- Glenn Greenwald and Anthony Gregory would both like to remind those who equate Obama and Martin Luther King Jr. that the latter was no fan of wars.
- Matt Welch also notes that MLK’s Thoreau-esque fondness for civil disobedience is not exactly Obama-friendly, especially what with the U.S.’s drug war canon-fodder-stuffed prisons.
- The Onion: “Obama Begins Inauguration Festivities With Ceremonial Drone Flyover”
- I’m halfway through Gene Healy’s new ebook False Idol: Barack Obama and the Continuing Cult of the Presidency and it’s epic. And if you’ve never read his previous Cult of the Presidency, you must.
- Reason TV on Obama’s 2009 inauguration day promises
- Newsbusters can source this one, Newsweek‘s Evan Thomas has a bad habit of making Obama sound like Jesus.
- James Franco has written a staggeringly awful poem about Obama, so you should feel bad if you like either of man. I forgive Gawker its myriad crimes because Caity Weaver wrote a mocking poem in response. Would a Jezebel writer do that? I think not.
- General reminder for people prostrating themselves at the feet of Obama for being gay-friendly. He supported gay marriage in 1996, but waited until 2012 to support it as president. Gary Johnson came out for marriage equality while running as a Republican. Good that Obama admitted he’s okay with it at least, but Jesus — why is the bigger ally to the gay community the guy who pretended to be “evolving” on the issue for 15 years? Could it be that most liberal still don’t give a shit about the drug war?
There are many, many, many reasons to hate on Gawker, but somehow Jezebel always manages to do a hell of a lot worse than its older sibling, even in political matters. Gawker is left, it hates on libertarians (or rather, conservatives, objectivists, and libertarians, being unable to tell them apart), and it, in Daily Show style, hates a lot harder on the dumbest critics of Obama and co than the ones with actual power.
And yet, Gawker is never quite this bad.
The headline: “President/Valedictorian Obama Gets Sweetly Nostalgic Following the Inaugural Address” — the actual comments:LittleFlower This scene is so beautiful for exactly that reason… you’d think he’d be completely worn out by now, but that’s a look of pride on his face. He’s soaking it all in, and he looks happy and grateful and humble. God, I love that man. Not even an American, over here. I just love that whole family so much; I’m so relieved he’s getting another 4 years. I hope there’s less opposition to change, this time, but maybe that’s naive of me? Fuckit, I’m happier when I’m naive. *La la laaaa hearts and flowers*
AshleyAutumn I have this in .gif format and it made me weepy when I saw it, so I saved it.
badmutha 1 of 5 replies @Penabler It is funny that you write this because when I read FB and other sites, and read all the awful things the red necks and others say about him, it just breaks my heart. Even with all our shit, he wants to be our President.
Hot on the heels of President Obama’s 23 new executive orders upping gun control, famed and fearsome conservative commentator Ann Coulter has a new column entitled “Guns don’t kill people, the mentally ill do”. Under that straight to the point headline, Coulter points to the mass-murders at Virginia Tech, Tuscon, and now Sandy Hook and mentions that each of the killers there had a history of mental illness — Tuscon shooter Jared Loughner in particular was feared by several acquaintance and teachers. And yes, there are rumors, still unconfirmed, that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza snapped because his mother wanted to commit him to a mental institution.
Writes Coulter, not bothering to source anything:
Innumerable studies have found a correlation between severe mental illness and violent behavior. Thirty-one to 61 percent of all homicides committed by disturbed individuals occur during their first psychotic episode — which is why mass murderers often have no criminal record. There’s no time to wait with the mentally ill.
Coulter, of course, doesn’t bother to address the confirmation bias when it comes to trusting “warning signs”. Yes, some people who end up being killers frightened other people beforehand. What about all the people, even seriously mentally ill people, who weirded out their neighbors and teachers and never shot up a schoolhouse? Do they have rights, or don’t they? Coulter suggests no. Because it’s just no longer easy enough to involuntarily commit crazy people.
Or rather, she says don’t take guns from the rational and the law-abiding, instead — well, what?
Coulter bemoans the American Civil Liberties Union who “have decided that being psychotic is a civil right”, thereby making involuntary commitment standards overly strict. She implies that this is yet another lefty, PC outrage that will spell our demise, but that is all. What exactly to do, and how to do it, is lesft unsaid.
Lefties who cry for gun control, especially the stricter than is popular variety, never seem to answer the question of how it shall be done. Banning guns — even only those that became legal post-assault weapons ban expiration — sounds great, okay. What’s the punishment for defying the ban? Who is going to make sure it happens? How will it be organized? Do we need another bureaucratic office to oversee the proceedings? Liberals have a habit of crying out for government intervention and ignoring the potential costs in money, time, and on occasion, life. Conservative queen Coulter is doing exactly the same thing here.
