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Chief Judge Wood and Judge Jordan on Madison and Money in Politics
How did James Madison think of free speech? What would he think of the amount of money in politics today? Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit and Judge Kent Jordan of the Third Circuit…

By: NCC Video

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Chief Judge Wood and Judge Jordan on Madison and Money in Politics – Video

Repugnance: Stop Obeying Them if You Want to Win for Liberty (TAC006)
According to James Madison, repugnance, in the form of disobedience that is, is essential for stopping the federal government. So if your response to federal overreach is voting bums…

By: Tenth Amendment Center

Originally posted here:
Repugnance: Stop Obeying Them if You Want to Win for Liberty (TAC006) – Video

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos insists he’s a big fan of the First Amendment.

That’s what the Republican legislator from Racine County said to justify his belief that corporations, businesses, labor unions or anyone else should be able to spend as much money as they want on political campaigns.

The Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, the one that declared that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as individual citizens, was spot on, the speaker declared as he and Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca engaged in a debate before a packed luncheon last week.

Barca had just declared that the biggest threat to American democracy was the court’s decision that money equals speech. The Kenosha Democrat added that it’s critically important to overturn the decision that opened the floodgates to unlimited spending in political races.

But a smug and confident Vos, cocksure that Scott Walker would be re-elected governor and the Republicans would continue to control the Legislature after Nov. 4, was having none of it. He also declared that not only should corporations be able to give, the so-called independent issue groups should be able to collaborate with a candidate’s campaign as well. (That’s currently illegal under Wisconsin law and its alleged violation by Walker backers is behind the controversial John Doe investigation.)

I’m a huge believer in the First Amendment, he declared, as if there’s no question that the Founding Fathers intended to include corporations in the Bill of Rights.

It was interesting to learn that Vos suddenly had such respect for the constitutional amendment authored by James Madison to protect minority views from “the tyranny of the majority.” (It’s apparently hard for Vos and the 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court to admit that the Founding Fathers only mentioned individual American citizens in their deliberations.)

Vos is the same guy, after all, who has been a consistent defender of secret legislative caucuses and was behind the move to forbid the Governmental Accountability Board from allowing online access to campaign contribution disclosure forms filed by legislators.

He was also one of the instigators of tough rules to limit demonstrations in the State Capitol during and after the protests in 2011, including prohibiting cameras and other recording devices in the Assembly balconies.

But when it comes to corporations-as-citizens, he’s suddenly a firm believer in that First Amendment.

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Plain Talk: Robin Vos gets First Amendment religion

Sep 112014

The point of this “improvement” of James Madison’s First Amendment is to reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. It left in place the ban on corporate contributions to candidates. It said only that Americans do not forfeit their speech rights when they band together to express themselves on political issues through corporations, which they generally do through nonprofit advocacy corporations.

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WASHINGTON Since Barry Goldwater, accepting the Republicans’ 1964 presidential nomination, said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Democrats have been decrying Republican “extremism.” Actually, although there is abundant foolishness and unseemliness in American politics, real extremism measures or movements that menace the Constitution’s architecture of ordered liberty is rare. This week, however, extremism stained the Senate.

Forty-eight members of the Democratic caucus attempted to do something never previously done amend the Bill of Rights. They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class’s convenience is no vice.

The First Amendment as the First Congress passed it, and the states ratified it 223 years ago, says: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech.” The 48 senators understand that this is incompatible by its plain text, and in light of numerous Supreme Court rulings with their desire to empower Congress and state legislatures to determine the permissible quantity, content and timing of political speech. Including, of course, speech by and about members of Congress and their challengers as well as persons seeking the presidency or state offices.

The 48 senators proposing to give legislators speech-regulating powers describe their amendment in anodyne language, as “relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.” But what affects elections is speech, and the vast majority of contributions and expenditures are made to disseminate speech. The Democrats’ amendment says: “Congress and the states may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections,” and may “prohibit” corporations including nonprofit issue advocacy corporations (such as the Sierra Club, NARAL Pro-Choice America and thousands of others across the political spectrum) from spending any money “to influence elections,” which is what most of them exist to do.

