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Clinton Prosecutor Now Targeting Free Speech

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the whitewater-in-alaska dept.

Censorship 571

Virchull tells us about a case the Supreme Court has agreed to hear, in which former special prosecutor Kenneth Starr will take the side of an Alaska school board against a student who displayed a rude banner off school property. The banner read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" and it got the student suspended. He and his parents sued the school board for violating his First Amendment rights. The case is nuanced: while the student did not display the banner on school property, he did do so during a school function. Starr is said to be arguing the case for free.

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571 comments

Perhaps he too is looking towards 2008 (1, Funny)

rednip (186217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087506)

Maybe he is joining Newt Gingrich [crooksandliars.com] on his assault on free speech in a effort at being Newt's running mate.

Give thanks to Starr (1, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087614)

These Nazis cost themselves Congress; now they're going to cost themselves the rest of the country! LOL!

Re:Perhaps he too is looking towards 2008 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087656)

Crooks and Liars, eh? Hillary Clinton belongs in that ilk, after all she's an anagram for "liar lynch in lot"!

Jesus wants a joint too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087522)

nt.

This guy hates freedom (5, Insightful)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087540)

Kenneth Starr will take the side of an Alaska school board against a student who displayed a rude banner off school property.

What's up this guy's ass about personal liberties? anti-free speech, anti-free love; the only thing he seems to like is all the free attention he gets.

Re:This guy hates freedom (3, Funny)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088030)

"Bong 4 Free Speech!"

Drugs are cool! (1, Flamebait)

ringbarer (545020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087542)

Remember kids! Drugs are cool because they're drugs and they're cool. Drugs are cool. Drugs are cool. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!

Fucking stupid little cuntsniff. Not only should he have got suspended, but he should be sent down to Gitmo for a few years to knock some sense into him.

Some thoughts (5, Interesting)

agent dero (680753) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087544)

I first read about this over here [sozialkritik.com] , and I really find the entire thing sickening. According to the linked article from The Mercury News, this was most certainly not during a school function. Just because the school let's out for something like the torch event, doesn't mean the students are still under the school's "juristiction."

American public education must be stopped. The high school I graduated from recently enforced school uniforms, suspending students who refuse to conform.[1]

For a country full of people shouting "freedom, democracy!" we sure let the next generations get systematically fucked out of their own freedoms.


[1] This same high school suspended me (one day, three days in-school suspension, after which I was banned from using school computers for the rest of the school year) for doing as a teacher had asked me, hooking up computers to the network to use a deparment purchased laser printer, after said printers were used to look at pr0n during school hours.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Interesting)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087584)

American public education must be stopped.

I could not have said it better myself. I had a good experience in high school, but as far as I can tell, that is by far the exception. Public schools are a mess. Parents have no leverage. Abolish public schools, quit taxing property to pay for schools and let the parents be responsible for their children's educations. When this country was founded private education was the norm. Heck is basically the only thing available.

Incidentally, literacy rates in this country peaked prior to the introduction of public education.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Philotic (957984) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087654)

>>Incidentally, literacy rates in this country peaked prior to the introduction of public education.
Do you have a source for this? Not nitpicking, just curious.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Interesting)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088048)

Related info from here [johntaylorgatto.com] :

"Looking back, abundant data exist from states like Connecticut and Massachusetts to show that by 1840 the incidence of complex literacy in the United States was between 93 and 100 percent wherever such a thing mattered. According to the Connecticut census of 1840, only one citizen out of every 579 was illiterate and you probably don't want to know, not really, what people in those days considered literate; it's too embarrassing. Popular novels of the period give a clue: Last of the Mohicans, published in 1826, sold so well that a contemporary equivalent would have to move 10 million copies to match it. If you pick up an uncut version you find yourself in a dense thicket of philosophy, history, culture, manners, politics, geography, analysis of human motives and actions, all conveyed in data-rich periodic sentences so formidable only a determined and well-educated reader can handle it nowadays. Yet in 1818 we were a small-farm nation without colleges or universities to speak of. Could those simple folk have had more complex minds than our own?"

Re:Some thoughts (5, Interesting)

exley (221867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087736)

American public education must be stopped.

I could not have said it better myself. I had a good experience in high school, but as far as I can tell, that is by far the exception. Public schools are a mess. Parents have no leverage.


I can see the points being made but I can't give up on public education just yet The fact that you had a good experience, I had a good experience, and undoubtedly many more have good experiences show that the system can work. Now, granted, my views are tainted by the fact that I did come out of a good public school system and I admittedly have a narrow field of view based on that. But still, just because it's fucked up doesn't mean it's irreparable. Maybe it is, but at this point I can't get on the "let's destroy public schools and dump the kids into private schools" bandwagon.

I would really like to see public education continue as an option. Of course, it needs to be a viable option -- so let's work on getting to that point instead of just punting. The discourse in this country over the last several years makes it seem as if we are more intent on feeding money to private schools (vouchers, vouchers, vouchers...) than actually getting serious about fixing public education.

Abolish public schools, quit taxing property to pay for schools and let the parents be responsible for their children's educations.

Think about a lot of parents out there... Are you really sure you wanna give them this responsibility? :)

Re:Some thoughts (3, Insightful)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087748)

That's all very well if you have good parents, but you'll be completely screwed over if your parents are too indifferent, fucked-up or poor to provide you with an education. You may not have thought much of your schooling, but at least you've been given the basic start in life. Take away public schooling and some will be left without any chance of improving themselves in life at all.

