The Wacky World of the First Amendment

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to disrupt military funerals with their protests against gays, perhaps it is time for the church to move the bar a little higher. The Court gave them the right to protest virtually anywhere they want, so why don’t they take their signs and bullhorns into the Supreme Court chambers.

the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of speach, so the church members should be allowed to speak out loud and long in the Court chambers.

The media coverage would be world-class, because the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, and a protest at the Supreme Court would be front-page news. Everyone would hear the Westboro Baptist Church’s message.

Because it is a church, and the First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, even if the religion was cobbled together of family members, just so they could walk over the rights of others, the Court certainly would not be able to complain.

First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to peacefully assemble. The Court would have to uphold their protest.

It is odd that the Court did not mention the First Amendment to the Constitution’s right to petition the government to seek regress of grievances, which is exactly what the family members of the fallen warriors did after the Westboro Baptist Church disrupted funeral services. Somehow I think that if the Court sanctioned protests were held in the Court chambers, the Judges might take a closer look at that section of the First Amendment. I guess its importance is relative to who’s ox is being gored.

If anyone out there believes the founding fathers, the writers of the constitution, the people who fought a war, and buried their military dead with honor and ceremony, would have allowed that type of disruption at a military funeral, they need to go back and read a little history. There are things that are so inappropriate, so obvious, that the founders did not feel the need to address them in the Constitution. The could not foresee the total loss of common sense.

By the way, my hat is off to Judge Samuel Alito, the one dissenting vote. It is good to know that there is still one member of the United States Supreme Court who understands the spirit of the law as it was written by our forefathers.

Advertisements
Published in: on March 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: ,

Political Poem

This is another bleedover from my poetry site. Couldn’t pass it up.

Political Haiku

Flickr image from foreclosurpro

A politician’s
Most fundamental question,
What’s in it for me?

The Way of Things

The new people in the congress,
Intent upon disruption,
Soon will be slowing down
To the speed of mass corruption.

An honest politician
Is such a fleeting breath.
Seldom do we catch it
Before it meets its death.

The people are important,
With their torches and their axes.
Without their marching hordes,
Where would we get our taxes?

Published in: on March 4, 2011 at 8:19 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

The Wave of the Future

Anything that won’t sell, I don’t want to invent. Its sale is proof of utility, and utility is success.
Thomas A. Edison—inventor

I have been a bit remiss in posting in the Ooz, spending too much time in my poetry blog I guess, but an article I read in the Mail Online today http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1360297/25-000-eco-classroom-used-solar-panels-dont-provide-heat.html, demands every bit of coverage it can get.

The quote from Thomas Edison, printed above, is also quite apt. Edison believe that an invention should be useful, something the people wanted, would use, and most importantly, something many people would pay for.

The fact that there is a tiny pool of gullible people who will buy anything was not relevant. Of course, in his day, there was not a larger pool of politicians waiting to spend other peoples’ tax dollars on any kind of tomfoolery, which might buy them another vote.

Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

OF CANCER AND COLA

This is a reposting of a post I made in my other blog http://thepoetsquill.wordpress.com/. I have never done this before, because they are radically different in their purposes. This theme, however, does fit with what I place in the St. Louis Ooz, so here goes.

I haven’t mentioned it before, but I’m kind of a science freak. I read several science blogs everyday when I’m not writing poetry.

Yesterday the news was full of panic because a chemical used in giving cola drinks their brown color has been found to be a carcinogen. Such stories should always be taken with a grain of salt, and anything from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), is ALWAYS suspect.

We’ve known since Paracelsus in the 1500’s that the poison is in the dose, and as a former police detective, I enjoy researching things that grab my attention. A little digging led to the fun of writing a rather offbeat poem. It was written quick and dirty, and needs serious editing, but it isn’t destined to become a classic, so I think I’ll let it ride.

OF CANCER AND COLA
by Mike Patrick

Flickr image by Jose L. Pedroso

A startling thing I read today:
Coca Cola should be feared.
Cancer causing chemicals
Have suddenly appeared.

But when one reads the fine print
It seems not all is lost.
Only rodents are in danger
In the many lives it’s cost.

Massive doses the rats were fed
Of chemicals quite rare.
The truth is not in the news release.
Why must they always scare?

150,000 cans a day
A man would have to drink
To equal what the rat just took
To put it on the brink.

Everything causes cancer
Yet the cancer rate still drops.
It’s time to be a skeptic
Until all this lying stops.

