Tag Archives: Joe Fitzgera;d

Whose Rights?

by Joe Fitzgerald

One thing you have to give the parental rights authoritarians. At least they’re more honest about their goals than some of their thematic ancestors.

Slave codes were not slave codes. They were master codes. Leftists in the 1950s weren’t involved in unamerican activities. The House committee harassing them was. Dissent and disagreement are supposed to be the American way, except to whatever faction is in charge and defining or redefining what’s American at any given time.

But parents’ rights, the latest right-wing lie designed to inflame rather than inform, is at least clear about who it’s aimed at. Teacher’s rights? Unless we’re talking about the right to be accused of corrupting and indoctrinating children, that’s not an issue for the rightists. Children’s rights? They have none in the world-view of people like the majority on the Rockingham County School Board. Continue reading

Skating Past FOIA in Harrisonburg

by Joe Fitzgerald

Public officials will sometimes self-censor their emails, memos, and even texts for fear they’ll be embarrassed or caught telling the truth if a Freedom of Information request is filed. You’d think that caution would make them better communicators. Recent history proves that’s not the case. Sometimes it seems the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, instead frees them to do the bare minimum.

The often unjustified fear of information requests, para-FOIA, ignores how infrequent the requests are, not to mention how vanishingly rare convictions for violations are. Enforcement is by the officials covered by the law, and prosecution is up to the citizen. The real danger, if you can call it that, is a phrase or observation FOIA-ed and ripped out of context and going viral on social media. But in general the people who will do that find it easier to just make stuff up. Continue reading