Tarheeltalker

Free Speech and Boxer Shorts

Gotta be one of my favorite titles ever even if  I did write it! To add more excitement mix in liberal( pun intended) doses of the ACLU, that liberal bastion of Boulder, Co and one has quite  an interesting recipe.

Seems that there is an individual that a frequent critic of the Boulder City Council ( fyi: Boulder is a predominantly Democrat city so why anyone would criticize the council is amazing in itself)  and was in action again just a few days ago. Apparently, he was quite vexed by something because as his public comments continued he began to shed his clothing. Before stopping he was wearing only boxer shorts.

The council responded by proposing a measure that would prohibit stripping while addressing the council as well as wearing a mask or otherwise being contemptuous. Somehow a local ACLU chapter got wind of this and howled in protest. They contended that  the decorum rules would have ” a chilling effect” on free speech. They are kidding, right? Probably not , I doubt that the ACLU, the “nation’s guardian of liberty ” according to their website, hardly ever kids.

As a rule, I am not an ACLU fan, but will admit that there are times when they serve a good purpose. But not in this case. I believe the only chilling effect here would consist of the air conditioning  being set too low during our critic’s boxer shorts interlude. Besides , most city councils could use a bit more decorum. Have to wonder, if  a lady had begun to engage in similar behavior, would our guardians have reacted the same. Just a thought.

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August 16, 2010 Posted by | Culture | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Internet Dosing

Not an article about the internet but a certifiable scary way that it may soon be used. When I read about this, I was quite disturbed. As I reflected a bit, I could not imagine why civil libertarians, the ACLU and all those who abhor government intrusion were not shouting from the rooftops in protest. This action, if it comes about even close to how it is described is far worse than the FBI or CIA  or NSA maybe peeking at your email or cell phone conversation.

So, what is it? Well, how would you like to get your medication via a computer chip implant with dosages regulated by a physician online? Sounds just wonderful and impossibly far-fetched, right? Not so far-fetched at all, I am afraid.

This from Cybercast News Service, linked to by Rush. Just last week the Senate Committee on Aging, chaired by Herb Kohl, D, Wi , previewed the government’s role in future health care. Nicknamed e-Health or e-Care, the effort marries internet technology with health-care technology.

This next is one such feature. It is known as the automatic drug dispenser. Among its (it is  an electronic chip attached to the skin) features are the monitoring and adjusting of drugs wirelessly with no need to visit one’s physician or pharmacist.  The doctor can vary the doses, wirelessly, based  on  the feedback received from the device. Sen Ron Wyden, D, OR displayed the innocent little device at the Senate hearing.

This very ominous quote from Rush, ” They want to set up a device connected to your skin where your doctor via the Internet can regulate the dosages of whatever medications they have you on. Can you say, death panels, anybody?”

I don’t particular care to be an alarmist but this concept frankly scares  the “dickens” out of me. Can you imagine the enormous potential for controlling behaviour or worse?

April 27, 2010 Posted by | Health, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Whom Can You Pray?

This might appear to be a post with  a religious theme and in a minor sense it is that.But there is more of  a judicial/political element that will dominate our story.

The President has nominated Judge David Hamilton of Indiana to the U  S Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. He is currently Chief Judge of  the U  S district Court for the Southern District of Indiana. He was nominated in March and the Senate Judiciary Committee approved him in June. Sen Harry Reid has set a vote for the full Senate on Tuesday the 17th.

A couple of interesting facts about Judge Hamilton. In 2005, he ruled that the Indiana state legislature could not open its sessions with so-called Christian prayers and that these prayers must not use Christian terms such as Jesus Christ or savior. His ruling stated that the use of proselytizing terms  in prayers at the Indiana  statehouse was in violation of the U S  Constitution. This quote from his ruling is oddly disturbing and I  am not sure why. ” Those who wish to participate in a practice of official prayer must be willing to stay within constitutional bounds.” I’m uncertain which  part disturbs me more; that there is such a thing as official prayer or that there is some type of constitutional bounds for prayer. Somehow, I don’t think prayer can be contained within any bounds known to man. Anyway, Judge Hamilton also ruled in a post-judgment motion that it was not sectarian for a Muslim imam to offer a prayer to Allah. Confused, yep, me too. Kinda, sorta sounds politically correct, does it not?

