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Graphic Designer Fired for Heckling Bush, Considers Career as Nurse

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Saturday, August 21, 2004. A graphic designer got fired from his job at Octavo Designs in Frederick, Maryland after heckling President Bush at a rally in Hedgesville High School. A client of Octavo Designs, a public relations worker who represents the Berkeley County school district, provided tickets to the event and the designer’s lack of respect and offensiveness towards their generosity is what got him fired.

Moral of the story: Next time a client gives you tickets to any sporting event be sure to root for the home team, OK?

Read the news at: CNN / New York Daily News / My Way News / The Arizona Republic

Thanks to Steve Carsella and Jason Lee for the news flash.

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ARCHIVE ID 2053 FILED UNDER Miscellaneous
PUBLISHED ON Aug.22.2004 BY Armin
mGee’s comment is:

After a look at Octavio "designs", he doesn't want to work for them anyway...perhaps a blessing in disguise. What horrible design choices throughout their site. Nice box in the to pleft corner of the page.

On Aug.22.2004 at 10:53 AM
kev’s comment is:

This is disgusting. It goes against our basic rights.

The website no longer works. Or never worked in the first place.

On Aug.22.2004 at 11:44 AM
Patrick C’s comment is:

I don't know, that "magic 8-ball" on the Octavo site is pretty sweet! "You've got questions, We've got answers." I can't imagine what questions they would be able to answer.

I don't know if I agree with him being fired, but you do have to ask: Why was he at the rally? And why did he heckle Bush knowing what the situation was? Fairly thick if you ask me.

On Aug.22.2004 at 12:11 PM
Kevin Lo’s comment is:

ha -- ha -- ha, I wanna see this "magic 8-ball"

PS. please don't fire me armin!

On Aug.22.2004 at 01:24 PM
mitch’s comment is:

its not a comment on how much Octavio does or does not suck, its a comment that smart people don't shit where they eat.

On Aug.22.2004 at 01:48 PM
Sam Sherwood’s comment is:

Actually, in this particular case, I think it's apparent that all parties involved are, ala Foghorn, about as sharp as a sack of wet mice. Why would you purposefully involve your employees in a political situation? A political circle-jerk, no less.

I honestly don't think this comes down to client embarrassment. I doubt that, after said employee was escorted out of the rally, the rally expressed a collective, "Who invited that guy?"

Simply put, three parties who couldn't handle their political opinions like adults decided to throw around their weight, and they all lost.

Here's a working page (not linked on purpose):


On Aug.22.2004 at 02:33 PM
Bryony’s comment is:

Sorry Sam, can't make the link work.

I agree, politics should never be brought into the office, most of all if you can't handle them. They either didn't know each other very well internally, or didn't care to think about it, but in any case it backfired. Bad press will be coming their way (I suppose that is why the website isn’t working) for a while, they will be questioned and criticized not so much for specific political views, but for “interfering” in public opinion.

On Aug.22.2004 at 03:51 PM
Sam Sherwood’s comment is:

Must be cached for me...

No problem, the WayBackMachine has our backs. Some images won't load right off the bat, but what can y'do.

Oh, and this is the guy's info page (via WayBack, too). Judging from the illustration, I think Glenn used to be a contract killer.

On Aug.22.2004 at 04:13 PM
Patrick C’s comment is:

Site still works for me and it was never cached. Weird!

its not a comment on how much Octavio does or does not suck

We would have to ask the magic 8-ball for that answer...

"Magic 8-Ball, does Octavio suck?"


On Aug.22.2004 at 07:05 PM
Anthony’s comment is:

whatup Mitch, good to see a fellow RisdKid in here.

ah, Frederick Maryland, hometown pride.

I applied for an internship with them once. They didn't want me.

No, they are not a bastion of good design. They are a get-it-done GD shop in a mid-size middle America town. Beating up on them doesn't reflect well on any of you's guys. Firing one of their employees for an (albeit boneheaded) political stunt is definately in keeping with Frederick. Though MD usually goes Dem in the elections, Frederick and Frederick county is a conservative place if ever there was one.

On Aug.22.2004 at 08:35 PM
Bradley’s comment is:

Legally, I'm pretty sure the firm was within in their rights because most employment tends to be "at will" from both sides and you can be terminated with or without cause under such an agreement. However, my guess is that when such laws were written, this wasn't exactly what the authors had in mind...

