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Activists protesting the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez will have a free speech platform near the food court of the Santa Rosa Plaza, where just three weeks ago security guards ordered them to leave.

With the cooperation of mall owner Simon Property Group, the activists are scheduled to set up a table to distribute political literature, buttons and T-shirts related to the controversial Oct. 22 shooting death of the 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy.

The literature will include a fact sheet about the shooting and a petition calling for the prosecution of Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus. The 24-year law enforcement veteran told investigators he shot Lopez on Moorland Avenue, just outside city limits, because he mistook the boy’s airsoft BB gun for an assault rifle.

Simon gave its consent Wednesday afternoon in a letter sent to Jonathan Melrod, the attorney for the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez.

Mall management has confirmed that they are happy to cooperate and accommodate this request and have advised that they will provide a 6-8 foot skirted table to meet your needs, wrote Mark Payne, Simon’s senior associate general counsel.

Melrod called Simon’s concession a great victory for free speech rights that provides a modicum of respect to the loss the Lopez family suffered.

The move on Simon’s part represents a significant departure from its strict policy of not allowing protest banners, signs or shirts on the day of a scheduled protest, Melrod said.

Payne’s letter Wednesday was a response to a letter Melrod sent Monday notifying Simon that activists were planning to set up the table on March 29 for an indefinite period.

Melrod said the table was aimed at exercising free speech rights spelled out in the 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, which he said affirms the California Constitution’s extension of First Amendment rights at semi-public areas such as shopping centers.

(page 2 of 2)

See original here:
Lopez activists to get 'free speech' table at Santa Rosa mall

Activists protesting the shooting death of 13-year-old Andy Lopez will have a free speech platform near the food court of the Santa Rosa Plaza, where just three weeks ago security guards ordered them to leave.

With the cooperation of mall owner Simon Property Group, the activists are scheduled to set up a table to distribute political literature, buttons and T-shirts related to the controversial Oct. 22 shooting death of the 13-year-old Santa Rosa boy.

The literature will include a fact sheet about the shooting and a petition calling for the prosecution of Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy Erick Gelhaus. The 24-year law enforcement veteran told investigators he shot Lopez on Moorland Avenue, just outside city limits, because he mistook the boy’s airsoft BB gun for an assault rifle.

Simon gave its consent Wednesday afternoon in a letter sent to Jonathan Melrod, the attorney for the Justice Coalition for Andy Lopez.

Mall management has confirmed that they are happy to cooperate and accommodate this request and have advised that they will provide a 6-8 foot skirted table to meet your needs, wrote Mark Payne, Simon’s senior associate general counsel.

Melrod called Simon’s concession a great victory for free speech rights that provides a modicum of respect to the loss the Lopez family suffered.

The move on Simon’s part represents a significant departure from its strict policy of not allowing protest banners, signs or shirts on the day of a scheduled protest, Melrod said.

Payne’s letter Wednesday was a response to a letter Melrod sent Monday notifying Simon that activists were planning to set up the table on March 29 for an indefinite period.

Melrod said the table was aimed at exercising free speech rights spelled out in the 1980 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, which he said affirms the California Constitution’s extension of First Amendment rights at semi-public areas such as shopping centers.

(page 2 of 2)

See the article here:
Lopez activists to get mall spot



Religious freedom or discrimination?
Crossfire hosts Van Jones S.E. Cupp debate the controversial Arizona 'religious freedom' bill with Neera Tanden and Peter Sprigg. More from CNN at http://w…

By: CNN

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Religious freedom or discrimination? – Video



Controversial Religious Freedom Bill
Celebrations erupted after Arizona's Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial Religious Freedom Bill.

By: Oregons FOX

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Controversial Religious Freedom Bill – Video

By Ryanne Wise and Erika Brock

The minority leader in the Indiana House is drafting an amendment to strip the controversial second sentence out of a constitutional proposal to ban same sex marriage.

But Rep. Scott Pelath said he’s not certain he’ll call the language for a vote. Instead, the Michigan City Democrat said he’s analyzing the best way to defeat the proposal.

The constitutional amendment – House Joint Resolution 3 – would, first, define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. The second sentence would prohibit any legal relationship that is “identical or substantially similar” to marriage.