Because all limits will be set by incumbent legislators, the limits deemed “reasonable” will surely serve incumbents’ interests. The lower the limits, the more valuable will be the myriad (and unregulated) advantages of officeholders.

The point of this “improvement” of James Madison’s First Amendment is to reverse the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. It left in place the ban on corporate contributions to candidates. It said only that Americans do not forfeit their speech rights when they band together to express themselves on political issues through corporations, which they generally do through nonprofit advocacy corporations.

Floyd Abrams, among the First Amendment’s most distinguished defenders, notes that the proposed amendment deals only with political money that funds speech. That it would leave political speech less protected than pornography, political protests at funerals, and Nazi parades. That by aiming to equalize the political influence of persons and groups, it would reverse the 1976 Buckley decision joined by such champions of free expression as Justices William Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Potter Stewart. The one reason President Harry Truman vetoed the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act was that he considered its ban on corporations and unions making independent expenditures to affect federal elections a “dangerous intrusion on free speech.” And that no Fortune 100 corporation “appears to have contributed even a cent to any of the 10 highest-grossing super PACs in either the 2010, 2012 or 2014 election cycles.”

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Extremism in defense of re-election

Originally published May 7, 2014 at 7:05 PM | Page modified May 8, 2014 at 12:02 AM

History, politics and law are all tangled up in contemporary court interpretations and public understanding of the Second Amendment, and politics is the greater part of the mix these days.

Last week, I wrote that weve so misread the amendment that maybe we ought to get rid of it. Thats certainly not on the horizon, but the idea drew a strong response and suggested to me that a review of the amendments history might be helpful. (Some of the responses also reinforced my belief there are many people who should not be allowed anywhere near a gun. What does racist name calling have to do with gun rights anyway?)

One theme that ran through comments supportive of unrestricted gun-ownership rights was that it is necessary for individuals to own guns to protect themselves against both crime and the U.S. government, and that the framers of the Constitution intended for the amendment to protect that individual right.

Thats a new way of reading the amendment.

I heard from Michael Schein, an attorney who handles appeals and who taught American legal history for 15 years at the University of Puget Sound and Seattle University.

Dont blame the framers, he wrote. For 217 years, the law under the 2nd Amendment was that it only protected possession or use of a firearm by well-regulated militia forces. … It contained no right of personal self-defense until 2008, when the Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote brought that interpretation to its ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which limited the Districts gun-regulation law.

Wednesday I called Schein, and we talked about the amendments history and current interpretation. Its heavily politicized and wrapped up in peoples emotions, so its difficult to get to the facts underlying it in any objective way, he said.

The Constitution was written to create a more effective federal government, but some people worried the government would trample on the rights of states and individuals. The Bill of Rights was intended to mollify them and make ratification of the Constitution possible. Some were particularly concerned that the federal government would form a standing army, and they wanted assurances that state militias would be in a position to fight against such an army if it came to that.

James Madison was tasked with drafting the amendments. Some of the states had asked for a personal right in one amendment, but he didnt include that. Instead he used a version of Virginia law that dealt with militias.

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Second Amendment in real time boils down to politics

hide captionThe Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two cases over whether law enforcement can search cellphones obtained at an arrest without a warrant.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments in two cases over whether law enforcement can search cellphones obtained at an arrest without a warrant.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in two cases testing whether police can search cellphones without a warrant at the time of an arrest, be it for a traffic violation or for a felony.

The Supreme Court has interpreted the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches to require that police obtain a search warrant from a neutral judge upon a showing that there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed. The warrant is to specify where the search will be conducted and the evidence being sought.

There are, however, exceptions to the warrant requirement.

The court has long allowed police to search people without a warrant at the time of their arrest. But as privacy advocate Andrew Pincus points out, until very recently, those searches were self-limiting, meaning they were limited by the amount of information an individual could carry on his person.

Now, however, because cellphones can store so much information, a person can carry more than any one of the Founding Fathers had amassed in a lifetime.

“The Library of Congress’ entire collection of James Madison’s papers is 72,000 pages,” Pincus observes, adding, “he couldn’t have carried them. They would have weighed 675 pounds.” And, says Pincus, today’s cellphones carry 100 times that much information.