Plus, that's not the subject of this debate.

Maybe it was foolish of this guy to heckle Bush at that sort of rally, but that's beside the point--he's allowed to do that. The fact that he was fired for it reflects poorly on his former employer and they should have thought a bit more about this and how to handle it. Impeding on someone's freedom, punishing them for speaking their mind....that's downright frightening. We can (easily) take pot-shots at this firm's quality of work, its fun and perhaps rewarding in a visceral sense, but in the long run it doesn't benefit anyone. They really should apologize for this or at least try to rationalize their actions--Speak Up wouldn't be a bad forum for that...

On Aug.22.2004 at 09:19 PM
mitch’s comment is:

hey...anthony! how goes life after school? :)

Beating up on them doesn't reflect well on any of you's guys

i agree... running a design business means its a design BUSINESS; clients, relationships, etc... and an employee of a business should not have done something as stupid as this guy did, which, in my opinion, is definitely a fireable offense. Having the right to free speech also means having the right to use it wisely.

the fact that he was a designer is completely irrelevant, as is the quality of work at the firm who fired him. Now... had he designed some posters which he brought to the rally.....

On Aug.22.2004 at 09:28 PM
Jason T’s comment is:

Only in Frederick, Maryland would this happen. If it was anyplace in Seattle, Washington, you'd get a promotion for such actions.

On Aug.22.2004 at 10:48 PM
Sam Sherwood’s comment is:

Actually, the 'at will' clause generally means they can fire an employee for no reason (not any). It's when they give a reason, and that reason goes against one's rights, that an employer steps outside of the 'at will' boundaries.

There's a big difference between "You're fired" and "You're fired because you're hispanic". ;)

On Aug.22.2004 at 11:54 PM
Matt W’s comment is:

This was hardly a political "stunt", but regardless of what a person says and when they say it, ESPECIALLY anything related to politics, it should not be justification or firing someone. Octavo felt the pressure from its client, "embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event." They obviously need every client they can get/keep their hands on.

I propose these questions to be on applications for employment...

When was the las time you voiced your political opinions?

_ Within the past month

_ Within the past 3 months

_ Within the past year

_ I don't express my political opinions


Where was the last time you voiced your political opinions?

_ To yourself in the bathroom

_ To a friend

_ In an argument with a family member

_ At work

_ In public

On Aug.23.2004 at 07:20 AM
jaywar’s comment is:

Generally, if you're representing your company at an event, it's as if you're at work and you have to act accordingly (for example, a client invites you and your manager to a bar for a drink: no table dancing please). If you're attending an event on your own time you can do what you want (i.e. attending a Bush rally on a saturday afternoon: let the eggs fly) . Since this guy was "invited" by a client (perhaps I have this wrong) then he was representing his company and should leave his politics at the door (just like at work). Sorry, can't say I want to see the kid fired, but getting fired for standing up for what you belive in is much better than other reasons... and the company seems sort of dull anyway.

On Aug.23.2004 at 07:59 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> We can (easily) take pot-shots at this firm's quality of work, its fun and perhaps rewarding in a visceral sense, but in the long run it doesn't benefit anyone.

And actually… their logo work isn't that bad. I have seen much, much worse crap from so-called designers. But yeah, pretty much the rest of it is bland, they sure do love their democratica though — kind of ironic too.

Isn't part of freedom of choice to be able to fire employees? Not that I'm defending the firm but they have the right to fire people, right?

And I agree, if your employer's client invites you somewhere, eat your soup and keep your mouth shut. If you are the employer, that's another story… but being the employee…

On Aug.23.2004 at 08:47 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

What's important here is the element of personal responsibility. Just because we are given the right to express ourselves without fear of government oppression does not absolve us of the culpability for the effects of our actions. If the employer determined that this political expression by the employee would harm its business (i.e. loss of client), then they have a right to protect themselves. Just like you can't yell "fire" in a crowded movie theater, you can't offend a client and not expect to face repercussions.

On Aug.23.2004 at 09:18 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

its a comment that smart people don't shit where they eat.

Hmm...so I should stop eating my breakfast while on the can?