Surely that's part of the 'American Dream'; that anyone can make it, irrespective of the humbleness of their beginnings. If you deny the most disadvantaged even a basic education, what chance will they have?

Re:Some thoughts (1)

gaines (987885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087892)

There's no need to abolish public schools all together, just give parents a choice of where their child's portion of the education funds are spent. If they want to send their children to a private school, then they get a vocher which that public school can turn in for the funds that would have been put into a private school for that child.

Add some choice to the system and you'll see schools shape up or ship out. When parents can move their child away from a school AND take the associated funding with them, then they have a voice that will get attention.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087922)

This is exactly why I would rather have a voucher system in place. Voucher money wouldn't take away money from local school districts funding themselves through local taxes, but it would be a way to give students more of a choice. Federal money and state money would be the source of the vouchers.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Insightful)

symbolic (11752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088024)

People who talk about vouchers forget something: just because one has a voucher doesn't mean that they're going to be *able* pursue their choice of education. There are many logistics to consider - like schools of choice already being filled to capacity. And then there's the transportation issue - if the school happens to be across town, who will be responsible for ensuring that the kid can even get there? I'd venture a guess that vouchers or not, for many, the public school system will be the only option *left*.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

trickster721 (900632) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087974)

Well, assuming they couldn't pay the five dollars a month to access our global information network from home, I suppose they would have to stoop to using one of the free terminals at a public library, or god help them, even check out and read an actual dead-tree book.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Funny)

Elvis77 (633162) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087812)

Why not outsource it to India????

Re:Some thoughts (4, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087824)

"Public schools are a mess. Parents have no leverage. Abolish public schools, quit taxing property to pay for schools and let the parents be responsible for their children's educations."

This is just shocking. I know public schools can be a mess and are certainly in need of reform (AND more funds) but abolishing them? How exactly are the underprivileged supposed to send their kids to school? I thought America was supposed to be about everyone being able to make something out of themselves? Well, without basic level education that is fucking hard.

Just to inform you, public education works pretty well in a lot of countries. It may have flaws everywhere, but in most countries it provides a decent level of education no matter your income, thus making it possible for even the under priviliged to work their way out of poverty.

Re:Some thoughts (-1)

El Cubano (631386) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087858)

This is just shocking. I know public schools can be a mess and are certainly in need of reform (AND more funds) but abolishing them? How exactly are the underprivileged supposed to send their kids to school? I thought America was supposed to be about everyone being able to make something out of themselves? Well, without basic level education that is fucking hard.

OK. I'd settle for opt-out then. What really gets me is that money is forcibly taken from people for services which they do not use. I have a friend with five kids. All of them go to private school because he thinks that the public schools are crap. It is not right that he is still required to pay astronomically high property tax in order to support the failing public schools where he lives (among the worst in the country). He is basically forced to pay twice to get his kids an education. Let people who want to send their kids to public school pay the taxes and let the people who want to send their kids to a private school (where they can do simple things like fire underperforming teachers) not pay the taxes to support the system they don't use.

Re:Some thoughts (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087938)

OK. I'd settle for opt-out then. What really gets me is that money is forcibly taken from people for services which they do not use...Let people who want to send their kids to public school pay the taxes and let the people who want to send their kids to a private school (where they can do simple things like fire underperforming teachers) not pay the taxes to support the system they don't use.

The theory is that to have a decently functioning democratic society you require a reasonably educated and well informed populace. To ensure that the average citizen is at least reasonably educated and capable of getting him or herself suitably informed on any issues you need to have a basic minimum standard of education that everyone is guaranteed to recieve. Thus, in some senses, funding a public education system is about paying for a efficiently functioning democratic society. Even if you opt out of the basic minimum education and seek education at a private school or get home schooled (which, note, is still monitored to ensure it meets basic minimum standards), you are still taking part it, and gaining the benefit from, the democratic society - and it would therefore not be unreasonable to expect you to help pay for that. If you want to opt out of the society altogether you are welcome to do that - leave the country and (at least in theory, some countries will tax you even as a citizen permanently residing overseas) they won't expect you to pay any taxes. None of this precludes pointing out the fact that the particular implementation of the basic minimum level of education is inefficient, and ineffective, or quite simply broken. The question you should be asking is how to fix it - given that there are excellent public education systems in some countries it must be possible. And no, removing the minimum standard of education altogether doesn't fix it. As far as I can tell the US is already wavering perilously close to haing an insufficiently educated and informed populace: just look at the crap both major parties get away with before distracting the public with "wedge issues" and shiny toys just before the next election - do you really want to make it worse?

Re:Some thoughts (3, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088054)

OK. I'd settle for opt-out then. What really gets me is that money is forcibly taken from people for services which they do not use. I have a friend with five kids. All of them go to private school because he thinks that the public schools are crap. It is not right that he is still required to pay astronomically high property tax in order to support the failing public schools where he lives (among the worst in the country). He is basically forced to pay twice to get his kids an education. Let people who want to send their kids to public school pay the taxes and let the people who want to send their kids to a private school (where they can do simple things like fire underperforming teachers) not pay the taxes to support the system they don't use.

I Know the USofA reasonably well but am a Dutchman and by consequence are better aware of our systems.

Basic education paid from the general taxation is in my opinion a must for any society that looks at the future.
The amount of trouble you'd have due to an uneducated underclass would in future be a much bigger drain on your friends finances than the 'forced' payments he's making now.
If he'd be truly worried about the public schools he needs to get off his lazy but and get politically active to get things sorted, surely he's not alone with this problem in his city.

