Freedom of Expression Comes with Responsibility

First of all, my new book "Kids Are Americans Too" will be number three on The New York Times list next Sunday. And I thank all of you who are supporting this very important book. "Kids Too" bluntly tells teenagers what their rights are and what they cannot do.

For example, if a religious high school student is being taunted at school because of his or her spirituality, that's a violation of his or her rights. But if a teacher tells a student to stop an action that is hurting the academic atmosphere, the teacher can do that.

Enter some student protesters at Morten West High School in Chicago. A few dozen of them decided to protest the Iraq War in the school cafeteria. Citing the disruption, school officials asked the kids to take it outside. Some of them refused and were suspended.

These demonstrators you see on your screen right now are protesting those suspensions. "Talking Points" applauds honest protest, but not at the expense of the public good. Interrupting the school day intrudes on others, who might not share your point of view. And a protester has no right to do that.

But The Chicago Sun Times takes umbrage with my opinion. The paper says the students should not have been suspended. "Perhaps the students were causing disorder by their protests, but isn't that the point?"

No, it is not the point. The point is that if a protester violates the law or school rules, that person must be held accountable or you have anarchy. Freedom of expression comes with responsibility. If you want to make your point in an unlawful way, you must pay the price.

Another example. If somebody like Rosie O'Donnell wants to accuse American soldiers of killing civilians and the government of orchestrating 9/11, then Ms. O'Donnell must be prepared to face the consequences in the court of public opinion. Bernie and Jane will have more on that, coming up.

There is no free ride in the free speech arena. The Supreme Court has ruled that school officials, the military, businesses, and private property owners all have a constitutional right to establish boundaries of sane behavior. Otherwise, again, you'd have anarchy. These kids in Chicago intruded on the rights of other children when they didn't have to. And they were punished accordingly. Good.

Pinheads and Patriots

Last night from New York City, about two-and-a-half million dollars was raised to help wounded U.S. service people. The bash featured all kinds of celebrities, including our pal, Bruce Springsteen, who sang three songs. And it was put together by ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff, who as you may remember, was grievously wounded In Iraq.

Because of his charitable work and American spirit, Mr. Woodruff is a patriot.

On the pinhead front, President Bush is finally trying to cut federal spending, because it's wildly out of control and is opposing a number of bills that ramp up spending on worthy causes, because the feds can't afford it.

But the nutty left Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper disagrees and posted this headline above an op-ed piece: "Bush Robs Cancer Sufferers of Hope." Sounds fair and balanced, doesn't it? Anyway, the villain here is publisher Roger Oglesby, who is an unbelievable pinhead, but the Hearst Corporation, which owns the paper, is partly to blame, as well. The whole situation is hard to believe out there.