Category Archives: Free Speech

Atheism vs China

The difference between being anti-christian and atheist is one simply does not believe in any god and allows everyone to worship whatever they want and the other tried to stomp out christianity as a way of worship.  A wide majority of atheist are *not* anti-christian.  Though many of us point out the inconsistencies as we see them with religions, at the end of the day we agree that people should be free to worship or not worship what they want.

Square this with our “most favored trade partner”, China.  They recently stole 300 bibles from a christian group who had arrived to give out bibles for free to whomever wanted them.  There was no theological argument here, no explanation of why this group could not give away the book they believe in, they just took the mother fuckers like thugs running free in post-apocalyptic Bangkok.

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Filed under Democrats, First Amendment, Free Speech, Politics, Religion, Republicans

Of Free Speech, Janet’s Boob and the FCC

You know I have to comment on “Nipple Gate” aka Janet Jackson’s nipple at the super bowl. As most of you know the fine levied against CBS for the incident has been tossed out.

Here is my take.

I contend, with them and the original George Carlin lawsuit involving the FCC, that the government does not have the right to restrict free speech simply because it hates the words being used. Our freedom of speech should only be tempered in cases when the danger is clear, present and imminent- such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. However, using words like shit, piss, cocksucker, motherfucker, fuck, god damn, etc… should not be regulated because there is no provable negative effect that anyone can demonstrate in a controlled, scientifically sound experiment.

The republicans can always be counted on to invoke the “free market” as a “decider”. If something cannot make it on the free market, their theory goes, then it should die. I agree. I believe now that we are in an age with hundreds of television channels it is time to let the free market decide what programming is appropriate. If “family friendly” channels can make money then they obviously would spring up all over the place. As long as there are children to sell cereal to and religious adults afraid of speaking and acting in an “adult” fashion there will always be a market for them. We don’t need the FCC to regulate any speech, at all. Allowing the market to provide the right wingers with the programming they chose is the conservative thing to do. It would allow the liberals to cling to their cherished first amendment and the righties to ching to their free market ideology. Win meet win.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under Corporations, FCC, First Amendment, Free Speech, Politics, Religion, Republicans, Science, Sex, Sex Ed, Supreme Court

Happy Birthday Hunter!

Today is Hunter S Thompson’s birthday.  He would have been 71.  I’m having a drink (or five) in his memory, I encourage you to do the same.

Cheers,

Tom

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Filed under First Amendment, Free Speech, History, Politics, Religion, Writers

Vote With Your Best Interests In Mind

If Americans would vote with their best interests in mind our society would be able to change the politics in Washington. Think about it.

What effects you?

Taxes, certainly. When the richest Americans get the tax cuts in an era where the price of gas, home heating oil and food rise while we have the value of houses and the dollar plummet, banks going belly up and people having their houses taken from them for lack of payment then something is wrong. And don’t come at me with that “the top 2% of Americans pay 40% of the taxes”. They should. They top 2% of Americans are enjoying the rarefied air of the top 2% of opportunity. Billionaires should pay millions in taxes. Millionaires should pay ten of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands (depending on if they are making $1 million a year or $999 million a year) of dollars in taxes. A person with children making $10,000 a year not only should not pay income tax, they should not have any federal income tax taken out of their check. We should help the poorest Americans by giving them a fucking break. Likewise, we should tax the billionaires at an appropriate rate to reflect the fact that it was/is America that has given them the precipice on which they sit.

Cheers,

Tom

Gay marriage? Are you gay? If not, why do you care what others do? You don’t have to accept their nuptials as legit.

Illegal immigration? Definitely. You might be inclined to say “no” if you live in an area without them, but no matter what side of the issue you are on there is no debate that millions of dollars go to bankroll their existence in our country, while they, by and large, do not pay taxes.

Abortion? Again, a tricky one. As a married guy it does not effect me directly, however, I am of the opinion that abortion is a medical procedure and should not be legislated on by a body that consists of lawyers with little to no medical training aka congress and/or the Supreme Court (I know technically the court doesn’t legislate from the bench, but that is debatable as some of their “interpretations are so radical that they are making law in a de facto style.)

Guns rights? Definitely. If more states would allow qualified people to conceal and carry our crime rates would go down. A good example of this is the fact that most “massacre” type of killings in America take place in GUN FREE ZONES such as Post Offices and schools. Am I authorizing high schools have their ban lifted on fire arms? Absolutely not, but that is a very interesting statistic to note.

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Filed under Free Speech, Gay Rights, Guns, Politics, Poverty, Presidential Race 2008, Supreme Court

The New Yorker Cover

So much for the “liberal media bias”.  Particularly noteworthy is the picture of an Osama bin Laden-esque figure on the right and the American flag burning in the fireplace on the bottom right.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-free speech and free press, so this is in no way criminal.  It’s just in poor taste.  Note, being free to say/print things does not negate others’ right to supply a retort.
Cheers,
Tom
July 21, 2008 cover of "The New Yorker"

July 21, 2008 cover of "The New Yorker"

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Filed under Comedy, First Amendment, Free Speech, Politics, Presidential Race 2008, Religion

Ireland

Last year after running with the bulls my wife (then girlfriend) and I went to Ireland.  We rented a Toyota stick shift (of note: in England and Ireland it is cheaper to rent a stick shift- automatics are much higher in price) and I was shocked that it took $75 to fill it up.  Of course, this was before the US dollar crashed (help in large part to W’s borrowing money from China and Japan to finance the Iraq War).  Today I paid $66 to fill my jalopy up, which is a record.