“My first approach is to extinguish the obvious stink bomb of the second sentence and if they are going to insist to move this forward, let’s at least get that monstrous language out of there,” Pelath said. “The second approach is letting HJR 3 die under its own lumbering brontosaurus-like weight.”

Pelath said he’ll talk to members of the Democratic caucus – who hold just 31 of the chamber’s 100 seats – before deciding how to proceed.

An amendment to HJR 3 means the constitutional amendment process would likely restart. That could postpone a possible ratification by voters from this fall to 2016.

Republicans will likely be waiting for Pelath’s decision as well. Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, voted for HJR 3 when it came before the House Elections Committee this week. But later, he said that he may vote against the proposal when it reaches the House floor next week.

Cox said he wants to “reconsider” the second sentence. He cited concerns raised by a lawyer with Indiana University, who said the provision threatens the school’s ability to offer benefits to same-sex partners.

“I thought IU’s council made some points that certainly need further discussion,” Cox said. “The caucus really wanted this to come to the floor. I can understand that. If it remains intact, I certainly reserve the right to vote no.”

Excerpt from:
Pelath seeks best strategy for defeating HJR 3



Duck Dynasty s Hometown Shows Devil Coming. The Accuser cast out of heaven. Illuminati Freemason .
Duck Dynasty s Hometown Shows Devil Coming. The Accuser cast out of heaven. Illuminati Freemason . An investigative look into the Controversial Duck Dynasty …

By: Video Max Tex

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Duck Dynasty s Hometown Shows Devil Coming. The Accuser cast out of heaven. Illuminati Freemason . – Video

The city of Seattle will pay $38,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the Second Amendment Foundation over failure to release public records relating to Mayor Mike McGinns January gun buyback.

The settlement was signed today by Carl Marquardt, legal counsel to mayor Mike McGinn, and includes an apology for the mayors offices failure to releaserecords about the controversial buyback program that netted about 700 guns but also provoked criticism from public health and gun-rights advocates that it wouldnt reduce gun violence.

The city of Seattle acknowledges that it had a duty under the Washington Public Records Act to provide all documents in response to the Second Amendment Foundations public disclosure request in a timely manner, and that it did not do so While the initial failure to produce records in this case was unintentional, the city acknowledges that it did not meet the requirements of the Public Records Act, and for that we sincerely apologize.

The statement goes on to say that the city is working to improve its processes for locating documents and responding to public-records requests. The Seattle Police Department earlier this year paid $20,000 to The Seattle Times to settle a claim that it had not released public records as required by state law.

In February, the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, requested all communications and related documents about the gun buyback andin response received from the city more than 1,500 emails between five McGinn staffers. But in June, a reporter for Seattlepi.com wrote thathis own public-records request showedthat the states most prominent gun control group, Washington CeaseFire, was not notified about the gun buyback before it was announced.

Ralph Fascitelli, president ofWashington CeaseFire, emailed the mayor when he learned of the plans and told him that buybacks often backfire and thatthe overwhelming research shows that they are a waste of resources, according to the Seattlepi.com report.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, said the emails detailed in the news story were not previously disclosed to the organization. In filing the lawsuit, he accused McGinns staff of playing games with the governments legal requirement to be transparent and accountable.

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Withheld documents about gun buyback will cost city $38,000



MPs insist Bill not meant to curtail Media freedom
Members of parliament are defending themselves over the passage of the controversial Kenya Information and communications Bill, saying the bill is not out to…

By: NTV Kenya

Originally posted here:
MPs insist Bill not meant to curtail Media freedom – Video

Viera, FL Officials of a gun rights advocacy group in Florida have decided to remove a 9mm semi-automatic handgun from their raffle after attention was brought to the fact that its the very same model handgun George Zimmerman used to kill Trayvon Martin.

The Gun Rights Preservation Forum had intended to raffle off a Kel-Tec PF-9 (along with a copy of the Bible) at an event attended by Zimmermans attorney, Mark OMara. It was OMara who suggested dropping the PF-9 from the lot.

He will still appear at the event on November 4, and the raffle is likely to be reschedules, reports Opposing Views. The handgun has indeed been removed from the raffle completely.

Bob White, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Central East Florida, said that the raffle was only meant to support Kel-Tec as a gun manufacturer. The group wasnt trying to make a statement about the Zimmerman verdict. Still, he admitted that postponing the raffle is the right thing to do.

