Bill of Rights Day - December 15

Bill of Rights Day - December 15

The Bill of Rights was ratified on December 15, 1791.

These first ten amendments to the United States Constitution formally recognize our innate freedoms.  We have rights because we are human beings.  Rights are not things that are bestowed by a government.

Amendment I - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Government can neither impose a state religion upon you nor punish you for exercising the religion of your choice. You may express your opinions, write and publish what you wish, gather peacefully with others, and formally ask government to correct injustices.
Amendment II - A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Individuals ("the people") have the right to own and use weapons without interference from the government.
Amendment III - No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The government cannot force you to house its agents.
Amendment IV - 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.
You may not be arrested or "detained" arbitrarily. No agency of government may inspect or seize your property or possessions without first obtaining a warrant. To obtain a warrant, they must show specific cause for the search or seizure and swear under oath that they are telling the truth about these reasons. Furthermore, the warrant itself must state specifically and in detail the place, things, or people it covers. Warrants that are too general or vague are not valid; searches or seizures that exceed the terms of the warrant are not valid.
Amendment V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
No one outside the military may be tried for a serious crime without first being indicted by a grand jury (of citizens). Once found not guilty, a person may not be tried again for the same deed. You can’t be forced to be a witness or provide evidence against yourself in a criminal case. You can’t be sent to prison or have your assets seized without due process. The government can’t take your property without paying market value for it.
Amendment VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
Trials cannot be unreasonably postponed or held in secret. In any criminal case against you, you have a right to public trial by a jury of unbiased citizens (thus ensuring that the state can’t use a "party-line" judge to railroad you). The trial must be held in the state or region where the crime was committed. You cannot be held without charges. You cannot be held on charges that are kept secret from you. You have a right to know who is making accusations against you and to confront those witnesses in court. You have the right to subpoena witnesses to testify in your favor and a right to the services of an attorney.
Amendment VII - In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
The right to trial by jury extends to civil, as well as criminal, cases. Once a jury has made its decision, no court can overturn or otherwise change that decision except via accepted legal processes (for instance, granting of a new trial when an appeals court determines that your rights were violated in the original proceeding).
Amendment VIII - Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Bail, fines, and punishments must all fit the crime and punishments must not be designed for cruelty.
Amendment IX - The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
You have more rights than are specifically listed in the Bill of Rights.
Amendment X - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
The U.S. federal government has only those specific powers granted to it by the Constitution. All other powers belong either to the states or to individuals.
The Ninth and Tenth Amendments, taken together, mean that the federal government has only the authority granted to it, while the people are presumed to have any right or power not specifically forbidden to them. The Bill of Rights as a whole is dedicated to describing certain key rights of the people that the government is categorically forbidden to remove, abridge, or infringe. The Bill of Rights clearly places the people in charge of their own lives, and the government within strict limits - the very opposite of the situation we have allowed to develop today.

[from  Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership ]


Things at Work

CO-WORKER:  You got any super glue? That last stuff you gave me went all hard.

ME (handing him a new package of super glue):  Okay.  Here you go.

[time passes . . . ]

CO-WORKER: I used it, but that super glue you gave me ain't no good too.  It's like all jellied up or something. 

ME: [Pointing at package, where it says, "Loctite® Super Glue Gel, No Drip / No Mess"]

CO-WORKER: Oh.  Well, that don't work as good as the runny stuff.  I like the runny stuff better. 

- - -
Some days, it's enough to make one lose one's faith in humanity. 


'S Up With English?

ME:  I got to use the word [SIGN-cure] in a sentence.

YOU:  Um, I think it's pronounced [SIN-a-cure].

ME:  <  hmf ?  >

(Later . . . )


ME:  <  hmf ?!  >


Some reasons I should have died by now

Unlimited salt intake
Rode bike with no helmet
Slept on the shelf behind the back seat on long trips

No car seats in cars when I was a kid
No booster seats in cars when I was a kid
No seat belts in cars when I was a kid
Walked / bicycled to school
Played in street
Playground without adult supervision
Barbecue food
Kool Aid
Movie popcorn
Played with matches
Played Scientist with old household and garden chemicals
Tree climbing
Sibling fights
Playground fights
Dodge Ball
Red Rover
Parade Magazine quiz 1974: "Headed for trouble"
Drove too fast for the rating of the tires
Drove too fast in the fog
Drove so fast stopping distance > headlight beam
Got knocked upside the head by Dad (more than once)
Childhood diseases before all those vaccines
"Hydration" was not a thing -- drinking out of the garden hose was a thing
"Electrolytes" was not a thing -- potato chips was a thing
Ate the green potato chips
Got a "D" in math in third grade
Wouldn't eat Mom's overcooked beef liver
Went trick-or-treating on Halloween without adult supervision
Ate the Halloween candy we got

 . . . And that's just a start!


Not an empty longing. A full longing.

Forest Interior, 1850, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek

When I saw this picture it reminded me of Little Dorrit

And suddenly my heart was overflowing.  My spirit welling up and spilling out my tear ducts.

Oh, how I sometimes long to be in an imaginary place, in a world whose volume is all Love; where shadows do not express darkness, but serve to prove the Light; where the falling leaves, and the sear and sallow garden reveal a Beauty strong and abiding; where I am among the book people, favorite characters, deathless and True.

The longing is so full it grows to an ache that stops my senses and becomes a focus in itself, a concentration to see and understand such a multidimensional fullness.

Spending many moments in that world of Love and Light and Beauty and Truth makes it difficult to re-enter the "real" world.  This old here-and-now seems flat and queerly fluorescent-lit and artificial.

Yet I am so grateful for the glimpse of the wide, full world.

Jerusalem, my happy home,
When shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end?
Thy joys when shall I see?

O happy harbor of the saints!
O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found,
No grief, no care, no toil.

... Our sweet is mixed with bitter gall,
Our pleasure is but pain:
Our joys scarce last the looking on,
Our sorrows still remain...

"Jerusalem My Happy Home" -- "The orig­in­al man­u­script in the Brit­ish Mu­se­um, dat­ed around 1583, is in­scribed, “A song made by F. B. P. to the tune of DIANA.” The au­thor is thought to have been a Ca­tho­lic priest who based the hymn on the writ­ings of St. Au­gus­tine."   [ from CyberHymnal ]


Libertarian Epidemic Response

By the way, have you noticed the silence from the Libertarian wing regarding the Ebola crisis? 


I understand.  It is hard to hear what is not being said.

Other than some random bitching about how Gummint is Situation Normal All Fouled Up, Libertarians (even small-L libertarians) haven't been offering much.  As far as I know, even  Doctor Paul hasn't appeared in front of a microphone and a camera to offer expert advice in this instance.  Okay, he was OB-GYN, but still. 

I surmise that the Libertarian response is that market forces will take care of the whole thing by means of an invisible hand or some such. 

Maybe some entrepre-freakin-neur will come up with a free-market cure for hemorrhagic fever.  And if not, blame it on Gummint.