Currently viewing the tag: "Vice"
  • Sen. Rand Paul might not heroically prevent a war with Syria. He may not even filibuster. But something I do appreciate — and which echoes his dear old dad´s foreign policy ideas — is how he stresses that we do not know what will happen if the US intervenes. And that ¨our¨ intervention could indeed make things worse. Insert Hayek quote about arrogant, imagined knowledge of certain folks here.
  • Paul also writes in Time, ¨The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war.¨ If only that ended up being true in practice (instead of just true in the actual sense), and if that worked out for every law and government meddle.
  • I love Conor Fridersdorf, I do. It´s strange how he is too moderate a libertarian for me, yet he is doing so much more for the cause, as it were, than all the — well, other folks. Insular, ranting folks who call TSA agents ¨pedophiles¨ and then call that a blog post.
  • John Glaser on how we just don´t know how many people died in the Syrian chemical weapons attack. (Body counts are notoriously shifty, especially initially. I can picture a headline that said 25 dead at Columbine, and I seem to remember initial 9/11 counts hitting 10,000.)
  • Michael C. Moynihan on the war in Syria as compared to the Spanish Civil War — everyone needs to weigh in! Great ending line.
  • The VICE columns that go viral keep being the ones I am least satisfied with. This is terrible reinforcement for me — like all those A-grades in college that I wouldn´t have given me. (B in Dr. Cooley´s darkroom photography class on the other hand, that was a real, earned grade, dammit.) Still, I wrote about cops on camera and how the DEA continues to suck, so you can read about that over here.
  • I was on Guillermo Jimenez´s radio show last week. Jimenez is a super-radical, friendly dude. And I love that all of the ads on his show seem to be about hording gold or what have you. We talked about Syria, cops, the importance of ¨Suspect Device,¨ and other state-smashing topics.
  • Rachel Maddow is pathetically soft on Obama here — love the heaps of benefit of the doubt he is given by default — but I enjoy her conclusions on how little we need to hear from the makers of the war in Iraq. 
  • See, this is why lefties love pictures of people holding up hand-written expressions of a sentiment to which they subscribe — it´s touching and heart-warming! I see that now! (Admittedly, I did go ¨I am Bradley Manning¨ two years ago. And my heart was actually warmed by this tumblr.)
  • The fact that the patriarch even grew a mullet… Should we make hipster jokes? Canada jokes? I can´t decide how to react to this.
  • Pokey LaFarge is coming to Pittsburgh on September 24, so ideally all of you stalkers will known where to find me on that day. (Don´t do that.) Pokey is one of those folks who just didn´t click until I saw him and his band nearly overshadow Old Crow Medicine Show (albeit the one that is sans Willie Watson) this New Years Eve in Nashville.
  • Sometimes I think about emailing Harry Cheadle at VICE and pitching him a story where I enroll in the Miss Mothman Pageant. But then I come to my senses. As amazing as the name is, the pageant really doesn´t seem to be trying to live up to its namesake. If you´re going for a set beauty standard, at least pick girls with gray skin and large red eyes who are at least 8 feet tall.
  • Speaking of which — sort of — here are two of my favorite, honestly creepy Fortean Times pieces. One is on the legend of ¨Lost Cosmonauts¨ and the other is one ¨The Dyatlov Pass Incident.¨ Creepiness in the Soviet Union! Not just for stuff we know definitely occurred!

Today´s video can only be Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with ¨More News From Nowhere.¨

I always forget that in the world there exists at least one 7´56 song that doesn´t feel endless.

401977_820298143983_859526031_nThe lockdown was something new. Not serial killers, not cop-killing cop Christopher Dorner’s LA rampage, not even 9/11 shut down a city like this. Still, Bostonians seemed fine with staying inside for the most part. Cops found their guy relatively quickly, and the city partied in the streets afterwards. During the manhunt, a tough-looking officer even brought two gallons of milk to a family with young children, serving as a perfect meme to refute any accusations of jackbooted thuggery. Even some normally anti-police libertarians urged restraint in reacting to the manhunt.

What shouldn’t go unmentioned, however, is that while the circumstances were unique, the military muscle displayed by law enforcement is hardly reserved for responding to rare acts of terrorism. Videos from the lockdown—particularly this piece of paranoia-porn, in which a SWAT team orders a family out of their home at gunpoint and one of the officers screams “get away from the window!” at the videographer—either look frightening or grimly necessary, according to your views. But haven’t we seen displays like this before?

Those who say that the above high level of police intrusion was due to the unique seriousness of the situation in Boston had better explain what cops are doing with their expensive toys during the other 360 days of the year. A suspected bomb-toting terrorist is cause for specific, serious law enforcement measures (if not an excuse to impose martial law on an entire metro area). But a visit from cops that look like soldiers is a reality for 150 people per day who are targeted by police raids—mostly on suspicion of possessing or selling narcotics.

The rest here.

  • 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

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?