Tag Archives: liberty

Cursing the police and the law is legal

Victory for free speech: A federal judge has ruled that a man’s first amendment rights were violated when he was arrested because he wrote profanity-laced objections on his speeding ticket payment letter.

This what these fascists in the small town of Liberty, New York did:

On May 4, 2012, Barboza, then 22, was driving through the small, scenic town of Liberty when he was given a speeding ticket. Clearly sore about the incident, Barboza crossed out “Liberty” on the payment form and replaced it with “Tyranny.” He then scrawled the offending phrase across the top, pleaded guilty to speeding and put the form in the mail.

Justice Brian P. Rourke informed Barboza in September of that year that his payment had been rejected and he’d have to make the two-hour trek from Connecticut to appear in court. There, Rourke lectured Barboza over his use of foul language, before prosecutors from the Sullivan County district attorney’s office instructed police officers to arrest Barboza on a charge of aggravated harassment. Barboza was taken to the Liberty police station, where he was booked, fingerprinted and handcuffed to a bench. After being shuffled between courts, he was eventually released when he paid a $200 bail.

The new ruling makes the DA liable for damages. The town of Liberty will also have to “stand trial for failing to train police officers regarding the First Amendment,”

ATK’s push to build its Liberty launch system.

The competition heats up: ATK’s push to build its Liberty launch system.

Liberty was one of the suitors [for NASA’s commercial crew] funding, before losing out to the four aforementioned options during the selection process. However, ATK decided to press on with the development of the system under an unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA), with a clear intent of convincing NASA they deserve to be awarded funding for the path towards crewed launches.

Indeed, ATK have stated that they will continue with the development of Liberty regardless of NASA funding, as much as Agency support would provide an accelerated schedule towards bringing the vehicle into operation by 2015. [emphasis mine]

If you read the article, you will see that there are many reasons why I would rather NASA did not pick ATK. The system depends too much on the shuttle’s legacy at the Kennedy Space Center (the VAB, crawler, etc), which means it will probably require a large labor force to launch and thus be expensive. However, if ATK can make Liberty profitable without NASA, I am all for them.

ATK today announced that it is building its own manned capsule for its Liberty solid rocket.

The competition continues to heat up: ATK today announced that it is building its own manned capsule for its Liberty launch system.

The capsule’s first two flights are scheduled in 2014, both abort tests, followed in 2015 by an orbital flight and, finally, a crewed orbital flight. The spacecraft is designed for ten flights each, and ATK plans to build a minimum of four capsules. All flights will be launched by the Liberty launcher, and ATK is not actively exploring adapting the capsule for other [launch vehicles].

Liberty is based on the upgraded shuttle solid rocket boosters that were developed for the Ares rocket, now cancelled.

government by presidential fiat

“Government by presidential fiat.”

The president of the United States has just ordered private companies to give away for free a service that his own health and human services secretary has repeatedly called a major financial burden.

On what authority? Where does it say that the president can unilaterally order a private company to provide an allegedly free-standing service at no cost to certain select beneficiaries?

Repeal this damn law (Obamacare), and fire the goddamn politicians that had the hubris to force it on us.

A Law student at Syracuse University is facing possible expulsion for “harassment,” but he doesn’t know who his accusers are or even why he’s in trouble. Syracuse University law student faces explusion without know why

A law student at Syracuse University is facing possible expulsion for “harassment,” but the university won’t tell him who his accusers are or even the details of his offense.

Prosecutors recommend acquital on all charges for Wilders

Dutch prosecutors have recommended acquital for Geert Wilders on all charges. Though this is a vindication for Wilders, it is tragic that government officials thought they had the right to put Wilders on trial to begin with, merely because of things he said. Moreover, the trial is still scheduled to go on next week, despite these recommendations.

Two Democratic candidates try to silence their opposition

Freedom of speech alert! Rather than debate their opponents, two Democratic House candidates are trying to shut them up.

In the first case, incumbent Steve Driehaus (D-Ohio) is trying to use election laws to block an anti-abortion group from putting up billboards against him. Ed Morrissey at hotair.com has more details.

