Top Court Takes `Bong Hits' Case on Free Speech

Top Court Takes `Bong Hits' Case on Free Speech
Posted by CN Staff on December 02, 2006 at 06:49:58 PT
By Richard Clough, Washington Bureau
Source: Chicago Tribune
Washington, DC -- The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a free-speech case from Alaska known as the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" dispute, in which a high school principal suspended a student for displaying that phrase on a banner.The case, which hinges on the extent free-speech rights are afforded to students, drew national interest after former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr took the case in August.
Acting on behalf of the Juneau school district, Starr petitioned the Supreme Court to take up the case after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the student, saying the school violated his 1st Amendment rights. The case has turned on the fuzzy line separating students' free-speech rights and school officials' authority to enforce anti-drug policies."The school boards and the administrators need guidance as to the appropriate line between the enforcement of existing and common school policies on one hand and the rights of students to engage in certain types of speech on the other hand," Starr said.The controversy erupted in 2002 after Joseph Frederick, then a senior at Alaska's Juneau Douglas High School, displayed a banner proclaiming "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" while standing on a sidewalk across the street from the school as the Winter Olympics torch was passing through Juneau.Then-Principal Deborah Morse confiscated the banner and suspended Frederick from school for 10 days.The event took place during school hours, but the school had let students out of class to watch the torch event.The school district argued that the student was promoting marijuana use. Frederick said he wrote the nonsensical phrase because he thought it was funny and would get him on television.Because the demonstration occurred outside the classroom and did not disrupt school activity, the school had violated the student's free-speech rights by punishing him, the appeals court found.In the court opinion, Judge Andrew Kleinfeld wrote that "public schools are instrumentalities of government, and government is not entitled to suppress speech that undermines whatever missions it defines for itself."The school district, saying the issue was whether students should be allowed to promote illegal drug use in an educational setting, retained Starr to help them take the case to the high court.Starr became a national figure in the 1990s while investigating then-President Bill Clinton's involvement with the Whitewater real estate deal and the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He and his law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, have taken the case pro bono.Doug Mertz, the student's attorney, said the appeals court ruling validated students' free-speech rights."A student has the right to peacefully and respectfully state an opinion different from that of the school officials," he said. "We welcome the opportunity to have the Supreme Court review it."Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author:  Richard Clough, Washington BureauPublished: December 2, 2006Copyright: 2006 Chicago Tribune CompanyContact: ctc-TribLetter Tribune.comWebsite: Articles:Court Takes 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' Case Hits 4 Jesusí Case To U.S. Supreme Court?'Bong Hits' To Supreme Court? 
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Comment #33 posted by whig on December 03, 2006 at 22:01:23 PT
It wasn't on school grounds.
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Comment #32 posted by Richard Zuckerman on December 03, 2006 at 15:23:52 PT:
About five years ago, a written opinion by a federal trial court was published in the Federal Supplement, Second edition, entitled Forchion v. Intensive Supervised Parole, which makes a clear distinction between a person on parole who encourages the USE of "Marijuana" from the person on parole who encourages the LEGALIZATION of "Marijuana". The author of this court opinion, Judge Irenas, said that the defendant, whose web site is, only encouraged the LEGALIZATION of "Marijuana", which involves legitimate public debate and is protected speech. Judge Irenas said if he had encouraged the USE of "Marijuana", then he would have been encouraged the commission of an illegal act and may not be protected speech. BONG HITS FOR JESUS may fall within the category of speech which encourages the commission of the illegal act of smoking "Marijuana", which may not be protected speech, especially on public school grounds, where public school officials are given more latitude to restrict expression.Notwithstanding this legal distinction, the public school curriculum teaches us to avoid drug use, snitch on others whom are not hurting anybody, and support law enforcement. Perhaps minors should be required to avoid the use of Cannabis, because the young body's "endogenous cannabinoids" apparatus may not be fully developed?Richard Paul Zuckerman, Post Office Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, richardzuckerman2002, (Cell)(848) 250-8879, Buck Private Paralegal, N.Y.U. Paralegal Diploma, 2003.
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Comment #31 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 16:31:09 PT
re: harvest
how many cannabis userswill see the inside of a prison
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Comment #30 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 16:18:31 PT
With all that has been said
All of the good and the bad; not so much the ugly.There is another record harvest taking place in California again this year.It's all good.
