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The Bitcoin Course | Bitcoin will change the world [Tim Draper]
Tim discusses what inspired him to invest in the Bitcoin ecosystem and how the technology can transform the world.

By: Draper University

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The Bitcoin Course | Bitcoin will change the world [Tim Draper] – Video



Liberty Football Feature: A Family Connection
Today's feature takes a look at Flames' tight end Garrett Long and his family's unique dilemma that occurred on Aug. 30 when Liberty opened its 2014 football season at North Carolina. Long's…

By: Liberty University Flames

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Liberty Football Feature: A Family Connection – Video



The Bitcoin Course | Securing Bitcoin [Olaf Carlson-Wee]
Olaf discusses his vision for Bitcoin's future and how Coinbase works to secure Bitcoin for users.

By: Draper University

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The Bitcoin Course | Securing Bitcoin [Olaf Carlson-Wee] – Video

This week a prominent feminist was forced to cancel lectures at USU because of a threat made on her life.

Well, that’s oversimplifying it, you see, Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist noteworthy for her comments on the portrayal of women in video games, had every intention of going through with the speech except for one minor hiccup, the state of Utah’s gun laws.

According to Utah law, the government can’t stop anyone from bringing a gun to a concealed event. So. although our second amendment rights are protected, there’s no guarantee of any security at pretty much any event.

Although the university promised to provide security, how can anyone feel safe if you can’t legally take a gun from someone.

Does the right to carry a concealed weapon outweigh the safety of someone who simply wants to speak their mind on an issue.

The threat on Sarkeesian was one of gun violence, so why couldn’t we put away our guns for one day to hear an individual express their opinions, as protected by the first amendment.

Yes, many gun owners are responsible, and that guns in hands of honest citizens can in some cases make us safer.

I’m also not saying protecting the second amendment is bad, but can we at least find a compromise somewhere.

Are there lives worth protecting that we are willing to occasionally give up our weapons for?

Even gun owners understand the sacrifices we must make for safety of others.

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Second amendment shouldn't infringe on our other freedoms

This sign was taken away from Florida State University football fan Mick Zarr at Saturdays ESPN College GameDay pregame show. Zarr says his rights were violated when the sign taken from him. (Photo: Courtesy of Mick Zarr )

Florida State football fan Mick Zarr has an issue with ESPN and he believes it’s his right to say so.

Ahead of undefeated and second-ranked FSU’s barn-burner matchup Saturday with then-No. 5 Notre Dame he crafted a sign that summed up what he perceives is biased reporting in the sports giant’s coverage of the Seminoles. He also believes ESPN favors the football powerhouse Southeastern Conference.

His sign read, “ESECTMZPN: The worldwide leaders in tabloid urinalism” and he held it up for the world to see Saturday morning during ESPN’s live GameDay broadcast from in front of FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium .

He was joined by hundreds of others gripping signs for ESPN.

“I wanted to make a sign that was impactful, yet wouldn’t get me into trouble,” Zarr, 36, told the Democrat. “I wanted one where I could catch people’s attention.”

He did get attention. But it was that of an ESPN-hired security guard who requested he turn over his sign right before the show started at 9 a.m.

“They’re really on me, I got to get that sign out of here,” Zarr said the security told him.

Zarr assumed he was talking about ESPN producers. He didn’t want any trouble, but he still asked why his sign was one causing the trouble.

“They’re all over me about it. I got to get it out of here,” the security guard stressed.

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Does ESPN's GameDay control free speech?

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. –

It’s been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. One of the people who played a role in making that happen spoke at ETSU on Monday.

When Hank Thomas stood up to speak, he started singing songs of freedom.

“Things are wonderful in this country now that I can truly say ‘My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee’ and ‘God Bless America’,” he said.

In May of 1961, however, there was a much different tone.

“I may be in this university but I certainly would not be welcomed,” said Thomas. “The law of the land as far as the South was concerned, every time I got aboard a bus, whether a municipal bus or an interstate bus, I was supposed to go to the back of the bus.”

Thomas decided to board a bus in Washington D.C. that was headed to Louisiana to fight for desegregation. He was only 19-years-old and a sophomore at Howard University.

Thomas became one of seven “Freedom Riders” on board that bus.

When the bus got to the Alabama border, a mob was waiting. Thomas told us the crowd disabled the bus by slashing the tires.

“The bus driver could not drive the bus any further and all the windows of the bus were broken out,” said Thomas. “The bus driver got off the bus and really ran for his life but we were able to lock the door so they could not get in.”