Indeed, the iPhone 5 in its smallest storage version keeps 800 million words of text, Pincus says. That’s enough to fill more than a football field’s length of books, or over 8,000 photos, 260,000 private voice mails and hundreds of home videos.

“It’s misleading to even think of them as phones,” says George Washington University professor Orin Kerr, an expert on technology and the law. They are “general purpose computers” that have a bunch of apps, one of which is the telephone function.

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Weighing The Risks Of Warrantless Phone Searches During Arrests

February 4th Second Amendment Rally Announcement
Delegate Smigiel Announces a pro-gun rally on February 4th at 11am on Lawyers Mall in front of the state capitol.

By: James Madison

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February 4th Second Amendment Rally Announcement – Video

SHOT Show 2014 – Niger Innis on the Second Amendment
Niger Innis explains the importance of the second amendment.

By: James Madison

Excerpt from:
SHOT Show 2014 – Niger Innis on the Second Amendment – Video

NRA Testimony Exposes State Profiting Off Exercising the Second Amendment
This AELR Committee Hearing took place 9-23-13.

By: James Madison

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NRA Testimony Exposes State Profiting Off Exercising the Second Amendment – Video

Great Quotes About Libertarianism
A collection of the absolute best quotes on what it means to be a Libertarian, from such iconic figures as George Carlin, Isaac Asimov and James Madison.

By: ThisMayOrMayNotBeSatire

Excerpt from:
Great Quotes About Libertarianism – Video

To the editor:

This letter is in response to all the letters, especially those on gun control written by Tim Doherty. Remember, his reasoning is due to him being an under-informed Democronie and out of touch with what is going on in this country today. If he listened to someone other than Obama and his dancing chickens, he might understand what is really going on.

You questioned Mr. Kellys comment that the Second Amendment was mainly added to prevent government tyranny. This is true. If you read The Second Amendment Primer, you would understand what James Madison and others were talking about. Do more reading about the Constitution before you make statements that you know nothing about. Ronald Reagan stated that liberals werent ignorant; they just had information that wasnt true.

As far as us turning our guns on the brave men and women of the U.S. military, that wont happen. They will be on our side against the thugs from the United Nations Armed Forces. Obama is meeting with their representatives next month to plan taking our guns. Our military is not real fond of Mr. Obama because of the way he has treated them.

As far as your comments on people like Kelly and others being paranoid, just look around and smell the roses. The government wont shut down the borders from illegals coming across, their Fast and Furious scam sold assault weapons to the Mexican drug cartel to use against anyone who stands against them, they are planning on reducing our military ground forces by 80 percent, and they want to take away our guns. They want to classify 138 weapons as assault weapons and put a ban on them. They wont prosecute the criminals, they wont do anything about violent videos just take our guns. It aint gonna happen.

There is a lot of unrest in this country, all due to the far-left liberals trying to take over. If we allow these people to destroy the Second Amendment, next the First Amendment will fall, then the Constitution. Remember, a free man is an armed citizen, and an unarmed citizen is a subject. Adolf Hitler said the most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subjected people to carry arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subjected people to carry arms have prepared their own fall.

Anyone who doesnt want to live by our Constitution doesnt have to stay here. Delta is ready when you are.

T.E. Matthews


To the editor:

Originally posted here:
Hurray for the Second Amendment

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 3:33 p.m.

Those who fear their gun rights are going to be taken away should take heart. The United States Supreme Court affirmed the right of an individual to own a gun. But the Second Amendment and the Supreme Court have more to say.

The Second Amendment provides: “A well regulated Militia. being necessary to the security of a free State. the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The U.S. Supreme Court case District of Columbia v Heller was decided on July 26, 2008. It held that the “Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess firearms and that the city’s (Washington, D.C.) total ban on handguns. as well as its requirement that firearms in the home be kept nonfunctional even when necessary for self-defense. violated that right.”

The court’s opinion provides another essential ruling. The Second Amendment is not without limits. The opinion written by Justice Antinon Scalia and joined by justices Roberts, Thomas, Kennedy and Alito, the conservatives of the court, laid out limits.