As for this article...c'mon...heckling Bush at his own rally? What's the point? ;o)

On Aug.23.2004 at 09:50 AM
laura’s comment is:

Just because we are given the right to express ourselves without fear of government oppression...

Um, it doesn't seem like you do have that right though.

All I can say is that this election "hopefully" will be the most important one in American history.

On Aug.23.2004 at 10:49 AM
Michael H.’s comment is:

> And actually… their logo work isn't that bad.

I couldn't pull up their portfolio Armin, but their own logo is pretty stanky. Is that a beveled metallic treatment?

And while I support taking a previous idea and building on it, downright copying is something I detest. The "magic 8-ball"... ugh. Old. And the "You've got questions, we've got answers" was Radio Shack's tagline long before ingenious implimentation. Even if they don't use it anymore, it's still no excuse. They're a design studio/ad agency, can't they be more creative than that?

Yes, I do see some things that I like, but I'm really just voicing what I see that I don't like.

> What's important here is the element of personal responsibility. Just because we are given the right to express ourselves without fear of government oppression does not absolve us of the culpability for the effects of our actions

Great point JonSel. That is the bottom line, isn't it? We have the right to express ourselves, but we need to find the right medium to do so in.

> Hmm...so I should stop eating my breakfast while on the can?

Hilarious Darrel. Yeah, that might be a good idea.

On Aug.23.2004 at 10:55 AM
Michael H.’s comment is:

> Um, it doesn't seem like you do have that right though.

Laura, that designer has yet to recieve any government oppression. He was fired from a business. And the media is publishing his response. There has been no government interaction to "keep him down". However, I have no idea who escorted him out of the rally. Anybody?

On Aug.23.2004 at 10:59 AM
Matt Waggner’s comment is:
If the employer determined that this political expression by the employee would harm its business (i.e. loss of client), then they have a right to protect themselves.

A question: it's true that in the US, companies are "persons" under the law, and as such, are afforded the same basic rights as citizens. This is the law, but is this really a shared value in our culture? You seem to be saying that the company's freedom to make a profit ("pursuit of happiness", maybe) should supercede the citizen's right to free speech - in this case, political speech that was exercised on public property. This is chilling.

Voting itself is considered protected political speech: Americans do not have a "right" to vote, or to have our votes counted equally. JonSel, what kinds of political speech should be protected, in the society you describe? What additional rights/protections/restrictions should companies, or people, be given to make this grey-area of "free speech" better defined?

On Aug.23.2004 at 10:59 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Matt, also, if you extend the business-as-person law, the person is simply choosing which other persons it wants to hang out with. Extending it a little bit further it would be no different than getting kicked out of an Oprah book club because you think Oprah is the devil.

Again, not defending the firm or the censorship but I'm not that "concerned" about the guy getting fired over this.

> I have no idea who escorted him out of the rally.

All the links say he was "ushered" out. So maybe by Usher?

On Aug.23.2004 at 11:12 AM
JonSel’s comment is:

what kinds of political speech should be protected, in the society you describe?

All kinds are protected, but solely from governmental retribution. I checked in with my civil rights attorney (otherwise known as my father) on this protection. The constitutional freedom of speech is protected solely from impingement by federal, state, and local governmental entities. Private groups, such as employers, are not included in this. It is possible that this protection is extended, via Maryland's state constitution, to private employers, but I don't know if that's the case. Unless the employee is protected via state constitution or a clause in his employment contract, the employer is free to terminate the employee for any business-related rationale (e.g bad publicity).

You seem to be saying that the company's freedom to make a profit ("pursuit of happiness", maybe) should supercede the citizen's right to free speech

No, I'm not saying that. I'm saying that a company has a right to pursue its business without fear of harm caused by its employees' actions. Accordingly, the employee has every right to say exactly as he feels, but he is still responsible for what he says. He has no legal right to be employed by any specific firm. Remember, he wasn't fired for being anti-Bush. He's been fired because he has caused a potential loss of business for his employer. Whether that's the result of offending the client via political speech or simply telling them off, there's no legal difference.

On Aug.23.2004 at 11:16 AM
pesky illustrator’s comment is:

Wow! Interesting posts. What's good to hear is that the debate over this nonissue - at face value - would have such smart and diverse opinions beyond brand loyalty.

