ACLU commemorates anniversary of US Supreme Court decision on student free speech

Saturday, February 28, 2009

On Tuesday, the non-profit organization the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released a video and press release commemorating 40 years since the landmark Supreme Court of the United States decision involving freedom of speech in the case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District. The Tinker case was decided on February 24, 1969. The case involved students in Iowa who chose to wear black armbands with peace symbols in protest of the Vietnam War – in violation of a recent school board policy. In their statement, the ACLU compared issues of freedom of speech in the Tinker case to a more recent case, Gillman v. Holmes County School District, where a school district in Florida forbade students from wearing rainbow symbols in school in support of LGBT rights.

In the Tinker case, John and Mary Beth Tinker and another student decided to wear black armbands with peace symbols to school in protest of the Vietnam War. The school district heard of the students’ plans and decided to ban armbands in school. The three students case were represented by the ACLU of Iowa, and in a 7-2 decision the Supreme Court ruled for the plaintiffs.

It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights…at the schoolhouse gate.

Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas wrote in the Opinion of the Court: “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights…at the schoolhouse gate.”

The Gillman case began in September 2007 when according to students at Ponce de Leon High School in Florida, school officials responded improperly to complaints from a lesbian student that she was being harassed by other students. The ACLU contacted the school district on behalf of junior Heather Gillman, inquiring what form of symbols or slogans relating to LGBT rights would be allowed.

The school district responded saying it would not allow any expression of the sort, because it would “likely be disruptive”, and said the wearing of these types of symbols by students could signify they were part of a “secret/illegal organization”.

The video released by the ACLU includes clips of a deposition given by David Davis, the principal of Ponce de Leon High School in Florida. Davis testified he decided to ban students from wearing rainbow symbols in school because the rainbow is a symbol of “gay pride”, and he said it “could hinder the educational process”. He also testified that these symbols would immediately cause students viewing them to think of homosexual sex. Heather Gillman commented in the ACLU video “It was kind of scary, kinda, because I didn’t know what people would think, but then I figured ‘Who cares what people think, I’m standing up for something I believe in.'”

Have U.S. schools changed their approach to freedom of speech between Tinker (1969) and Gillman (2008)?
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On May 13, 2008, a federal judge decided in favor of the plaintiff, and permanently enjoined the school district from infringing upon the First Amendment rights of the students. Matt Coles, director of the ACLU’s national LGBT Project, stated “Schools need to know censorship is illegal, and students need to know their schools can’t get away with it.”

I’m grateful that the precedent established by the Supreme Court 40 years ago is still protecting students, including LGBT students and their friends.

In reflecting on the use of the Tinker precedent in the Gillman case, the ACLU cited three instances in which schools “were made to stop illegally censoring students thanks to Tinker v. Des Moines.” These include a 2006 incident where a student in Ohio was instructed by school administrators to remove a t-shirt which read “I support gay marriage”, and a 2007 incident where a teacher and an assistant principal at a school in Virginia told a student she could not wear a t-shirt with overlapping female gender symbols. In both cases the ACLU represented the students and school officials backed down and apologized for their actions.

In a blog post Tuesday by Mary Beth Tinker at Daily Kos, Tinker reflected on the similarities between her case before the Supreme Court of the United States and the more recent federal case of Heather Gillman. “I’m grateful that the precedent established by the Supreme Court 40 years ago is still protecting students, including LGBT students and their friends,” wrote Tinker. She encouraged young people to speak out about issues of concern to them and to freely express their thoughts and views. Tinker is currently a nurse in Washington, D.C., and travels the United States speaking to students about their First Amendment rights.

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Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

Solar powered plane completes first leg of transcontinental trip

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Solar Impulse, the world’s most advanced solar powered plane has just completed the first of the five legs of its trans-continental journey, flying fuel-free from San Francisco to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, in just over 18 hours.

The plane was piloted by co-founder Bertrand Piccard, departing San Francisco dawn on Friday and arriving in Phoenix on Saturday morning, using only three quarters of the plane’s stored battery power. “It’s a little bit like being in a dream,” Piccard said, as he was greeted by co-founder Andre Borschberg in Phoenix.

Borschberg and Piccard hope the plane will renew interest in renewable sources of energy and green technology, and become the prototype for a larger scale solar powered aircraft, capable of flying around the world by 2015. “If an airplane can fly day or night with no fuel, just on the sun’s power, of course it means that everybody in daily life can use this technology for his house, for heating and cooling systems, for lighting, for cars, for trucks. There’s so much we can do now to have a cleaner future,” Piccard said.

