Federal examiners Force Oklahoma Bank To Remove Crosses and Bible Verse

Freedom of speech alert: Federal bank examiners have forced an Oklahoma bank to remove all Christian symbols. Key quote:

The examiners . . . deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say “Merry Christmas, God With Us.” [as] inappropriate. The Bible verse of the day on the bank’s Internet site also had to be taken down.

What these things have to do with auditing the financial practices of a bank I really don’t know.

U.K.: Red Cross offices remove Christmas decorations to avoid offending Muslims

More polticially correct madness: The Red Cross in the United Kingdom has told all its offices to remove all Christmas decorations in order to avoid offending Muslims. Key quote:

“We have been instructed that we can’t say anything about Christmas and we certainly can’t have a Christmas tree. . . . We are not supposed to show any sign of Christianity at all.”

FBI accused of planting backdoor in OpenBSD IPSEC stack

This story should give everyone the willies: One of the developers of the OpenBSD operating system (an open source OS comparable but different than Linux) has admitted that ten years ago, in exchange for cash, he and others helped the FBI place “surveillance-friendly holes” in the operating system.

I wonder what part of this sentence the FBI does not know how to read: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The FCC commissioner wants to regulate on the airwaves

Freedom of speech alert: The FCC commissioner has made it clear in a recent appearance on the BBC that he strongly supports having the FCC regulate in some manner the news coverage of radios and television. You can see the video here. Key quote from the article above:

In practice, Copps’s recommendations — however well intended — necessarily entail expanding the power of bureaucrats to monitor media content, power which can then be used for objectionable and politicized goals.

The greed for power, or why it is always better to do without government help

In an article today on spaceref.com “NASA: It’s Our Space Station – Not Yours,” Keith Cowing has some harsh words for NASA and its management of the research on ISS. Based on what he witnessed at a NASA meeting, it appears that NASA wants to retain control over all research on the space station, while denying access to outside other researchers. Key quote:

In addition to prohibiting the ISS National Laboratory contractor from getting its hands on human-based research, Mark Uhran also stated that any proposal that proposed to do anything with spacecraft systems or engineering would be similarly deemed non-responsive. In other words two of the most interesting things you can do on the ISS – the sorts of thing you’d want a larger research base to focus on (assuming you are really interested in outside participation) are off limits due to executive fiat.

Where is NASA’s justification for limiting the ability of the private and educational sectors from making full utilization of the amazing capabilities that are offered by the ISS? Answer: NASA made it up. Truth be known, NASA was dragged kicking and screaming into supporting this National Laboratory concept. Congress had to enact a law to make them do it.

None of this surprises me. NASA is a government agency, and as a government agency it is going to protect its turf, come hell or high water. It is for this reason I think it a bad idea for the new space rocket companies to take any NASA money, up front. If they do, NASA will immediately use those funds as a club to force these new companies to do things as NASA wishes, rather than being free to compete and innovate on their own. In other words, NASA will use the funds to maintain control of all space exploration.

Better the new companies build their rockets and spaceships on their own, and then sell these new inventions to NASA or whoever else wants to use them. Let the profits pay for the work, not the needs and regulations of a government agency.

Not only will this free competiton produce a lot more creativity and innovation, it will almost certainly help to reduce the cost of space travel, as these companies fight to gain market share. And most importantly, it will frame the future exploration of space in the context of freedom rather that a state-run endeavor.

And isn’t freedom the principle that the United States of America stands for?

American flag banned from condo complex

American flag banned from condo complex. Key quote:

The 16 or so units are all alike. Beige with white trim and white mailboxes lined up ever so neatly along the main access road. And that, Coombs was told at a condo meeting, is how it shall stay.

With the obvious exceptions, of course.

A quick trip through the development this week showed that some of the condo owners like big wreaths. Some like small ones. Some like bows on their doors or garland on their banisters. Some like welcome signs on their porches and some don’t. Individuality is allowed for flowers in the summer, Coombs said. But there shall be no flags, and it says so right in the condo bylaws.

Christmas Jihad in Stockholm

Feel the love from Islam! Two car bombs go off in Stockholm, Sweden, killing one. Key quote from an email claiming credit for the attack:

“Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you continue to wage your war against Islam and insulting the prophet and your stupid support of the pig Vilks. . . .” [The email continues by encouraging] all Muslims in Sweden to “stop sucking up and debasing yourselves,” then ends with another exhortation to “all the mujahideen in Europe and Sweden. . . . Now is the time to attack, do not wait any longer. Come forward with whatever you have, even if it’s just a knife and I know you have more than just knives. Do not fear anyone, do not fear jail, do not fear death.”

Court to rule on ObamaCare constitutionality Monday

Court to rule on the constitutionality of ObamaCare on Monday. Key quote:

Normally, all comprehensive laws contain a boilerplate severance clause: it says that if any portion of the law is found to be unconstitutional, that portion is severed from the rest of the law — that is, the rest of the law stands. But ObamaCare contains no severance clause. Virginia is asserting that if it prevails on its substantive claims, the whole law is unconstitutional. (If Virginia does not prevail, any one of the twenty-plus legal challenges have the same severance argument available.)

This really isn’t the best way to get rid of this idiotic law, but we should also take any bone we can get.

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