Being from Louisiana, Washington DC might as well be on Mars. But Bagdad is in my living room. And Africa is in bloody chaos. Presidential politics seems as important as choosing between Coke and Pepsi (my vote: neither).

That a graphic designer got fired from his job for irrational behavior is just more ammo for the Comedy of Life not the abridgement of Constitutional Rights.

That's politics: all serfs, no decent serifs.

On Aug.23.2004 at 11:53 AM
Patrick C’s comment is:

To look at it a different way:

If he had been given a ticket by someone else (let's say for example a relative) and attended and heckled etc. and then been fired for the same reasons, I would be very much opposed to the firing. But that's not what happened.

You can't walk into a Ford plant with all involved and shit on a car you just built a web site for. That's just common sense. And it's no different because this was a political situation rather than a business situation.

On Aug.23.2004 at 11:57 AM
Matt Waggner’s comment is:
a right to pursue its business without fear of harm caused by its employees' actions

I understand what you're saying, believe me, I'm on board with "freedom from fear" (since we already, of course, have "freedom from want" nailed down). My concern here isn't strictly a legal one, more of a "good god, is this acceptable to us?" argument.

  • Nike calls up their design firm, upset that they saw a worker wearing Reeboks in the office. "Isn't our account important to you?" The worker is fired.
  • An employee is a member of a political group, and part of this group's agenda is to regulate the industry for which the employee works. The worker is fired.
  • An actor campaigns for Bush, and is seen onstage with him on national television. The studio owner producing that actor's new film is a partisan Democrat. The actor is released a week into shooting.
  • A company hires a new designer, who happens to be hispanic. After the first client meeting, the client, who is deeply racist, makes a comment that they might prefer to do business with a white firm. The designer is fired.

Some of these may be legal, some of them not, but which are acceptable to us? Remember, this isn't a designer insulting a client, materially harming the business (scratching "Bush Sux" into the G4 or some such), or even engaging in political activity at work, or on the phone. This was someone who went to a public school to vocally disagree with the president.

Armin, I was ringing alarm bells not for this designer (who seems nonchalant about the issue), but for the principle of balancing "citizen rights" with "corporate rights" – inside the building, the company owns everything. But outside? I don't think it should, but since voting isn't a protected activity, it might be worth asking if ignoring your employer's – or your client's – political endorsements might rightfully lead to being fired.

On Aug.23.2004 at 12:00 PM
Seffis’s comment is:

Contact page = 404. Coincidence or conspiracy?

On Aug.23.2004 at 12:43 PM
Steven’s comment is:

First off, undertaking political actions, driven by moral conviction, might be worth risking employment termination.

Something else that's important to point out here that hasn't been mentioned yet, if a conservative client gave a design firm a ticket to a conservative rally, wouldn't it have been in the firm's best interest to have a conservative employee attend that rally. While many of you are finding fault in the employee, what about the management in the firm? Doesn't it seem reasonable, on a practical, common-sense level, to give the ticket to a conservative employee rather than a liberal, if you're going to be worried about offending a client? It seems to me that the design firm management should share a significant amount of the blame for this PR fiasco. That was just a dumb thing for them to allow to happen.

However, as an ardent Liberal, I would admit to having a really hard time keeping my mouth shut at a Bush rally. I can hardly stand to stay in the same room when he's on TV.

On Aug.23.2004 at 02:15 PM
jenny’s comment is:

>voting isn't a protected activity

Voting is a protected activity - that's what secret ballots are for. Secret ballots were adopted in the late 19th century (if memory serves me - I will try to look it up to verify the time frame) to protect voters from employer and/or party boss (think Tammany Hall/Boss tweed) interference.

Beyond that, this was a miserable situation with a whole lot of people lacking in judgement - "sharp as a sack of wet mice" as Sam said. First off, gifts of this type from clients border on obligatory. Its one thing to have to go sit through a sporting event, but a "gift" that has to do with politics or religion is generally innapropriate.

Unless, of course, they were doing work for the RNC, in which case, well...

I'm also with Steven - management made a serious error in giving the tickets to someone who wasn't a Bush supporter. Come on, common sense tells you that someone who hates Bush may not "best" represent your firm or your client well at a pro-Bush rally.

Unless you're in SF or Seattle... tee-hee.

