Tag Archives: freedom

Driving vs flying

After a twelve hour drive from Chicago, I am finally home. It might seem silly to make this trip by car when the plane is faster, but since Sept 11 I have found it actually makes more sense to drive when the trip is 12 hours or less. First, a door to door plane flight will take about 6 hours, so you don’t save that much time. Second, by driving I have access to a car in Chicago, and don’t need to rent something. Three, the total cost is significantly less, especially since we save two airfares.

And finally, neither I nor my wife Diane have to submit ourselves to TSA abuse. I consider myself a free American, and don’t take kindly to government officials abusing their power unconstitutionally. If the airlines haven’t yet realized that this security madness is losing them business, it ain’t my problem.

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Pat Condell on the death of free speech in Europe

Pat Condell, whose never minces words in his commentary on youtube, has decided to speak out about Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s upcoming trial in Austria, where she is threatened with three years imprisonment because she expressed an opinion about Islam and the Koran. It is worth watching.

The purpose [of these trials] is to silence dissent, by example. To show everyone else that they too will be treated as a common criminal if they dare to express a negative opinion about the world’s most backward, intolerant and violent religion. This is where we are in Europe today. It’s like something out of the old Soviet Union.

By the way, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at http://english.savefreespeech.org/ .

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New airport security checks causing protests

And people wonder why I now drive from Maryland to Chicago: It appears that no one is happy with new TSA airport security checks, requiring either a full body scan or a full body pat down. Protests are coming from pilots, flight attendants, passengers, and the airlines. Key quote from the “passenger” link above:

The aggressively enhanced TSA pat down involves over-the-clothes searches of passengers’ breast and genital areas. You can opt not to go through the backscatter body scanners, and thereby keep your genitalia private from pictures, but then a TSA screener will use a front-of-the-hand, slide-down body screening that Ars Technica called “nut-busting pat-downs.”

And there’s National Opt-Out Day, November 24, 2010. (I wish I could participate, but as I said, I will be driving to Chicago for Thanksgiving, mostly to avoid the police-state of the TSA.)

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Leftist cartoonist calls for armed revolution against the right

Feel the hate: Leftist cartoonist Ted Rall calls for armed revolution against conservatives. The quote below from Rall’s writing nicely summarizes what he thinks of people who disagree with him:

The millions of partisans who follow Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and right-wing televangelists happen to be the best-armed people around, and they despise just about everyone who doesn’t think and pray like them. They will see collapse as affirmation of their beliefs that secular liberalism is destructive. They will also see it as an opportunity to create a new, ordered world atop the ashes. They will act to stop teenage sluts from getting abortions, teach niggers a lesson, and slaughter those spics, dots, and everyone else who doesn’t fit into their vision of what and who is right. [emphasis mine]

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The space program is dead, long live the space industry!

The news following the midterm election results have not sounded good for NASA. Two stories on Monday alone signaled the bad news:

Earlier stories last week were no more encouraging:

While Republicans have, since the 1970s, generally been more enthusiastic than Democrats about NASA and manned space exploration, the new Republican Congress has a tone that seems decidedly different from past years. Above all, it appears the public is finally becoming aware of the recent explosion in the federal debt, as illustrated by the graph below. (hat tip to Gateway Pundit and The Captain’s Comments.)

Federal deficit

The public’s growing concern about these numbers was clearly reflected in the election results. First, there was the success of many tea party candidates advocating fiscal responsibility and a radical shrinking of government. Even in cases where conservatives lost, the closeness of the election in districts or states where liberals have rarely in the past been challenged suggests the mood of the electorate is decidedly shifting in a direction against federal spending.

Second, the electorate seemed surprisingly hostile to pork, expressing little interest in being brought off with baubles for their home districts. Thus, candidates who ran against pork seemed to get far more enthusiastic attention and positive publicity than those elected officials famous for “bringing home the bacon.”

In such an atmosphere, the priorities of Congress will be forced to change. The outlook therefore does not look good for the type of pork funding represented by the NASA authorization bill passed on September 29, with its billions of subsidies for the aerospace industry.

We can see an indication of this new tone by some of the initial plans announced by the Republican leadership. As a first step, the Republicans have proposed cutting the federal budget back 2008 levels. This change alone would reduce NASA’s annual budget by about $2 billion, or 10%.

This solution, however, will not close the budget gap, only shrink it slightly. The Republicans will still be faced with massive amounts of red ink and a public demanding that they deal with it. To prove they mean what they say, the new House leadership will be forced to propose some additional draconian cuts.

Unfortunately, the circumstances at this moment has made NASA a prime budget-cutting target. » Read more

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Warrentless raids and arrests at Florida barbershops

This appears to be an abuse of power: Since August Florida police have conducted two warrentless sweeps, raiding nine barbershops and arresting 37 people (for “barbering without a license,” a misdemeanor), using the state’s business regulations as a cover. Key quotes:

The operations were conducted without warrants, under the authority of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspectors, who can enter salons at will.

With the exception of two misdemeanor marijuana charges and Vasquez’s arrest, deputies were unable to connect any of the illegal activity to anyone. Meanwhile, store owners reported property damage from the raids, including a large hole employees said deputies busted into a wall at 809 Barbershop in Ocoee. However, several owners said the damage to their businesses and reputations has been much worse.

