Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Greg Looks Back at 2012 in ‘Huffington Post’

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Writing in The Huffington Post today, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff takes a look back at the year that was in college censorship. As we bid farewell to 2012, Greg recalls the disappointing hostility to free speech displayed by some in the academy: 

One of the more distressing developments of this year was the speed and verve with which some academics decried America's strong commitment to the First Amendment and our substantial free-speech protections in the wake of the Benghazi attack. In the days immediately following the tragedy, many believed the attack was a direct response to a controversial YouTube video. Some academics, including Eric Posner and Anthea Butler, wasted no time seizing this opportunity to proclaim that Americans value free speech too highly.

I spent some time taking these arguments apart in my columns "We Are All Blasphemers" and "Free Speech: Just a Recent Fad?" And certain academics joined me in defending the First Amendment with gusto, including Georgetown law professor David Cole in his piece "More Speech is Better" in The New York Review of Books. But I ended my campaign when it became increasingly clear that the video was not ...

Journalist Forced to Leave China

Monday, December 31st, 2012

China has apparently expelled a New York Times journalist after the paper ran a damaging report about the hidden wealth of outgoing premier Wen Jiabao and his family, overseas media reported.

Australian national Chris Buckley, who recently re-joined The New York Times after working as a correspondent for Reuters, left Beijing on Monday evening with his family after his application for renewal of residency and accreditation was ignored, according to Australian media.

The move follows a report in The New York Times on Oct. 25, which wasn't attributed to Buckley, detailing hidden assets of at least U.S.$2.7 billion owned or controlled by Wen's relatives.

According to a report from Australia's Fairfax newspaper group, Buckley had received no official explanation of the refusal to renew his paperwork.

Buckley rejoined the paper in September after working for Reuters, according to a New York Times report on Monday.

"The Times applied for Mr. Buckley to be accredited to replace a correspondent who was reassigned, but the authorities did not act before Dec. 31, despite numerous requests. That forced Mr. Buckley, his partner and their daughter to fly to Hong Kong on Monday," the paper said.

It said that requests to transfer visas are ...

What Will Your Contribution to Campus Freedom Be? Donate to FIRE Today!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

FIRE receives all kinds of donations from our supporters. While most gifts traditionally come as checks or credit card donations, FIRE sometimes receives stock gifts and other kinds of donations—one supporter even gave FIRE a car! (We had to sell it—we're not just driving it around...)

Here is a picture of one of FIRE's most unique gifts. It's the first dollar (or two) FIRE ever received back in 1998. Technically, it was a token of appreciation to FIRE co-founder Alan Charles Kors from William E. Simon, former United States Secretary of the Treasury (1974–1977). Simon sent on this one-of-a-kind contribution after Alan mailed him an inscribed copy of The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America's Campuses, the book that in many ways served as the catalyst for FIRE'S founding, written by Alan and his fellow FIRE co-founder and current Chairman of the Board, Harvey Silverglate

The $2 bill was issued on July 4, 1976, our nation's 200th birthday, and on the back is a picture of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which occurred right across the street from the building in which FIRE's office now resides. As Simon notes in his letter ...

2012 in Review: State Surveillance Around the Globe

Monday, December 31st, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF looks back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

All things considered, 2012 was a terrible year for online privacy against government surveillance. How bad was it? States around the world are demanding private data in ever-greater volumes—and getting it. They are recognizing the treasure troves of personal information created by modern communications technologies of all sorts, and pursuing ever easier, quicker, and more comprehensive access to our data. They are obtaining detailed logs of our entire lives online, and they are doing so under weaker legal standards than ever before. Several laws and proposals now afford many states warrantless snooping powers and nearly limitless data collection capabilities. These practices remain shrouded in secrecy, despite some private companies’ attempts to shine a light on the alarming measures states are taking around the world to obtain information about users.

To challenge the sweeping invasions into individuals’ personal lives, we’re calling on governments to ensure their surveillance policies and practices are consistent with international human rights ...

2012 in Review: Major Location Privacy Developments

Monday, December 31st, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

EFF has long been fighting to defend your privacy in your physical movements. 2011 brought major developments around cell phone and GPS tracking in the courts and Congress. But that was nothing compared to 2012, which turned out to be a monumental year.

In January, the Supreme Court kicked off the year by issuing a landmark decision in United States v. Jones, a case that squarely presented the question of whether the Fourth Amendment requires the government to get a probable cause warrant to attach a GPS device to your car and secretly monitor your movements over time.  EFF teamed up with a broad range of advocates and technologistsincluding the inventor of GPS himselfto file a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to say "yes." 

In its majority opinion, the court decided that planting a GPS device on a car is a physical trespass that requires a warrant, but ...

2012 in Review: Suits Against Personal TV Technology And the Right to Innovate Without Permission

Monday, December 31st, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

This year has witnessed a few high-profile rounds of the age-old fight between Big Media and innovators who dare to create new media technologies without asking permission. This year's fights against Internet TV startup Aereo and the commercial-skipping DVR created by Dish Network are part of a sordid tradition of using copyright suits to squelch disruptive innovation. Fortunately, the innovators have won the first round in both of these cases, with help from EFF in the Aereo case. The courts refused to shut down these new technologies ahead of a trial. Both of those preliminary victories are now on appeal - and EFF will be there.

Aereo is a New York company that lets subscribers rent a tiny TV antenna at its facility, capture local broadcast TV, and watch it on Internet devices - essentially, moving the personal rooftop antenna to a central location. Dish's Ad Hopper video recorder automates the process of commercial-skipping ...

2012 in Review: Biometric ID Systems Grew Internationally… And So Did Concerns About Privacy

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

Around the world, systems of identification that employ automatic recognition of individuals’ faces, fingerprints, or irises are gaining ground. Biometric ID systems are increasingly being deployed at international border checkpoints, by governments seeking to implement national ID schemes, and by private-sector actors. Yet as biometric data is collected from more and more individuals, privacy concerns about the use of this technology are also attracting attention. Below are several examples of the year’s most prominent debates around biometrics.