Then, the guy goes and heckles Bush at a rally that apparently you needed tickets to go to, using tickets that a client gave his company. Like Patrick C, I'd be totally offended if he'd found his own tickets and heckled Bush of his own accord and then gotten fired. But it does fall into the "don't shit where you eat" category.

On Aug.23.2004 at 02:55 PM
DesignMaven ’s comment is:


Great hearing from you again. I was ready to put an APB on you.

Thanks for sharing the Legal Information.

Common Sense:

As adults. Do we really have Free Speech ???

There's a price you pay. When exercising poor judgement. Especially when you work in the Private Sector.

I haven't formed an opionion about the Firing.

Apparently in today's climate, employers own you

whether you're on or off the job.

Couple of years ago. There were a lot of women performing for web-cams in the privacy of their home.

When employers found out; the employee was terminated.

Essentially, the Attorney's and varies legal experts sited exactly what JonSel stated.

If you work in Corporate America and/or the Private Sector.

Employers can dimiss you at their discretion.

Without Rhyme or Reason.

The Federal, State or Local Government.

You Damn near have to Kill somebody to get dismissed.

Three scenerios will get you Fired in Government.

1. Getting caught Stealing.

2. Consistant absenteeism

for a very, very long duration.

3. You engage in Fighting.

With that said. You have to be reprimanded with three like instances. Before the problem is address.

If the Guy Fired were a Government Worker and he would've not been Fired.

He would've been reprimanded and Counseled. Perhaps given Psychiatric Assistance or placed in a Government Based Anger Management Program.

On Aug.23.2004 at 03:05 PM
Jerry’s comment is:

This is just another example of all the damn ass-kissing most people in business have to do. It may work for most, but it is more important for me to believe in something and represent what you believe in. Office politics will always be there, but people should lighten up and remember that they are all human (and everything that being so entails), 100% of the time.

Chaos happens.*


On Aug.23.2004 at 03:40 PM
jenny’s comment is:


You're almost entirely correct about the government except that, in this case, the boss would have been reprimanded for asking an employee to go to a political rally, not the employee - totally against the rules... (My dad was in HR at Labor & later Health and Human Services forever and ever).

On Aug.23.2004 at 04:52 PM
CCHS’s comment is:

I haven't looked at the Octavio site, and I don't need to to form an opinion on this situation.

This is not a matter of free speech (which we have both too much and too little of in this country), but a matter of simple manners.

If a client invites you to a function (political or otherwise) you have two options: accept or politely decline. Accepting in this case might reasonably be construed as supporting the client's political position, and the employee in turn has the option of accepting or declining the invitation.

The employee, having accepted the invitation, is attending as a representative of his employer, who in turn is a guest of the client. Free speech or not, it is entirely inappropriate for employee to make an overt, attention-drawing political stand under these circumstances. It embarrasses the employer and the client needlessly, essentially issuing a "fuck you" to both. If it were me, I'd fire him on the spot.

On Aug.24.2004 at 11:27 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

>a matter of free speech (which we have both too much and too little of in this country)

CCHS — perhaps you were posting this a little too early in the morning, because on this point you disagree with Supreme Court Justice Fortas — who wrote the Tinker v. Des Moines opinion:

But, in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression. Any departure from absolute regimentation may cause trouble. Any variation from the majority’s opinion may inspire fear. Any word spoken, in class, in the lunchroom, or on the campus, that deviates from the views of another person may start an argument or cause a disturbance. But our Constitution says we must take this risk… and our history says that it is this sort of hazardous freedom — this kind of openness — that is the basis of our national strength and of the independence and vigor of Americans who grow up and live in this relatively permissive, often disputatious, society.

My friend, there's no such thing as too much free speech. There's uninformed speech, disagreeable speech, badly designed speech, and so on...

Or in the words of pornographer Al Goldstein, "I yell because I care".

On Aug.24.2004 at 11:43 AM
CCHS’s comment is:

Forgive my hyperbole. I should have said that we too often use the concept of "freedom of speech" to protect us from the consequences of such speech. The first amendment protects us from the government but not our own stupidity.

We have freedom of speech, and I am thankful for it. But we do not have the freedom to say whatever, however, wherever we want without regard to consequence. And for that I am thankful also.

On Aug.24.2004 at 12:22 PM
Brady’s comment is:

This issue has strictly to do with respect.

