Screw the First Amendment — I Don’t Like What You’re Saying

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1928

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” —  George W. Bush, 1999

ConstitutionThey’re back: The 2004 Jefferson Muzzle Awards! For those of you unfamiliar with the “awards,” they’re sponsored by The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, and awarded to those individuals or groups that do the most to stifle free expression in the United States. Featured prominently on last year’s list — to nobody’s real surprise — was John Ashcroft, and past recipients have included Donald Rumsfeld, the 106th U.S. Congress, the Duh-bya Presidential Campaign, Rudolph Giuliani (a winner three years in a row, not to mention receiving a Lifetime Muzzle award), Kenneth Starr, U.S. Representative Robert L. Barr, and — just so I don’t appear too overtly partisan — the Clinton Administration (can everyone say, “Don’t ask, don’t tell”?).

If ever an effort were deserving of increased awareness, it is the Jefferson Muzzle program. And while I may not be able to do much more than mention it here, I would encourage everyone reading not only to take a look at this year’s awards (and explanations), but to do whatever they can to spread the word — though I’ll stop short of saying “forward this to everyone you know.”

So, without further ado, this year’s recipients are:

  1. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum
  2. The U.S. Department of Defense
  3. The United States Secret Service
  4. The Albemarle County (Virginia) School Board
  5. Baseball Hall of Fame President Dale Petroskey
  6. CBS Television
  7. The University of New Orleans Administration
  8. The Administration of Dearborn High School (Michigan)
  9. The South Carolina House of Representatives
  10. The Parks and Recreation Division of Broward County (Florida)
  11. Jeff Webster of Soldotna, Alaska, and the Unnamed Arsonist of Harrisonburg, Virginia
  12. The Arizona State License Commission
  13. The Pilot Point (Texas) Police Department


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