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China’s bid to block my journal’s articles is a new attack on academic freedom – The Guardian

The furore that followed CUPs compliance with an instruction from a Chinese import agency made one thing very clear. Academic freedom remains the absolute core concern. Photograph: Antonio Olmos for the Observer

The international furore that followed Cambridge University Presss compliance with an instruction from a Chinese import agency to block individual articles from China Quarterly made one thing very clear. Academic freedom remains the absolute core concern of scholars all over the world.

This morning I met CUP officials and conveyed the message in forthright terms: the 315 articles that the academic publisher had removed from its internet portals in China should be re-posted as soon as possible and made available free of charge. At no point did China Quarterly, which I edit, consent to removal of the articles and we are delighted at CUPs reversal of thedecision.

The ideological constraints on academic freedom under Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang appear to be policy-driven

As a researcher of labour relations in China for 20 years, I have grown accustomed to the shifting boundaries of what is and is not possible. The first decade of Chinas going out this century was marked by an increase in public engagement and an expansion of research. Partnerships between Chinese and international universities were forged. The opportunities for creating new knowledge, a lofty-sounding but nevertheless key goal of academic research, blossomed.

For sure, Chinese partners still faced constraints. And non-Chinese academics researching sensitive areas such as Xinjiang and Tibet, human rights, or the tragic end to the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 had visas denied and fieldwork hampered or blocked.

But these were nevertheless exciting times to be an academic working on China. They were accompanied by an equally important expansion in environmental movements, labour campaigns and gender equality, and the appearance of a courageous cohort of lawyers prepared to work on human rights cases.

An important outcome of the increased opportunities for academic exchanges was access to information. The numbers of non-Chinese able to access and read Chinese-language materials increased. The numbers of Chinese able to access non-Chinese materials inevitably, and unfortunately, it is mainly in English has exploded. This has had a positive impact on Chinese scholarship published in both languages.

China Quarterly has been run from Soas, University of London, for more than 50 years, and I have been fortunate to come into contact with some of the worlds leading academics working on China. In the first years of the new millennium the internet emerged as a powerful research tool, and authoritarian government in China was reconfiguring itself as pragmatic, innovative and open to non-Communist party voices. But this scholarship is now under threat.

The previous era of relative openness was qualified by targeted repression of those who crossed party-defined boundaries, such as Liu Xiaobo, who died in prison earlier this year. He was sentenced for his part in the pro-democracy manifesto Charter 08.

The now re-posted articles had gone through a rigorous double-blind peer-review process and represent some of the best contributions to new knowledge on China. Some of the authors are globally renowned scholars, others are early-career academics. Access to such research has hugely enriched Chinese scholarship, just as scholarship outside China has been hugely enriched by the response of Chinas academic community to this work.

This attempt to deny access might just might be the result of over-reach by Chinese censorship bodies such as the recently created General Administration of Press and Publication. But I fear it is the outcome of a much stronger shade of authoritarian government that excludes voices from outside the party-led system. The evidence of new regulatory, and apparently ideological, constraints on academic freedom and public engagement in China that have emerged since 2012 under the leadership of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang suggest that the parlous state of affairs with regard to academic freedom is policy-driven. What is unprecedented is that itsreach has now stretched to international institutions such as Cambridge University Press.

The key criteria for publication in our journal will not change academic rigour and contribution to new knowledge. The topics we publish will not take into account the political sensitivities of any government. And as editor, I will work harder than ever to disseminate our articles as widely as possible.

Tim Pringle is a senior lecturer in development studies at Soas, University of London, and editor of China Quarterly

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China’s bid to block my journal’s articles is a new attack on academic freedom – The Guardian

Freedom Town Column: Coloring book featuring local artist nearly sold out – Conway Daily Sun

The art work of Freedoms professional and amateur artists, as well as that of local children that was put into a coloring book by the Freedom Village Store, is almost sold out. There are 23 left. The store will not be doing another production run so if you have not gotten your copy, you better do it soon, before they are all sold out!

South Eaton Meetinghouse will be hosting a special program featuring Maestro George Wiese and friends Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. This skilled graduate of the Juilliard School of Music will entertain and delight you with the history and nuances of the beautiful rebuilt Woods & Co. reed organ at the meetinghouse, and will play a wide array if music created and adapted for reed organ. There is suggested donation of $10. The South Eaton Meeting House is located on the corner of Towle Hill and Burnham Roads. For more information, go to southeatonmeetinghouse.com or email semh1844@outlook.com.

Camp Huckins Family Weekend is being held on Sept. 8-10. This is a getaway weekend at Camp Huckins with a special rate for Freedom families. Call now to reserve your space as there are only a few cabins left. Families stay together in one cabin and participate in camp activities. Meals included two cookouts and other meals will be served at the Camp Huckins Dining Hall. One family member must be a resident of Freedom to receive special sliding fee scale (family of four) additional family members $10. Tier one is $50, tier 2 is $75 and tier 3 is $125. Choose the tier that best suits your family. To register, call the Camp Huckins office at (603) 539-4710.

Ernie has started raising turkeys for Thanksgiving. If you are interested in getting one, you should contact Ernie now at ernieday@roadrunner.com or call him at (603) 539 3604. He has a very limited supply.

Your local Kennett High football player has Gold Cards for sale. The cost is $20 and the cards give discounts at Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, McDonalds, Elvio’s, Subway, Beef and Ski, Wicked Fresh, Jalisco’s, D’Angelo’s, Shalimar, Friendly’s, Flatbread, Black Cap, Applebee’s, Ben and Jerry’s, Almost There Tavern, Horsefeathers, Starbucks, the Met, Seadogs, McGrath’s, Twombly’s Market, Dairy Queen and Margarita Grill. The cards can be used over and over and over again and last for one year. Don’t forget to pick up one, or several. They are only available for a short time.

Lisa Wheeler can be contacted at wheelersinfreedom@roadrunner.com.

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Freedom Town Column: Coloring book featuring local artist nearly sold out – Conway Daily Sun

Row over teaching Fanny Hill highlights threat to freedom of expression – The Guardian

Scene from BBC 4s 2007 adaptation of Fanny Hill, a text allegedly dropped from Royal Holloways course. Photograph: BBC/Sally Head Productions

On Monday, Vogues website, unusually straying into academia, reported: Eyebrows were raised when the first erotic novel in the English language, Fanny Hill, was dropped from an 18th-century literature course for fear of offending students. This followed a headline in the Mail on Sunday: Erotic novel first banned 270 years ago for describing a young girls sexual exploits is censored AGAIN in case it upsets students. Both assertions were incorrect, neatly illustrating how freedom of speech so easily slides into the murky realms of Trumpian post-truth.

John Clelands Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, popularly known as Fanny Hill (a play on mons veneris the mount of Venus) was published in 1748. He began it as a young man working in the East India Company in Bombay in response to a challenge to write what became the first English pornographic novel without using coarse language. He completed it in his 30s, in debtors prison, writing to pay for his freedom. He returned to jail soon after, convicted on obscenity charges.

Fanny Hill became an underground hit for more than 200 years. Unlike previous continental pornography written in Latin or Greek, accessible only to the educated, the book was written in English at its most flowery and, frequently, comical best. Or, according to the moralists and critics, at its worst. They were not amused, for instance, by Fannys enthusiasm when confronted by a maypole and an engine of love assaults, or her evident enjoyment of both: What floods of bliss! What melting transports!

The alleged dropping of Fanny Hill from a university course, taught at Royal Holloway, University of London, appeared to hint at yet another example of the snowflake generation of students in action. They shy away from what displeases them; dictate content of courses; no-platform speakers (Germaine Greer and Peter Tatchell on grounds of transphobia) and establish safe spaces on campus so that unsettling debates that might trigger concern can be avoided. It results in what Judith Shapiro, the former president of New York Citys Barnard College, calls self-infantilism, ill-equipping students to see the world as others see it.

So has Fanny Hill been snowflaked? Professor Judith Hawley teaches the course but, as she explained in a Guardian article, Fanny Hill hadnt been dropped because it had never been included. What she had said as a participant in a fascinating Radio 4 investigation into the history of freedom of speech, broadcast during the previous week, had been misrepresented.

What she said is this: In the 1980s I protested against the opening of a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Nowadays, I am afraid of causing offence to my students, in that I can understand why a senior academic imposing a pornographic text on students would come across as objectionable but also that the students would slap me with a trigger warning, in a way that I now self-censor

Trigger warnings flag up references that might disturb. In the 1980s the issues raised by Fanny Hill, including desire, pornography and power, were important to discuss. Now, she explained, the student body is larger, more diverse, less privileged and more uncertain about the future, and the ubiquity of pornography has changed the terms of the debate.

Her words reveal the tricky area we have rightly entered, in which the long-held power of establishments which are affluent, academic, political, white and male are under challenge. The market too has played a role. Students are now not only learners but customers, paying up to 9,000 a year and, therefore, expecting to define what value for money means to them, the consumer. The ability to identify triggers, signalling material that might damage, may be a customer perk but it infects education with caution and self-censorship that undermines its very purpose. Students, ironically, as a result, are being short-changed.

