Author Archive | Robert Garmong

FCC Violates Free Speech on Principle

Since the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, there have been strident demands for a crackdown by a tougher, stricter Federal Communication Commission. The FCC’s various commissioners now call for the power to regulate cable television, in addition to broadcast media. In June Congress voted to increase the maximum fine the FCC can impose […]

Privatize Space Exploration

As NASA scrambles to make the July 31 window for the troubled launch of space shuttle Discovery, we should recall the first privately funded manned spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, which over a year ago shattered more than the boundary of outer space: it destroyed forever the myth that space exploration can only be done by the government. […]

FCC Should Not Regulate the Airwaves

Since the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl, there have been strident demands for a crackdown by a tougher, stricter Federal Communication Commission. The FCC’s various commissioners now call for the power to regulate cable television, in addition to broadcast media. In June Congress voted to increase the maximum fine the FCC can impose […]

Privatize Space Exploration: The Free-Market Solution For America's Space Program

SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded manned spacecraft, shattered more than the boundary of outer space: it destroyed forever the myth that space exploration can only be done by the government. Just a week earlier, a Bush Administration panel on space exploration recommended that NASA increase the role of private contractors in the push to permanently […]

Politics Without Mirrors: The Culture War Between the Religious Right and the Secular Left

In a current Supreme Court case, Michael Newdow has challenged the constitutionality of reading the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools. Newdow, an atheist, argues that the Pledge’s reference to America as “one nation, under God,” constitutes governmental establishment of religion. The Bush administration counters that the pledge is “a patriotic exercise, not a religious […]

A Radical Solution to America’s Moribund Space Program

After years of declining budgets, public apathy, and failed missions, NASA has gotten a big boost from the Bush Administration’s recent promises of extravagant missions to permanently settle the moon and eventually explore Mars. No one knows what it would cost, but a similar idea in 1989 was estimated to cost up to $500 billion. […]

A Tale of Two Premises: California’s Deficit and Budget Crisis

The California legislature’s “solution” to the state budget crisis reeks with evasiveness and self-contradiction. Pretending that they were not raising taxes, the Assembly in fact raised automobile taxes around $5 billion. Pretending to leave local governments’ tax revenues untouched, the Assembly in fact pilfered $2.5 billion (to be made up, supposedly, with unspecified future spending […]

Free Speech Protects Profit-Makers, Too

For a century after the Civil War, blacks in America’s South were subjected to shameful acts of oppression and violence. Deprived of voice and vote, they had no choice but to suffer mutely as they were scurrilously attacked. Two California-based lawsuits indicate that a new minority scapegoat has been thrust, disarmed and disenfranchised, into the […]

Liberty, Not Democracy, In Iraq

The bromide, often quoted today, that we have won the war but now we have to “win the peace,” is meant to remind us that we have to turn from achieving our military goals to achieving our political goals in Iraq. But what if our political goals were such that accomplishing them would obliterate the […]

Smashing Windows for Peace

The attack was well-choreographed. Moving in successive waves, they executed a perfect assault. Some moved to cut off their enemies’ supply lines, seizing control of crucial bridges and roadways, while others worked to surround and besiege key command and control buildings. No, these were not U.S. commandos on a mission in Baghdad. They were anti-war […]

Privatize the Space Program

When asked how they would “heal” after the loss of space shuttle Columbia, NASA’s engineers responded as one: NASA heals by solving yesterday’s problems and launching the next mission. So, indeed, does the American nation. Thus, before the grief had fully faded into memory, we began asking ourselves what had gone wrong, and how to […]

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