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BY 11/21 -- America's Free Speech is Perplexing to the Rest of the World

BY 11/21 -- America's Free Speech is Perplexing to the Rest of the World | AP Government | Scoop.it
While even highly offensive speech is protected in the U.S., that level of freedom is quite unique.
Alina Li's insight:

In my opinion the freedom of speech should be upheld even in times of great controversy, because it is one of the core values of American democracy.  Although we can disagree with the opinion being expressed, we should always support people's right of expression.  I agree that insulting videos are wrong and should not be there in the first place, but it should not be the government's job to stop them.  

In an ideal world, we would be able somehow limit or stop these kind of insulting expressions without adverse collateral effects, but realistically we have to accept the downsides of free expression.

 

 

In my opinion limitations on the freedom of speech would indeed violate the first amendment.  If we limit the freedom of speech in order to avoid conflicts, it will do more harm than good because there would be no clear standard on where the line should be drawn.  

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Paulina Ho's curator insight, December 19, 2013 8:52 PM

Although many nations around the world are democracies, the U.S is unique because it gives its people more personal freedom. The U.S. isn't conscerned with other people getting offended, as long as each person has the right to expression it is okay. The only ban that we have on this is clear and present danger. There are certain guidlines that have developed in order to rule an action potentially dangerous or not. Other countries are astounded by this practice.

Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:38 PM

No protections for those that shrieks obscenities and the clause to discern speeches that invokes clear and present danger are there. This just lacks bold enforcement. Governments are scared of crazy Americans' revolts and teachers fear students. Of course the rest of the world looks down on us. We lack culture, sophistication and moderation.

 

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:32 PM

This article talks about how France prohibited people from talking about prophet mohammad and how although they are a democratic country free speech is not as open as it is in the US over there are stricter rules. I think one of the great things about America is the freedom to make your own choices and speak up and how you are aloud to say what you want. People who have problems with the government are aloud to voice there opinions here it would be against the 1st amendment to limit free speech. Obviously there are offensive things people should not say but we are aloud to voice our opinions when and how we want. 

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BY 11/14 or 11/15 (2 of 3) -- Your Obamacare questions, answered

BY 11/14 or 11/15 (2 of 3) -- Your Obamacare questions, answered | AP Government | Scoop.it
Still left wondering about Obamacare? Wonkblog’s Sarah Kliff and PostTV’s “In Play” have the Kliff Notes version for you.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

This article is quite helpful in getting people like me to actually understand the main points of Obamacare.  I wish there are more articles written like this, simple, clear and straight to the point!

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Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:29 PM

So requirements for obtaining Obamacare is basically asking us to be a bit...poor? Having national healthcare is the same as not having one because only the basics are paid. Honestly, my insurance company can do just about the same thing and I don't mind the bills if they can cover for EVERYBODY part I injured.

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:43 PM

This article talks about Obama Care and how everyone will have to have health insurce eventually. It also talks about how Insurance companies cannot deny anyone from buying their healthcare because of pre-existing conditions. This could be beneficial  because there's many sick people who cannot afford heath care when they really need it, and no one will get screwed over.

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 3, 2014 10:44 PM
This article includes FAQs concerning ObamaCare. All the questions asked and answered include a quick explanation of ObamaCare, all the existing insurance difficulties, process of enrollment and the legality of remaining without health insurance. The health cares lunch was very big and messy for Obama so it is interesting that it has taken this long for an article like this to come out.
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BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 1st of 4 -- Snake Handling: Law vs. First Amendment rights

BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 1st of 4 -- Snake Handling: Law vs. First Amendment rights | AP Government | Scoop.it
A LaFollette pastor headed to court next week for having dozens of poisonous snakes at his church said the laws he allegedly violated in Tennessee infringe on his freedom of religion.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

The pastor claiming  that bringing poisonous snakes to  his church is protected by the First Amendment is not really making a sound argument.  His action violates laws and put others in the community at danger, for which his First Amendment Rights  are not valid defenses.   The pastor definitely have the right to express his religious beliefs, but he has no right to put others in danger, as demonstrated in  Swan v. Pact  in  1975.

