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This little rant is basically an e-mail I sent to my E-List about Right To Privacy Day. If you'd like to receive my little rants in e-mail form, just send me an e-mail requesting to be added to my List.

Today, March 22, is the 40th anniversary of the Baird v. Eisenstadt Supreme Court case that laid the groundwork for Roe v. Wade. It's here on FindLaw for those interested: Baird v. Eisenstadt or Google for other interesting articles about the case. Regardless of how anyone feels about abortion, privacy is an extremely important issue in terms of people's rights. I don't agree with Bill Baird on all the issues, but I'm 100% in agreement on privacy.

In Massachusetts, where Bill Baird is from, today is a holiday: Right To Privacy Day. Bill's trying to make this a national holiday, and I hope everyone who receives this e-mail will join with me in helping make Bill's dream a reality. Please write your legislators. Tell them you'd like March 22 to be National Right To Privacy Day.

I had the privilege of speaking on the same panel as Bill at a convention in Florida some years back. But it was also, frankly, scary. Bill's a hero of mine, and also, I'm proud to say, a friend. His Family Planning clinic has been firebombed and he's been shot at. Yes, somebody actually tried to assassinate this man. So standing next to him before an audience I'm thinking, What if somebody tries to shoot him again? What if they miss and hit me instead? But I wouldn't have missed sharing the stage with Bill for anything. To show their admiration for Bill, the organizers of the convention gave him a computer and a bullet-proof vest. I'm not kidding; they gave him a bullet-proof vest.

Anyway, while I think every day should be National Right To Privacy Day to make sure people's rights are always protected, if we can make Right To Privacy Day a legally recognized holiday, we'll keep the issue of privacy in the public consciousness. And that would be a good thing.

I know that some who are on my little e-mail List live in countries other than the US. Privacy and human rights are an international issue, though. I hope whatever country you live in you have freedom, and the more free countries we have the better chance we have of attaining freedom and personal autonomy for all.

Bill's website is Pro Choice League

On a personal note, I've just leased a new car. After months of off-and-on looking I finally decided on a Nissan Versa. I pick it up from the dealership tomorrow. My old Saturn finally failed. I'm sorry to have to give up the old car but it was time for a change anyway.

I test drove everything from a Ford Focus to a Mazda 3 to a Smart Car. The Versa best meets my needs and I got a good deal on leasing it. A friend of mine has always leased his cars so I'm trying his advice and going with leasing rather than buying.

When I bought my Saturn, it was an easy, no-pressure experience. (If Saturn was still in business I'd just get another one; it's a great car.) Not so with some of the dealerships I visited. In some cases I was thinking, I wonder if I can get a clause in the contract that says I get to put my hands around the throat of the salesperson for just thirty seconds. That's all I want; just thirty seconds. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. You all know that I'm a peaceful, easy-going guy, and that I try to be on good terms with everyone. But some of these sales people even riled me up.

But eventually I found a good dealership and a good car.

Because I had time and didn't need a new car immediately, I rented a few different vehicles from Enterprise to drive for a few days each so I'd get a real experience driving them and seeing how they handled under actual driving conditions not just taking a test drive around the block. I really wanted to pick the right car.

The Enterprise people were great and it was easy and comfortable dealing with them. We joked around a lot, and I made a joke about having to do their job for them on the last car I rented before leasing the Versa. What did I have to do? I had to set the clock ahead for Daylight Savings Time. I joked with them that I wanted the three seconds it took me to do that deducted from my rental time.

My joking comment, however, brought a response I had not expected when one of the Enterprise agents told me that he had gotten a traffic ticket for making a turn during the time when such a turn was prohibited. He had looked at the clock, read the sign and determined by the clock in the car that it was legal to turn at that time. The clock was set incorrectly. He challenged the ticket in Court. And he won. Way to go! Right on!

Don't let the system push you around. Always stand up for your rights.

A National Right To Privacy Day would help citizens to remember that they have rights and that they can stand up for those rights. (You knew I'd bring this rant back to law and politics and rights; I always do.)

Kathy Bates, who stars in a really good TV show titled Harry's Law (and there are so few really good TV shows) was the guest on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (another really good show) recently. She mentioned that an upcoming episode of her show addressed the issue of spy drones being used by law enforcement agencies to spy on US citizens. The drones are coming. They will be spying on us. Unless we do something to change the laws that are allowing this to happen.

To paraphrase the TV commercial of a certain airlines: You are still free to move about the country. That may change. And will, if certain political forces have their way.

Once again, please contact your legislators.

Have a great Right To Privacy Day!

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