Their lengthy opinion clearly states that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firarms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

The opinion includes discussion of gun laws, court cases and American history. Each word and phrase of the amendment is examined. Founding Father James Madison crafted the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights.

Other rights have limits as well. Regardless of religious beliefs, bigamy is illegal. Freedom of speech is limited. A person cannot falsely yell “Fire” in a public place or deal in child pornography.

We live in a civil society, where public safety is function of government. The civil rights in the U.S. Constitution do not allow an individual to do whatsoever he or she might want to do. It is time that we take the measures necessary to reduce gun violence. The Supreme Court provided permission and instruction.

Carolyn TeStrake lives in Gainesville

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Carolyn TeStrake: Second Amendment has limits

Following the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. by Adam Lanza , many Americans are wondering what exactly our Founding Fathers intended when they set the Second Amendment to paper more than 200 years ago. Surely not the killing of 20 young children and six women.

Were firearms intended only for militias as the first clause might indicate? Or are municipalities prohibited from banning certain firearms as the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 in McDonald v. Chicago when it overturned the Windy City’s ban on hand guns?

The problem with these lines of thought is that in both we are refusing to frame this debate in the 21st century. Or even more appropriate, the year 2012 whose multiple mass shootings included the massacre in Aurora, Colo. and last week’s two tragedies in Happy Valley, Ore. and Newtown. If we truly wish to demystify the intentions of James Madison when he wrote the Second Amendment, we must reconstruct the environment in which he conceived it and recognize that it was a very different time, with very different circumstances, and very different weapons.

THE MONITOR’S VIEW: Newtown shootings: What to say to ourselves

At first, success in the Revolutionary War helped the Founding Fathers realize the necessity of firearms. A far-away government imposed taxes without representation, but with an armed citizenry, the colonies had fought for the right to form their own government. It is likely that Madison intended that guns be available if this course of action was ever again necessary.

But now the field has changed. The muskets that the minutemen took up against the British were a good match for the weapons they would be facing on the battlefield. This is undoubtedly no longer the case.

Now there is no citizen armament and really, nothing short of military aircraft or an atomic weapon that could match the US military. And even todays Supreme Court would find it hard to permit the construction of backyard missile silos. Regrettably or not, we must concede that the conditions allowing for an armed revolution of the people have long since vanished.

But, theres still the question of why firearms for a militia might be necessary. Again, we should take Madisons perspective. While America was fulfilling its manifest destiny, expansionists would often instigate territorial disputes with the native people whose land and resources they were claiming. When those peoples objected violently, groups of armed men, shoulder to shoulder, could repel them with force and keep their communities safe. Now that we have essentially concluded all territorial disputes in North America, it is safe to say that this justifications time has passed.

But then, there is personal defense, by far the most controversial rationale for unmitigated gun rights. Proponents of this school of thought suggest that firearms even automatic weapons are necessary for protecting their homes from intruders and from violent criminals, both of whom may be similarly armed. They use this argument to justify owning weapons with silencers, expanded magazines, and semi-automatic triggering mechanisms. What they ignore though, is that in the days of James Madison, none of these technologies existed, nor was there any conception that they ever would be.

The weapons with which Madison was familiar were essentially muskets, in addition to rudimentary pistols and rifles. A competent user could take a single wildly inaccurate shot, and then find himself rummaging around with a ram-rod (and a powder bag he had to tear with his teeth) for over a minute before being able to take another. There was no way an individual could maim two people before being subdued, let alone 32 as at Virginia Tech, or 26 in Sandy Hook Elementary the site of what is now the deadliest school shooting in US history.

Continued here:
Madison never meant Second Amendment to allow guns of Sandy Hook shooting

Penn is among the top seven colleges for free speech in the nation, according to a report released Wednesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The annual ranking of speech-friendly campuses recognizes the policies different schools have on the books to protect student expression, as well of those schools enforcement of their policies.

Penn was the only Ivy League institution to make the top seven list, which was presented in no particular order. Other schools included the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and James Madison University.

Penn and Dartmouth College are also the only two Ivy League schools currently ranked as green light institutions by FIRE. Green light distinctions are awarded by FIRE to schools that do not maintain any policies that seriously imperil speech on campus.

