Tag Archives: Texas

US judge and clerk reactions to increased marriage rules

State Attorneys General issue orders; Probate judges step up; Alabama Clerks quit en mass; Wild polygamists appear; Libertarians decry more rules

marriage equalityWhen the Supreme Court recently ruled that marriage was a fundamental right that could not be denied, I doubt the five Justice majority imagined the fall-out that it would incur.

Just three days after the ruling, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued an opinion stating “the Court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live.”

Adding, “County clerks and their employees retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing same-sex marriage licenses. The strength of any such claim depends on the particular facts of each case.”

Paxton also warned clerks that refusing to issue marriage licenses may be sued. see more…

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SCOTUS rules on free speech

FreeSpeechZoneThe US Supreme Court recently issued two seemingly conflicting rulings on free speech.

Scotusblog reports the Supreme Court “gave state governments sweeping new control over the messages that can be put on auto and truck license plates but restricted governments at all levels from using differing rules to control the messages put on billboards and other outdoor signs.

As a combined result of two new rulings, government both gained added power to speak for itself but faced the loss of some of its power to control what others may say in public displays.

And the meaning of the First Amendment, in general, became somewhat more confusing.” see more…

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Big city military drills becoming “normal” across America

Police and military are conducting scary drills that involve firing blanks in schools and downtown areas. ThinkProgress.com reports, “Students at a high school in Illinois experienced a uniquely terrifying school shooting drill on [January 30]. Instead of conducting a regular school lockdown, Cary-Grove High School administrators simulated gunfire by shooting off blanks in the hallways while students locked their classroom doors, pulled the curtains, and hid.” TV stations in Houston & Miami are reporting of military drills that involved military helicopters and gunfire.

In Miami, “a Black Hawk helicopter flew over the [downtown] area. According to Miami Police, it was part of a military drill, simulating an attack in an urban community. Miami was specifically chosen for the simulation.” WSVN-TV in Miami reported, “Police were unable to disclose specifics about what agencies were involved, but they said the drills were done at night for the public’s safety.” Miami Police Commander Delrish Moss said, “the reason they were done at night, and the reason they were done in the later hours is because we are trying to minimize disruption to traffic, minimize safety concerns.” He also said the drills will continue and cites security concerns as the reason for the secrecy.

The drill in Houston involved several agencies taking over an old high school building. KTRK-TV reported (full video), “There were armed men in fatigues, plenty of weapons and what many thought were real live rounds.” Frances Jerrals who lives near the area said, “When you see this, you think the worst. When you hear this, you think the worst. I felt like I was in a warzone.”

Parents of students from the Cary-Grove High School in suburban Chicago received a letter that read, “These drills help our students and staff to be prepared should a crisis occur, but it may cause some students to have an emotional reaction.” Protecting children was viewed as a reason for the drills in Houston as well. Glenn DeWitt from Houston said, “If it’s to protect our kids, I’m all for it.”

I’m reminded of the quote from Benjamin Franklin, “those who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

I certainly don’t like the idea of military and police conducting drills in populated areas and it disturbs me that more people aren’t outraged!


Pro-Internet billboards pop up near SOPA author’s TX offices

Anti-censorship organization Fight For The Future announced today that two billboards went up in San Antonio and Austin, Texas that patriotically shout a simple warning: “Don’t mess with the Internet.”

The announcement from FFTF:

SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith came close to destroying the Internet we love (it took the largest online protest in history to stop him). So we thought it would be awesome if the internet sent Lamar a message, in the form of a billboard right outside his Texas office.

Your donations funded *two* billboards in less than two days, which ruled.

The signs are going up in congressman Lamar Smith’s Republican district (we’ve reported at Hammer of Truth as the much-despised author of the SOPA legislation). The SOPA legislative effort may have failed spectacularly, but these visual shots of discontent are still being fired in Smith’s direction with two signs near two different district campaign offices.

Smith and others who wish to follow in the internet censoring footsteps are clearly going to have their hands full trying to get re-elected if these public shaming issue campaigns can so easily flex their muscles. They’re certainly more more agile than a traditional candidate campaign.

On the downside here, they really ought to have put Lamar Smith’s name on the billboard since they aren’t exactly across the street from his offices. They did offer this semi-disclaimer on the placement:

(The first is as close to his San Antonio office as we could get: Loop 410, 500 ft. east of Nacogdoches. And the second is on Lamar Blvd. in Austin between 12th St and 15th St –his Austin office doesn’t have any billboards nearby.)

The billboard jingo is certain to leave an impression on Internet-loving Texans nonetheless.

In the future we’re fighting for, I hope to see them take this to a nationwide campaign. Instead of a Texan these though, I suggest turning the Gadsden flag snake into an ethernet cable bundle snake and the words “Don’t tread on the Internet.” That’s a billboard banner the Internet’s TCP/IP Party could get behind in internet censorship friendly congressional districts across the land.

UPDATE: I should have known some artist already thought of this. Go figure.

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