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The Ten Rules Of Free Speech And College Students: Free Speech Rules.

This will catch us up on this series by UCLA First Amendment Professor Eugene Volokh.

Free Speech Rules: The Ten Rules of Free Speech and College Students Lots of recent free speech debates have come up at colleges.

Here are ten rules for how the freedom of speech applies to college students.

1. Students at public colleges may not be disciplined for their speech. (unless it falls into the narrow First Amendment exceptions such as true threats of criminal attack, or face-to-face personal insults that are likely to start a fight). That’s true even if the speech is seen as evil or offensive, whether racist, sexist, religiously bigoted, unpatriotic, supportive of crime, or whatever else. For instance, in Iota Xi v. George Mason University, a federal appeals court held that public university students can’t be disciplined for putting on an “ugly woman” skit at a fraternity event, in which one of the students was in blackface.
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Is Money Speech?

This is part of a series from noted First Amendment Professor Eugene Volkh of UCLA.

Can the government restrict people’s ability to spend money on speech?

Here are the Four Rules of Free Speech and Money.

Rule 1: Generally, your right to speak includes the right to spend money to speak. The government can’t limit, for instance, a newspaper’s budget, even if it thinks newspapers have too much influence over elections and politicians. The government can’t stop the National Rifle Association or the Sierra Club from spending money to praise the candidates they like,and it can’t limit what other Americans spend, either.

Sometimes people frame the question as “Is money speech?” But that’s not right. Here’s an analogy: The Sixth Amendment protects criminal defendants’ right to hire a lawyer. Say the government said, “You can hire any lawyer you like, but you can’t pay them more than $1000” (It would be unfair, the theory goes, for rich people to hire better lawyers than poor people can.) That restriction would violate the Sixth Amendment—but not because “money is a lawyer.” but because the right to a lawyer includes the right to spend money on a lawyer.
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Robots And Parkour.

We have written about Boston Dynamics and their family of robots before, but they have now release a bipedal robot performing “parkour” maneuvers.

While the roll and standing on its head is impressive, the jump and twist is extremely impressive when you think about the forces the robot has to compensate for in many directions.

It’s a fun video to watch, that is for sure.

Atlas uses its whole body — legs, arms, torso — to perform a sequence of dynamic maneuvers that form a gymnastic routine. We created the maneuvers using new techniques that streamline the development process.
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Civil Forfeiture Suffers Defeat In South Carolina.

“Civil forfeiture” is the insidious practice where governmental agencies seize money and assets without connecting the items to an actual crime. What makes civil forfeiture so wrong is that the person from who the property was seized must go to court and prove that the property was not involved in or the profits of a crime. Even if the person was not convicted of a crime, the assets stay with the government. The owner of the property must prove the “innocence” of the property instead of the government proving it’s guilt. To do this, the citizen must go through a court or hearing system where the law enforcement officers, the prosecutor and in some cases the judge, all have a vested interest in the state keeping the property as it helps funds their departments. It’s a stacked deck and the cost of litigation is for the innocent citizen is often higher than that of the value of the property seized, so the citizen simply walks away.

We have written about civil forfeiture before a great deal, including a Supreme Court case where the State of Indiana seized a man’s $40,000 car in a case where the crime he was charge with had a maximum penalty of $10,000. The Supreme Court ruled in the man’s favor saying that the seizure was a violation of the Eight Amendment which bars excessive bail, excessive fines imposed, and cruel and unusual punishments.
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Hoecakes!

As you might imagine, we look in a lot of different places for things of interest to us and maybe to you.

One of the youtube channels we have recently began watching is run by a guy by the name of James Townsends. Townsends is what is sometimes called an “interpretive re-enactor.” He basically re-enacts what life in 18th century America would have been like. His passion seems to be the food and recipes of the day. (Take a look at this 1773 apple pie, for example. It makes the mouth water.) Part of what is interesting is that while cookbooks and recipes are ubiquitous today, the first “American” cookbook was not published until later in the 18th century. Recipes were handed down orally from person to person.

One of the staffers here asked if Townsends had done anything on hoecakes.

We were thrilled to see he has.

