Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wait, I thought yodeling was supposed to be, like, Austrian or something...

via Infidels Are Cool.

Infidels Are Cool quotes the entire (very short) news article, so I have no qualms about doing the same here. Just click on the link if you don't believe me:

Austrian Times: Yodelling offends praying Muslims, say judges
An Austrian has been fined for yodelling while mowing his lawn, according to a report.

The Kronen Zeitung newspaper claims Helmut G. was told by a court in Graz, Styria, that his yodelling offended his next-door Muslim neighbours.

The men reportedly accused the 63-year-old of having tried to mock and imitate the call of the Muezzin. The daily paper writes the Austrian was fined 800 Euros after judges ruled he could have tried to offend them and ridicule their belief. The Muslims, whose nationalities were not revealed by the report, were right in the middle of a prayer when the Austrian started to yodel.

"It was not my intention to imitate or insult them. I simply started to yodel a few tunes because I was in such a good mood" the man told the newspaper today (Mon).

Interesting. I mean, my mom got fined once when I was a kid for mowing the lawn in a red thong bikini. But hey, I sing while I'm vacuuming, or blow drying my hair, or driving on the interstate (although I have to make sure the cruise control is on in case I get too excited)—any place where it's loud already. Why not while mowing the lawn?

I can think of only one time when the cops were called on us (Christians) for religious singing out in public. But I think if someone came up and started singing some random song (has happened, twice), we wouldn't be that offended. We'd probably welcome them in. Would we call the cops on that guy? Uhm, no, I mean, unless they were guilty of public intoxication or stripping or making a scene. Actually, there was this one time we actually made some guy's made-up song a part of our worship service. Did you hear that? If some random dude interrupted our religious thingy by yodeling and dancing, we would probably start yodeling and dancing too. Mostly, we're worried of it being the other way around, although thankfully, people generally leave us alone.

Personally, I think if my neighbor was yodeling, I might think they were making fun of someone or something. Yodeling just sounds funny. Get over it. But then, I'm not from Austria. The only time I've ever heard yodeling was here:

But remember: Muslims aren't judgmental. They're just "overly sensitive."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Good Job, FBI

Thwarting a Christmas tree bomb attack with a cell phone. Nice. Thought to be the detonator, the cell phone actually called the FBI, who arrested 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud on Friday, November 26th for attempting to blow up a Christmas tree lighting event in Portland, Oregon.
According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that will ... be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.”
Further discussing the attack, Mohamud allegedly stated, “…it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

Read: TheHill.com Story: Somali-born citizen charged with trying to bomb Christmas event

Undercover agents apparently met with Mohamud over the course of a year. He thought they were the ones building and providing his bomb.

He allegedly mailed bomb components to the undercover FBI operatives, who he believed were assembling the device. He also mailed them passport photos, as part of a plan to help him sneak out of the country after the attack. In addition, Mohamud provided the undercover FBI operatives with a thumb drive that contained detailed directions to the bomb location and operational instructions for the attack.

On Nov. 4, 2010, Mohamud and the undercover FBI operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County, Ore., where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack, according to the affidavit.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea Attacks South Korea

We all knew it was coming... About 50 shells were fired onto a South Korean island today, beginning at 2:34 pm GMT.

According to Yahoo News,
The firing came after North Korea's disclosure of an apparently operational uranium enrichment programme -- a second potential way of building a nuclear bomb -- which is causing serious alarm for the United States and its allies.
Fox News has a more comprehensive report about the political implications of the attack:
South Korea said it returned fire and scrambled fighter jets in response, and said the "inhumane" attack on civilian areas violated the 1953 armistice halting the Korean War. The two sides technically remain at war because a peace treaty was never negotiated.
Oh, nice. We've re-begun the Korean War. (To be honest, I don't even know about that war. I really need to read up on it.)

