Category: Society

“The Defendants May Pick Their Poison”: Christian Group Scores Major Legal Victory Against University of Iowa

A Christian group at the University of Iowa scored a major win this week before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  In an opinion (below) with sweeping potential impact, the court reversed District Court Judge Stephanie Rose and ruled that University of Iowa officials can be held personally liable for targeting a Christian club and denying the rights of free speech and association. The University ultimately did not appeal findings that it violated the rights of this religious group and these students in its discriminatory application of university policies.

Continue reading ““The Defendants May Pick Their Poison”: Christian Group Scores Major Legal Victory Against University of Iowa”

“Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban

Twitter LogoSen Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) came out against the Twitter ban of former president Donald Trump yesterday.  Sanders expressed his discomfort with the role of Big Tech in censorship viewpoints, a sharp departure from his Democratic colleagues who have demanded more such corporate censorship. Continue reading ““Tomorrow It Could Be Somebody Else”: Bernie Sanders Comes Out Against Trump Twitter Ban”

“White Supremacist Thinking”: San Fran School Board Vice President Under Fire For Allegedly Anti-Asian Tweets

We previously discussed the controversial position of Alison Collins, Vice President of the San Francisco school board, in her campaign against meritocracy and effort to shut down the gifted programs at Lowell High School.  The Asian community was particularly opposed to Collins’ efforts since Asian students composed 29 percent of the students but 51 percent of the Lowell student body. Now Collins is under fire for prior tweets attacking Asians as promoting “the ‘model minority’ BS” and of using “white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.’” Continue reading ““White Supremacist Thinking”: San Fran School Board Vice President Under Fire For Allegedly Anti-Asian Tweets”

Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments

There is an extraordinary case out of British Columbia where a father referenced as CD was arrested after he continued to refer to his biological 14-year-old daughter (known as AB) as “she” and his “daughter” after he transitioned to a male gender.  The Supreme Court of British Columbia, Canada ordered that the child receive testosterone injections without obtaining parental consent. CD opposed the transition as the parent but he was overruled after physicians at BC Children’s Hospital who decided the girl should receive testosterone injections. The father continued to defy gag orders, including a bar on his trying to persuade with his own child to wait before making such a change. Continue reading “Father Arrested After Continuing To Call His Child “She” After Court-Ordered Gender Transition Treatments”

Iraqi Parliament Enacts Recompense Law for Yazidi Genocide Victims

Yazidi Girls wearing traditional clothingBy Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

After a two year long impasse, the Iraqi Parliament enacted law recompensing Yazidi and other similarly stationed ethnic groups for the genocide and other crimes against humanity they suffered at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It is hard to imagine how any human being could be made whole after having suffered such inhumanity prosecuted against these people. The Iraqi Government does deserve praise for making a credible and genuine effort to afford them a promise of compensation and opportunities to earn a more promising and just future within their country and society in general.

Iraqi President Barham Salih tweeted the legislation, “is a victory for the victims [and] our daughters who have been subjected to the most heinous violations and crimes of ISIS genocide.”

The law provides recognition by the Iraqi Government of the genocide, which up until then was only officially so by the Kurdistan Regional Government in the North.

Continue reading “Iraqi Parliament Enacts Recompense Law for Yazidi Genocide Victims”

“Vial Of Death”: Farrakhan’s Anti-Vaccine Statements Expose The Fallacy Of Internet Censorship Policies

We have been discussing the expanded censorship on the Internet and the threat to both free speech and free press rights. As stated recently in testimony before the House, I remain an unabashed “Internet Originalist,” favoring the free forum for speech that once defined these Big Tech companies. The expanding censorship of the Internet continues to show bias and contractions as Democratic members push for “robust modification” to silence opposing views of everything from climate change to social justice. A new controversy shows the contradictions as people spread the false claims of Rev. Louis Farrakhan that the Covid-19 vaccines are really the “vial of death.” The continued spreading of his views shows that speech like water has a way of finding a way out, even untrue and hateful speech. The proper response is not less but more (and better) speech. Continue reading ““Vial Of Death”: Farrakhan’s Anti-Vaccine Statements Expose The Fallacy Of Internet Censorship Policies”

LA Teacher’s Union Under Fire For Effort To Racially Classify Critics

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is under fire after Maryam Qudrat, a mother of Middle Eastern descent, was asked by the UTLA to identify her race after criticizing the union’s opposition to reopening schools despite overwhelming science that it is safe. The response of the UTLA was evasive to the point of incomprehension. However, the controversy is fueled by recent efforts to portray parents demanding a return to school as racist or examples of white privilege, including recent controversial comments from the UTLA President. Continue reading “LA Teacher’s Union Under Fire For Effort To Racially Classify Critics”

Boston Suspends Advanced and Gifted Programs Over “Equity” Concerns

We recently discussed the condemnation of meritocracy in education as racist by one of the top officials in the San Francisco public school system. That position has fueled calls to end advanced or gifted programs around the country including in New York City.  Now, Boston has followed suit with a suspension of advanced learning program for its fourth, fifth and sixth graders. These measures will make our public schools less diverse over time in my view. Continue reading “Boston Suspends Advanced and Gifted Programs Over “Equity” Concerns”

Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process

Below is my column in The Hill on the struggles of many in Washington in the worsening scandal surrounding Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We now have a second former aide alleging sexual harassment and Cuomo has denied the allegation. He is taking heat for saying that he was just being “playful” on such occasions. While the media is beginning to cover the scandal, it is nothing like the saturated coverage of the Kavanaugh controversy or the past Trump allegations. Indeed, Sen. Gillibrand and many of the Democrats who proclaimed Kavanaugh’s guilty are now insisting that both sides being heard. Others are far more measured on this scandal. For example, when CNN’s Dana Bash (who confused her colleague Chris Cuomo with his brother) asked Jennifer Psaki about the new allegations against Cuomo, Psaki called for both sides to be heard. That measured response is in stark contrast to her attack on Sen. Collins as a “fake feminist” and “coward” in voting to confirm Kavanaugh. We saw a similar contrast when then-candidate Joe Biden was accused of sexual assault, though some like Rep. Omar said he was probably a rapist but they would vote for him anyway.  This should not be difficult. These leaders are right to call for fair and due process, even belatedly.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Mob Justice May Be Poetic Justice, But Cuomo Deserves Due Process”

Giving Thanks: Buy Coffee or Lunch For A Police Officer This Year

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

I thought I would make a suggestion for those who wish to pay forward a debt of gratitude we might owe our local police officers for what has been a very difficult few years. Maybe each of you might consider for even once in 2021 anonymously paying for coffee or a lunch for a police officer who serves your community. It might be a few dollars, but I can assure you it will make their shift just a bit more enjoyable–that someone cared and was grateful.

Continue reading “Giving Thanks: Buy Coffee or Lunch For A Police Officer This Year”

SUNY Suspends Student For Posting Views On Biological Gender

There could be a significant First Amendment case brewing in New York after the School of Education at the State University of New York-Geneseo suspended student Owen Stevens for posting his view that gender is limited to biologically males and females.  As a state institution, SUNY is subject to the limitations of the First Amendment and Stevens could challenge the action based on his statements on Instagram. Continue reading “SUNY Suspends Student For Posting Views On Biological Gender”

Smith College Under Fire For Treatment Of Employees After Disproven Bias Incident

Smith College and its President Kathleen McCartney are under fire for its treatment of employees after a student, Oumou Kanoute, accused the school of racism in an incident with a security officer and a lunch worker.  The incident was disproven but McCartney and the college (as well as the media) treated the allegation as manifestly true — resulting in destruction of the reputations of a number of employees who were labeled as racists or examples of white privilege.  To this day, McCartney remains unapologetic for her failure to guarantee due process and fairness for these employees, even after an investigation of the incident in a recent New York Times piece. Continue reading “Smith College Under Fire For Treatment Of Employees After Disproven Bias Incident”

“The Dirty Dozen”: University of British Columbia Professor Fired After Doxxing Students Who Dropped Her Class

We often follow controversies at universities over free speech and academic freedom issues, but few are quite so bizarre as the case of Dr. Amie Wolf. Wolf was fired after a period of paid administrative leave due to her attacks on 12 students who transferred out of her Indigenous Education in Canada course. Wolf has since lashed out at the university and other professors, including a vulgar diatribe.  She is vowing to challenge the action of the university which she insists is due to her refusal to “assimilate to the institution’s norms” as “an academic who identifies as female Indigenous.”  While I am certainly no expert on Canadian law, that would seem highly difficult on these facts if pursued as a legal action. (Perhaps some of our Canadian academics or lawyers could contribute on such claims). Continue reading ““The Dirty Dozen”: University of British Columbia Professor Fired After Doxxing Students Who Dropped Her Class”

Fired High School Coach Sues Massachusetts School In Free Speech Lawsuit

There have been a variety of reported conflicts in school districts over curriculum changes and materials addressing racism, including the recent controversy in New York where white families were asked to chose between such “white identities” as “white supremacist” and “white traitor.” Such controversies make for poor lawsuits since they reflect policy, curricula, or programmatic choices of a given district. It becomes a legal matter when a district punishes parents for objecting to such material. That is part of the allegations raised in a recently filed lawsuit by the conservative group Judicial Watch. It is representing fired high school football coach Dave Flynn who alleges that he was terminated by the Dedham High School after raising objections as a parent over the course material in his daughter’s World Geography and Ancient History class. While I have not seen the school’s answer, the lawsuit highlights troubling allegations over how the district handled the matter and allegedly retaliated against Flynn. Continue reading “Fired High School Coach Sues Massachusetts School In Free Speech Lawsuit”

Lincoln Project Scandals Highlight The Role Of Lawyers As Donors

The Lincoln Project is facing rising allegations of ignoring sexual harassment claims against co-founder John Weaver, profiteering on donations, and even violating federal law in posting private messages by another co-founder. Now, in an effort to show that it is addressing the Weaver allegations fully and openly, the Project announced that it has retained a law firm to do an independent assessment of the controversy. However, the Project selected Paul Hastings, which has leading members (including a managing partner) who supported the Project financially. The support of lawyers for the Project is particularly troubling given its campaign to harass other lawyers to get them to drop Donald Trump or the Republican party as clients in election challenges. Continue reading “Lincoln Project Scandals Highlight The Role Of Lawyers As Donors”