We have no doubt that George Zimmerman used this weapon legally in the defense of his own life. Certainly, its use prevented further serious bodily harm to himself, and he may very well have saved his own life by its use. We also recognize, though, that another life was lost in the process, and we do have empathy for the parents of Trayvon Martin. Losing their son was tragic, regardless of the circumstances.

White also admitted that the raffle, coupled with OMaras appearance, might distract from the actual goal of advocating Second Amendment rights.

At the same time, it could potentially cause needless additional heartache for the parents of Trayvon Martin, he said. Nothing good could come from such a thoughtless act.

White said that he was unaware that the PF-9 was the same model handgun used by Zimmerman in the controversial killing.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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Second Amendment Group Decides Raffling Off George Zimmerman’s Gun Isn’t A Great Idea

Hours before his proposal to Kim Kardashian on WiLD 94.9′s “The JV Show” in San Francisco, Kanye West sat down for an interview to explains his concerts and criticism.Specifically, the hip-hop star talks about his controversial portrayal of Jesus at his concerts, his “white” voice, and even the Illuminati.

Below are highlights (via Rap-Up.com):

On bringing Jesus on tour: “I had a friend of mine that’s a pastor there as we started discussing how we wanted to deliver it. My girl even asked afterwards, ‘Hmm, is that weird if Jesus comes on stage?’ No, we do plays all the time where people play Jesus. You know what’s awesome about Christianity is we’re allowed to portray God. We’re allowed to draw an image of him, we’re allowed to make movies about him. Other religions you’re not allowed to do that.”

On the message behind his religious theatrics: “It’s a painting, it’s a sculpture, it’s a moving opera, it’s a play, it’s a message. I’m not gonna even do any comparisons with that ’cause God knows where my heart is at. One of the things that I wanted to really get across with that message is that you can have a relationship with Jesus, that you can talk to Jesus.”

On his relationship with Jesus: “I’m a performance artist, I’m a believer, and I think if anytime the word Jesus can be used more in our lives, I believe it’s a good thing. With my heroes, people wanna be like Mike. I wanna be like Christ.”

On the Illuminati: “It’s a sexy word. We could make a cologne out of it or something. There’s only two things on my mind when I create, God and Jesus.”

On his “white” voice: “It was a classist move that even when you get invited to certain dinner parties or even when you’re in certain magazines it’s still like a Dinner for Schmucks situation. Are they inviting you to be a part of what you’re doing or are they inviting you to laugh at your teeth? And ask you a million questions like, Oh, those are cool teeth.’ And then we have our thing that every time we do it, we give em the white voice. It goes both ways, but we’re right now in a crash of the classes. America, being the newest country, and especially out here in San Francisco, where people can just became a billionaire off an idea, and the amount of information you get on the Internet and that people can educate themselves, the shift is gonna change. I think that I’m one of the people at the forefront because I had to fight to get into fashion shows eight years ago.”

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Kanye West Talks Jesus Portrayal, His 'White' Voice & Illuminati

Study blames PLDT’s ‘de facto monopoly’ for low internet penetration, high broadband costs

MANILA – Thanks to netizens who opposed the controversial anti-cybercrime law, internet in the Philippines remains one of the freest in the world, according to a new study released Friday by US-based group Freedom House.

The Philippines ranks 10th worldwide in the “Freedom on the Net 2013″ report, which identifies key trends in internet freedom and digital media in 60 countries.

Iceland topped the list, followed by Estonia, Germany, the United States, Australia, France, Japan, Hungary, Italy, and United Kingdom.

Iran placed at the bottom.

The study evaluates countries based on obstacles to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights.

Freedom House, the non-governmental organization behind the study, said the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 would have seriously affected internet freedom in the Philippines.

The controversial law, which has been suspended by the Supreme Court, would allow authorities to block online content without a warrant, facilitate government surveillance, and punish online libel with up to 12 years imprisonment.

“While the new anti-cybercrime act remains on hold, there is no systematic government censorship of online content, and internet users in the Philippines enjoy unrestricted access to both domestic and international sources of information,” the study said.

It added that The OpenNet Initiative found no evidence of internet censorship by government, although monitoring and filtering activities in the workplace have been reported in the country.

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Philippines among world's best in internet freedom

Sep 112013

A new poll confirms a libertarian renaissance in 2013.

