251 Again with the speech thing.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

If I ever get a whack at First Amendment free speech it will protect just two things: Something you open your mouth and say, and something you write down.

And nothing else!

From the Seattle Times.

A Multnomah, Oregon, County judge found bushy bearded, balding, 50 year old, John Brennan wearing a baby blue shirt and chocolate colored slacks (for which I would have had him shot out of hand) not guilty of indecent exposure for getting naked in an air terminal, ruling that when he dropped his drawers in packed Portland International Airport his act was one of symbolic protest and therefore protected speech.

Hey judge, you have no idea what I would like to do on your bench in protest of yourruling. I wonder how long you would cling to your idea of what's protected as free speech as my comment on your decision ran down into your lap.

That case is over, but there's a second one involving the disruption in the airport screening process. Here's what happened.

The Transportation Security Administration, is seeking to fine Brennan $1,000 for interfering with the screening process.

Some facts--and some of my home grown suspicions, which you may, of course, chop to pieces.

• April 17, 2012. Brennan arrived at Portland airport "intending to take a business trip." He flies about once a month.

• Brennan reached the gate but refused to go through the airport’s body scanners as is normal. Instead he chose the alternative body pat-down.

Q. Why did he choose the pat-down? Could it be he planned this event?

• During the screening Brennan began narrating the pat-down, TSA officer Steven Van Gordon has testified, “It was a descriptive kind of thing: ‘He’s now touching my collar.’” Brennan was not otherwise disruptive or uncooperative during the pat-downr, Van Gordon adds, “[But] in all the many pat-downs I’ve done, I found this a unique experience.”

Q. Could it be that the reason Brennan didn't go through the normal body-scan is because he had turned on his smart phone and was talking into it where it lay in the tray?

• After the pat-down, Van Gordon detected nitrates on the gloves he used to check Brennan. Detection of nitrates, which obviously can indicate the presence of an explosive, requires a more detailed body check.

Q. As anyone knows, if you rub a tiny amount of any fertilizer on your clothes they will show nitrate; did he do that?

• When Brennan was told that he would have to have a more detailed check, he immediately stripped off all his clothes.

Q. Why? So that he could make a fuss and get some publicity?

• The airport security lanes were shut down while airport workers moved carts stacked high with gray bins around a naked Brennan to block him from public view.



Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

• The police were called. Port of Portland Police Officer Brian Cotter asked Brennan to put on his clothes. He refused. Officer Brian repeated his request. Brennan again refused. Cotter arrested him.

• During the arrest procedure Brennan told Cotter that he was “tired of being hassled.” Matters were so confused that, as testified by the screener, "the screening process was never completed."

Q. Did anyone check to see if his cell was turned on and recording? Or was he just planning on using the dozens of cell phones that were clicking?

• Brennan says that he does not regret his actions. (He lost his job shortly after the incident and has had difficulty finding work, but the article was very vague as to whether it had anything to do with the incident.)

Q. Does he plan to sue the government big bucks for violating his civil rights if he wins this unimportant lawsuit, just as he won the first one?

• Before his second trial began, Brennan told the Associated Press that he had for months felt angst** every time he went through security, and the nitrate detection was the final straw for him.

Q. Where did that nitrate come from?

** angst, a rarely used word, is a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial.

Q. Using a big word to get attention?

• Brennan says he has taken several domestic and international flights since he disrobed in 2012. Each time he has opted out of the full-body scan in favor of a pat-down.

Q. Why?

The Seattle Times quotes Brennan as bragging that, “People I don’t know give me high-fives in the grocery store. I’ve become a symbol of what people have wanted to do for years.”

The term, "The Naked American Hero," came up during the article. Nice name for a book. Do you suppose....?

Okay, your turn, except that I have to point out just one more thing:

Portland is Oregon's largest city, and is home to a large annual Naked Bike Ride. The Oregonian newspaper, in reporting on this case, pointed with pride to the fact that "as many as 10,000 free-wheeling souls participating this past June."

It also pointed out, "Then there was the 21-year-old Portland man who was so inspired by the car-free movement in 2008 that he rode his bike in protest through the Alberta Arts District sans clothes. Portland police took him to the ground and booked him into jail, only to have a judge gain national attention by throwing out the case."

It added, "One friend stuck a sticky note on Brennan's chest. It read: 'Sir Godiva' -- a reference to the legend of a noblewoman who rode naked on a horse through the streets of England to protest oppressive taxation."

