First Amendment as a Successful Defense and an Unsuccessful One

The 9th Circuit’s description of the matter:

When Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Portland International Airport told John Brennan that he needed to undergo additional security screening because he tested positive for explosives, Brennan, in the middle of a TSA checkpoint, stripped naked. When TSA officers told Brennan to get dressed, he refused — three times. After TSA officers had to close down the checkpoint and surround Brennan’s naked body with bins until the police arrived to remove him, the TSA fined Brennan $500 for interfering with screening personnel in the performance of their duties. See 49 C.F.R. § 1540.109 (“No person may interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.”).

Brennan’s core contention is that stripping naked in the middle of a TSA checkpoint is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment. But Brennan fails to carry his burden of showing that a viewer would have understood his stripping naked to be communicative. See Clark v. Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 293 n.5 (1984). Therefore, his conduct is not protected by the First Amendment.

Meanwhile, OR prosecuted Brennan for public nudity. Acquitted by the Judge, as follows, according to The Oregonian:

The judge sided with the defense, which cited a 1985 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling stating that nudity laws don’t apply in cases of protest.

“It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do,” Circuit Judge David Rees said.

Are both results correct? Neither? One, but not the other?

Metro Worse than you thought Possible

Don’t ride Metro

Even those who didn’t see the questions beforehand considered the evaluations a breeze. “I’ll be honest with you—I studied harder for fast-food jobs and waiter jobs when I was in college than I did for their program,” says Kenneth Colvin, who was a US Army air-traffic controller before joining Scarbrough and Watkins’s training class. “Their testing program is a joke.”

Things got even stranger when the new hires started on-the-job training and found a workplace that, according to five recent ROCC trainees, was inhospitable to newcomers. The ROCC’s employees were mostly WMATA lifers who almost never left the Landover facility. (Even when the Silver Line opened, controllers watched a DVD about the extension instead of touring it.) Many veterans hardly spoke to the new hires, who felt as if they were being iced out. “They wanted us to fail,” Colvin says.

It’s hard to even recommend it for tourists anymore. I use it sparingly, but honestly, Uber is just so much more convenient. So i’m saying that i’d get in an loosely-regulated jitney driven by a stranger (UberX) before getting on a heaving regulated transit system is all you need to know. Of course, on Tuesday, my UberX driver had a Mercedes C-class Sedan.

Also: What an incredible smell you’ve discovered.

This wasn’t the only troubling thing the feds found in Metro’s plumbing. The FTA discovered that train drivers regularly relieved themselves on the tracks because supervisors, due to inadequate training, weren’t comfortable taking the wheel to give them bathroom breaks.



I just had to get Bon Jovi off the front page.



Is anybody going to be in Boston in a couple of weeks?  I fly in on Friday, 3/8, and don’t have to be out to Woods Hole until the next day; where’s a good place to stay/eat?  I’ve been through Boston several times now, so know how to use their version of the Metro, but haven’t found a hangout I like yet.

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