  • FRANCE: In early March, the French National Assembly (Assemblée Nationale) passed a law proposing the creation of a new biometric ID card for French citizens, saying the measure would combat “identity fraud.” Embedded in the cards would be a compulsory chip containing personal information such as fingerprints, a photograph, home addresses, height, and eye color. All of this information would be stored in a central database. French Senator François Pillet called the initiative a time ...

"I Support FIRE Because…"

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Last week we asked FIRE's Facebook fans to tell us why they support our work. The responses we got ranged from thoughtful to heartwarming to clever. See what our friends are saying about us:

I support FIRE because there is nothing more important to a free democratic society than free speech, and it is outrageous that free speech is prohibited on our college campuses, and that students are being conditioned to remain silent and fearful of engaging in open debate and in voicing their thoughts and opinions.

I support FIRE because students are not second-class citizens, becoming a student is not becoming a subject of the Accepted Royal Opinion of the Ivory Tower. We need the FIRE!

I support FIRE's work because I want students (and administrators!) to remember that their rights and freedoms do not have to stop at universities' doors.

I support FIRE because students have the power to change the world-- when they're uncensored!

I support and believe in FIRE because you have the courage to champion the idea of a free academy in the face of immense social and political pressures whether they be right or left!

I support FIRE because I like to play with ...

Last Chance To Make A Tax-Deductible 2012 Donation to CBLDF!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Time is running out to make a tax deductible contribution to the CBLDF in 2012!  With censorship incidents on the rise, including comics bans in schools & libraries, the CBLDF’s work is urgently needed and we can’t do it without your support.  Please donate today!

All donations to the CBLDF are tax-deductible in the year given.  If you become a member or give a gift membership in the CBLDF by 12/31, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation will contribute $10 for each new membership and $5 for every renewing membership.

Every member of Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a vital contributor to our efforts to protect the First Amendment.  Your member dollars directly provide the support we need to offer expert legal defense, education, and advocacy for comics and the growing community of individuals engaging with them.  Membership in the CBLDF costs as little as $25 a year, and are tax-deductible in the year given.

Please support our very important work by making a tax-deductible contribution today.

Here’s How Your Donation Will Be Used

Expert Legal Defense: When a First Amendment emergency becomes a criminal case, CBLDF springs to action. Thanks to our efforts, earlier this year ...

Doodles Lead to New Jersey Student’s Arrest

Friday, December 28th, 2012
The front entrance of Cedar Creek High School in Galloway Township, N.J.

The entrance to Cedar Creek High School in Galloway Township, New Jersey, where a student was arrested because of drawings in his notebook. (Source: myfoxphilly.com)

When a 16-year-old New Jersey boy doodled in his notebook on Tuesday, December 18, he probably didn’t expect to be arrested by the end of the day. However, when school officials saw the sketches, which they state appeared to be of weapons, and the boy “demonstrated behavior that caused them to be concerned,” the police were called.

A subsequent search of the boy’s home led to his arrest because they found several electronic parts and chemicals. He was charged with the possession of an explosive device and put in juvenile detention.

The details on what was precisely in the drawings are sketchy, as are the details on the behavior that caused concern. The school claims the drawings were of weapons, but the boy’s mother told various press outlets that, “He drew a glove with flames coming out of it.” If true, then the drawing wouldn’t be out of place in the notebook of any teenager who loves comic books.

At no point in time did the boy threaten the school, school ...

New FIRE Video: Wendy Kaminer on Free Speech, Civility, and Anti-Bullying Laws

Friday, December 28th, 2012

FIRE's latest video features author, Atlantic columnist, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer. Among her many insights, Kaminer takes on the sacred cow of "civility" on campus: "One of the ironies of this drive for civility ... [is that] you end up encouraging incivility, because people don't know how to argue. They don't know what to do when confronted with an idea they really don't like. They don't have an administrator they go complain to, and so they just shout it down because they haven't learned how to do anything else." FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has more at The Legal Satyricon and Ricochet.

Congress Disgracefully Approves the FISA Warrantless Spying Bill for Five More Years, Rejects All Privacy Amendments

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Today, after just one day of rushed debate, the Senate shamefully voted on a five-year extension to the FISA Amendments Act, an unconsitutional law that openly allows for warrantless surveillance of Americans' overseas communications.

Incredibly, the Senate rejected all the proposed amendments that would have brought a modicum of transparency and oversight to the government's activities, despite previous refusals by the Executive branch to even estimate how many Americans are surveilled by this program or reveal critical secret court rulings interpreting it.

The common-sense amendments the Senate hastily rejected were modest in scope and written with the utmost deference to national security concerns. The Senate had months to consider them, but waited until four days before the law was to expire to bring them to the floor, and then used the contrived time crunch to stifle any chances of them passing.

Sen. Ron Wyden's amendment would not have taken away any of the NSA's powers, it just would have forced intelligence agencies to send Congress a report every year detailing how their surveillance was affecting ordinary Americans. Yet Congress voted to be purposely kept in the dark about a general estimate of how many Americans have been spied on.

...

A Busy 2012 for Student Rights in Washington; 2013 Promises Even More Congressional Action

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Just about every year, Congress considers legislation that, if passed, would impact student rights for better or worse. The soon-to-end 112th Congress was no exception, and I was happy to join FIRE this past March to spearhead our brand-new policy program designed to defend those rights legislatively. 

With the congressional session drawing to a close, here's a recap of some of the legislation that (if passed-and it still could be!) would have altered the rights students enjoy on campus, and a brief preview of the issues that Congress is likely to pick up when it reconvenes in the new year. 

One of the hot topics on the Hill this year was anti-bullying legislation. In the wake of the tragic suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, who killed himself after his roommate secretly recorded and then streamed video of him in an intimate encounter with a man in his dorm room, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced the "Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2011" (the "Clementi Act"), which, according to Senator Lautenberg's press release, would:

require colleges and universities that receive federal student aid to have in place a policy that ...