The article continues:
The United Nations Security Council could hold an emergency meeting in the next day or two over the attack, saying "It's in the works for either today or tomorrow. We are for it and planning is ongoing," Reuters reports.
The United States, which has tens of thousands of troops stationed in South Korea, condemned the attack and called on North Korea to "halt its belligerent action," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said in Washington. He said the United States is "firmly committed" to South Korea's defense, and to the "maintenance of regional peace and stability."
Read more: "South Korea Vows 'Enormous Retaliation'After North’s Deadly Island Bombardment"

Sam Wolanyk's 2008 False Arrest in CA

Sam Wolanyk, the same dude who protested TSA's search policies by stripping down to his underwear, was apparently falsely arrested in California in 2008 for carrying an open, unloaded gun.

California laws state that one can carry non-concealed weapon without a concealed weapons permit as long as it is not loaded, not being carried in a school zone and the carrier has not been convicted of a felony.

A strong proponent for Constitutional rights and member of the Responsible Citizens of California, Wolanyk is a member of a local open-carry group that meets for lunch occasionally. The story of his false arrest in November of 2008 can be found on the Responsible Citizens of California site. Here is a portion:
I made an appointment to meet my friend Dennis at the Coaster Saloon in Mission Beach for breakfast. They have terrific steak and eggs. We’d agreed to meet at 9:15. I arrived and parked in the Belmont Park lot at 9:07 right across the street from the Coaster. Then I got out of the truck, and slipped on my glock 17 on my right hip and my magazine holster with 2 loaded magazines on my left hip. Then I strolled out to the boardwalk to check out the waves since I hadn’t surfed that day. The water was nice and glassy and there were some fun-looking small waves coming in. The lifeguard was getting set up further down the beach. I leaned against the sea wall and called another friend of mine and got caught up with him while I wandered around waiting for Dennis.

Then Dennis appeared in his Mercedes, parked, and greeted me and just as we were about to cross the street to the Coaster, up pulled two patrol cars. I figured they’d probably contact me and do a 12031 weapons check. I strolled nonchalantly towards the street and suddenly heard, “You in the kilt! Freeze! Don’t move! Get your hands up! Keep them where I can see them! On your knees!”

As I heard this I turned and saw two officers, one partially hidden behind a palm tree, with guns drawn and pointed right at me coming at me from two different angles. I had my hands up of course, and turned away from them as ordered and got on my knees. They were yelling from my buddy Dennis to get back away from me. There was a lot of yelling and super-testosterone charge in the air. “Hands on your head! Lace your fingers!” I was calm as could be. Next thing I knew my hands were tightly cuffed, first my left then my right, left inside of wrist to right back of wrist.

Both officers were behind me so I couldn’t see what they were doing, but next officer Knisley was on my right side tugging at my Glock. He was having trouble pulling it out of the holster. “How does this comes out?”

“Just pull straight up. It’s not loaded. I assume you’re doing a 12031 loaded weapon check?”

He pulled it out and drew the slide. “Do you have identification?”

“Yes but I’m not required to provide it unless I’ve committed a crime. Unloaded open carry is legal.”

“Do you have a permit for this?”

“There is no permit required. I am not carrying concealed.”

“Where is your identification?”

“In my wallet in my back pocket but again I am not required to provide it because I haven’t committed any crime.”

Then I felt the officer fishing around in my pocket for my wallet. He took it out and at this point they hauled me to my feet.

“Why do you have a gun? What’s the idea?”

“I’m a citizen and a human being and I’m carrying a gun for protection. As long as it’s not concealed and not loaded and I’m not a minor or a felon and not knowingly carrying within 1000 feet of a k-12 school, it’s perfectly legal. Open carry is legal in California.”

Much grumbling from the police.

“Do you have any warrants for your arrest? Do you have any felony convictions?”

“No, I don’t. But you can’t do a check on me unless I’m being accused of a crime. Am I under arrest?”

“No, you’re being detained while we determine if you’ve broken the law.”

“Well, yeah but detainment is just a term of art. If I were just being detained, I wouldn’t be in handcuffs."

Read the rest here.