Q. Did Brennan have any of that in mind when he did what he did?

Okay, your turn.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

How do you feel about the extention of the First Amendment right of free speech to "action" instead of words.

Do you think that the founding fathers intended the First Amendment to cover going naked in public and claiming that it's your way of saying what you think?

Do you think that anything other than actual speech--in writing, spoken, or in the form of a recognized signing of some sort--was intended?

And if so, do you think that we need a change to the amendment to specifically excluse anything which is considered indecent?


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, Not that I am not in total agreement with your position on the matter, but if you and I were to prevail in our view, then it would mean the incarceration or fining of many in San Francisco and other such environments. I have come to accept that we now live in an age of immoral, degrading behavior as the "norm", and those of us that are offended by such behavior and by the many that defend it, we are simply anachronistic old fuddy duddies. Welcome to the 21st Century my friend.


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 7 months ago

Ronald, You are seriously missing the point. But, I do absolutely love and adore, anachronistic old fuddy duddies. If my words are offensive to you (most definitely not my intention), please don't read them. I believe that my name is posted prior to the words. Anachronism - is one of my favorite words!


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Ms. Flowers, I believe you would do well NOT to read someone's post on this blog as an affront to you. If my thoughts had been directed towards anything you have here to fore posted, I would have most certainly made sure you had no misunderstanding as to my response and to whom it was directed. My response was to Tom, and him only, therefore the salutation "Tom". And pray tell, where in this thread is your name even mentioned? Good day to you Madam.


Pat Randall 3 years, 7 months ago

Robin, You are being very rude and insulting to Mr. Hamric, Tom Garrett and anyone else older than you. Your words may not offend them but they do offend a lot of other people. Someone must have forgotten to teach you manners. Especially respect towards to your elders.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Pat, Thanks for the post but you know my skin is fairly thick as us "seniors" tend to form a crust after so many years. I find Ms. Flowers rather colorful in her expressive approach. I really liked " There may not be another person on this planet who has my unique skill set,". Who among us doesn't often feel that "if the world would just listen to me, everything would be peachy"? I hope you are doing well and look forward to your views and those of others on all these issues that come up on this blog, thanks in no small way to Tom's ability to lightly touch some hot buttons.;-)


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago

"Who among us doesn't often feel that "if the world would just listen to me, everything would be peachy"?

And here I though I was the only one. :-)

"...it would mean the incarceration or fining of many in San Francisco and other such environments."

Oddly enough, Ron, that's exactly what has happened. Right in San Francisco, center of fudge and smudge land, the City Council has passed, and the courts affirmed, a ban of public nudity.

Here's part of the story from 22 Jan 2013:

"A federal judge considering San Francisco's public nudity ban rejected arguments Thursday that simply disrobing in public was protected political speech akin to flag burning."

"The Board of Supervisors passed the law last month after residents and visitors to the city's renowned Castro district complained about what they called unsightly and unsanitary nudity in a plaza in the heart of the gay neighborhood."

"Public nudity activists filed a federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate the law, arguing the government-ordered cover-up violates their 1st Amendment rights to express their political views. Their supporters also complained the law contradicts the city's live-and-let-live reputation."

The case was decided in March. Here's a 23 March, 2013 comment:

"Judge Chen disagreed with their assessment stating their case, “was lacking in any substantive legal argument in support” of their claims and that they also didn’t provide enough evidence.

So the City’s ban stands."

You never know, do you? When people push for one thing, while claiming they are pushing for another one, even the law gets wise sooner or later. This comment really should be on the airport stripper string, but this is as good a place as any, I guess.

"But, I do absolutely love and adore, anachronistic old fuddy duddies."

Frankly, Robbin, I think you should take a look at the people who wrote the Constitution. You might feel that they too fit that description. I don't see any teenagers in those pics. And yet they were able to lay down a set of principles which are as current today--and as correct--as they were back then. It is altogether too easy to take the easy way out by adopting the McVeigh approach. "If there is a hell, then I'll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war."

You see? He uses a common flaw in logic and reasoning called False Analogy, which is comparing things which can't be compared

I might point out that what is critical in any discussion is the ability to reach in dependent, informed, and logical conclusions on your own. I could do that when I was ten. Still can. I have no political point of view. I have no axe to grind. I haven't swallowed whole and undigested the hype from any group. Never will.