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Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 3:54 PM

Religious or not. Law or not. Who cares?! If people's lives are clearly at risk, why are such practices disputable? It's apparent that if people are not professional at handling dangerous animals, do not do so. Period. Why is the government dragged into this? and why is this stupid minister leading a blind crowd?

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 12:55 PM

This article talks about a Pastor who has to go to court because he had poisonous snakes at his church during service; however some may say that this violates one's freedon of practicing religion. In court he justifies his act with the 1st Amendment. 

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 2, 2014 11:18 PM

I think that if you bring a poisonous snake into your church it will probably not help bring people back. So on the pastors part that was just a weird and irrational demonstration that he could have gotten his point across in a different way. Although you do have freedom of expression and speech i do not think that is how it should be used. 

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BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 4th or 4 -- Texas and 5 Other States Resist Processing Benefits for Gay Couples

BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 4th or 4 -- Texas and 5 Other States Resist Processing Benefits for Gay Couples | AP Government | Scoop.it
Some states are citing a conflict with state laws to defy the defense secretary’s order that gay spouses of National Guard members be given the same federal marriage benefits as heterosexual spouses.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

I believe what Texas and the other 5 states are doing are wrong in many ways.  By ignoring Mr. Hagel's federal order,  the states are  likely breaking the law.  In addition, making certain National Guards, who are serving the country, jump through extra hoops just to get the same benefits as others is just discriminating and humiliating.  

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Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:12 PM

Some States deny the confirming of marriage benefits for homosexual couples. Personally, I find this a little funny, because the article notes that these States want to "uphold their integrity". Uhm, what sort of integrity? That homosexual marriages are not....marriages- that is, believed by the people and conservative state legislators? I can't figure out this lame excuse of "integrity", because really, refusing to accept other people's decisions are no sort of integrity. (Feeling neutral about gay marriages does not mean I fervently support it).

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 1:09 PM

This article talks about Texas and other states refusing giving the same marriage benefits to gay couples as man/woman couples in the national guard. Defense Secretary Hagel had ordered that gay spouses of the National guard be given the same rights, but Texas and others aren't budging. 

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:58 PM

I think that gay people should have the same rights as other marriages. I think that especially same sex military couples should get the same benefits as everyone else. It doesn't affect anyone but them so it is obnoxious and annoying not to give it to them. Yes the states that are resisting to give the gay couples the benefits are very conservative it does not mean that we should not give everyone the same military couple benefits no matter who they are it is there right they risk there lives to serve our country and can't get couple benefits all because they are gay. That is absurd and ridiculous. 

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Video: Denis McDonough: 'Outraged' at Ted Cruz's Al Qaeda comments

Video: Denis McDonough: 'Outraged' at Ted Cruz's Al Qaeda comments | AP Government | Scoop.it
Denis McDonough, in an interview on ABC's 'This Week' said he was 'outraged' at Ted Cruz's comments that our forces would be serving as 'Al Qaeda's air force.' The interview was immediately followed by one with Sen.
Alina Li's insight:

Cruz made some valid points and his concerns are realistic.  I think McDonough, on the other hand, was being too optimistic.  Once the U.S. gets involved, there is no guarentee how long the war will drag on and more importantly, if U.S. interests are going to be protected.  

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Sammy Masri's curator insight, September 17, 2013 12:25 AM

30 seconds of generalized response isn't much to go on, and McDonough's statement showed it. Rather than namby-pamby about the issue, everyone needs to grab their fears by the horns are realize: "Yes, we will possibly be helping some groups that are maybe connected to Al-Qaeda. But in the meantime, we can help a whole country of civilians, who, when pressed, will vote for the more reasonable members of the rebels, IF the US helps in time."

 

No more of this "small, calculated, concise" strike nonsense.

Tianna Kelly's curator insight, December 1, 2013 9:02 PM

My initial reacton to Senator Cruz's was similar to McDonough's; Cruz's statement was clearly crafted to be sensational and make headlines. Although I am not a fan of potential United States military action in Syria, Cruz's comments were purposefully disrespectful and, as McDonough iterated, "outrageous".