Revisiting Twitter Controversy, University of Rhode Island President Issues New Statement Acknowledging First Amendment

Friday, December 28th, 2012

University of Rhode Island (URI) President David Dooley issued a new statement this past Sunday regarding Associate Professor Erik Loomis' recent criticism of the National Rifle Association.  

Following the tragic murders in Newtown, Connecticut, Loomis took to Twitter to sharply criticize the NRA. Among other statements, Loomis called for NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre's "head on a stick." Loomis' hyperbole generated significant criticism, including calls for his firing and arrest. As a result, Loomis was questioned by police and called into a meeting with a URI administrator, and even reported receiving death threats

Dooley first addressed the situation in a brief statement issued December 18, distancing the institution from Loomis' criticisms and stating that URI "does not condone acts or threats of violence." FIRE wrote to Dooley on December 21, reminding him that as a public university URI is bound by the First Amendment, and that Loomis' statements do not qualify as true threats and are fully protected speech. We asked Dooley to "immediately make clear to Loomis and to the entire URI community that he will not be investigated or punished for protected expression."

In Sunday's statement, Dooley acknowledged URI's First Amendment obligations and that ...

2012 in Review: Patents Hinder Innovation, But Hope for Reform Exists

Friday, December 28th, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

In 2012, the patent system continued to stand in the way of technology's progress, often acting as little more than a tax on innovation. But, also in 2012, we started to see some movement toward potential reform that would actually get the patents system out of the way of innovation.

For starters, Reps. DeFazio and Chaffetz introduced legislation in the House of Representatives that would help make the patent system work better for innovators and innovation—while also making life more difficult for patent trolls. The bill, the SHIELD Act, would, in certain cases, allow the judge to shift costs and attorneys’ fees to the losing party. This bill is also important because it would only apply to software and computer hardware patents. We've said before that a one-size-fits-all patent system doesn't make sense, especially when we’re talking about software. In 2013, we plan to support legislation like this that treats software differently ...

Vietnamese Blogger Detained

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Vietnamese police detained a prominent lawyer and blogger on Thursday as he dropped his daughter off at school, adding to the growing number of dissidents and activists put behind bars in the one-party communist state for writing on politically sensitive topics.

Le Quoc Quan, who blogs on a range of subjects including democracy, civil rights, and religious freedom, was taken into custody in Hanoi, his brother Le Quoc Quyet said in a telephone interview with Agence France-Presse.

Quyet said his brother had been arrested because of his political views, adding that his family had been told Quan would be tried for “tax evasion,” a charge frequently used to jail and silence government critics.

'Political vendetta'

Human Rights Watch deputy director for Asia Phil Robertson said that Quan’s arrest is the latest step in a “political vendetta” waged by Vietnamese authorities.

“[They] have been pursuing a political vendetta against Le Quoc Quan for several years, and now we see a tax evasion charge coming out of nowhere, just as in the Dieu Cay case previously,” Robertson told RFA.

Outspoken Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Van Hai, also known by his pen name Dieu Cay, was jailed for two and a half years for ...

Evidence Does Not Support Link Between Video Games and Violent Crime

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

With Senator Jay Rockefeller’s (D – WV) announcement that he is drafting a bill mandating that the National Academy of Sciences research the effect of video games on children, several sources have been examining the current research on video games and violent gun murders. Even though pundits and politicians have vehemently endorsed a link between video game play and violent crime, the evidence does not support such a link, calling to mind the pseudoscience that was used to censor comic books for decades.

Max Fisher with The Washington Post examined crime data for the 10 countries that spend the greatest amount on video games. He looked at countries that spent the most per person (per capita), and compared that information to the number of gun murders in that country. Of the 10 countries examined, the United States was actually an outlier data point that did not follow the general trend:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/files/2012/12/video-game-chart-no-trendline.jpg

Source: The Washington Post

Of the 10 countries examined, the U.S. is low-ranked on per-capita spending for video games, but it has the highest rate of gun crime. The data do not fit in with the data for the other countries, so it becomes apparent that other factors play a ...

Why We Should All Care About Today’s Senate Vote on the FISA Amendments Act, the Warrantless Domestic Spying Bill

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Today is an incredibly important vote for the future of your digital privacy, but some in Congress are hoping you won’t find out.

Finally, after weeks of delay, the Senate will start debate on the dangerous FISA Amendments Act at 10 am Eastern and vote on its re-authorization by the end of the day. The FISA Amendments Act is the broad domestic spying bill passed in 2008 in the wake of the warrantless wiretapping scandal. It expires at the end of the year and some in Congress wanted to re-authorize it without a minute of debate.

The good news is—thanks for your phone calls, emails, and tweets—Congress will now be forced to debate it, which means we can affect its outcome. In case you forget just how dangerous the FISA Amendments Act is to your privacy, here’s how we described it last week:

The FISA Amendments Act continues to be controversial; key portions of it were challenged in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court this term. In brief, the law allows the government to get secret FISA court orders—orders that do not require probable cause like regular warrants—for any emails or phone calls going to and ...

Activist Freed After Conviction

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

An activist championing land rights in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh has been freed after being detained for three months following her participation in protests against forced evictions.

Tim Sakmony, who led the opposition by the Borei Keila community against the demolition of their homes to make way for a commercial real estate project, walked free after the Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted her Wednesday on charges unrelated to the protests.

The court's judge, Kim Dany, sentenced her to six months in prison but cut the sentence in half on probation reprieve.

She was arrested in early September together with Boeung Kak land activist Yorm Bopha after they took part in protests against forced evictions. They have both languished in jail for three months without a trial.

Yorm Bopha's case was heard separately on Wednesday but the verdict is to be given on Thursday.

Tim Sakmony, who has been defending 106 families now living in squalor next to the demolished site of the Borei Keila community in central Phnom Penh, was accused of making a “false declaration” in an attempt to secure an apartment for her 49-year-old disabled son, who is a resident of Borei Keila. 

She has denied the ...

