From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Johann Opitz)
Nat Hentoff: Resistance Rising!
True Patriots Networking
... The roots of the Bill of Rights Defense Committees, it is important to remember, are in the pre-revolutionary committees of correspondence, initiated by Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty in Boston in 1754. In 1805, in Boston, there was published Mercy Otis Warren's History of the Rise and Progress and Termination of the American Revolution. A historian, playwright, and political pamphleteer, she wrote in this, her major work: "Perhaps no single step contributed so much to cement the union of the colonies, and the final acquisition of independence, as the establishment of committees of correspondence. This supported a chain of communication from New Hampshire to Georgia that produced unanimity and energy throughout the continent." Sam Adams and other patriots continuously spread the news of attacks on the liberties of these new Americans by the King, his ministers, and his governors and officers in the colonies. These committees, as Supreme Court Justice William Brennan!
once told me, were a precipitating cause of the American Revolution. Yet John Ashcroft accuses his critics-among the most active of which are the Bill of Rights Defense Committees-of "capitulating" to the enemy. More Americans are coming to agree with Dick Armey that Ashcroft's Justice Department "is the biggest threat to personal liberty in the country." Who, then, are the American patriots now?
White House Loosens Clean Air Rules
The Bush administration will ease clean air rules, allowing power plants and refineries to avoid new pollution controls when expanding operations, administration sources said Friday. The long-awaited rule changes will "increase energy efficiency and encourage emissions reductions," the Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. An announcement of the rule change was to be made later in the day. Environmentalists and a group of Northeastern states said they plan to file suit immediately challenging the changes. The state officials contend that the easing of the clean air requirements "will undermine efforts" to meet air quality standards.
Pentagon drops plan to curb Net anonymity
A Defense Department agency recently considered--and rejected--a far-reaching plan that would sharply curtail online anonymity by tagging e-mail and Web browsing with unique markers for each Internet user. The idea involved creating secure areas of the Internet that could be accessed only if a user had such a marker, called eDNA, according to a report in Friday's New York Times. eDNA grew out of a private brainstorming session that included Tony Tether, president of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the newspaper said, and that would have required at least some Internet users to adopt biometric identifiers such as voice or fingerprints to authenticate themselves.
TX: Police find 17 sex toys in local woman's car during DUI traffic stop
A Longview woman who sells sex toys has been charged with felony obscenity after White Oak police found some of her wares in her car during a traffic stop
The arrest report describes the 17 items as "obscene materials and obscene devices," but Police Chief Charlie Smith said the items were mostly lotions and objects defined in a dictionary as having the shape and often the appearance of the male genitalia, used in sexual stimulation. How illegal is that? Prosecutors will have to decide when White Oak investigators forward their findings to the district attorney's office sometime in the next week, Smith said. ... Kathleen Elizabeth "Kathy" Grubbs, a distributor for the national company Slumber Parties Inc., calls the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail, "kind of ridiculous." State law appears a little less forgiving: It's illegal to "wholesale promote" obscene materials or devices. Texas statute says an obscene device is a simulated sexual organ or an item designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs. The law allows investigators to assume that anyone with six o!
r more of the items is intending to promote them.
LA: Appeals Court Upholds La. Sodomy Law
Louisiana's 197-year-old sodomy law does not discriminate against gays and lesbians, a state appeals court ruled. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled 2-1 on Wednesday against a gay advocacy group, leaving Louisiana's sodomy law intact.
Democrats Urge Kansans to Vote Illegally
Here's one reason Kansas elected a Democrat governor on Nov. 5: Her party urged people to register to vote after the legal deadline. An aide to Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh said the office was investigating a campaign flier distributed by Democrats in Douglas County on Election Day, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported last week. The flier, which was distributed on Election Day and which noted it was "Paid for by Kansas Democratic Party," urged voters to re-elect Rep. Dennis Moore and to vote for Kathleen Sebelius for governor. "Not Registered? Not a problem. Register and vote today at your polling site," it urges. However, Kansas law requires voters to be registered 15 days before an election.
Harvard's New Class: 'How to Be PC'
Not only is Harvard Law considering a ban on 'offensive speech' but it is offering freshmen (that's "first-year students," to them) a new course: How to be Politically Correct. The course purports to help the young people "manage difficult conversations" and learn how to speak with sensitivity on touchy issues such as race and gender.
Democrats Trying to Resurrect 'HillaryCare'
Democratic presidential hopefuls are coming out of the woodwork to rejoin their battle for socialized medicine in the U.S.Sen. Edward Kennedy (D - Mass.) wants to offer healthcare to nearly every American worker and his or her family, and would force U.S. businesses to foot the bill. And, for those workers with income below a certain level, the government would still get in on the action, subsidizing any shortfalls.Kennedy said he planned to introduce the legislation when the new Congress convenes next year. Under its auspices, all employers with more than five workers would be required to provide health insurance for employees and their dependents. Kennedy would also mandate that the coverage be as good as that provided for federal employees.What about those who can't pay, or who work for really, really small companies? They'll get a new form of Medicare.