Published in: on February 18, 2011 at 10:13 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

Sweet Subsidies

Did you ever wonder about the return one gets for tax dollars? There is a bit of a sad story at the Examiner http://washingtonexaminer.com/politics/2011/02/green-energy-plant-sucks-subsidies-then-goes-bust of a bio-fuel plant closing down. It is an example of what we get for our subsidy dollars.

Range Fuels built a cutting-edge refinery, to turn wood chips into fuel. Net cost to the taxpayer: $162,000,000, and private investors added another $100,000,000. $262 million and the amount of bio-fuel they produced: zero. The realization that the taxpayers and green investors were taken for a ride: priceless.

Don’t worry. We are still subsidizing bio-fuel, and the farmers are doing somewhat better than Range Fuels, but bio-fuel costs more to make than it is worth. The same goes for wind generated electricity and photoelectric cell electricity, but what the heck. It’s only taxpayer money. Do you suppose it’s too late to jump on the investment wagon?

An Answer to Slick Roads

After weeks of snow and ice cover, I am glad to say that an end is near. An inventor has an idea to keep that ice and snow off our roads. Fox News has a fine article on this potential marvel of science at http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/02/02/solar-powered-glass-road-melt-snow-automatically/ .

There may be one fly in the ointment. Our intrepid inventor needs a little public cash to work out the feasibility of his road warming, solar-powered, glass road cover. He wants a $750,000 grant to build a prototype and see if it works.

Now this is the kind of project the government can get behind. First, it is exorbitantly expensive; according to Watts Up With That http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/06/at-4-4-million-per-mile-a-road-to-snow-where/, up to $4.4 million a mile.

And what could go wrong. Glass solar panels are strong enough for truck traffic aren’t they? High temperature summer expansion and winter frost buckling might not affect it. The solar panels contain photoelectric cells (they are cheap), which do not work well when dirty (we can give the homeless squeegees and pay them a few bucks), and batteries will have to be used to store the electricity to warm the road (luckily they are cheap and last forever). Water lines under roads never break. Glass is a wonderful product, which never gets slick when wet. Stopping distances will be shorter. It never gets cold enough or snows hard enough to overpower those feeble heating elements. In the off-chance that snow should overpower it, enough light will certainly get through to keep the system charged. Even then, those last-ditch effort snowplows will not mar its surface. It never snows at night when the system cannot recharge itself. No trees, buildings or roadway cuts ever cast shadows on the road. Fallen leaves, trash or road debris will not be a problem. The gouge in the roadway from a loaded truck losing a wheel will not cut deep enough damage the cells. I believe that we can all agree that maintenance costs will be effectively zero. The fact that even the best solar cells, placed in ideal locations, only last about twenty years, should not be a problem. At $4.4 million a mile, we can just rip them up and replace them. Think of all the jobs.

Yep, this is something the government can sink its teeth into. Any idiot can see that this is an idea whose time has come.

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yasi, a Force of Nature, Not Man-Made Global Warming

Anyone who has spent a few nights in a tent during a storm can tell you: The world doesn’t care all that much if you live or die.
Anthony Doerr-writer

For those with friends in Australia, eyes are turning to weather channels showing the massive cyclone, Yasi, as it begins to hammer the coast. To get an idea of the power of this storm, there is an article in Watts Up With That, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/01/the-approach-of-cyclone-yasi-as-told-by-the-data/, showing the automated readings from the evacuated weather station on Willis Island, right up until Yasi blasted it off the air, and possibly off the planet.

Apparently someone has said that cyclone ground falls in Australia are unusual; although I have not been able to locate that quote, Seven Goddard, in his blog, http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/cyclones-are-a-rare-event-in-australia/, preempted that argument.

If it has not already happened, there will soon be stories of Yasi being the result of man made global warming. Australians blogger JoNova, posted in http://joannenova.com.au/2011/02/yasi-is-a-monster-but-not-an-unusual-one/, on the expert work of Jon Nott, who has compiled a record of cyclone strikes on Australia going back 5,000 years. It seems that Yasi is huge, but not unusually so when compared to cyclones of the past.

Do not be sucked into that man made global warming trap. It is not true.

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,

Wake up Call

There is a legend. And to protest is daft.
Peter O’Toole-actor

Thou shalt not tape unless all parties consent. That seems like a simple enough concept. Sounds like a law written to keep the police from taping criminals without a warrant; however, it is a two-edged sword.

So Chris Drew, a Chicago artist discovered, according to an article in the Mail Online at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1349966/Chicago-artist-Chris-Drew-faces-15-years-jail-recorded-arrest.html?ito=feeds-newsxml.