Clampdown on Memorials, Christians

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Authorities in Beijing have rounded up hundreds of petitioners seeking to mark the anniversary of the birth of late supreme leader Mao Zedong, and have stepped up police patrols over Christmas, petitioners said on Wednesday.

A large group of petitioners who gathered at Beijing's southern railway station to mark the 119th anniversary of Mao's birth on Wednesday were detained by police, according to Hubei rights activist Yi Xu'an.

"We held some activities near the southern railway station today, and sang the Internationale," Yi said. "Some of the petitioners blocked the road, but only in a minor way."

"Then the police came and put them on buses. I counted six buses, each of which had around 100 people on board," he said.

Authorities routinely disperse petitioners who gather to sing revolutionary songs from the Mao era, or who use public images of the former supreme leader as a focus for protest.

'Morale booster'

Mao's memory is often invoked to boost morale among China's army of petitioners, many of whom have pursued complaints over official wrongdoing for many years, often to no avail.

A petitioner surnamed Li said he saw another group detained after they tried to congregate below the large public ...

2012 in Review: Steps in the Right Direction for Email Privacy

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

As the year draws to a close, EFF is looking back at the major trends influencing digital rights in 2012 and discussing where we are in the fight for free expression, innovation, fair use, and privacy. Click here to read other blog posts in this series.

After years of complaining that our email privacy laws were hopelessly outdated, 2012 saw a promising beacon of light peek out from the most unlikeliest of places: a sex scandal. 

Although email has been the bedrock of Internet communication for decades, its legal protection has long suffered a two-pronged assault.

First, the government has consistently argued that information turned over to third parties – like emails that are stored with companies like Google or Yahoo! – lose their Fourth Amendment protection because it would be unreasonable for a person to expect information given to someone else to remain private. This year, the government used this theory, known as the “third party doctrine,” to justify warrantless access to social media information and cell site location records, too.

Second, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), the law Congress passed in 1986 to protect electronic communications stored with service providers, has been undermining electronic privacy as it became woefully out of date. Because of Congress’ failure to update ...

CBLDF Deputy Director Alex Cox on the Fund and His Love of Comics

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
image

Source: The Comics Reporter

Recently, CBLDF Deputy Director Alex Cox took a moment out of his busy schedule planning the Fund’s fundraising efforts and convention appearances to talk to The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon about CBLDF and his upbringing as one of four or five comics fans in rural Tennessee.

During the interview, Cox described what makes a good convention appearance for CBLDF:

Our show presence is split between fundraising and programming. Raising a lot of dollars is great, but we are happiest when we raise a lot of dollars but also pack a program hall full of people who leave knowing more than they did when they walked in. When we have great volunteers who can speak clearly about our mission, increase our membership, run a few informative panels, and raise money, we’ve had a good weekend. When we have a room full of people who are not sure who we are, that’s great; that’s an opportunity to educate and expand our membership base. That means the Con organizers are doing an amazing job bringing in new fans, and it means we are reaching a new audience. It’s win-win-win, all around.

He further describes the enthusiasm CBLDF encounters at ...

Quake Activist Gets Five-Year Term

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan handed a five-year jail term to a rights activist on Tuesday for public order offenses after he persistently questioned missing funds for post-2008 earthquake reconstruction, his relatives said.

Li Yiqian was sentenced by the Beichuan County People's Court after a detention lasting more than eight months for "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order."

"They sentenced him to five years, and he announced he would appeal on the spot," Li's son Li Yang said. "My father spoke in his own defense, and refused to admit to any of the twisted truths they had come up with."

"My father told the court ... that he was secretly detained on a train because he was going to file a petition [against the local government]," Li Yang said. "My father told them these were trumped-up charges designed to attack people who seek redress."

"He said that the [earthquake victims] would continue to petition, regardless."

Li Yang accused the police of faking evidence against his father.

"The government's evidence was all fake, and they said we had damaged a company," he said. "So why didn't the company sue us instead?"

"The government is using the law ...

Unwrap a Gift From CBLDF!

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Courtesy of CBLDF blogger Joe Sergi, our resident comics censorship historian, we’re delighted to offer this special treat for the holidays: “A Comics Carol,” a minicomic in which Messr. Fredric Wertham is visited by the Ghosts of Comics Past, Comics Present, and Comics Yet to Come!

CBLDF thanks Joe and his creative team for this holiday delight. Happy holidays, everyone!

This holiday season, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation is encouraging everyone who believes in the CBLDF’s important work protecting the freedom to read comics to become a member or give a gift membership in the organization. When you do, they will contribute $10 for each new membership and $5 for every renewing membership made from now until December 31, so join today!

 

CBLDF Gives Thanks in This Season of Giving

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

As 2012 comes to a close, the CBLDF team would like to offer a huge thanks to our members for their support throughout the year. Because of our members and supporters, CBLDF was able to make important strides in protecting the First Amendment rights of comics creators, retailers, fans, and librarians around the nation.

“We are privileged to have so many generous and kindhearted supporters who believe in the Fund’s important mission” says CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein. “In a year filled with censorship challenges in courtrooms, classrooms, and libraries, it was our community of supporters who made it possible for us to fight back. CBLDF’s supporters demonstrate an immense enthusiasm that’s hard to match, and they inspire all of us at the Fund to make 2013 our most vital year yet!”

Because of your support, we were able to provide the following in 2012:

Expert Legal Defense: When a First Amendment emergency becomes a criminal case, CBLDF springs to action. Thanks to our efforts, earlier this year Canadian authorities dropped all criminal charges in the case of Ryan Matheson, an American citizen who was wrongfully accused at the U.S. / Canadian border of importing child pornography on his laptop, ...

Library Censorship in 2012

Monday, December 24th, 2012

One would think that now that we’re well into the 21st Century, censorship would no longer be a problem. However, defending graphic novels and novels against library and school challenges remains a key part of CBLDF’s mission. In the last year alone, we have played a role in defending dozens of books in libraries and schools. Let’s take a look back at some of key book challenges of 2012:

Neonomicon by Alan Moore

The library director of the Greenville, South Carolina, public library system has made the decision to remove Alan Moore’s award-winning graphic novel Neonomicon from shelves throughout the system despite a letter of support from CBLDF, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Further, the removal is against the recommendation of the library’s content review committee.