In the 1980s, when Hawley was campaigning to stop the opening of a sex shop, sexism was rife, reflected in language that today is policed by a consensus on what is acceptable, backed by legislation. Political correctness helped to put the foot on the brakes but how far down should the foot go? In a poll by the National Union of Students last year, over 60% were in favour of no-platforming. But silencing voices has a price. How does society decide when the cost becomes unacceptable?

In the US, the right to freedom of speech is enshrined in the first amendment. As long ago as the 1990s, the law professor and anti-pornography campaigner Catharine MacKinnon warned, in Only Words, The law of equality and the law of freedom of speech are on a collision course … Or, as she put it more succinctly, some people get a lot more speech than others.

In the 80s I protested against a sex shop in Cambridge and taught Fanny Hill. Now, Im afraid of offending my students.

How to decide who gets to talk about what and where and why is part of any dynamic democracy. But a guiding instinct should surely be that we learn from open and unafraid debate? A couple of years ago, students at New Yorks Columbia University supplied a flyer against homophobia for student rooms . It read: I want this space to be a safer space. One student. Adam Shapiro, objected. He told the New York Times If the point of a safe space is therapy for people who feel victimised by traumatisation, that sounds like a great mission. But he explained that both professors and students are increasingly loath to say anything that might hurt feelings: I dont see how you can have a therapeutic space thats also an intellectual space. The question is one of balance. So, back to Fanny Hill and Hawleys implied argument that, 30 years on, to teach it need no longer be a requirement. Fanny is a woman who admires other women. She has a sexual appetite that includes lesbianism (but, of course, as the book is a fantasy written by a man, the encounter is nothing in comparison to a store bag of natures pure sweets). At the end of the book, Fanny is neither fallen and destroyed, nor an outcast, but is married to the man who deflowered her, whom she loves and who is very rich. Fanny has it all.

She is thus, in some ways, a female pioneer. Arguably, far from being an oppressive text which might make students feel coerced, as Hawley asserts, it is surprisingly subversive of patriarchal politics. Smutty books have often become milestones in society. In 1960, for instance, the Obscene Publications Act saw Penguin Books in the dock. Mervyn Griffiths QC famously asked the jury about Lady Chatterleys Lover, Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read? The answer was yes, and two million copies were sold in a year. They were bought, like Fanny Hill, by hoi polloi. The acquittal marked an important step for freedom of the written word and the end of what George Orwell called the striped-trousered ones who rule.

Other notable books Radclyffe Halls The Well of Loneliness, Erica Jongs Fear of Flying, Henry Millers Tropic of Cancer, Nabokovs Lolita might also run the risk of censorship by one group or another in todays delicate academic ecosystem. Whats unclear is who gets to have the louder voice and why. Out of university, in the real world, triggers arent available, nor is it possible to duck issues that hurt.

In the 60s, 70s and 80s, students were taught too often from curriculums that covered only half the story, omitting women, ethnic minorities and the working class. The clamour for change grew. But Orwells intellectual cowardice is an ongoing issueas we struggle to forge a different, more just balance of power and a new model of freedom of expression. Of course it isnt easy, but its worth the doing.

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Row over teaching Fanny Hill highlights threat to freedom of expression – The Guardian

Crosley Green’s last chance for freedom – CBS News

Produced by Gail Abbott Zimmerman and Doug Longhini

[This story first aired on May 30, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 19, 2017]

For more than 18 years, “48 Hours” has investigated what many say is a case of injustice. That case began in the early morning hours of April 4, 1989, when a young woman called 911 saying she thought her boyfriend had been shot. The problem was she was three miles away from the crime scene and she had trouble telling police how to get there.

“Something was not right,” said Mark Rixey, who at the time was a road patrol deputy for the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office. “Why would somebody say there’s something happening here and nothing’s there?”

“All we had was that he had been shot and that he was in the orange groves. I sent a deputy to pick her up because we absolutely, would never have found her … we’d have been there all night looking,” Diane Clarke, who was a patrol sergeant in Brevard County, told “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty.

“She remained in the vehicle out here and refused to walk down there,” said Rixey.

“‘You don’t wanna see him? You don’t wanna know his condition?’ …there was something wrong with this,” said Clarke.

The victim was 22-year-old Chip Flynn.

“It was a young white male … laying on his side with his hands bound behind his back,” said Rixey.

“He had a bullet wound, there was blood on the right side of his chest,” Clarke explained. “We have a gun on the ground that we don’t know who it belongs to.”

Flynn was conscious when the deputies arrived. “Speaking very clearly … he just said, “Get me outta here,'” said Rixey.

“‘Who shot you?'” Clarke said of asking Flynn. “‘Just take me home, God, get me out of here.'”

“‘Could you at least tell us which way he went,'” Rixey asked Flynn.

“‘Who did this to you?’ He wouldn’t tell us,” Clarke continued.

“This is so not typical. It defies explanation,” said Rixey.

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Mark Rixey, who was a deputy sheriff with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office, recalls the crime scene at a remote grove where shooting victim C…

Flynn died before the ambulance arrived.

The woman who called 911 was Flynn’s former girlfriend, Kim Hallock. She said she and Flynn had been in his truck when a black man with a gun hijacked and drove them to that remote grove. She alone managed to get back into the truck and escape — driving those three miles to Chip’s friend’s home.

“They needed someone to put that murder on and Crosley Green fit the bill,” said private investigator Joe Moura.

“It’s an example of race being a substitute for evidence,” said attorney Keith Harrison.

“I didn’t kill that young man,” Crosley Green told Moriarty.

Today, 26 years after Green was sentenced to death for the murder of Flynn, there is new compelling evidence that the wrong person may have been sent to prison and the killer is still free.

“The first rule of homicide investigation is … everybody who was at that scene is treated as a suspect until they’re eliminated,” said Rixey. “That’s not the way this happened.”

Washington D.C. attorneys Keith Harrison, Bob Rhoad and Jeane Thomas typically counsel an elite corporate clientele. But they are working for no pay at all to win freedom for 59-year old Crosley Green, incarcerated in Florida for almost 28 years.

“Crosley’s case is special. Because it cries out for justice,” Harrison told Erin Moriarty.

“You can’t stop thinking about what happened to this individual, the injustice that occurred,” said Rhoad.

“For me, I was offended. I was angry,” said Thomas.

“The main focus of the case was that there was a black guy who had done something, the old, ‘the black guy did it,'” said Harrison.

They accuse prosecutors of a rush to judgment in the murder of the young white man, Chip Flynn, found shot and dying in a remote Florida citrus grove in 1989. At the time, Chip had been living with his parents. They spoke with “48 Hours” in 1999.

“Rarely did you see him without a smile on his face, just rarely,” his mother, Peggy Flynn” told “48 Hours.”

The Flynns, now both deceased, told us they were shocked to learn that Chip had been with Kim Hallock that night. Kim was an ex-girlfriend and Chip was happily seeing someone else.

“That was all he talked about. He didn’t mention Kim anymore or anything,” Charles Flynn said of his son.

And Hallock’s story — that a man had robbed and hijacked them — seemed strange. Police recorded her statement just hours after the shooting:

Detective: When was the first time you saw Chip yesterday?

Kim Hallock: About 10 at night. He came to my house.

Hallock said it began in the local baseball field, Holder Park. They were sitting in his truck when she first saw someone walk by.

“I told Chip there was a black guy on your side and he rolled up the window real quick,” she told investigators in her statement.

Twenty minutes later, she says, Chip stepped out and she heard him say “hold on man.”

“Chip had a gun in his glove box. I took the gun out of the glove box and stuck it under some jeans that were next to me,” Hallock continued.

And then, she says she saw the man again:

Detective: Did you see that the black male was armed at that time?

Kim Hallock: Yes, I did.

She says the man tied Chip’s hands with a shoelace. Then, he ordered her to hand over money from Chip’s wallet. And then, with everyone in the truck, he drove them away — steering, shifting gears and somehow holding a gun on them all at the same time.

Kim Hallock told police that when they got to the grove, the man yanked her out of the truck and then Chip–his hands still tied–somehow managed to get a hold of his gun hidden on the truck seat.

“Chip, his hands were behind his back, he leaned out of the truck and somehow shot at the guy and the guy stepped back. Chip jumped out of the truck, I jumped in the truck … and I heard about five or six gunshots,” she told investigators.

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The Brevard County Sheriff’s Office interviewed Kim Hallock hours after she says she and ex-boyfriend Charles “Chip” Flynn were abducted from a l…

She said she then drove those three miles to Chip’s friend’s home to call for help.

“Wouldn’t you stop at the first telephone that you came to, the first home that you came to, to call 911?” Rhoad asked.

Washington D.C. attorneys Bob Rhoad, Keith Harrison and Jeane Thomas are working to win freedom for Crosley Green.

“48 Hours”

Crosley Green’s current attorneys say a lot of Kim Hallock’s story simply doesn’t make sense.

“It’s bizarre — to be charitable,” said Thomas.