If she wants America to “try something new” and make it easier to involuntarily commit individuals, how shall we do it? Will it be up to cops? Professors? Teachers? How long will people be kept? By what standards shall the mentally ill be judged unable to be free? Actual threats of violence, strange behavior, unorthodox opinions, paranoia? When will they be fit to be released? Are there appeals?
There are 300 million guns in America, yes, but according to the National Institute on Mental Health, 1 in 4 Americans suffers from a mood disorder, 1 in 17 from a “serious one.” How many of those 57 million Americans should lose their Second Amendment rights, according to Coulter? Or do you just lock the mentally ill up, thereby ignoring messy gun rights questions altogether?
There’s not really any point to appealing to Coulter’s attachment to civil liberties, because judging by past history, she has none. She does, however, profess a theoretical objection to government excess by mocking liberals and embracing conservatism.
The murderers that Coulter describes should have perhaps been kicked out of their schools, and perhaps prosecuted in the case of the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho who stalked three women. He also spent time refusing to talk. And Adam Lanza had trouble looking people in the eye! However, none of these young men, until they massacred scores of people, had done anything that would justify locking them up indefinitely at a psychiatrist or a judge’s pleasure. And, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum put it today “Stopping Mass Murderers Would Be Easy If Psychiatrists Were Psychics”.
Even law and order conservatives usually think that someone locked up should actually have committed a crime first. But Coulter offers nothing concrete in policy suggestions, only a breezy disdain for the heroic work of the ACLU, and people like the late Thomas Szasz, who dared to object to easy involuntary commitment.
Coulter, it is worth noting, is also pro-Gitmo, so at least she is consistent in her approval of holding people without trial. But her suggestion that the government “try something new” because “there’s no time to wait” in regards to the mentally ill makes Coulter sound exactly like the big government liberals she so loathes.
For reasons I never quite figured out, I ended up on the Morality in Media email list. Today they sent me a smug, seemingly self-written and self-quoted press release by Dawn Hawkins, their head busy-body. The good news, since potential anti-smut crusader Mitt Romney lost the presidency and all? Well, a 61-year-old pornographer named Ira Isaacs was just sentenced to 48 months in prison, plus three years of “supervised release” and a $10,000 fine. Why? Well, prosecutors know obscenity when they see it. And they must know art when they see it, too. In spite of Isaacs’ pleas that he was making “shock art,” in this third attempt since 2008 to pin charges on him, they finally stuck Isaacs with five federal charges in April.
In motions prior to sentencing, U.S. prosecutors had attempted to sway the court to enhance Isaacs’ sentencing two levels to seven years and three months by using the theory that “vulnerable victims” were exploited in the commission of federal offenses.
But prosecutors backed off on that plan after [prosecutor Damon] King said in his “tentative view” that the vulnerable victim sentencing adjustment does not apply in the case.
King said that if scat actors consented to performing in the films, then as consenting adults who helped produce obscene materials, they are better characterized as co-participants in the offenses than as victims. The performers at center of the scrapped testimony include Veronica Jett and another former adult performer named April.
The pair of actresses told federal prosecutors that they never would have taken part in several scat films if they had not been high after allegedly being fed drugs by Isaacs at the time of the shoots. Jett attended Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.[…]
The LAPD officer ordered and received through the U.S. mail four videos — “Euro Scat Girls,” “‘My Pony Lover,” “Violet: Dog and Pig Fuckers” and “Hot Girl With Dogs” — that weren’t part of the Isaacs obscenity trial.
King said that because of Isaacs’ post-conviction behavior, he said it was pertinent to sentencing. Diamond, however, asked the court to grant Isaacs full probation.
“I have viewed the videos for this sentencing hearing, and I find them just as obscene as those used in Mr. Isaacs’ conviction,” King said. “He has not accepted his responsibility to the community.”
King further said that he didn’t buy Isaacs’ contention that his operation was based on the vision of art.
“I have totally rejected during the course of the trial that he’s a shock artist,” King said. “He has cloaked himself as a First Amendment defendant. But the fact is that he did it for money. He’s not a defender of the First Amendment. He cheapens the First Amendment.”
Isaacs may be an unrepentant sleaze — he may be less of a charmingly unrepentant sleaze-peddler than good old John Stagliano, who escaped the DOJ’s reach in 2010 — but it’s deeply disturbing that obscenity exist as a category of speech. It’s also troubling and telling that the Department of Justice has continued these pursuits even post-John “cover the boobs of Justice” Ashcroft. Attorney General Eric Holder is not just a lying weasel about guns, drones, and drugs, he also lets his goons follow their awfully conservative-sounding agenda of hunting down and punishing peddlers of consensual smut.
[Edit: my friend Julia points out that Holder DID at least disband the Obscenity Prosecution Task Force and has been criticized by social cons for not doing “enough” about porn. So he’s not quite as heinous as Ashcroft in this particular area.]