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A high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird cancelled due to political correctness

Freedom of speech alert: A high school production of To Kill a Mockingbird was cancelled because of the play includes the word “nigger.” The absurdity of this is incredible. Not only was this how people spoke during the time period described in the book, Harper Lee’s book was central in bringing about the end to racial discrimination.

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Showing how the country is polarized . . . with a t-shirt

Want to find out how polarized our county is? Then wear this shirt (which can be purchased here) and watch the reaction.

Reagan is right t-shirt

How do I know this? Well, yesterday on my flight home from California after giving a lecture to the Orange County section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, I tried it. Nor was this the first time I’ve worn this shirt and seen the reactions. People always seem to notice it, often doing a doubletake because at first they think it is the Obama image with the word “Hope” underneath. Then they realize what it really is, and either laugh in amusement or frown in annoyance.

Yesterday was no different. As I stepped out of the elevator and into the lobby of my California hotel, I passed a woman whose eyes immediately widened when she saw the shirt, and then scowled as she walked past. Then, I went into a local Subway to pick up something to eat during the long flight home. The woman who made my sub as well as the clerk who took my cash both looked at my shirt and glowered. Though they did nothing outright rude, I really think they would have preferred to tell me to leave and not sell me my sub.

At the airport things were interestingly different. Two guys in front of me on line to check bags immediately wanted to know where they could buy the shirt. Then, on the airplane, a steward as well as the passenger sitting next to me asked me the same question. When I said I’d forward them the webpage if they’d give me their email addresses, they all complied eagerly. The steward then went out of his way for the rest of the flight to make sure I was happy, to which I remain grateful.

Though I do find these reactions both amusing and intriguing, I also find them disturbing. How can a free nation survive if people get so emotional over something so silly as a t-shirt?

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Demonstration on October 30 to protest the trial of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff

There will be a demonstration on October 30 in support Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, who is facing prison in Austria for publicly quoting the Koran and then criticizing what it says. The video below explains the disgusting nature of the charges against her, and how freedom of speech is under direct attack in Austria. Key quote:

“It seems that some people do not appreciate a non-Muslim quoting verbatim from the Koran. . . . Apparently you have to convert to Islam in order to quote from the Koran and not be accused of hate speech.”

You can offer support to her legal defense fund by going here. This fund is not controlled by her, and will only be used to pay her legal fees.

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First ticket issued for deadly butter

Our government doing the really important work! Health officials in Baltimore have handed out their first ticket to a restaurant for not using the proper cooking recipe, as determined by the government. Key quote:

“They originally had a margarine that was above 3 grams, actually, which is very high compared to the .5 that is allowed. Then when we came back and they had replaced it, they replaced it with one that was 2 grams, so it still was too high,” [Health Department agent Juan] Gutierrez said.

And then there’s this: Fake health inspectors at restaurants on the rise.

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Another European on trial for reporting the facts about Islam

Freedom of speech alert! Geert Wilders is not the only European on trial simply for reporting factual information about Islam and the Koran. In Vienna, Austria, feminist and anti-jihad activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff faces prison simply because she conducted “public seminars in which she described Islamic doctrine, quoted from the Koran, and explained to her listeners what she considers the dangers of Islam.” Her trial date is now set for November 23. More information can also be found at Jihad Watch.

The website Gates of Vienna has started a campaign to support Sabaditsch-Wolff, and is asking websites and bloggers worldwide to support her. I am glad to lend my voice to her cause. Any government that wants to put a citizen in jail, merely for expressing an opinion or stating facts, should be condemned as loudly as possble. If you go to the campaign site above, you can read about the history of the case in detail as well as find ways you can lend your own support. Also, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff’s legal defense fund can be found at http://english.savefreespeech.org/ .

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Mark Steyn lecture squelched by Islamists and wimpy bureaucrats

Obeying the orders of local Islamic groups, a London, Ontario, convention center has refused to allow a lecture by Mark Stein. Key quote:

“The reason offered by the London Convention Centre [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

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The Juan Williams firing, in his own words

The Juan Williams firing, in his own words. Key quote:

This is an outrageous violation of journalistic standards and ethics by management that has no use for a diversity of opinion, ideas or a diversity of staff (I was the only black male on the air). This is evidence of one-party rule and one sided thinking at NPR that leads to enforced ideology, speech and writing. It leads to people, especially journalists, being sent to the gulag for raising the wrong questions and displaying independence of thought.

Daniel Schorr, my fellow NPR commentator who died earlier this year, used to talk about the initial shock of finding himself on President Nixon’s enemies list. I can only imagine Dan’s revulsion to realize that today NPR treats a journalist who has worked for them for ten years with less regard, less respect for the value of independence of thought and embrace of real debate across political lines, than Nixon ever displayed.

As I said yesterday, defund them.

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Juan Williams firing by NPR

Defund them! NPR’s firing of Juan Williams yesterday is another demonstration that this leftwing news organization has no tolerance for free speech. One of the first things the new Congress should do is end all funding to this corrupt propaganda machine.

Sorry I have been late in posting about this story. I would like to say more, but I have an article for Sky & Telescope that must be finished by tomorrow.

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