I have, in fact, a fully operating bu----it filter that works quite nicely. When it fails I'll quit doing this.


Pat Randall 3 years, 7 months ago

Ron, Tom does have the ability to push buttons.(:

That being said, he is a great person. He kept me going while I was losing my husband over a period of 2 yrs. I had never met him, but when I was really down he always had something to say to help me thru another day. Living with someone for 56 yrs and then never knowing when you went into the room if they know you or not is hard. On a lighter note, he always smiled and said yes when I asked him if he was ready for his pumpkin pie.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 7 months ago

Pat, darn you!! You can bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye with just a few well chosen words!! The beauty of a couple being married and happy for 56 years is such an inspiration! And the heartbreak of losing your partner is beyond bearable. I hold you in awe!

Back to the discussion..I am appalled by these people who think that nudity falls under the "free speech" amendment. What happened to that tiny little phrase that indicates so much, "indecent exposure"? Public nudity is most assuredly NOT free speech. It is inappropriate action. Just as if someone were to stand in the middle of a public place and scream and shout vulgarities, eventually they would likely be arrested for "disorderly conduct".

Furthermore, in my opinion, public nudity is also a grossly disgusting sanitary issue (rather, UN-sanitary). I, for certain, am not interested in sitting on a seat that someones bare buttocks have recently vacated. Nor am I interested in sitting in a restaurant trying to eat a meal while bare breasts, bottoms and genitals are flapping all about.

In my opinion the man disrobing during a security check at the airport is guilty of disorderly conduct, at the very minimum. To answer your question Tom. I absolutely believe that he planned the whole thing and that he deliberately set things up so as to gain notoriety, as well as the possibility of a nice fat settlement.

I am aware that there is the extremely occasional anomaly, however, for the most part, TSA people are just trying to do their, extremely thankless, job. I cannot imagine spending every day, all day, dealing with grumpy, irate, inconvenienced people. Fat people, thin people, sweaty, smelly people and over perfumed or cologned people. Groping through their personal belongings, never knowing what you might poke your hand into. People who will deliberately say or do things to make you look bad or get you into trouble. Their pay is far too low for what they are expected to do. They are tasked with walking a very fine line. Be thorough enough in their search so as to not let the wrong thing through, while not offending anyone, either by profiling or being too invasive. Throw into the mix people like this Brennan, and there is not enough money in the world...


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


The simple truth is, though I sometimes think you don't realize it, is that you set a high example in a lot of ways and it would be downright difficult not to admire you for it.

"I cannot imagine spending every day, all day, dealing with grumpy, irate, inconvenienced people."

I've thought about that myself, but I don't think I could have expressed it so well. The first thing about a job like that is that you have to do it every day, all day, over and over again. The second thing is that the people you are dealing with are the exact same ones you are trying to help, and it must be hard to take when they give you flak about it.

I'll tell you all something that you probably don't know. Teachers know it, but most people don't. The rate of stress-related illnesses among teachers far exceeds that of the rest of the population. Why? You said it exactly: "...spending every day, all day, dealing with grumpy, irate, inconvenienced people." Kids, by and large, would like to be anywhere else, and doing anything else, other than sitting in school. Teachers, by and large, are seen by kids as people who make them do things they don't want to do. It's the parents who want the schools, not the kids.

Example? In my small science department in Texas there were three people who suffered from diverticulitis. One of them had had her colon removed and wore a bag on one side. Imagine what fun that mist be. Another one took a handful of different pills every day to avoid the surgery. The third was was on her way to an operation when I left. In that school of about 125 teachers I knew of about 8 to 10 who had similar problems. In Mesa i knew at least that many teachers who had stress-related problems, and I can't imagine what it's like now, with the feds deliberately trying to destroy the public schools.

As for Brennan, I know the type, and so do we all: they would be first in line with a lawsuit if someone they loved died in a plane bombing--and last in line to appreciate anything done to keep them safe.

Too many things suggest that he had it all planned.

As to the First Amendment, it is long past time for Congress to make a couple of very specific changes to it saying that certain specific things--one of them being public nudity--do not fall under the umbrella of free speech. That's the way to handle the "slippery slope." Just throw some sand on it, but only in the right places. By doing it that way we protect our liberties, but we make sure that scuzzballs don't make fools out of us.


