Tag Archives: first amendment

Pennsylvanians Now Free to Gratuitously Drop ‘F-Bomb’

Hey, kids! The ACLU and Commonwealth of Penn. say it's okay to fire away, as long as it's "non-threatening!"

Hey, kids! The ACLU and Commonwealth of Penn. say it's okay to fire away, as long as it's "non-threatening!"

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) secured a victory Tuesday for Pennsylvanians who enjoy dropping the ‘F-bomb’ without fear of reprisal from law enforcement officials.

ACLU lawyer Mary Catherine Roper says Penn. state troopers issued “more than 700 disorderly conduct citations for cursing in a recent one-year span, and local police hundreds more.”

Roper claims citizens’ newfound freedom to use expletives in common “non-threatening” conversation will cut down on needless legal costs endured by violators and the court system.

How do you interpret this ‘victory’ for civil liberties if you’re a parent or teacher? Afterall, this is a victory for protecting freedom of speech as prescribed by the 1st Amendment.

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Sunshine State Forbids Holiday Decorations at Toll Booths

Welcome to the People's Republic of Florida!

Welcome to the People's Republic of Florida!

UPDATE: 12/08/2010 – Florida Official Responds to ‘Scrooge’ Accusations; Accuses Toll Collectors of Theft

Thanks to an unspecified “record” number of motorists who have grudges against all things Christmas, Florida transportation officials have forbidden toll booth operators from displaying decorations celebrating any religious or cultural holiday.

Christmas might have been the primary target of easily offended motorists (probably the same ones with bumper stickers proclaiming, “Embrace Diversity.”), but Muslims, Jews and African-Americans who operate toll booths are also feeling the effects of the state’s ban on Christmas decorations. In the name of ‘fairness,’ Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise outlawed all reminders of religious and cultural celebrations from display in toll booths.

“The state says it comes down to money,” reports ClickOrlando.com. “It has to be fair to all people of all beliefs and it can’t spend money to buy decorations for everybody’s holidays. The simplest thing was to get rid of decorations altogether.”

Toll booth operator Lana Fontanetta said if she’s not allowed to decorate her workplace — EVEN OUT OF HER OWN POCKET — she will turn herself in to a living Christmas ornament. She thinks the line is blurred between everyone else’s ‘rights’ and her own.

“Christmas is the biggest holiday and it means so much to me,” Fontanetta told KTAR.com. “You want to feel the joy and I feel like somebody’s trying to keep me down. I am a Christian and I’m not afraid to say it.”

Contact Fla. Secretary of Transportation Stephanie C. Kopelousos and Interim Executive Director of Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise Kevin Thibault if you think they deserve lumps of coal in their stockings:

Email Stephanie C. Kopelousos: fdot@dot.state.fl.us
Tel: 850-414-5205

Email Kevin Thibault: kevin.thibault@dot.state.fl.us
Tel: 407-264-3100

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School Says Boy’s American Flag Causing ‘Racial Tensions’

FOX 40 News in Sacramento, Calif., reports that a 13-year-old boy has been told to remove the American flag he’s flown on his bicycle for the past two months in an effort to help ease racial tensions at his school:

A school official at Denair Middle School told Cody [Alicea] some students had been complaining about the flag and it was no longer allowed on school property.

“In this country we’re supposed to be free,” said Cody. “And I should be able to wave my flag wherever I want to. And they’re telling me I can’t.”

Cody’s grandfather says the school was concerned about racial tensions or uprisings because of the flag. He feels if there was really a problem it should have been brought up two months ago, not during Veterans week …

Email Principal Aaron Delworth (Note: Conveniently, Denair Middle School’s website is currently offline, so emails might require re-sending.)

For immediate results, try calling him: 209-632-2510

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Students Blown Away by School’s “Sex Pistols” T-Shirt Ban

Students showing their support for the Sex Pistols and rights to free speech and expression.

Students showing their support for the Sex Pistols and rights to free speech and expression.

