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Court: Texas can’t prohibit ‘offensive’ Confederate battle flag license plates

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The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that Texas could not prohibit a group that celebrates the Confederacy from having their own specialty license plates.

The federal appeals panel ruled 2-1 that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board engaged in “viewpoint discrimination” and violated the First Amendment by rejecting the Sons of Confederate Veterans application for license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag.

The board rejected the proposed plate by an 8-0 vote in 2011, saying that members of the public found the Confederate imagery to be offensive. The board explained in its resolution that “a significant portion of the public associate the confederate flag with organizations advocating expressions of hate directed toward people or groups that is demeaning to those people or groups.”

But the federal appeals court said the board could not discriminate against particular viewpoints because the public deemed them to be offensive.

“The government may not ‘selectively… shield the public from some kinds of speech on the ground that they are more offensive than others,'” the federal appeals court ruled. “That is precisely what the Board did, however, when it rejected Texas SCV’s plate. Accordingly, we hold that the Board impermissibly discriminated against Texas SCV’s viewpoint when it denied the specialty license plate.”

On its website, Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans states that “citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America.” The group also suggests Southern states tried to secede from the union to preserve freedom — not to preserve slavery.

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“The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans has specialty license plates available in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Maryland, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, according to a 2011 press release about the case. The group uses the license plates to raise funds.

“This is a sad day for African-Americans and others victimized by hate groups in this state,” Gary Bledsoe, president of the NAACP in Texas, told The Dallas Morning News.

[Confederate Memorial Day via Shutterstock]

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The Navy accidentally nominated a convicted child sex predator to be a future department head

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On Tuesday, the Navy Times reported that Lt. j.g. Michael D. McNeil was nominated, along with several other junior service officers, as eligible to be a future department head by the Navy Personnel Command.

This would be somewhat surprising, given that McNeil is currently serving a 10-year sentence in federal prison in Texarkana, Texas, for soliciting sex from a 12-year-old deaf girl.

The reason why McNeil was listed as under consideration is that the Navy had not yet updated his records with the "civil action report" noting his conviction, which was handed down in March. Navy records still listed him as active duty and assigned to the guided-missile destroyer Lassen when the list was drafted.

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Texas Republican denies trying to cleanse internet of references to the time she allegedly kidnapped a puppy

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The legal counsel for the Bexar County Republican Party in Texas is denying attempting to force Google to hide articles from her past.

"Google has received six requests to remove links to newspaper columns about Lynette Boggs-Perez, a recently elected Judson ISD trustee whose political career in Nevada was dogged by scandal before she moved to Texas," the San Antonio Express News reported, via Reason.

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Trump’s fans think he’s a macho he-man — he’s really a moral weakling who preys on women and kids

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Donald Trump's fans are obsessed with the idea that their hero is the pinnacle of manliness, here to restore the supposed greatness of American masculinity after its alleged assault at the hands of feminism and "political correctness." His fans paint semi-erotic art portraying Trump as handsome and virile, either with a couple of dozen pounds shaved off his waistline or as an over-muscular he-man. They are so sure that Trump radiates a vibrant masculinity that Trump fanboy and convicted criminal Dinesh D'Souza recently posted a picture of Trump sitting next to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with the caption, "Masculinity in the twenty first century: which one is YOU?" The implicit assumption was that the orange-tinted primate, hunched over in a poorly-fitted suit was obviously more of a studly macho man than the suave young Canadian.

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