Gringo Manaba

Adventuras y Fantasias or Fantastical Adventures


  • March 2006
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Archive for March 2nd, 2006

The Right to Laugh

Posted by glasscastle on 2nd March 2006

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Most Americans have
an easier time naming members of the cartoon Simpson family than listing
the five freedoms granted by the nation’s founders, a survey by a museum
released on Wednesday said.

Half of 1,000 Americans randomly surveyed by the McCormick Tribune Freedom
Museum could name at least two of the five members of Fox Television’s
Simpson family, the stars of the network’s long-running show.

But just 28 percent of respondents could name more than one of the five
freedoms listed in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment — about the
same proportion that could name all five Simpson family members or could
recall the three judges on Fox TV’s top-rated "American Idol."

Just 8 percent could recall three First Amendment freedoms.

Some participants displayed comical ignorance such as the 38 percent who
believed the right not to incriminate yourself — "taking the 5th" in
lawyer lingo — was granted by the First Amendment rather than the Fifth.

Among other rights not mentioned in the Constitution but listed by some
respondents was the right to drive and the right to have pets.

from Reuters

Well, that’s no surprise. If the Bill of Rights
featured witty dialogue and funny pictures and had been on TV in every
corner of America at least 4 times per day for the
last 25 years, you can bet your bottom dollar we’d get every one of those

Interestingly, only one person got all five. The one
everybody forgets – freedom to petition for redress of grievances – basically
the Right to Sue, is perhaps the most germane to what we have become.
Although the right to drive is a close second…

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Caught in a Web of Technology

Posted by glasscastle on 2nd March 2006

ST. AUGUSTINE — A man showing off his OnStar system
in his Cadillac Escalade found out the system worked too well.

Ralph A. Gomez, 38, was being held in the St. Johns County Jail Wednesday
on $15,000 bond on charges of possession of an illegal narcotic within
1,000 feet of a church and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gomez was showing off his OnStar system to his girlfriend, but the volume
was set so low that he couldn’t hear the OnStar operator. OnStar comes
on many new General Motors vehicles and allows a customer to contact an
OnStar representative in an emergency or to get directions.

If there is no response, OnStar contacts police.

That’s what happened with Gomez on Friday night, Tom Clements, a spokesman
for the St. Augustine Police Department, said Wednesday.

When police located Gomez’ car, they determined there was no problem. But
Clements said cocaine was clearly visible on the car’s center console.

In addition to seizing $1,900 in the case, the Cadillac equipped with the
OnStar system was also seized, Clements said.

from The
Chicago Tribune

What’s this about possession within a thousand feet
of a church?
Of course, we are familiar with the stiffer penalties for dealing drugs
near schools, which makes sense, but since when did the same rules get
extended to churches? This raises a host of questions.

Do Temples and Mosques qualify? Storefront evangelists? Hospital chappels?
What criteria are used to define a church? What is the rationale behind
these laws? In the case of schools, it is easy to understand – keep drugs
away from kids. But here, is it just because possessing drugs in the
neighborhood of a church is an affront to God? Whose God?

Didn’t the Supreme Court just give permission to
a small branch of a South
American religious sect
to use hallucinogenic
as part
a ritual intended to connect with God? Are we sensing mixed messages here?

It would make more sense to have laws stiffening the penaties for possessing
drugs within 1000 feet of a professional athelete, for example.

This Church thing, if it is widespread, should be
of concern to drug addicts around the country. After all, America has
lots more churches
than schools. In many small towns or neighborhoods, the 1000 foot
prohibition would easily cover everywhere. Does this raise separation
of church and state issues?

We like the way they mention at the very end that
in addition to the drug possession charges, he lost his brand new $57,000 Caddy.


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