Upwards of a dozen high school students in Washington State have been suspended for wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the name of a 1970’s punk rock band known as the “Sex Pistols.” One student said she was “laughed at” by school administrators upon reminding them of a 1969 Supreme Court case validating students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression within the confines of public schools.

The controversy began on Monday when a Several Forks High School student was told to remove her Sex Pistols t-shirt because it was allegedly in violation of the school’s policy against wearing clothing containing sexual references or innuendos.

“Sex Pistols is not a sexual innuendo,” declares former student body president and current senior Devin Chastain. “It is a homage to an important band.”

Junior Alvina Carter echoed Chastain’s claim that the students are being unfairly singled out for expressing their admiration for one band while other rockers’ t-shirts are given a free pass.

“It is the name of a band — people wear Bob Marley and Lil’ Wayne shirts,” Carter said. “I don’t know why we can’t wear Sex Pistols shirts.”

When senior Denay Roberts informed school administrators that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Tinker v. Des Moines case protected students’ rights to express themselves freely in public schools, she said it fell upon deaf ears.

Roberts stated the court’s decision that reads: “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate. This has been the unmistakable holding of this Court for almost 50 years.”

The result for doing her ‘homework’ and standing up for students’ rights to express themselves in Several Forks High School: “I was basically laughed at,” Roberts said.

Does this public school’s blatant disregard for students’ rights to freedom of speech and expression, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, frustrate the heck out of you? If so, share your feelings with District Superintendent Diana Reaume:

Email: diana.reaume@qvschools.org
Tel: (360) 374-6262 x. 350

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Peaceful Student Promises ‘Holy War’ Against School Principal

Does Cainan Gostnell look like a gang member?

Does Cainan Gostnell look like a gang member?

A middle school in Colorado Springs, Colo., has no problem with kids wearing religious symbols from any faith, so long as they’re not Catholic rosary beads. Seventh grader Cainan Gostnell said his school’s principal needs to stop confusing his rosary beads for a gang symbol or he’ll see him in court.

Recently, Cainan said an announcement was made over the school’s public address system warning that students would either have to conceal their religious jewelry or remove it entirely because some people in the school are “offended” by the public displays of faith.

Colorado Springs’ District 11 spokeswoman Elaine Naleski told reporters this week that the district “allows all religious symbols, including crosses, head scarves worn by Muslims, the Star of David, to be worn openly.” She noted that there is one exception to the policy: Catholic rosary beads can potentially be used as a gang symbol.

It's easy to see how Principal Stanec could confuse Cainan for this MS-13 member. What the heck happened to common sense and applying it to real life situations?

It's easy to see how Principal Stanec could confuse Cainan for this MS-13 member. What the heck happened to common sense and applying it to real life situations?

Apparently, no one is confusing Muslim students wearing head scarves with radical Islamic jihadists or terrorists, but when a seventh grade boy wears his rosary beads to school, he’s immediately profiled by the principal as a member of Mara Salvatrucha, better known as MS-13.

“The fact is that he is a good student who does not get into trouble and has worn his cross on a chain outside his shirt without causing any disruption in school,” explains Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). His law firm sent a warning letter to Principal Scott Stanec stating:

Cainan has a First Amendment right to continue to wear his cross on the outside of his clothing in school. Cainan’s cross is a form of symbolic speech. He wears it to convey his faith in God and to identify himself as a Christian . . . .Under the law, Cainan has a First Amendment right to wear his cross to school. Preventing him from wearing his cross is a violation of his rights.

Our attorneys who are handling this case are very clear: Our client should not be punished for his religious expression and speech.

The fact is that schools cannot prohibit students from exercising their constitutional rights of religious expression – whether it’s wearing a cross or a rosary. Cainan’s desire to wear a cross outside his shirt is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment.

Stanec has until Oct. 19 to respond to the letter demanding Cainan’s right be restored or else the ACLJ will pursue the matter in court.

