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Rutherford Institute Files Motion for Summary Judgment Against Calif. School That Prohibited Students from Wearing American Flag T-Shirts PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Rutherford Institute   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:59

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have asked a federal court to rule that a California public school district and its officials violated the First Amendment when they told students they could not wear t-shirts and other items emblazoned with American flags to school on the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo. In a motion for summary judgment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Dariano et al. v. Morgan Hill Unif. Sch. Dist., Institute attorneys argue that school officials at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Calif., violated long-standing Supreme Court precedent forbidding viewpoint discrimination when they ordered students to cover up their stars and stripes apparel or leave the school. School officials allegedly issued the clothing ban after some Hispanic students complained about the patriotic articles of clothing being worn to school on May 5, 2010.

"This is a clear violation of the students' right to free expression guaranteed under the First Amendment," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "It is past due time that school officials respect the constitutional rights of students."

According to the motion, on May 5, 2010, three Live Oak High School students wore patriotic t-shirts, shorts and shoes to school which bore various images of the U.S. flag. During a mid-morning "brunch break," the students were approached by Assistant Principal Miguel Rodriguez, who allegedly told the students they could not wear their pro-U.S.A. shirts and gave them the option of either removing their shirts or turning them inside out. When the students refused because the options would be disrespectful to the flag, Rodriguez ordered them to go to his office.

After two of the students' parents arrived at the school, Rodriguez is alleged to have lectured the group about Cinco de Mayo, indicating he received complaints from some Hispanics students about the stars and stripes apparel, and again ordered that the clothing be covered up to prevent offending the Hispanic students on "their" day. Principal Nick Boden also met with the parents and students and affirmed Rodriguez's order, allegedly because he did not want to offend students who were celebrating Cinco de Mayo.

Alleging that the decision by school officials constitutes viewpoint discrimination against pro-U.S.A. expression, Rutherford Institute attorneys filed suit on behalf of the students and their parents seeking a declaration that the action violated the First Amendment and injunctive relief against a vague school district policy allowing prior restraints on speech to be imposed upon students. The lawsuit asserts that school officials violated the students' rights under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the protection of freedom of speech granted by the California Constitution. In asking the court to issue summary judgment in favor of the censored students, Rutherford Institute attorneys assert that the undisputed facts show that the officials had no grounds for fearing disruption from the flag apparel and that the school district's policies give officials too much discretion in censoring student speech.

Read online at: http://www.rutherford.org/

 
USPTO Names the Davenport Public Library to Support Intellectual Property Information Needs of Inventors and Entrepreneurs PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Davenport Library   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:58

First Center Focused on Electronic Access and Training for Patent and Trademark Information in the Nation

WASHINGTON - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced the designation of Iowa’s Davenport Public Library as a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). As the 81st library in the nationwide network, Davenport marks Iowa’s return to the PTRC program and serves as the first center in the nation geared away from the “paper depository” concept towards electronic access and training for patent and trademark information.

Replacing the State Library of Iowa, the former PTRC for the state, the Davenport Public Library will provide a place for Iowans to access patent and trademark information with the help of USPTO trained librarians.  USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center – formerly known as the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program (PTDL) – is a nationwide network of public, state, special and academic libraries authorized to disseminate patent and trademark information and to support inventors, intellectual property attorneys/agents, business people, researchers, entrepreneurs, students, historians and the general public who are not able to come to USPTO’s offices in Alexandria, Virginia. 

Services at the libraries are free and include assistance in using patent and trademark information, training on USPTO databases and hosting public seminars on intellectual property topics for novice and experienced innovators.  A list of the current PTRC libraries can be found on the USPTO website atwww.uspto.gov/go/ptdl.

The all electronic Patent and Trademark Resource Center will open to the public and celebrate its grand opening on Thursday, September 8, 2011.  There will be a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. at the entrance to the Main Library, 321 Main Street. Mayor Bill Gluba, the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, and other elected officials will be on hand to celebrate the opening.  Training with Tom Turner from the USPTO will be from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Members of a panel of local resources who work specifically in the patent, trademark and intellectual properties realm will begin at 2 p.m.  If you wish to participate in the training on Thursday, September 8, please R.S.V.P. to Karen Neal at 563.326.7841.

The Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) program began in 1871 when federal law first provided for the distribution of printed patents to libraries for use by the public. A list of all the current libraries can be found on USPTO's website at www.uspto.gov/products/library/ptdl/locations/index.jsp.

To stay current with the USPTO, subscribe to regular e-mail updates at www.uspto.gov/subscribe.

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District Court Agrees to Keep Aaron Tobey TSA Protest Case Alive, Rejects Government's Motion to Dismiss Airport Stripper Lawsuit PDF Print E-mail
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Written by The Rutherford Institute   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:56

RICHMOND, Va. —U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson has rejected a motion by the Federal government to dismiss First Amendment claims against two Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents in a civil rights lawsuit involving college student Aaron Tobey who was arrested for disorderly conduct after removing his shirt at Richmond International Airport (RIC) and exposing a portion of the Fourth Amendment written on his chest. While allowing the viewpoint discrimination claims against the individual TSA agents to move forward, the court dismissed the lawsuit against TSA supervisory officials and the Capital Region Airport Commission as an entity. The suit charging several Capital Region Airport Commission police officers with constitutional violations and false arrest in connection with the incident remains active and is moving forward.