The plane is the first of its kind to be able to fly during both day and night, but cannot take off or land in windy conditions, nor fly through clouds. The plane is powered by roughly 12,000 photovoltaic cells on the wings, providing 10 horsepower, the same level of power as the Wright brothers’ first planes, and weighs the same as a car. “One hundred years ago, the planes had to fly in good weather and there was only one person on board,” Piccard said. “Now we have completely new technology, we fly with no fuel at all. But, of course, we need to fly in good weather and we carry only one pilot on board.

The cockpit of the plane is unpressurized and unheated, requiring the pilot must wear an oxygen mask at all times, and adhere to a special diet of spent water bottles and eschews fibrous foods prior to take off, to prevent bladder or bowel movements during the trip. Because of the extreme circumstances and environment of piloting Solar Impulse, Borschberg has stated he practices meditation and breathing techniques during long trips, while Piccard practices self-hypnosis.

Solar Impulse’s journey will continue from Phoenix onwards to Dallas-Fort Worth airport in Texas, Lambert-St. Louis airport, Dulles airport in the Washington area and New York’s John F. Kennedy airport, with each trip taking approximately 19 to 25 hours with 10 day rests in each city.

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Arrest made as mayor of Gda?sk, Poland stabbed on stage">
Arrest made as mayor of Gda?sk, Poland stabbed on stage

Monday, January 14, 2019

An individual has been arrested after Pawe? Adamowicz, mayor of the Polish city of Gda?sk, was stabbed last night whilst on stage at a fundraising event. He died today.

We couldn’t win

Reports on the implement used vary between a knife and a “sharp tool”. The attacker is reported to have jumped on stage during the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity and claimed he was wrongfully imprisoned under Adamowicz’s former party Civic Platform’s time in government. Adamowicz was an early supporter of democracy, and has been mayor since 1998.

Ex-Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the current President of the European Council, wrote “Let’s all pray for Mayor Adamowicz. Pawe?, we are with you.” Tusk, a founding Civic Platform member, is from Gda?sk. Interior Minister Joachim Brudzi?ski called the stabbing “an act of inexplicable barbarity.” He said “I can’t find the words, an explanation, for this kind of act. Especially since the finale of the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity has for the last 27 years always been associated with good, with something joyful, positive.”

The fundraiser was intending this year to obtain money for children’s hospitals to buy equipment. It raises money annually to assist the nation’s medical services.

Brudzi?ski said Adamowicz required resuscitation, and was in a “serious” condition; TVN24 reported he received surgery. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki tweeted “We are with Mayor Adamowicz in our thoughts and prayers.” President Andrzej Duda remarked, “Today I am unconditionally with him and his loved ones, just as I hope all of us compatriots are. I pray for his return to health and full strength.”

Duda told local media Adamowicz’s heart was restarted by doctors “and there is hope, but his condition is very difficult.” Police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka said a press badge was used by the assailant, reported by The Guardian as convicted of assaults and by Associated Press of bank robberies, to gain entry. The detained suspect’s identity is restricted to ‘Stefan W’ owing to Polish privacy legislation.

Adamowicz was taken to the Medical University of Gda?sk, where Dr. Tomasz Stefaniak was met with applause early today upon announcing to journalists Adamowicz remained alive. “The next hours will decide everything,” Stefaniak said. Politicians and the Archbishop of Gda?sk, S?awoj Leszek G?ód?, were reported by local media to have visited the hospital while Adamowicz received emergency surgery.

Adamowicz subsequently was announced to have died. Health Minister ?ukasz Szumowski said “We couldn’t win,” and the city flag is at half-mast. Gda?sk residents donated blood by the hundreds today in a bid to assist. Vigils nationwide this evening were attended by thousands.

Adamowicz, 53, has supported LGBT rights and and the inclusion of minority groups. He recently condemned anti-semitism after vandalism against a synagogue in the city. Adamowicz was at the event after collecting money for the organisation in Gda?sk’s streets alongside volunteers nationwide.

A potential charge of murder against Stefan W carries a possible life sentence. Prosecutor Krzysztof Sierak told reporters today psychiatric assessments will be carried out to confirm if Stefan W is fit for trial.