A couple of other items. The judge  was briefly a fund-raiser for ACORN, great thing for your resume, if you want to be an Obama guy. The other you will either like  a lot or dislike a lot, depending on your political point of view. He was an officer in the Indiana branch of the ACLU. Presumably, that would indicate his somewhat sympathetic to their viewpoint.

In all probability, given the composition of the Senate, he will be confirmed next week. If so, the 7th Circuit could bear watching along with that left coast bastion, the fabled 9th Circuit.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Traveling Through Medina

Not the city in the Saudi Arabia, but the one located in the state of Washington; actually should be considered a suburb of Seattle, I guess. It  is a  small city of  3,100 with an extraordinarily high average income of several times the national average. It also has a relatively unique sign welcoming those who enter the city limits. ” You are Entering a 24 hour Video Surveillance Area.” Bet that  gets the attention of first time visitors.

The stated goal is a worthy one, of crime prevention and solving crimes if they indeed happen. Opinions vary on that count. Police chief Jeffrey Chen is a fan, maintaining that the cameras(installed at intersections to monitor all incoming traffic) give him  an advantage over  criminals. Since the system takes  a picture of the license plate of all vehicles  and then runs it through a database( don’t know what kind) information can be transmitted directly to police if  a vehicle has been involved in a crime. Voila, a leg up on the evildoers.

Now, the city seems to have a low crime rate, 11 burglaries last year for example. But,according to Chen, one burglary is too many. One other intriguing fact  is that the info is kept for 60 days, just in case something turns up later. If it does,gotcha!

Here comes an unusual thing, at least for me. I am somewhat in agreement with the ACLU  on this one. Doug  Honig is  a spokesman for the Washington ACLU. He has this to say.”Government shouldn’t be keeping records of people’s comings and goings when they haven’t done anything wrong. By actions like this, we’re moving closer and closer to  asurveillance society.”‘  Strongly agree with that. But, a council member in Medina begs to differ. Lucius Biglow says that preventing crime outweighs concerns  over  privacy. Hope he watches his speed through town.

Another member of the council had this to say. “We’re not elitist at all….What we’re doing here is protecting our citizenry.” So said Robert Rudolph.

Just to add to the above story, there is similar activity, albeit on a somewhat larger scale, going on in New York City.Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that  an existing network of surveillance equipment already place in Lower Manhattan will soon expand uptown. This is  due to a Homeland Security grant  received to assist in those efforts.

This comment was made by the myor in response to a criticism of the efforts.To me, it says volumes and I am afraid is a bit chilling. “We live in a world where  we have to have a balance. We can’t just say that everybody can go everyplace and do anything they want.” What he did not add was that if you do, we will very likely be abe to see you do it.

October 11, 2009 Posted by | Culture, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Smelly Fish and Cookies

It was about a week ago that I  posted about  the White House blog and its urging for people to report on fishy information being spread around about health care. Well, here comes chapter 2  and  it is brought to us by two unusual sources who rarely if ever are linked . These strange bedfellows are Judicial Watch and the ACLU. Surprised, yep, me too. Got to be  some fire if both these groups believe there is some smoke.

The issue here is the Obama plan to reverse a 9 year old ban on cookies, no, not Oreos or Fig Newtons. These  cookies are those  that  can inhabit our computers and can be used in various ways to track  or even identify an individual online. There has been a ban on using these types of technology on  federal government websites since the year 2000. Now, the Office of Management and Budget is proposing that this policy be reversed since it has evidently determined that there is a “compelling need” for doing so. Of course, OMB reports to the President.

The ACLU, normally in Obama’s corner,  is up in arms about what it calls  a”sea change” in policy regarding ones privacy when visiting federal websites. It further plans to vigorously protest  until multitudes of questions are answered to its  satisfaction. So says Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington legislative Office.

What a tag team, Judicial Watch and the ACLU versus the White House. Could be interesting to watch.

Paging Bill Clinton to mediate.

August 12, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Technology | , , , , , , | 4 Comments