CBLDF joined forces with the NCAC and the ABFFE to write a letter in defense of Neonomicon, which contains adult themes and imagery, when it was challenged last June in the Greenville public library system. Objections to the book were raised by a patron after her teenage daughter checked it out. The book was correctly shelved in the adult section of the library, and the ...

New Legislation Mandates Investigation of Video Games and Violent Behavior

Friday, December 21st, 2012

In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Senator Jay Rockefeller (D – WV), has introduced a bill mandating that the National Academy of Sciences investigate the effect of violent video games on children. Rockefeller’s bill comes in the wake of reports that shooter Adam Lanza was an avid player of video games. Rockefeller’s bill is the most recent in a decades long line of attempts to legislate media violence that started with the 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings against comics. These attempts are unconstitutional, and CBLDF makes every effort to fight them, as we did in Brown v. EMA, in which the Supreme Court cited our amicus brief in striking down a California law attempting to regulate the sale of violent video games.

Ted Johnson with Variety reported on the bill. In the article, Johnson quotes Rockefeller on his motivation for introducing the bill:

“Recent court decisions demonstrate that some people still do not get it,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “They believe that violent video games are no more dangerous to young minds than classic literature or Saturday morning cartoons. Parents, pediatricians, and psychologists know better. These court decisions show we need to do more and ...

IFAction Round Up, December 11-16, 2012

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The Office for Intellectual Freedom sponsors IFAction, an email list for those who would like updated information on news affecting intellectual freedom, censorship, privacy, access to information, and more. Click here to subscribe to this list. For an archive of all list postings since 1996, visit the IF Action archive. Below is a sample of articles from December 11-16, 2012.

This is the FINAL IFAction Round UP put together by our intern, Erin Sommerfeld.  Many thanks to Erin for her terrific work on these!  And welcome to our new intern, Bradley Compton!

Privacy

They Know What You’re Shopping For

YOU FOR SALE: A Vault for Taking Charge of Your Online Life

Apps for Children Fall Short on Disclosure to Parents, Report Says

Homeland Security increasingly lending drones to local police

Related: State senator hopes to pass bill, ban police from using drones

A Plan to Stop the Feds From Reading Your Emails

A Step Toward E-Mail Privacy

Naperville District 203 Schools Track Students’ Weight, Junior High Parents Furious (Ill.)

New privacy concerns as your TV may soon be watching YOU

Difference Engine: Nobbling the internet

U.S. Terror Agency To Tap Citizen Files

FTC poised to release new rules to protect children’s online privacy

...

Fighting Words… Or Not

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The First Amendment Center commented this week on an Ohio Appeals Court ruling that an adolescent girl was guilty of disorderly conduct. The girl was arrested for the words she spoke to police offers, following a fight among middle school students. With the ruling, the court denied the girl’s claims that her arrest violated her First Amendment rights to free speech, asserting instead that her speech constituted unprotected fighting words.

Fighting words are “well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech the prevention and punishment of [which] … have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem,” a definition established in the 1942 Supreme Court Case Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. They are words uttered to incite hatred or violence from the receiver. As the First Amendment Center notes, some courts have held that such language doesn’t hold up as fighting words when it is directed at police officers, since they have special training in conflict mediation.

According to the decision, the defendant was giving the cops and other students the middle finger, when an officer approached her and put his hand on her shoulder. Her response of “get the fuck off of me” then led to a string of other ...

A Comment on Video Games and Violence

Friday, December 21st, 2012

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone claimed that “the video games made him do it,” referring to the young man who killed 26 people in a horrific burst of senseless violence in Newtown, CT. For a brief moment, there was a focus on gun control and mental health, but it’s so much easier to blame the media and entertainment industry than to regulate guns or provide better mental health services.

So here we go again, targeting one of the time-honored scapegoats for all that’s wrong with society. Over the years, we’ve tried to blame – and ban – dime novels, comic books, rap music, TV, movies, and video games, although there has never been any good evidence connecting any of them to violence. As with earlier forms of entertainment, the vast majority of people who play video games don’t engage in real violence. However, we do know that even the most benign things (cheerleading magazines, the Bible) can trigger violent outbursts in some people.

As H.L Mencken famously said, “There is always an easy solution to every human problem–neat, plausible, and wrong.” Trying to explain what happened in Connecticut by pointing to video games is ...

FIRE Releases Study of Campus Speech Codes; 62% of Institutions Surveyed Have “Red Light” Restrictions

Friday, December 21st, 2012

This week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), released its annual study of campus speech codes at more than 400 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities. We found that an appalling 62 percent of institutions surveyed maintain policies that restrict a substantial amount of speech protected under the First Amendment—what we call “red light” speech codes. Such schools include Harvard, Columbia, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Meanwhile, only 15 schools earned FIRE’s “green light” rating, meaning that they don’t maintain any codes that violate First Amendment standards. Some prominent institutions, including the University of Virginia, Dartmouth, and Penn, have polices entirely friendly to free speech, but green light schools represent just 4 percent of the campuses surveyed.

Speech codes come in many forms. The University of North Dakota bans student speech that “feels offensive” or “demeaning.” The University of Missouri at St. Louis boasts a policy restricting speech that will “discredit the student body.” Texas’ Sam Houston State University broadly prohibits“abusive, indecent, profane or vulgar language.” And before it was struck down in federal court this summer, the University of Cincinnati, like many public universities, maintained a wildly unconstitutional “free speech zone.”

Continue reading…

Second Circuit Says Ban on Off-Label Pharma Marketing Violates First Amendment

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

In a case that could have broad ramifications for the pharmaceutical industry, a federal appeals court recently threw out the conviction of a sales representative who sold a drug for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The judges said that the ban on so-called off-label marketing violated the representative’s freedom of speech.

