Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The End of Free Speech?

From Fox News:
A St. Louis man landed in jail for joking about shoe bombs after he boarded
a plane.
Michael Shafermeyer, 30, spent more than three days behind bars
after making what he says was a joke at Lambert Airport.

When a flight attendant asked him to close his laptop after boarding on
Saturday, Shafermeyer told KMOV-TV in St. Louis that he jokingly asked her, "Are
you the one who checks for shoe bombs?"

...Within minutes, federal agents removed him from the plane. He was
booked at the St. Louis County jail and placed in solitary confinement, where he
spent two-and-a-half days before being placed with other inmates on his final

Shafermeyer was released on Tuesday. He has been charged with making a
false bomb report, he told KMOV-TV.

Now, I understand the need for security in this day and age, but this has got to stop. He was obviously asking a question of her duties and qualifications (can't I make a joke?). It's not like he asked, "What would you do if I had a shoe bomb?"

He asked if she was the one who checked for them. He made a joke. If we are going to be throwing people in jail for what they say in a joking manner, then we need to throw a whole lot of comedians in jail for charges ranging from defamation, inflammatory diress, racism, inciting to violence, humiliation and insensitivities toward the physically and mentally disabled.

Is this the hope and change you were hoping for?

The very first US Senate bill coming up for the 2009 session is a doozy. No, it is not about cutting wasteful spending or reducing our tax burden as we were promised.

Oklahoma's Sen Tom Coburn has the lowdown:
Oklahoma U.S. Senator Tom Coburn is criticizing a decision by Senate
leaders to make a $10 billion omnibus lands package the first order of business
in the 111th Congress. More than 100 organizations ranging from the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce to the National Wildlife Refuge Association have expressed
opposition to this package, according to Coburn, due to its wasteful earmarks,
anti-conservation provisions and anti-domestic energy production provisions.

"The decision by Senate leaders to kick off the new Congress with an
earmark-laden omnibus lands bill makes a mockery of voters' hopes for
change. This package represents some of the worst aspects of congressional
incompetence and parochialism. Congress should spend the next few weeks holding
hearings on an economic stimulus package and identifying areas of the budget to
cut to pay for that proposal. Instead, the Senate is set to resume business as
usual," Dr. Coburn said.

So much for hope and change and hoping for change. Seems like spend as usual up there. And note, I also blame so called Republicans too. At a time of national, if not world-wide, recession, our government is spending and spending on pet projects to the tune of nearly 8 Trillion now.