Civil Liberties

Perhaps because of the large number of outspoken and thoughtful people in our community, we have often found ourselves at ground zero in battles over civil liberties. In the 1980's Chapel Hill elected the first openly-gay elected official in the state, but Carrboro bested that by electing North Carolina’s first out mayor a decade later.

More recently, Chapel Hill grappled with free speech issues in the wake of 9/11, approved and then dismantled red light cameras in 2003-4, and was challenged by fundamentalists over support for gay marriage in 2005.

The future of public wireless

Recently the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been working on rolling out what could be the largest public wireless network in the USA. That momentum was interrupted when Pennsylvania house bill 30, a.k.a. the "Verizon Bill," was introduced to the Pennsylvania legislature in Harrisburg.

Simply, Verizon doesn't want competition from the Wireless Philadelphia Initiative on providing wireless internet access. The key part of Verizon's argument is that the City of Philadelphia would be charging the citizens to construct the wireless network, pay for its long term maintenance, and supposedly for access to the wireless network itself. Verizon claims it would not charge citizens for the CREATION of a wireless network. But it is clear they would have to charge for ACCESS to the network once this future private network was constructed.

Censorship at WUNC

IPAS is a locally-based international women's health and reproductive rights organization. The following message came today:

IPAS has been sponsoring WUNC and we have a short announcement that is read on-air. Recently, WUNC decided that the phrase 'reproductive rights' which we use in our announcement was in violation of FCC regulations because it advocates for a particular position that is not universally endorsed. They admit that this is a conservative interpretation of the regulations, but nonetheless they will not let Ipas use this phrase in its on-air announcement.

I have been arguing with them to make the case that reproductive rights is not a euphemism for abortion and that, indeed, the whole point of rights is that they are universally held, e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I doubt that my arguments will be successful.

I know that many of you are supporters of WUNC and I think some questions from listeners on this policy might help open their eyes to this issue.

Het Pride Parade

Guest Post by Matt Compton

Bob Dumas, the host of radio-station G105's morning "Showgram" is organizing a "Heterosexual Pride Parade" to be held in Chapel Hill a week from Saturday. Anyhow, he's already gone through the proper legal hoops, and if I heard correctly on the radio this morning, he lacks only a central meeting location in order to attain permission from the Town of Chapel Hill.

Apparently, this is for real. Dumas told his listeners that he was expecting a huge crowd to show up for the event, including "hundreds of students." A listener of the Showgram is even manufacturing apparel for the event, which the disk jockey plugged on the radio program this morning.

Dumas and the Showgram are no strangers to controversy. Just months ago, a Durham minister circulated a petition calling for Dumas' resignation after he heard the disk jockey insult American Idols winner Fantasia Barrino as "ghetto" and "low class."

To Filter or not to Filter

Guest Post by Terri Buckner

The Chapel Hill Libraries and town manager, Cal Horton, are at odds about the value of internet filters.

The Children's Internet Protection Act, upheld by the Supreme Court a year ago, requires libraries to install filters or lose federal money.

We don't think filtering works very well," said Robert Schriner, library board chairman. "We don't think it does the job, and it basically interferes with getting access to real sites. It has been shown to filter out sites that are perfectly legitimate."

... Town Manager Cal Horton, on the other hand, will recommend to the town council that some computers with filtering turned on must be made available through the library. "Parents could choose whether they want their children to have filtered or unfiltered Internet sessions."

"We see it as a service," Horton said. "We know that filters are imperfect mechanisms, but we see this as providing a service."- News & Observer, 6/24/04

To filter or not to filter....what do you think?

Stifling the Creative Class

I know, I know. Richard Florida's work on the so-called "creative class" has been one of the most over-used studies of the year. But he does have some good points. And one of the facts he most likes to put out there is that diverse regions with tolerant attitudes towards minorities. Our area became that much more appealing to gays last year when it became harder for the state to enforce laws that restricted what citizens could do in the privacy of our homes (Lawrence v. Texas). However, that could all change when/if the state legislature and voters pass a bill to further encode the discrimination by the state of gay people? That might just happen. There are 67 co-sponsors on a proposed amendment in the house that would not only ban gay marriage, but might also restrict the rights of municipalities and even private companies from offering benefits to unmarried partners. I wonder what the economic impact of such a move would have on some of our major cities?



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.