It Can't Happen Here?


Tyrannical attacks on free expression in Brazil (of all places!): Here's the deal:

An American Airlines pilot was arrested by Brazilian police today after making an obscene gesture when being photographed at the airport as part of a newly imposed entry requirement for US citizens, federal police said.

The pilot, Dale Robbin Hirsh, lifted his middle finger while undergoing a new fingerprinting and photographing process put in place by Brazil for US citizens on January 1, said Francisco Baltazar da Silva, chief of Sao Paulo's federal police.

Hirsh, 52, was taken to a federal courthouse, where he could be charged by a judge with disrespecting authorities, a crime in Brazil punishable by between six months and two years in jail or a fine, da Silva said. The judge could also decide to deport Hirsh as early as tonight or within days.