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Freedom Rider remembers civil rights movement



Liberty University's SOAR Dunk
Created using iMovie and by Micah Apon Filmed with the GoPro HERO3 white Music: You Can't Stop Me – Andy Mineo Team members are listed in video! I DO NOT OWN THIS SONG.

By: Micah Apon

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Liberty University’s SOAR Dunk – Video

In Colvard Student Union. MSU’s African-American Studies program hosts the event. Includes remarks from Freedom Summer volunteers, students, activists, photographers and scholars. Registration required.

More than 900 brave, determined and resilient volunteers flooded Mississippi in 1964 for the Freedom Summer Project, and Mississippi State University is celebrating that effort’s impact on equality and human rights.

The Freedom Summer Project called volunteers, mostly northern white college students, to launch the drive to register blacks to vote in Mississippi, the state with the lowest percentage of black voters at that time. After Freedom Summer activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwermer were murdered in June by the Ku Klux Klan for registering Neshoba County blacks to vote, national outcry led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Remembering Freedom Summer: Building a Better Future” will be held at MSU Oct. 19-21 in Colvard Student Union. While the conference is free and open to the public, participants should register in advance at http://www.aas.msstate.edu/fsc/reg.

Numerous Freedom Summer volunteers, students, activists and photographers will speak, as well as recognized scholars from MSU and other universities all over the country.

Plenary sessions include:

–Oct. 20, 8 a.m., “Remembering Freedom Summer.” Freedom Summer students and volunteers speaking will be 1961 Freedom Rider and Freedom Summer activist Dave Dennis, Freedom Summer volunteer Chude Allen, Freedom Summer volunteer Mark Levy, Freedom Summer organizer Doris Derby, Colum Law Firm attorney and founder Wilbur Colom, Freedom Summer organizer Hollis Watkins and Freedom Summer activist Anthony Harris, as well as Starkville Vice Mayor Roy A Perkins. Finance and economics professor Meghan J. Millea will chair and College of Arts & Sciences Dean Gregory Dunaway will offer the welcome. Charles E. Cobb Jr., visiting professor of African Studies at Brown University, will moderate.

–Oct. 20, 1 p.m., “Plenary Session B.” Featured speakers will be MSU African-American Studies Senior Fellow K.C. Morrison, MSU President Mark E. Keenum, Tougaloo College President Beverly Hogan, former Mississippi Gov. William Winter and Freedom Summer volunteer Chude Allen.

–Oct. 21, 8 a.m., “Freedom Summer: Building a Better Future.” Academics and activists in the panel will be The Montgomery Institute President Bill Scaggs, Florida A&M University assistant professor Kristal Moore Clemons, Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater College of Arts and Communication Dean Mark McPhail, Dave Dennis, Wilbur Colom and Mercer University professor Anthony J. Harris. WCBI-TV news anchor and reporter Andrea Self will chair, and MSU Provost and Executive Vice President Jerry Gilbert will offer the welcome. Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman will give remarks, and Cobb will moderate.

Other distinguished speakers will be authors Susan Follett, Francoise Hamlin, Michael Williams and Flonzie Brown Wright, along with additional Freedom Summer students and volunteers Roy DeBerry, Roscoe Jones, Larry Rubin and Gloria Clark. Academic speakers will represent University of Florida, University of Texas, College of Charleston, University of North Carolina, Alcorn State University and Miami University.

Excerpt from:
Remembering Freedom Summer: Building a Better Future

The American Association of University Professors Foundations Academic Freedom Fund has awarded a grant of $5,000 to Dr….

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Salaita Awarded $5,000 AAUP Foundation Academic Freedom Grant



Jason and David Benham – Liberty University Convocation
http://www.liberty.edu/convo On October 8, 2014 at Convocation, North America's largest weekly gathering of Christian students, David and Jason Benham, owners and founders of Benham REO Group, …

By: Liberty University

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Jason and David Benham – Liberty University Convocation – Video

The recent data breach outbreak in the retail and financial sectors drives home the fact the United States faces a massive cybersecurity conundrum but this should not come as a surprise to anyone.

While the issue of keeping cyber criminals at bay is a monumental task all on its own, there is another perhaps more vexing cyber-related concern plaguing the nation: Both industry and government are struggling to find enough bodies to deal with the digital pandemic.

A report from Cisco (CSCO) found demand for cybersecurity experts has grown at three and a half times the pace of the overall I.T. job market, with an estimated 1 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs across the globe in 2014.