According to 10News.com, Wolanyk sued the city of San Diego for false arrest and won $35,000.

The incident on November 19th of this year was technically his first real arrest.

That's one cool, Constitutional dude. :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Hard Stuff: TSA Horror Stories

Not for the faint of heart. But this information does need to get out there. It is perhaps all that is needed to illustrate how truly rampant and out-of-control our "American" government has become. If you think that statement is too strong, read.

A young blonde woman is slammed to the floor saying "get off of me." Another woman was told to take off her shirt and remove her nipple rings with pliers. A 16-year-old girl is told to take her pants off to show her prosthetic leg. And a 71-year-old man with an artificial knee gets his his pants pulled down by TSA agents in public view. All from the same news report.

A 61-year-old man is left "humiliated, crying and covered in his own urine" when TSA officials removed his urostomy bag, ignoring his attempt to inform them of his medical condition (he was a bladder cancer survivor). According to the MSNBC article, he was also left with his pants around his ankles:
Sawyer wears pants two sizes too large in order to accommodate the medical equipment he wears. He’d taken off his belt to go through the scanner and once in the office with security personnel, his pants fell down around his ankles. “I had to ask twice if it was OK to pull up my shorts,” said Sawyer, “And every time I tried to tell them about my medical condition, they said they didn’t need to know about that.”
A little boy is textbook molested (video and whole story here). He was said to be "too shy" to receive the full (groin-inclusive) pat-down, but you can see in the video where the TSA guy clearly touches the scared kid's crotch in the end instead of letting him go.

A woman says that a TSA agent actually felt inside her underwear.
"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," said ABC News producer Carolyn Durand. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist."
(Unnecessary commentary: Little bit dumb to do that to a news reporter, don't ya think?)

Two men have also reported that TSA agents felt inside their pants.

A flight attendant and breast cancer survivor is told to remove her prosthetic breast after TSA's feel-ups discover it.

A pilot vomits at the thought of going back to work, and pilots and flights attendants are speaking out. Part of the official statement (included in the above link) states the obvious, which is, clearly, that a pilot doesn't need a bomb to blow up an aircraft:
As we all know, it makes no difference what a pilot has on his or her person or in their luggage, because they have control of the aircraft throughout the entire flight. The eyewash being dribbled by the TSA in this instance is embarrassingly devoid of common sense, and we will not stand for it.
Melissa Clouthier shares her own story and observes:
"When average Americans have more to fear from their government than from some radical Muslim terrorist jerk, the balance has been tipped."
The balance is tipped, indeed. At least in California, you can get arrested for video recording the screening process on your phone. The San Diego underwear protester was arrested on two misdemeanors:
“failing to complete the security process; violation code 7.01 and illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority (they confiscated his iPhone); violation number 7.14 (a).”
According to the Examiner.com article that I am referencing here about the man who, instead of undergoing a pat-down, opted to simply strip down instead, another woman was also arrested for videotaping the airport screening process.

And I'm sorry if this is, like, way too much. When I first heard about the scanners I didn't think they were serious. I actually left out a lot...there are simply way too many stories to blog about all in one place. I've never been into scare tactics, but here's one: The Almighty Government wants to touch your crotch. Comforting, right? Perhaps the people in charge should study a bit of psychology: people will generally choose a chance of a huge loss compared to a sure smaller loss. It's the very reason people gamble. I'm anti-terrorism, but I would rather risk the small chance of something terrible happening to my plane than endure sure molestation at the airport. Take note, Napolitano. This isn't helping. But it's not meant to, is it? Is this some kind of sick joke, or progressive push toward a more sexualized culture where it's normal and ok to be seen or touched without consent?

Our government has gone WAY too far. Guessing game: What's next?