We set about to get a preview of as much of Ireland as possible.  Kind of a survey of what the island of nation had to offer.  One of the more memorable moments was pulling into Belfast on July 12th.  That’s the day known as “the troubles”.  Everything was closed.  We couldn’t even get fast food.  Luckily, we talked to a guy named Patrick who offered black cab taxi tours of the city.

Patrick's Cab

Patrick's Cab

Those tours take you through the city and showcase the struggle for Ireland’s independence from the tyranny of England.  While we wrapped up getting the blokes off of our back over 200 years ago, the Irish that live on the northern part of the island are still under control of the foreign invaders.  The 12th commemorates William of Orange’s victory at the Battle of Boyne.  Oddly, William wasn’t even English, being born in the Hague.

Anyways, what you need to know is every year on this date the good people of Belfast burn a city block of things.  Whatever will burn they put out and torch it in a central locale.  When we past it a child was sifting through the rubble with parts still burning.  It made me wonder what the American authorities would do if the same happened here.

Belfast fire

Belfast fire

From there we rode around the area of the “peace wall”, which is a wall built to separate the people that live in Belfast who want to continue under British rule- the protestants, and the Irish people that want to join the Republic of Ireland in the cause of independence- the Catholics.

The Peace Wall, Belfast, July 12, 2007

The Peace Wall, Belfast, July 12, 2007

As an atheist I have to just go with logic and say the whole island should be its own country.  It doesn’t make any sense to me that the UK commits military forces to keep the natives of the country down.  In my mind the island of Ireland should be one.

Here are some pics from the tour with some explanation following:

Picture of Oliver Cromwell- Hero to some, Asshole to Others

Picture of Oliver Cromwell- Hero to some, Asshole to Others

Taken from wikipedia’s account of Cromwell’s life “In Britain he was elected as one of the Top 10 Britons of all time in a 2002 BBC poll.[1] His measures against Irish Catholics have been characterized by some historians as genocidal or near-genocidal,[2] and in Ireland itself he is widely hated”.  If fact, Ireland has its own September 11th.  In 1649 Cromwell led the Massacre at Drogheda where he and his men killed about 3500 people after the town was captured.  These included many civilians and Priests.

Fredrick Douglas

Fredrick Douglas

Along the route were many murals.  Here is one to Fredrick Douglas.  To the left caption reads, “Inspired by two Irishmen to escape from slavery Frederick Douglas came to Ireland during the famine. Henceforth he championed the abolition of slavery, women’s rights and Irish freedom.”  To the right is a quote from Douglas, “Perhaps no class has carried prejudice against colour to a point more danger than have the Irish and yet no people have been more relentlessly oppressed on the account of race and religion”

Bobby Sands

Bobby Sands

Probably the most popular of the murals is the one dedicated to Bobby Sands.  Sands was jailed by the British for his involvement in IRA activities, but was denied the status of “political prisoner”.  While in prison Sands was voted in as a member of Parliament!  However, Margaret Thatcher and the UK authorities still would not end their iron hand upon the citizens of Ireland.  This led Bobby Sands head up a 1981 Hunger Strike that ultimately claimed his life, along with 9 others.  Now before you jump to the conclusion that Sands and others were starving themselves to “free Ireland” or some other large undoable request, here is a list of their five simple demands:

  1. The right not to wear a prison uniform;
  2. The right not to do prison work;
  3. The right of free association with other prisoners, and to organise educational and recreational pursuits;
  4. The right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per week;
  5. Full restoration of remission lost through the protest.

The significance of the hunger strike was the prisoners’ aim of being declared as political prisoners (or prisoners of war) and not to be classed as criminals.

That’s it.  They wanted to be treated better.  They wanted it to be known that they were being jailed for their actions toward freeing Ireland of English rule.  That’s it.  But Maggie wouldn’t budge.  Instead she allowed 10 of Ireland’s sons to die.  But it backfired.  The hunger strike led to massive media coverage and people joined the IRA in droves.  The deaths continue to be an inspiration to people the world over and a symbol of determination of self rule.

The caption beside Sands reads, “Everyone, Republican (Edit: the Irish nationalist) or otherwise has their own particular role to play…  our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”

And so it is…

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Filed under Civil Rights, Free Speech, History, Ireland, Politics, Religion

Savagely Stolen Video: Yea, This About Sums It Up

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Filed under Civil Rights, Corporations, Free Speech, Gay Rights, Politics, Presidential Race 2008, Republicans, Savagely Stolen News, Science, Sex Ed, Supreme Court