At the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention last week Boise Weekly News Editor Nicholas Collias won second place in Arts Criticism for a collection of reviews he wrote last year. We're just telling you this to brag a little.
Sometimes the federal government putters along, not doing anything to upset the status quo and then ... WHAMMO, they hit you all at once with a shotgun effect. The pain from one shotgun pellet lodged in your butt may not be as painful as the pellet penetrating your back, foot, or eyelid, but that doesn't change the fact that you have been wounded. In this instance, it is our personal freedoms.
There are three things the government did last week-one from each branch of the government-you should be very concerned about as Americans. First, the Supreme Court ruled that the government can take away your personal property (i.e. home, land, anything) if they think a mall or Jiffy Lube might be better for the community. Your farm, which has been in the family for generations, could be taken away to make a subdivision if local politicians (often in the back pocket of developers) believe that it would be "better economically for the community."
Second, Congress is trying once again to make an amendment to ban flag burning. It sailed through the House and is on to the Senate. In the jingoist, right-wing conservative world we live in, it just might make it unless people wise up. While I would never protest by burning an American flag, I believe it is a symbolic right entitled to every American that is part of their freedom of expresssion. I think this amendment reeks of nationalism and is a perversion of patriotism.
Third, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales amended the rules requiring the adult entertainment industry to maintain age and consent records of it's performers. The new rules now require every host (not just the creator) of any adult oriented picture (and what is their definition of "adult"?) to have a copy of those records on site in order to "protect the children." Adult and personal Web sites across the country have shut down in reaction rather than face prison time. It's a perverse back-door way for the administration to impose it's own morality on the rest of us.