First and foremost, Penn has maintained policies that maintain freedom of expression on its campus, FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley said. Penns a private university and it doesnt have to protect student speech, but it makes a point to do so.

Shibley attributed some of this to the presence of history professor Alan Kors at Penn. Kors is a co-founder of FIRE, and chaired the free speech organizations board of directors for a number of years.

I think a lot of credit has to go to him, Shibley said. Its a tribute to his influence that Penns been a great place for student speech.

Despite FIREs ranking, Penn does not have a tension-free history when it comes to free speech issues on campus.

The University gained significant attention in 1993 during the water buffalo controversy, in which a student was charged with violating the Universitys racial harassment policy for shouting, Shut up, you water buffalo! at a group of black sorority sisters.

The charges were later dropped, but Penns handling of the free speech issues involved in the case came under criticism.

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Penn ranked a top college for free speech

Under pressure to show loyalty to his party and to critique its heresies against libertarianism, he does a lot of the former, not much of the latter.


At the same time, his libertarian supporters, another key to his political future, are forever wary of being betrayed by a sellout, and uninclined to lend their time and money for someone who isn’t delivering. Basically, Senator Paul has to retain a lot of supporters accustomed to the uncompromising purity and outspokenness of his father (the subject of a tribute video at the RNC extolling his refusal to compromise), but without being quite so pure, uncompromising or outspoken.

Needing to please his party on the one hand, and his core supporters on the other, Sen. Paul erred on the side of pleasing the party Wednesday with an on message speech. He attacked President Obama for his “You didn’t build that” comment, in keeping with the GOP’s major theme. He focused on subjects of agreement between libertarians and establishment Republicans.

And he eschewed opportunities to chide fellow Republicans. In the beginning of his speech, for example, he invoked James Madison and the notion of enumerated powers, as if Mitt Romney and many other Republicans are reliable champions of a severely limited federal government. And though Paul used inspirational immigrant stories to extol the American Dream, specifically invoking Vietnamese boat people, he didn’t advocate for allowing more immigrants to come here legally.

He did nod to his supporters later in the speech, however subtly.

“Republicans and Democrats alike must slay their sacred cows,” he stated. “Republicans must acknowledge that not every dollar spent on the military is necessary or well-spent, and Democrats must admit that domestic welfare and entitlements must be reformed.” I’m glad he included that line. But asking Republicans to acknowledge that a little bit of military spending is wasted isn’t enough. Sen. Paul himself favors deeper cuts to military spending than his speech suggests.

“Republicans and Democrats must replace fear with confidence, confidence that no terrorist, and no country, will ever conquer us if we remain steadfast to the principles of our Founding documents,” Sen. Paul said. Were delegates in the hall aware that the GOP hasn’t remained steadfast to those documents, and that Mitt Romney’s avowed policies are deeply at odds with them?

If not Senator Paul didn’t give them any hint.

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Rand Paul Plays It Safe in His RNC Speech

You may not know this, but the Second Amendment says you have a right to own an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round barrel.

And an RPG.

And a tank.

And a stealth bomber.

And a 50-megaton atomic bomb.

Oh, and most important of all, a wand from Ollivander’s wand shop in Diagon Alley, preferably one that won’t backfire when you cast the Cruciatus Curse.

Don’t try to argue with me. I’ve read the Second Amendment, and it says that the right of the people to bear arms should not be infringed ever.

More importantly, I know what the Founders’ intentions were: They knew that an armed populace would keep the government’s inevitable slide into tyranny at bay. After all, nothing keeps the powers that be in check like the fear of an armed uprising. Well, except for the fact that some dude wants to marry some other dude and spend the rest of his life making eye babies with his hubby. That shit really freaks them the fuck out.

Unfortunately, any armed uprising today would be squashed in a matter of days. Why? We’re outgunned. Which is why you, me, and everyone we know should be able to have access to the same firepower as Uncle Sam. After all, that’s what James Madison and the gang intended. And that means atomic fucking bombs, lots of them, with conceal and carry permits for every man, woman, and child. That’ll teach the federal to keep their goddamn hands off our Medicare.