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Comment #29 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 15:56:07 PT
fill in the blanks
empty spaces in my soulreveal to my censorit is the eye of a man'
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Comment #28 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 15:48:17 PT
There Is One Justice
and all that talk about some american constitution some bill of rights, and also about some ex-citizen jesus he called his self,  talked about what is going on.
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Comment #27 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 15:32:23 PT
There Is Law
Who sanctioned by lawthe whips on the dark mans backthe red backthe white backback to you
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Comment #26 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 15:32:16 PT
not biased against cannabis
I am biased against prohibition. Prohibition has caused this situation regarding cannabis.Prohibition is to blame. If it were not for prohibition cannabis would have a healthier place in society. The growers wouldn't have to do the things they do. Cannabis' efficacy is not an issue. What it can do to help the well-being of individuals is not the problem.The nasty politics of cannabis and the flawed, ridiculous laws are to blame for it all. That is the issue. It hurts us all, the entire population of the United States.Laws against the use of cannabis have to end. Prohibition must come to a screeching halt. Before the US begins to look like Falcon Base in Iraq.
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Comment #25 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 15:07:19 PT
are you still hanging?
still haven't found what i looking for,
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Comment #24 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 14:56:53 PT
re: that family day
It will be the most green day
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Comment #23 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 14:36:50 PT
who do want to hurt?we the peopledeclare a family day
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Comment #22 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 14:22:56 PT
What? I've been brainwashed?
I will avoid using profantiy, is any body checking the oil in this society?Who Do, You Do,hey rock n rollers,you got your medication?did you get your check up?tell me againwhy you would answer my question
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Comment #21 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 13:54:16 PT
Growers unethical
In September or so, there was a report on marijuana growers in Washington State that were growing maryjuwanna on lands near Wenatchee.The story goes that the land was rendered useless with costs to repair the damage to the land at 11,000 dollars per acre.Not probably total propaganda, it is total propaganda on Public Radio; a vain effort to sway public opinion against marijuana growers. However, it is not a problem to use depleted uranium bombs on the towns and cities over in Iraq. That kind of activity is ok'ed with the totally corrupt US government. Render land useless in Iraq with depleted uranium, good. Render land 'useless' in Washington State by growing maryjuwanna, bad, bad, real bad.Brainwashing the general public with anti-cannabis propaganda is a worthwhile effort in the eyes of prohibitionists and US government propagandists.From what I have experienced with indoor growers in Washington State, they are unethical. Some of them used lots of chemicals to kill of the little bugs that infested their crops. The bottom line, profits, ruled their decisions. Bidness is bidness. Not any different than using depeleted uranium on Iraqis, in my opinion.So sorry to be so brutally frank.
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Comment #20 posted by global_warming on December 02, 2006 at 13:49:38 PT
re: comment 16
Can I hire you as my lawyer?If you are not a lawyer, then somehow you missed your chance.I reckon you do not have a license to practice law in the state of nj, someday? May i call you?
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on December 02, 2006 at 12:41:56 PT
How Do People Afford That?
How can people pay for anything like a mortgage or rent with prices that high? It really boggles my mind.
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Comment #18 posted by BGreen on December 02, 2006 at 12:36:07 PT
Maybe the growers aren't greedy & unethical?
You answered the question yourself, goneposthole, it's the government and LEA's who are to blame for being greedy and unethical.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #17 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 12:30:46 PT
Why is it so expensive?
I dunno, maybe because it is illegal?I remember the days when it was smoked on the Mall in Washington, DC at the July fourth celebration. "Free marijuana, free marijuana. Anybody who wants to try some, come on over here, we'll give you some." Words I'll never forget.Prohibition has used brute force and caused a fatal blow to freedom in the Land of the so-called Free.America will survive, but the US government's days are numbered.Of course, it can revive itself. All it has to do is legalize cannabis. I don't see that happening anytime soon; therefore, the US government won't learn any lessons on survival and will end up in the trash heap of history.A lesson too late for the learning.