DOJ Won't Fight Census Bureau Decision
The Justice Department will not appeal a ruling ordering the Census Bureau to release figures estimating how many people were missed in the 2000 population count, a decision that could affect how billions of federal dollars are distributed. Justice lawyers had until Friday to appeal last month's decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The judges said the public is entitled to see Census Bureau figures adjusted by statistical sampling.
Drugged Driving Hopes
Federal officials announced a new effort to target motorists driving under the influence of illegal drugs. This may sound like a good idea to some, but it's half-baked with a bizarre twist -- the feds have paid researchers to test "drugged drivers" in real traffic. White House Drug Czar John Walters and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Jeffrey Runge announced the initiative at a Nov. 19 press conference. Runge glibly justified the initiative by claiming, "NHTSA estimates that up to 22 percent of drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes have tested positive for illegal drugs." Runge should be pulled over for hyperventilating under the influence of false and misleading statistics.
Israel Eyes Up to $10B in U.S. Aid
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the Finance and Defense ministries are finalizing the request and would forward it to the United States in the coming days.The request for guarantees on foreign bank loans would be in addition to the $2.9 million in direct loans and grants that Israel receives annually from the United States, the official said.Israel, which receives the largest U.S. aid package of any country, relies on the loan guarantees to borrow at lower interest rates.There is no cost to the United States if Israel repays the loans and Israel has never defaulted on a loan, the official said.
FEC Mulling Candidates Salaries
There's no question campaigning can be hard work. Now the Federal Election Commission is considering letting candidates pay themselves for it. Billed as an effort to encourage more people to run for office, two proposals before the commission would allow candidates to pay themselves from their campaign funds to make up earnings they lose due to time off from their regular jobs. "Why should the only people - or the vast majority of people - running for office in this country be incumbents or multimillionaires?" Commissioner Michael Toner, sponsor of the proposals, asked fellow commissioners at a meeting Thursday. The first would let non-incumbents running for Congress or the presidency complement earnings from their regular jobs with campaign funds until they reached the pay level of those in the office they are seeking.
U.K. Fines Pubs When Drinkers Dance
You're drinking with friends in a pub in London's lively West End when a catchy tune comes on the jukebox and you begin swaying to the music. Stop right there -- you might be on the verge of breaking the law. A British pub chain was fined $7,850 after undercover inspectors caught a few patrons dancing at two of its popular bars. The crime: flouting licensing laws that ban "rhythmic moving." Another pub where customers were found "swaying" was served two written warnings. Under British law, dancing is only allowed in pubs that have public entertainment licenses. But getting the license from local governments can be an expensive and overly bureaucratic process and, consequently, only around 5 percent of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs currently allow live entertainment and dancing.
History research papers termed 'on life support'
History research papers are becoming a thing of the past as fewer high school teachers are assigning lengthy writing projects that place too much burden on students and teachers alike, a nationwide survey released this week shows. The survey of 400 high school teachers found that 81 percent of them never assign history papers that are 20 pages long, or 5,000 words. In addition, 62 percent never assign papers that are 15 pages long, or 3,000 words. Instead, 59 percent of the teachers said they prefer to have students write summaries of assigned readings, and another 61 percent assign opinion essays because of problems with plagiarism and the time constraints of covering centuries in a nine-month school year, the survey shows.
The anti-choice crowd is after your car. No, it's not the religious right-wing; it's the religious left-wing. The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is mounting a national campaign to demonize SUVs, to make you feel guilty, even sinful, for choosing to drive a car that makes you feel safe. The NRPE's campaign is centered around the question: "What would Jesus Drive?" Paul Gorman, NRPE's head honcho, says they will send materials, including bumper stickers, to 100,000 congregations and train the clergy to denounce SUVs as sinful.
Does God like your car?
"What would Jesus drive?" asks the new religious campaign against SUVs. Naturally, everyone has been eager to supply a punch line. My initial thought was a donkey, which has considerably less passenger and cargo space than an SUV, along with emissions problems of its own. Then a colleague pointed out that Jesus was a carpenter, so he'd probably want a pickup truck, which falls into the same mileage and emissions category as an SUV, to haul his lumber. On CNN's Talk Back Live, a guest suggested that Jesus might very well drive a big SUV, especially if he was traveling with the apostles. People interviewed on the street pictured Jesus in "a really, really, really long limo" (because "he'd have to travel in style"), a blue Miata ("economical and sporty"), and a Honda Civic (no particular reason offered).
Would Jesus Buy an SUV?
... So what would Jesus drive? Of course Jesus, being omniscient, would not need gasoline price information to make a good decision. But, in the spirit in which the question was asked, one would have to admit that factors like passenger capacity (for the disciples), cargo room (for leftover baskets of bread and fish), and power (for those uphill drives from Jericho to Jerusalem) would be important. Tom DiLorenzo thinks he has a good idea about what his choice would be: "since [Jesus] was a carpenter he would be driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck with a V8 engine and one of those silver tool chests in the back. Probably with extra large wheels to get around the rocky terrain of the Middle East."