Sadly, that’s not the world we live in. Evidently, the liberal scum in Washington wants to take away the few peashooters we’re allowed to have today. And they’ll go to great lengths to make sure that even those pop guns are banned. And lately they’ve been particularly hard at work. Or so says Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine.

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Megadeth's Mustaine is right, we are outgunned

The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas will hold its 2012 Bernard and Audre Rapoport State Conference on Friday, August 10 at the Hyatt Regency Austin Hotel. This year’s theme is Keep it Open: Fighting Threats to Public Access.

Award winning investigative reporter Terri Langford of the Houston Chronicle will be the conference’s Luncheon Keynote Speaker.

The highlight of Fridays program will be the John Henry Faulk Awards Luncheon and the presentation of the James Madison Award to The Dallas Morning News, with special recognition for the contributions of reporters Brooks Egerton, Miles Moffeit, Reese Dunklin and Sue Goetinck Ambrose, as well as editors Maud Beelman and George Rodrigue.

The James Madison award is given annually by the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas to honor those who have demonstrated outstanding commitment and service in upholding the principles of the First Amendment.

Results of The Dallas Morning News investigation into patient safety at Parkland Memorial Hospital and related issues at its teaching facility, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, epitomize the very purpose of the James Madison Award, said Keith Elkins, Executive Director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. This was certainly no easy task. Efforts by the newspaper to obtain records were repeatedly blocked by the taxpayer-supported institutions, even after the Attorney General ruled that many of the records were public. But The News refused to back down.

The News has filed three lawsuits against UT Southwestern for the release of records related to possible patient harm and potential Medicare-Medicaid fraud. The newspaper has also intervened in two lawsuits brought by Parkland against the Texas Attorney General in an attempt to block the release of records.

The News multi-year investigation of Parkland revealed systemic breakdowns in patient care. The federal government, in response to the newspapers reporting, ultimately put the Dallas County hospital under a rare form of oversight and installed independent safety monitors to overhaul operations throughout Parkland. The News examination of presidential spending at UT Southwestern prompted a state investigation, new audit procedures and staff resignations or removals. The papers reporting on these topics can be found online at

This years annual program will also feature the presentation of the State Bar of Texass 2012 Texas Gavel Awards, honoring journalistic excellence that helps foster public understanding of the legal system, as well as:

Session I: The Perils of Public vs. Private The continuing use of digital communication by government officials and employees sparks heated debate over private accounts and public servers. The law is clear, but the issue keeps returning to the courts. Get a refresher on the law and an update on the latest litigation. Panelists include Joe Larsen, Special Counsel, Sedgwick L.L.P, Houston and George Hyde, Partner/Shareholder, Denton, Navarro, Rocha and Bernal, Austin. Mr. Hyde represents Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Adkisson in a lawsuit challenging the Texas Attorney Generals ruling requiring he release emails related to the transaction of official business on his private email account.

Session II: Top 10 Things You Need to Know The Office of the Attorney General has powerful tools to help Texans gain access to public records and meetings, but state rules and regulations can get complex. Learn how to work effectively with the OAG from those who know best. Panelists: Hadassah Schloss, Cost Rules Administrator, OAG; Karen Hattaway, Deputy Chief, Open Records Division, OAG; and, Tim M. Kelly, Editor, The Beaumont Enterprise.

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Freedom of Information Foundation to Hold Annual FOI Conference In Austin

By the time John Adams became president, Americans already had taken to noisy celebrations of Independence Day, of which he heartily approved.

“It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other,” he wrote to his beloved Abigail.

That tradition continues, of course, to the point that not only Independence Day, but its underlying ideals and the sacrifices that made it possible, might be taken for granted.

Immigrants learn civics

The Center for the American Dream at Xavier University recently conducted a survey, asking native-born Americans any 10 of a group of 99 questions on the civics portion of the naturalization test taken by immigrants.

Whereas 97.5 percent of immigrants achieved a passing grade of 60 percent, only 65 percent of citizens born here passed. If the passing grade had been 70, the Xavier researchers reported, only 50 percent of the natives would have passed.

The natives tended to do well on questions related to geography, national symbols and holidays, but poorly regarding principles and ideas.