Pat Randall 3 years, 7 months ago

Kim and Tom, Thank you for your kind words.

If everyone was nude as they were when they were born it would be fine with me. But since we have made the rules we must stay dressed.

I have been flashed twice, once in San Francisco while walking up the sidwalk, and once in Phx. by a man in a low car while I was driving a Van. The first time it was funny because of the lady that was with me. I have a warped sense of humor. The one in Phx. I called the police. The policeman that came was barely old enough to be an officer and when he asked me if I could identify the mans face, I told him no, as that wasn't what caught my attention. The officer was so embarrased I got hysterical laughing at him. I could identify the car. make, model, color, everthing except the license plate.
Both stories to long to tell on here.


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, "But, I do absolutely love and adore, anachronistic old fuddy duddies." Its twue, its twue. Nobody is perfect, especially me, a nobody, who knows nothing. And, I will tell you something else, you really can't believe everything you read. There are so many inconsistencies documented in my past its ridiculous. For one, when I did university work, I started in a trainee ship, then evolved into an associate professor. I wrote my own curriculums, graded my own papers, had my own office - with office hours, and did research for publication (which the Phd's got credit for, because of the publish or perish.) But, I never checked to make sure that my job title was changed, and didn't learn that it wasn't until I was ready to leave for a consulting position. At the time I really didn't care about "titles" and I still don't. Additionally, the masters program that I went through was so stringent, we had a graduating class of 3, and started with 12 people. The profs also manipulated the credit cost of the classes to keep it a "three semester credit hours" even though the class load was much higher - to keep the cost down. I have also observed board members writing absolute lies on paper, then bend and manipulate paperwork to do their bidding, in spite of the truth. Boards are immune from prosecution, so they may damn well do what they want. I have also lobbied legislators, who will tell you to you face what you want to hear, then do the exact opposite on paper. And, if your lucky, there comes a time in life when you really have to examine what you are about. I did at one time have all the badges one could achieve. Those pieces of paper become worthless when the system is so completely insane and hurts the people you care about. So, sometimes a girl has to do, what a girl has to do. Before, I was a geek, I used to be a dork, and I can totally identify with the Jim Carry, character in "When Nature Calls." I have literally been this ridiculous especially when he interacts with the bad guy.


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


You deserve those good words. The truth is the truth.

Thanks for the story about the car et al. Made my day.

As to Frisco, which ought to be called Non-Frisco because when some of those folks over there have there way there's nothing to frisk, if you want to get an objective view of the place read Irving Stone's "Men for my Mountains." It's a non-fiction book on the settlement of the far west, and its view of Frisco back in those days is a gas.

And where nudity is concerned I fall into the group that thinks that good reasons for wearing clothes are:

  1. Humans are so %$#@! ugly.

  2. Parts of the human body are even worse.

  3. Since we share certain public places, even sitting in the spot that someone just vacated, I want people to wear clothes--lots of them! And the only way you would get me into Walmart in a naked world would be wearing a six foot diameter steel reinforced bumper!

  4. The primary reason that the people we identify with Frisco--though I am sure there are many other people there--want to shed their clothes is an in-your-face attempt to create an anything-goes world. I do not happen to think that anything goes is a world in which I would care to live, nor do I think anyone who really thinks it over does either. Laws are a good thing. They keep each of us from doing things that the rest of us want done. If you want to be different, be different, and with my genuine blessings. Just don't ask me to stamp USDA APPROVED on your backside. It ain't gonna happen.

  5. The other reason that some people in Frisco--and elsewhere--do not want clothes is that they can't seem to get their minds focused on the other ninety-nine percent of life.

  6. Clothes were invented by humans for good reasons other than what the pinheads in answer Number 5 think about all the time; they protect us in a lot of obvious ways--from cold, heat, untraviolet light, and whatnot; and they protect us in ways rarely thought of but just as important. Try shoving your way through some brush with no clothes on. Good luck!


I genuinely hear you talking.


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 7 months ago

Pat and Tom, One more thing. If you think that I am a red herring, you would be mistaken. I never sat out to be involved in what I now find myself involved in. I was living my simple, happy life - just fine. Then I got onto your blogs and started reading about your stories. I was so touched and inspired by both of you that I risked blogging. Then a cascading set of events occurred that woke me up and sparked me into action.