The 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan addresses a long-running and costly issue for the industry, which has paid billions of dollars in penalties to the federal government in recent years after being accused of marketing blockbuster drugs for off-label uses.

The ruling, in United States v. Caronia, involved the conviction of Alfred Caronia, a former sales representative for Orphan Medical, which was later acquired by Jazz Pharmaceutical. Mr. Caronia was selling Xyrem, a drug approved for excessive daytime sleepiness, known as narcolepsy. He was accused of promoting it to doctors as a treatment for insomnia, fibromyalgia and other conditions. He became the target of a federal investigation in 2005 and was caught on an audiotape discussing the unapproved uses of the drug with a doctor who was a government informant. He was convicted ...

Press Coverage of Recent Tragedies Raises Tough Questions

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Over the past month, the media’s coverage of tragic events in New York City and Connecticut has been widely condemned as violating basic tenets of journalistic ethics and integrity.

On December 4, 2012, The New York Post ran a cover photo of Ki-Suck Han, desperately scrambling to escape from the subway tracks just seconds before he was struck and killed by an oncoming train. The photographer, a Post freelancer named R. Umar Abbasi, was waiting for the same train on an unrelated assignment when Han was pushed from the platform. Abbasi claimed that he was not “strong enough to physically lift the victim himself,” and so chose to use “the only resources available to him, and began flashing his camera to signal the train conductor to stop.” By this account, the photograph was  nothing more than a (fortunate?) byproduct of an attempt to save Han’s life. Despite this explanation, Abbasi and the Post have come under considerable fire for taking and printing the photo, respectively.

Ten days later, the press descended upon Newtown, CT, after a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The ensuing coverage has since been described  as “journalistic bedlam.” According to Ken Paulson ...

Even Santa Claus Gets Censored

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

You remember Santa Claus, the jolly white-haired gent? If you’ve read or heard Clement C. Moore’s classic holiday poem, A Visit From Saint Nicholas, you probably have a mental picture from the following lines:

“His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;”

The subsequent lines describe another of Santa’s hallmarks, his pipe. Well, no longer.

In Pamela McColl’s new edition of the poem, published by Grafton and Scratch, Saint Nick no longer boasts his “stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth”. Nor does smoke encircle his head “like a wreath.” McColl is an anti-smoking advocate who believes that her non-smoking Santa will prevent new smokers.

Our own Svetlana Mintcheva was quoted in The Guardian and The New York Post in reference to the issue:

“In this world where all kinds of images barrage us in the street, on the internet and through mass media, energies should be directed at helping children navigate among messages and look at them critically rather than hoping for ...

Is “Gay Conversion” Therapy Protected Speech?

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Earlier this year, the California legislature passed SB 1172, outlawing the use of “sexual orientation change efforts” (“SOCE”) by licensed therapists for patients less than 18 years old. The law was to take effect at the beginning of 2013, but on Monday, December 3, Federal District Judge William Shubb put the law on hold, saying that the state may not enforce SB 1172 until a hearing is held to determine whether certain provisions violate the First Amendment. Two days later, District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued her opinion in a separate challenge to the law. Finding that the law regulated conduct, not speech, Judge Mueller ruled that SB 1172 should go into effect as planned.

In light of these conflicting opinions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will now have to decide whether the speech protected by the First Amendment includes “talk therapy” of the sort prohibited under SB 1172 That is, may the state forbid a therapist to communicate certain messages to his patient based on the content of those messages. Judge Shubb questioned whether the state could prevent doctors from telling their young patients: I believe that you can change your sexual orientation and if you want to, I ...

The Epic Conclusion: On the Twelfth Day of Censorship, NCAC Gave to Me…

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

12daystwtYears of fighting Censorship.

Ok, maybe it doesn’t sound epic, but that’s because winning these battles of encroaching censorship is something that is so easy to take for granted. So, instead, imagine NCAC as a plucky hobbit-creature and Censorship as a fire-breathing dragon, a heartless, harbinger of death and destruction (culturally relevant blog humor!).

Anyhow, this is your friendly holiday reminder that NCAC has been working to fight censorship in its various forms and iterations for many years and will continue to do great work on cases like the one’s we’ve been highlighting this month.

We can’t, however, survive without the assistance of our members and supporters. So this holiday season, consider giving us all a very special gift: free speech protections, via a donation to NCAC. And enjoy Censorpedia and the many fascinating censorship cases it contains.

The Twelve Days of Censorship

Years of Censorship Battles
Egyptian Breasts Milking
Nude Ladies Dancing
Lords Banned for Witchcraft
Bush Monkeys Swimming
Nude Adults laying
A golden chastity key
Aristophanes‘ The Birds
Catholic French outrage,
a Clear Channel Dove
and no art in Newark library


On the Eleventh Day of Censorship, the Censors Gave to Me…120 Days of Sodom

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

…Egyptian Breasts Milking
Nude Ladies Dancing
Lords Banned for Witchcraft
Bush Monkeys Swimming
Nude Adults laying
A golden chastity key
Aristophanes‘ The Birds
Catholic French outrage,
a Clear Channel Dove
and no art in Newark library

We selected this censored film for Day 11 of the Twelve Days, as the Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently honoring its maker with a film fest: Pier Paolo Pasolini. His film, Salo, or 120 Days of Sodom has been the subject of censorship since it first came out and is still banned in Australia, even for private consumption in one’s own home.

The film is set in Italy during World War II and follows the story of four men who kidnap 16 adolescents and subject them to torture and humiliation. It features scenes depicting explicit sadistic sexual violence, pedophilia and feces-eating. The film has been described as a metaphor for fascism.

See the film for yourself on December 27 or January 2.

Make a difference when it comes to fighting censorship – Donate to NCAC today!