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Comment #16 posted by Richard Zuckerman on December 02, 2006 at 12:29:11 PT:
"A direct action against the State for its violations of free speech is essential to the preservation of free speech." Corum v. University of North Carolina, 413 S.E.2d 276, 289 (N.C. 1992), 42 New York Law School Law Review   490, footnote 206 [1998]. WE NEED TO FIGHT FOR OUR FREEDOMS LISTED IN THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS!!! This country began with State Constitutions, before the federal constitution was formed, and we may very well end with State Constitutions, if we don't lose them too! We must try to develop State Constitutional jurisprudence even more than the U.S. Constitutional jurisprudence!!!The Right to an education is purely within your respective State Constitution, NOT the U.S. Constitution! Your State Constitution also has a provision for freedom of speech, an affirmative Right; The federal constitution only prevents government interference. The State Constitution, on the other hand, is an AFFIRMATIVE Right!!! Had they asserted violation of the State Constitution?By the way, posted a web article on Tuesday, November 21, 2006, entitled STATE PANEL SEEKS VERIFICATION OF INFORMANTS' WORDS, by Fredric N. Tulsky, rtulsky, asking for stronger standard on informant tips. In New Jersey, as in every other jurisdiction, defendants should ask for a jury instruction for uncorroborated accomplice [from State v. Lieberman, way back some time around 1930] that the testimony of an informant should not be believed unless it is fully credible and worthy of belief!!! I vaguely recall one En Banc Circuit decision, I forgot which Circuit, which actually declared informant's testimony to be inadmissible, until they overruled their own decision.I'm awaiting the panel decision by the Appellate Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey, Part C, as to whether a New Jersey citizen has a "clearly established Right" to be free from retaliatory prosecution from the police under the New Jersey Constitution, Article 1, Paragraph 6, Liberty of speech, in Richard Paul Zuckerman, Plaintiff v. Borough of Highland Park, et al., Docket No. A-4461-04T1, Appellate Division Case Manager Ed Costantini, (Telephone number)(609) 984-4735. You people may not believe this, but there is a strong undercurrent among the international super wealthy to abolish our individual freedoms, including (1) the United Nations World Health Organization plan known as Codex Alimentarius, (2) the Council on Foreign Relations plan to eliminate our international borders by the year 2010, only a few years away, (3) the plan by the Bush Administration known as the Plan for the New American Century. The United Nations Universal Declaration Of Human Rights do not even have half of the freedoms contained in the U.S. Constitutional freedoms!! My most recent outrage at the law is the denial of jury trial of petty offense. New Jersey has the highest property taxes in this country! Here in New Jersey, municipal courts and schools are the primary sources of municipal tax revenue. These Democrats are corrupt to the core!! They tax and spend with shell games which ultimately fall upon the poor. In State v. Maier, 13 N.J. 235, 283-284 (1953)(split 4-3 decision)(Dissenting opinion), the dissenting opinion quotes Paley on Summary Convictions for the HISTORY of denial of trial by jury of a petty offense was intended for TAX REVENUE:   "The real intention of the statute, which was 
   that of replenishing the Exchequer by the 
   terror of arbitrary and vexatious prosecutions, 
   under colour of penalties, upon all the most 
   obsolete penal statutes, however obscure or  
   inconsistent with the times, was rigorously 
   seconded by Empson and Dudley, whose activity 
   was stimulated by a grant of the extraordinary 
   office of Clerks of the Forfeitures." Id.   284.The Exchequer was and still is the tax man in England! In Green v. United States, 356 U.S. 165, 193, 209-210 (1958)(Dissenting opinion by Justice Black, joined by The Chief Justice and Justice Douglas), Justice Black felt it is unfair to deny a jury trial to a person accused of contempt of court while the 7th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates a jury trial in every civil case worth over $20! I believe conviction for a "petty offense" nowadays carries with it a persecution STIGMA and punishment which warrants a jury trial. I was denied a job in law enforcement because of a conviction for a "petty offense." Justice Black's quote was cited verbatim in United States v. Barnett, 376 U.S. 681, 752, footnote 34 (1964)(Dissenting opinion by Justice Goldberg, joined by The Chief Justice and Justice Douglas)(Justice Black also agrees with this dissenting opinion in his separate dissenting opinion on page 724), while Justice Goldberg opined that the penalty for criminal contempt nowadays is different from the criminal contempt of yesteryears, which "were deemed a species of petty offense punishable by trivial penalties." Id   751-752. Last, but certainly not least, in Baldwin v. New York, 399 U.S. 66, 74-76 (1970)(Dissenting opinion by Justice Black, joined by Justice Douglas) Justice Black opined that the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates a jury trial " all criminal prosecutions." The Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does NOT mandate a jury trial " all criminal prosecutions except petty crimes"!!! Justice Black further opined that to allow the legislature to decide what is a petty crime for purposes of deciding whether a jury should be provided amounts to "...judicial mutilation of our written constitution"!!!! In Court Challenge, by Lawrence R. Jones, Attorney at Law, whose law