Do you agree that Cainan has a First Amendment right to visibly wear Catholic rosary beads in public school without persecution? If not, please explain why you think the school is within its legal right to forbid students from wearing religious symbols.

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Bureaucrats Want to Legislate Restrictions on Their Own Behavior

Dallas County Commissioners claim they want to play nice with each other, just like kindergartners.

Dallas County Commissioners claim they want to play nice with each other, just like kindergartners.

Complaining that they fight too much and are disrespectful towards each other, county commissioners in Dallas County, Texas, have proposed rules to ensure they never again let their emotions get the best of them. Here’s our proposal: Quit the bitching and yapping and stop the taxing and spending.

The proposed rules would prohibit commissioners from engaging in verbal abuse, personal attacks, and interrupting anyone recognized by the county judge to speak during their meetings. Additionally, if a commissioner is deemed too unruly, the rules would allow for the county judge or a majority vote to remove their unwanted peer from the discussion or debate.

No heated debates. No public displays of frustration or emotion. No yelling or expressions of anger. And, anyone who is deemed in violation by the majority can be kicked-out of a meeting. Nah, there’s nothing arbitrary or slanted in the majority party’s favor here to eliminate the opposition.

What are your thoughts? Should politicians regulate their own behavior and that of their peers? Or, do you think those proposing the behavior restrictions are more interested in ensuring their opponents can be silenced or removed when they are seen as a threat to the majority’s interests and agenda?

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Media Silent as Pastors Urged to Pimp Obamacare

"Embrace Obamacare and you will be saved!"

"Embrace Obamacare and you will be saved!"

President Obama recently asked church pastors to promote the glories of socialized medicine to their flocks and the State-Run Media didn’t make a peep about this mingling of church and state.

James Towey, President George W. Bush’s director of faith-based initiatives, writes in his Sept. 25 Wall Street Journal opinion piece:

Imagine what would have happened had I proposed that he use that office to urge thousands of religious leaders to become “validators” of the Iraq War?

I can tell you two things that would have happened immediately. First, President Bush would have fired me—and rightly so—for trying to politicize his faith-based office. Second, the American media would have chased me into the foxhole Saddam Hussein had vacated.

Yet on Tuesday President Obama and his director of faith-based initiatives convened exactly such a meeting to try to control political damage from the unpopular health-care law. “Get out there and spread the word,” Politico.com reported the president as saying on a conference call with leaders of faith-based and community groups. “I think all of you can be really important validators and trusted resources for friends and neighbors, to help explain what’s now available to them.”

Since then, there’s been nary a peep from the press.

According to the White House website, the faith-based office exists “to more effectively serve Americans in need.” I guess that now means Americans in need of Democratic talking points on health care. Do we really want taxpayer-funded bureaucrats mobilizing ministers to go out to all the neighborhoods and spread the good news of universal coverage?

Surely, President Obama’s familiar with Exodus 20:10 that states, “but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates.” Aside from using churches to promote a political message, it doesn’t look like he or his willing pastors have a problem with conducting government business on the Lord’s day, either.

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Should Public Officials Tweet in Session?

To Tweet or not to Tweet: That is the question.

To Tweet or not to Tweet: That is the question.

A battle is raging among two Cook County, Ill., commissioners over the right to ‘Tweet’ to constituents while in session. Cook County Commissioner and avid Tweeter Tony Peraica (R-16th) says he just wants to ensure “transparency in government,” but Democrats are trying to “muzzle” him.

Opposing Peraica’s efforts to keep citizens informed with live ‘color commentary’ from County Board meetings is Commissioner Joseph Mario Moreno (D-7th). He claims the Twitter ban would help fellow commissioners “avoid inaccurate information going out during proceedings, particularly in executive session.”

