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Free speech – More Than a Slogan (update)

A week ago, Emma Sullivan was simply another high school student in Topeka, Kansas. She had her circle of friends and family like all high school students. She was attending a Kansas Youth in Government program where Governor Sam Brownback addressed her and her fellow students. Sometime during this conference she tweeted: Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot. Okay, no big deal, just a high school student expressing herself. Then, somebody from the governor’s office called the principal of her school. Let’s just think about this just for second. A high school student says something to the governor. As far as I know, she hasn’t broken any laws and hasn’t violated any code of conduct that I know of. Why would somebody from the governor’s office run whining to the principal’s office? Why would the principal’s office pay any attention to it? According to Emma Sullivan, the high school student, she was ordered by the principal to write letters of apology to Governor Brownback, the school’s Youth in Government sponsor and several other recipients.

This morning Emma tweeted “I’ve decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong.” Would you or would you not agree that we should all have the right to criticize our political leaders? She does not have the right to be rude, but she does have the right to express herself in a way that does not disrupt the class or the learning activity. If she’s able to do this, there’s no reason for the governor’s office to be offended. There’s no reason for the principal’s office to get involved.

Update: Finally, some common sense (and I didn’t think that Governor Brownback had any!)

From DK:

Oh, but there’s more:

In the uproar over a Prairie Village teenager’s tweet about Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback during a school trip, it is the governor who is apologizing. “My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that, I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms,” said a statement from Brownback’s office.

Overreacted, indeed. Ya think?

So let’s see. A teenager tweeted that her governor sucks. He does in fact suck, as is evidenced by his staff obsessively compiling an enemies list of teenage girls who don’t like him on Twitter. His staff complains, the school principal freaks out, probably correctly figuring that Brownback’s office will use it as excuse to cut their pencil budget again, this time down to one pencil per thirty kids, and tells the teenage girl she has to apologize. The wider world finds out about it, floods all parties with messages of support for the teenager in question and suddenly everybody remembers the First Amendment again.

By |2011-11-28T13:44:46-04:00November 28th, 2011|Civil Liberty, Civil Rights|Comments Off on Free speech – More Than a Slogan (update)

Why vote against your own bill?

Republicans continue to floor me.

From C&L:

Mitch McConnell is asked why seven of the Republicans who co-sponsored the Conrad-Gregg fiscal commission turned around and voted against it. McConnell says he now wants a spending reduction commission because heaven forbid we can’t have them considering any tax hikes for the rich. Leave it to Republicans to take a bad idea and make it worse.

KING: Well, let’s talk about your side of the equation. Robert Gibbs just complained about it and the president mentioned it in his Saturday radio address. He says there was a proposal. It was sponsored by one Democrat and one Republican. It would create a commission that would spend a few months studying how can we cut federal spending, maybe even propose tax increases; find some way to reduce the federal budget deficit. Now, it then failed last week on a vote in the Senate. And here’s the president’s complaint.


OBAMA: This past week, 53 Democrats and Republicans voted for this commission in the Senate, but it failed when seven Republicans who had cosponsored this idea in the first place suddenly decided to vote against it.


KING: Now, we want to show on our screen the seven Republicans who were cosponsors but then withdrew their cosponsorship and voted against it: the Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, John Ensign of Nevada, Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, John McCain of Arizona, Robert Bennett of Utah.

If this was such a good idea that they would cosponsor it — this is what comes up, Senator McConnell, in my travels all the time. People say, why do they always just play politics in Washington? Is this just politics, as the president says, or if it was the same proposal six months ago when they cosponsored it, what was wrong with it last week when a Democratic president wanted it?

MCCONNELL: Well, what was wrong with it last year? I mean, I discussed this very issue with the president right after he came to office, and with his chief of staff, never could get a commitment out of him.

In the meantime, we’ve seen a year, now, in which we’ve been on a spending binge. They passed a budget that doubled the national debt in five years and tripled it in 10.

There’s a lot of skepticism now about whether — and the president endorses this commission a couple of days before the vote. Where was he a year ago when we were talking to him about it?

KING: But why should that…


KING: Why should that matter? Why should that matter?


KING: Because I want to go back to your point. I’m sorry for interrupting. I want to go back to your point.

Why should that matter? Yes, the president endorsed it because of political pressure, without a doubt. Democratic senators went to the White House and said, we will not vote to increase the debt ceiling unless you help us out here.

But if it was a good idea, why should — let’s say the president’s playing politics. But if it’s a good idea, why not vote for it? Because you were here several months ago and you said it was a great idea. (more…)

By |2010-02-01T21:28:30-04:00February 1st, 2010|Budget, Party Politics, Senate|Comments Off on Why vote against your own bill?

Grab Bag – Monday Night

I would like to publicly thank the LA Times for doing some reporting. They have a nice article on some of the myths and misperceptions that are areas of confusion surrounding the healthcare debate. Kudos to them.

The White House would like to clear up some misperceptions also. They have launched a new website. (What has troubled me during most of this debate is how behind the White House is. Healthcare has been pummeled by Republicans, conservatives and other lobbyists for several weeks. Now they launch an offensive? Where was this four weeks ago?)

Many have tried to convince me of the righteousness of business. They have tried to tell me how great the free markets are. Continental Airlines has set another example of how business needs to be regulated. Leaving passengers stuck on the tarmac for nine hours is unforgivable. Watch the video below!

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

David Kurtz from TPM asked the question, where are all the physicians in the health care debate? I don’t know what I can do to be more visible. I have a radio show. I have a blog. I’ve talked about health care and health care reform for over three months. Maybe I should get my own television show? 🙂

A hold has been placed on Representative John McHugh’s nomination for Secretary of the Army by Senators Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback.

The autopsy of Michael Jackson has been completed but the results are sealed. This seems to be dragging on forever.

Army General Stanley McChrystal has asked for more civilian resources in Afghanistan. If someone can tell me exactly what we’re doing in Afghanistan and what we’re trying to accomplish, I would be most appreciative.

If you can’t get Sarah Palin, whom do you call? Chuck Heath, Sarah Palin’s father and Jim Palin, Todd Palin’s father will be campaigning in Idaho for Vaughn Ward, a Republican candidate for Congress.  Well, that’s a creepy version of All in the Family!

The NFL is getting ready to crank up! Preseason action starts on Thursday.

By |2009-08-10T21:56:51-04:00August 10th, 2009|Afghanistan, Business, Entertainment, Healthcare, Military, Party Politics, Sports|Comments Off on Grab Bag – Monday Night
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