FreedomWorks commissioned a national survey of registered voters last month, shared first with POLITICO, that finds 78 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents self-identify as fiscally conservative and socially moderate.

Its not that Republicans are suddenly self-identifying as libertarians and devouring Ayn Rand novels, but more that they seem to be embracing underlying libertarian priorities and views about the role of government.

(PHOTOS: Libertarianism goes mainstream)

The GOP dominated politics for a generation with a coalition of libertarians, social conservatives and defense hawks that Ronald Reagan successfully cobbled together in 1980. The tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks argues in a 23-page report that the so-called three-legged stool has become lopsided.

The poll asked Republican voters what they are most interested in: 40 percent said individual freedom through lower taxes and reducing the size and scope of government, 27 percent picked traditional values and 18 percent chose a strong national defense.

Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who ran the poll, said shes seeing a spike in voters who feel the government is too expensive, invasive and expansive.

The perfect storm is being created between the NSA, the IRS, the implementation of Obamacare and now Syria, she said. People are looking at the government more suspiciously. Theyre looking with deeper scrutiny and reasonable suspicion.

(Also on POLITICO: Libertarianism goes mainstream)

FreedomWorks, which is among the groups leading the controversial push to defund the federal health care law even if it risks a government shutdown, argues that GOP voters have limited appetite for grand bargains that would raise taxes. Two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they want their member of Congress to keep their promises and stick to principles as opposed to compromise in a bipartisan way to get things done.

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Poll: Republicans go libertarian

Rep. Ron Paul, who is a three-time presidential candidate, will speak tonight in Kresge Auditorium.

Paul was also named one of Time magazines top 100 most influential people, and The Indianapolis Star named him first on the most interesting people to visit central Indiana this fall.

Doors open to students at 6:30 p.m. and the general public at 6:50 p.m. Students should bring their student ID.

Hes a well known spokesperson for the social ideological movement of libertarianism, said Brett OBannon, professor of political science.

OBannon believes that this is a good opportunity for students to better understand Libertarianism.

Its an opportunity to see someone widely associated with these doctrines defend them, OBannon said. Its an opportunity to pose a question or two to the standard bearer of contemporary Libertarianism, perhaps to get him to defend some of his controversial stuff or better explain some of his stuff. One particular controversial issue surrounding Paul is that he will be giving a keynote address at the Fatima Centers Path to Peace conference in Niagra Falls, Ontario, right after speaking at DePauw. The conference is known to host some radical views.

He has things to answer for, OBannon said. [The] conference widely hailed to anti-semitic and racist sponsored by the Fatima Center. He ought to perhaps be questioned on that. Ken Owen 82, executive director of media relations and coordinator for the Ubben Lecture Series, noted that initially, he was concerned by the news of his keynote speech.

Pauls speaker agency is run by a person of the Jewish faith, and several of the employees for the firm are Jewish, as well.

The first thing I did was call over there, and their response was basically, Theres no way. Hes not an anti-semite. We work with him everyday. We spend a lot of time around him. Hes a good man. Disregard it, Owen said.

Owen noted that the accusations generated through the blogosphere, and Owen has faced some pushback for many speakers that have come to campus.

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Rep. Ron Paul to speak tonight as part of Ubben lecture series

Japan’s prime minister vowed Tuesday to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on islands at the centre of a territorial row, after eight Chinese government vessels sailed into the disputed waters.

The latest clash over the archipelago upped the stakes in a tense diplomatic battle as nearly 170 Japanese lawmakers visited the controversial Yasukuni war shrine in central Tokyo, seen as a potent symbol of Japan’s imperialist past, riling its neighbours China and South Korea.

Tokyo summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan after the state-owned Chinese ships entered its territorial waters while Beijing called the shrine visit an “attempt to deny Japan’s history of aggression”.

The flotilla is the biggest to sail into the disputed waters in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the island chain in September.

The islands are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and are believed to harbour vast natural resources below the seabed.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on the islands in the East China Sea, and promised “decisive action”.

“We would never allow a landing,” Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers, adding: “It would be natural for us to expel by force if (the Chinese) were to make a landing,” he said.

Chinese ships have frequently sailed around the five Tokyo-controlled islands in recent months sparking diplomatic clashes.

The Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the islands, which China calls Diaoyu and Japan calls the Senkaku, around 8:00 am (2300 GMT Monday), the Japan Coast Guard said.

The eight vessels left by about 7:15 pm, Jiji Press news agency reported, quoting the regional coast guard headquarters.

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Japan vows force if Chinese land on disputed islands

For centuries, free speech and religion have been cast as opponents. Index looks at the complicated relationship between religion and free speech

While they exist harmoniously on paper, free expression and religion often conflict in practice, and free speech is often trampled in the name of protecting religious sensibilities whether through self-censorship or legislation that censors.

History offers many examples of religious freedom being repressed too. Both free expression and religious freedom need protection from those who would meddle with them. And they are not necessarily incompatible.

Over 200 years ago, the United States founding fathers grouped together freedom of worship and freedom of speech. The US Constitutions First Amendment, adopted in 1791, made sure that the Congress couldnt pass laws establishing religions or prohibiting their free exercise, or abridging freedom of speech, press and assembly.

More recently, both religion and free expression were offered protection by The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) drafted in 1949. It outlines the ways in which both free expression and religious freedom should be protected in Articles 18 and 19. Article 18 protects an individuals right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and the freedom to change religion or beliefs. Article 19 states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Why is it, then, that for centuries from the Spanish Inquisition to the Satanic Verses free speech and religion have been cast as opponents? Index on Censorship has explored, and will continue to explore, this crucial question.

Offence

Muslims gathered in Malaysias capital to protest against the controversial Innocence of Muslims film (Demotix)

Sporadically explosive conflicts arrise when words or images offensive to believers spark a violent response, the most recent example being the reaction to the controversial Innocence of Muslims film. Index has stated before that the majority of states restrain by law distinct and direct incitements to violence; however, causing offence doesnt constitute an incitement to violence, much less a good excuse to react with violence. Yet violent protests sparked by the YouTube film led many countries to push for the video to be taken down. As the controversy unfolded, digital platforms took centre stage in an age-old debate on where the line is drawn on free speech.

The kind of connectivity provided by the web means a video uploaded in California can lead to riots in Cairo. Real-time transmission, real-time unrest. It presents a serious challenge for hosts of user-generated content like YouTube and Facebook.

More here:
Religion and free speech : it’s complicated

Mar 012013



From Vietnam To China
A sign at a Beijing restaurant barring citizens of nations involved in maritime disputes with China — along with dogs — has triggered a wave of online outrage among Vietnamese and Filipinos. The Beijing Snacks restaurant near the Forbidden City, a popular tourist spot, has posted a sign on its door reading “This shop does not receive the Japanese, the Philippines, the Vietnamese and dog(s).” Photographs of the controversial sign have gone viral in Vietnamese-language forums and featured heavily in Philippine newspapers and websites on Wednesday. Vietnam's state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper ran a story saying the sign had “ignited online fury”. It claimed many Vietnamese feel this is another example of Chinese “extreme nationalism that deserves to be condemned”. “It's not patriotism, it's stupid extremism,” Sy Van wrote in Vietnamese in a comment under the story, published on the paper's website. The sign provoked thousands of posts on Vietnamese social networking sites and newspaper comment threads. “This is teaching hate to the younger generation,” Facebook user Andrea Wanderer wrote in Vietnamese. “The owner of the restaurant has obviously been brainwashed by their government,” added Facebook user Chung Pham. Filipinos greeted the photo with a mixture of fury and amusement. “Blatant racism at Beijing Restaurant,” journalist Veronica Pedrosa wrote in one widely-shared tweet, while Facebook user Rey Garcia used a comment thread on a news site to retort: “Who cares, they …

By: anonamese

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From Vietnam To China – Video

NASHUA – The president of the Free State Project announced this weekend she wants the thousands of supporters nationwide who have committed to moving to New Hampshire to begin doing so in two years.

“This is a solution. We want to trigger the move. We know that what we are doing here is incredibly important,” Carla Gericke, one of the leaders of the Free State Project, who moved from New York to New Hampshire in 2008, told participants at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum.

According to its website, the Free State Project has 1,130 participants already living in New Hampshire, with more than 13,700 committed to eventually relocating here. Its plan is to entice more than 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to the Granite State, with participants pledging to “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of civil government is the protection of life, liberty and property,” says the site.