In The Netherlands we have a system where all schools are getting per pupil a comparable amount of money from the national government.
But parents, churges etc. are allowed to set up a school (and school board) themselves, as a result a lot of schools are not 'public' yet are still paid for by society as a whole.
All schools have to comply with minimum requirements re. the levels of education but if the parents (through the board) would for example give the schooling a catholic or muslim slant that is fine. When parents want to make extra financial or other contributions that's also possible.
Only from the left we hear complaints that the 'real' public schools get the burden of receiving the majority of problematic pupils.
A strange argument as the schools with a private board generally cannot refuse entry to any pupil.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088022)

I know public schools can be a mess and are certainly in need of reform (AND more funds) but abolishing them?
It's true that many schools need more funding, but at the same time, many schools need less funding. I attended such a school and the waste was disgusting. I went to grade school in Texas when the "Robin Hood" laws were established. Administrators punished my high school for this by cancelling inexpensive fine arts classes so that they could build multi-hundred thousand dollar computer labs that were never used.

There is incredible inbalance in United States school systems.

Re:Some thoughts (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087866)

Public schools are a mess. Parents have no leverage. Abolish public schools, quit taxing property to pay for schools and let the parents be responsible for their children's educations.

I'm sorry that the US public school system is so appallingly broken. I would like to point out, however, that being public is not the reason it is broken. There are many publicly funded education systems around the world that are doing just fine. Take a look at Finland for example, who finished first [bbc.co.uk] in a study of math, science and reading skills of students in industrialised countries. You might also note the other countries that did well, such as South Korea, Canada, and the Netherlands all have public school systems. Public schooling need not be a recipe for poor quality - the fact that public schools are so poor in the US is clearly due to something else, possibly political, possibly cultural. If it is a cultural problem then abandoning public schools is not going to fix it. I would suggest you stop making excuses and start working out exactly why it is that the US school systems sucks so badly.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087968)

Literacy rates peaked prior to the introduction of public education?

Maybe so, but are you implying that public schools are responsible for this? A lot of things have happened to America since then. Let's mention the elephant in the living room - the ethnic mix is vastly different since then, and since IQ varies by ethnicity, you need to control for this before even discussing the effects of public schools on literacy.

http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2002 notamystery.pdf [udel.edu]

BTW I am no fan of public schools either.

Re:Some thoughts (4, Insightful)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087970)

When this country was founded private education was the norm. Heck is basically the only thing available.
When your country was founded, the literacy rate was in all probability in the single digits. It certainly was every else in the world

Incidentally, literacy rates in this country peaked prior to the introduction of public education
I would soooooooooooooooooooooo love to see a citation backing that claim

Re:Some thoughts (1, Insightful)

GNious (953874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088004)

Having followed news the last decade or so, I think that the American public is already without education, no?

/G

Re:Some thoughts (2, Informative)

killjoe (766577) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088074)

Eliminate public schools and I guarantee you at least 30% illiteracy in the US and at least 50% of people who are unable to solve simple math problems.

Most people can't afford private school and private schools won't take most children. Most people are unable to teach their kids anything either.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Insightful)

coaxial (28297) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087596)

[1] This same high school suspended me (one day, three days in-school suspension, after which I was banned from using school computers for the rest of the school year) for doing as a teacher had asked me, hooking up computers to the network to use a deparment purchased laser printer, after said printers were used to look at pr0n during school hours.

Some how I suspect there's a bit more to this story than you're telling.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

mikesum (840054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087676)

I think you're mischaracterizing this. It seems to me that this was a school function, at least from reading the CNN version. "They had been let out of classes and were accompanied by their teachers." It was like a field trip, and they probably went back to class afterward. I wish the article made it more clear. It seems to me they have the power to enforce the general school rules of no acting up and no goofing off in place of the parents. If this were the weekend or holiday I would agree 100 per cent with you.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087702)

CNN? Accurate?

You must be new here.

-Red

Re:Some thoughts (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087678)

American public education must be stopped. The high school I graduated from recently enforced school uniforms, suspending students who refuse to conform.

Public education is what has made democracy possible. If it's being hijacked by political extremists, then it needs to be returned to its roots.

Stopping public education is the quickest way to destroying our democracy.

Re:Some thoughts (3, Insightful)

OfficeSubmarine (1031930) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087688)

American public education must be stopped.

It depends on what kind of end result is desired from the system. I want smart, scientifically literate, people to walk out the doors. But, that would also call for 'huge' changes in the way western countries work. Can you imagine what the world would look like if the majority of people simply had an understanding of scientific methodology and the basics of logic? I think an alien invasion would cause less change.

Re:Some thoughts (2, Interesting)

TyrWanJo (1026462) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087704)

The really interesting thing about all this conformity, and where i think the issue really lies, is the current inability for people ectirpate themselves from our strange system of discipline. Free expresion is at stake, but i dont think to the degree that most people believe it is, this is one of those isolated incidents that could be forgotten in a few years time (a few moths even). I do believe, however, it does beg a reexamination of how we utilize disciplining forces within societal structures.

People are "systematically getting fucked out of their freedoms," but that being true or not isn't really germain, and just saying it doesnt help anyone. Which isn't to say it is not a valid statement, but it still doesnt get at the why, which is vastly more important.

