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Cubs win dubious victory in court ruling upholding ban on merchandise sales around Wrigley Field

The Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals tossed the Chicago Cubs a curve when it ruled to uphold a city ordinance banning all peddling including print around Wrigley Field with the collateral damage of  benching the Cubs’ sales of merchandise in the area. The team had been sued by Left Field Media who was prevented […]

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Secret funder helps Hulk Hogan prevail in privacy suit against Gawker

While limited in some states, third party litigation funding has taken hold in recent years at the expense of transparency. The litigation funders mostly run under the radar as most states do not have laws forcing secret litigators to reveal their role. The issue emerged this week with reports that PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel backed […]

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Transparency suffers: Clinton cited for misuse of e-mails

The State Department inspector general faulted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for using her  private e-mail account to conduct official business during her four years at State. The report also criticizes her for not preserving Federal records on her personal account, ” At a minimum, Secretary Clinton should have surrendered all e-mails dealing with […]

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Mobil Exxon shareholders press for greater transparency on climate change

Exxon Mobil is dealing with increased demand for disclosure of the risks of climate change to its bottom line. The company claims that demand for oil will increase over 13 percent by 2040 in the face of other reports that demand will fall by 22 percent by then given action necessary to keep global warming from creating […]

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Brit publishes manifesto for defending free speech in a connected world

An Oxford professor and former foreign correspondent has published a bold and provocative defense of free speech, “Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World.” Timothy Garton Ash  opposes hate speech laws and argues for more strident action in defying threats. (The New York Times, May 22, 2016, by Tom Rachman) In a review of […]

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California: Mt Diablo schools tap public coffer to fight disclosure of child abuse report

The East Bay Times is excoriating the Mt. Diablo Unified School District over its court battle to block release of an investigative report of teacher Joseph Martin later convicted of molesting students. After two and a half years, a judge forced the district to release the report after the district squandered $359,000 of the public’s […]

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Little takeoff in drone use by local TV news

A survey of local TV news stations finds that only 16 percent are using drones,  and 59 percent say they have no plans to use drones. The annual survey by the Radio Television Digital News Association with Hofstra University found that out of 100 news directors, only 7.7 percent are working on using drones in […]

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First Amendment case: Soda industry loses court ruling over San Francisco law requiring warning labels

A federal judge upheld a San Francisco law that will require soda companies to include label warnings on their products of risks of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. The court rejected industry arguments that the warning labels violated free speech. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 17, 2016, by Bob Egelko) Federal district judge Edward Chen denied […]

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San Diego law enforcement considers expedited release of videos of police shootings

San Diego County cities plan to release videos of officers shooting citizens immediately if the public requests them. The expedited procedure is intended to increase public trust according to law enforcement leaders. “We believe it is important for the public to understand what happened during a critical incident, such as a shooting. Presented out of […]

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SecureDrop: New system in play to protect journalists’ anonymous sources

A new guide to the use of SecureDrop, conceived to protect journalists’ communications with anonymous sources, reveals that the tool has enabled journalists to better protect their sources. “Given its complexity, SecureDrop may appear at first like a radical new tool, but many reporters told me that it closely resembles many of the other channels […]

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