“Chip … with the gun in his hands tied behind his back … opens the door of the truck and propels himself out of the truck, shooting at the black guy,” Harrison said of Hallock’s story.

Still, police seemed to take Hallock at her word, even though parts of her story changed. And she couldn’t describe the assailant very well.

“I really didn’t get a real good look at him. I was really scared,” she told detectives.

The details she did give didn’t really match the man detectives had in mind: Crosley Green, a small-time drug dealer recently released from jail. But later that night, they showed Kim a photo lineup with six photos. Hallock chose photo No. 2 – Crosley Green.

“That’s a target with a bull’s-eye for Crosley Green. …His picture is smaller and darker than the other pictures,” Harrison said of the photo lineup. “Anybody involved in police investigation and prosecution knows this. …the position that your eyes are normally drawn to are right in the middle.”

“It’s a black spot,” Green said of the photo. “That’s what you focus on, that black spot.”

Crosley Green, better known as Papa, became the father figure for his large family after his parents died. He admits he was no angel, but he says he has never done anything violent. At the time Chip Flynn was killed, he says he was with friends around two miles away.

“I kidnapped no one. I killed no one. I did none a those things,” Green told Moriarty.

“The task at hand was finding a black guy to pin this on. And unfortunately for Crosley … that’s where their attention focused,” said Rhoad.

“So when a young white woman says, ‘A black man did it,’ nobody questioned it?” Moriarty asked Tim Curtis, a local body shop owner and friend of Chip’s.

“I don’t think nobody questioned that,” he replied.

Curtis also knew the Green family and helped spread the word: Crosley Green did it.

“…there was a lot of racial words bein’ used. ‘We’re gonna get him, we’re gonna get him. We’re gonna get him. We’re gonna get him.’ You know?” said Curtis.

Crosley Green was arrested and charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder. At trial, prosecutors pointed to what they said were the killer’s shoeprints found in Holder Park.

Footprints found at the crimescene

Assistant State’s Attorney Christopher White–now retired– told jurors that a police dog got the scent of those prints and tracked that scent to the vicinity of a house where Crosley Green sometimes stayed.

“You’ve seen those shoe impressions. It wasn’t just her and Chip out there,” White told Moriarty. “The shoe impressions were followed … from the site where the truck was parked … supporting what Kim said about there being a third person there, a black male, who abducted them and did these things.”

But White was never able to match those shoeprints to Crosley Green or anyone else. What’s more, not a single fingerprint of Green’s was found anywhere on the truck. And despite Kim Hallock’s claim that Chip had fired his gun trying to save her, no gunshot residue was found on Chip’s hands.

“She’s saying he fired the gun, and there be no gunshot residue left on his fingers? Is that possible?” Moriarty asked Harrison.

“It’s highly improbable,” he replied.

Still, prosecutors found three witnesses with criminal pasts who claimed Crosley had actually confessed to them — most damning, his own sister Sheila. Before the case went to the jury, Crosley Green was offered a deal: admit guilt and get no more than 22 years.

“So why didn’t you take it?” Moriarty asked Green in 1999.

“I didn’t kill that young man. I keep telling you I didn’t kill this young man, so why should I take that plea bargain?” he replied.

It took the all-white jury just three hours to convict Crosley Green; the judge sentenced him death.

“What’s it like being here on death row?” Moriarty asked Green.

“It’s hell,” he replied. “It’s hell to me because I’m here for a crime I didn’t commit.”

“Don’t kill this guy. He didn’t do it. He’s innocent,” said Joe Moura, who was a”48 Hours” consultant.

Back in 1999, Crosley Green spoke about the obvious inconsistencies in the case against him.

Crosley Green during a 1999 interview with “48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty.

“48 Hours”

Kim Hallock had told police her assailant had long hair that covered his ears.

“Was any of your hair over your ears?” Moriarty asked Green, whose hair was cut short and above his ears.

“They way I look now is the way I looked then,” he replied.

When “48 Hours” first reported on the case, a team of private detectives from around the country who believed in Crosley Green’s innocence were working pro bono to prove it.

“It’s not every day do you see this kind of injustice,” said Moura.

Moura found it difficult to believe that Crosley had confessed to three people.

“So Crosley ends up shooting somebody. And he decides he’s gonna tell everybody in town, ‘Guess what, it was me.’ Not credible. It’s not credible at all,” he said.

So Moura tracked down those witnesses. Sheila Green told Moura that she had lied at trial. Even though she knew she could be dooming her brother, she said she had no choice.

Sheila Green talks with Erin Moriarty in 1999.

“Basically, they told me that this was my last chance to help myself, ’cause I was already convicted,” she told Moriarty in 1999.

At the time she testified, Sheila was facing sentencing on drug charges herself.

“What did they say would happen if you didn’t testify against your brother?” Moriarty asked Sheila.

“I would never see my kids again,” she replied.

And when Moura found the other two witnesses, they told him similar stories.

“Every witness recanted their story,” Moura explained. “And every one of them had reason to be afraid of the police. …They were squeezed. …And they were squeezed hard.”

With Crosley Green’s sister and his two friends recanting, the private detectives focused on crime scene evidence: notably, those shoeprints in Holder Park that prosecutors said corroborated Kim’s story.

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Crosley Green’s last chance for freedom – CBS News

Freedom shut out by Miners in pitcher’s duel, look to rebound and take series today – User-generated content (press release) (registration)

Managing just four hits and two walks at the plate, the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, were shut out by the Southern Illinois Miners, 2-0, on Saturday at Rent One Park.

Starters Steve Hagen (3-1) and Matt Parish (3-3) dueled throughout the evening, but the Miners (33-50) got the only run they would need on a solo home run from James Alfonso in the third inning, a towering shot that came at the end of an eight-pitch at-bat.

In the fifth, with runners on first and second and two out, Southern Illinois added a run on a RBI-single to left field by Ryan Lashley. Nolan Earley had advanced to second on the play, but as he rounded the base, left fielder Andrew Godbolds cutoff throw to third baseman Taylor Oldham went to second, where Fraga tagged out Earley to end the inning.

The Freedoms (54-30) best run-scoring opportunity came in the second inning, when Jordan Brower hit a one-out single up the middle and, after a lineout by Keivan Berges, took second on an infield single to third by Austin Wobrock. Lashley threw the ball errantly past first base on the play, allowing both runners to advance one base each. But Garrett Vail struck out to end a seven-pitch at-bat, and Florence would put just one more runner in scoring position against Parish through his six and two-thirds innings.

After Parish issued a two-out walk to Wobrock in the seventh, Kyle Grana entered in relief and induced a flyout to end the inning, then retired the side in order in the eighth.

Following seven strong innings by Hagen, who allowed just five hits, Jack Fowler pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth for the Freedom, keeping the deficit at two runs entering the ninth inning. With closer John Werner on the mound in the final frame, Collins Cuthrell drew a one-out walk and took second on a two-out wild pitch, but Berges struck out after battling for eight pitches, ending the game.

The Freedom will play for the series win in Sundays rubber game, with first pitch scheduled for 5:05 p.m. at Rent One Park. Braulio Torres-Perez (5-1) will start on the mound for Florence against Southern Illinois right-hander Zach Cooper (4-9).

The Florence Freedom are members of the independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY.The Freedom can be found online at FlorenceFreedom.com, or by phone at 859-594-4487.

Florence Freedom

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Freedom shut out by Miners in pitcher’s duel, look to rebound and take series today – User-generated content (press release) (registration)

County Commissioners to take up Freedom plan at Sept. 6 meeting – Carroll County Times

Carrolls Board of County Commissioners will meet on Wednesday, Sept. 6, for its first discussion of the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan.

The commissioners will meet with the Carroll County Planning Commission from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 003 of the Carroll County Office Building in a joint session that is open to the public, although no public comment will be accepted. Public hearings for that purpose will be conducted at later dates.

The Freedom Plan creates a guide for future long-term growth in the South Carroll area, in terms of roads, resources and future land use designations, which can then guide future zoning changes. State guidelines require the plan be updated every 10 years, but it was last updated in 2001 the planning commission spent the past year drafting a new plan, which it accepted in April.

The planning commission voted on July 18 to approve that plan, which is now coming before the county commissioners for further public debate. The county commissioners can either adopt the plan as is, reject it, sending it back to the planning commission or make changes to and then adopt the plan.

Adoption of the plan is the official term for voting to finalize and enact it.

By meeting jointly, Matt Helminiak, president of the planning commission said, the hope is that the board of commissioners can learn the background behind the decisions made for the plan before debating it.

As we were getting feedback, writing the plan, writing the other chapters, we made changes to certain properties based on feedback we were getting both from the public and the commissioners, he said.

Things changed multiple times, and this gives the commissioners a chance to ask us to explain our reasoning for why things are the way they are in the plan.

The risk otherwise, and what has happened in the past, said Commissioner Dennis Frazier, R-District 3, who has served as an ex-officio member of the planning commission since December, is that the Board of Commissioners would dig into a decision they questioned and end up relitigating the same arguments the planning commission had already spent many hours working through.