Paulina Ho's curator insight, December 19, 2013 7:35 PM

It seems very normal and typical for hte Chief of Staff to assure the public that there will be no boots on the ground, but I believe that no amount of assurance that this will be no Libya or Afghanistan, will persuade the American public to join this war.

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Sen. Ted Cruz: I Don't Think President Obama 'Has the Authority' to Order Syria Strike Without Congressional Approval

Sen. Ted Cruz: I Don't Think President Obama 'Has the Authority' to Order Syria Strike Without Congressional Approval | AP Government | Scoop.it
Contradicting President Obama’s assertion, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said this morning on “This Week” that the president does not have the authority to order a military strike on Syria without Congressional approval.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

Senator Ted Cruz's opinion does make quite a lot of sense.  In order for the U.S. to proceed, plans need to be carefully thought out, all potential risks need to be considered and contingency plans must be developed.  Afterall, for U.S. soldiers to justify risking their lives, the attacks must further U.S interests, and simplying helping one side of another country's civil war is not a sufficient cause.   

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Sammy Masri's curator insight, September 17, 2013 12:19 AM

Cruz spoke very well for the majority of the speech: he made a reasonable case about why an attack would not work. But he faltered on two points. One: The state of Texas, vast as though it may be, does not represent the United States. Two: It's almost become customary of Republicans to bring up Benghazi whenever possible. It happened, nothing short of a full-scale operation and the ability to see the future could have prevented it, let the American dead rest in peace.

 

Also, the longer you show the US not supporting innocent civilians, the more and more radical these "Islamic terrorists" will become. Cut to the chase - or in this case, a missile strike - and nip the thing in the bud before it grows too big.

Rachel Murphy's curator insight, October 2, 2013 8:20 PM

Cruz makes it clear that he does not approve of military action in Syria. He believes a strike would aid rebel forces with links to Al-Qaeda. The strike may weaken Assad, but it would only give rebel forces an opportunity to swoop in. His precautions with the attack are plausible. I like the point he made about how OUR US military is not Al-Qaeda's air force. They are here to defend the United States.

Paulina Ho's curator insight, December 19, 2013 6:16 PM

This video shows how complicated this whole situation is, and I had no idea how opposed the public was to involvment in Syria. Is there is a way to reprimand him without a strike? War crimes need to be reprimanded, but does this mean we have to go to war? I was all for involvment, but now I'm really questioning whether that would be the right thing to do.

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BY 11/14 or 11/15 (3 of 3) -- Democrats Threaten to Abandon Obama on Health Law Provision

BY 11/14 or 11/15 (3 of 3) -- Democrats Threaten to Abandon Obama on Health Law Provision | AP Government | Scoop.it
Congressional Democrats are increasingly expressing support for allowing Americans to retain the insurance coverage they are losing because of the Affordable Care Act.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

The Affordable Care Act is causing some people to lose their insurance coverage, and certain democrats are getting impatient with Obama's healthcare reform.   Although Obama has promised that people will be allowed to keep their policies, the actual law forced certain policy plans to be cancelled, causing some heated debates.  It is a tough call on whether these cancelled plans should be re-enacted, given the complexity of the issue and operational difficulties.

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Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:33 PM

Enrollment is low for the Affordable Healthcare and Demos are planning to ditch Obama. His top aides suggested cancellation but maybe Obama is saving face, he doesn't think the plan will dry up...oh but it might just will.

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:53 PM

This article talks about how Obamacare is doing lots of things it said it wouldn't, like getting rid of American's insurance coverage when the president said they would keep it. Democrats and republican's are agreeing with each other on not making american's keep the obamacare.

