donal brown

Trump avoids defamation claim in suing Times and his niece

Ex-President Donald Trump filed another lawsuit, this time charging The New York Times, three reporters and his niece with smuggling tax records out of an attorney’s office for use in a Times story and a book. Trump claimed the reporters conspired with niece Mary Trump to violate a confidentiality agreement of May 2001. (Daily Beast, September 22, 2021, by Maxwell Tani and Harry Siegel) Times reporters David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner won a

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Move underway to quell militarization of local police

EFF warns that the Pentagon is poised to transfer military surveillance drones to local law enforcement, a move that would enable police to use drones to closely monitor protests. Police could use face surveillance technology to identify everyone in a protest chilling political expression. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, September 21, 2021, by Matthew Guariglia) Congressional representatives introduced proposals this week to restrict or end program 1033 that authorizes the transfer of national defense equipment to local

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Drop in college student support for free speech

Support for free expression on college campuses is slipping according to FIRE’s 2021 report. Sixty-six percent of students indicate they would have some level of acceptance for shouting down speakers, up 4 points from 2020, and 23 percent find it acceptable to use violence to stop certain speech, up 5 points. Claremont McKenna and the University of Chicago are the top two colleges for free speech and Marquette and Depauw the two worst. (Foundation for

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Heavyweights join quest for Florida pandemic data

A judge ruled that the New York Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press and other news outlets could join a lawsuit against Florida to obtain information about the Covid-19 pandemic. The Department of Health claims the information was confidential and only exempt when the department determined it is. The judge noted the information was curtailed just as the pandemic reached records levels in the state. (Orlando Weekly, September 21, 2021, by Alex Galbraith) Democratic

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Supreme Court sparring with media over ‘partisan hack’ label

Lawyer and reporter Katie Barlow, Politico, August 17, 2021, said that Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett went awry in criticizing the media for not reporting on the deliberative process in the court. Conservative justices are antsy about media portrayals of the court as “partisan hacks,” but the court could do much to improve their image and promote understanding of court processes by allowing cameras for oral arguments, bringing transparency to the shadow docket, giving

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