On the surface it might look like, I dont agree with that, but once they hear all the deliberation that went into it, they say, Ah, I understand now, he said. It makes sense to have a joint meeting like this to see exactly what the process was gone through by the planning commission, and then the board of commissioners can make much more informed decisions about what they want to change and what to keep.

That power of the commissioners to change some parts of the plan and to keep others, is actually rather new under state law, according to Helminiak.

Usually the way the process works is the planning commission writes the plan, votes on it, puts a bow on it, sends it off to the commissioners for their review and approval or disapproval, he said.

In the past, that meant that if the commissioners could not agree on a sticking point, they would have to send it back to the planning commission to start over from the beginning.

That happened with the county master plan the last time around, Helminiak said, referring to the rejection of the 2009 Pathways Plan. They did not have the tool in their toolbox of being able to modify a plan and it was just accept or reject, and they rejected the county master plan and sent it back and we had to rewrite it.

By beginning with a joint meeting to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, and using the boards new powers to make changes to the Freedom Plan, Frazier hopes the commissioners will be able to move quickly to adopt a final plan and meet the requirements of state law.

I do think its helpful, he said. If theres one or two things the Board of Commissioners doesnt like about it, they can make one or two changes, instead of saying, I dont like this and because of this were not going to accept the Freedom Plan, which I think would be a terrible mistake.

Helminiak is optimistic that will not happen.

I think it will be a positive experience, he said. Even when they disagree with us, [the commissioners] are a thoughtful group who have our best interests as a county at heart.

The next steps in the process will be to hold at least two public hearings for public comment in the Freedom area, Frazier said.

We also want to have it streaming and online and so forth for people that cant make the meeting and everyone has a chance to see what is going on, he said.

After that, any necessary changes will be made, and, hopefully, Frazier said, the board will vote to adopt the Freedom Plan.

I think its a really well thought-out plan. A lot went into it. I dont see it not moving forward, he said. Im not saying there wont be a change or two, but I dont see it not going forward.

If you go

What: Joint meeting of the Carroll Board of County Commissioners and Planning Commission on the Freedom Community Comprehensive Plan

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6

Where: Room 003, Carroll County Office Building, 225 N. Court St., Westminster

No public comment will be accepted at this meeting, but at least two future public hearings will be held at later dates. Public comments may also be sent by email to commissioners@ccg.carr.org.

Recordings of all the meetings will be available online at http://www.youtube.com/user/carrollcountygov.

For more information, contact Roberta Windham at 410-386-2043.

jon.kelvey@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-3317

twitter.com/CCT_Health

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County Commissioners to take up Freedom plan at Sept. 6 meeting – Carroll County Times

Freedom Caucus loses key White House ally with Bannon exit – Politico

“There’s a real concern among lawmakers about who they’ll be interfacing with at the White House,” said a Freedom Caucus source after Steve Bannon’s departure. | Andrew Harnik/AP

Steve Bannon’s exit from the White House on Friday is alarming conservative lawmakers and outside groups, who are losing a key ally in President Donald Trump’s inner circle.

As the tremors unleashed by Bannon’s sudden exit reverberated across Washington, these conservatives began to wonder aloud about who in the White House would voice their concerns without the wily former chief strategist looking over the president’s shoulder.

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“There’s a real concern among lawmakers about who they’ll be interfacing with at the White House,” a Freedom Caucus source said. “Conservatives felt they had an ally in Bannon.”

Bannon has long been seen as the Trump adviser with the tightest connection to Trump’s populist base. He forged an especially close relationship with the House Freedom Caucus the influential bloc of hard-line House Republicans during a bruising fight over health care in the spring.

The experience helped establish a direct channel of influence for a set of lawmakers that often clashes with Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders.

The Freedom Caucus source wasn’t sure whom the group would turn to now in the West Wing, though the group’s leader, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), is said to have a direct link to the president these days.

Bannon played a central role in keeping the Freedom Caucus in the president’s good graces when the group initially appeared to blow up the House’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace effort in April. Conservatives who felt sidelined and ignored by Ryan and his leadership team took their case to Bannon, who personally conveyed and advocated their points on health care to the president.

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Bannon was also set to be a friend of the Freedom Caucus on tax reform. Sources said he supported the group’s push to impose work requirements for welfare recipients, yielding savings that could help finance tax cuts.

At the same time, Republican congressional leaders see Bannon’s departure as a boon, congressional sources said, since he seemed to be the likeliest adviser to encourage Trump’s urges to attack Congress. And it likely weakens Meadows, a Bannon ally who has often been a thorn in leadership’s side.

Freedom Caucus members may have to rely more on legislative affairs aide Paul Teller, an ardent conservative himself. But Teller is not in the president’s inner circle, so the group’s reach into the Oval Office could be reduced. Meadows may also have to take his case directly to Trump more often, but will have to argue his point without Bannon’s support.

Other conservative allies of the president argued that Bannon’s ouster won’t dramatically alter what the administration does, if only because Trump acts mainly on his own instincts.

“I don’t think his departure will change Trump’s behavior at all,” said Steve Deace, an influential conservative radio commentator in Iowa.

Others noted that Trump could still turn to Bannon for advice from outside the White House.

“I dont think conservatives should fear that this shows President Trump is chucking the conservative agenda,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Still, in recent days, some conservatives appeared to be circling the wagons around Bannon amid indications that his job was in jeopardy.

“[I]t is important that those who have been your staunchest supporters know that they are not being drowned out by the Swamp which, due to its nature, seeks to engulf the White House,” a coalition of conservative activist groups wrote in a letter to the president earlier Friday. “Steve Bannon and [White House adviser] Kellyanne Conway provide that assurance that you will always have people close to you who support your vision and ours for this great nation.”

Richard Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, called Bannon’s ouster “extremely disappointing.” Hours before the news broke, the pro-Trump group called the chief strategist an “indispensable part of the administration.”

“It’s my hope that Steve will be replaced by someone who has a philosophical kinship with the president,” Manning said.

Trump’s allies on the right aren’t sure what comes next.

“@realDonaldTrump needs to hire @CLewandowski immediately, so there’s SOMEONE in the White House who isn’t from Goldman Sachs,” tweeted conservative commentator Ann Coulter, referring to Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, shortly after Bannon’s ouster was announced.

Michael Flynn Jr., the son of Trump’s former national security adviser himself ousted amid questions about his contacts with Russia warned that Trump may be alienating his base,

“Trump’s most loyal advisors who had HUGE roles getting him elected now out,” Flynn Jr. tweeted. “[G]ood luck Trump.”

Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.

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Freedom Caucus loses key White House ally with Bannon exit – Politico

Freedom take series opener on the road against Miners, magic number to clinch division is five – User-generated content (press release) (registration)

A dramatic conclusion to Fridays series opener at Rent One Park brought a 4-3 victory for the Florence Freedom, presented by Titan Mechanical Solutions, over the Southern Illinois Miners.

With the Freedom (54-29) leading, 4-1, Pete Perez entered to pitch the bottom of the ninth inning and began by walking Anthony Critelli. A swinging strikeout preceded another walk to Ryan Sluder, and the Miners (32-50) next loaded the bases on a Romeo Cortina single to left field. Craig Massey then popped out to short, bringing Southern Illinois down to its final out. Ryan Lashley singled into center field to score two runs and put the tying and winning runs on base, but Nolan Earley lined out to left field to end the game.

The win preserved a masterful start by Tony Vocca (8-5), who pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out seven batters while limiting the Miners (32-50) to seven hits. The right-hander stranded a total of seven runners over his first five innings before retiring the side in order in his final two frames of work.

Keivan Berges had put Florence on top, 1-0, by leading off the second inning with a solo home run to left-center off Chris Washington (3-4), Berges third home run in four games. But Washington would proceed to retire a total of 18 of the first 20 Freedom batters he faced through six innings, with a Garrett Vail single accounting for the only other baserunner.

After both teams failed to score from the third through sixth innings, however, Florence added to its lead in the top of the seventh. Berges doubled and scored on a two-out single to left field by Jordan Brower, knocking Washington from the game. Paul Young entered in relief and walked pinch-hitter Mike Morris, and after Brower and Morris pulled off a double steal, Austin Wobrock singled both men home for a 4-0 lead.

Mike Anthony relieved Vocca in the bottom of the eighth and gave up a solo homer to Earley that hit the left-field foul pole, accounting for the first run of the night for Southern Illinois.

The win, along with a River City Rascals loss to Evansville, dropped the Freedoms magic number to clinch the West Division to five. The victory also brings Florence within three of matching the franchise record of 57 wins, set in 2012.

The series continues Saturday with Steve Hagen (3-0) starting on the mound for the Freedom against Miners right-hander Matt Parish (2-3). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at Rent One Park.

The Florence Freedom are members of the independent Frontier League and play all home games at UC Health Stadium located at 7950 Freedom Way in Florence, KY.The Freedom can be found online at FlorenceFreedom.com, or by phone at 859-594-4487.