Looking at schools is a good jumping board, because they are disciplinary institutions in as much as they are educational, and often schools provide a good (if not slightly immature) microcosm of a region;s culture, ideals, ethics, etc. (this is especially true of public schools). In anycase, the real questions, it would seem, should be what is the motivation behind molding people to be more and more simmiliar, and what are the societal pressures that make conformity and lack of expression so attractive? These aren't issues just in the schools; it can be seen in the macrocosm quite clearly. I certainly dont have answers for these questions, but i think this case could be very interesting with regards to the answers it could potentially provide. Certainly the hype is a little untoward, and unfourtunately people will either be intrueged or disgusted not by the case, but by the media circus that is sure to be conjured, but with any luck a few people will follow the case objectively and maybe some real change can begin to take place, or at least some understanding as to why perhaps this conformity is becomming so prevalant.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087706)

For a country full of people shouting "freedom, democracy!" we sure let the next generations get systematically fucked out of their own freedoms.

Don't worry, Canada will come to your rescue.

Re:Some thoughts (4, Insightful)

RodgerDodger (575834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087744)

I dunno, from the FA, it sounds like a school function to me. The kids were let out of class, in the form of entire classes trooping down to see the Olympic torch go through, and with teachers present and supervising. Afterwards, they trooped back to school. Sounds like a school excursion to me, just like if they were on a field trip to go to a museum or a national park.

I'm pretty sure the judge will see it the same way, in which case the kid is going to lose. I'm not even sure why a big gun like Starr would bother with this.

As for uniforms: schools have the right to require uniforms, and the power to enforce that right. Not all schools choose to, but that doesn't stop the right. Courts have repeatedly ruled that students, while at school, have limited rights to self-expression (which includes free speech). This is nothing new. Heck, if the worst your school is doing is requiring a uniform, feel good; your grandparents probably faced flogging as a form of punishment for failure to wear uniforms. Get some perspective.

Finally - the printer thing? If your teacher didn't back you up by pointing out he asked for the network to be hooked up, then he's a dick. If the school official who suspended you did so after being told that the teacher requested it, then she's a dick. Lots of people in this world are dicks, so in this respect it's good exposure to the realities of life - it's unfair and people are dicks. But remember - it's not the school that is taking this action. The school is a building, probably made with bricks. It just sits there. What you are seeing are the actions of a few individuals, probably reflecting the attitudes of the local school board - a school board probably elected by your community. Most high schools in the US have senior students eligible to vote. Very few of them bother (the 18-21 age group is the least likely to vote, and across the board people vote less in local elections than any other). Don't like what they do? Organise your fellow students - the ones old enough to vote, certainly, but don't ignore the younger ones. They can work on their parents or their older siblings (who are only a few years removed from the situation). There's a good chance your school board got elected with only a few hundred votes total. Even if you lose, you'll show them that they can't treat you like a carpet.

In other words - stop bitching, and start fixing.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

UPAAntilles (693635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087850)

American public education must be stopped.

Yeah, dang education. Who needs it anyway?

And I wasn't aware you could use new laser printers to surf for porn. Oh the wonders of modern technology.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088064)

Just connect the tubes and add some ink.

Re:Some thoughts (1)

maartynp (578542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088002)

One of the problems (dissaffection/lack of interest) and its resultant underperforming students might be the remoteness at which one as a student -and possibly as a parent- might perceive the cost (in money and time) of students' attendence in school. Basically, if I recall correctly, as a student there were some who immersed themselves in study; there were also others who were on the periphery of education and its intention to form the students.
Some students saw the institution as a device for learning and and method of progress (for their lives) others saw school as a necessary nuisance at best. That is they were dissaffected and had little interest in studying and or in the fate of themselves and the system. That is to say that they seemed to think that because taxes are paid (by their parents) that therefore they have an inherent right to vandalise property, disrupt the system, disnegage, etc. because, in their view, it was not really communal property but rather their own (and thus could/should do as they pleased). To me that is erroneous and detrimental logic but it permeates into other areas of society --areas where people feel some sort or entitlement (I'm not speaking of redress here). It's amusing to see people talk about public property as being theirs because they pay taxes instead of seeing it as public property.


Anyway, back to my point, some students realised the importance of education and took advantage of the system, others antagonised the current system to their detriment. Moreover the uninterested students take away from the positive experience schooling should offer students. Therefore, as more students resent the system and forego the opportunity it affors due to perceived disconnectedness between the school's budget's revenue source and the student it may be better, in some ways to have parents foot their students bills more directly. In that way, both parent and student see a vested interest in participating in school. I don't offer a solution as I am not a social scientist nor an economist. We would also need to take into account those who could not afford the total monetary cost of education and subsidise them but perhaps not at the 100% level so that they also feel vestment.


Nevertheless, schools are governed at some degree by the people they serve, and if enough people sight systemic problems they do have recourse [vouchers seem to be an outcome of the dissatisfaction to some degree]. Speech, in school, I think ought not be stiffled, so long as it not yeild to detriment in others. That is to say, I think students should be free to express themselves but not go overboard so much as to impinge on others. For example, this student should be able to communicate his views on drugs, but to do so as a serious matter, not as a juvenile prank in quest for attention. He ought have an outlet where he can express his opinions (and thus his right to speech) but he should not have his freedom overstep on the rest of the school body. Oh, what am I saying, it seems nearly everyone is retrograde and juvenile in their attitudes and only look out for "no.1" as they say.

Re:Some thoughts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088076)

"For a country full of people shouting "freedom, democracy!" we sure let the next generations get systematically fucked out of their own freedoms."

To make this possible is perhaps one of the very reasons why the public school system is broken... think about it: less educated people are easier to control and less of a threat to the powers that be.

What do Republican's stand for? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087546)

There was a time when Republicans worked to lower taxes and respect individual right.

Now, it seems like Republicans are for spying, big-government & 7 trillion dollar debts (which can only be paid for by cutting services WHILE raising taxes). Honestly, what does the party even stand for anymore? "Sacrifice the future for the next election".