Not knowing exactly what he was doing or saying, all that can be said is that respect for the client was violated.

Put it in the perspective of a sporting event...

A client/colleague/friend/relative gives you their season tickets for a game. The home team is playing against your favorite team (or not). You go wearing your team’s colors; you root for the team and generally are an average fan. No problem with that. Your benefactor would want you to have a good time.

Now say you have more than your share of beverages and you begin to become belligerent and begin to become a nuisance to those around you. Your behavior leads to your ejection and ultimately the season ticket holder has their PSL revoked.

This is a problem.

Here is a personal example of how I handled a very similar situation.

In '92, a college buddy of mine - a Republican volunteer - offered me his a ticket to a Bush, Sr. rally at the state fairgrounds. I told him I was not a Bush supporter, to which he replied, "I know, but I also know you will be interested enough to at least hear him speak."

The day before the event I did some research about why Bush was not a good choice for reelection. I made some flyers that simply listed facts about his past and his existing administration. With a backpack full of flyers and my ticket I went to the rally. I handed out the flyers to anyone who would hold their hand out - some conservatives and some liberals as well - without saying a word to anyone. Most Bush supporters came back after what they realized what they had been given was not in support of their candidate. Some respectfully handed it back to me with a "you got me" smile. Some balled it up and threw it at me, spit at my feet, yelled at me in my face including some children of those who were there to support Bush. All the while, I kept my composure and continued to hand out my fliers.

When Bush came out to speak, I stopped my activity to listen to what he had to say. Unfortunately, it was more about how bad of a person Clinton was and no talk about what Bush was planning to do to better the country.

Ultimately I handled myself with dignity and respect for the person who provided the opportunity for me to go to the rally.

Skip ahead 12 years and here we are with the Bush camp effectively Link: banning "liberals" from a Cheney rally being held at a public school.

Again, not knowing exactly how it happened - what was said or done - makes it difficult to address the issues completely in this specific case. But, the employer is not in the wrong for firing an employee for showing outward disrespect for the client and hence his employer.

On Aug.24.2004 at 03:17 PM
Achilles Y’s comment is:

Like a few people have said, the matter is not really a legal or political one, it is one of simple manners. The guy has every legal right to express his political views, and no one, it seems, tried to stop him doing so, except when he did under a particular set of circumstances which made it unsuitable and disrespectful. The street, the office, or a school--which I think is what the Tinker vs. Des Moines deals with--are all spaces that aren't, or should not be, defined by any certain set of beliefs, and as such the free expression of ideas should be allowed there.

A political rally, however, is by definition bound by a particular ideology, and going to one is in and of itself an expression of adherence to that ideology. A political rally is also not a basketball game where there are by definition two camps in each game and opposition is often expected. Going there and voicing one's opposition is in my opinion disrespectful and stupid. The guy should have simply declined the invitation.

If I were his employer I would definitely have lost a lot of respect for him, and if his irresponsibility led to the business losing a client I might go far enough as to dismiss him.

On Aug.25.2004 at 08:32 AM
szkat’s comment is:

one blanket quote - an important distinction - to cover freedom, responsibility, respect, manners, and even design:

all is permissible, but not all is beneficial.

Cor 10:23

...please know that i'm not quoting the Bible to be overtly moralistic or heavy handed. i just remembered this quote and thought it applied well.

it's also interesting that one man's job (or lack thereof) has become a magnifying glass for the rest of us -

Our national epic has yet to be written, Dr. Sigerson says.

We are becoming important, it seems.

James Joyce, Ulysses

On Aug.25.2004 at 12:07 PM
szkat’s comment is:

p.s. what about this guy?

a professor and personal favorite of mine.

now, this gets heavy handed. :) enjoy

On Aug.25.2004 at 12:12 PM
Anthony Edwards’s comment is:

Another lost job for Kerry to pin on the Bush administration. Now that's 4 million and one.

Let me remove my tongue from my cheek now.

Kerry '04

On Aug.25.2004 at 05:21 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

I'm sorry Achilles, but you missed the point of my reference (Tinker v. Des Moines) — which addressed CCHS's claim that we have too much free speech. I used it for Justice Fortas' comments about the nature of disturbing speech in our "disputatious society". Regrettably, Tinker v. Des Moines does not address speech in the workplace — which actually is a venue where most American workers do not have the kinds of constitutional rights we think they do. http://www.aclu.org/WorkplaceRights/WorkplaceRightsMain.cfm" target="_blank"> (more info here)

You are also mistaken about what one can and cannot do at a political rally.

