Recently there was an incident at a Claire McCaskill Table Talk at which Senate staffers attempted to restrict constituents ability to record either by video or audio means a public meeting designed to foster communication between constituents and their governmental representatives.
Video H/T SharpElbows.Net
Although the case which Judicial Watch is reporting on was brought by a man who recorded the actions of police in their official governmental duties, the decision clearly applies to other governmental officials as well.
From the Judicial Watch article:
But a few days ago the federal appellate court settled the issue, ruling that the filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place fits comfortably within the principles of protected First Amendment activity. The court also noted that police officers are to expect to deal with certain “burdens” as citizens practice First Amendments rights.
“Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs,” the three-judge panel wrote, adding that police officers should have understood this all along and that videotaping public officials is not limited to the press.
“Moreover, changes in technology and society have made the lines between private citizen and journalist exceedingly difficult to draw,” the court continued. “The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status.”
Perhaps Politicians and their Staffers should take note, and REMOVE such illegal signs in the future so as to not create hostile environments in public meetings.
You can read the entire article at the link below. Perhaps Senator Claire McCaskill and her staffers should as well.
Court Rules Citizens Can Record Police | Judicial Watch.
Yesterday: Senate Majority Leader Reid Demands The House Stay In Session Over The Weekend. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Thursday morning slammed House Republicans for their decision to take “the weekend off,” a shot that comes as part of a mounting Democratic effort to turn up the heat on lower-chamber Republicans to compromise on a debt-ceiling deal. … Reid said in a floor speech it is “untoward, and that’s the kindest word I can say, to have the House of Representatives out this weekend.” Reid said their absence provides a “very bad picture for our country.” (National Journal, 7/21/11)
Today: Reid Cancels Weekend Senate Session. Sen Reid tell Senate nothing for it to do tomorrow or Sunday and therefore it will not have to be in session this weekend. (@MarkKnoller, 7/22/11)
Hat Tip to Brian Patrick in Maj Leader Cantor’s Office for these. Priceless
According to Chuck Schumer the Obama administration is considering ignoring the Debt Limit. It apparently believes that the 4th Section of 14th Amendment ratified in 1865 means something it does not.
It states in part:
“The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
Apparently the Obama Administration thinks that this means that “full faith and credit of the United States” can never be questioned and that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner can simply authorize the printing of more money ad infinitum.
Apparently, they missed or more likely just chose to ignore the clause which states that the debt must be “authorized by law.” If the debt which the Treasury issues, is not authorized by law, it will certainly be questioned, whether Obama likes it or not.
I feel certain Congress will have something to say about this course of action. Failure to stand up for their Constitutional obligation to authorize the public debt, means that the People will certainly make their voice heard on the subject.
Here is a link to the Washington Examiner Article on the subject: Schumer confirms White House considering ignoring debt limit | Conn Carroll | Beltway Confidential | Washington Examiner.
Paul Ryan’s Budget Should be the Floor, Not the Ceiling | Broadside Books.
Check out my contribution to the blog at Broadside Books. A call for a Tea Party Budget
It has become great sport in since the initial shooting and attempted murder of Gabrielle Giffords to muse on the cause of such an event, what would make someone do such a thing, and how we can as a society can prevent such actions from occurring in the future.
These are the wrong questions for us to be asking as a nation, and they are they wrong questions for us to be answering as members of the Tea Party movement.
It is tempting for us to fall into this debate, as before Ms. Giffords had even made it to the hospital, there were those on the left blaming the Tea Party for the action, and we felt a corresponding urge to defend ourselves.
And therein lies they trap. The story now becomes a moving target of motivations, first tea party, then reading lists, then ideologies or religious affiliations, then guns, then gun laws, then about the general safety of members of congress.
The one commonality all these story-lines share is who they blame, or rather, who they don’t.
None of these story-lines blame the shooter for his actions. None say he was a sick and twisted individual who took actions that made sense to him and him alone.
Instead, they blame you. They blame me. They blame America. And in the end all these problems will result in a call for more government solutions.
The only conservative response to this tragedy is that the shooter is responsible for his own actions. Anything else is political posturing.