Political Rants by Judy @ 12:30 PM

There was no Wacky Wednesday yesterday, probably because I hadn’t caught up on my sleep since The Great Frozen Door Latch Fiasco. Nothing yesterday seemed all that wacky to me. But… if Monday came on Tuesday this week, then Wednesday can come on Thursday.

Yesterday was Bill Of Rights Day It was the 213th anniversary of the first 10 Amendments to the US Constitution — those wacky little afterthoughts that give us some of the freedoms we all seem to take way too much for granted. Like the first one, for example:

Amendment 1 – Religion, Speech, Press, Assembly, Petition

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.

This is the little addition to the Constitution that give me the freedom to write here about whatever I please — even if it’s to make derrogatory and derisive comments about Dubya and his neo-con wing-nut followers. And, if you are one of those, it give you the freedom to make derisive comments about me, too. And I find that very cool.

It means that I can blog in peace without expecting the Secret Service, CIA, FBI, or a handful of other letters, to show up on my doorstep and cart me away only to bury me in some deep dark hole where I will never be seen or heard from again, but wherein I will suffer a long and painful demise, simply because I made some remark that the Government saw as subversive.

It means that journalists can not be forced to reveal their sources.

It means that your faith is your business, and you can raise your children in that faith without fear of negative consequences from the government.

It means that your faith is your business, and I don’t have to worry about having my nose rubbed in it all the time.

It means that I can send my son to public school without fearing that his head will be stuffed with a lot of religious nonsense that I don’t agree with under the guise of teaching “science,” “sex education” or civics.

Well… OK, some of these statements are uphill battles, still.

In fact, a lot of them are.

A federal judge last week sentenced Rhode Island television reporter Jim Taricani to six months of house arrest for refusing to name the source of an FBI surveillance tape. Taricani broke no law by airing the tape, and the source voluntarily identified himself before the sentencing.

Reporters from The New York Times and Time magazine are appealing a contempt ruling and could each be jailed for up to 18 months for refusing to testify about their confidential sources in a probe into whether the Bush administration illegally leaked a covert CIA officer’s name to the media.

U.S. reporters have been held in contempt for refusing to disclose sources in stories about scientist Wen Ho Lee, who was suspected of espionage at the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory and later pleaded guilty to a less severe charge.

In April, U.S. marshals seized reporters’ tape recorders during public remarks by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and returned them only after Scalia’s comments were erased.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton declared his speech at Tufts University “off the record,” even though the event was open to the public.

In 11 of its last 12 free-speech rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected First Amendment claims.

A judge refused to delay a trial Tuesday when an attorney objected to his wearing a judicial robe with the Ten Commandments embroidered on the front in gold. Circuit Judge Ashley McKathan showed up Monday at his Covington County courtroom in southern Alabama wearing the robe. McKathan told The Associated Press that he believes the Ten Commandments represent the truth “and you can’t divorce the law from the truth. … The Ten Commandments can help a judge know the difference between right and wrong.”

A Texas school district was sued Wednesday for censorship after a third-grade student was prohibited from distributing candy canes with religious messages.

Don’t let the wing-nuts erode our basic liberties. Let’s keep the ones those whack-job Founding Fathers guaranteed us in the Bill Of Rights. When you see something that is contrary to these freedoms, exercise the one given you in the First Amendment and speak out!

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    • It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.

      (Bill Vaughan, journalist)
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