(P.S. Thanx to Florida legislators! Florida is awesome...it's just that with airplanes, you have to fly elsewhere too.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Don't Touch My Junk Either, TSA

I must begin this by saying that I am a Christian woman. My beliefs are that the only person I will ever allow to see or touch my personal areas is my husband. No boyfriends, no random men, no one else (like an airport employee) who attempts to try. I also dress modestly for that reason. I believe that my body is special and should not be shared with anyone else; to me, doing so would take away the specialness of it. Oddly enough, I have always been in support of a strong national security that can thwart terrorist attacks. Airport security has been the one issue that my libertarian husband and I disagreed on. Until my line was crossed.

When we traveled to Santa Fe, NM for our honeymoon in early August of this year, I admit I did not know much about these new screening policies that were put in place as a response to the Christmas Day underwear bomber (2009). Flying out of Florida, we did not face anything beyond the usual metal detector and shoe removal. However, flying out of Albuquerque, I was in for a shock.

We slowly began weaving our way through the crowded security line. Focused more on carrying my heavy carry-ons than anything, I rolled my eyes when DH made his jokes about "security theater" and saying the word "bomb." He had me read a little article on his iPhone about something, and I don't quite remember what it was. A snark-eyed woman pretended that my driver's license didn't actually look like me. Our line was inching forward at a snail's pace, as I kept setting the bags down and then having to pick them up again. When we got close enough, DH went silent. "Oh, no. No. I am not going through one of those things," I heard him say. "Are those the scanners I read about?" I asked. "I don't want anyone to see me naked, even if it's a girl."

"I don't want anyone seeing you naked either," he told me. We continued to creep forward. "You have the option to opt out. I am opting out, and I suggest you do the same."

I asked him how assertive I would have to be. He told me he would take care of it and tell the guy that we would both like to opt out. Going in front of me, he did so, and a woman obtained my opt-out consent for the adjacent line. There was a small pow-wow. "Opt-out! We've got two opt-outs over here!" I heard another woman bellow. At this point, I was glad DH was doing all the dirty work, sternly defending his rights to the TSA guy. I was just following along. (As a meek and small girl, I am easy to intimidate—I especially get frustrated because it seems almost physically impossible for me to raise my voice!)

So, I put my shoes and everything onto the conveyor and walked up to the area where I was supposed to stand. It was a young woman in her 20s who, frankly, looked to me like she easily could have...erm...had a night job. (And I don't mean to sound judgmental here, just psychological, as my abusive mother was actually a stripper.) She was wearing pounds of eyeliner and clearly had breast implants. I was already uncomfortable, but then she used the word "slowly" when she described what she was going to do and how. I was thinking, adjectives? Really? Let's not turn this into a romance novel, lady. (To even further complicate things, I'll admit I was molested at 14 by my stepfather and as a result, I struggled with a bit of homosexuality in high school...and, of course, I had just gotten married. Niiice, I thought.)

I admit, sadly, that I did not realize beforehand how much a "pat-down" would entail. It was more of a rub-down. And yeah, it was "slowly." And with the palm of her hand, with pressure, just about everywhere you could imagine. Later, I heard that they do it to intimidate people into the less personally humiliating option: the scanner. Well, I guess it worked. Bravo. I, a young female, was officially humiliated in a sexual way. And read: I had just come from my honeymoon. That woman touched me in a way that I would not even let my fiancé, the closest person to me in the world, touch me a week prior.

Walking away, the only thing in my mind was that I had just gotten completely felt up by a girl. Eeww. I tried to ignore it as DH and I tried to find a restaurant. Finally, once we had eaten (I may have only eaten about half of my food and didn't want to eat anymore; I don't remember), I admitted that I could not ignore it any longer. I felt violated. I felt like I no longer had control over anyone invading my own personal bubble. I actually did cry a bit. Call me a wimp if you like, it's how I felt. I actually felt a little sick to my stomach, and like I had zero control over what just happened. I hate to speak in these terms, too, because this is a political issue, not an emotional one. But did anyone ever expect—outside of living in a Middle Eastern country (read: the terrorists have won)—that we would have to worry about our sexual boundaries being violated by the government? How did it even get this far?

The next is a must for this discussion.