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Djokovic withdraws from Wimbledon Championships">
Djokovic withdraws from Wimbledon Championships

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On Wednesday, three-time Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic withdrew from this year’s tournament suffering from an elbow injury. The announcement was made after the Serbian took a medical timeout during the second set in the quarter-final against Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych.

Djokovic said, “It’s unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, a grand slam, this way […] I mean, if someone feels bad about it, it’s me. But, you know, I tried.” His elbow was problematic for more than a year, he said. He also said, “I was able for 30 minutes to play with pain that was bearable. The serve and forehand were the shots where I could feel it the most and after that there was really no sense”.

Djokovic’s pre-quarterfinal against Adrian Mannarino was rescheduled to Tuesday, so the 30-year-old Serbian had to play two matches in two days. Djokovic was two sets down with the scoreboard 7–6 2–0 when world number-two Djokovic decided to stop despite leading their head-to-head record, 25–2.

31-year-old Berdych therefore advanced to play the semi-final against Swiss seven-time Wimbledon Singles Champion Roger Federer. Berdych’s best record at the Wimbledon was finalist in 2010, against Rafa Nadal — when he defeated Federer in quarterfinal. The Czech has never won a Grand Slam title.

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News briefs:April 23, 2010">
News briefs:April 23, 2010

 Correction — August 24, 2015 These briefs incorrectly describe BP as ‘British Petroleum’. In fact, such a company has not existed for many years as BP dropped this name when becoming a multinational company. The initials no longer stand for anything. 
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Easily Organize Your Tools With A Tool Shed

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By Adriana Copaceanu

Anyone who has lived in one place for any length of time often finds themselves accumulating things over the years, and not quite knowing where to put them. Tools are a big problem too. You find yourself with all sorts of tools for gardening, lawn care, small home projects, hobbies and more.

A lot of the most common tools people use to care for and maintain their homes are not easy to store. And often these tools get quite dirty, so we don’t relish the idea of putting them in the house somewhere. And the garage of course, assuming you have one, is usually piled high with all sorts of other things. Boxes of keepsakes, old clothes and toys, cars, bicycles, and all the things we keep around to maintain those too.

So there isn’t often much room at all in the garage for storing the tools you’ve accumulated over the years. And if you do try to store them there, you often find that you spend more time hunting for those tools than you do actually using them!

And that’s what makes outdoor tool sheds such a useful invention. In fact, tool sheds don’t have to be placed outdoors either. You can buy smaller cabinet style tool sheds to place in the garage if you have room for instance, and it will still be a huge help because all of your tools will be organized and easy to find when you need them.

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Outdoor tool sheds are quite useful too though, particularly if you don’t have an indoor space to place even small tool sheds. If you need more space, the outdoor tool sheds become even more useful too.

In fact, outdoor tool sheds are used for a wide variety of purposes. If you do a lot of gardening for instance, you can use the tool shed to store all of your gardening tools and supplies. Small pruning shears, extra potting soil and fertilizer, and even extra container pots all fit very easily into the smaller sized tool sheds.

If you have larger gardening equipment such as hedge trimmers, weed wackers, bulk bags of mulch or fertilizer, hoes, shovels, rakes, and tree limb cutters, there are plenty of larger sized tool sheds which will allow you to fit all of that in with room to spare.

Guys who like doing woodworking or various household chores can share the tool shed, or have one of their own too. Then there’s room for the various saws, sanders, drills and so on that seem to always being laying around just out of reach.

Not only do tool sheds come in a variety of sizes, they also come in a wide variety of materials too. You can get tool sheds made of wood, metal, and even vinyl too. Some come pre-painted, or you can choose to paint it yourself so that the tool shed matches your house design.

Regardless of what kind of tool shed you choose to get though, once you have the tools all organized, protected from the weather, and easy to find in one place, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to get one.

About the Author: Please be sure to visit today and browse through the many types of sizes and styles available to meet your tool shed storage needs.