Florence Freedom

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Freedom take series opener on the road against Miners, magic number to clinch division is five – User-generated content (press release) (registration)

Freedom of association is for businesses, too – The Boston Globe – The Boston Globe

GoDaddy promoted their IPO in front of the New York Stock Exchange on April 1, 2015.

The neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer lost its longtime digital home last week. On Sunday night, the giant web-hosting company GoDaddy ordered the Stormer to remove its domain within 24 hours. The site moved to Google Domains, but not for long: Google cancelled its registration the same day.

In the wake of Charlottesville, dumping the Jew-hating white supremacists was admittedly an easy call. GoDaddys tweet announcing the Stormers eviction was heavily retweeted, and quickly amassed more than 90,000 likes. But whether it was popular or not pales beside a far more important principle: freedom of association. If GoDaddy doesnt want to host a certain website, or a certain type of website, no government official should be able to force it to do so.

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Here is another news item about a companys denial of service.

The owner of a gym in Atlanta was inundated with criticism after it was reported that his club refuses to admit police officers and active-duty military personnel. The no-cops, no-military policy at Jim Chamberss EAV Barbell Club isnt new, but it was suddenly in the spotlight after a local TV station aired a story about it specifically, about a sign at the gyms entrance proclaiming No F—king Cops. When the station interviewed Chambers, he expressed chagrin about the vulgarity, but none whatsoever about discriminating against policemen and soldiers.

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Weve had an explicitly stated no-cops policy since we opened, he said. We dont want to make police stronger so that they can hurt people more efficiently. Its not a personal thing, but if you put that uniform on, quite honestly I view that as an occupying enemy army.

How the alt-right has managed to punch above its weight.

Chambers doesnt just distrust police and the military, he hates them with the fire of a thousand suns. He calls police a brutal terrorist force in this country who murder people and lock them up needlessly. He describes the US Armed Forces as the most destructive and sadistic force the world has ever seen. He argues that police departments should be abolished a policy he advocates with articulate passion.

Chamberss beliefs are beyond grotesque. But give him credit for putting his money where his mouth is: He willingly forgoes the income he could earn from opening his gym to law-enforcement and military personnel. (He also says firmly that he would never call the police for protection in an emergency.) Unlike GoDaddy which had resisted calls to expel the Daily Stormer, and only reversed course after the violence in Charlottesville EAV Barbell Clubs policy has been unwavering.

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The values driving these two business decisions could hardly be more different: in one case a backlash against neo-Nazi haters, in the other a revulsion for men and women who enlist in the defense of their country or their local community. I was as glad to see the Daily Stormer get the boot from the web-hosting companies as I was revolted to see Atlantas cops and soldiers blackballed from a gym. I imagine many people feel the same way. But as an expression of freedom of association the freedom of company X to accept or decline business from customer Y the two cases are identical. GoDaddy has chosen (belatedly) to discriminate against neo-Nazis; EAV Barbell Club has chosen to discriminate against police and the military. In a free country, both choices are legitimate.

Freedom of association is as vital to American liberty as freedom of speech or religion. It ought to be protected as diligently in our economic life as it is in our social and political life. No law or court can tell you whom to befriend or what candidate to support or which neighborhood to live in. Neither should the state have anything to say about what company youre willing to do business with or whether a company is willing to do business with you.

But freedom of association has taken a beating in recent decades.

To be sure, consumers remain unfettered in choosing where to take their custom you can refuse to buy from any vendor for any reason, whether practical (the prices are too high) or shameful (the owner is an immigrant). Far less freedom runs in the other direction, however. Merchants and contractors have seen their right to form or avoid voluntary commercial relationships with others steadily curtailed. The list of protected classes against which businesses may not discriminate has grown enormous. Once it was only on the grounds of race, creed, and national origin that a company could not turn down a customer or job applicant without risking a lawsuit. Now those grounds extend much, much farther. In many states, as law professor Eugene Volokh noted the other day, a private employer cannot fire an employee because of his political activity not even for participation in a neo-Nazi rally.

Lawmakers find it easy to cherry-pick examples of intolerance and legislate against them. But tolerance isnt the only important value in American society. Freedom is too. To be free, by definition, is to make choices that others may not favor. Like freedom of speech and the press, freedom of association can lead to unfairness. But over time it is a far more effective antidote to prejudice and abuse than government coercion can ever be.

Did GoDaddy do the right thing? Did EAV Barbell? You and I are free to voice an opinion on whom any company should do business with. But its not for us to make that call.

Originally posted here:

Freedom of association is for businesses, too – The Boston Globe – The Boston Globe

DoD Announces Start of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian – Department of Defense

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2017 South Korea and U.S. Combined Forces Command will hold the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise Aug. 21-31, defense officials announced today.

Ulchi Freedom Guardian is a computer-simulated defensive exercise designed to enhance readiness, protect the region and maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula, defense officials said. About 17,500 U.S. service members will participate, with about 3,000 coming from installations outside South Korea, the officials said.

Multinational Participation

U.S. forces will join military forces from major South Korean units representing all services, as well as South Korean government participants. In addition, United Nations Command forces from seven nations, including Australia, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, will participate in the exercise.

Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission observers will monitor the exercise to ensure it complies with the 1953 armistice agreement, defense officials said. Training exercises like Ulchi Freedom Guardian are carried out in the spirit of the Oct. 1, 1953, South Korean-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty and in accordance with the armistice, the officials added.

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DoD Announces Start of Exercise Ulchi Freedom Guardian – Department of Defense

The Guardian view on attacks in Spain: fighting terror means protecting freedom – The Guardian

People paying tribute on Friday to victims outside the Liceu Theatre, on the site of Thursdays deadly van attack in Barcelona. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

Most Europeans have rarely lived amid such peace and plenty, and take prosperity and security for granted. It is that assumption of established wellbeing that makes a terror attack the more shocking, and the fear it inspires the more contagious. This is most true on the streets of a place like Barcelona, whose ancient buildings belie its reputation asone of the youngest, liveliest and loveliest ofEuropean cities.

It is partly this international, cosmopolitan character that makes it a terrorist target: what happened here on Thursday afternoon has not only left a city in mourning. The waves of terror and grief for children, mothers, fathers, lovers and pensioners ripple out to the 34 different countries from which they came, and far beyond. After a related attack along the coast in Cambrils, holidaymakers of every nationality, faith and ethnicity will be more anxious, more fearful and less trusting.

But events in Barcelona have also provoked spontaneous demonstrations of courage and resilience. On Friday morning, only hours after the attack on Las Ramblas, people were gathering there again not just to pause for reflection and remembrance but to sing and shout their defiance.

It is too early to know the precise motivation behind this attack and quite how, or how far, its perpetrators were recruited and organised. Police say the cell planned a bombing, but accidentally detonated its stockpile of explosives. But whether it was part of their original plan or an improvisation, this has all the appearance of being another in the lengthening sequence of devastating vehicle attacks Nice, Berlin, Stockholm and London inspired, if not orchestrated, by Islamic State or similar groups. This is terrorism in the age of the internet, sometimes dependent on sophisticated tools like encrypted messaging, or grooming that might be carried out from afar, or the ability to build an explosive device; sometimes only on holding a driving licence and a recognised ID document.

Spain, like Britain and to a lesser extent France and Germany, has long experience of living with and ultimately defeating other kinds of terror ETA, the IRA and the Red Army Faction. The new generation share some attributes with the earlier groups: they believe in the propaganda value of the deed and the catharsis and symbolism of violence familiar from their forerunners. The last ETA attack was in 2006, two years after jihadis first struck, bombing four commuter trains in Madrid.

But technology enables more elusive ways of organising; it facilitates the lone actor as well as the cell. And when terrorists draw their inspiration from Islamist extremism as when, like Jo Coxs murderer Thomas Mair, they are inspired by racist rightwing ideology it poses more profound challenges to community cohesion than, say, separatist revolt. They intend to divide.

As Londoners know from recent attacks, it is impossible to defend all public space from a driver in a rental van intent on murder. The large well-placed planter or the movable barricade can only do so much against the low-tech attack. But it is even more difficult, and even more important, to defend the mutual respect for rights and freedoms by which heterogenous western societies prosper.

That means the internet giants patrolling the margins of what they host in a more coherent and consistent way. It also means that politicians who have a duty to express their countrys anger and hurt do not reach automatically for further powers for security agencies when often the bigger challenge is making sense of what they already know.

Each of the waves of terror that have disrupted European countries in the past 50 years have taken a generation or more to play out; the former head of MI5, Jonathan Evans, said in a rare interview recently that he thought the fight against Isis too would take another three decades. It is widely recognised that it will never be possible to prevent every terror attack in a free society. But terror will have won if, in the fight against it, we fail to protect the sense of shared purpose and trust that bind society together.

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The Guardian view on attacks in Spain: fighting terror means protecting freedom – The Guardian

Freedom to read – Fairfield Daily Republic

By Kevin Lowe

It was a pleasure to burn, starts off Ray Bradburys landmark novel, Fahrenheit 451. What a hook.

