Illinois Charges for Recording Police Dismissed

In what could be a huge victory for transparency, charges against an Illinois man for recording police officers during an arrest have been dismissed by the judge. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reports:

An Illinois judge ruled the state’s eavesdropping law unconstitutional as applied to a man who faced up to to 75 years in prison for secretly recording his encounters with police officers and a judge.

“A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties,” the judge wrote in his decision dismissing the five counts of eavesdropping charges against defendant Michael Allison.

“Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information,” he wrote.

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Spencer’s Anti-American Views

Here’s Pam Geller’s loonie-in-arms Robert Spencer explaining to a radio talk show host why the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Muslims:

So I don’t know why nowadays freedom of religion is considered absolute especially since, as you point out Janet, we’re talking about a political ideology here and the political ideology is what is dangerous to Americans because it impinges upon our freedoms, our freedom of speech, our freedom of conscience, the idea of equality of rights of all people before the law and so on. That is the only reason why anybody is concerned about Islamic law. So if those political aspects were restricted then there would be no problem. And I don’t think it would restrict the freedom of religion to restrict the political aspects of Islam.

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CT Justice Apologizes to Eminent Domain Victim

The Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in Kelo v New London remains one of the worst and most unpopular rulings in the nation’s history across the entire political spectrum. Liberals, conservatives and libertarians alike object to the ruling, which gives cities and states the authority to seize someone’s property and give it to a corporation on the grounds that it will generate more tax revenue.

But that case only came about because the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the wrong way and the Kelo family appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court in the futile hope that they would overturn it. And now the chief justice of that court is apologizing to the family, saying he would vote differently today. The Hartford Courant reports:
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Textbook Case of Police Retaliation

Via Balko, as usual, here’s an appalling story of police retaliation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2009, an informant who worked for the police there admitted that he had helped an officer frame a father and daughter for drug trafficking, leading to their release from prison. They are now suing for wrongful imprisonment and another daughter testified on their behalf in the case and in a corruption trial against the officer.

Not only did the informant testify that he had lied about a drug deal that never took place, a former ATF agent testified that he had helped them frame the father and daughter as well. The officers were acquitted in criminal trials but remain suspended and the civil trial is still going on. Two weeks after the second daughter testified, the police stormed her house and arrested her on several misdemeanor traffic warrants.
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Farah’s Craziest Idea Yet

Joseph Farah’s latest idea is so crazy that he actually admits that it’s crazy. Get a load of this:

However, there is something Sarah Palin could do right now that would be truly radical – and, at the very least, bloody Barack Obama so badly he wouldn’t have a hope of beating the Republican nominee.

What’s that?

Brace yourself for a crazy idea.

Sarah Palin should reregister as a Democrat and announce her intention of seeking the Democratic Party nomination in 2012 over Barack Obama!

Crazy? I told you it was crazy.

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Drawing Lines on Religion-Based Discrimination

The Chicago Tribune reports that a gay couple is suing two bed and breakfasts for refusing to rent facilities to them for a civil union ceremony.

The Beall Mansion in Alton told the Wathens via email that it “will just be doing traditional weddings.” The owner of the Timber Creek Bed and Breakfast in Paxton wrote in an email to the couple: “We will never host same-sex civil unions. We will never host same-sex weddings even if they become legal in Illinois. We believe homosexuality is wrong and unnatural based on what the Bible says about it. If that is discrimination, I guess we unfortunately discriminate.”

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Robert O’Brien Nominee: Roberta Combs

Who’s Roberta Combs? She’s the president of the Christian Coalition these days and she sends me crazy statements every week. Like this one:

It is hard to believe, but we increasingly have two separate Americas. Many liberals have their “government knows best” and “America is bad” positions and the rest of Americans believe in America’s exceptionalism.

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More Barton Historical Falsehoods

David Barton gave a talk at Liberty University recently and Warren Throckmorton caught him making several false claims in just the first five minutes of his talk. Barton said:

We have the same thing when you look at Quakers. You see Quakers were founded by William Penn in Pennsylvania. I’ll lay you odds there’s no chance that William Penn would be a Quaker today, even in the denomination he founded, he would not be a part of. We look at it the way it is today and say it must have been the way they were back then.

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God Guides Perry’s Life

Rick Perry spoke at Liberty University and told them that God has been guiding his life for as long as he can remember:

Perry described how “all through life there have been these supernatural events” of God sending him signals, providing one example where God sent a “real clear message” to him by using rain to stop him from leaving Texas. “You go through my life and there have been so many of those events that occurred and I don’t get confused, it wasn’t coincidence,” Perry explained, “it was God’s hands on my life, guiding me in the ways He wanted me to be, and I truly believe He has me here at a time such as this.”

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Air Force Warns Commanders on Religious Proselytizing

In a major victory for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Air Force’s highest ranking general has sent out a memo to all officers telling them that they cannot use their position to push their religious views on those under their command.

Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz sent a servicewide memo Sept. 1 cautioning leaders at all levels to balance the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom and the prohibition on government intrusion.

“We have seen instances where well-meaning commanders and senior noncommissioned officers appeared to advance a particular religious view among their subordinates, calling into question their impartiality and objectivity. We can learn from these instances,” said Lt. Col. Sam Highley, Schwartz’s spokesman.

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Bachmann: The Truth Doesn’t Matter

According to Michele Bachmann, it’s okay for a politician to make outrageously ridiculous statements about important issues as though they are factual as long as they don’t pretend to be a doctor:

“I didn’t make any statements that would indicate I’m a doctor, I’m a scientist, or making any conclusions about the drug one way or the other,” she said, adding she was merely relating the concerns of a woman who was “very distraught” and who supported her view that Perry’s actions were wrong.

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Fear of Public Speaking

The old joke goes like this: Polls show that public speaking is the number one fear in this country. More people fear speaking in public more than they fear dying. So at a funeral, more people in the audience would rather be the dead guy than the one giving the eulogy. Not true, obviously, but mildly amusing. Sam Harris writes about his own fear of public speaking:

Fear of public speaking is also a fertile source of psychological suffering elsewhere in life. I can remember dreading any event where being asked to speak was a possibility. I have to give a toast at your wedding? Wonderful. I can now spend the entire ceremony, and much the preceding week, feeling like a condemned man in view of the scaffold.

Pathological self-consciousness in front of a crowd is more than ordinary anxiety: it lies closer to the core of the self. It seems, in fact, to be the self—the very feeling we call “I”—but magnified grotesquely. There are few instances in life when the sense of being someone becomes so onerous.

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