Apparently, Moreno’s concern is that Peraica is sending out “inaccurate information” to citizens that tends to be critical of Democrats. Here’s the straw that broke the donkey’s back, reports the Chicago Daily Herald:

It first came up last November, when Riverside Republican Commissioner Tony Peraica put out a Twitter tweet chiding Chicago Democratic Commissioner Deborah Sims for her decision to flip-flop and vote against an override of President Todd Stroger’s sales-tax increase. Peraica posted: “Com Debbie Sims still does not get it. She blames the press for her vote to support Stroger sales tax. Time to vote her out.”

Peraica has been tweeting from his boardroom seat for years now. He says the effort is an attempt to silence critics.

“They’re afraid that the taxpayers may find out exactly what is going on at the County Board,” Peraica told Chicago’s CBS News affiliate, “and what goes on there is not pretty, and it costs the taxpayers a lot of money.”

Moreno is expected introduce the anti-Tweeting ordinance to the Democrat-dominated commission today.

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Craigslist Crackdown: Attorneys General Sacrificing Free Speech

The 1st Amendment says "Congress shall make no law ..." so the AG's, apparently, think they're free to violate the Constitution.

The 1st Amendment says "Congress shall make no law ..." so the AG's, apparently, think they're free to violate the Constitution.

The Cato Institute’s Jim Harper reports that the cost to free speech in the recent “badgering of Craigslist” by 17 states’ attorneys general “vastly outweighs the infinitesimal crime-prevention benefit” sought by removing the the “Adult Services” section of the popular classified listings website.

If you’re not familiar with the case, Harper provides a comprehensive overview with plenty of links to related news to get you up to speed.

And, as Harper reveals, the 17 attorneys general are a mix of Democrats and Republicans — it’s not the typical bunch of Left-wing big government bureaucrats, as one might assume.

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San Francisco Reconsiders Constitutionality of Anti-Gun Ad Policy

S.F. approves this depiction of firearms, but the city still prohibits guns from being displayed in ads appearing on MTA venues.

S.F. approves this depiction of firearms, but the city still prohibits guns from being displayed in ads appearing on MTA venues.

Perhaps the fascists running San Francisco discovered the U.S. Constitution and its amendments protecting free speech and citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms. Stranger things have happened in the Left Coast city in recent months.

According to WorldNetDaily.com, city buses are now displaying an ad for an upcoming gun rights conference that shows a woman holding a shotgun and looking through a curtain while protecting her home against a violent criminal lurking outside. In August, the city’s Metro Transit Authority banned similar ads displaying movie actors wielding firearms, leaving 2nd Amendment supporters baffled by the city’s sudden change of heart.

“We suspect the MTA is allowing our ads in San Francisco despite their policy because they believed we were prepared to file a lawsuit on First and Second Amendment grounds if, for any reason, the city didn’t take them,” said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, which is running the conference promoted by the ads. “Knowing we were responsible for the McDonald victory over Chicago and the defeat of their own 2005 gun ban proposition, and probably aware of our litigation in New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and California, they did not want to lock horns with us again,” Gottlieb told WND.

City officials demanded guns appearing in this ad be removed and replaced with pepper spray and police badges.

City officials demanded guns appearing in this ad be removed and replaced with pepper spray and police badges.

Just last month, city officials were singing a different tune with regards to firearms appearing on mass transit advertising venues. When the MTA decided to prohibit firearms from appearing in the hands on actors in promotional ad for “The Other Guys” movie, spokesman Paul Rose said the organization “does have an advertising policy that states ads should not appear to promote the use of firearms or advocate any violent action.”

In wake of the upcoming gun rights conference and a recent Supreme Court ruling stating that Americans’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms that cannot be violated by state and local governments, Rose said, “We want to take another look at our policy.”

Just goes to prove what can happen when you fight city hall with facts and the Constitution on your side.

Contact the MTA if you’d like to see advertising restrictions on firearms permanently removed from the city’s list of items prohibited from being featured in ads appearing on public transportation venues:

MTA spokesman Paul Rose: 415.701.4582

and/or

Heather McGuire
SVP/General Manager
Titan Worldwide
233 Post Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94108
415.773.0355

E-mail:
Heather.McGuire@titanoutdoor.com

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