It certainly worked on me, at any rate. Set in a near-future America, this 1953 novel paints a dreary picture of a country consumed with shallow media and skittish of ideas. A world where books are banned, firemen have become ironic caricatures and thought beyond only the most shallow musings is nearly unheard of.

When I read it, I was too young to be aware of any of that really. But I was old enough to know that the book had flamethrowers and eight-legged robot dogs, and that was enough for me. At the time, I didnt understand a lot of what was happening. I didnt understand why Guy Montag was so upset when confronted with an opposing idea, I didnt understand why a woman would go down in flames for her books, and by the end, I didnt understand why human beings would ever willingly trap themselves in cycles of violence, and whether or not knowledge and the imagination of the human spirit could free us from it.

I started asking questions. It might be a stretch to say that Fahrenheit 451 made me who I am, but I never forgot the lesson it taught me about the importance of ideas and expression. Censorship and restriction of freedom of speech are real threats, and often come in much subtler packages than book burnings these days. True, sometimes it comes in the form of shouting matches. Sometimes, rarely, they come in funny packages like the Scunthorpe Problem, wherein overzealous automated word filters change articles to read Abraham Lincoln was buttbuttinated, or other such nonsense. But most often, the war on books and freedom of speech happens behind the scenes at schools and libraries, as people try to remove them from the source.

This September, specifically Sept. 24-30, is bringing around one of my favorite times of year. I am, of course, talking about Banned Books Week. It seems weird to get so excited about what seems like such a dour time; it is after all, a yearly wake-up call toward the ever-present dangers of censorship. But I suppose I like to treat it as a time to count my blessings. After all, here in the United States, no books are truly banned, and our streets remain mercifully flamethrower free. I think thats why I get so excited about Banned Books Week. It often gives exposure to books with important ideas that might otherwise be buried. The fact that we get to see these books at all is in some ways something of a celebration.

After all, a victory for a banned book is a victory for everyone. As Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition said, Our free society depends on the right to access, evaluate and voice a wide range of ideas. Book bans chill that right and increase division in the communities where they occur. This Banned Books Week, were asking people of all political persuasions to come together and celebrate Our Right to Read. Whether its Ayn Rands The Fountainhead or David Levithans Two Boys Kissing, its important we come together and appreciate we live in a place where each of us can find the books and ideas that are important to us, and each other.

Which isnt to say that were out of the woods yet. Censorship is a constant threat, if not outright bans. In fact, according to the American Library Associations Office for Intellectual Freedom, there was a 17 percent increase in challenges across public libraries, classrooms and school libraries last year, with a number of them being successful on the local level. Whats perhaps most tragic is that half of the top 10 banned books this year were selected due to LGBTQ themes and characters. Previous books that made the top 10 list include Toni Morrisons The Bluest Eye, E.L. James 50 Shades of Grey and the Bible.

We clearly still have a lot of work to do. Banned books week isnt until Sept. 24, but you can check out 2016s top 10 list of banned books at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/NLW-Top10 and start reading now. After all, their freedom to be read, is your freedom to read!

Kevin Lowe is alibrary assistantat the Suisun City Library.

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Freedom to read – Fairfield Daily Republic

For the children, give parents freedom to choose schools – mySanAntonio.com

Students dance in front of the Texas Capitol during a school choice rally, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. And voucher legislation was still unsuccessful in 2017.

Students dance in front of the Texas Capitol during a school choice rally, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015, in Austin, Texas. And voucher legislation was still unsuccessful in 2017.

For the children, give parents freedom to choose schools

I was pleasantly surprised earlier this year when I learned that my oldest daughter would have a choice of magnet schools here in San Antonio: Health Careers, near the Medical Center; Business Careers at Holmes High School; John Jay Science and Engineering Academy; Communications Arts on the Taft campus; and Construction Careers Academy at Warren High School.

Also around this time, Betsy DeVos was girding for a contentious confirmation battle over her appointment as secretary of education. She faced hostile opposition both from Senate Democrats still sore about the presidential election, and from teachers unions and public schools advocates who oppose what DeVos has pushed for years more freedom of choice and parental control in K-12 education.

The Department of Education arguably shouldnt even exist in the first place. It is a prime example of those powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people as per the 10th Amendment.

If the only thing Secretary DeVos ever did was fold that department, she would be a success. Short of that, promoting more school choice is a close second.

From T-ball to cheerleading, music lessons to gymnastics, my girls have run the gamut of extracurricular activities. Theyve been as far away as the YMCA downtown, or as nearby as baseball fields in Westover Hills. Distance has never mattered as much as the organization with which weve signed up.

So why cant we have the same choice with their schools?

Because at least here in Texas, where you pay property tax for your primary residence determines the public schools for your children.

This issue didnt appear on my radar until I took John Merrifields urban and regional economics course at UTSA. He has spilled a lot of ink on this topic, including a few books, most notably perhaps 2001s The School Choice Wars. Having just become a father at the time only heightened my interest.

We do have some semblance of choice here. In addition to offering magnet schools, Northside Independent School District lets children be grandfathered into the district if their grandparents live there and provide significant after-school care. One of my daughters friends was able to go to the same elementary school because thats where her mother taught. Transfers are possible for a handful of other reasons but are generally denied due to lack of space.

If parents were allowed, however, to use a proportionate amount of public revenue earmarked for education, they could send their kids to any school they choose, assuming it meets a minimum level of state-approved criteria (mastering certain levels of basic subjects by a certain grades).

Beyond that, the schools would be free to specialize however they see fit: art schools for musicians, painters and actors; schools that cater to kids who like to build things; culinary schools when Easy-Bake Ovens will no longer do; technology schools for computer geeks. The possibilities are limitless.

These schools would be free to set their own tuition: more than, less than or equal to the amount allotted to each child by the state. But those prices would be unlikely to stay put. For example, if a particular metro area turned out to have a higher concentration of young would-be engineers than schools to serve them, the price of tuition would in all likelihood rise in the short term.

Parents might have to decide whether they value those schools enough to make up the difference. As Merrifield reiterated to me recently, thats one reason the current system is flawed it lacks such price signals.

One point I stress in my classes is that suppliers react differently to prices than demanders do. Were all demanders and thus familiar with that angle: Price goes up, we buy less. However, only a handful of us are suppliers (excluding the labor we supply when we go to work), and thus not wholly in tune with how they react.

Those higher prices would emit a signal of opportunity for enterprising entrepreneurs. To enter the market competitively, theyd have to charge lower tuition or offer more for the same price or some combination of both. To stay competitive, existing schools might expand. They also might extend financial assistance to those excelling students of lesser means. What could be better for a schools reputation than educating the best and brightest?

More choices, lower prices, better quality whats not for a consumer to like?

All this assumes, of course, a light and basic regulatory touch. Otherwise, innovation would be dulled, disincentives would arise, current market participants would become entrenched, etc. In other words, a wet blanket thrown on progress.

Alas, as it stands now the only price signal that exists in grammar school education is real estate.

You know, were all familiar with good and not-so-good sides of town. The latter tend to be rundown, more susceptible to crime, gangs, etc. Perhaps not surprisingly, that negatively impacts property values and, in turn, minimizes property tax collections.

According to the Texas Education Agency, about 50 percent of public school funding derives from property taxes (roughly 10 percent comes from Uncle Sam, while around 40 percent comes from the state). It hardly seems fair that a childs education, the ultimate example of equality of opportunity, should be restricted by a socioeconomic situation not of his/her making.

The Texas Legislature tried to remedy this a generation ago by passing what is commonly known as Robin Hood, whereby a school district that has wealth per student that exceeds a certain level subsequently has that excess recaptured and redirected to property-poor districts.

And a generation later, public school funding in Texas is still an issue.

Perhaps an alternative to property taxes could be a county or metro-area sales tax, a rate that would apply to all areas of town and the local economy uniformly. This would be a most efficient way to pull the funds. No more artificial inflation of property values. One less inefficiency in the rental market. A lesser tendency to build arguably exorbitant facilities tied as much to property wealth as student outcomes.

The Texas Constitution states that the Legislature shall make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools, so some traditional public schools would remain. Some parents may prefer the convenience of a nearby school. Some may simply not be able to get a bead on what it is their child has a particular knack for.

It also states that a general diffusion of knowledge is essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people. Education has spillover benefits. The knowledge and skills a student attains benefit the general public when employed on the push toward greater progress and prosperity.

The Texas Legislature failed to approve its latest iteration of school vouchers. Sad.

No one is more vested, or has a greater interest in this venture, than we the parents. My daughters are my best opportunity to make a positive impact on society. Their mother and I are as integral to their education as anyone or anything.

It should be an option for us to fund their education with some portion of the taxes we pay, at whichever school we see fit.

A market of millions of parents cant be wrong.

Christopher E. Baecker manages fixed assets for Pioneer Energy Services and is an adjunct lecturer at Northwest Vista College.

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For the children, give parents freedom to choose schools – mySanAntonio.com

Marco Rubio Backs State Department’s Efforts on International Religious Freedom – Sunshine State News

From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., praised the U.S. State Departments latest efforts on advancing religious freedom across the globe.