The Shrinking Green Vote
... The results of the recent election suggest that the green vote is a paper tiger. The Sierra Club and league of Conservation Voters spent heavily on independent "issue ads" (the kind that are now banned-at least until the Supreme Court speaks-under the new campaign finance law) in several senate races, especially New Hampshire, and lost in nearly every case. Land conservation measures appeared on ballots across the country and generally did well, but then not many people are truly motivated to oppose more parkland and open space. On the other hand, the most high-profile ballot initiative in the nation, Oregon's proposal to require labeling of genetically modified foods, got crushed 70-30. ... On the other hand, poll results from previous years reveal an odd phenomenon: when more voters say that the environment is the most important issue, the Democratic polling advantage starts to disappear. Exit polls from Florida, for example, show that Jeb Bush ran nearly even with D!
emocrat Bill McBride among voters who said the environment was the most important issue. This suggests that Republicans have little to fear from the issue so long as they have a sensible environmental policy agenda.
Why U.S. students flunk geography
... The cause of this kind of ignorance can only be attributed to the public schools where geography has been relegated to a minor corner in the greater category of social studies. When I was in school in the 1930s and '40s, geography was a full-fledged subject, studied systematically, continent by continent, country by country, with roll-down maps above the blackboard. ...I imagine that one of the reasons why American students have acquired this cognitive block to geography is because their teachers have it. When geography is scrambled in the mishmash of social studies, it is no longer a coherent subject of study. It has become too fragmented to be interesting or even comprehensible. ... Until the schools get back to studying geography as a subject worthy of serious attention, we shall continue to be a culturally backward country, self-blinded by the politically correct agenda of our progressive educators.
Bush Government 'Out of Control'
... The tyrannical tendencies of old King George III of England cannot hold a candle to the Machiavellian machinations of King George XLIII of the United States. Unfortunately, there are few Paul Reveres around to sound an alarm. Unless contemporary patriots act quickly, Republicans, not Democrats, will be the ones that ultimately dismantle our constitution and trample our liberties.
CO: ACLU lobs spy charge against Springs police
Springs police helped Denver cops watch protesters, group says
Welcome to the Police State; Now shut up and do as you're told.
UK: Straw 'not protecting basic freedoms of Hong Kong'
Jack Straw and the Government are not doing enough to defend Hong Kong's basic freedoms, guaranteed by the British at the time of the colony's handover to China, according to its leading opposition politician. Martin Lee, chairman of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, said the Government was acting like a "disinterested observer" as the Hong Kong authorities prepare to implement sweeping new anti-subversion laws. Britain, as co-signatory of the 1984 agreement to return Hong Kong to China under a "One Nation Two Systems" banner, should be the prime guarantor of its freedom from interference from the communist government in Beijing, he said.
[No one should be surprised -- the Brits don't guarantee basic freedoms in the UK.]
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and expression. Freedom of speech is a right that must be guarded against infringement, especially on college campuses where there is supposed to be an open forum for discussion of all issues. College students may not even realize when these rights are being taken, and if they do, they have little recourse to fight administrators on these policies. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is striving to defend First Amendment rights on college and university campuses across the country. Students and professors have a responsibility to fight for these rights. They must take action and make use of FIRE and similar organizations to ensure the protection of free speech and expression. In a perfect example of FIRE being used effectively by students, a professor at the University of South Carolina at Columbia has come under attack for setting forth specific discussion guidelines that are seen by many as stifling th!
e free speech of her students. Students are asked not to discuss views that could be construed as racist, sexist, classist or heterosexist because these come from "misinformation." This is one of several cases where teachers have been accused of discriminating against students of certain political beliefs or racial backgrounds. At the University of California-Berkeley, a course description advised "conservative thinkers" to "seek other sections." The pressure from students and FIRE on the administrators at Berkeley forced the change of this description. Now, the administrators at USC are feeling that pressure and are transferring it onto the professor who uses these guidelines.
Letters Editor: email@example.com
AZ: MADD seeks tougher regulations for those buying kegs of beer
Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants to have more state regulation to purchase a keg of beer than to buy a gun. ... Blaser-Upchurch did not dispute that a keg registration process is more than the state requires of gun buyers. She said, though, the additional state regulation is necessary. ... Martin said any registration would not necessarily become part of state records. Instead, he said, it could remain with the store. ... State lawmakers have proven particularly unreceptive on issues of being able to link guns to individuals. Just last session legislators defeated a measure which would require police who recover a weapon from a crime scene to try to trace its lineage. Rep. Deb Gullett, R-Phoenix, said the purpose is to determine if certain individuals or shops are major suppliers of weapons that end up in the hands of criminals. But the measure was killed after opposition from the National Rifle Association whose lobbyist said that was the first step to gun registration!
Letters Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Johann Opitz <email@example.com> RKBA!
"Throughout recorded history, without exception, it has been the sole accomplishment of organized government to deprive their populations of liberty and of their property." -- John C. Calhoun