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My July fund-raising campaign, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the start of this website, has now ended. This was the second most successful monthly fund-raising campaign ever. Thank you again to everyone who has who donated or subscribed. It is difficult to explain what your support means to me.


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Pushback: Court denies school principal immunity from lawsuit for squelching free speech

Caroline Garrett
Former school principal Caroline Garrett

Pushback: A federal appeals court last week ruled that Caroline Garrett, the former principal of Wy’east Middle School in Portland, Oregon, does not have immunity from a lawsuit by a teacher, Eric Dodge, whom she threatened to punish for bringing a MAGA hat to several training sessions.

At the first training session with 60 participants, “fewer than five people complained, including the first presenter who was not a District employee,” and all trainings were completed without incident, according to the court records. “Clinton, Reagan, and Trump appointees coming together to affirm the First Amendment,” lawyer Gregory Conley tweeted in response to the ruling, referring to the panel of judges.

According to the court’s official ruling [pdf], Garrett threatened to punish Dodge if he brought the hat into school again:

Dodge alleges that when he approached Principal Garrett she stated: “What is the [%@&*#$%] deal with your hat?” She also called Dodge a “homophobe and a racist and a bigot and hateful.” And when he denied wearing his hat at Wy’east the second day, she called him a “liar” and specified that she did not want him wearing the hat “period.” Finally, Principal Garrett said: “[N]ext time I see you with that hat, you need to have your union rep. Bring your rep because I’ll have mine.”

Principal Garrett disputes that she mistreated Dodge, including by using profanity or raising her voice, but she admits that she was frustrated and viewed Dodge continuing to have his hat with him as “insubordination.”

It appears that there had been other complaints about Garrett from parents, and combined with this case, the school board decided she should resign, which she did at the end of that school year. The dispute also caused Dodge to transfer to another school.

The court’s ruling however now makes Garrett directly liable for any injury caused to Dodge because of her effort to silence him. Whether he will win eventually in court is of course unknown.

The decision was not a complete victory for Dodge. The court dismissed his suit against the school district and its human resource officer, both of whom tried to act reasonably with an unreasonable person (Garrett) and in doing so helped her in some part in hurting Dodge. However, both the district and the HR officer in the end supported Dodge, so his case against them was dismissed.

The final result, at least in this school, is that the control freak in charge is now gone, and might face financial pain for being a control freak. We should celebrate these small blessings.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Cotour

    Doesn’t Mr. Dodge know that a MAGA hat is violence?

  • pzatchok

    And another Karen melts down.

    Is referring to her as a Karen considered an ‘ism’ of some sort?

    And sorry to any real women named Karen who do not act like her.

  • Ralph Gizzip

    She even looks like a Karen.

  • BLSinSC

    THIS is the WAY!! When the LEFTISTS harm you in ANY WAY – SUE THEM!! MAKE them PAY PERSONALLY!! They THINK they can hide behind “public acceptance” of their BIGOTRY and HATRED – well they can’t – except in highly LIBERAL controlled areas! Suits like this will take the sting and hopefully a BUNCH of money out of their pockets! Now they’ll THINK ONCE about their hostile actions! Maybe!

  • askeptik

    At some point, we will find the wearing of body-cams mandatory for our own protection.

  • Gary H

    I’ve been participating in a discussion regarding climate change in a forum dedicated to audio/HiFi/Music. Quite a stretch for this topic in such a forum. What is clear is that there is a subset of the population that are motivated by unquestioned ‘facts’ that stake out extreme positions and rather than support their position they harshly make personal attacks. Whenever this is done, that person has dehumanized their opponents and violence/destruction is acceptable to use against non humans. There really isn’t any opportunity to enter into dialog at this point.

  • Gary H: It seems to me that when someone is vicious and insulting and makes a personal attack, the best response is to no longer argue the point, but to ask that person bluntly:

    “Do you always treat those you disagree with in such a vicious and ugly manner?” Focus on their bad behavior. Make them own it, or better yet, make them ashamed of it.

  • Col Beausabre

    Also point out to them that an Ad Hominem attack is admission they have lost the argument, they can’t marshal the facts and construct a coherent, logical argument shows by their need to resort to personal attacks. Or you can do what I doc and call them an “ignorant fascist”

  • Cotour

    Strategy: Objectify your enemy.

    Makes it that much easier to justify defeating / conquering or killing them.

  • askeptik observed “At some point, we will find the wearing of body-cams mandatory for our own protection.”

    Bet you have one in your pocket right now. Someone gets heated: “Hang on. I need something for my Youtube channel.”; and whip out your phone. Exposure may be the surest and safest deterrent.

  • Patrick Underwood

    Wow… I just keep seeing a particular fact in so many, maybe a majority, of these cases, concerning the, er, identity of the perpetrator. To the point I am surprised when that fact is not in evidence.

    But what am I saying. It’s not a “fact”, just an oppressive social construct involving genders or some such, a deplorable mislabeling that I continue to apply only because I am an oldtimer who hasn’t received his reeducation summons yet. So… never mind.

  • Gary H

    The Christians marched to the “Holy Land” with the same righteous zeal as the modern day woke wage their war. I sure hope the outcome differs, because there doesn’t seem to be the possibility of finding common ground.

    Pointing out their “vicious and ugly manners” doesn’t change their actions. They excuse themselves from the need to be civil because they are superior beings involved in a righteous cause.

  • Gary H: I think you would be surprised how many would change their behavior if its ugliness was pointed out to them, over and over. If anything, doing so will at least lower their standing with third parties.

  • Gary H

    A poster with a handle of gold spoon had the best summary.
    He wrote:

    “ Funny thing about science I have noticed over time. Its all settled science, till its not…..”

    Mr Z: You are an optimist at heart. Refreshing…

  • sippin_bourbon

    COL B. Ad Hominem is all they have.

  • pzatchok

    If we can strip peoples ability to hide behind government paid for lawyers we will have made a huge step in the right direction.

    If we remove their safety shield of government office these petty dictators will loose all power. They will again start to think of everyone’s rights instead of just theirs.

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