- Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray on Rand Paul’s attempt to win over Democrat youth.
- Fuck yeah, Justin Bieber — seriously.
- Politico on Rand Paul and “mainstream libertarianism” — features this cringe-worthy lede: “Stereotyped for decades as pro-pot, pro-porn and pro-pacifism, libertarians are becoming mainstream.” Stereotyped is another word for “those are integral parts of our political belief”?
- Fuck Rand Paul, says Charlie Pierce of Esquire.
- Yes to gays and guns (speaking of mainstream libertarianism!)
- Matt Welch still thinks Rand Paul’s anti-drone filibuster was damned historic.
- Over at The Skeptical Libertarian, Dan Bier offers a warning to anyone who is excited about the new “Ron Paul” homeschooling curriculum.
- VICE writer on hitchhiking to Texas and almost joining (one of) the reunited Black Flag(s). A sincere, heartfelt piece. I want more of that from VICE.
- “Jerry Brown Should (Still) Be Ashamed of California’s Prisons”
- Time’s Joel Klein thinks that pro-gun folks are “anti-American.”
- Breitbart on why VICE isn’t edgy enough, with bonus calling me a lefty bit.
- The sound of 10,000 punks’ heads exploding.
- Wish I could be there on the 19th.
A few days ago I had another piece published on VICE. This one was — ideally — fodder to annoy statists and conspiracy theorists both.
According to a poll released last week by Public Policy Polling, 4 percent of Americans—quotes are essential here—“believe shape-shifting reptilian people control our world by taking on human form and gaining power.” That was the silliest bit of a survey of 1,200-odd adults on conspiracy theories that ranged from “Wait, didn’t that at least mostly happen?” (whether George W. Bush “intentionally misled the public about the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to promote the Iraq war”) to half-baked ideas conceived by dorm-room stoners 40 years ago (“Do you believe Paul McCartney actually died in a car crash in 1966 and was secretly replaced by a lookalike so the Beatles could continue, or not?”).
These results were passed around the media to much amusement over the apparently stupid, partisan naïveté of Americans. But it’s really not as bad as the Atlantic Wire headline declaring that “12 million Americans Believe Lizard People Run Our Country” indicates. For one thing, as Reason’s Jesse Walker pointed out, it would be awfully tempting to troll any pollsters inquiring about your feelings towards Roswell, the Reptilians, and whether Obama is the Antichrist (13 percent, for the record, said he was).
For another, not all the theories PPP asked people about are as nutty as the idea that the moon landing was faked (7 percent of respondents believe it was) or a belief in Bigfoot or Sasquatch (14 percent are on board). If you squint, you can see the logical roots of some of them: while the US government probably didn’t consciously allow 9/11 to happen (11 percent say it did), and Osama bin Laden seems to really be dead and gone (despite the 6 percent of folks who say he’s still out there), the former conspiracy theory is aided by the staggering lapses in security and intelligence preceding the attacks, while the latter can be chalked up to the Obama administration’s refusal to release photos of bin Laden’s bullet-ridden body.
The rest over here
Conservatives are not just hypocrites about immigration or war, they also ignore the brutal effect that the drug war has on families. Today the internet offered up not one, but two of my favorite writers telling drug war horror stories. Let’s play the bleakest game ever and decide which one is worse!
First, Mike Riggs of Reason on some desperate-sounding parents “stealing” back their own children:
Joshua Michael Hakken and his wife Sharyn Hakken are on the run in Florida after kidnapping their own two children from Sharyn’s mother this morning. Patricia Hauser has had legal custody of her grandchildren, four-year-old Cole and two-year-old Chase, since 2012, when Joshua and Sharyn lost custody for displaying pot in front of their sons at an “anti-government rally” in Louisiana.
And Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic on a father facing 25 years in prison for selling a few pain pills to an undercover cop:
James Horner, a 46-year-old fast-food restaurant worker, lost his eye in a 2000 accident and was prescribed painkillers. Years later, he met and befriended a guy who seemed to be in pain himself. His new friend asked if he could buy some of Horner’s pain pills. Naturally, the friend was a police informant.
It helps to be reminded, when things lately seem so promising in terms of drug war progress, that this sort of lunacy is happening all the time in the country that professes to be the land of the free. So no, Ann Coulter, I am not going to focus on privatizing garbage collectors now, and the drug war once we’ve solved every single fiscal problem (the drug war being one of those as well, come to think of it). If you care about people, about families, and about choice, you care about the drug war. If you do not, even if you think it’s something to get to “later” you’re a cold,partisan hack, or a at least a very unserious thinker.
Yesterday, the Associated Press declared that the phrase illegal immigrant was no longer kosher, which is a big deal, since when the AP changes its style guide, newspapers around the country go along with it. Naturally, many people (mostly conservatives) responded to the tiny tweak with howls—and tweets—of derision.
The AP’s reasoning for this fairly mild mandate is that illegal shouldn’t be a descriptor for a person; indeed, “No person is illegal” is a common pro-immigration slogan. “Illegal should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally,” Kathleen Carroll, a senior vice president and executive editor at the AP, wrote to explain the decision. So you can say, “Chen illegally overstayed his visa and lived illegally in the United States,” but Chen himself is not an illegal immigrant. Nor is he an undocumented worker, or an illegal alien, terms which have already fallen out of AP favor.
