Republican Craziness Continues-Biking Bad for the Environment

 Featured, Legislature, Politics  Comments Off on Republican Craziness Continues-Biking Bad for the Environment
Mar 052013

Finally, the Republican craziness rears its ugly head somewhere besides Florida and Virginia. This time, it is Washington State Representative, Ed Orcutt (Republican), who’s firing the next shot in the Republican war on science. Orcutt recently argued that bicycling is equally bad for the environment as driving cars, because when we bike, we breathe out CO2. Wow! The craziness is strong in this one.

Bicycle Riders in Seattle, WA

And here are some folks adding to global warming

As noted at Americablog, “Republicans generally hate cyclists.  Since heaven forbid anyone exercise, or use roads in a manner that actually decreases the pollution impact.  Cyclists are socialists, you see, and simply must be destroyed.” Orcutt was responding to a question about a tax he wants to impose on bicyclists, and said:

“Also, you claim that it is environmentally friendly to ride a bike. But if I am not mistaken, a cyclist has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

Scarier still is that Orcutt is the top Republican on the Transportation Committee.

What’s truly sad, as noted in that same article at Americablog is that, “Orcutt isn’t the fringe of the GOP, he is the GOP.”

Chris at Americablog notes the following examples of the GOP divorce from reality:

It seems to get worse daily. As commenter noted, “Yes, the GOP has a ‘crazy’ problem, but they have an even more serious one. An “embrace of ignorance” problem. They don’t even bother to try to be rational or present facts to support their positions anymore. They just make up shit and assert that it’s true, even when it’s objectively false and patently ridiculous.”

Jul 312009

Washington State recently enacted a domestic partnership registry and granted most of the same rights held by married people to domestic partners. Needless to say, the wingnut fringe of the Republican party came unglued, and launched a petition effort to repeal the law.

Larry Stickney

Larry Stickney

They recently turned in their petitions. It has been reported that some of the paid signatures gatherers were dishonest about what the petition did (going so far as to say that it was in support of domestic partnerships). In light of that, the organization sponsoring the drive has sought and received a temporary restraining order to keep the names of the petition signers secret.

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – A federal judge is halting the public release of petitions supporting a gay-partnership referendum.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle agreed to the temporary restraining order Wednesday, in a case that questions whether Washington’s open-government laws could discourage free speech.

But the R-71 campaign says that could lead to harassment. The state didn’t oppose the restraining order, but it will defend the public records law in court.

I’d like to advance some thoughts on the topic.

I’m not an attorney nor a Constitutional Scholar, but I did have sixth grade civics. As I see it, there are three kinds of “speech.” Admittedly, each has some gray area and overlap.

First is private speech or expression. That’s the kind I hold with myself in my head, or privately with another person in a private place. I am not inviting anyone else to listen, nor making the comment such that someone else might reasonably hear or see my expression or comment.

Private speech does not enjoy constitutional protections, because it doesn’t require protection. We often forget that the founders never intended that we go to the Constitution to try to “find” specific protections. They talked a lot about unalienable rights. This means that all conceivable rights accrue to the individual. The purpose of our Constitution was to lay out the boundaries to which the government can, for the public good, infringe on those rights.

Some will certainly bring up the “Bill of Rights,” as an attempt to list rights, but it was a compromise document added to ensure support. People did want certain specific rights enumerated, but the writers of the Constitution never felt a need to try to enumerate rights. They just assumed that all unalienable rights accrued to private individuals up to the point when conflicts arose.

Semi-private speech happens when I have a quiet conversation with another person in a public place…over lunch as an example. I’m not intending for the comments to be public, but both parties should realize that being in a public place can result in the comments being public.

