Legal issues

Five myths about the federal shield law for journalists

Kurt Wimmer / Huffington Post

Free speech is the oxygen of the blogosphere. Blogs, tweets and Facebook posts couldn't have the profound influence they have rightfully earned in our new and diverse marketplace of ideas without a robust freedom to debate, to challenge, and even to be outrageous. So it's hardly surprising that when a congressional debate about protecting confidential sources mentions blogs, it touches a nerve.

That debate concerned the Free Flow of Information Act, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month on a bipartisan, 13-5 vote. If passed by Congress, the Act would be the first statute to protect journalists from being forced to identify their confidential sources in federal court. It would build on the protections of the First Amendment (because no act of Congress, of course, can minimize those rights) and fix a serious bug in our constitutional system -- multiple federal courts now have said that the only way for reporters to protect a confidential source is to go to prison indefinitely. Many of our federal courts have held that the First Amendment simply does not allow a reporter to protect a confidential source. That's hardly a solution that reflects our country's global leadership in free expression. Although 48 states and the District of Columbia already provide such protection in state courts, Congress has never passed a federal shield law. So the Judiciary Committee's vote should give journalists reason for optimism, as Emily Bazelon of Slate has so persuasively described.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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Texas’ Citizen Participation Act gets stronger

By Laura Lee Prather / Haynes & Boone

On June 14, 2013 Governor Perry signed into law HB 2935 further strengthening Texas’ Citizen Participation Act (also known as the Anti-SLAPP statute) demonstrating continued support of free speech for our citizens.

The initial Anti-SLAPP statute was passed unanimously by the 82nd Legislature and became law on June 17,2011. After some judicial confusion over the legislative intent, the 83rd Legislature passed clean-up legislation for the statute, which became law on June 14, 2013.

The Anti-SLAPP statute protects the rights of all citizens (from individuals, to companies, to advocacy or media groups), promotes judicial economy, and advances the First Amendment rights of all Texans.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Dallas City Council , Legal issues
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Melissa is damn excited BD's leaving Lowest Greenville

Update, Friday August 9 - Melissa deleted the email / post from the Belmont Addition page at NextDoor.com early this morning.

BD has heard about Welcome Wagons for people who move into a neighborhood (if you move into Belmont Addition, prepare for a complete background check and financial review). But this is the first time he's seen someone get so excited about people moving out of a neighborhood.

Melissa Kingston, the Belmont Addition's Conservation District uber-Nazi who sued BD over domain names and Walmart last year, leader of a sub-cult called the Belmont Addition CD Enforcement Committee, and wife of newly-elected Councilman Weasel, could not wait to tell all her neighbors that BD was leaving Lowest Greenville.

However, she made one tiny mistake: BD got the email. Oops!

She did not know BD was a member of the NEXTDOOR.com Belmont Addition page. Melissa has refused to put BD back on the Belmont Addition's mailing list since (which she controls with an iron finger) last May, so she assumed BD was completely cut off from the neighborhood grid.

(Read Melissa's email after the jump)

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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Blind Butcher combats old views of Greenville Avenue

By Blair Lovern / Culture Map Dallas

An update from the front in the War of Lowest Greenville: The forthcoming Blind Butcher restaurant can stay open until 2 am. Sort of.

On July 25, the Dallas City Plan Commission agreed with Blind Butcher's owners about the hours of operation for the inside and front patio. But it also accommodated some nearby residents regarding the hours on the back patio by decreeing that it shall close at midnight.

Therefore, on August 28, Blind Butcher owners Matt Tobin and Josh Yingling, who also own Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House, will ask the Dallas City Council to overrule the commission's recommendations about the back patio. That's also about when the Blind Butcher is scheduled to open.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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Here's why you should not vote for The Weasel: He's a big fat liar

In less than a month, we all get to go back and vote - again - for someone to replace NSC Hunt at City Hall for District 14. Not that this could not happen soon enough, but really, could we have not done better in deciding who to put into the run-off? Or maybe we just forgot to get off our butts and vote in higher numbers (only 4,929 people bothered voting)? It's even sadder to realize that maybe less than 2,500 people will bother to come out and vote again in June.

BD would rather work at WalMart before voting for The Weasel. Even if you ignore The Kittens' pending lawsuit on BD for stealing domain names she never owned, The Weasel is so not qualified to be our next council member it's not even funny.

Let BD tell you a not-so-secret secret: Every neighborhood leader BD spoke to way back in August 2012 thought The Kittens was going to run for Council. To see The Weasel come out like he did, just a day before The Kittens tried to shut down this blog, was a shock to a lot of people.

Setting emotion aside, let's review why The Weasel is not qualified to be representing any of us at City Hall.

BD can give it to you in three words: Big. Fat. Liar.

After working on the campaign for another candidate in the race for D14, BD can tell you first hand (and has the tapes) that Mama's Boy will say or do anything to any person or group to get a vote.

You don't think City Attorneys are competent and doing their job? Hey, neither does he!

You think suing people to stop them from building city-approved homes is a good idea? Hey, so does he!

You like neighborhoods? Well, step right into the voter booth, so does he!

Here's a list of just some of The Weasel's claims and lies. You can decide if you really want him to be your next city council representative. Make the right choice, because if he wins we are stuck with him for eight long years.

By Avi S. Adelman under Elections , Legal issues
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