office is located on 46 East Water, Toms River, New Jersey, published in the April 3, 2005, Sunday Star-Ledger, Section 10, Perspective Section, page one, Mr. Jones describes the "appearance of impropriety" regarding the structure of the N.J. Municipal courts, including the fact that the municipal court judges are hired by local politicans, may have helped the local politicans in election campaigns, are usually located near or directly next door to the local police department headquarters. He may not have mentioned this, but my own personal experience indicates that municipal court judges tend to give greater weight to the testimony of policemen, especially when the prosecution case pits the uncorroborated policeman against one of us laypersons. Many people tend to plead guilty, with the old "it's my word against the police!" For support of the general proposition that judges tend to side with the police and that police lie, the following give you a good start:
[1] Proving the Lie: Litigating Police Credibility, by David N. Dorfman, Assistant Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York, Volume 26, Number 3, American Journal of Criminal Law 455 (September 1999), which you can easily purchase from the Web site of William S. Hein & Co., Inc.; [2] Gabriel Chin, Editor, Yale Law School Professor, United States Commission On Civil Rights: Reports On The Police, copyright 2005, published by William S. Hein & Co., Inc., whose web site provides easy purchase opportunity, 3 volumes (Professor Chin's Introduction describes police perjury, frame-ups, bribery, and excessive force as the most common complaints against police); [3] Blair v. City Of Pomona, 223 F.3d 1074, 1080 (9th Cir. 2000)(Citing and following the law review article about the Blue Wall of Silence within police departments, of Gabriel Chin);   [4] Gabriel Chin, supra, New York City Police Corruption Investigation Commissions, 1894-1994, c. 1997, William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 6 volumes (Professor Chin's Introduction is similar to his Introduction to the U.S. Commission On Civil Rights books); [5] Adderley v. Florida, 385 U.S. 39, 56 (1966)(Dissenting opinion by Justices Douglas, The Chief Justice, Brennan, and Fortas)(Police lie to retaliate against a citizen who exercises protected constitutional rights); Compare [6] State v. Segars, 172 N.J. 481, 502 (2002)(Dissenting opinion by Justices Long and LeVeccia)(Writing that police testify from old reports many months after the incident and get so many cases their memory is often not as good as the memory of the defendant). The New Jersey Municipal Courts are shockingly unfair! One U.S. Supreme Court Justice, either Cardozo or Holmes, once said that a law is unconstitutional if it makes a judge want to puke. N.J. Municipal Courts are so unfair they make ME want to puke!!!Richard Paul Zuckerman, Post Office Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(848) 250-8879, consistent voter of exclusively Libertarian Party or Green Party candidates for political office, member of; B.A. in Political Science [which I personally characterize as Peep Show Technology], Kean College of New Jersey [now named Kean University], 1987; Diploma in Paralegal, New York University, 2003.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on December 02, 2006 at 12:03:38 PT
I never heard of marijuana costing that much money. Why would it be so darn expensive? 
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Comment #14 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 11:59:14 PT
Buzz annihilation
At 480 dollars per oz, that's a complete buzz kill in and of itself.So sotty, but the days of buying pot at reasonable prices are long gone.These days, pot, marijuana, weed, cheeba, and the plethora of words used to describe the plant has entered onto the list of things that I can do without.I'll wait until the price comes down to a level that can be afforded. I can wait. Growers are greedy and unethical anymore; the sad but true story of it all. Also, all of the chemicals used on pot these days to acheive maximum production makes it a commodity that is probably not that good for you.Go organic, grow your own. It's free.
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on December 02, 2006 at 11:00:48 PT
Positive energy
We must exude a positive energy in order to effect the change we're looking for.I agree that it's easy to take a negative "buzz kill" attitude towards our perception of reality, but it's the positive energy and attitude that will allow us to right the wrongs of his country and this world.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #12 posted by Dankhank on December 02, 2006 at 10:36:54 PT
Underground Economy ...
soon on CNN
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Comment #11 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 10:36:54 PT
It was 214 pounds
so solly
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Comment #10 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 10:27:49 PT
Not even close
... to freedom of speech.Remember the Ohio college student who turned his back on George Bush and was arrested.Bingo Playing Grandma caught with 274 pounds of pot:
Happy Holidays
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Comment #9 posted by goneposthole on December 02, 2006 at 10:13:11 PT
America is just a concept
All of the happy talk about freedom of speech, unreasonable search and siezure is all a pipe dream.It's not really there at all.However, there is a total tonnage of cannabis that makes it to the general population year in and year out. Give thanks for that modern day marvel.Therefore, it isn't all that bad here.The Roman Empire breathed its last in 1453 CE. Last I checked, Italy is still on the map.