In the second case, incumbent Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pennsylvania) is trying to get radio stations to pull the radio ads of another anti-abortion group which attack her for her healthcare vote.

In both cases, the Democratic candidates voted for the Healthcare bill, and seem to want to hide that fact now from the voters. Not only does this illustrate the contempt they have of freedom of speech, it shows us just how toxic the healthcare bill has become politically. I suspect that this law is going to dog the Democrats who voted for it for years to come.

Venezuela Election

In yesterday’s elections in Venezuela, things went both good and bad, with the opposition to power-hungry Hugo Chavez winning a majority of votes but barely capturing a third of the seats (62 out of 165) in the new Congress. Key quote:

The government was always likely to get a higher percentage of seats than votes due to changes in electoral districts and voting rules.

Whether these results will slow Chavez’s efforts to make himself dictator remains unclear.

Judge overrules local town over Constitution Day rally

A judge has overruled Andover Township in Ohio over its effort to squelch a Constitution Day rally by a Tea Party group, allowing the rally to go forward. Key quote:

“It’s very ironic that an effort to celebrate the Constitution results in a violation of the Constitution,” attorney Curt Hartman, part of the legal team representing the group, noted.

Texas responds to EPA’s effort to regulate CO2

In a letter response to the EPA’s effort to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, Texas has essentially told the EPA to go to hell. Three key quotes from the letter:

In order to deter challenges to your plan for centralized control of industrialized development through the issuance of permits for greenhouse gases, you have called upon each state to declare its allegiance to the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently enacated greenhouse gas regulations — regulations that are plainly contrary to United State law. ….. To encourage acquiesence with your unsupported findings you threaten to usurp state enforcment authority and to federalize the permitting program of any state that fails to pledge their fealty to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [emphasis mine]

The State of Texas does not believe the EPA’s “suggested” approach comports with the rule of law.

Texas will not facilitate EPA’s apparent attempt to thwart these established procedures and ignore the law.

Journolist, part 2

Freedom of speech alert. And the danger comes not from the government but from reporters of all things! Leaked emails from a now closed leftwing listserv for journalists reveal an incredible and almost frightening hatred for the right as well as an astonishing willingness by these journalists to use the government to silence opposing opinions. Key quote:

Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”

The article is astonishing. Read the whole thing.

NAACP leader arrested trying to attend school board meeting

Freedom of speech alert: the head of a local North Carolina NAACP chapter was arrested when he tried to attend a local school board meeting to protest its actions. He had been arrested for trespassing at a previous board meeting, and it is unclear if his attempted appearance this time was a trespass as well.

Knowledge or Certainty

An evening pause: One of the best television science series ever produced was The Ascent of Man by Jacob Bronowski. Rather than simply describe science and knowledge, Bronowski instead pondered the nature of humanity. The best episode of the series was Knowledge or Certainty, in which Bronowski compared the humane uncertainty of science with the terrible consequences of dogma. As Oliver Cromwell said, “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.”

You’ve got to play the game

The release of the Senate’s draft language for NASA’s 2011 budget yesterday reveals a great deal about the failures of the Obama administration. Despite months of advocacy by administration officials as well as the upper management of NASA, it appears that the Senate (soon to be followed in a similar manner by the House) is eagerly willing to dismantle much of what the Obama administration is proposing for NASA, and is going to micromanage its own space program.

Why this happened is all very simple: You’ve got to play the game.

If you are going to request major changes to any government program that requires the approval of elected officials beholden to the people in their districts, you have to provide those elected officials some cover for their actions. You simply can’t shutdown these programs willy-nilly without any negotiation and expect members of Congress to go along — even if what you propose is a good idea and makes sense.

Unfortunately, this is exactly what the Obama administration has done. They have not only shown an astonishing incompetence at playing the political game, they have often acted as if politics is completely irrelevant to their needs, a position that is both stupid and counter-productive considering that Obama is a politician who has to get the agreement of the politicians in Congress. » Read more