Maybe I was just stupid and Naive to know any better, and Republicans were always fascists in disguise.

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (1)

Redlazer (786403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087686)

Being a young republican myself, im just as pissed off as you are.

I dont understand what is wrong these goddamn Republicans. Theyre communists in dusguise, or something. They have no concept of the basic beliefs of a republican-run government:

Maximum freedom, minimal government intervention.

When i was growing up, my Dad told me something that made a lot of sense:

"I would rather not let the government screw up my life for me. What would a bunch of out-of-touch old possibly know about running MY life?"

Im sickened by all the crap these Republicans are pulling. They are single-handedly demolishing the basic principles of a minimalistic government. And what the crap is up with all this goddamn religion? Im a tiony bit religious myself (nothing organized) but the second i hear about anyone telling anyone NOT to, or TO DO something, especially where religion is concerned, it makes me vomit in my mouth.

We should create a new republican party. Where we actually, you know. Believe republican things.

Maybe ALL politicians are evil. I really think they are - thats why im a republican. I just hate the people who represent me.

-Red

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087716)

Maybe ALL politicians are evil. I really think they are - thats why im a republican. I just hate the people who represent me.

You're part of the problem as long as you label yourself a part of it. You're not a republican, you're not a democrat, you're a fucking human. You're a amazingly smart creature that's able to use all of its brain, and doesn't need a group of people to tell you what to think. Cut the chains, think for your own damn self, and stop voting by who's BFF with whom.

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (0)

RKBA (622932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087730)

"We should create a new republican party. Where we actually, you know. Believe republican things."
It's already been done. You my friend are a Libertarian [lp.org] , whether you know it or not. Why not try taking the Worlds Smallest Political Quiz [self-gov.org] and find out?

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (1)

linguae (763922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087780)

There is only one problem with the Libertarian Party: much of the official party's platform needs to be toned down from some of the borderline anarchocapitalistic stances that the Party takes on certain issues. I feel that the Libertarian Party can make a big splash as a party that stresses the synergy of protecting civil liberties and fiscal conservatism, rather than a party that wants to turn the USA into Ancapistan overnight. Plenty of fiscal and economic conservatives disgruntled about the direction that the Republicans are taking, and aren't fond of the growth of social conservatism would be very interested in a moderate Libertarian party. Liberals who don't like high taxes and heavy government spending, and are disillusioned with the idea that the government would fix economic issues, would also like the party. (I am personally an ex-liberal who turned into somewhat of a libertarian).

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (2, Insightful)

felix rayman (24227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087802)

What a silly quiz. Are we to conclude that to be a Libertarian, one must be easily impressed by propaganda almost, but not quite, as sophisticated as a 70s Rush album?

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087994)

No, what he is is a liberal. Go look it up.

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (4, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087774)

Its all about fund raising. Republicans have found that visiting churches on their busy campaigning schedules, they can find at least a dozen donors each step of the way. People who have money are very opinionated and start giving away money to anyone that will listen to them. This is the heart of Republican fund raising. Its nothing personal, its business.

'Stamp out apo'strophe abu'se now! (3, Informative)

phunctor (964194) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087742)

"'" does NOT mean "Look out! An "s" is approaching!". Hone'st. -- phunctor

Re:'Stamp out apo'strophe abu'se now! (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087792)

um, given that he only made the mistake in the subject despite using plurals all through his comment, I think you could give the poor guy a break.

We all make mistakes sometimes.

Re:What do Republican's stand for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087754)

Republicans have always been the protectionist party throughout history. Often they were backed by big industrialists who liked their laws pushed through, or by right-wing assholes, who liked their morals pushed through on everybody else.

It's the Democrats that changed from liberty-party to pro-Socialist party in the last century (though not all their candidates are that bad, just as there are many Republicans that are pro-liberty on some issues).

I'd like to turn the Democrats back to their roots: the enemy of moralists, aristocrats and big-government politicians+industrialists.

Uhh (1)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087552)

Oh yeah, mention fucking JESUS. This kid found the one way to make pot sound lame.

Thanks for ruining it for everyone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087568)

This must be the kid that ruins things for everyone.

So he got in trouble with the school. The magnitude of the punishment isn't really important in this case, because the student isn't arguing that the punishment was unfair. He's arguing that his right to free speech was violated. Whether his punishment was a 2 paragraph writing assignment or expulsion, he could still argue that his rights were violated.

So how could this situation have been avoided? The principal could have simply looked the other way, but the student was under the principal's care and the student was promoting illegal acts. (Whether you agree or disagree with the illegality of marijuana doesn't matter. It's illegal and it's not the principal's place to base punishments on laws she agrees with).


I'm not saying that hanging the banner was illegal, of course. But it would be highly irresponsible at best for the principal to allow the banner to continue hanging. The only real way to avoid this situation would be to pack up all the kids and head back to the classroom. So, ladies and gentlemen.. I present the kid that will forever be known as "the reason we don't have field trips anymore".

Why is this getting any publicity..? (2, Insightful)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087578)

Mark this post as a troll if you wish, but we all know the real trolls here are the ones who are giving this issue so much attention. By discussing this article, we aren't really accomplishing anything positive..other than giving some clown free publicity and possibly some rabble-rousing. Bong hits 4 Jesus? Please forgive my lack of interest.