Bill of Rights, Amendment IV:
Right of Search and Seizure Regulated.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Mandating these invasive searches to everybody is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. Additionally, the context of the Amendment is to protect citizens during wartime, so one cannot even use the excuse that the threat of what is technically guerrilla warfare (terrorism) makes these measures excusable. If anyone were to suggest we up and change the Bill of Rights (some progressives argue that the Constitution is becoming obsolete), I suggest that in all propriety here we at least wait until peacetime.

Definition of a "search" (via Wikipedia:)
In Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347 (1967), the Supreme Court ruled that a search occurs only when 1) a person expects privacy in the thing searched (sexual places, private areas...check) and 2) society believes that expectation is reasonable (I would think so).
Thankfully, the ACLU is also pitching a fit, as is Penn (the Christian's friend, again) Jillette, who called the cops on the TSA for sexual assault and was treated like a celebrity. Additionally, read John Tyner's now famous "Don't Touch My Junk" blog post.

As a woman, given the choice to either be seen or touched (or pay a hefty fine, apparently), I would choose neither. Both are against my religious beliefs. And if anything else (since religious beliefs apparently mean nothing now, I find my personal bubble important and also protected by the Fourth Amendment.

TSA, don't ever touch my junk again.

Ok. Let's end on a happy note. Check out this photo via BoingBoing:

Would go great with the living room decor...

(Seriously, who went through the time to make that thing?)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chuck Norris is a conservative? Sweet!

(via Sage Naumann.)

I admit that I'm a bit young. I've never seen him in any movies. I've just heard all the ridiculous jokes. But apparently he writes for Townhall.com. Here is one article, entitled Taxed Enough Already!
wherein he writes about fiscal responsibility, hypertaxation, and how the waste of tax money is contributing to further national debt. He is an advocate for tax reform.

Here is a small excerpt:
Should we feel any more confident that Washington bureaucrats are handling our tax monies when The Wall Street Journal recently reported that as of the end of last year, federal workers nationwide owed $1 billion in overdue taxes -- with Capitol Hill employees owing $9.3 million, an average of $15,498 among those working in the House and $12,787 among those working in the Senate. They're like tax junkies on steroids!

And one fact I did not know:
Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs alone constitute 56 percent of federal expenditures.

The article is well worth the read! :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mudslinging Now vs Mudslinging in 1800

I got this video via Misfired Neurons. Wow. For any who think that the "battlefield" of politics, negative campaigning, and ad hominem attacks is worse now than ever, take a quick look at the disputed election of 1800. (Taken verbatim from essays.)

In general, it was WAY worse back then than it is now.

It's possible that people were just more creatively verbose back then. But I would probably have no interest in politics if this was still the way things were lol.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

President Obama Thanks the Democrats

President Obama's "Thank You" after the 2010 Midterm Elections.

Firstly, he refers to the current Democratic party platform as a "movement."
"From the beginning, our work was never just putting a president in the White House. It was building a movement for change that endures."
Now, here is my paraphrase/commentary (watch before reading):

You guys worked SO HARD to get people to vote for Democrats. You knocked on doors. You made phone calls. You believed in me. "You reached out to more than 80 million American voters. All of this was possible because you devoted your most precious resource: your time, and your energy." Sorry it didn't work, guys. You can still believe in me.
"I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. Because we've got a lot of work to do."
Republicans, on the other hand, didn't need all that. They didn't need hugely funded projects. They didn't need to "convince" people to vote for Republicans like the Democrats had to do. It just happened, and it happened huge, bigger than anyone could have anticipated, thanks to a whole lot of individual voters out there who were thinking for themselves and just so happened to be in agreement. You know, the way voting should be.

Thank you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Piracy. ARR.

Funny picture I found. Kinda reminds me of Angry Birds.

Also, cool blog post from cool new blog I found, and this news story.

For the record, I have zero opinion on this issue. The music I like is all in the public domain. I can check out classical CDs from the university library whenever I want. Today, I checked out the complete scores of the Brahms Symphonies (I'm sorry if somebody needed that).

You wish that was you. =D