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Toasting the First Amendment

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On May 3, Desiree A. Fairooz, of Virginia, was convicted of disorderly conduct for laughing during the Jan. 10 confirmation hearing of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On May 10, reporter Dan Heyman, of Public News Service, was arrested after questioning U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price at the Charleston, S.C., Capitol building. Police charged Heyman with misdemeanor willful disruption of state government processes after he repeatedly asked Price whether domestic abuse would qualify as a preexisting condition under President Donald Trump's health care reform bill. Heyman said he was simply being persistent after the secretary refused to answer.

Meanwhile, also on May 10, Trump met with top Russian officials in the Oval Office, but prohibited U.S. reporters from entering the room. Instead, a photographer from state-run Russian news agency TASS was permitted to serve as witness. Since Trump's closed-door chat with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, it has been reported Trump divulged sensitive intelligence information, further rocking his already tempest-tossed administration.

On May 14, in one of his customary crack-of-dawn Twitter meltdowns, Trump pooh-poohed the idea that his "surrogates" should be expected to speak to the press with "perfect accuracy," and suggested he may "cancel all future 'press briefings'" in favor of prepared, written statements.

If the events of the past two weeks or so have you feeling a little jittery about the safety of the First Amendment, it probably means you've been paying attention. In this edition of Boise Weekly, we have two stories that deal with free speech.

The first, on Page 6, digs into yet another lawsuit filed against Idaho State Police for busting a burlesque show, ostensibly because it mingled "obscenity" with alcohol. The second, on Page 8, highlights a recent legal victory over ISP for conducting just such a sting, and how artists will be celebrating with a risque cabaret—featuring plenty of libations with which to toast the mighty First Amendment.

Zach Hagadone

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