From the http://www.aclu.org/FreeSpeech/FreeSpeech.cfm?ID=9461&c=42" target="_blank"> ACLU's web resource on Free Speech:

First Amendment protection is not limited to "pure speech" — books, newspapers, leaflets, and rallies. It also protects "symbolic speech" — nonverbal expression whose purpose is to communicate ideas. In its 1969 decision in�Tinker v. Des Moines, the Court recognized the right of public school students to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War. In 1989 (Texas v. Johnson) and again in 1990 (U.S. v. Eichman), the Court struck down government bans on "flag desecration." Other examples of protected symbolic speech include works of art, T-shirt slogans, political buttons, music lyrics and theatrical performances.

Government can limit some protected speech by imposing "time, place and manner" restrictions. This is most commonly done by requiring permits for meetings, rallies and demonstrations. But a permit cannot be unreasonably withheld, nor can it be denied based on content of the speech. That would be what is called viewpoint discrimination — and�that is unconstitutional.

When a protest crosses the line from speech to action, the government can intervene more aggressively. Political protesters have the right to picket, to distribute literature, to chant and to engage passersby in debate. But they do not have the right to block building entrances or to physically harass people.

On Aug.25.2004 at 11:59 PM
Vinnie Vin’s comment is:

Once again we see what is a very scary situation in our country today with these "1984" tactics.

Hey Octavo Designs ----This is America!

Octavo Designs

8 N East St # 100

Frederick, MD 21701

Main Phone: 301-695-8885

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (Aug. 21) - A man who heckled President Bush at a political rally was fired from his job at an advertising and design company. The graphic designer said he was told he'd embarrassed and offended a client who provided tickets to the event.

"I was told that my actions reflected badly on the company and that a client was upset," Glen Hiller of Berkeley Springs said.

Hiller was escorted from Hedgesville High School on Tuesday after shouting comments about the Iraq war and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction there. The crowd had easily drowned out Hiller with its chant: "Four more years."

Arriving at his job with Octavo Designs in Frederick, Md., the next morning, Hiller said he was "shocked" to learn he was fired. A woman at the company who declined to give her name confirmed Hiller was axed because of his conduct at the rally.

"They see my actions as negative," Hiller said, adding he'd do the same thing again. "There is no venue for the regular guy to ask a question. We don't have access to people in power. And those events are completely scripted and controlled."

Last month, Charleston City Council apologized to two protesters arrested for wearing anti-Bush T-shirts to the president's July 4 rally. The pair were taken from the event in restraints after revealing T-shirts with Bush's name crossed out on the front and the words "Love America, Hate Bush" on the back. Trespassing charges were ultimately dismissed

The fact that this is happening in our country along with other scary incidents and the controlled environment of this administration where they have you sign allegence forms to ask questions of the president and vice president makes you ask what is next.

May this find everyone happy and well,



On Aug.26.2004 at 01:26 AM
Matthew Cassity’s comment is:

Pentagram doesn't seem to be worried.

On Aug.30.2004 at 08:52 PM
szkat’s comment is:

I wonder if they all feel that way.

Did they vote to put up that flag?

And I wonder what impact that will have to see Pentagram say something so bold, so blatant. People like me who idolize them, well, it would be interesting to see what it does. I feel like it's a good thing it aligns with my opinion. Otherwise I'd spend too much time thinking about it.

On Sep.02.2004 at 08:38 AM
Michael B.’s comment is:

We did not vote on our "No Bush" banner. One partner proposed it and the other six enthusiastically supported the idea. We understood there was a risk involved. Our employees of course have a right to disagree (and of course would not be dismissed for doing so) but so far the feedback has been positive.

I received an email from a friend who participated in the main protest march on Sunday. Our building was on the main route. "Short of 6 hours into the protest march, fatigued and sun drenched, my fellow pole bearers and I came across your brilliant banner hanging outside your office. The sight of that simple message, only a few blocks before the finish line, was exhilarating to all of us."

On Sep.02.2004 at 12:40 PM