SpeakSpeak News


Priest Denies Communion to Gay Sympathizers

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/16/2005 @ 10:14 am

A priest in St. Paul, MN, denied communion to worshipers wearing rainbow sashes, a show of solidarity for the rights of gay people. The Rainbow Sash Alliance encourages Catholics to wear the sashes on Pentecost Sunday — and has done so since 2001. This is the first year supporters have been denied communion.

In the New York Times.

S.C. “Harmful to Minors” Law Overturned

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/16/2005 @ 10:02 am

A federal judge has nixed a state law that provided harsh penalties for anyone found guilty of providing content ‘harmful to minors’ over the Internet. The law was found unconstitutional.

The plaintiffs, some of whom operate Web sites with material on topics including obstetrics, sexual health, visual art and poetry, argued the law would prevent adults from access to constitutionally protected material.

Similar laws have been thrown out in six other states, said attorney Michael Bamberg of New York, who represented the plaintiffs.

Bamberg said the ruling means existing state law on distributing material harmful to minors cannot be applied to the Internet.

“The bookstores have been perfectly comfortable with the application of the law in the bookstore context,” he said. “When somebody comes up and wants to buy a book you can look at that person and tell if they are 10 years old or a 17-year-old or a 62-year-old.”

Utah recently passed a similar law.

From the First Amendment Center.

Bozell’s Latest Bluster

Filed under  by Amanda Toering — 05/16/2005 @ 9:54 am

Couldn’t get past paragraph 3, by which point BB somehow managed to blame TV for the Illinois murders of two little girls by one girl’s father.

Folks with more patience than I can read paragraphs 4 onward at the National Ledger.

Latino Student Activism Group Faces Repeated Challenges

Filed under
  • Free Speech
 by Amanda Toering — 05/16/2005 @ 9:41 am

In Mt. Vernon, WA, where 30 percent of high school students are Latino, one student group has faced a broad and unusual set of challenges. According to the Skagit Valley Herald, school officials have provided constant roadbloacks to the students’ activities.

An incident last month arose over two posters the Latino students put on the wall of the school cafeteria.

One was a framed charcoal print of Che Guevara, the Argentinian Marxist who helped Fidel Castro come to power in Cuba. The other was of Emiliano Zapata, the turn-of-the-century Mexican revolutionary.

The students said their purpose was to advertise a farmworkers’ solidarity march on May 1, although the posters didn’t include any information about the political leaders.

Two school officials and another staffer saw the posters and complained to Vice-Principal Juan Espinoza, the only Latino administrator. He asked the students to take the posters down.

“Che and military types just don’t do it at the high school level,” Espinoza explained to other administrators in an e-mail. He told the students that Che Guevara was a communist and “un-American.”


Another incident brought the club into conflict with its faculty adviser — the matter of the tulip petals. Every year, during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, student clubs compete to create designs with tulip petals. The MEChA club has won the competition the past several years.

But this year, MEChA objected to the contest. Members of the club had been participating with the Skagit Valley College chapter of MEChA in taking food and clothing to migrant farmworker camps.

After seeing the workers’ living conditions, the students said they felt it would be disrespectful to use tulips planted by the workers in a design project.

So Enrique Lopez, a high school senior who is president of the club, sent the club adviser, Margaret Flink, an e-mail.

“Mrs. Flink, this is Enrique. i am writing to inform you that we, MEChistas, have decided to not take part in the Tulip Festival, at least not by actually having a tulip display because of how the workers are ignored.”

Flink, a bilingual science teacher who had been the adviser since late fall, suggested they compromise and use the petals to recreate a Diego Rivera painting.

“We were confused,” Lopez said. “They didn’t want Che because he’s a communist, but then they want us to do a Diego Rivera painting with the tulips, but Diego Rivera was a communist, too.”

In another incident, the president of a college chapter of MEChA was asked not to have contact with the group and was barred from the high school campus. Notice of his banishment was delivered to his home by the police.

Delivering food and clothing to migrant farmworkers: Revolutionary? Would junior Junior Leaguers have been treated the same way?

Story in the Skagit Valley Herald.

Moyers Goes on the Offensive

Filed under
  • PBS
 by Amanda Toering — 05/16/2005 @ 9:22 am

At the Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis, Bill Moyers ripped apart the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s plan to make PBS more “fair and balanced.”

Moyers complained that PBS’ “liberal” label is undeserved.

“In contrast to the conservative mantra that public television routinely features the voices of establishment critics,” he said, alternative voices on public television are rare and usually drowned out by government and corporate views.

Moyers said that’s exactly what the right wing wants.

“They want your reporting to validate their belief system, and when it doesn’t God forbid.”

He said he always thought that the American eagle needed both a left wing and a right wing. “But with two right wings, or two left wings, it’s no longer an eagle, and it’s going to crash.”

Moyers said right wingers had attacked him after he closed a broadcast by placing a flag in his lapel.

It was the first time that he had worn a flag. He said he put it on to remind himself that “not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.”

“The flag has been hijacked and turned into a logo, a trademark of a monopoly on patriotism,” Moyers said.

Moyers had harsh words for reporters who simply recount what officials say, without scrutinizing what they say and do.

He said New York Times correspondent Judith Miller, among other reporters, had relied on official but unnamed sources “when she served essentially as the government’s stenographer for claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.”

Moyers said he has come to understand that “news is what people want to keep hidden and everything else is publicity.”

From the Kansas City Star.

FreePress has made Moyers’ speech available online. Your choice: audio, or video.

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