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Obama Assassination Geometry Example


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Jefferson County geometry teacher uses wrong example to teach angles --- assassination of President Barack Obama

By Marie Leech -- The Birmingham News

May 18, 2010, 6:30AM

and Carol Robinson --- The Birmingham News

A Jefferson County teacher picked the wrong example when he used as­sassinating President Bar­ack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geome­try students.


Someone alerted autho­rities and the Corner High School math teacher was questioned by the Secret Service, but was not taken into custody or charged with any crime.

"We did not find a credible threat," said Roy Sex­ton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office. "As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation."

A Corner High geometry teacher picked the wrong example, President Barack Obama, to use in a lesson on angles. The lesson resulted in a Secret Service investigation. (AP) Sexton said he generally doesn't discuss threat cases, but confirmed his of­fice investigated the inci­dent. No federal charges followed the probe.



The teacher was appar­ently teaching his geometry students about parallel lines and angles, officials said. He used the example of where to stand and aim if shooting Obama.



"He was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,' " said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.



Efforts to reach the teacher for comment Mon­day were unsuccessful.

 Superintendent Phil Hammonds said the teacher remains at work, and there are no plans for termination.



"We are going to have a long conversation with him about what's appropriate," Hammonds said. "It was extremely poor judgment on his part, and a poor choice of words."



Caroline Polk, the parent of a ninth-grader at the school, said she doesn't be­lieve the teacher ought to be fired.



"We all make mistakes, and we should be able to learn from our mistakes," she said. "What he said was just wrong and inappropri­ate. Everyone's got their own opinions, but we have to be aware of our sur­roundings. At this point, it just needs to be handled in a way that it won't be re­peated."



E-MAIL: mleech@bhamnews.com

© 2010 al.com. All rights reserved.

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And while the issue is still warm:

CNSNews.com

Kagan Argued for Government 'Redistribution of Speech'

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By Matt Cover, Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) – Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan said the high court should be focused on ferreting out improper governmental motives when deciding First Amendment cases, arguing that the government’s reasons for restricting free speech were what mattered most and not necessarily the effect of those restrictions on speech.

Kagan, the solicitor general of the United States under President Obama, expressed that idea in her 1996 article in the University of Chicago Law Review entitled, “Private Speech, Public Purpose: The Role of Governmental Motive in First Amendment Doctrine.”

In her article, Kagan said that examination of the motives of government is the proper approach for the Supreme Court when looking at whether a law violates the First Amendment. While not denying that other concerns, such as the impact of a law, can be taken into account, Kagan argued that governmental motive is “the most important” factor.

In doing so, Kagan constructed a complex framework that can be used by the Court to determine whether or not Congress has restricted First Amendment freedoms with improper intent.

She defined improper intent as prohibiting or restricting speech merely because Congress or a public majority dislikes either the message or the messenger, or because the message or messenger may be harmful to elected officials or their political priorities.

The first part of this framework involves restrictions that appear neutral, such as campaign finance laws, but in practice amount to an unconstitutional restriction. Kagan wrote that the effect of such legislation can be taken as evidence of improper motive because such motives often play a part in bringing the legislation into being.

“The answer to this question involves viewing the Buckley principle [that government cannot balance between competing speakers] as an evidentiary tool designed to aid in the search for improper motive,” Kagan wrote. “The Buckley principle emerges not from the view that redistribution of speech opportunities is itself an illegitimate end, but from the view that governmental actions justified as redistributive devices often (though not always) stem partly from hostility or sympathy toward ideas or, even more commonly, from self-interest.”

Kagan notes, however, that such “redistribution of speech” is not “itself an illegitimate end,” but that government may not restrict it to protect incumbent politicians or because it dislikes a particular speaker or a particular message.

The U.S. Supreme Court (AP File Photo/Evan Vucci)

She argued that government can restrict speech if it believes that speech might cause harm, either directly or by inciting others to do harm.

Laws that only incidentally affect speech are constitutional, Kagan said, because the government’s motive in enacting them is not the restriction of First Amendment freedom but the prohibition of some other – unprotected – activity.

She argues in the piece that a law banning fires in public places is not unconstitutional, even if it means that protesters cannot burn flags in public. A law outlawing flag burning protests, however, would be, because the motive is to stop a particular protest.

Kagan also argued that the Supreme Court should not be concerned with maintaining or protecting any marketplace of ideas because it is impossible for the court to determine what constitutes an ideal marketplace, contending that other types of laws, such as property laws, can also affect the structure of the marketplace of ideas and that a restriction on speech may “un-skew” the market, rather than tilt it unfavorably.

“If there is an ‘overabundance’ of an idea in the absence of direct governmental action -- which there well might be when compared with some ideal state of public debate -- then action disfavoring that idea might ‘un-skew,’ rather than skew, public discourse,” Kagan wrote.

Instead, the Supreme Court should focus on whether a speaker’s message is harming the public, argued Kagan in her article.

While Kagan does not offer an exhaustive definition of ‘harm,’ she does offer examples of speech that may be regulated, such as incitement to violence, hate-speech, threatening or “fighting” words.

The government, she concludes, may not express its disfavor with an opinion or speaker by burdening them with restrictions or prohibitions, unless it can show that their speech is causing some type of public harm.

“The doctrine of impermissible motive, viewed in this light, holds that the government may not signify disrespect for certain ideas and respect for others through burdens on expression,” Kagan wrote. “This does not mean that the government may never subject particular ideas to disadvantage. The government indeed may do so, if acting upon neutral, harm-based reasons.”

Kagan says that government is also prohibited from treating two identically harmful speakers differently. To do so, she argues, would be to violate what she views as the principle of equality -- making the unequal restriction unconstitutional.

“But the government may not treat differently two ideas causing identical harms on the ground that thereby conveying the view that one is less worthy, less valuable, less entitled to a hearing than the other,” she wrote. “To take such action -- in effect, to violate a norm of ideological equality -- would be to load the restriction of speech with a meaning that transcends the restriction's material consequence.”

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Should have used the JFK assassination instead.

This really stood out to me though:

"He was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president,' " said Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class.



Seriously? Didn't most of us take geometry in 9th or 10th grade?

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Should have used the JFK assassination instead.

This really stood out to me though:

Seriously? Didn't most of us take geometry in 9th or 10th grade?

This was Advanced Political Assassination Geometry 202.......waaaaay advanced

Edited by Boston T. Party
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Should have used the JFK assassination instead.

This really stood out to me though:

Seriously? Didn't most of us take geometry in 9th or 10th grade?

It might have been a class of mostly freshmen and sophmores with that 1 senior who was a credit short of graduating. I think this was the teachers way of perking the class up while trying to drive the lesson across. Getting the S.S. involved was someones way of smashing the ant with a sledgehammer.

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It might have been a class of mostly freshmen and sophmores with that 1 senior who was a credit short of graduating. I think this was the teachers way of perking the class up while trying to drive the lesson across. Getting the S.S. involved was someones way of smashing the ant with a sledgehammer.

If he wanted to do that, he should have instead talked about hitting on girls from atop a balcony.

It was just a really, really stupid thing to do.

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