It’s also really awesome that the LAPD seemingly has nothing better to do with their time than order gross videos from a willing seller, then attempt to bring him to “justice.”
Please note the vague detail that these women claim they wouldn’t have done these films if they hadn’t been “fed drugs.” Might Isaacs be a creep, someone who pressures desperate women? Sure. Should we shun him at the next libertarian cocktail party? Perhaps. Are we saying the women didn’t voluntarily take these non-specific drugs, then voluntarily engage in bestiality? It’s insanely condescending towards adult females to act like they need to be protected from what is (somewhat arguably) a very bad career and life decision.
And as to the familiar libertarian thought exercise, should bestiality be illegal, well — there are, logically, ways of engaging in it that are cruel to animals, and ways that are…not so cruel. If women and dogs are the participants, it’s probably moreso the latter. Gross, but so is prison rape. So is prison, period.
The Porn Harms press release notes ends, deeply satisfied:
“Morality in Media will not rest until the federal laws designed to protect women and children from the porn criminals are fully enforced.”
They may not need the help of a nervous Mormon. Obama’s people are doing just fine.
Isaacs’ attorney says they plan to take their appeal all the way to the 9th Circuit, if possible. Reason’s Jacob Sullum has covered the Ira Isaacs case. Sullum also noted that Isaacs initially faced 25 years in prison. If that’s not obscenity, there’s definitely no such thing.
- 19-year-old fights creationism in public schools.
- The American Conservative on 25 nasty years of Cops.
- New York state first to up gun control post-Sandy Hook.
- Four years of Obama being “funny.”
- Reminder that Eric Holder is still an awful person and a liar.
- Obituary for a life that could have been a great deal shorter, if not for Oscar Schindler.
- “The State Should Not Pardon Aaron Swartz”
- Michael C. Moynihan tentatively and amusingly explores the meaning of Kim Kardashian. No, really, it’s okay to read about her just this once.
- “SPONSORED: The Taliban Is A Vibrant And Thriving Political Movement”
- Rapper Big Boi on gun rights.
Cross-posted at The Skeptical Libertarian, where I intend to begin blogging as a contributing editor. Does the fanciness of that title help my ego? It does indeed.
- “One would like nothing so much as a powerful legislative drone strike against the NRA and the industry it represents as the opening round in a long and relentless war against gun violence.”
- “I don’t know what you talking about, I voted for Gary Johnson…I’m a libertarian” — Big Boi talks to Alyona Minkovski about, uh, certain assumptions people make about his politics.
- One of my favorite things about Reason editors in chief is their ability to ruin everyone’s fun re political light heartedness. Seriously, it is one of their grand traditions. Check out Nick Gillespie’s heroically cranky response to the White House’s “cute” reaction to the can we build a Death Star petition.
- I am starting to feel like I should be a bigger Tarantino fan. Also, see, Hollywood people, you can do more than just cozy up to Chavez!
- The Weekly Standard looks at Bill “my dad” Steigerwald’s Dogging Steinbeck book.
- Gawker mocks libertarians/mostly just mocks Glenn Beck and confuses objectivists with libertarians.
- Go, Montana! Be the libertarian dream-state I so wish you were!
- Every time I see a story about SWAT used for someone with mental health problems, I shudder. What’s the last thing that would make me feel better if I was in such distress? Jesus.
- Apropos of my post from yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to restrict the use of prescription painkillers in New York City hospital emergency rooms. He’s a doctor…of entire cities…right?
- David Frum is so scary-retro-hypocritical in his objection to drug legalization. His live chat with Daily Beast readers makes me want to burn my keyboard.
- “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good” is one of my dad’s favorite mottoes but dammit, Andrew Kirell rants so beautifully against Glenn Beck’s new “libertarianism.”
- On the other hand, Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, welcome to (moderate) libertarianism. Yes, please. We want you. Conor Friedersdorf can teach you the ways.
- Yes, I am about to link to an article that is technically about Lindsay Lohan, but this, (ahem, Esquire), is how you write about entertainment and actresses. Show, be restrained, don’t get all pretentious about the meaning of actress x, just tell the story. Make them a human, as Lohan actually is, turns out.
- Also: Girls is moderarately entertaining and sometimes funny, this Slate television critic writing about it makes me want to pull my own teeth out.
- Peter Suderman really liked Zero Dark Thirty and dammit, I still feel conflicted (albeit not Glenn Greenwald level conflicted) about it. I guess, if the CIA is going to give you way too much access, why wouldn’t you take it?
- Guns don’t protect people.
- Thaddeus Russell mourns the current lack of leftists like Howard Zinn. Yeah, I’ll take Code Pink over Obamatrons, but hmm… Well, read it.
- Smoking children as art. Awesome.
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