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Editorials

  • GUEST OPINION: Let’s get back the holiday that got away

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center
    Imagine if they canceled Independence Day.

    What if the federal government declared that the Fourth of July was no longer a holiday?  We would be told to report for work, cancel fireworks displays and picnics and go about our business the same as any other day.

    There would be outrage. Americans would be angered by the suggestion that we shouldn’t celebrate freedom. 

    Not recognize Independence Day?  Why, that would be un-American.

  • Judge seeks balance in Occupy ruling

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    A federal judge in Minnesota has provided an interesting, common-sense decision that appears to balance fairly the First Amendment rights of the Occupy movement demonstrators, the responsibilities of public officials, and the larger interests of the public.

    Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle ruled Nov. 23 that protesters can post signs in a Hennepin County government plaza and that they can assemble there “during any hour of the day.” But he also said county officials may ban tents and forbid anyone from sleeping overnight in the area.

  • Our Opinion: A salute to the bravery of sex assault victims

    As the child molestation accusations continue to unfold at Penn State and Syracuse University, it seems that there’s only one group involved that can be viewed with pride.

    That’s the victims who were brave enough to come forward.

    Many of us can only imagine the lasting pain these people may feel — even those who never report the abuse they were dealt by someone they knew and trusted.

  • 45 words from 1791 are ultimate power

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The comparisons have already started — police in Egypt attacking demonstrators with clubs and tear gas, and police in a number of U.S. cities breaking up “Occupy” camps with clubs and tear gas.

    If you’re a demonstrator in Cairo or Oakland, any difference between foreign and domestic nightsticks and pepper spray probably doesn’t matter a whit.

  • Feel the glow from Kingston Christmas lights

    Christmas should be a little brighter on Kingston’s main streets this season — thanks to a set of new holiday decor lights.

    The city council bit the bullet earlier this year and purchased energy-saving LED lights in the form of twinkly snowflakes and sparkly, candy-cane-stuffed stockings.

    The cost of Christmas lighting had the city thinking of turning off the old lights for a big part of the Christmas season. That seemed to make everyone involved sad.

  • Chilling power of GPS surveillance tested in court

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment was not in plain sight Nov. 8 when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments over a drug conviction involving police use of a hidden GPS tracking device without a search warrant.

    But the Court’s decision — expected next spring — will have implications for our First Amendment rights of association and free speech, owing to a legal concept called “practical obscurity.”

  • Something you really should budget for

    The major winter holidays — Thanksgiving and Christmas — are fast approaching.

    Those of us with enough — enough to eat, enough to pay our bills — tend to think of these holidays with a mixture of warmth and delight.

    Those who are struggling are likely to have a much dimmer view. While some of us are planning special meals or shopping splurges, they may not have enough to eat, or money enough to heat their homes — that is, if they have homes.

    We seem to have gotten better about budgeting for ourselves as a society.

  • Courts need bridge between media, judges

    By KEN PAULSON
    First Amendment Center

    As a young reporter, I had the good fortune to cover circuit court judges who didn’t mind helping a rookie.

    I was a lawyer and a reporter, but there were times when my law school education came up a little short. I found judges in the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida who were willing to provide background and context so that I could write a story as accurately as possible.

  • Reporter’s arrest impacts freedom of all citizens

    By GENE POLICINSKI
    First Amendment Center
    The First Amendment right of a free press to publish the news absolutely requires that journalists be free to gather the news.

    So when police improperly arrest a journalist who simply is reporting at a scene, they do more than violate one person’s rights — they attack our collective, constitutional right to know from a free and independent source what our government is doing so that we may hold it accountable.

  • Student wins religious case against board

    By CHARLES HAYNES
    First Amendment Center
    If you wonder why many Christian parents view public schools as hostile to their faith, talk to Michael Ayers — father of a sixth-grader in the Pocono Mountain School District in northeastern Pennsylvania.