Now, I am just a tool performing a duty, that I am most honored to do. I have absolutely no agenda other than what I have already stated. I do have all the complex puzzle pieces, of which you have only seen a tiny fraction.

Additionally, sometimes when my son appears to be disrespectful to me, it is only because I am not hearing what he is really trying to communicate to me. I would never want to appear as disrespectful but this situation is so serious and I am a rough red neck, with a wicked since of humor, that is not always appreciated. So, WAKE UP PEOPLE, it is you or no one.


Pat Randall 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, I will have to say San Francisco had some wonderful drs. They saved my husband twice. I know I have said this before but that is where he had his angioplastys done. Was in the first 100 people in the US to have it done. Stanford University Drs. saved him twice more. Sleep Apnea.


Robbin Flowers 3 years, 7 months ago

I tried to go up against power before, and trust me, power does not like to be challenged. Just look at what happened to all the people that have tried. And big bro is listening for it. Just look at the IRS and Huffington Post situation. So, cryptic is best.

In my fall from grace and being beaten like a dog into submission, I sure did learn a lot, and I never stopped learning. And when I look back on it now, it was a necessary learning opportunity. I can "eat" a book in a day. I read everything, that I can get my hands on, I learn from every situation and from every person that I encounter, I am a knowledge sponge.

Changing the subject, I am happy to hear that people still listen to the classics and opera. My house is filled with it, Bach, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, and Madam Butterfly, just to name a few. That is what my son was raised on, and he was writing his own music and playing the piano very early. However, I will listen to anything, any art, no matter how wild - because all those artists are communicating a view point. I have to do this in my poker room, because my son can' t stand that kind of music. But, to me, it is very interesting to listen to all those artists, because when it comes down to it, it all stems from the classics. Additionally, when I say You and Pat, I mean everybody you touch, your "platform."


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


I'm glad to hear something good about San Francisco for a change. It must irk the people there very much to see the whole city being painted with such a broad brush.

It's easy to see how it happened. I well remember the days when SF was the city of the "flower children" et al. That was, I'm afraid, about the most brainless "movement" in history. I always wondered what those folks thought would happen if they walked up to VC with a flower in hand and said, "Peace brother." They'd have gotten their peace, all right--a piece of the earth to lie on while their bones rotted into the jungle.

And that one about, "Gee! What would happen if you gave a war and nobody came?"

Uh-huh. Someone needed to buy those folks a history book so they could see what life is like when you don't fight back. Did they really believe that the bad guys were going to see the light, everybody woud do hugs, and it would turn out all right?

Simplistic answers to complex questions. Always the same thing. Too bad.

Not long I actually saw an article by some bongo-brained professor who said we should throw out the Constitution because it's out of date. Really, I'm not kidding. The guy's shoe size must be bigger than his IQ.

It's not all that complicated. There is (a) right, and (b) wrong. If you aren't sure what the difference is where governments are concerned just go read the Constitution. Many things change in this world, but the fundamental principles don't. How can they? We just aren't applying them at the moment.

As Ron implies, we are in deep doo-doo right now because both the parties have fallen into bad hands, but that can be overcome if someone comes along and manages to get people to understand what's really going on--two sets of robber barons selling votes for money. Or there's the alternative; the world will keep on going downhill, the system will break down, there will be death and destruction unlike anything ever seen before, much of humankind will die, a second Dark Ages will emerge, and then--slowly and over a long period of time--humankind will emerge from it all and start all over again.

As for me, I'm lucky. I lived through the very best era this planet has ever known or ever will know. A time when medicine took off like a rocket, when earnings skyrocketed for a time, and when the threat of Facism first, and then Communism, united us in the way we united back in 1776; a time when the world finally decided that it's better to sit down and talk than to kill off the flower of each new generation. Thus, my life has been everything I ever wanted it to be.

If we could just find enough people who understand the problem we could avoid a couple of thousand years of pain. Could happen. Who knows?

Or maybe not.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 7 months ago

Tom, As I often do, I often find the answer to "why?" in my Bible. I hope no one feels like I am preaching or witnessing, but I feel very strongly that these particular verses in scripture help me understand the "why" of where we find ourselves, our nation, and our world today.

Romans 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. NASB


Tom Garrett 3 years, 7 months ago


Suppose for a minute that there is no God. Read that again and you'll see that the worst punishment that can be visited upon humankind is to live with and among people like that. And so that makes that passage doubly true.


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