About 96 percent knew that the Statue of Liberty is in New York Harbor, for example, and 100 percent knew that each star on the U.S. flag represents a state. About 99 percent knew that Barack Obama is president, but only 71 percent correctly identified Joe Biden as vice president; 38 percent could name the governor of their state or the speaker of the U.S. House, and only 37 percent could name one of their state’s two U.S. senators.

Only 7 percent knew that the Constitution has 27 amendments; 8 percent could name any of the authors of the Federalist Papers: John Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.

The right not to know

Excerpt from:
Give nation civics lesson for birthday Third of native-born citizens fail naturalization test

With warm weather coming this weekend, Madison is giving residents a chance to cool off by opening local pools and beaches.

Goodman Pool at 325 W Olin Ave. opens for the season Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. Cypress Spray Park, 902 Magnolia Ave., also opens Friday, with a spray area available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily this summer.

The city’s beaches are scheduled to open June 13, but are getting an early start thanks to the warm weather. All of the beaches are open, according to the city, with some having early lifeguard service this weekend.

Madison splits its beaches into two categories: regional and neighborhood. BB Clarke Beach, Olbrich Park Beach, Tenney Park Beach and Vilas Park Beach are all regional beaches; Bernies Beach, Esther Beach, James Madison Park Beach, Olin Park Beach, Spring Harbor Beach and Warner Park Beach are neighborhood beaches.

Regional beaches will have lifeguards on duty Friday from 2-7 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, regional beaches will have lifeguards from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., while neighborhood beaches will have them from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

For Monday and Tuesday, regional beaches will have lifeguard service from 2-7 p.m.

Once they open for the season Wednesday, regional beaches will have lifeguards on duty each day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., while neighborhood beaches will have them from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

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Madison beaches open for hot weekend

Friday, March 16, 2012

WASHINGTON For sharing online how they enjoy exercising their First Amendment rights and joining in a national celebration of the First Amendment, 22 students from coast to coast will each receive $5,000 scholarships to continue their high school or college education.

Their entries were judged the best from a cascade of more than 17,000 tweets and messages sent on Dec. 15, 2011, the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights, as part of Free to Tweet. Thousands of Americans participated in the public awareness campaign organized by 1 for All and funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation recognizing First Amendment freedoms and putting a largely overlooked holiday back in the public eye.

Free to Tweet was an extraordinary success, tapping the creativity and insights of students nationwide, while giving teachers tools to help them share the First Amendment with a new generation, said Ken Paulson, founder of 1 for All and president of the First Amendment Center and American Society of News Editors, organizations that organized and promoted Free to Tweet.

Students from ages 14 to 22 were eligible to receive $5,000 scholarships $110,000 in total. The winners hail from 15 states, including Nicholas Creegan, of White Plains, N.Y. who won with his tweet: Silence might be golden, but silence never got much done in a democracy. Speak now or dont complain later. #FreeToTweet

Each winning message can be seen at @1forAllus will tweet one an hour on March 16, the 261st birthday of Bill of Rights author James Madison.

Free to Tweet built on the findings of the Knight Foundation study, Future of the First Amendment, which looked at the role social media plays in shaping young peoples sense of First Amendment principles. It found that as social media use grows among teens, so does appreciation for the First Amendment.

We were energized to see so many young people contributing to a national conversation on how we interpret and appreciate our First Amendment freedoms in the digital age, said Michael Maness, vice president of journalism and media innovation for Knight Foundation, which funded the campaign and scholarship contest. We hope that tweeting about their First Amendment views leads to a life time of support for our essential freedoms.

In conjunction with Free to Tweet, 1 for All and the Knight Foundation published Social Media, the Classroom and the First Amendment, a classroom guide for teachers that explores how social media shape young peoples sense of these freedoms and suggests ways to incorporate digital tools into instruction on the topic.

Until Dec. 15, 2011, Bill of Rights Day had gone largely unrecognized and forgotten. Proclaiming the date a national holiday in late November of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Americans will not, under any threat surrender the guarantee of liberty our forefathers framed for us in our Bill of Rights. Just days later, Pearl Harbor was attacked, the United States entered World War II and the proclamation was largely forgotten.

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Students honored with $5,000 scholarships

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