November, 2011

California: Appeals court sides with plaintiffs on court costs in Tulare County lunch meeting suit

Without comment a California appeals court reversed an order that the Times-Delta/Advance-Register and allies pay legal costs for Tulare County in a Brown Act suit. The newspaper and others had charged that the Tulare County Board of Supervisors violated the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law, by conducting a series of lunch meetings closed […]

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A&A: Denied access to supervision records of high-risk parolee

Q: Message I’m trying to obtain records of supervision for a high-risk parolee who is accused of murder. I sent a public records request and received a rejection letter that cites dozens of government codes in its defense. But I wonder if there’s a way to fight that rejection. After all, that information has become […]

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CNET provides guide to effects on public of Stop Online Piracy Act

A guide published by CNET describes the effects on the public of the Stop Online Piracy Act should it pass Congress and signed into law. The law would affect Internet free speech, security and innovation. -db From a commentary for CNET, November 21, 2011, by Declan McCullagh. Full story  

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Pharmaceutical industry: Free speech rights run up against limits on product claims

Merck agreed to pay $950 million to settle a suit over its claims for the painkiller Vioxx withdrawn from sales for increasing the chance of heart attack. But companies are aggressively challenging the government in its attempts to held industries accountable for the truthfulness of their promotions. -db From the Philadelphia Inquirer, November 27, 2011, […]

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Tennessee airport loses fight to ban newspaper racks

After dropping nearly a million dollars in legal bills, the Raleigh-Durham International Airport came to an agreement with the newspapers  to allow coin-operated newspaper vending boxes back into the airport. A federal district court had ruled that the ban on news racks violated the First Amendment. -db From the News Observer, November 26, 2011, by […]

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Federal appeals court okays profanity in citizen’s petition to city

A city cannot reject a petition from a citizen just because the citizen peppers his appeal with profanities and insults ruled the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Colorado. The court rejected the contention that the petition lost its constitutional protection because it contained “fighting words.” -db From the First Amendment Center, November 18, 2011, […]

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Free speech: Kansas governor admits screwup in complaining to school about student’s tweet

A Kansas high school student refused to accede to a demand from her prinicpal to apologize to Governor Sam Brownback for a derogatory tweet made during his speech. The Governor had ratted her out to the principal. After the Governor apologized for telling on her, the student raised the ante by saying the apology was […]

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Call it the Not-so-public Utilities Commission

If you’re worried about natural gas pipelines running near your home or business, prepare for a long battle to get key information from California’s Public Utilities Commission. Under a 60-year-old law, vast numbers of documents — including regulatory reports and safety studies — are secret, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. What’s more, PG&E often has […]

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A&A: School board keeping exorbitant attorney fees in closed session

Q: As a school board member I have tried, but failed, to have the copious exorbitant legal billings by the district’s attorney released to the public.  So far the attorney’s fees of $50k to $70k per month (the amount of almost $1million is rapidly approaching) have been discussed in closed session and the rest of the […]

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Opinion: China’s censorship regimen spreading around the world

Totalitarian regimes around the world are successfully using the Chinese model of censorship against their citizens, reports David Rohde in a commentary for Reuters. Rohde says the Stop Online Piracy Act would seriously erode the ability of the United States to fight the new tide of international Internet censorship. -db From a commentary for Reuters, […]

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