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Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP">
Former Scottish Conservatives leader Annabel Goldie to stand down as MSP

Friday, June 26, 2015

Annabel Goldie, Scottish Conservative Party leader from 2005 to 2011, has announced she will stand down as an MSP at the next elections in 2016. Goldie, who has been an MSP for the West Scotland (previously West of Scotland) electoral region since the Scottish Parliament’s formation in 1999, said she intends to focus on her role in the House of Lords, where she has been a peer since 2013.File:Annabel Goldie.jpg

In a statement today, Goldie said leading the party was an “enormous honour” for her. She also said: “It has afforded me both satisfaction and pleasure to serve my constituents and to serve the parliament and I will look back with great happiness at my time as an MSP. I am grateful to friends and colleagues from all parties for their support. Sometimes we found common ground, sometimes we disagreed but never I hope with rancour nor disrespect. Politics is a rough trade but we have built a strong parliament in Scotland of which we can all be rightly proud.” She said because of Ruth Davidson, her successor as Scottish Conservative leader, the party is now “in fine fettle and stands a great chance of making real progress in the years ahead,” concluding by saying: “I look forward to continuing to work as part of that effort in the House of Lords in the years to come.”

Davidson responded to the news by calling Goldie an “unstoppable force”, adding: “She has been an inspiration to a whole generation of Scottish Conservatives, and she has been a tremendous mentor, support and friend to me. In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.” Meanwhile, David Cameron, UK Conservative leader and UK Prime Minister, said: “Annabel is one of those rare breeds in Scottish politics, somebody known by her first name alone. When she was Scottish Conservative leader, I valued her sage advice. She has been a towering strength to our party in Scotland, a doughty debater in the TV studios and Scottish Parliament and has one of the sharpest wits around. I wish her a long and happy retirement after 17 years unstinting service at Holyrood – but look forward to seeing her on the red benches of the Lords for years to come.”

In Holyrood, she has fostered both affection and respect from all members – regardless of their political affiliation – and her retirement from the Scottish Parliament will leave an Annabel-sized hole which won’t ever quite be filled. She is unique.

Goldie, the Scottish Conservatives’ first ever female leader, was elected unopposed. She took up the role in the aftermath of David McLetchie’s resignation from the role in an expenses usage controversy and subsequent resignation of Brian Monteith from his Conservative whip role in the Scottish Parliament for briefing the media against him. Meanwhile, as Scottish Conservatives won 18 seats in the Scottish Parliament in 1999 and 2003, the party had been less successful in UK general elections in Scotland; Conservatives went up from zero out of a possible 72 UK MPs in Scotland in 1997 to one in 2001. This led to Goldie remarking in her inaugural speech in 2005 that: “The wheels are back on the wagon – and I’m the nag hitched up to tow it.” She also said: “The party is still way ahead of where it was in 1997. And my first task is to take it forward to 2007.” However, under Goldie’s leadership, the number of seats the Scottish Conservatives won in the Scottish Parliament slightly decreased from 18 in 2003 to 17 in 2007 and to 15 in 2011. At the same time, the number of Conservative MPs stood at one out of a possible 59 after the 2010 UK general election.

In the aforementioned 2005 speech, she also said the party could be trusted with devolution in Scotland, adding: “making devolution work better means real devolution: not the lumbering and cripplingly expensive array of government departments, government advisers, consultants, quangos, quasi-quangos and agencies with all their expensive appendages, but devolving down to people and their communities, their right to make their own decisions about their lives, how for example they procure healthcare and how they educate their children.” Goldie would go on to sit on the advisory board for the Smith Commission, which was set up to examine which further political powers should be devolved to Scotland following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. More recently, Goldie supported a reduction in the voting age for Scottish Parliament elections from 18 to 16 in a vote earlier this month, commenting: “I think it is an opportunity for them to continue their high level of engagement in topical affairs that we saw with the independence referendum.”

Goldie, a member of the Salvation Army’s West of Scotland Advisory Board and a Church of Scotland elder, is not the only Scottish Conservative MSP intending to stand down in 2016. Mary Scanlon, Gavin Brown, Alex Fergusson and Nanette Milne all reportedly intend to leave the Scottish Parliament next year.

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Son of Indian hospital CEO commits suicide by jumping out of window">
Son of Indian hospital CEO commits suicide by jumping out of window

Friday, October 16, 2009

Miten Mehta, the son of the CEO of the Lilavati Hospital in Colaba, India, reportedly committed suicide on Wednesday after jumping from the ninth floor of the Maker Towers residence. Mehta, aged 54, was a diamond merchant based in Belgium. Police said that the incident took place sometime between 20:30 Mumbai Time (+5.5 UTC) and 21:00.

At 21:00, police received a call from the residents of the building saying that Miten had committed suicide in Maker Towers, Colaba. Police arrived at the scene and took him to the GT hospital, but he was declared dead on arrival.

Mehta was reportedly talking to his mother, Sushilaben, when he suddenly went to a window on the ninth floor and leapt out of it. He did not leave a suicide note.