Though there are meaty—if often abstract and geeky—debates to be had over language, from the legacy of theN word to rigidly enforced political correctness on college campuses. So far, this war of words has been filled with self-righteous, obnoxious carping about terminology, which is far less helpful than discussing whether it’s wrong for poor people to cross an imaginary line in search of better lives. But at the same time, this conscious word-choice change points at the bigger issue of why 11 million people who live and work in the US are treated as an invading army by so many of their fellows.
The rest here
I wrote a thing about soda and freedom and stuff! It’s at VICE.com! Go read it, or even just stare at the visual the editor choose. It’s better than the one I am using, because I don’t want to spoil it for you. That’s how important this is.
I slept as well as a child on Christmas morning last night. My ego is as refreshed as a person who just chugged 20 ounces of Mexican Coke. I should probably write more, eh?
Michael Moynihan’s CPAC 2011 video. See if you give a rip.
Mine from 2012.*
*AKA, the only way one could possibly feel angsty and nostalgic due to missing CPAC. Being a part of Reason TV, even in a very small way, was a big deal. I miss it, I also resent that I never became as awesome at it as Michael Moynihan. Nor did I ever get to say those hallowed words, “For Reason TV, I’m Lucy Steigerwald.” Did I practice saying them into the Reason bathroom mirror on half a dozen separate occasions? I did.
- Nick Gillespie on three takeaways from Rand Paul’s heroic filibuster.
- All 12 hours of the filibuster are now on youtube, for those who missed it.
- Let’s all take a moment to remember when Harry Reid tried, and failed, to stop the filibuster. So good.
- Brian Doherty brings the news that Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were just as wretched about Rand Paul
- Nice Daily Caller article about Code Pink’s visit to Rand Paul’s office with thanks ruined by commenters urging death upon the “treasonous” Code Pink
- What the Democrats were doing while Rand was filibustering.
- Anthony Gregory: ‘Rand Paul’s Filibuster Divides the Right and Left’
- Editorial cartoonist reaches new heights of inanity re Rand and drones
- Max Read makes up for being awesome about Rand Paul yesterday by being lame about beverage bans today. This is pretty much the Gawker experience.
- Twitter and the filibuster — yes, it was a (falsely, no doubt, but still) warm and fuzzy experience being a libertarian on twitter yesterday. We get so few moments like that, that I am okay with it, no matter how much Rand Paul disappoints in future. (And if he becomes president, you can bet he will disappoint).
- I was prepared to be annoyed by this Dave Weigel piece on how crying “tyranny!” is good for political business these days, but it’s actually a good overview of where the left and right are on drones and not being into assassinating Americans.
- ‘How the World Forgot About Iraq’
- KKK not invading Oberlin, so that’s good.
- But! ‘Anti-government extremist groups reach record levels, say experts’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- By the way, the Southern Poverty Law Center is absurd.
- Website devoted to how medicine was modernized during the Civil War.
- Storytelling tips from Ira Glass [via @nhclarkson]
- A cathartic look at all the cinematic destruction of Washington, DC over the years.
- I am with this Jezebel writer, which is awkward.
As you might know, Sen. Rand Paul, that curly-haired moppet from Kentucky, has been filibustering the nomination of would-be CIA director John Brennan for more than four hours now. In his quest to get Attorney General Eric Holder to say that no drone strikes can be used on American citizens on our soul, he has been backed by GOP Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, and Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden. Rand has quoted Lysander Spooner, Friederich Hayek, flirted with, but then unGodwin’d just in time, by dropping some nuance re Hitler comparisons (currency run amok and the dangers of democracy, it’s okay, folks).
Here are some important sources for all your questions, such as, why is CSPAN suddenly so interesting — why is government suddenly so interesting?
- First and foremost
- And watch the continuing filibuster here on CSPAN
- The New York Times is predictably weak-ass and evasive on Rand Paul’s vitally important points
- Jordan Bloom is live-blogging the filibuster over at The American Conservative
- In you’re wondering why we’re filibustering today, check out Mother Jones‘ report where Eric Holder clarifies that it’s unlikely, but totally legal for the Obama administration to use drones/lethal force on Americans who are on American soul.
- Sen. Lee asked Attorney General Eric Holder for clarification on the leaked drone white paper, and for more details on the legality of killing American citizens like what the hell “imminence” means.
- Salon says Holder doesn’t know what he’s talking about
- One writer’s pick for Rand’s best lines so far
- Reminder that most Americans support drone strikes, even against American citizens
- A rumor of drones in Brooklyn
- Exene Cervenka is standing with Rand, so you should probably listen to even more X
- Rand has mentioned his skepticism over the standards of drone strikes abroad, he has good reason.
- Rand has repeatedly cited Conor Friedersdorf today. Friedersdorf, who I have often tweeted and blogged and praised to no avail, responds to my musing at last.
- Max Read of Gawker (somewhat painfully) sincerely praises Rand.
- Breitbart reports that the ACLU support Rand’s filibuster (head briefly exploding at the non-evil bipartisanship)
- Rosie Gray: it’s weird that Rand has brought the drone issue to the top of Washington’s attention-agenda…at least for today.
- Spencer Ackerman at Wired echoes those sentiments — Rand will fail to block John Brennan’s nomination, but he has succeeded in getting these issues some long overdue attention
- Chris Matthews thinks that hate groups must love Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, etc.
- Hungry from freedom fightin’?
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