that was critical of Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s authoritarian leader.

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Pope Issues Rare Encyclical On Climate Change That Demands Action To Curtail Carbon Emissions To Save Humanity

120px-Pope_Francis_in_March_2013_(cropped)earth-screensaver_largeAs widely rumored, Pope Francis has issued a historic papal encyclical that agrees with the vast majority of scientists that global warming is real, largely caused by mankind, and threatens the very future of humanity. He has called for emergency action to curtail carbon emissions by reducing fossil fuels and developing renewables.

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Illinois Sanctioned By AAUP Over Termination of Professor For Anti-Israeli Views

dJZiSXft_400x400We previously wrote about the decision of the University of Illinois to withdraw the employment of Professor Steven Salaita due to his publication of anti-Israel views on Twitter. I raised concerns over the decision as punishing an academic for views expressed outside of the classroom. It appear that the American Association of University Professors has the same concerns. The AAUP has passed a censure of the University — a significant sanction for a university that has strived to be included among the top school.

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