The State Department released its latest International Religious Freedom Report which it has been producing for almost two decades.

U.S. Sec. of State Rex Tillerson unveiled the report on Tuesday.

Almost 20 years after the laws passage, conditions in many parts of the world are far from ideal, Tillerson said. Religious persecution and intolerance remains far too prevalent. Almost 80 percent of the global population live with restrictions on or hostilities to limit their freedom of religion. Where religious freedom is not protected, we know that instability, human rights abuses, and violent extremism have a greater opportunity to take root.

We cannot ignore these conditions, Tillerson added. The Trump administration has committed to addressing these conditions in part by advancing international religious freedom around the world. The State Department will continue to advocate on behalf of those seeking to live their lives according to their faith.”

Tillerson pointed to egregious and troubling examples of groups hindering religious freedom including Islamic State (ISIS) terrorism and genocide efforts, the Iranian regime cracking down on the Bahai community and Christians, Saudi Arabian efforts against non-Muslims and Shia Muslims, Turkish authorities going after non-Sunni Muslims and non-Muslims and other problems in the Middle East.

Other countries that Tillerson signaled out for cracking down on religious freedom include Chinas efforts against Falun Gong members and Tibetan Buddhists, the Pakistan governments treatment of Ahmadiyya Muslims and the Sudan government;s actions against Christians.

No one should have to live in fear, worship in secret, or face discrimination because of his or her beliefs, Tillerson said. As President Trump has said, we look forward to a day when, quote, people of all faiths, Christians and Muslims and Jewish and Hindu, can follow their hearts and worship according to their conscience… The State Department will continue its efforts to make that a reality.

Rubio weighed in on the report on Wednesday, givingState Department high marks.

I commend Secretary of State Tillerson for personally releasing the State Departments latest International Religious Freedom Report and helping to underscore how seriously the United States takes this fundamental human right,” Rubio said. I welcome the secretary’s unequivocal characterization of the Islamic States atrocities against Christians, Yezidis and other religious minorities as genocide, and his recognition that the promotion of religious freedom globally is both a strategic and moral imperative.

The report powerfully documents the assaults on religious freedom that occur around the world every day, Rubio continued. Government authorities arrest and unjustly imprison religious leaders and people of faith, bulldoze worship buildings and deny building permits, institute blasphemy and apostasy laws that silence dissent and carry the death penalty, and tacitly support others attacks on religious minorities. These violations are a clear threat to the ability of people to peacefully live out their faith according to their conscience, and the need for principled and steadfast American leadership in this area has never been greater. Robust implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act must be a priority in the days ahead.

Rubio was instrumental in the law that Tillerson mentioned.

Back in April 2016, Rubio teamed up with fellow Senate Republicans Roy Blount of Missouri and John Cornyn of Texas to introduce the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act which altered the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 by giving the International Religious Freedom Office in the State Department more authority and the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom more power, including reporting directly to the Secretary of State.

The bill from Rubio, Blount and Cornyn also created a watch list of Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) while labeling non-state bodies Entities of Particular Concern when it comes to actions against religious freedom.

The proposal also gave the White House the ability to sanction individuals who carry out or order religious restrictions and increases reporting on genocides directed at particular religions. Back in December, Congress sent the bill to then President Barack Obama.

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump nominating then Gov. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, as ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. Rubio is a strong supporter of the nomination.

Read this article:

Marco Rubio Backs State Department’s Efforts on International Religious Freedom – Sunshine State News

India ahead of other democracies in terms of freedom of expression: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi – Economic Times

GANDHINAGAR: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said India remains ahead of other democratic countries in terms of freedom of expression and safety and security of minorities.

He also said some hostile forces were trying to create an atmosphere of insecurity in the society, but the Narendra Modi government would not allow any “destructive agenda to dominate development agenda”.

“India’s beauty lies in its cultural heritage and social harmony. But some elements want to disturb this fabric,” the Union minister of state for minority affairs and parliamentary affairs said at an event here.

“We all need to come together to defeat such elements. The Modi government will not allow any destructive agenda to dominate our development agenda. The government is committed to empowering minorities,” he was quoted as saying in a release.

Accusing opposition parties of trying to give a communal colour to criminal incidents, he stressed that minorities are safe and secure in India, “more than many other countries”.

“In their desperation and depression, they are misusing religion, community and caste issues for their narrow political interests,” he alleged.

He said secularism was in the “DNA of Indians and India’s uniqueness lies in its unity in diversity – ‘sarva dharma sadbhav'”.

India remains ahead of other democratic countries in terms of freedom of expression. “But this freedom should not lead people to commit acts that end up helping people who are acting against national interests,” the minister said.

During the event, the minister handed over cheques to the beneficiaries of the programmes of the Gujarat Minority Development and Finance Corporation (GMDFC).

As many as 535 beneficiaries, including differently-abled persons, were given Rs 4.87 crore for business and education.

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India ahead of other democracies in terms of freedom of expression: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi – Economic Times

On Liberty, Freedom, and Open Carry – KRWG

Commentary: Although he politely bade me good morning, his clothing was a little odd: reminiscent of a 19th century cowboy from a movie, except for the very modern handgun openly displayed on his hip.

The Jeffersonian distinction between liberty and freedom goes something like this: liberty is something you are free to do while freedom, in Thomas Jeffersons writing, typically refers to being free from oppression or tyranny. Thus, while liberty is one of the inalienable rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, it has never been the case that liberty is absolute.

Liberty is subject to limits even in the view of the Declarations principal author. As Jefferson wrote in a letter, Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will, within the limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. To exercise an old saw, my liberty to swing my fist ends at your nose. Through this small accommodation, the enthusiastic fist-swinger is still free to swing but within a limit, so that his neighbor remains free to breathe through an uninjured nose.

Moving from the comical example to how people behave in the real world, this gets turned the other way around. Liberty-takers frequently demand, and typically get, accommodations from others around them. If you have ever suffered passively while your entire house shakes because of an automobile with an invasively loud stereo system, you know what I mean. Perhaps you are the rare person who approached that vehicle and asked them to accommodate you (or your sleeping family) by turning the volume down and you were met with outrage. Perhaps you considered calling the police, only to feel guilty for making trouble or for calling officers away from more important business. Maybe, instead, you grumbled and accommodated, like most people do.

This week, I was in a waiting room while my car was being serviced, and in walked that man who reminded me somewhat of Hondo Lane, gun at his hip. Let it be known that I neither fear nor dislike guns, and used to own a shotgun myself. Also, in New Mexico, open carry is legal and does not require a permit. You can walk into a coffee shop armed without proving your competence or sound judgment to a soul. (Many New Mexicans routinely carry concealed weapons, but if they are loaded you need a license.)

Aside from choosing to wear a sidearm to Sisbarros, this fellow did not behave strangely. Yet he had my unswerving attention. Unable to read minds, I could glean little about his intent or judgment. In some situations, a gun is clearly appropriate; but among people reading out-of-date magazines waiting for an oil change, the purpose of displaying a weapon is less clear. Yielding the benefit of the doubt, his intentions might have been completely honorable, as when some people in another era wore guns and, before that, swords. Yet knowing what a gun can do in unsteady hands, and thinking this a weird context, I remained vigilantly aware of him the entire time we shared this room.

Who, in this situation, was accommodating whom; and who was swinging their fist? If I did not feel safe I could of course leave the room, and allow my armed neighbor to dominate a shared space. Yes, the unarmed can accommodate the liberties of the armed if they feel unsafe, but in that scenario, are both people truly free? Or is freedom for the armed?

Algernon DAmmassa writes the Desert Sage column for the Deming Headlight and Sun News papers. Share your thoughts atadammassa@demingheadlight.com.

Continued here:

On Liberty, Freedom, and Open Carry – KRWG

Religious freedom is an important right. Once same sex-marriage is legal, it must be protected – The Guardian

Not all of us who want these issues addressed are opponents of same sex marriage. Not all of us who want these issues addressed are opponents of any form of plebiscite or postal survey. Photograph: Angelo Perruolo/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Countries such as the US, the UK, New Zealand and Canada already recognise same-sex marriages. They also have bills of rights which accord some recognition to the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Australia does not yet recognise same-sex marriages not even those marriages recognised in their countries of origin. Neither does Australia have a bill of rights with the result that the federal protection of rights such as freedom of religion is more piecemeal than in other countries. In Australia, the tendency has been to treat the freedom of religion on contested questions as an exemption to sex discrimination laws. This results in freedom of religion being treated as a second order right. But in international law, it is a first order non-derogable right.

The Australian parliament will legislate this term or next term, or perhaps the term after that, to recognise same-sex marriages. No one can predict certainly which party will be in government when the legislation is passed. No one can predict certainly which preliminary steps will have been conducted prior to the introduction of the legislation. There may be a voluntary postal survey conducted by the ABS. But then again, the high court might find a problem with it, and well be back to plan c with the Turnbull government or plan a with a future Shorten government.

