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Thumbs up, Thumbs down: August 21

Senate affirms importance of the press

More than 350 newspapers around the country, including this one, published editorials and columns on Thursday defending our First Amendment and the American media from attacks launched by those who would prefer to censor speech and indoctrinate the U.S. people.

The U.S. Senate clearly heard our message. It responded with a clear-headed and eloquent resolution, reaffirming the importance of free speech and independent media for the success of our democracy.

The resolution quotes Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, President Ronald Reagan and Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in its full-throated defense of freedom of the press.

“Tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions,” the resolution states. “… the United States, including the long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press in the United States, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate.”

By voice vote, the Senate unanimously resolved that “the press is not the enemy of the people” and that it “serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and chrished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States.”

The Senate also resolved that it “condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States.”

The resolution is largely symbolic and essentially represents an affirmation that the U.S. Constitution is still the law of our land. As such, it may not mean much from a legal standpoint; but it is a significant and important resolution at a time when such basic tenets of our democracy are under attack from the highest levels.

Boyle Schools involving community in new school

We like that Boyle County Schools is seeking input from the public on what the new middle school might look like.

Construction of the new $30 million-plus middle school next to Millennium Park is in the early stages, but community members can vote online on which of six different brick-color combinations they would like to see on the exterior of the building. The one-question survey can be taken online at bit.ly/BCMSbrickpoll.

There’s a lot about school buildings that can’t — and shouldn’t — be left up to public opinion. State and federal regulations mean a lot of the decisions aren’t even up to the local school board.

It’s a nice gesture by the school board to seek public input on something like the brick color. It shows school officials understand who they work for (students) and who pays the bills (taxpayers), and they want the community to have ownership of their new school.

.5K Fun Walk and Run

We love the idea for the Heart of Kentucky United Way’s new fundraiser, planned for Friday, Sept. 14, at the Centre College football field.

Danville has quite a few 5K walk/run fundraisers, but as far as we know, this will the first “.5K” for the city — that’s half a kilometer, which is one lap around the field.

There will be lighthearted booths all around the “race’s” path, including opportunities to eat fudge a take a shortcut; carbo-load with some cupcakes; cool off if you get overheated; and much more. You can even hire a golf cart and ride to the finish line.

“Overachievers” can be timed and receive ridiculous gold medals if they wish.

Proceeds benefit the United Way and its many community partners, so participants will be helping a great cause at the same time.

This event seems like a lot of fun, and we’re certain there will be laughter from start to finish all day long. Online registration is available at bit.ly/HKUWhalfK. You can show up anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sept. 14 to participate.