At the heart of the matter is a lack of younger Americans in the cybersecurity talent pool.

In its recent survey on millennials and cybersecurity, Raytheon (RTN) and the National Cyber Security Alliance found nearly two-thirds of millennial respondents are not sure what the cybersecurity profession is. Additionally, in that same study, only 26% strongly agree their high school education prepared them to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively in the workplace.

The National Security Agency is looking to change that.

In an effort to groom talent and stress the importance of cybersecurity education, the agency introduced its National Centers for Academic Excellence, Cyber Operations Program in 2012. That program has since expanded to include a total of 13 undergraduate and graduate programs in the United States with the U.S. Military Academy, New York University, the University of New Orleans, Towson University, and the University of Cincinnati being added to the list in 2014.

The agency is trying to increase the future pipeline of cyber professionals of the nation — not just for NSA, but for academia, industry and the rest of government, Steven LaFountain, Dean of NSAs College of Cyber, said in an interview with Firewall. We’re doing that by trying to influence the security curriculum that’s being taught at the university level.

In doing so, the agency has mapped out specific standards that colleges and universities must fulfill in order to gain designation as a Cyber Operations Center of Academic Excellence.

NSA benefits by utilizing the program to identify top talent for its ranks, and students benefit by becoming more attractive to prospective employers once they enter the job market.

Read more from the original source:
NSA Grooming Cyber Talent through Academics

In their zeal to collect as much operational data as possible, organizations hoping to gain an advantage through the use of big data will also need to rethink how they process, analyze and present that material.

When all this information finally gets to the business, it is difficult for the business to understand what to glean out of the data, said Sharmila Shahani-Mulligan, CEO and co-founder of big-data startup ClearStory Data. We know this has been a problem for several years now.

Shahani-Mulligan was one of a number of speakers at the OReilly Strata + Hadoop World conference Thursday in New York to offer tips on making the move from data to big data. She suggested that the executive dashboard is giving way to emerging technique of interactive storytelling, which gives data more readily apparent context and meaning.

Meanwhile, organizations should watch Google closely, advised M.C. Srivas, chief technology officer of Hadoop distributor MapR Technologies. Google, with its vast and varied infrastructure, can provide us with a glimpse into the future of where computing is going, said Srivas, who worked at Google before co-founding MapR.

One of the basic rules to pick up from Google is that more data beats complex algorithms, Srivas said. This is something that Google has demonstrated again and again: The company that can process the most data will have an advantage over everybody else in the future.

A number of MapR customers are following this principle, Srivas said.

Millennial Media, a leader in the mobile advertising market, collects up to about 4TB of mobile user data each day, combining with petabytes of data on hand to build profiles of mobile users.

Cisco collects data from its firewalls worldwide, aggregating about a million events per second, all to better detect security threats. Credit agency TransHuman collects data from multiple sources to provide real-time credit scores.

But once an organization has committed to collecting more data, the question becomes what to do with it.

Visualization is a handy tool, but picking the correct visualization is vitally important, advised Miriah Meyer, an assistant professor in the University of Utahs School of Computing.

Continue reading here:
Hadoop World: The executive dashboard is on the way out

Fifty years ago, students on the University of California, Berkeley campus ignited protests over a ban on political activity. Crowds surrounded a police car holding student activist Jack Weinberg on Oct. 1, 1964. Photo courtesy U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

I used to keep a gas mask and a police-style helmet in the back of the car. That was when I was reporting on the Berkeley campus of the University of California for the NBC television station in Sacramento. It was during the Vietnam War in the early 1970s, and the anti-war movement was in full swing. Berkeley was action central for marches and confrontations with the police, which occurred as I remember it like clockwork.

And my gas mask and helmet didnt stay in the car: there was plenty of anger in the streets, plenty of action. Tear gas and police batons often filled the air on and off campus. Emotions ran high. Often the reason behind the demonstrations and marches ending the war was lost in the battles between the protestors and the cops. Who was provoking who became the issue, and certainly it made exciting television. Homegrown battles filled the airwaves, to the point where they eventually became routine. How many of those marchers were actually students wasnt ever clear, but U.C. Berkeley became the symbol of anti-establishment, anti-war, anti-military activism.

