Freedom of Speech

Greggory Moore writes in the Long Beach Post: Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures “with no apparent esthetic value” is within Long Beach Police Department policy….

Via First Coast News:

Four years ago Sarah Phillips moved into her Sutton Lakes home and said she has never had a problem, until now. “We’ve had it out about a month. We haven’t had any complaints from the neighbors…, said Phillips.

Phillips has posted a Jesus sign in her yard and there was no reaction from anyone until she received a letter from the Sutton Lakes Homeowners Association telling her having it in her yard is a violation of the covenant. “It is basically telling us to remove the sign, under the bylaws,” she said. Phillips said she did sign the Covenant, Conditions and Restrictions, or CCR, but never agreed to allow the free exercise of her religion to be prohibited.

June 16th is the annual celebration of Leopold Bloom’s doomed wanderings through Dublin in 1904, as chronicled in James Joyce’s classic novel “Ulysses”.  And in the 21st century, reality finally catches up with and overtakes…

Jefferson Memorial DancerI wonder how Thomas Jefferson would have felt about this. Via the Huffington Post:

The dancers were protesting an appeals court ruling handed down last week that the national monuments are places for reflection and contemplation — and that dancing distracted from such an experience.

In 2008, Mary Brooke Oberwetter and a group of friends went to the Jefferson to commemorate the president’s 265th birthday by dancing silently, while listening to music on headphones. Park Police ordered the revelers to disperse and arrested them when they did not.

Oberwetter sued on free speech grounds, but the appeals court ruled last week that her conduct was indeed prohibited “because it stands out as a type of performance, creating its own center of attention and distracting from the atmosphere of solemn commemoration” that Park Service regulations are designed to preserve.

Saturday’s protest was staged during the day, on Memorial Day weekend, in order to draw maximum attention:

PrecrimeVia BBC News:

Comedian Stephen Fry has said he is “prepared to go to prison” over the “Twitter joke” trial.

Fry was at a benefit gig for a man who is appealing against his conviction for sending a menacing communication. Paul Chambers had tweeted: “Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!”

Twitter Joke Trial Tweet

Fry argued that Chambers’ tweet was an example of Britain’s tradition of self-deprecating humour and banter.

Chambers’ case has become a cause celebre on Twitter, with hundreds of people reposting his original comments in protest at the conviction.

“This [verdict] must not be allowed to stand in law,” Fry said, adding that he would continue to repeat Chambers’ message and face prison “if that’s what it takes”.

On April 29, 2010, activists Mitch Kahle and Kevin Hughes were assaulted by Ben Villaflor, the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms, and State Sheriff’s Deputies, for objecting to unconstitutional Christian prayers used to begin each session of the Hawaii State Legislature. Hughes was injured in the attack and was taken to the hospital for x-rays and treatment. Kahle was arrested and prosecuted, but was ultimately vindicated when Judge Leslie Hayashi found Kahle “NOT GUILTY” and ruled that: “The Senate’s [Christian] prayers violate the constitutional separation of church and state.”

Don’t say you weren’t warned about these people.  From Tom Diemer at AOL’s Politics Daily:

A Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a volunteer Monday night outside of a debate between the Kentucky Senate candidate and his opponent, Jack Conway.

The woman, identified by CNN as Lauren Valle, was pushed to the ground — her blond wig was pulled off in the scuffle — and then held down…