Colombia Adopts Mandatory Backdoor and Data Retention Mandates

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

It seems like only yesterday that the Colombian government misused United States’ aid to spy on political opponents and human rights activists. Back in 2009, the "Las Chuzadas" scandal surrounding former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe landed former head of the intelligence agency Jorge Noguera in jail for 25 years for targeting political activists and collaborating with paramilitary death squads. This, and other various surveillance scandals, ultimately led to the dissolution of the Colombian intelligence agency.

But despite this history of human rights abuses, the Colombian Ministry of Justice and Technology has issued a decree that will further undermine the privacy rights of law-abiding Colombians.

Surveillance By Design: Backdoor Mandates

On August 15, the Colombian Ministry of Justice and Technology issued Decree 1704 to compel Telecommunication Service Providers—including Internet service providers (ISPs)—to create backdoors that would make it easier for law enforcement to spy on Colombians.

The Decree claimed that the backdoor mandates provides “a public security mechanism” that seeks “to optimize” the investigation of crimes. However, mandatory back doors pose serious security risks. These security risks can be exploited by criminals as was the case in Greece, where unknown crackers broke into a Greek telephone network and subverted its ...

EFF Helps Freedom of the Press Foundation

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Today, a group of free expression advocates and journalists are launching the Freedom of the Press Foundation to promote aggressive, public interest journalism that takes aim at excessive government secrecy. Its goal is to crowd-fund donations for a variety of organizations that work to expose government mismanagement, corruption, and law breaking. EFF is proud to serve as legal counsel for this new nonprofit, which will allow the public to support transparency journalism through funding "bundles."

As part of EFF’s overall focus on the role of online intermediaries in facilitating and protecting free speech online, we’ve long noted that pressure on payment processors can result in censorship that is just as effective as direct government censorship. And of course the loss of payment processors also hurts the people around the world who want to exercise their free speech rights to donate to these organizations.  Part of the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s mission is to serve as a bulwark against this kind of payment censorship by pooling financial support for a range of organizations that engage in journalism and publishing on transparency issues, from whistleblowers to websites to investigators.

Of course Exhibit A in the case against payment censorship has ...

Greg Guest-Blogging on ‘Ricochet’ This Week

Monday, December 17th, 2012

FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be a guest contributor to Ricochet this week. Greg was invited to discuss the themes of his new book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. His first post is already live, and I encourage you to check it out. Ricochet is a unique site where "the conversation" is the main focus. Contributors like Greg are encouraged to write short posts to spark a conversation and to stay active in responding to comments. While anyone can view the conversations, you have to be a Ricochet member to write comments.

Support FIRE in 2012! Make a tax-deductible donation today!

 

‘Forbes’ Names FIRE’s Kloster Among ’30 Under 30: The Young People Who Are Shaping Law And Policy’

Monday, December 17th, 2012
FIRE is proud to announce that our own Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow, Andrew Kloster, has been named to Forbes' most recent list of "30 Under 30: The Young People Who Are Shaping Law And Policy." Head to Forbes to see who made the list and why, and congratulations to Andrew on this impressive achievement!

Oh, and as a postscript, Anthony Dick, a former FIRE intern, is also on the list. Hey, young lawyers: looks like experience at FIRE is a real plus for your legal career! Apply for a legal internship today!

Support FIRE in 2012! Make a tax-deductible donation today!

I See London, I See France: Victoria’s Secret Parody Campaign Fights Takedowns

Monday, December 17th, 2012

On the morning of Monday, December 4, journalists received a press release from Victoria’s Secret about its new campaign for the holidays. It announced that PINK, the underwear line marketed towards high school and college students, was going to set aside slogans like “Sure Thing” and “Unwrap Me” on its underwear for ones supporting female empowerment and a culture of consent, aiming with phrases like “Ask First” and “Respect” to normalize and make sexy the idea that sex should always start with explicit consent. The website for the new PINK Loves CONSENT campaign, pinklovesconsent.com, went up at noon and soon had over 50,000 visitors. Support for the campaign rocketed through social networks.

But, as a number of people guessed, the campaign wasn’t by Victoria’s Secret at all. Early the next morning, feminist group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture claimed responsibility for the campaign, thrilled with the viral discussion about rape culture and consent it had sparked.

Apparently Victoria’s Secret didn’t get the memo. Also on Tuesday, Victoria’s Secret sent a letter to FORCE’s hosting provider demanding that it take down pinklovesconsent.com and a related site. The letter claimed the now-obvious and well-publicized parody infringed multiple Victoria’s Secret trademarks and ...

Radio Chief Denied Bail

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Cambodia’s Court of Appeals rejected ailing dissident radio station owner Mam Sonando’s request for bail on Friday, citing “concerns for public order” in a decision that drew condemnation from local rights groups.

The Beehive Radio station director, who was convicted in October of masterminding a secessionist plot on charges that critics say are politically motivated, plans to appeal the bail decision, his wife and lawyer said.

During the two-hour hearing, presiding judge Khun Leanmeng said his bail was denied due to concerns about “social security and public order” and that Mam Sonando, who carries French and Cambodian passports, might flee the country.

The 71-year-old radio station director promised not to flee the country if released and pleaded for clemency, saying his health is deteriorating and he has been losing one kilogram (half a pound) a month in detention.

“I will not flee to show that I am innocent, I didn’t commit any crime,” he told the judges, while hundreds of supporters gathered outside the courthouse in Phnom Penh amid heavy security.

Police prevented supporters—including diplomats, rights workers monitoring the case, and some 300 villagers whom Mam Sonando had assisted in a land eviction case—from entering the court building.

The activist, ...

U of Delaware Tries to Enforce Trademark Law Through Campus Courts

Friday, December 14th, 2012

The annals of FIRE's cases provide plenty of examples of universities doing a terrible job of adjudicating campus offenses from protesting, to rape to, er, saying things on Facebook that people don't like. Now the University of Delaware, last seen giving George Orwell's vision a run for its money, has a new job for its campus courts: dealing with trademark infringement.