Why bring this up now? Because 50 years ago this month a student movement began that morphed into those huge demonstrations. Long before the Vietnam War, in 1964, students on the Berkeley campus ignited protests over a ban on political activity. Civil rights advocates, some of whom had gone to the Deep South to protest segregation, were trying to organize on campus, and the university administration said no. An activist graduate student named Jack Weinberg was arrested, put into a police car, stayed there for 32 hours as crowds built up and kept the car from moving. That was the beginning of the Free Speech Movement (FSM).

Heres the way Weinberg, now a global environmental consultant, back on campus for the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, told me about it:

We set up a big table and were trying to tell the story of the right to engage in the civil rights movement that the university was stopping, and the dean came up to me and told me to take down the table. And I said, Im sorry. I cant do that. I cant cooperate with you. And so he, the campus police put me under arrest, and then they made the mistake of bringing a police car onto campus.

Student activists Jack Weinberg and Mario Savio speaking to each other on top of the police car. Photo by U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Prior to the Free Speech Movement, Weinberg said, there was a massive civil rights movement that had already polarized American society. And when the FSM started, it was just another manifestation of the civil rights movement on campus.The students were mobilizing in support of civil rights but ended up becoming empowered beyond civil rights. So it was a turning point.

What happened next the massive and sometimes violent demonstrations over civil rights, womens causes and the war was more divisive than the FSM itself had been. A few former members of the group who have become more conservative have spoken out saying the movement went too far, that it got out of hand, that it didnt really support free speech for anyone but itself, that it swallowed left-wing ideology without criticism. And that led to unruly, undemocratic protests that did more harm than good.

Weinbergs answer: Democracys messy.

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Free speech, and what came after

ASHLAND, Ore., Oct. 16 (UPI) — Four students at Southern Oregon University claim they were threatened by campus officials while protesting the school’s free speech policies.

The students were passing out copies of the Constitution and asking for signatures on a petition to end SOU’s “free speech zone” policy, which limits protests to one spot on campus. They say they were targeted because of their affiliation with Students for Concealed Carry, a new group advocating for gun rights on college campuses.

“We encountered wild accusations that because the event was affiliated with SCC, there was legitimate fear for the imminent danger of students on campus,” student Stephanie Keaveney told Campus Reform, which also obtained video of the indecent. “Administrators accused us of causing an immediate panic for the safety of students in the face of gun violence, or the promotion of such.”

She said campus officials told them they had received a complaint from another student, but denied being approached by anyone other than university personnel.

The students claimed the university staff threatened to call police or otherwise bring disciplinary action if they did not stop their demonstration.

But a spokesman for the university said students were only asked to relocate, not forced or threatened.

“[The students] were not forced to move to the free speech zone, nor were they prevented from continuing to hand out their literature,” said Ryan Brown, Southern Oregon University’s Head of Community and Media Relations.

Keaveney confirmed that they had not been approached by city police, nor had they faced action from the university. Brown said the school has no intention to take any action against the students.

In videos obtained by Campus Reform, director of university housing Tim Robitz can be heard asking the SCC students to move their protest elsewhere.

“I would very much like you to leave, if you would, please, because the students have the right to be able to come by here without you guys, you know, invading their space and asking them to do something,” he says in the video.

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Southern Oregon University allegedly threatens students handing out Constitutions



Tim Draper on How Bitcoin Will Change the Economy
About Draper University: Located in Silicon Valley, Draper University of Heroes is the brainchild of free-spirited venture capitalist Tim Draper, aka “The Riskmaster” and Co-Founder of Draper…

By: Draper University

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Tim Draper on How Bitcoin Will Change the Economy – Video

(Un)freedom

Freedom Comments Off
Oct 152014

Young Blood By Alejandro Ibanez |Philippine Daily Inquirer

We are not free. That is how I see it, and that is how I experience it. Freedom is a misapprehension, a misconstrued concept that is usually associated with the youth of today.

Young, wild, and free? Dream on. I used to stand with this belief until reality came as unpleasant surprise. Right after college, I thought I had powers to change the world, to make it more humane. But I was wrong. My old friend was right all along: It is such a hell out there. I was so idealistic that my subjectivity crumbled the moment I left the university.

I thought that the might of my ideals and the sharpness of my principles were enough to fight injustice, to challenge the status quo. I thought life after graduation was an opportunity to practice the theories I had learned in the classroompraxis, as the academe calls it. I thought that sharpening my sociological imagination, putting to the fore taken-for-granted assumptions, transcending the faade of normalcy, was the job a critical sociologist could do outside the four walls of the classroom. I thought having the courage to stand up for what is right would suffice to back this eagerness to be an agent of change. But I soon realized it required more than that.