This type of speech presents the most difficulty. I see this speech taking place in private places that may be open to the public (a restaurant for example). In these cases, I’m not totally free to say whatever I want, as held in the famous cases around not being allowed to yell “fire in a crowded theater.” The proprietor is allowed, in my opinion to control my speech or expression if it disrupts his business or disturbs other customers, but only to the extent that he would curtail such expressions for all patrons. The example here is, I don’t believe you have a right to stop gay people from kissing if you allow straight people to kiss, one can’t demand, even in a private establishment open to the public, that African-Americans must eat at a separate counter, but one must remember that on private property, there is much less protection for free speech.

Public Speech, to me, is that speech delivered in a truly public venue, “the town square (literal or virtual).” You are speaking there with the specific intent of public expression, and with a reasonable expectation your speech will be heard. In fact, being heard is generally the reason to conduct public speech. This is the type of speech specifically protected by the free speech clause in the Constitution.

There are two sides to “free speech.” You have a right to take to the public square and speak freely, but I have a right to go to the public square and witness/hear your expression. You are not entitled to go into the public square, but demand that all others be kept beyond ear-shot.

Judge Benjamin Settle

Judge Benjamin Settle

This is what I think is going on in the case of the R-71 supporters, and shame on this Judge for even issuing a temporary restraining order. I believe the minute the R-71 supporters invoked a “free speech” claim of any kind, they immediately ended any expectation of privacy for the signers. In effect, what they have asked, and the court has granted, is the ability to express themselves in the public sphere, but have every other citizen held out of ear-shot.

The Constitution guarantees us each a secret ballot, but we are not allowed to petition our government in secret. Despite Dick Cheney’s beliefs’ to the contrary, that is the very reason for open government statutes. The people’s business is supposed to be done before the people (all of them). Whether or not it might cause people harassment should be of absolutely no concern to the courts. The question is, if a person ventures into the public square to petition their government, are other citizens allowed to listen. This Judge has failed the test. I am entitled to know who is speaking, what they are saying, and who paid for the megaphone.

Idiots of the Week for March 7 2008

 Business, Crime, Fun Stuff, Humor, Society  Comments Off on Idiots of the Week for March 7 2008
Mar 072008

Sick Leave HotlineMan Has Himself Shot to Get Time Off – AP
Detectives in Franklin County, WA say Daniel Kuch had a friend shoot him the shoulder in order to get some timee off from work and to avoid a drug test. Kuch filed a report with the police saying he’d been the victim of a drive-by shooting while he was out jogging. No word on whether the guy still has his job or not.

Our Darwin Award Winner has a report about Adrian Apgar and his second encounter with an alligator. Just over a year ago, Mr. Apgar was rescued by Polk Country Sheriff’s deputies who waded into a pond and got him out of the clutches of a large gator. He still lost his arm in the attack. Well it appears that this week he was found by deputies again, naked and wading around in a pond with several gators around.

Woman Stabs Boyfriend, Then Drives Him to Hospital
44 year old Jacqueline Barber was chargedby St. Pete police with attempted murder this morning after stabbing her 54 year old boyfriend in the neck. Apparently, they had some sort of argument, and he was dropping her off at her Mother’s house. She turned and stabbed him in the neck, but then drove him to the hospital.

More Kink in The Republican Armor?

 Crime, Gay Issues, Politics, Society  Comments Off on More Kink in The Republican Armor?
Nov 012007

My oh my, it seems another gay bashing homophobic republican has been caught with his pants down, or rather his lingerie up. Richard Curtis, a Republican in the Washington State House has had to resign after an extortion attempt resulted in the disclosure of some pretty kinky sexual behavior.

It appears he wanted to have unprotected sex, and it involved women’s lingerie. Now it really shouldn’t matter what someone does with another consenting adult in private, but that is precisely the point. Mr. Curtis has been one of the many Republican “family values” hate mongers out there trying to force the government into the private lives of gay…all the while, indulging in some pretty kinky same-sex affairs himself.

So, while I hope we someday get past the need to put such salacious discussions out there, these people, who choose public life, and try to force their public beliefs on others, get what they deserve.