At issue is the case of two students, Benjamin Goodman and Adam Bloom, who invested thousands of dollars in producing t-shirts to be sold to UD student sports fans with the tasteless (but probably inevitable) slogan: "U can suck our D." Why did the students think this was OK, you might ask? Maybe because they believe in free speech. Or, more likely, because they did it last year and it was apparently just fine. USA Today has the story:

Earlier in 2011, the pair had consulted with someone at the school's Venture Development Center — which describes itself as a "hub for campus-based entrepreneurial activity" — and were told that as long as they did not use the school's trademarked interlocking U and D logo, the shirts were fine.

Based on that advice — and $12,000 ...

More Mine Activists Arrested

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Four activists in northern Burma have been taken into police custody for their role in demonstrations tied to a controversial copper mine and are refusing bail in protest of their arrest, relatives and fellow activists said Friday.

The activists had participated in demonstrations this week in Mandalay demanding an apology for last month’s government crackdown on a rally at the Letpadaung mine in Sagaing division and are charged with breaking a law on peaceful protest.

The four—Aung Hmine San, Than Htike, Min Naing Lwin, and Thein Aung Myint—were arrested late Thursday and offered release on bail.

“They took my husband to the court on 30th Street for a hearing, but they didn’t let him meet with anybody. Then they referred his case to the district court,” Min Naing Lwin’s wife Nay Su Hlaing told RFA’s Burmese Service.

“My husband needs two people to guarantee his bail, so we have to look for two people,” she said.

But all four activists refused their bail offers and were taken to Mandalay’s Obo jail on Friday.

Fellow activist Ye Yint Kyaw, an All Burmese Federation of Students Union leader who met with the detainees Friday morning, said they were refusing bail in protest ...

Tales From the Code: Welcome to Government Comics

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Throughout history, state and federal governments have utilized popular culture to spread their message. Given the effectiveness and popularity of sequential art, it should be no surprise that comics would be enlisted into the cause. And much like Marvel’s merry mutants, comics protected a world that feared and hated them. This was apparent in 1954, when the same government that made comics also held hearings that nearly destroyed the medium forever.

Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do.” Consider: the fact that Oedipus is the murderer he is looking for; that the Scarecrow realizes that he is extremely intelligent only after his quest for a brain, the Tin Woodsman realizes he already has a heart, and the Lion realizes that he is bold and courageous; and the fact that Mary Poppins sings about staying awake to lull her charges to sleep. Or as this week’s article explores, the irony that at the same time the government was condemning comics and creators, the same government was also using public funds to hire the creators it was attacking to produce comics that promoted government sanctioned messages. This week, it’s ...

NYU Dental Student Expelled Without Even a Veneer of Due Process: Part II

Friday, December 14th, 2012

This is part two of a blog series detailing the saga of Katie Kickertz, an expelled New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry student. Part one can be found here, and her recent court victory can be found here: In re Katie Kickertz v. New York University, 952 N.Y.S.2d 147 (N.Y. App. Div. 2012).

You can and should read part one for a more detailed account of the ridiculous situation in which Kickertz found herself in May 2009. Briefly, 15 minutes before graduation, Kickertz was alerted that she was deficient by about 2,000 dollars in a clinical income-generation requirement called the Practice Model Values (PMV). After much hemming and hawing she was allegedly instructed to pay the money out-of-pocket and attribute the payment to clinical work. It is not in dispute that Kickertz did so, which NYU seized on as independent grounds for expelling her. She was promptly accused of falsification of records and expelled.

Today, I will document Kickertz's disciplinary proceedings as reported in her recent court victory, which vacated her expulsion (small comfort, since in the intervening two years Kickertz had to earn replacement bachelor's and dental degrees, which cost her a pretty penny). 

Even after ...

CBLDF Closes Con Year At Locust Moon Comics Festival!

Friday, December 14th, 2012

CBLDF marks the close of the 2012 Convention Calendar at the inaugural Locust Moon Comics Festival in Philadephia this Sunday!  Hosted by Locust Moon Comics, Philadelphia’s destination shop for comics from handcrafted zines to luxury hardcovers and everything in between, the Locust Moon Comics Festival will welcome guests including Brandon Graham, Katie Skelly, Farel Dalrymple, David Mack, and many, many others.

Charles Brownstein, CBLDF’s Executive Director will be there with some last-minute holiday gifts including graphic novels signed by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, a new print by Jim Rugg, and copies of the Liberty Annual Artist Editions for folks who sign up for membership.  The Locust Moon Comics Festival happens on Sunday from 11 AM til 8 PM at The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street in Philadelphia!

 

Three Reasons to Free Liu Xiaobo

Friday, December 14th, 2012

The wrongful conviction of Liu Xiaobo was based on a false premise; that citizens who hold different opinions [from the ruling Chinese Communist Party] are "dangerous elements."

The 18th Party Congress finally reached a consensus, that the biggest threat to the existence of Party and state is corruption.

This is one major reason why the Liu Xiaobo case must be dealt with.

Liu Xiaobo's only crime was to advocate a federalist system, and he was only convicted because those in charge of the case at the time have no understanding of the law, no understanding of history, and apparently no knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party's own viewpoint.

After the mistake was made, Li Rui, Hu Jiwei and other Party elders spoke out, saying that a federalist system was a goal of both the 2nd Party Congress and the 7th Party Congress, as being likely to lead to ethnic equality and unity across China.

If all advocates of this idea are to be thrown into jail, then, pray, where is the political and legal affairs committee going to put those who attended the 2nd and 7th Party Congresses?

This is another major reason.

The biggest reason is the humanistic principles ...

Bill of Rights Monument to be Dedicated at Arizona State Capitol Tomorrow

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Saturday, December 15, 2012 marks the 221st anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. Fittingly, on that same day, a dedication ceremony will be held on the grounds of the Arizona State Capitol for the Nation’s first Bill of Rights monument.

The monument is the brainchild of comedian, juggler, and friend of the Thomas Jefferson Center, Chris Bliss, whose organization, mybillofrights.org, seeks to “promote an enduring awareness of and respect for the freedoms and the principles guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, through the installation of Bill of Rights monuments and permanent displays in civic spaces across America.”