Category Archives: Politics

Judge OK’s Nudity At TSA Checkpoint


“I was mostly motivated by the absurdity of it all. The irony that they wanna see me naked. But I don’t get to take my clothes off?”

–John Brennan

Score one for the First Amendment

Brennan gets naked in Portlandia. [Youtube]

So this 50-year-old hipster, John Brennan was taking a business trip from Portland to San Jose when he was selected for the TSA’s favourite controversial toy: the “nudie scanner.” Well, instead of letting Big Brother take a naked photo of him to sell to some dubious website, he chose the manual option.  Long story short, the TSA agent found traces of nitrates on his gloves after the screening.  Nitrates, among other, more common sources of exposure, are found in explosives.  Mr. Brennan was in the process of being detained when he decided that he had nothing to hide, and exposed everything right there in the terminal.  Consequently, he was arrested and charged with indecent exposure.

In a rational decision by a local court judge, Brennan was found not guilty on the basis that his actions constituted peaceful protest and were protected under the Bill of Rights.  Score one for the good guys?

Catch the full story on Wired‘s Threat Level.

TSA: Grope & Pillage (An Infographic)


TSA Waste

This pretty much says all.

The Tax System Explained in Beer


Howdy folks, it’s getting near tax time again!  Enjoy this little gem from the archives while you itemise your deductions.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing The fifth would pay $1 The sixth would pay $3 The seventh would pay $7 The eighth would pay $12 The ninth would pay $18 The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball. “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a h higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving). The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!” “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.  –   Professor of Economics. (via Independent Journal Review)

SOPA/PIPA STRIKE


Today, we are striking against censorship

Join the largest online protest in history: tell Congress to stop this bill now!

Not In The US? Petition The State Department.

I am writing to you as a voter in your district. I urge you to vote “no” on cloture for S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act, on Jan. 24th. The PROTECT IP Act is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted. It does not deserve floor consideration. I urge my representative to vote “no” on SOPA, the corresponding House bill.

Over coming days you’ll be hearing from the many businesses, advocacy organizations, and ordinary Americans who oppose this legislation because of the myriad ways in which it will stifle free speech and innovation. We hope you’ll take our concerns to heart and oppose this legislation by voting “no” on cloture.

Join The Strike! and add this to your site

Learn More:

Watch the video ·
American Censorship page ·
View the Infographic

Read SOPA on OpenCongress ·
Read PIPA on OpenCongress

The three most definitive articles on SOPA and PIPA: Free Speech, Problems, Security

Fight for the Future is a non-profit organization fighting for people’s freedoms in a new digital age.

Protection In The Nuclear Age


And after exposure to a nuclear blast, he became Jigsaw Man!

I’m a sucker for old Cold War memorabilia.  I love the whole aesthetic of a post-nuclear-apocalyptic survival story.  Nuclear energy fascinates me as does the silent and invisible radiation that surrounds it.  I love reading stories about near-misses:  The Able-Archer Exercise and The Cuban Missile Crisis among them.  Dr. Strangelove is one of my favourite movies, and Ronald Reagan will probably be my favourite president because he was ready, willing, and able to fight if the War ever got hot (and spent his time poking fun at the Russians and mirthfully provoking Gorbachev before just beating the living daylights out of them economically).  The EBS frightened me because I understood what it was for, but couldn’t wrap my young mind around the fact that it was “just a test.”

That being said, I’ve had this pamphlet nearly memorised–mostly for entertainment, but also in the remote possibility that we suddenly move into DEFCON 2.  Browse its pages, satiate your curiosity, and the next time we get in an elevated conflict, you’ll be ready!

Download Protection In The Nuclear Age (.pdf)

Occupy Gotham City


The one thing the Occupy Idiots fail to realise is that corporations do not pay taxes:  corporations take taxes into account when they charge you for products or services.  The consumer is the only one who bears the burden of corporate taxes.  At the same time, government does not create jobs–the private sector does, and taking money away from the private sector takes away potential growth and potential jobs.

Children Banned From Shooting Events in 2012 Ticket Giveaway


There is no link between Olympic-level shooting and crime. It’s like saying that a thief would use a Formula One car as a getaway car.

David Penn, British Shooting Sports Council

Olympic pistol hopeful and Commonwealth Games medallist Georgina Geikie.

For some strange reason, British authorities see trained marksmen firing weapons at targets as somehow enticing children to commit violent crime.  While this strange bout of logic (something about shooting events “glorifying guns”) may seem odd to those of us familiar with the U.S. Bill of Rights, I somewhat understand Britain’s apprehensiveness about guns.  I mean, the last time Britannia let her people have guns, America happened.  Still, I tend to agree with Olympic shooting hopeful Georgina Geikie in that “this is a chance for children to look at guns in a different way.”

Fear, in any form, tends to spring from ignorance and misinformation, and teaching children that guns are tools to be respected is a step in the right direction.  We could probably use some of that education in this country as well.

Read the full story here (via the London Evening Standard)

How To Spot A Communist


 

I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden), Dr. Strangelove

In honour of the widespread anti-capitalist protests going on across the country (and, apparently, around the world), I dug this little tutorial guide out of the archives.  It is attributed to the U.S. First Army Headquarters, who allegedly published it in 1955.  Although I have not personally verified the source, the language and attitude is consistent with articles published during the “Second Red Scare.”  So, the next time you see someone decrying capitalism while simultaneously claiming patriotism (as is happening in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, among other cities), check other signs against those you might see the text of this pamphlet.

Download “How To Spot A Communist” (.pdf)

Raptors Resume Test Flights


The F-22 was approved initially to give the Air Force a next-generation stealthy aircraft to evade ever improving enemy air defenses. But a funny thing happened: Our enemies’ air defenses stopped improving.

Vice Admiral Jack Shanahan, 2006

Good news for the folks back in Marietta, the F-22 has resumed operational test flights after a four-month grounding following several major malfunctions of the next-generation avionics.  It seemed a little prophetic that the demonstration at this year’s Sun N Fun was cut short because of a master caution stemming from the avionics.  It’s been a rocky road for the program, with sweeping defense cuts brought on by the Obama Administration being the final nail in the coffin for the world’s only 5th-generation fighter jet.

Personally, I’m divided on the issue–I appreciate the Raptor for everything it’s capable of, but I agree that it’s a bit of a beast and almost unnecessary when F-15 Eagles and F/A-18 Super Hornets can get the job done en masse.  However, if (when?) WWIII finally breaks out, and dogfighting once again becomes a necessary form of warfare, it’ll be nice to have a fleet of stealth fighters that can out-turn and out-fire the enemy.  That, and they just look so cool doing it.

Read the full story here (via Planenews)

Afterburn 2×01: A Brony’s Final Fantasy In Reno


I am going to love and tolerate the SHIT outta you!

Drake, Afterburn

Season two of Afterburn kicks off with an expose on the dark side of My Little Pony, initial reactions to Jimmy Leeward’s tragic crash at the Reno Air Races, and an argument on the merits of Final Fantasy VIII. Loki sits in for Atari who has moved to Los Angeles and taken the executive producer’s role on the show. New opening theme by Wixor.

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