In the university that professes to be the vanguard of democracy and freedom, I was taught that critical dissent is a profession in itself, and I think I have mastered it well. Despite the ravaging criticisms from the mainstream media and from the (post-political-liberal) petty bourgeoisie, and the ruling class out there, I thought it was enough to master this craft of critical engagement to impart counter-ideologies, to not conform with the culture industry, to harness critical thinking, to convince others that there is an alternative to what we have. I was dismayed.

When I entered the workforce as an ordinary Juan de la Cruz, who spent the day at a computer desk for more than eight hours, the frustration grew more. My sociopolitical aspirations were translated to sending e-mails, doing the regulation tasks, attending meetings, pleasing the bosses, etc. My passion for an active engagement with the politics of the state resulted in mere politics in the office. I felt so lost. I was looking for a proper avenue where I could actualize the idea of being a reflective public intellectual, but that eagerness seems to be nearing oblivion.

Just years ago, I was one of those young people who wished for class distinction to wither away. Now I had become an ordinary employee working my ass off for a meager paycheck, already part of the global capitalist labor chain, for a compensation that defines who I am or, worst, defines the contours of what I can do. This is first-hand exploitation. At least now I get to experience it, but the sad part is, it is way easier to say and to theorize than to feel.

Sometimes I wonder if this is really what Marx calls alienation, if this is the feeling that the critical theorists usually despise. The feeling is indescribable, I must say; it is beyond words. Zizek nailed it when he claimed that sometimes we just feel free simply because we lack the language in which to articulate our unfreedom. This is the sad truth. Just years ago, I was criticizing this system. But now I belong to it; sometimes I even think that I am part of it. The idea is that instead of me introducing thought-provoking claims, I am here giving the pleasant, the popular, and the conventional. A sadder idea here is: This is now my reality.

To somehow ease this tension within me, I went back to the academe. To go back to the discipline that taught me to question things around me, to go back to the sociological canons (Marx, Weber, Durkheim) that bestowed upon me that quality of mind that sees things differently. My first day with the university was quite nostalgic. The militanteven the symbolicprotests have occurred to me again. The burning passion to be a revolutionary was alive againbut with more modesty and maturity, I suppose.

The struggles, obviously, are still there, but they are more realistic to me. Why? Because I have experienced it and I continue to experience it still. My rage is still there for the status quo, but I have now controlled myself to be more reticent with my rants and to control my misguided rage. I believe that this should be done to keep me sane in a world full of oppression and perversion. But have I given up?

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(Un)freedom

Dr. Deepak Srivastava, a leading biomedical research policy expert, will discuss “Stem Cells, Regenerative Medicine and Policy Impediments to the New Future” at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Oct. 21. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Who: Dr. Deepak Srivastava, the Baker Institute’s nonresident scholar for biomedical research policy and the Younger Family Director and senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.

Neal Lane, the Malcolm Gillis University Professor, senior fellow in science and technology policy at Rice’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a professor of physics and astronomy, will give introductory remarks.

Stem cells and regenerative medicine are exciting and emerging fields of biomedical research, according to event organizers. Proposed applications include treating conditions such as blindness, diabetes and heart disease. Regenerative medicine could also help heal failing organ systems and replace damaged tissue. While these fields hold great promise for medicine, external factors limit and, in some cases, stall research, organizers said. Ethical controversies surrounding human embryonic stem cells, policy issues affecting federal and state funding and regulation, and economic pressures all play a role in determining the future of research.

In his presentation, Srivastava will explore the current and future potential of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Following the presentation, he will discuss policy challenges and opportunities with Lane.

The event is sponsored by the Baker Institute’s Science and Technology Policy Program and the Health Policy Forum.

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Stem cell, regenerative medicine policies to be discussed at Rice's Baker Institute

Oct 142014



Liberty University
College Shine visits Liberty University to capture the experience international students have while studying there. Features a few.

By: thecollegeshine

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Liberty University – Video

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement at the University of California-Berkeley. The student movement that sparked the rebellions of the 1960s is widely celebrated, particularly at Berkeley, which has hosted several dozen special classes, sing-ins and lots of political poetry over the past month.

Berkeleys embrace of the FSM (as the movement is known to its admirers) is not subtle. The steps of Sproul Hall are named after Mario Savio, whose famous bodies upon the gears of the machine speech started it all. A campus dining hall is called the Free Speech Movement Cafe. Former FSM leader Sol Stern, who has since become disaffected with his old colleagues, calls it FSM kitsch.