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 3, 2014 10:30 PM
This article talks about how some democrats have been threatening to abandon Obama on Health Law Provision. It says that the Democrats in congress have been more supportive of the idea that Americans should be allowed to keep the insurance coverage they are losing because of the Affordable Care Act after Obama already stated that they could keep their existing insurance. Obama is just digging himself a deeper hole.
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BY 11/14 or 11/15 (1 of 3) -- Administration: 106,000 enrolled in health insurance in first month of HealthCare.gov

BY 11/14 or 11/15 (1 of 3) -- Administration: 106,000 enrolled in health insurance in first month of HealthCare.gov | AP Government | Scoop.it
Of the 106,000 enrollees, only about 27,000 were able to sign up through the federal health-insurance site.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

The article talks about the the number of people signed up for the health plans through federal and state marketplaces being much lower than the forecast.  Also, only a quarter of that total is from the federal site which has been troublesome.  I personally think while obamacare is helpful in certain aspects such as giving people the same premium regardless of pre-existing conditions, it is not that powerful in reducing overall healthcare costs, since it seem to only spread the risks more evenly, and it is possible that more overhead costs will have to be spent.

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Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:22 PM

The figures are not up to what was predicted because the people lose trust in such a brittle plan. Its new, disorganized and made with haste, those who signed up stopped midway because they were informed of its problems or because they thought about how the elites' not getting proper pay might trickle down to their jobs.

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:26 PM

This article talks about the 106,000 people that enrolled inObama's health insurance in just the first month. That number was way lower than the predictions they had made. It also talks about attempts to pass laws that allow people to keep their old health polices. Its honestly not that shocking that people wouldn't jump to join the new healthcare plan.

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 3, 2014 10:22 PM
I think that obviously Obama and his administration had i hopes and expectations for the health care and it was not as successful as they would have liked it to be in the beginning. I think that the website having difficulties and congress not complying is making it a lot harder and not going over as smoothly as planned.
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BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 2nd or 4 -- Supreme Court hears argument on prayer at government meetings [UPDATE]

BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 2nd or 4 -- Supreme Court hears argument on prayer at government meetings [UPDATE] | AP Government | Scoop.it
The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Wednesday on the constitutionality of opening government meetings with prayer, but the justices seemed unsure how to rule.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

The article talks about a pending Supreme Court case regarding opening government meetings with Christian prayers.  The case is important as it is hinged on a ruling in 1983 which made prayers in state legislatures constitutional.  Personally, I think that in a country with religious freedom and separation between church and state, prayers of a specific religion should not be allowed in government meetings, just like they are not allowed in school.  

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Paulina Ho's curator insight, December 19, 2013 8:45 PM

The case won't be settled anytime soon due to that covers  controversial issues between the First Amendment rights of freedom of religion and speech, and the separation of church and state. It will be interesting to see where Anthony Kennedy's vote goes toward on this case.

Nghi Bui's curator insight, December 20, 2013 4:17 PM

I can't understand this government's "endorsement of religion". Does the free excercise clause only pertain to prohibition of enacting a single religion? Does it exclude the right to be proud of having a religion? Would it be distasteful if a teacher wear a rosary? As long as a religion is not enforced upon the unsastisfied individual, then let the government and its civil servants be humans with religions (practice as they so choose to).

Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 1:29 PM

This article talks about prayers being said in a court room. I don't see why this is such a controversy, let people be and pray if they want to. Yes I get the separation of church and state thing, but this really doesnt affect the "state".

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BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 3rd or 4 -- Pastor loses bus driving job for praying with students

BY 11/12 or 11/13 -- 3rd or 4 -- Pastor loses bus driving job for praying with students | AP Government | Scoop.it
A bus driver for the Burnsville school district was fired last week for leading kids in Christian prayers on his bus, even after he was warned to stop — a move he considers a violation of his freedom of speech...

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

I definitely agree with the school district in this case as the school bus is indeed an extension of the students' school day.  Since the establishment clause prohibits an official religion of the government, and that the school bus is a captive environment, leading prayers does violate the constitution.  If prayers in school over the loudspeaker is unconstitutional, prayers on the school bus should not be any different.