Some sources reported that Mehta was to leave for Belgium the day he killed himself, but when he went downstairs, he had received a call, after which he cancelled his flight. He then went upstairs to his home and committed suicide. The police suggested that depression or frustration could have led to his killing himself.

Mehta’s daughter, who is studying in the US, will be coming to India soon along with the Mehta’s father, Vijay Mehta, who is the CEO of the Lilavati Hospital. The police said that they would record Miten’s family members’ statements once the final rites are performed.

The autopsy report of GT hospital stated that he had died due to severe head injuries. His body was then moved to Lilavati Hospital.

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Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam">
Pfizer and Microsoft team up against Viagra spam

Sunday, February 13, 2005

New York –”Buy cheap Viagra through us – no prescription required!” Anyone with an active email account will recognize lines like this one. According to some reports, unsolicited advertisements (spam) for Viagra and similar drugs account for one in four spam messages.


Spamming remains one of the biggest problems facing email users today. While users and systems administrators have improved their defenses against unsolicited email, many spammers now insert random words or characters into their letters in order to bypass filters. The Wikipedia article Stopping email abuse provides an overview of the various strategies employed by companies, Internet users and systems administrators to deal with the issue.

Ever since pharmaceutical giant Pfizer promised to cure erectile dysfunction once and for all with its blue pills containing the drug sildenafil citrate, spammers have tried to tap into male anxiety by offering prescription-free sales of unapproved “generic” Viagra and clones such as Cialis soft tabs. Legislation like the U.S. CAN-SPAM act has done little to stem the tide of email advertising the products.

Now Pfizer has entered a pledge with Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company, to address the problem. The joint effort will focus on lawsuits against spammers as well as the companies they advertise. “Pfizer is joining with Microsoft on these actions as part of our shared pledge to reduce the sale of these products and to fight the senders of unsolicited e-mail that overwhelms people’s inboxes,” said Jeff Kindler, executive vice president at Pfizer.

Microsoft has filed civil actions against spammers advertising the websites CanadianPharmacy and E-Pharmacy Direct. Pfizer has filed lawsuits against the two companies, and has taken actions against websites which use the word “Viagra” in their domain names. Sales of controlled drugs from Canadian pharmacies to the United States are illegal, but most drugs sold in Canada have nevertheless undergone testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This is not the case for many of the Viagra clones sold by Internet companies and manufactured in countries like China and India. While it was not clear that CanadianPharmacy was actually shipping drugs from Canada, Pfizer’s general counsel, Beth Levine, claimed that the company filled orders using a call center in Montreal, reported the Toronto Star.

For Microsoft’s part, they allege that the joint effort with Pfizer is part of their “multi-pronged attack on the barrage of spam.” As the creator of the popular email program Outlook, Microsoft has been criticized in the past for the product’s spam filtering process. Recently, Microsoft added anti-spam measures to its popular Exchange server. Exchange 2003 now includes support for accessing so-called real-time block lists, or RTBLs. An RTBL is a list of the IP addresses maintained by a third party; the addresses on the list are those of mailservers thought to have sent spam recently. Exchange 2003 can query the list for each message it receives.

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Canadian city announces first Studios of Brampton tour">
Canadian city announces first Studios of Brampton tour

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Created by the Brampton Arts Council and the City of Brampton, the Studios of Brampton studio tour will allow residents a chance to view works by dozens of local artists at twelve locations.

The tour will run October 1 & 2 from 10 pm until 4 pm ET.

On the tour are the personal studios of watercolourist Jack Reid, sculpture Marion Bartlett, woodworker Rick Bino, ceramicist Eric Wong, calligrapher and fashion illustrator Rosemarie Gidvani, abstract painter Karen Darling, oil painter John Cutruzzola, stain-glass artist Darlene Robichaud, and watercolourist Gordon Stuart.

Also on the tour is the Art Gallery of Peel, which will be exhibiting Sydney Drum, a Canadian artist based in New York, and Kelly McNeil.

Visual Arts Brampton and Beaux-Arts Brampton will both have line-ups of local artist members. VAB has confirmed displays by William Band, Bridget Doughty, Betty Jean Evans, Marguerite Finlayson, Conrad Mieschke, Keith Moreau, Mary Noble, Olga Rudge, and Elizabeth Patrick.

Sample works representing each location on the tour will be shown at the Brampton City Hall’s Atrium Gallery.

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