UC Berkeley today is very much the FSMs kind of school. And it is even fair to say that the school is still run by its heirs.

As Mr. Stern describes it in the City Journal, the cultural ethos of New Left the driving force behind the FSM is Berkeleys reigning orthodoxy. A fawning biography of Savio, who died in 1996, is required reading for freshmen. The administrations Division of Equity and Inclusion requires all undergraduates to take a course on theoretical or analytical issues relevant to understanding race, culture, and ethnicity in America. Rest assured the course does not serve to encourage free and open inquiry.

But what of free speech? How is it faring 50 years after Savio first jumped on the roof of a police car to rally students to the cause?

Not very well. As Mr. Stern laments, The great irony is that just as Berkeley now officially honors the memory of FSM, it exercises more thought control over students than the hated multiversity that we rose up against a half-century ago.

At todays Berkeley, political protests are allowed, but only in two designated places. Certain causes such as defending Israel are frowned upon and often openly rebuked. A speech code in the student housing guide broadly warns against verbal abuse and hate speech. Students are urged to report what they think may be hate crimes. Posters for events must be submitted five days in advance to a housing review board before they can be posted. Even the Board of Regents of the entire UC system shares some of the blame, disinviting former Harvard President Larry Summers to speak to them because of a controversial statement he once made.

Whats gone wrong? How did a movement ostensibly dedicated to freedom of speech and expression become its opposite?

Because the FSM wasnt really about free speech. It was about the New Lefts campaign to overturn the old system. By portraying the liberal (for those times) administration of Berkeley as the moral equivalent of the Jim Crow South, the FSM showed its hand it wasnt standing up for the First Amendment of a country it denounced as racist and imperialistic, but declaring a cultural and political war on that country.

Go here to see the original:
KIM R. HOLMES: When free speech is anything but free

Karen Kim hangs Twitter icons in a commemoration of the 1964 Free Speech Movement at UC-Berkeley.(Photo: Ben Margot, AP)

The crowd at the Brava Theater in San Francisco’s Mission District on a recent Saturday night filled no more than two-thirds of the seats. My 22-year-old daughter, a law student at the University of California-Berkeley, was the youngest member of the audience by a good 30 years. The predominant hair color was gray, trending white.

My daughter, wife and I were there for the premier performance of FSM, a 50th anniversary celebration of the Free Speech Movement, the student-led challenge of a Berkeley administrative ban on campus political activity that captivated the nation during the fall of 1964. Weeks of demonstrations and sit-ins culminated in hundreds of arrests, but also in a concession to students that they had the right to political speech on campus.

Watching FSM unfold reminded me that what matters is what you learn after you know it all. Fifty years ago, as a young Air Force airman, I wrote a long letter to my hometown weekly newspaper decrying the tactics of the Berkeley students and their rumored communist inspirations, and singling out their leader, Mario Savio, for particular scorn.

Time and experience

That was before 40-plus years as a journalist and lecturer at four major universities taught me how precious the First Amendment is, and how endangered it has become. Nowhere is this more evident than on college campuses. Free-speech advocates might have won the battle of Berkeley 50 years ago, but they’ve been losing the war on campuses for decades.

Students grow up today with the Internet, which embodies free speech sometimes despicable speech in blogs and social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. But too few of them have a sense of history or seem concerned about what’s going on around them, especially that hundreds of colleges have imposed speech codes or set up absurd “free speech zones” in obscure corners of the campus.

You’d think that Berkeley, with its storied history, would be an exception, but it’s not. While thousands of students jammed Sproul Plaza in 1964, a ceremony this month kicking off a remembrance of that fall’s events drew only about 300 people to the same spot.

Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks set the tone earlier by reminding students and faculty by e-mail that “we can only exercise our right to free speech insofar as we feel safe and respected in doing so, and this in turn requires that people treat each other with civility.” After an uproar among faculty, Dirks issued what some called a mea culpa, in which he downplayed the civility angle and called for “real engagement on divisive issues.”

“Civility,” “respect” and “courteousness” are elitist code words meaning that offending anyone will not be tolerated in the context of free expression. But where does the Constitution guarantee freedom from being offended? For example, I am rarely not offended by something I see or read when I turn on the television or go online. Does that mean I’d like to live in an environment where no one would be permitted to offend me? No, that’s what off-buttons are for.

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Free speech threat 50 years later: Column



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