Townsends spent some time at Mount Vernon, home of George and Martha Washington cooking with other re-enactors and one of the dishes was hoecakes. In this case, the records from Mount Vernon show that slaves were given a quart of corn meal a day and one of the more popular and easy things to make was hoecakes. Here’s how they did it:

The woman makes two really good points on the name “hoecakes.” First she says that the myth was that the things were cooked on hoes or shovels. No one would want to eat something cooked with dirt on it and the name likely comes from a skillet that was shaped like a hoe. The other point is that no farmer would want fire out in the middle of his fields. The threat to the crops is too great.

But hoecakes were not just practical and easy. They were favorites of the Washingtons themselves. It was recorded that George Washington’s favorite breakfast was hoecakes covered in butter and honey.

A video from the George Washington’s Mount Vernon channel shows how hoecakes were made for Washington.
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Why Are There So Many Types Of Screws?

This is a question that has plagued people for many years.

“Why ARE there so many types of screws?”

And why does it seem that you never have the right screwdriver available when you come across a “different” screw?

The good thing about not having the right screwdriver is that it can lead to a trip to the hardware store, (aka Nirvana for lovers of tools and those who never seem to have enough tools.)



Who Owns Your Life Story?

Who Owns Your Life Story? Free Speech Rules (Episode 4)

Do people need your permission to write about you? What if they want to make a movie about you, or a YouTube video, blog post, whatever? Who owns your name, likeness, voice, and life story? Here’s the answer, in four rules.

Well, two rules, one who-knows, and one piece of advice. Rule 1: People can write books about you, make movies about you, or write articles about you, all without violating your so-called “right of publicity.” That right is often defined as an exclusive right to commercial use of your name, likeness, voice, and other “attributes of identity”; but it does not apply to biography, fiction, news coverage, and so on.

The First Amendment protects people’s ability to write about others. That’s what newspapers do, both about famous people and about ordinary ones who happen to draw the newspaper’s attention. It’s also why we see unauthorized biographies, whether in print or on the screen, and fiction with real characters, like Midnight in Paris and Forrest Gump. And that’s true even though those items are distributed for money.
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Discipline = Freedom.

From Prager U.:

In this year’s 2019 PragerU Commencement Address, Navy Seal (Ret.) and best-selling author Jocko Willink offers some hard-learned, practical advice. It all starts with Discipline. That’s what will get you on the road to personal fulfillment and success – and keep you there. Watch and find out why.




“It Isn’t Clearly Established….” That Stealing Is Theft.

The Institute for Justices puts out a weekly newsletter called “Short Circuit” which is a review of some of the more “interesting” cases Federal Circuit Courts hand down. It literally is one of the highlights of our Friday afternoons when Short Circuit hits our mailbox. We highly recommend that you sign up for it.
One of the cases that Short Circuit focused on several weeks ago is “MICAH JESSOP; BRITTAN ASHJIAN v. CITY OF FRESNO; DERIK KUMAGAI; CURT CHASTAIN; TOMAS CANTU

Officers Kumagai, Chastain and Cantu of the Fresno Police Department executed a search warrant on three properties owned by Jessop and Ashjian as part of an investigation into illegal gambling machines. The warrant allowed for the:

…seiz[ure] [of] all monies, negotiable instruments, securities, or things of value furnished or intended to be furnished by any person in connection to illegal gambling or money laundering that may be found on the premises … [and] [m]onies and records of said monies derived from the sale and or control of said machines.

It is here the fun begins. According to the opinion of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:
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“If We Legalize It, We Can Tax It……”

You’ve heard the argument before: “If we legalize marijuana and tax it, that will be better than what we have now.” The reasoning is that legalizing marijuana will take the criminal element (ie organized crime) out of the equation and there will be overall less crime which means less spending on the illegal aspects of marijuana over all.

Only problem is that it isn’t working out that way for states that have legalized marijuana.

For instance, in California:

COSTA MESA, Calif. — In the forests of Northern California, raids by law enforcement officials continue to uncover illicit marijuana farms. In Southern California, hundreds of illegal delivery services and pot dispensaries, some of them registered as churches, serve a steady stream of customers. And in Mendocino County, north of San Francisco, the sheriff’s office recently raided an illegal cannabis production facility that was processing 500 pounds of marijuana a day.

It’s been a little more than a year since California legalized marijuana — the largest such experiment in the United States — but law enforcement officials say the unlicensed, illegal market is still thriving and in some areas has even expanded.

“There’s a lot of money to be made in the black market,” said Thomas D. Allman, the sheriff of Mendocino County, whose deputies seized cannabis oil worth more than $5 million in early April.
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