This is what infuriates people like us so much. It is as if people continually have to re-litigate the established and recognized law of the land time and time again.
As written, the headline and the ruling in Morgan v. Swanson makes it seem that people – even kids – have rights is some sort of new revelation.
“We hold that the First Amendment protects all students from viewpoint discrimination against private, non-disruptive, student-to-student speech,” Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote in a part of her opinion, joined by nine of the 16 participating judges. “Therefore, the principals’ alleged conduct—discriminating against student speech solely on the basis of religious viewpoint—is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.”
However, a separate majority said the two principals were entitled to qualified immunity from personal liability in the lawsuit because rulings on student religious speech in public schools are far from clear for administrators.
First Amendment rights, applied in light of the special characteristics of the school environment, are available to teachers and students. 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.
Why is this some new revelation to the members of the Fifth Circuit? (more…)
Sep 30, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Sep 30, 2011 | Comments Off
There are times when we wonder about the disconnect in the logic behind some governmental thinking.
This is one of those times.
As part of President Obama’s economic plan, Obama has called for a change in the law to allow the Federal government to call your cell phone if the government believes you owe then money.
On page 28 of the plan, there is this one, brief paragraph:
Allow agencies to contact delinquent debtors via their cellular phones. The Administration also proposes to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to facilitate collection of debts owed to or guaranteed by the Federal Government, by facilitating contact of delinquent debtors who are most readily reached on their cell phones. This provision is expected to provide substantial increases in collections, particularly as an increasing share of households no longer have landlines and rely instead on cell phones.
The Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011 will modernize the [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] TCPA by exempting informational calls to wireless phones from auto-dialer restrictions; clarify the “prior express consent” requirement; and continue the prohibition against the use of assistive technologies to call wireless numbers for telemarketing purposes.
The text of the bill specifically addresses “prior express consent” through an amended definition:
The term “prior express consent” means the oral or written approval of a person —
(A) for the initiation of a telephone call to such person by or on behalf of an entity with which such person has an established business relationship; and
(B) that is provided when such person purchases a good or service or at any other point during such relationship.
A person who provides a telephone number as a means of contact evidences consent under this paragraph.
Via our friends over at Cold Fury and the Doug Ross comes a comment by Mary Frances Berry who previously served as the head of the US Civil Rights Commission. We remember Berry as the head of the commission that looked into the 2000 presidential election and whose staff leaked reports and documents that were later removed from the final report for lack of support.
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
Berry’s position is clear. It is acceptable to brand a label opponents as “racists” when there is none. It is acceptable to play the “race card” when there is no bigotry.
That alone should speak volumes about the Berry herself and the party of which she is a member.
CNN is reporting on a press credential badge issued by the White House for reporters who are traveling with the president as he makes stops in Washington state, California, and Colorado.
The three states the president will visit are highlighted in white on the badge.
Only one problem: Wyoming, not Colorado, is highlighted.
To be fair, both states are rectangular, nearly identical in size, and stacked next to each other. But we doubt our third grade teachers would buy that!
If this were the Bush White House, the press and left would be all over this as an example of how “stupid Bush is.” As it is the Obama White House, there isn’t much commentary other than to laugh it off.
Wonder how the people of Colorado think knowing the White House can’t identify their state?
Or maybe it is one of those 57 states candidate Obama visited? (more…)
Uh oh. There are people that are unhappy with President Obama’s deficit reduction and jobs bill and the group may surprise you.
Federal employee unions lashed out at President Barack Obama’s proposal Monday to make civilian federal workers contribute more of their pay to their retirement plans as part of a proposal to trim budget deficits.
We don’t give Obama much praise around here because, well, because there isn’t much that he does right. But in this case, he is right, proving the ol’ adage of a “blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.”
The President is asking for Federal workers to contribute an additional 1.2 percent to their retirement funds which will be phased in over three years.
There are some key points to make here.
First, according to the White House, Federal workers contribute 33% to their retirement funds, while private workers contribute 45%. The additional 1.2% contribution from Federal workers will help with the budget deficit assuming (and this is a huge assumption) the saved money is not spent elsewhere.
To some extent, this is the “fairness” argument coming back to bite the workers in their unionized butt. Unions have long argued that the “wealthy” pay their “fair share” of taxes (even though the wealthy are paying more in percentages and dollar amounts than the average union worker.) Yet when it comes down to the fairness of being on par with private sector jobs, the unions scream “foul!” (more…)
Sep 28, 2011
Posted by AAfterwit on Sep 28, 2011 | Comments Off
The Washington Monument in Washington DC was damaged in the 5.8 earthquake that struck the area on August 23, 2010. After inspecting the inside of the monument, the National Park Service has begun to inspect the exterior of the monument by using repelling ropes.
The Park Service has also released a video of the interior of the monument taken during the earthquake. The video shows some the violent shaking of the structure, as well as debris, mortar and stone falling.
The Florida Today newspaper ran a “Your Opinion” letter to the editor from a John Cunningham pf West Melbourne.
Cunningham starts by saying:
As we approach the 2012 election season, the right wing has trotted out its time-tested bromide of “class warfare” to decry the notion wealthy people should pay their fair share to ensure we have a functioning society.
We wanted to make sure we represented Cunningham’s ideas fairly, so we looked up the word “bromide.” According to dictionary.com, a “bromide” is a a platitude or trite saying.” Right off the bat, Cunningham launched into a unsubstantiated attack in framing the message as “trite.” Yet later on, as we will see, he agrees liberals are engaged in and should support”class warfare.”
Liberals typically run from this intended slur, when we should embrace it. Of course, it’s class warfare, and the right has been annihilating us for 30-plus years.
We guess saying “class warfare” wasn’t a “bromide” after all.
FLORIDA TODAY’s pompous columnists moan that a substantial portion of Americans pay little or no federal taxes. That’s what happens when the top 1¤percent control 24 percent of the wealth. They think it would be swell for the working poor to cough up a little more in addition to the payroll tax, sales tax and other and taxes everyone pays.
Cunningham needs to be introduced to facts instead of rhetoric. (more…)