One thing is certain. The issues surrounding religious freedom in a society which recognises same-sex marriage will not be fully resolved any time soon. Some argue that these issues should be resolved before the public votes in a compulsory plebiscite or voluntary postal survey. I can see that opponents of same-sex marriage might want to insist on this, and that supporters of same-sex marriage might regard this as a time delaying tactic. I could vote yes in a survey while hoping and demanding that the parliament do the hard work on religious freedoms when considering amendments to the Marriage Act. It is important to appreciate that the legal and policy changes needed to protect religious freedom would not appear in the Marriage Act but in other statutes such as the Sex Discrimination Act.

I will highlight just a handful of the practical religious freedom questions which will arise. Once the Marriage Act is amended, should a church school be able to decline to offer married quarters to a teacher in a same sex marriage? I would answer yes, though I would hope a church school would be open to the employment of a gay teacher living in a committed relationship. Equally I would continue to allow a church school to make a free choice as to who best to employ as a teacher.

Given the lamentable history of homophobia, I would think a good church school would be pleased to employ an openly gay teacher who respects and espouses the schools ethos. Free choice is often better than legal prescription when trying to educate in the ways of truth and love.

Should a church aged care facility be able to decline to offer married quarters to a couple who had contracted a same sex marriage? I would answer yes, though I would hope a church facility would be open to providing such accommodation in Christian charity if it could be done in a way not to cause upset to other residents. After all, same sex marriage is a very modern phenomenon and I would favour ongoing tolerance of the residents in aged care facilities run by a church, wanting to live out their last days with individuals and couples in relationships such as they have long known them.

However, even in Catholic aged care facilities, we need to admit that not all couples are living in a church recognised marriage, and it is no business of other residents to know if they are. We need to allow everyone time to adapt with good grace, provided only that we can be certain that appropriate services are available elsewhere if a church feels unable to oblige on religious grounds.

In 2009 when chairing the national human rights consultation for the Rudd government, I was surprised to hear Bob Carrs boast about how best to preserve religious freedom. He had joined forces with the Australian Christian Lobby and religious leaders like Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, and George Pell, the Catholic Archbishop, opposing a federal Human Rights Act. Carr was fond of telling audiences that debates about the scope of religious freedom and the intersection between freedom of religion and non-discrimination were best and most easily resolved by the state premier receiving personal representations from the religious leaders. He and they thought that religious freedom might suffer some diminution if the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion were included in a statutory bill of rights. Eight years on, I daresay the political influence of church leaders meeting behind closed doors with political leaders has subsided.

Two years after the national human rights consultation, the Sydney Archbishops accompanied the Australian Christian Lobby to a meeting with prime minister Julia Gillard. After the meeting, Cardinal Pell reported that the religious leaders had told the prime minister: We are very keen to ensure that the right to practise religion in public life continues to be protected in law. It is not ideal that religious freedom is protected by so called exemptions and exceptions in anti-discrimination law, almost like reluctant concessions, crumbs from the secularists table. What is needed is legislation that embodies and recognises these basic religious freedoms as a human right.

In 2015, the Australian Law Reform Commission concluded a detailed assessment of traditional rights and freedoms encroachments by commonwealth laws. Though the commission found no obvious evidence that Commonwealth anti-discrimination laws significantly encroach on freedom of religion in Australia, it did recommend that further consideration should be given to whether freedom of religion should be protected through a general limitations clause rather than exemptions. In February this year, the parliaments select committee on the exposure draft of the marriage amendment (same-sex marriage) bill unanimously reported: Overall the evidence supports the need for current protections for religious freedom to be enhanced. This would most appropriately be achieved through the inclusion of religious belief in federal anti-discrimination law. Dean Smith who has drafted his own marriage amendment (definition and religious freedomsbill 2017 was a member of that committee. His bill does not deal with many of the contested religious freedom issues.

Not all of us who want these issues addressed are opponents of same-sex marriage. Not all of us who want these issues addressed are opponents of any form of plebiscite or postal survey. I am one of those Australians who will be pleased when same-sex marriages are recognised by Australian law but with adequate protection for religious freedoms. That will require painstaking respectful dialogue given the lack of a statutory bill of rights. Its no longer good enough to treat the non-derogable right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion simply as an exemption to non-discrimination laws.

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Religious freedom is an important right. Once same sex-marriage is legal, it must be protected – The Guardian

Confederate rally in Austin moved to later date – Austin American-Statesman

Organizers say a rally and march to promote true Confederate heritage has changed dates after discussing the event with Austin police and the Austin Parks Department.

A Facebook event page hosted by the Texas Confederate Militia says the Dixie Freedom Rally has been moved from Sept. 2 to Sept. 23. The location Wooldridge Square park, on Guadalupe Street between 9th and 10th streets is the same.

Attendees will hear fromguest speakers, then march to the Capitol and nearby Confederate monuments, the event page says.

You can bring any Confederate or U.S. Flag, the page says. It is open carry and also concealed handguns plus longrifles are permitted. Just go by the state law. No racism tolerated or (you) will be removed. (Lets) show everyone true Southern hospitality.

An event scheduled to protest the Dixie Freedom Rally hasnot yet changed its date on Facebook. This event is hosted by Austins branch of the Democratic Socialists of America.

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Confederate rally in Austin moved to later date – Austin American-Statesman

Speaker with controversial race theories leads to cancellation, move of Idaho Freedom Foundation annual banquet – The Spokesman-Review

UPDATED: Thu., Aug. 17, 2017, 5:28 p.m.

BOISE A major Boise convention center and hotel canceled the Idaho Freedom Foundations upcoming banquet forcing a change of venue just 11 days before the event because it learned the groups keynote speaker was a scholar whose controversial theories on race and intelligence have drawn disruptive protests around the nation for the past six months.

The decision to cancel the event was based solely on our responsibility for staff and guest safety, said Kristin Jensen, a partner in Riverside Hospitality, which operates the Red Lion Riverside Hotel and Convention Center. It was definitely not politically motivated or influenced.

After seeing many, many recent examples of protests and riots at Charles Murray events across the country, we knew that an incident was more than likely, and we just couldnt take the chance, Jensen said. You just never know, especially with what just happened in Charlottesville.

Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman railed against the decision on the groups website, declaring, Even in Idaho, the Left is successfully bullying businesses, badgering, trolling and harassing anyone who dares to contradict their progressive world view. We are but the latest victim.

Hoffman found a new venue, the Chateau des Fleurs in Eagle, on Tuesday, the same day that the Riverside canceled the Aug. 26 banquet. The Riverside agreed to pay the $10,000 difference in cost for the higher-priced venue.

We had a signed contract, Jensen said. Any time we might be in a position to have to cancel a contract and were the ones doing the canceling, of course we would make it right.

Murray is a 74-year-old libertarian scholar with the American Enterprise Institute whose controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve, theorized that intelligence was the best predictor of success and that social programs and efforts to educate the disadvantaged would therefore fail. Most controversially, hes tied intelligence to genetic factors, including race.

The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Murray a white nationalist, but Murray sharply disputed that, saying theyd mischaracterized his writings.

In March, a violent protest that left one professor injured disrupted a speech Murray was giving at Middlebury College in Vermont. Protests, some peaceful and some disruptive, followed at his speeches at Notre Dame University, Indiana University, Villanova University and the University of Wisconsin, among others. One college, Azusa-Pacific University, canceled an April speech by Murray after protests.

Hoffman, who didnt return a call Thursday for comment, blamed the thought police for the change in venue of his groups annual banquet, entitled, Faces of Freedom. On the groups website, he wrote, We will not allow fear and intimidation to silence us.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation is a conservative lobbying group that rates bills in the state Legislature and assigns ratings to lawmakers based on their compliance with groups positions, such as opposing occupational licensing and taxes. Its also become increasingly active, through a political arm, in political campaigns.

Jensen disagreed with Hoffmans assessment. We were not bullied by the left, and it was not at all politically motivated. But we understand not everyone will see it that way, he said.

What it really boils down to is the fact that our guests have the expectation of a safe and enjoyable stay in a resort-like atmosphere, she said. It became evident that we would not be able to control the circumstances.

She noted that the Riverside has more than 300 guest rooms, and theyre not separated from the ballroom where the banquet was booked. Also, it has dozens of entrances and is easily accessible by foot, including from the public, riverfront Greenbelt that runs right behind it. We just thought we cant guarantee safety and security with an event like this should something break out, and in all likelihood it would, Jensen said.

She added, They didnt tell us who the speaker was. We actually found out about it because of some of the online chatter that wed seen, including plans for protests.

The Riverside notified the IFF on Monday that it wanted to meet with them; it met with IFF officials on Tuesday and agreed on terms for canceling the event.

Were not in the habit of canceling our groups events, Jensen said. It was just out of real concern for safety and security for our staff and for our guests, and that was the only reason it was canceled.

Updated: Aug. 17, 2017, 5:28 p.m.

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Speaker with controversial race theories leads to cancellation, move of Idaho Freedom Foundation annual banquet – The Spokesman-Review


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