Based on the current recruiting rate, Gericke said, the pledge total would hit 20,000 in 2018, triggering the large-scale move to New Hampshire. Under that scenario, the goal would be to have all pledgers relocate by 2023.

However, Gericke said she does not want to wait until she is 51 years old to trigger the move.

“I want to do it in the next two years,” she said, explaining the only way to accelerate the move is to begin major fundraising efforts and secure sponsors to help raise about $270,000 – a figure she believes could make the move feasible.

“The most valuable thing you can do is move, and you won’t regret it,” she told those in attendance for the opening ceremony of the New Hampshire Liberty Forum on Friday at the Crowne Plaza. ” … We are building the beacon of liberty for the rest of the world to emulate.”

The $270,000 would help the Free State Project become a 501c3 company. It applied for that status in July 2012, but are waiting for official confirmation. The money would primarily help pay for marketing material, recruiting efforts and a salary for Gericke.

The controversy

Despite the attention the Free State Project is receiving this weekend during the annual forum, there are still opponents of the controversial libertarianism movement. Some elected officials in New Hampshire are critical of members’ efforts, previously voicing suspicion about how Free Staters would actually go about launching political change.

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Free Staters told to set clock for 2015

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt is scheduled to speak at Syracuse University next month on the First Amendment.

The school announced Monday that the controversial political advocate will be a guest of the Newhouse School’s Tully Center for Free Speech as part of the center’s Distinguished Speakers Series. In a speech titled “Fighting for the First Amendment,” Flynt will speak on Tuesday, March 5 at 5 p.m. in the Schine Student Center’s Goldstein Auditorium.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets will be available through the Schine Box Office starting Wednesday for students. Remaining tickets will be released to the general public starting Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Flynt, long a controversial figure and free speech advocate, is expected to talk about his numerous legal battles including the famous HUSTLER magazine vs. Jerry Falwell case in 1988. As portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the movie “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” the porn publisher won the decision that found protecting free speech is more important than protecting public figures’ emotions and reputations.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of that famous case, which is one of the most important free speech cases in our history,” Tully Center director Roy Gutterman says in a press release. “It will be an honor to be able to talk about this case and others with the man who has fought so hard for these First Amendment principles.”

Those attending are invited to follow and participate in the event’s discussion on Twitter through the hashtag #FightingforFirst.

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Hustler publisher Larry Flynt to speak at Syracuse University about First Amendment

Claims follow an investigation by lobby group Corporate Watch Water companies accused include Northumbrian, Yorkshire and Thames

By Rupert Steiner

PUBLISHED: 23:27 EST, 14 February 2013 | UPDATED: 07:46 EST, 15 February 2013

Six water companies are accused of exploiting a loophole that wipes out tax due on billions of pounds of loans

Some of Britain’s biggest water companies are controversially using tax havens to avoid paying millions in UK tax, a new investigation claims today.

Six of them, including Northumbrian, Yorkshire and Thames, are accused of exploiting a loophole that wipes out tax due on billions of pounds of loans.

The arrangements have emerged as water regulator OFWAT announced last week that water bills would rise by 3.5pc to an average of 388-a-year per household.

Controversial schemes taken by big firms to slash their tax bills are the centre of attention at the moment after MPs slammed US giants like Google and Starbucks as ‘immoral’.

The government has announced new plans to clamp down on firms who push their revenues abroad out of the grasp of the taxman. They will be prevented from winning lucrative Whitehall contracts.

Companies bidding for government contracts will have to provide details of their tax compliance history, including tax returns that have been judged incorrect, under the draft new rules announced yesterday.

Read more:
Six of Britain's biggest water companies 'use tax havens to avoid paying millions to the Treasury'

* Seas off Lofoten islands home to world’s largest cod stock

* May hold 1.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent

* Controversial issue to be among top debates of election

OSLO, Jan 31 (Reuters) – Norway’s ruling Labour Party is set

to support oil exploration off a pristine northern archipelago,

bringing to a head controversy over drilling in the Arctic in

the run up to elections this year.

The seas off the Lofoten islands, perched some 200 km (124

miles) north of the Arctic Circle, have unique cold water reefs

and are the spawning grounds of the world’s largest cod stock.

See more here:
Norway ruling party to back Arctic islands drilling



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