Tobey made his novel protest against the TSA's use of whole-body imaging scanners and enhanced pat downs on December 30, 2010. Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute subsequently filed a free speech lawsuit in U.S. District Court in March 2011. The lawsuit alleges that agents of the TSA and RIC police deprived Tobey of his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Hudson has tentatively set the case for trial on Jan. 18, 2012.

"Aaron Tobey was arrested for exercising his right to free speech, which is clearly protected under the First Amendment," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "Tobey was also unduly seized by government agents in violation of the Fourth Amendment, despite the fact that he did nothing to disrupt airport routine."

Aaron Tobey, who was then a student pursuing a degree in architecture, was waiting in line to pass through screening at Richmond International Airport on December 30, 2010, when he removed his shirt to show that he had written on his chest part of the text of the Fourth Amendment ("The right of the people to be secure... against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated"), which protects the privacy of individuals by forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures by government agents.

Despite successfully passing through the screening, Aaron was arrested and handcuffed. Government agents from agencies including the Joint Task Force on Terrorism questioned Tobey for approximately 90 minutes before citing him for disorderly conduct, a Class I misdemeanor under Virginia law, which carries penalties of up to $2,500 and 12 months in jail. The Henrico County Commonwealth's attorney eventually dropped the charges against Tobey.

In the March 2011 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Institute attorneys allege that Tobey was arrested and held for questioning without sufficient cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and the First Amendment's protection against discrimination based on the content and manner of his protest. The Rutherford Institute's complaint in Tobey v. Napolitano is available at www.rutherford.org.

Read online at: http://www.rutherford.org/

 
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Hosts "Sharing Hope in Crisis" Training at Calvary Church in Moline PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Erik Ogren   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 08:51

Event will Prepare Participants to Aid Those Who are Dealing with Pain and Loss

Moline, Iowa, August 30, 2011 – From personal tragedies like disease and financial difficulties to catastrophes on a massive scale such as tornadoes, fires and floods, many Christians may feel unprepared to offer comfort to the weary and hope to those in despair. 

On Sept. 10, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team – a nationwide network of crisis-trained chaplains ready to deploy whenever disaster strikes – will join with the Quad Cities Association of Evangelicals to host a training to prepare local Christians to practice what the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team has done since its inception: appropriately respond with the love and hope of Jesus Christ in times of crisis. 

“So often one’s first instinct is to pull away from disasters and avoid pain and suffering,” said Rev. Michael Beresford, managing director of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team. “But these are the times that all Christians – not just pastors – need to be prepared to be a shoulder to cry on and a friend to listen. This training will teach them how to do that.” Beresford will lead the training on Sept. 10.

The training event, titled “Sharing Hope in Crisis,” will be held at Calvary Church, 4700 53rd St. in Moline. Seminar topics include “A Mission to Respond,” “Suffering and Trauma,” “A Message of Hope,” “A Message to Share,” “Communication to a Diverse Community,” and “A Model to Respond.”

The training will take place 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10. There is a registration fee of $35. For more information and to register online, visit www.billygraham.org/rrtshic_moline.asp.

The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team was developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has since grown into a nationwide network of chaplains in 40 states who are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They have deployed to more than 120 disaster sites, including shootings, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and tornadoes.

For more information on the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, visit www.billygraham.org/rrt. For videos, photos and news articles from recent Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployments, visit www.billygraham.org/response. Up-to-the minute reports can also be found at www.facebook.com/BGRapidResponseTeam.

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Hurricane Irene Impacts National Blood Supply PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Theresa Kuhlmann   
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 07:53
PEORIA, Ill. (August 29, 2011) – Since Hurricane Irene began its path along the East Coast, the storm has forced the cancellation of nearly 60 American Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortfall of more than 2,000 blood and platelet donations. Additional blood drives are expected to be canceled or postponed in the coming days due to storm damage and power outages. To help boost already low blood supplies, the Red Cross is urging blood and platelet donations in unaffected areas.

In appreciation of those who come out to donate and refuel the Red Cross blood supply, through September 7, all presenting blood donors in the Heart of America Blood Services Region are eligible to win one of three $500 gas cards.

“Blood donated through the Red Cross can help patients locally and throughout the country, wherever there is a need,” said Shelly Heiden, CEO of the local Red Cross Blood Services Region. “When disaster strikes, the need does not diminish, but blood donors in affected areas may find it difficult or impossible to get to a blood drive. By giving blood through the Red Cross, donors can help ensure all patient needs can be met. Blood and platelet donations of all types are needed. ”

How to Donate Blood
Simply call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment or for more information. All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients. A blood donor card or driver’s license, or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.  Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

Disaster Relief
The Red Cross has relief operations ongoing in more than a dozen states and thousands of disaster workers helping people from North Carolina to New England. The Red Cross has provided more than 48,000 overnight shelter stays since Friday and every Red Cross feeding truck east of the Rocky Mountains - more than 250 – are set to go into neighborhoods as soon as conditions permit. Tens of thousands of pre-packaged meals are in position, and the Red Cross is working with its community partners to have feeding kitchens in place after the storm moves through.

If people would like to help, they can click or text to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions can also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or mailed to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

About the American Red Cross
Governed by volunteers and supported by giving individuals and communities, the American Red Cross is the single largest supplier of blood products to hospitals throughout the United States. While local hospital needs are always met first, the Red Cross also helps ensure no patient goes without blood no matter where or when they need it. In addition to providing nearly half of the nation’s blood supply, the Red Cross provides relief to victims of disaster, trains millions in lifesaving skills, serves as a communication link between U.S. military members and their families, and assists victims of international disasters or conflicts.

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