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Harvard tops list of top 10 worst colleges for free speech

FIRE published its list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech in 2017. It based its rankings on speech codes adopted by each college. Heading the list are academic strongholds, Harvard, Williams and Georgetown. Also included on the list are Northern Michigan, Cal State Los Angeles, Fordham, Oregon, Cal State Long Beach, South Carolina […]

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Atlanta mayor blocks transparency with release of millions of paper documents

In a novel move to stymie inquiry, Atlanta Mayor Kassim Reed released 1.476 million documents related to FBI investigations into alleged bribes for city contracts. Reed and the city attorney claimed that the release was a boon to transparency. Reed said he produced the documents in paper form to expedite the release and said he […]

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Free speech: Florida federal appeals court dismisses trademark lawsuit over criticism of a doctor’s medical practice

In a First Amendment victory, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled this week against a doctor’s online challenge to a claim by a fellow doctor that an unapproved drug was effective in treating Alzheimer’s. Dr. Edward Tobinick sued Dr. Steven Novella for criticizing his claim arguing that Novella violated trademark law and interfered […]

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Trump’s calling media ‘enemy of the people’ triggers strong reactions

Citing anonymous source stories, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said on “Face the Nation” that the president was sincere in blasting the press as the people’s enemy. Priebus named two problematic stories, the New York Times report that Trump aides had several contacts with Russian intelligence during last year’s election and a […]

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Access winning out in Agriculture Department scuttling of animal welfare documents

After the U.S. Department of Agriculture purged thousands of documents on animal welfare, an Arizona man published the documents on his website. Russ Kick operates a website,, to republish discarded information from government agencies. He wants to boost transparency by making such information more easily available to the public. (Time, February 17, 2017, by […]

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Trump law helps oil companies hide bribes to foreign governments

President Donald Trump signed a law repealing a requirement that energy companies on the U.S. stock exchange disclose any payments to foreign governments. The requirement was intended to stem corruption in poor but oil-rich countries. Supporter of the new law said it was necessary to allow American companies to compete equally with foreign companies. (The […]

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Florida federal appeals court cuffs doctor gag law on gun safety law

The 11th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 10-1 that the Florida law preventing doctors from discussing gun safety with patients violated the doctors’ free speech rights that in no way restricted the patients’ second amendment rights.  (NPR, February 17, 2017, by Rebecca Hersher) The doctors’ lawyers said the law prevented doctors from advising […]

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California open government roundup: Arroyo Grande mayor under investigation for alleged Brown Act violation

The Arroyo Grande City Council is investigated its mayor for sharing confidential details involving a tentative employment contract. They approved a $15,000 fund for an independent investigation of the alleged violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law. The Brown Act bans the airing of information from closed meetings unless authorized by the […]

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Trump press secretary upends tradition at press briefings

Trump press secretary Sean Spicer has established a new modus operandi in calling on media representatives at daily briefings, often bypassing mainstream news outlets in favor of outlets that support the president. The New York Times, February 11, 2017, by Larry Buchannan and Karen Yourish) The Trump administration is also extending the practice of skirting […]

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Colorado newspaper threatens defamation lawsuit against state senator

A Grand Junction, Colorado newspaper announced plans to sue a state senator for tweeting that the newspaper ran “fake news” in an editorial criticizing the senator for cancelling a hearing on an open records bill. (Forbes, February 13, 2017, by Paul Fletcher) The newspaper’s publisher said he planned to delay the filing of the lawsuit […]

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