Mr. Drew set out to protest a Chicago law limiting where artist can sell their work. As a hippy in the 1960s, he learned how to protest, so he geared up to modernize his efforts. He was going to be arrested and videotape his arrest to embarrass the police. Big deal, a misdemeanor arrest, just right to anger enough people to push for a change in the law.

It took three tries before the police took the bait and arrested Mr. Drew. The third time was a charm. He was arrested and the whole thing was videotaped; Drew’s definitive proof of the unfairness of the soliciting law.

Only after his arrest did Mr. Drew learn about the Illinois eavesdropping law. Taping, without prior consent of all parties being taped is a class 1 felony, punishable by up to three years in prison . . . unless a judge, a prosecutor, or the police are those being unknowing videotaped. Then the punishment is up to fifteen years. Doh!

Mr. Drew has changed the focus of his protest. He is now protesting the eavesdropping law. Imagine that.

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags:

It’s Your Body

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals.
William Osler-scientist

After yesterdays rant on government and do-gooder interference into private lives, I stumbled on an article on Shaw’s Eco-Logic http://ecologic.typepad.com/shaws_ecologic/2011/01/are-you-kidding-yourself.html, which illustrates what I meant. The posting is on unfounded fear mongering about cholesterol. Along with the excellent post, there are some invaluable links to additional sites supplying research statistics. While it can be proven that statin drugs can reduce cholesterol, there is no research that shows lowering cholesterol reduces the likelihood of heart disease, or influences health at all.

I was already aware of the false cholesterol findings through Junkfood Science http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/, but what I want to get through is, be your own advocate. Do not take anyone else’s word on things that pertain to you personally.

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags:

Mandatory Mischief

The Harvard Law states: Under controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrition, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.
Larry Wall-author

We stopped at Burger King today for lunch and ate in the restaurant. After we had finished our meal, I glanced at the place mat, or whatever it is they use to line their serving trays. Printed on the thing, both the front and back, was nutritional information. The front explained how I could have it my way for under 650 calories, by ordering one of six meals displayed.

On the back was the listing of their entire menu, followed by columns with the header listings for Calories, Calories from Fat, total Fat, Sat. Fat, Trans Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Carbs, and Protein.

Overlooking the fact that all this vital information was presented on a paper, placed on the tray under the food I had already ordered, my question is, who wants it? I go to Burger King to get my comfort foods: a burger, fries and a Coke. If I was worried about all that gobbledygook, I would not be in Burger King, I would be at home eating salads.

I do not know if this information is Burger King’s attempt to be responsible or if it is government mandated, but it is a waste of time and money printing it out. I did not see anyone else in the crowded restaurant even look at it. If Burger King wants to do something for me, start cooking the French fries in the earlier generation of cooking oil, the one that gave the fries the great taste. I am an adult. I do not need Burger King, or the government, telling me what to eat, and I damn sure do not need them trying to tell me what I like.

As for it being for my own good, I have already lived longer than 95% of the Homo sapiens who walked this earth, and I’m still good for a lot more years. Any health problems I enter into now will be due to aging. Neanderthals did not live long enough to have to worry about aging diseases. Is it not wonderful that we do?

As a child, I lived on a farm. I do not remember my mother ever fixing a meal that did not include gravy. We ate fried meat, fried eggs, fried potatoes and fried green tomatoes. It did not harm us. Does anyone really think that changing their diet will allow them live forever?

I grew up in a society where over 50% of the people smoked. None of them ever believed smoking was good for them, but it was something they enjoyed. The only one of them that died of a smoking disease was my father, emphysema got him after smoking a couple of packs a day from the time he was 14 until he was into his seventies—well over the average life expectancy. He enjoyed it, it was no one else’s business. I never started smoking because my high school coach said smokers would be kicked off the football team, but all the second-hand smoke from a lifetime of being around smokers never harmed me.

Working on the farm, I handled animals, fertilizers and pesticides. They never harmed me or anyone else. They allowed us to improve and increase farm production, and to feed more people.

It is time for the government, and the do-gooders, to get out of our kitchens, get out of our bedrooms, get out of our businesses and get out of our lives. If the do-gooders are concerned, they should spend their time and money cleaning up their own lives—the lives that concern them. If the government wants any credibility, they should read the bills they pass, and those bills should affect them just as much as the everyday citizens. The government that governs the best, governs the least.

Published in: on January 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: ,