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Adriana Cruz's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:36 PM

This article talks about a bus driver who lost his job because, even after a few warnings, he chose to pray to students on his bus. He believes that him getting fired violates the first amndment, right to religion. I can see his point on this, but I feel like if you're doing something like this is public and offending others then youre in face in a sense violating their right to religion, so it's a lose-lose situation, and he was bound to lose his job.

Alex fowler's curator insight, February 2, 2014 10:43 PM

I think that although i am a christian it  can be very uncomfortable when people get a religion forced  on them. Praying on a public school bus can probably be uncomfortable for some kids and although it was in good intentions it is probably not the best. It's good for people to share their religion but on their own time not during school. If it were a private christian school then that would be completely acceptable. 

Ashley O.'s curator insight, March 7, 2014 9:45 PM

That is unfair, he has every right to express his faith, just like those who are not religious and express their personal views. 

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Same War, Different Country

Same War, Different Country | AP Government | Scoop.it
Who will prevail in the Arab awakening, Hobbes, Khomeini or Jefferson?
Alina Li's insight:

I agree with most of Friedman's points regarding the possible war in Syria.  He drew parallels between the potential conflict in Syria with wars in Libya, Bosnia, Iraq and etc, pointing out that winning the war is one thing, but ensuring long-term peace and prosperity is a much more difficult task, especially without boots on the ground.  I also agree that the problem in these wars is not the weapon being used but rather the hatred among different tribes, as well as mindsets that favor the use of force.  Military intervention by the U.S. will be an attempt to cure the symptoms without addressing the underlying causes.

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Mackenzie Hill's curator insight, September 11, 2013 1:28 AM

It's concerning to think that the US's help in Syria could lead to a political and economic recession as tragic as Libya's after American intervention. Friedman's point about how, though we are fighting in different places, we continuously fight over the same things, and thus it is one war. It seems, however, that in every intervention, no matter the strategy, we, as a nation, make some sort of fatal mistake. 

Abe's curator insight, September 11, 2013 2:58 AM

I found this article very interesting and easy to comprehend. It really helped shed light on how Syria is just another war in the Middle East with the same issue just as the other wars that had happened in the region.

George's curator insight, September 11, 2013 3:43 AM

Friedman does a good job persuading people by refering back to past experiences that America has been through. Like the saying goes, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

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3: Roundtable: Crucial week for Obama - Video on NBCNews.com

3: Roundtable: Crucial week for Obama - Video on NBCNews.com | AP Government | Scoop.it
Video on msnbc.com: A Meet the Press roundtable forecasts the pressure on this upcoming week for the president to make his case for intervention in the Syrian conflict.

Via Teresa Herrin
Alina Li's insight:

The president clearly has a difficult decision to make, given the current situation in Syria and his prior stance on the Iraq war.  There are potential implications no matter what his decisions are, both politcally and diplomatically.  If the U.S. choose not to intervene, it run the risk of encouraging the use of chemical weapons.  On the other hand, if the U.S. does send troop to the idea, the consequences are unknown.  There is a possibility where the U.S. will be dragged into a prolonged war where losses are more than gains.

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Melissa Aleman's curator insight, September 11, 2013 10:36 PM

Really enjoyed this video in the sense that it gave me more insight to what's going on and different points of view. Several points like the fact that innocent civilians will die on our watch because of the airstrike was one i especially liked because it made me think more deeply into why we shouldnt intervene. It's clear that this is a huge predicament that even the Round table finds difficult to choose a side in the sense that as a nation we are stuck on deciding whether to be or not to be the "world's policemen."

Daniel Guo's curator insight, September 11, 2013 11:49 PM

I think that Newt Gingrich brings up good points about why it's hard for the public to support an airstrike on Syria. I think that this dicussion is a fair representation of the current public opinion on the matter- nobody wants to directly support a strike; there is no clear right answer.

Rachel Murphy's curator insight, October 2, 2013 8:13 PM

All of the politicians here are hesitant about military strikes in Syria. because they aren't sure about the effect that it would cause. Newt Gingrich makes some excellent points about the importance of communication. I believe some action needs to be taken in Syria, but a strike would only unleash more problems for us. Syria's allies are too powerful.