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Comment #8 posted by Dankhank on December 02, 2006 at 10:09:38 PT
cannabinoid receptors on FAUXNEWS
it's out there for all to see ...,2933,233817,00.htmlHBT
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Comment #7 posted by ekim on December 02, 2006 at 09:58:46 PT
at Petes site
Saturday, December 2, 2006 Misguided drug war...Outstanding opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Cynthia Tucker (the editorial page editor): Misguided drug war claims another victim 
The investigation may reveal police incompetence, and it may reveal police malfeasance. Unfortunately, however, it is unlikely to point to the root cause of this tragedy -- a foolish, decades-long effort to curb illegal drug use through arrests and incarceration. Raging on mindlessly, the war on drugs has caused untold collateral damage -- leaving children fatherless, helping to exacerbate the spread of AIDS and filling prisons with people who, with minimal rehabilitation, might be contributing to society rather than draining its resources. That only begins to tally the destruction, much of it inflicted on black communities. [...] Whatever led Atlanta police to the small, burglar-barred house in a downtrodden Atlanta neighborhood -- contradictory claims have been offered about the search warrant -- it's clear that Johnston was no drug dealer. Even if she had been, her crimes would not have justified the intrusive and dangerous tactics police used. Those tactics flow from a failed policy that emphasizes arrests -- any arrests, no matter the offender's stature in the drug-trade hierarchy or the size of the cache of drugs. [...] It's no wonder, then, that an estimated one-third of young black men are under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system -- in prison, on probation or on parole. And once they've been tainted with a conviction, they struggle under its stigma for the rest of their lives. They're less likely to get gainful employment, so they're less likely to be attractive husbands or responsible fathers. This country now imprisons its citizens at five to eight times the rate of most other industrialized nations, according to the Sentencing Project. We've learned nothing from an earlier period of Prohibition, which produced criminal gangs and an epidemic of lawlessness.[...] And Kathryn Johnston? She's not the first victim of our foolish, futile war on drugs. Sadly, she won't be the last.
It's a phenomenal piece. And very timely. We need people like Cynthia providing the reminder that the larger policy is implicated in Kathryn Johnston's death, and not just the police that pulled the trigger or those who ordered the raid.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on December 02, 2006 at 09:36:31 PT
"...would get him on television".
He was right.And not only on television...but the news, newspapers, web sites....all over the blogosphere.He was right. This young man may be some sort of genius at thinking up these things.
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Comment #5 posted by whig on December 02, 2006 at 09:21:14 PT
Volcano Hits For Michael
Frederick said he wrote the nonsensical phrase because he thought it was funny and would get him on television.Perhaps. Or perhaps he meant more by it but doesn't want to say. There is no reason that one's exercise of free speech compels one to offer an explanation for it at any other time unless it was per se incitement.
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on December 02, 2006 at 09:04:03 PT
If the school officials only knew LOL
When the clothing line known as "Billabong" was popular, it emblazoned the sleeves, fronts and backs of their clothes, and was affectionately known as "Fillabong" to the young people I knew.My God, these LEA's, lawyers, judges and school officials are absolutely CLUELESS about what happens right in front of their faces.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on December 02, 2006 at 08:52:59 PT
How Puritanical is all this?
Oooooh! His banner said, "Bong Hits".I've wondered what would have happened if they had just ignored the banner. I guess they couldn't. 
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Comment #2 posted by freewillks on December 02, 2006 at 08:47:43 PT
Banned in the USA!
What is this??
Is this not America?
This is not China!
This is not Russia!
This is not the place where they brought down the wall, this is America!
We have the right to say what we want to say,
we have the right to do what we want to do,
and what I do in my house, you might not do in your house!
So what I do in my house is my business!
And the simple fact of it all is that we are BONDED by the First Amendment!
We have the freedom of EXPRESSION!
We have the freedom of CHOICE!
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on December 02, 2006 at 08:03:41 PT
Just a Note
The news is slow but I am happy to know that our issue will be going to the SC one more time. I hope everyone has a great weekend. 
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