-
Wi-Fizzle Research [wi-fizzle.com]

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087634)

[sarcsm]I agree. We should save our time and attention and stop supporting free speech cases that involve speech that's stupid, annoying or controversial and instead choose our battles for those free speech cases that involve speech we can all agree with.[/sarcasm]

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087684)

When the Republicans came for the people with banners that say "Bong Hits 4 Jesus,"
I remained silent;
I did not have a banner that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus."

When the Republicans came for the people with banners that say "Jesus Is My Homeboy,"
I remained silent;
I did not have a banner that said "Jesus Is My Homeboy."

When the Republicans came for the people with banners that say "Republicans for Voldemort,"
I remained silent;
I did not have a banner that said "Republicans for Voldemort."

When they came for me and my "Democrat in '08" banner,
there was no one left to speak out.

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (2, Insightful)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087870)

Alternatively:

When they came for some moron stoner wanting to cause trouble,
I remained silent;
The world can do with one less trouble making idiot stoner.

When they came for a respectable human being who had done nothing wrong,
THAT's when I spoke out.

It's not like the idiot stoner was going to speak out for me anyway.
He's too busy sharing a bong with Jesus.

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (1)

zptao (979069) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087698)

Correct.

also, please see the following for precedent-setting cases. The outcome is obvious.

Tinker vs Des Moines(1969)
Chaplinsky vs New Hampshire (1942)
Texas vs Johnson (1988)
Roth vs The United States

Stare decisis tells us how this will all end... no wonder the guy is doing it for free, it won't take long. Cut and dry case.

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (1)

Workaphobia (931620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087966)

Uh, this isn't about Starr, or giving him publicity. We are discussing and/or are interested in this case because it concerns freedom of speech in a world where it can no longer be taken for granted. Are we supposed to avoid discussing all issues that some clown has an opinion on, just to spite said clown?

Re:Why is this getting any publicity..? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088046)

You are a complete simpleton. People like you shouldn't be allowed to breathe, let alone vote.

Waaah (-1, Troll)

BravoFourEcho (581460) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087590)

Big deal. Kid makes statement for drug use and finds out schools aren't big on drug use. He was considered to be participating in a school event. Boo hoo. Next time you want to tell the world you're a pothead, do so on your own time, kid. It's not like you're gonna go work for Dell, dude.

Kudos to Starr for doing the case pro bono; a lot of his fellow lawyers would still charge the school for it.

What's Starr have to do with this? (4, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087628)

First, this was not a school function. Second, I have no idea why this submission makes a deal out of who is representing the school. Oh, and on the subject of the stupid slogan, being in Alaska, we had heard of this already. My mother read the line and didn't understand it. She asked me, I explained it, and she still didn't understand it. It took a few more readings, and even then she wasn't sure if the guy was advocating people take hits in Jesus' name, or that Jesus needed a hit, or if there was some other meaning that was intended. Those comments are right in line with what the appeals court ruled, that the banner was nonsensical.

What I never understand is why people get demoted over things like this. The principal was the one that went over to him and destroyed the banner. She still works for the school district in some capacity, but not as principal. She stated that she knew it was probably a violation of his rights when she did it, so she was found by the appeals court to be personally responsible, should a suit wish to be filed later naming her individually (usually individuals acting on behalf of an organization can't be named separately when acting in accordance to that organization's rules). If the district agrees she was so wrong, why not just fire her? They are knowingly keeping a civil rights violator on staff. Even if she is not the one that does it next time, if anyone else does it the district will be open to much more liability for "supporting" people that violate civil rights.

Re:What's Starr have to do with this? (1)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087758)

Good to know she is no longer principal.

And they can keep her on because the extra liability doesn't bother them. It isn't like they need the money for a new high school or anything. /we all voted against it~

Re:What's Starr have to do with this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088068)

It means that you should further Jesus' cause by dedicating a bong hits to him.

Rediculous (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087666)

One step closer to a fascist United States. - HEIN BUSH! (sarcasm)

Re:Rediculous (1)

Calydor (739835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087956)

Actually, the word is 'heil', as in English 'hail'. So yeah, a hailstorm on Bush, please.

Fred is a retard (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087668)

It's interesting how one really stupid person's actions can wind up being the basis for rules governing other's actions. I used to go to JDHS, and was there when this whole thing happened. Quite funny at the time, and now it's turned into this huge headache.

Re:Fred is a retard (2, Informative)

extra the woos (601736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087738)

I used to go to JDHS as well ;p

I was not there when this happened, however. (Was only there for a semester).

This basically boils down to one thing: The principal (morse) is a douchebag. Her husband also happens to be quite racist against natives--(for bonus points for non Juneau people try to find out what his job was--might still be, I'm not living there at the moment)! I honestly don't know if she is still the principal there or not and I don't care enough to check. I do know that the previous principal never would have given two shits if this kid did that.

The kid just wanted attention and put up some nonsensical sign. And get real, the sign didn't change anyone's mind on whether or not they wanted to do drugs. When I went there almost everyone I knew smoked weed or drank. Yes, even some teachers.

Re:Fred is a retard (1)

Isotopian (942850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088014)

Naw, Deb is actually a very fair minded principal. I've worked with her personally several times (my brother and I designed the new sound system in the gym) and I know all the upper staff. While I've never met her husband, and can't say much there, I'll just say that everyone thinks everyone is racist against the natives (especially if the accuser is native), but I've yet to meet someone who really was. Plus, that is entirely irrelevant to the topic at hand. The issue isn't about whether people smoke or drink, and it's certainly not about whether or not Deb Morse is a douchebag. It's about free speech. You aren't allowed to advocate illegal drug use in the school, that's pretty cut and dry. But he wasn't at the school, he was across the street. So the real question at hand is whether or not schools can regulate what you do outside of the school. Prepare for a fun court case.

Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits 4 J (1)

Mirar (264502) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087714)

Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits 4 Jesus"?

I mean, I'm slightly offended by the misspelling of "for", but that can't be it, can it?

Re:Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087750)

Bong hits Four Jesus. Four of 'em.

Re:Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087914)

I'd point you to the wikipedia article with the same name, but it just tells you about the case.

Possibly the school is embarrassed that one of their pupils could come up with something so stupid? I know I would be if it was one of my kids. I wonder if 'public display of stupidity' is against the school rules... whether it was on school property or not, someone should punish this person for such stupidity. If the parents won't, then it's up to the school.

As for free speech... I'm not a US citizen, but surely there are restrictions to what counts as 'free', anything that would incite hate or violence seems like it would be exempt from this freedom. The banner was stupid enough to leave a lot of doubt (perhaps the teacher was remembering "the shocker" incident), and if the case has been through 2 or 3 courts and _they_ still can't make up there minds, what hope did the teacher have?

Re:Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088112)

As for free speech... I'm not a US citizen, but surely there are restrictions to what counts as 'free', anything that would incite hate or violence seems like it would be exempt from this freedom.

Your use of single quote marks around the word "free" incites me to hatred and, should I ever get my hands on you, violence. Therefore your message is exempt from the protections granted by freedom of speech. You're under arrest, apostrophe boy.

Or to spell it out: there's absolutely nothing that won't incite hate and violence in someone. This is especially true of anything significant (such as political messages).

Re:Can anyone explain what's rude with "Bong Hits (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088134)

That sign ruined the school's ranking under the Leave No Child Behind regime. If that student was properly educated, the "4" would've been "For" and no one would care about the actual content.

Settle down (3, Interesting)

BigDiz (962986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087762)

You know, I have no problem with this case going to the supreme court. As the summary states, this case does seem rather "nuanced." I don't think that many people would argue that a sign that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" should be allowed at school, or at a school function. So, as I see it, the court is to decide whether or not the situation constitued a school function.

Personally, I would agree that that seems to be a bit fuzzy in this case. On the one hand, the kid was "on a public sidewalk" and away from the school. On the other hand, the students were released from class (presumably for the specific purpose of attending the torch relay, as the article says), and were accompanied by a teacher. IANAL, and this just doesn't seem particularly clear cut to me.

This seems to be exactly what the supreme court is supposed to do. If they rule in favour of the school, and people don't like that, then they can talk to their representative and have legislation created to clarify the situation in the future. The same goes for the reverse. But when a case like this comes up, it is useful to have it go to the courts, and perhaps later brought to the attention of the legislature, so that we can have some clearly defined boundaries for the future.

Re:Settle down (1)

Akdor 1154 (910963) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087842)

But when a case like this comes up, it is useful to have it go to the courts, and perhaps later brought to the attention of the legislature, so that we can have some clearly defined boundaries for the future.

That's not the problem - the problem is that said boundaries could be completely and utterly crap. If they rule in favour of the school, (depending on the circumstances and severity of the ruling), it could possibly be something that brings the "right" to free speech into question. And no-one wants that, do they?

Re:Settle down (1)

BigDiz (962986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087900)

You are right, it could possibly bring the right of free speech into question. What's the other option though? A school thought it could suspend this kid. The kid disagreed. I'm not sure what the other courts along the way have said, but clearly not everyone is in agreement yet. We have to let it play out, that's how our system works, and, by and large, free speech has been maintained for the past 200 years.

Now sure, I'm not saying that we should get complacent, but we've got to have a bit of faith in the system (I know, big leap for some these days). Fact of the matter is, if enough people are angry with the resulting decision, there are ways to go about changing it. It may not be immediate, but I don't believe that people will stand (for too long) a severe encroachment of that right. I don't see an alternative that works nearly as well as the courts. Feel free to enlighten me.

Re:Settle down (1)

felix rayman (24227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087880)

I don't think that many people would argue that a sign that says "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" should be allowed at school

WTF? So, we going to raise our children in an environment where they are forbidden by authority to express any unpopular sentiment. Then when they reach the age of 18, we can tranquilizer dart them and remove the tracking tags before releasing them into the wild, fully expecting they will know how to function in a participatory democracy.

That's nutty.

How about this, teach the kids how to handle free speech. If someone doesn't like what the kid is saying, then have a god damn debate about it.

Start acting like Americans, mkay?

Re:Settle down (1)

BigDiz (962986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087964)

yeah, and let's put posters all over the school for a crack party this weekend, give me a break, there's a limit to what we allow in schools.

Re:Settle down (1)

felix rayman (24227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088130)

We?

You're wrong. There is no limit to the amount of free speech I allow in schools.

Don't assume everyone has the same poor opinion of young people that you have.

Re:Settle down (2, Insightful)

NorbrookC (674063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088142)

So, we going to raise our children in an environment where they are forbidden by authority to express any unpopular sentiment.

Absolutely. It's called "being a parent." There's a lot of things that children aren't allowed to do, including expressing unpopular sentiments. It can be a sentiment that's unpopular with the parents, and they won't appreciate it.

Clue: Children do not have the rights of adults. Really. We, and every society, places limits on what children are allowed to do, as opposed to adults. Until they become adults, they have a limited subset of rights.

If it wasn't Ken Starr who was the lawyer, this whole thread would be "Kid does something stupid, parents make a federal case out of it."

thats not the point (1)

biscon (942763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087910)

whether the sign belongs in a public school isn't really the problem.. the problem here is involving the legal system because some teen punk wrote something stupid.. I mean come one we all did stupid signs back in school.. Why couldn't it just be removed and the student asked not to do that again?. I think someone needs to chill.

