Brisbane, Australia Bill of Rights: Director's Cut

The name ‘Department of Homeland Security’ scares me.

It reminds me of the House Un-American Activities Committee. You know what? The word ‘Homeland’ alone scares me. It sounds designed to stir some sentiment – the same way Chevrolet tries to with their pick-up truck ads.

We’ve got the Department of State, Department of Agriculture, Justice, Transportation, Energy – these are all worthy and reputable things. And now we’ve got ‘Homeland Security’ stuck in there. Is that supposed to impress us? We’ve already got a Department of Defense. What is Defense not doing that requires us to have another Department with such a clumsy, stupid name? I guess Defense is too busy playing offense.

I think we should switch to Ministries instead of Departments. It sounds more spiritual, less bureaucratic. And let’s do away with ‘Homeland Security’ and just call it the Ministry of Peace.

Was looking through the Bill of Rights today. It’s amazing how relevant most of these still are. Sure, you’ve got your 3rd amendment in there stinking the whole thing up, but other than that it’s a pretty handy set of rules.

Amendment I
– Freedom of religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly, and petition.

This one has had its ups and downs. The peace rally last week was a good indication that it’s still in good shape. Things were a bit bumpy after 9/11, though.

People always seem to be afraid that this right is on the brink of disappearing – and I guess maybe it is. But it’s gone and come back so many times over the years. There have been lots of times when speaking and printing freely wasn’t all that easy. But the pendulum has kept on swinging so far.

Amendment II
– Right to bear arms.

God forbid we should ever touch this one. The need for a well-regulated militia is as vital and relevant as ever.

Amendment III
– No quartering of soldiers in peoples’ homes.

This is definitely the runt of the pack. Since the Civil War, has anyone really needed this right? I wouldn’t particularly care if we did away with it altogether.

Amendment IV
– Freedom from unreasonable search and seizure.

Ouch! This one is going to have to go. It’s a real pain in the ass when you’re trying to dish out homeland security.

Amendment V
– Due process of law, grand jury, double jeopardy, witnessing against one’s self.

Boring! Snip!

Amendment VI
– Speedy and public trial by an impartial jury, assistance of counsel for the defense.

Trials take too long and they’re messy. Icksnay on the amendmentsay!

Amendment VII
– In suits of common law (that exceed $20), no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined by another court.

It’s funny to me that they specify the $20 amount. Now if I’d been in the room, I’d have made a big stink about mentioning numbers. Never get into specifics when you’re writing a preliminary design. It just makes you look stupid later on.

Amendment VIII
– No excessive bail or fines, and no cruel and unusual punishment.

Unusual? What exactly do they mean by unusual? This one sounds like baiting to me. It sets the imagination aflitter. They should have said “No sticking plungers up peoples’ asses during interrogations.” Then we’d know exactly what they were talking about.

Amendment IX
– Anything we forgot to allow isn’t necessarily forbidden.

Good one to have in there, but shouldn’t it come last? Or not even last, it should be a postscript. Like, “here’s the Bill of Rights. Oh, and P.S., anything we forgot to mention isn’t necessarily illegal.” I’ll bet they could only come up with 9, but they wanted an even 10, so they added this one and then moved it up from the bottom so it didn’t look as much like an afterthought.

The Ten Commandments are like that too. Some of them are obvious filler. You know, the Bible doesn’t even present them as a list. Moses just reads this message from God that he wrote on stone tablets and it happens to be filled with a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Later on people went to work on it, turned it into a list of 10, and decided to make it a thing. Read literally, you could easily say there are 17 commandments – granted, most of them are redundant. God didn’t just tell people not to covet their neighbors’ wives, he specifically told us not to covet our neighbors’ asses as well (and yet, no mention of coveting our neighbors’ wives’ asses). That commandment got folded into one larger one, probably because it didn’t look good on fancy plaques.

Amendment X
– Any powers not given to the central government goes to the states or the people.

Duh! Who else are they gonna go to? France? More filler.

Bought my Micronesia ticket today. It cost half as much to buy it in Australian dollars as the same seat cost in U.S. dollars. Call the airline direct and you get an inflated U.S. price. Go to an Australian backpacker place, they’re selling it for half as much.

I went back to the casino and won back $40. I think I can bury that demon for the time being. Damn it’s fun, though.