SpeakSpeak News


Student Arrested for Cursing at Ann Coulter

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 4:15 pm

A University of Texas student was taken away in handcuffs after he swore at Ann Coulter during a Q&A session. Coulter was delivering a lecture at the campus’ LBJ Library.

University police say they were following the state’s disorderly conduct statute, a Class C misdemeanor that prohibits abusive, profane and vulgar language and obscene gestures in public areas. But some question if Raj’s behavior really violated the law.

UT Police Department interim Chief Terry McMahan said typically when people protest at events, and they stay on the subject matter, police don’t get involved. But Raj didn’t do that, he said.

“That’s what this college is all about, being able to have that freedom of speech,” McMahan said. “But when it goes beyond an issue of speech, and it meets the elements of a criminal law violation, we step in.”

From the Gadflyer (which took it from Common Dreams, who took it from the Houston Chronicle).

Happy Mother’s Day, Soldier!

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 4:05 pm

The Christian Science Monitor reports that moms are involved in a war to protect kids from the attacks of pop culture.

“It’s not even just TV,” says Erika Waller of Brentwood, Tenn., a full-time mom with four kids ages eight and under. “It’s computers and everything.”

A mom can protect her children at home, but it’s hard once they venture into the world, to go to school or visit a friend’s house, says Ms. Waller. Even her two-year-old picks up bad language easily, she says.

Diane Snider of Franklin, Tenn., a full-time mother with two young children still at home, says that even though there was a lot of “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” when she was growing up, it’s different today.

“It’s probably more intense now,” she says.

She says she and her husband work hard to be good role models. They monitor what their kids watch on TV and teach them to be wary of strangers. “It’s doing the right things, as opposed to saying them,” she says.

The article tends to advocate for parental involvement over government control. Read more in the CS Monitor.

“Louie Louie” Stymie-Stymied

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 3:47 pm

In Benton Harbor, MI, a middle school marching band has been prohibited from playing “Louie Louie” after one parent complained about the song’s controversial lyrics.

Marching band? Lyrics?

Do the math.

From the Associated Press.

High School Journo Teacher Wears Firings as Badge of Honor

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 3:27 pm

Indiana high school teacher Terry Nelson is proud of being fired. Specifically, Nelson has been canned several times for fighting censorship of her journalism students’ school newspapers.

“You’re the voice in your school,” Nelson, a former Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Teacher of the Year, told students from Maranacook Community High School and Kents Hill School. “You have the voice and the guts to cover those hard issues others might not. What you do is incredibly important.”

Nelson said she’s been fired multiple times during her career for defending, one way or another, student press’ right to free speech.

“You don’t drop your rights when you walk in the schoolhouse door,” she said.

Nelson made these remarks at a seminar for Maine high school students Maine governor John Baldacci also spoke to students.

“A free press makes sure we’re accountable to the public,” Baldacci said. “Our country was founded on individual rights. If you want to continue to make sure you’re in charge, then understand and protect your liberties. It’s the heart of our democracy.”

Baldacci said he and his wife, Karen, as parents, may feel the mass media goes too far with violent movies or profane song lyrics. But he said government censorship is not the answer.

“I think it’s up to the citizenry to rise up and communicate that to the media,” he said. “It’s parents, parent-teacher associations, civic organizations. It has to be a community response, rather than a political response.”

From Maine’s Morning Sentinel.

Free Speech Conspiracy?

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 3:21 pm

The Dissident Voice, an “internet newsletter dedicated to challenging the distortions and lies of the corporate press and the privileged classes it serves,” explores current challenges to free speech.

Says writer Mike Whitney:

The real objectives of the modern media are to depoliticize the American people and to cultivate the next generation of consumers. On both these counts the media has succeeded admirably.

The current strategy for undermining the First Amendment is a two-pronged attack:

1) The intentional exclusion of “unpopular” ideas from the media.

2) The reliance on an institutional system (right-wing radio) that can direct the elements of public rage at a particular person.

Unpopular ideas have virtually disappeared from the mainstream. When they do appear, as in the case of Bill Moyers investigative program NOW, there is such a furor, that all the forces of the political establishment are brought to bear to abolish the show. The case of NOW demonstrates the pathological fear that arch-conservatives have to ideas other than their own. Moyers alternate view turned out to be the catalyst for revamping the PBS leadership and replacing the top people with Bush loyalists. Ideas that conflict with the corporate-friendly vision of reality are now quickly scrubbed from the media and consigned to the dustbin.

At Dissident Voice.

Floyd Abrams Speaks Freely

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 3:18 pm

First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams has penned a memoir detailing his battles in court to protect free speech. Purchase the book, Speaking Freely: Trials of the First Amendment, at Powell’s Books and support SpeakSpeak.

In addition, US News and World Report has an interview with the author.

Charlottesville, VA, To Build ‘Free Speech Plaza’

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 1:52 pm

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the folks who bring us the un-coveted Muzzle Awards, are raising funds for a free speech monument in downtown Charlottesville, VA (home of the University of Virginia).

The center, whose mission is to protect free speech and free expression, proposed the monument as an unusual way to foster and demonstrate the importance of free speech and the First Amendment. It essentially will be a giant chalkboard on which the public can write to express their thoughts.

The monument will be across from the Charlottesville City Hall at the east end of the downtown pedestrian mall. It will consist of two separate sections of slate-paneled, 8-foot-tall walls.

Associate Director Josh Wheeler said one section, 12 feet long, will be inscribed with the First Amendment and an explanation of the purpose of the monument. The longer section, 42 feet in length, will be the main chalkboard.

A podium, from which citizens can speak on whatever topic they wish will also be erected near the walls.

“The entire area will become a free-speech plaza,” Wheeler said.

Very cool.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

TV Watch: More Grumblings Over Bipartisanship

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 1:38 pm

Is it impossible for a group of groups whose differences differ to come together over a single issue?

Seems that’s the consensus.

UPI on TV Watch.

Thierer, On the Media

Filed under
  • Cable/Satellite
 by Amanda Toering — 05/08/2005 @ 1:34 pm

Adam Thierer, former Cato Institute analyst and current TV Watch celebrity-in-chief, spoke to Bob Garfield on NPR’s On the Media. The two discussed the prospects of cable and satellite indecency regulation, and how such regs might fare in the courts.

Listen to the clip (beware: RealPlayer), or read the transcript. (Thanks to BuzzMachine.)

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