Re:thats not the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087952)

It's the student (or maybe his parents) that started the action.

Instead of just thinking "wow, that was a little harsh, but yeah, I was a dick", he decided to take it to court.

He must've known _something_ was going to happen. Was he just trolling for the chance to take them to court?

Re:thats not the point (1)

biscon (942763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088006)

oh he started it? hehe sorry then.. I need to RTFA :(.. was short on time and getting tired of hearing about all these school lawsuits

Re:thats not the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088026)

I sure hope he was. People like this need taken out of power. I know first hand how much power is abused and said abuse covered up.

The disgusting thing is... (3, Interesting)

Elrac (314784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087816)

not what the student did or what the school officials did. The student is a dumb fuckup, and the underpaid staffers are just floundering around daily in their inadequacy and incompetence. Everything's perfectly normal up to this point.

What deeply incenses me is this asshole Starr, who has nothing better to do than poke his wiener into other peoples' dirty laundry and who clamors to stand first in line when it comes to demolishing freedom. Starr is a traitor to the American nation and should be hung - by the testicles.

Comments (2, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087834)

I think schools can only restrict free speech if it disrupts the learning process. It would be like a restaurant kicking someone out for not wearing the proper attire because it can disrupt the others who are being paid to be served.

However, all this has to do with is the actual property itself. If the student wasn't actually on the school's property, I don't believe the school has one bit of authority to suspend him.

A restaurant can deny you service if you are a famous person they don't like because of your actions, correct? If so, consider this. The famous person, as in this example, hasn't paid for the service, nor is guaranteed a right to the service in the first place. (Supermarkets are a different matter entirely, but please don't get me started on this.) Education is a different matter, which is more guaranteed for someone to have, let alone the fact the payment of the service has been completed. We taxpayers are simply paying it for the student so the student doesn't have to pay for it himself.

U.S. Supreme Court already decided this (4, Informative)

ReallyEvilCanine (991886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087862)

Hustler Magazine, Inc. et al. v. Jerry Falwell [bc.edu]
No. 86-1278
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
485 U.S. 46
Argued December 2, 1987, decided February 24, 1988

In Garrison v. Louisiana, 379 U. S. 64 (1964), we held that even when a speaker or writer is motivated by hatred or ill-will his expression was protected by the First Amendment:
"Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth." Id., at 73.
Thus while such a bad motive may be deemed controlling for purposes of tort liability in other areas of the law, we think the First Amendment prohibits such a result in the area of public debate about public figures.
And, as we stated in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U. S. 726 (1978):
"[T]he fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for sup pressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that con sequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. [56] For it is a central tenet of the First Amendment that the government must remain neutral in the marketplace of ideas." Id., at 745-746.
See also Street v. New York, 394 U. S. 576, 592 (1969) ("It is firmly settled that . . . the public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers").
It was an 8:0 decision written by Rehnquist, and agreed to by Scalia, Kennedy and O'Connor. "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is hardly "fighting words" which could lead to an incitement to public disorder so how the hell does Starr think he can attack this?

VLAD FARTED (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17087878)

the squalor that the lockwood family lives in is unbelievable, for example, their thanksgiving dinner was a shot glass full of vlad's diarrhea. there ought to be laws against families like this, especially ones that collectively weigh 2300 pounds

thank you

What this clearly indicates... (2)

Marsmensch (870400) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087924)

is that Ken Starr needs a blowjob.

Help non-native speakers. What does it mean? (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087946)

What does his statement mean?

Bert

Re:Help non-native speakers. What does it mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088044)

I'm not sure even he knows - it's nonsensical.

It's obviously a marijuana reference, and related to Jesus, but exactly what it _means_ is anyone's guess....

Could this be considered a field trip (1)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087954)

"They had been let out of classes and were accompanied by their teachers"

Was he released from school free to leave to do whatever he wanted or was school still in session and students supervised by teachers while watching the event.

Was he accompanied by his teacher or supervised by his teacher.

In a nutshell was he on school time or his own time.

Evidence submitted: The God delusion (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 7 years ago | (#17087984)

Dear Supreme Court,

I'd like to offer Richard Dawkins book "The God Delusion" as evidence that religions do not deserve a special treatment when it comes to free speech. Even if you only read up to (and including) Chapter 1, that should be enough to quickly get mr Star back to more deserving causes, such as the trial against monopoly abuse.

Bert

quit trying to run everyones lives (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088028)

the problem with public schools today, is they are so tied up in trying to run their students fucking lives, they aren't teaching them you know, to read and write, which is what they are there for. the attitude that schools are jails for children is wrong, and anyone perpetuating that nonsense needs to be sacked.

Ken Starr.... (1)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088058)

Is an idiot...plain and simple. Hope he DIAF!

Kike Nigger Spic Dead Muslim Inside (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17088082)

Cheers [mo-net.com] Mod down this post and I'll sue Slashdot.

Obvious solution (0, Flamebait)

eric.t.f.bat (102290) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088094)

Someone needs to check with all the schools and Boy Scout organisations around Washington to find the underage boy Starr has been having sex with. There's no way one man can be such a complete arse unless he's got something to hide. And hey, he's a Republican, so you know he's not into vanilla sex; the GOP makes Britain's Tory party look like Tellytubbies.

Free (1)

Konster (252488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17088100)

Free speech so long as your speech upholds MY values. It's time for these Reagan (Stalin) administrators to be put out to pasture.

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